A doggone good time: Local nonprofit toasts community during annual event



“This event is a great way to get behind the community. I believe we should always give back more than we receive,” says Trudy Ender, executive director of Humane Society of West Michigan (HSWMI).

And Grand Rapids agrees. Over 750 guests filled the ballroom at DeVos Place on Monday, for the third annual Paws, Claws & Corks.

“We’re 100% donor-funded, so everything we do has to be from donors and sponsors,” says Nicole Cook, marketing & events coordinator of HSWMI. “Events like this help us continue to raise awareness about animals and our organization in the community.”

Photos by Bryan Esler for stellafly

In its inaugural year in 2012, Paws, Claws & Corks boasted a guest list of over 400 names. This year, the event raises a glass to its over 750 guests.

“Our community really cares about shelter animals,” says Ender. “They truly believe from their hearts, and their pockets, that Humane Society of West Michigan serves a community need for neglected and abandoned animals.”

The event ticket granted each guest to enjoy creative and unique silent auctions items, participation in the live auction and samplings of local wine, beer and cuisine. Twelve local restaurants showcased a taste of their menu at the event, from apple and blue cheese bruschetta served by CitySen Lounge to bacon-wrapped dates from Olive’s Restaurant and Bar. Keeping things local not only helps Grand Rapids restaurants generate awareness, but strengthens the partnerships and relationships HSWMI has with community.

If there’s one thing Ender wishes each guest leaves with after the event, it’s a full heart.

“I hope the guests are touched and that they recognize that it’s what each they do that makes the impact,” says Ender.

To Ender, her team, the HSWMI directors and the board, here’s to warm feelings, good stories and many more (dog) years.

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