How We Choose Charities to Work With

Minsk-Belarus, October 5, 2014: Professional dance couple of AleWe are proud of our partnerships with meaningful and worthy organizations, and the way we use dance to raise money and awareness for great causes. Often, I’m asked how we select the charities we work with.

Mostly, it’s driven by personal connection or a group that can truly help our local community. We get calls all the time from great organizations wanting our help. We wish we could partner with all of them, but of course we can’t.

Here’s how we’ve chosen the three charities we work with presently.

The Pink Fund

My mother died of cancer. Lada’s mother is a breast cancer survivor. This is a cause that touches very close to our hearts.

Every fall we partner for Dancing with the Survivors, which benefits The Pink Fund, helping people going through breast cancer. We know that such a great organization would have been a benefit for both of our mothers in their time of need, and we are honored to contribute to this cause.

Jack’s Place for Autism

We’ve participated in three Dancing with the All Stars dance fundraisers featuring major league athletes dancing to raise money and awareness for Jack’s Place for Autism. I’ve been a Detroit Tigers fan all my life and in college I worked with individuals with autism and other disabilities, so this partnership is a natural fit.

Now, beyond just the three fundraisers, we continue to partner with Jack’s Place in a weekly dance class for adolescents and adults with autism. Jack’s Place was founded by Lisa and Jim Price, whose 20-year-old son Jackson is autistic. Jim was a Detroit Tigers catcher and is now an announcer. Their goal is to offer opportunities for autistic adults to gain independence and confidence, and through dance they learn social skills that may not be intuitive.

Dance Mobility

We believe everyone can learn to dance, that there are no limits on who we might work with. That’s why the Dance Mobility program, for individuals in wheelchairs to learn to dance, is so exciting.

Funded by the Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan, this program was inspired by Cheryl Angelelli, who broke her neck in a swimming accident at 14 and all these years later insists that she missed dancing more than she missed walking. Cheryl has performed in a competition and is the best promoter of this program around.

Like Cheryl, we don’t see limitation. We believe anyone can do anything, if they put their mind and their heart to it. When it comes to dance, there should be no obstacles. And perhaps that is the most influential reason we partner with organizations. Dance can open up the world. Dance can heal. Dance can truly bring us all together.