Ward and Eis Gallery owner, Jennifer Eis invited her staff and six local nonprofit leaders to share a moment of reflection and inspiration on a mid-January day. The gathering is a tradition during which Eis presents annual philanthropic donations to area organizations that serve people in need of sustenance, shelter and the support that strengthens mind, body and spirit.
The presentation included a story titled, Who Speaks for Wolf, by Native American author Paula Underwood. Eis said she told the story to the group as they sat in a circle around a flickering candle representing a central fire to better understand the gifts each person brings while being warmed by a common purpose to support a stable and healthy community.
Eis said she selected Underwood’s story because it reflects how each organization reminds us about some of the realities that many people face in the community, and that each nonprofit becomes a voice for those silenced by some of life’s most difficult challenges.
Ward and Eis Gallery has given back to the community for 36 consecutive years with a total of $484,000 donated.
The gallery’s contributions represent 3% of annual sales, 20% of Thanksgiving and Christmas benefits and 100% of the proceeds of the Magpie Papers, a book authored by Don Ward and Jennifer Eis. This year’s donation of $22,000 was shared as follows: Women’s Resource Center of Northern Michigan, $4,500; Manna Food Project, $3,500; Friendship Centers, $3,500; Nehemiah Project, $3,500; Petoskey Club, $3,500; and Health Department of Northwest Michigan, $3,500.
Ward and Eis Gallery has supported Women’s Resource Center of Northern Michigan (WRCNM) for 32 years with donations totaling $88,500.
WRCNM Executive Director, Gail Kloss said, “I always appreciate the time and space that Jennifer and her staff provide. It gives us a chance to center ourselves, look back over the year and think about how our daily work creates pathways for people.”
“The donations and dedication to philanthropy are simply astounding; to think that a gallery in northern Michigan can consistently give at this level over so many years is extremely unusual and humbling,” Kloss said.
Ward and Eis Gallery is at 315 East Lake Street, Petoskey, and can be reached at (231) 347-2750.