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East Grand Rapids Public Schools

Tradition of Excellence

Hearts of Gold

Hearts of Gold Logo
The 2023 Hearts of Gold partner organization is i understand. Please see below for more information about i understand and sponsorship opportunities.
The Hearts of Gold football game will be October 6, 2023.
i understand logo
Hearts of Gold

Hearts of Gold

About Us

Hearts of Gold is a community fundraiser in East Grand Rapids where students, parents, educators, administrators and community members come together to raise funds and generate awareness for a local nonprofit organization.
Ellen Cherveny Kerry Hegele
Committee Members:  
Mary Beth Brown Alissandra Kruer
Sarah Calnan Katie Millman
Courtney Cinglie Whitney Rener
Ketti Collins Katie Stein
Karrie Gumina Teri Tesseris
Beth Hoekstra Julie Vangessel
Lauren Jacoby Julie Wiseman
Student Leaders:  
Lily Adloff Addi Sorota
MC Millman Luke VanGessel
Ben Ruppert Lexi Wiseman
Kate Simon  


Hearts of Gold began in 2009 when the football team decided to play a game benefiting Helen DeVos Children's Hospital after losing a fellow student to childhood cancer. 

Hearts of Gold has become  a well-established tradition within the EGR community, underscoring the importance of philanthropy and making a contribution towards the welfare of others. The program has brought attention to the capacity of every individual, regardless of age, to make a positive difference.  Hearts of Gold has raised more than $1 million supporting local nonprofit organizations.  
Hearts of Gold Past Partners  
2022 Children’s Healing Center 2021 Family Promise
2019 Epilepsy Foundation 2018 Children’s Advocacy Center
2017 Kids Food Basket 2016 Arbor Circle
2015 Ele’s Place 2014  Billy Bear Foundation
2013 Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan 2012 Gold is the New Pink HDVCH
2009-2011 HDVCH  
Past Partners


2023 Sponsors

Current Partner

i understand logo
The 2023 Hearts of Gold partner organization is i understand.
Please visit the i understand website to learn more.
i understand is a nonprofit organization that offers compassionate comfort for those affected by suicide or mental/brain health illness and pain and believes in a future where the stigma associated with suicide and mental/brain illness is erased.
After the loss of her husband, Rob, in 2003, Vonnie Woodrick’s life was forever changed. Feeling as if no one understood suicide, the effects mental illness can have, and the judgment attached, Vonnie set out to change attitudes and the conversation. These efforts led to the formation of i understand in 2014 with three simple goals: create a community of support, love, hope and understanding, create awareness about suicide and mental/brain health issues and help others feel less alone. 

Partner Application

The current application cycle has ended and the next application cycle will open in early February 2024 and close on March 1, 2024.

The application asks for the following information:

  • Name and address of the organization 
  • Contact information for the Executive Director and anyone else that will be involved 
  • Website and social channels actively used 
  • Must be 501(c)(3) 
  • Must have a Grand Rapids presence 
  • What is the organization’s Mission Statement? 
  • What is the annual operating budget? 
  • Does the organization have staff or volunteers to support Hearts of Gold?
  • Is there a personal connection to East Grand Rapids?
  • Why does this organization want to partner with EGR Hearts of Gold?  
  • Is there a specific program or project the funds raised would go towards?