Spending ‘An Evening at the Bazaar’ with Runway for Charity

Jessica Harsevoort

Runway for Charity turns passion for fashion into fashion with compassion. The organization will host a fashion event at A.K. Rikk’s Saturday, June 10, at 7:30 p.m. to offer the crowd a fun night out while also raising money for charity.

Runway for Charity is an organization started by A.K. Rikk’s, a contemporary fashion boutique, that strives to host Grand Rapid’s best runway show. The funds raised through the annual events benefit programs and services at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.

The events held by A.K. Rikk’s were not always as they are now. Before A.K. Rikk’s tried its hand at throwing a charity event, the store started out with small gatherings.

Jim Murray, president of A.K. Rikk’s, said the boutique held events such as family-oriented Halloween costume parties in an event area and outside park at the store.

“We didn’t know if it was unique to the community of Grand Rapids or if it was just a wanted experience, but the events started doing really well,” Murray said.

After raising more than $150,000 dollars from its first event, A.K. Rikk’s raised even more money in the following Runway for Charity shows. Over the past four years, the organization has raised a net amount of more than half a million dollars for Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.

“It’s a reward for me to see that there are other people out there who care and want to give, not only with their money, but also with their time and business resources to push a cause forward,” said Ben Tobar, director of business development for A.K. Rikk’s. 

Runway for Charity holds black tie events with a twist. Its niche as a company is to create enjoyable experiences, which is why the A.K. Rikk’s team strives to provide a fun, non-traditional black tie event.

“Our mission for the event is to make sure that if you spend $250, you’ll be so blown away that you believe it was worth every cent,” Murray said. “If we can help someone through the charity by doing that, then that’s great.”

Every Runway for Charity event has had a different theme, including a basic fashion show, a candy garden and a human circus. The theme for the 2017 show is “Moroccan Marketplace.”

“An Evening at the Bazaar” will include both attendees and retailers sporting Moroccan fashion. There will be low lights to fill the atmosphere, performers to stroll through the area and vendors to show participants their wares.

This black tie event will be less of a runway show and more of an adventure with movement and interaction. Because of this, Tobar believes the best part about Runway for Charity events is being transported to a different place and time.

“If we can create an experience at an event where people have fun and feel really good about giving because they had fun, then we feel like we’re doing our jobs,” Tobar said.

Tickets are $250 for admission and access to the open bar or $300 for admission, open bar and an after-party.

To purchase tickets, visit www.spectrumhealth.org/foundation/events/runway-for-charity. For information on sponsorship opportunities, contact Devin Pierson at (616) 391-2461.