Laker Children’s Fund kicks off year-round fundraising

GVL / Kevin Sielaff - The BOTV trophy is presented during halftime.  Grand Valley squares off against SVSU Nov. 14 in Allendale. The Lakers hold on and win with a final score of 24-17.

Kevin Sielaff

GVL / Kevin Sielaff – The BOTV trophy is presented during halftime. Grand Valley squares off against SVSU Nov. 14 in Allendale. The Lakers hold on and win with a final score of 24-17.

Hannah Lentz

During this year’s Battle of the Valleys competition, Grand Valley State University raised $12,031 for the Laker Children’s Fund. Though it is no longer football season, student senate has plans for charity efforts to increase the money available in the sponsored fund.

Though plans are still in progress, the student senate campus affairs committee is working to put together a charity dinner to add to the donations to the Laker Children’s Fund.

The Laker Children’s Fund receives all its money from community donations. The major fundraising campaign is during the week of Battle of the Valleys. All donations go into this non-profit fund, and throughout the year, charities can apply for a mini-grant that can be used to fund programs, projects, or operational costs for the organization.

Recently, the first awarded grant from the fund went to Manna’s Meal of the local Kent and Ottawa communities. The grant of $2,500 is intended to help provide meals to students in the Allendale school system.

“The student senate and Laker Traditions Team are proud to award Manna’s Meals with this mini-grant and hope that they will continue to positively impact children in the upcoming future,” said Sean O’Melia, Laker Traditions Team programming chair. Julia Sturvist of the finance committee is currently working to organize the event.

It is student senate’s that this collaborative event can help bring awareness to the fund and, in turn, provide more grant opportunities for local children focused organizations.

“The money for this fund is primarily raised from Battle of the Valleys; we have been raising money each year and now believe it is time to spread the word and see these funds being granted to many different groups to help children in all types of different situations,” Sturvist said.

The event will invite different youth-oriented charities from the Grand Rapids area to this dinner. Though there is not a finalized list of all the groups that will be coming, student senate is hoping to be able to at least cater to 15-20 different organizations.

“This charity dinner, hosted by student senate, is an opportunity for us to reach out to local charities that promote the education and well-being of youth, and raise awareness about the Laker Children’s Fund,” Sturvist said.

The dinner will include a presentation to those in attendance about the Laker Children’s Fund, focused on seeing the money raised put back into the community.

“Our hope is that this event will influence these organizations to apply for grants through the Laker Children’s Fund in order to help our local charities financially and work toward the advancement of children in Grand Rapids and the state of Michigan as a whole,” Sturvist said.

Though the fund is just starting out and the planned dinner is only one event on the calendar, the key to this fundraising effort lies in what follows the event.

“I see big things happening for the Laker Children’s Fund in the coming years,” Sturvist said. “This dinner could lead to Grand Valley working with these different charities year-round, partnering up with them during Battle of the Valleys, receiving multiple applications for funds to help them in some way, or even working with them to help aid even more youth-oriented organizations throughout the whole state of Michigan.”

For more information and for updates on the charity dinner, visit