Midland Arc hosts ‘Derby Funday’ at Midland Country Club


As crowds gathered at Churchill Downs on Saturday night for the Kentucky Derby, around 200 people gathered at the Midland Country Club to mark ‘the greatest two minutes in sport’ while supporting a local organization.

The Arc of Midland held its first “Derby Funday” fundraiser to support its mission of inclusivity. The event was the organization’s first major fundraiser since the pandemic began in 2020.

Arc executive director Laurel Bucci explained that while the nonprofit has held smaller events throughout the pandemic, it hasn’t held a larger, party-type event. .


Just as the Kentucky Derby provides a fun and positive environment, Bucci sees his job as equally exciting.

“My goal is to throw a party similar to something that might happen in Kentucky, because it’s a pretty awesome experience,” Bucci said in his address to guests. “No one leaves a loser here. Everyone wins today because they are there to help others.

The evening included a buffet dinner and open bar – complete with mint juleps, a traditional Kentucky Derby drink – a photo booth, derby trivia and a silent auction.

Empty Canvas provided live music as well as a derby themed painting which was included in the silent auction.

Guests had additional opportunities to donate throughout the evening, providing The Arc guests with inclusive experiences in the community, like a movie at Midland Cinemas or an outing to a Great Lakes Loons baseball game. Additionally, an anonymous donor has pledged to match the first $5,000 donated at the event. Bucci explained that the evening’s fundraising goal was $50,000.

John Boothroyd, Chairman of the Board of The Arc of Midland and Head of Government Relations at Michigan Sugar Company, delivered the keynote address.

“I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that Midland County, Michigan is the benchmark for services and supports for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the country,” Boothroyd said. “The Arc isn’t the only organization involved in this, but it’s an important part of it. It’s part of what makes this community unique.

The Arc de Midland celebrates its 70th anniversaryand anniversary this year, serves people of all ages with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Its mission focuses on the general well-being of clients and works to increase their inclusion in the community.

The message of inclusivity spread further on Saturday night with the promotion of The Arc’s Inclusive Blend products. The idea of ​​the inclusive mix was introduced last year and has developed into a method of raising awareness of the Arc’s work and reaching out to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The Arc worked with Creation Coffee and Live Oak Coffeehouse to create Inclusive Blend coffee. This year, The Arc’s Inclusive Blend has expanded to include essential oils and candles from Ways to Wellness. The end goal is to create an online store with Inclusive Blend products to contribute to The Arc’s philanthropic sustainability.

“Inclusive Blend was never about coffee or essential oils,” Bucci said. “It was about the conversation. It was a platform for us to talk openly about people with disabilities and hopefully put people more at ease.

Bucci hopes The Arc can hold one major, fun fundraiser a year, with smaller events and projects highlighted throughout the months. She hopes Inclusive Blend will serve as a reminder that there are marginalized people in the community and that The Arc strives to be inclusive.

To learn more about the Arc of Midland, visit www.thearcofmidland.org.

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