Giving Tuesday 4Friendship Fundraiser

#GivingTuesday #4Friendship!

If you had walked into Friendship Circle on Giving Tuesday morning you would have heard the voices of several volunteers and staff members on the phone with community members to ask for donations in honor of the day. Giving Tuesday (#GivingTuesday) is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and this year Friendship Circle held our first end of year fundraiser 4Friendship! #GivingTuesday #4Friendship!

Starting on Tuesday, November 29th (Giving Tuesday), we hosted a 36 hour fundraising phonathon and social media campaign with the goal to fundraise $360K in just 36 hours.

Bassie Shemtov launched our social media campaign with this message:

Thanks to 3 special donors, we were able to make this year’s fundraiser, a matching campaign. The generosity of these donors meant that each dollar donated during the 36 hour period of this campaign, was worth four times the amount given. So for every $1 that came in, we actually earned $4 for our organization.

Meet the Matchers:

We would like to introduce you to the matchers behind this campaign. Without their support, this campaign would not have been possible.


In blessed memory of Joseph Fetter

Joseph Fetter’s recent passing is the reason that Neil Fetter, one of his sons, has agreed to match the donations we received in our #4Friendship campaign. Friendship Circle is honored and thankful that the Fetter family honored Joseph’s memory by contributing to this campaign and our organization in his name! Thank you for continuing to be philanthropic pillars in our community.

Fetter Family Foundation:

The Fetter family has been a pillar in the Detroit Jewish community for many decades. Joseph and Frances Fetter supported many organizations both in the Detroit Metro area and in Israel, often asking for anonymity and contributing in a quiet way. Friendship Circle was honored to be one of the charities to have a special place in Joseph Fetter’s heart.

Philip & Estelle Elkus:

Philip and Estelle Elkus have been generous supporters of Friendship Circle for many years and donated the funds for the Elkus Gym in memory of Philip’s siblings that had special needs.

“Of all the charities I have ever supported, my wife and I get far more pleasure and “Nachas” from the gym than any other institution. It has made such a wonderful difference to so many and we derive such pleasure seeing it happen.” – Philip Elkus

The 1st Day

Our $360K goal seemed lofty when we got started, but we hit the phones in the volunteer lounge with the help of several volunteers and staff members. We also pushed social media posts across several social channels and asked people in our online community to donate and then share with their followers.

By 4:30pm on Tuesday afternoon, we had reached 50% of our goal and things were looking good for us to reach it within our allotted time. Then at 9:30pm, about 12 hours into our campaign, thanks to an outpouring of support from people across the country, we reached our initial fundraising goal of raising $360,000! We were delighted by our the support of our online community, the phonathon volunteers and the generosity of the donations that came in!


Bonus Round

By Wednesday morning, we were over our initial financial goal and the money was still coming in. Inspired by the tremendous support of the Friendship Circle community and by the more than 450 donors who had made a donation, Neil Fetter, Dan and Michelle Weiss and a few other generous sponsors agreed to match all donations 3-to-1 in a bonus round. The bonus round pushed our goal up to $425,000 before the end of the campaign. With just 9 hours to go in the campaign we launched the bonus round and all donations that came in at that point were being tripled by the bonus round sponsors.


By the end of the 36 hour time period, we had brought in $432,000!

Many Thanks!

To those of you that made a contribution to our goal, we are so very grateful for your generosity and hope that you take great pride in the important difference your gift makes to our organization and those we help support.

We are so awed by the continued assistance and generosity of our community of supporters, donors and volunteers. Friendship Circle could not help individuals with special needs without the active involvement of the people around us.

We thank you for your support in this and all of our campaigns and wish you and your family all of the best!


What Will The Money Be Used for?

1. After School Programs
Funds raised will go towards growing the capacity and quality of our after-school programming which currently has over 300 children and teens with special needs participating.

2. Soul Projects
Soul Projects currently has 50 artists and 15 Cafe trainees working at Friendship Circle’s Farber Center. 4Friendship funds will help us expand the amount of artists working in the Dresner Foundation Soul Center.

3. Summer Camp
Summer camp has expanded from a one week camp to a six week summer program for over 50 individuals with special needs. Funds will help us add more exciting activities and summer programming in 2017.

4. Lessons For Life
Lessons For Life is in the process of refreshing its program and curriculum offerings. 4Friendship funding will help facilitate these enhancements.

For media inquiries, please contact Melanie Barnett at [email protected].
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