Zumba Event to Support SwingShift Fundraiser

Marc Schollett, 7&4 News anchor, and Angie Pierce are dancing to provide more opportunities for students to participate in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs with Inland Seas Education Association (ISEA). They will be one of six pairs performing at the Halloween Ball SwingShift and the Stars Dance-off for Charity event on October 20that the City Opera House.

No-cost tickets are available for the event from Inland Seas by calling 231.271.3077.  “We are very fortunate to have generous donors who sponsored the tickets,” stated Fred Sitkins, Executive Director. “We hope those in attendance will continue this generosity through their donations which will then be doubled by a matching grant.” In exchange for free tickets, attendees are asked to vote for ISEA through their donations at the event. All donations to this fundraiser, up to $50,000, will be matched dollar-for-dollar by The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation.

To support the SwingShift Fundraiser, Marc Schollett’s dance partner, Angie Pierce, a local professional dancer, will run a 1 1/2 hour Zumba event at the Traverse City Open Space this Saturday (October 7) from 10-11:30 am. The event is free and all donations collected will be applied to the ISEA SwingShift total. 

Funds raised will go toward STEM programming which includes ISEA’s Schoolship programs, underwater remotely operated vehicle (ROV) programs, three-day Young People in STEM programs, and boat building programs. “Inland Seas is continually looking to include more STEM education opportunities in our current programs as well as developing new STEM programs for students,” explained Sitkins. “Our goal through this fundraiser is to raise $50,000 for our STEM programming.”

ISEA’s mission is to inspire Great Lakes curiosity, stewardship, and passion and they accomplish this through hands-on activities on their tall ship schooners, in their Education Center and boat shop, and through their wetlands in Suttons Bay. Marc’s background, which includes an undergraduate degree in biology and a Master’s degree in freshwater ecology, ties closely to Inland Seas’ goal of protecting the Great Lakes through education. He also covered water issues in an environmental news series and has received environmental awards. “The Great Lakes are an incredible resource for the world. They can teach us so much about the world we live in as we study their ecosystems,” said Schollett.

ISEA programs introduce students of all ages to the Great Lakes in hopes that they will fall in love with them because “People protect what they love. That’s Jacques Cousteau’s quote, but we believe it too,” Sitkins expressed. Schollette would agree. “Over the past 20 years, I could have moved to bigger TV markets, but my love of the water and nature has kept me in northern Michigan. The water has an emotional draw. Whether I’m on it or near it, I find serenity.”

Since 2008, High Impact Productions’ SwingShift and the Stars have facilitated the raising of over $2.3 million for local charities. This unique fundraising platform helps nonprofits build funds and raise awareness in the community. One-hundred percent of donations made go directly to each charity. This year, 23 charities are participating in the Million Dollar Challenge season which is in celebration of SwingShift and the Stars tenth anniversary.