To commemorate the Friends' 20th anniversary, this year guests are welcome to celebrate in 1920s style if they like (Lynch's Theatrical Department Store is offering 15-percent off purchases of items like fedoras or flapper frocks, if the Black Tie & Tails or Dearborn Animal Shelter is mentioned). Sandy Bolton, the public relations director for Friends, recalled the group's beginnings 20 years ago.
“It was a group of volunteers who wanted to take over the animal shelter, and they worked the very first privatization agreement with the city,” Bolton said. “At that time, most city shelters were just city pounds, and these volunteers wanted to take over the animal shelter and make animals ready for adoption, and now they've spent 20 years of operating the shelter.”
In that time, more than $1 million has been raised since the start of Black Tie & Tails in 2001, with this year's target to top $130,000. The evening being presented by Johnson Controls Vice President of Engineering MaryAnn Wright and Bob Sayles has attracted giving from local celebrities, sports, industry and business leaders, politicians, and private individuals to provide items for the evening's annual auction (many of which can be previewed online before the evening).
"It's a very nice affair," she said.
Special guests include honorary co-chairs Congressmen John Dingell and Mrs. Debbie Dingell. Once again, Fox 2 Sports Director Dan Miller, the play-by-play voice of the Detroit Lions, will emcee the event, including the live auction.
“We've been doing this for 20 years, so I hope we've made some friends throughout this area along the way,” Bolton joked. “Any opportunity we have to seek out fund-raising and volunteers is a help to us, because our funding comes primarily from people giving to us.
“There's a perception that the city funds the shelter, but only a small part actually comes from tax dollars. Out of our budget, 90 percent of our funds comes from donations,” she said.
Since the deadline is past for the on-line purchase of tickets, people are advised to call the Dearborn Animal Shelter at (313) 943-2697 on where they can purchase and pick up the $175 tickets. They can learn more about the event on-line at the Black Tie & Tails link on the www.DearbornAnimals.org website (including “Twenties Translations”, which will be helping them to “hit on all sixes” on 1920s lingo like “Our annual gala benefit is going to be the cat's meow, so grab your baby, don your glad rags, and join us for the swankiest event of the season!”)
In celebrating its 20th anniversary, the Friends for the Dearborn Animal Shelter has cared for more than 39,000 animals in the shelter at 2661 Greenfield. The Black Tie & Tails has raised funds since its inception benefiting more than 28,000 of these rescued animals.