Brian Griese, Steve Hutchinson, Charles Woodson charity weekend raises nearly $2 million
Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com
When Steve Hutchinson left Ann Arbor a year ago after the fourth Brian Griese, Steve Hutchinson, Charles Woodson Champions for Children's Hearts weekend, he wasn’t sure how much bigger it could get.
The three-day charity event raised over $1 million a year ago — a long way from their first event to raise money for a new Mott Children’s Hospital.
This year, they doubled their total from a year ago. With money still being counted, the event raised at least $1.9 million.
Event organizers were hoping to have a final number late Sunday or early Monday.
“We always leave here saying there’s no way we can top it, and then everybody comes through and sponsors and donors did a phenomenal job,” Hutchinson said. “Any time you have an event for VIPs on Friday night and the Governor (Rick Snyder) comes and speaks, you know you’re getting pretty big, man.”
Hutchinson and Charles Woodson said they are going to try and make the bigger next year.
With the $75 million for the new hospital almost fully raised, Hutchinson said they will shift where the donated money goes. But the tournament will go on — and potentially expand.
Former Michigan basketball player and current Wolverines’ director of basketball operations Travis Conlan was a fixture at the event’s festivities this year and Jalen Rose showed up this year for Saturday's dinner.
Hutchinson said he’s also spoken to Juwan Howard about getting involved. And he’s holding out hope the biggest Michigan name from the past three decades, Tom Brady, might eventually make an appearance.
“You get guys, the Fab Five back, you keep getting people like that back, maybe one of these times we’ll get Brady, Tom Brady back, if his schedule works,” said Hutchinson, a former Michigan offensive lineman from 1998-2001 who now plays for the Minnesota Vikings. “Just a huge draw if people know they are coming and are beating on the door to come down.
“As long as that happens, you’re selling yourself short if you don’t grow with it.”
Woodson agreed, although he wasn’t sure exactly how that would happen yet. Approximately 100 players returned throughout the weekend, the gala Saturday night had an estimated 800 people and Friday’s Mott Takeover on WTKA-AM (1050) for Woodson’s Clinical Research Fund raised over $100,000.
The $1.9 million estimate also doesn’t include the $3 million donated by Al Glick and his foundation to name the seventh floor of the new hospital after former Michigan coach Lloyd Carr.
“It’s as good as it’s been,” Woodson said. “But I think we can get bigger. We’ll try to think of ways to make that happen next year, but this year was absolutely incredible.”
About the only disappointment from the weekend came Sunday morning. The golf tournament scheduled was canceled due to rain before the players could get on the course.