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Letter From FBF President Rich Knodel

The Family Letter 

It is 2024, and this letter is intended to let everyone know how effective the Family Benevolent Fund was in 2023. We had an amazing journey throughout the year. In April, Waterfall Jewelers (White Lake & Waterford) sponsored us with their “Watch Battery Replacement Drive.” It was a great success and helped promote our 2023 Annual Comedy / Dinner Fundraiser in May. 

The Comedy / Dinner Fundraiser (Sponsor “The Dr. Fugile Foundation”) was a fun time where we shared, with friends and families, our stories and successes. We had two individuals give a $5,000.00 challenge each. The challenge was to raise $5,000 from those in attendance on top of raffles and door prizes. The crowd responded and crushed the $5,000 challenge in twelve minutes and in turn we raised well over $15,000.00. I was completely blown away by everyone’s energy, generosity, and support for our cause.

Also in May, we committed to Oxford Highschool five - $500 scholarships for their awards ceremony.  Oxford H.S. seniors who wanted to be eligible had to fill out an essay to be considered. The maturity, heartfelt selflessness, and desire to make a difference now and in the future was touching to our group. Originally, we planned on giving five scholarships, but we were so touched that we took care of all fifteen applicants at $500 each.

A new problem, if you can call it that, was we had several organizations reach out and say to us, “We are doing a fundraiser, we believe in what you are doing, and we would like all the proceeds go to the Family Benevolent Fund.” I would ask, “What do we need to do?” and the answer was, “Just show up and tell our group about all that the FBF does.” So, we did! We attended G’s Pizza in Oxford for their comedy night, The Eagles in Rochester for their “Widows Night / Hunting Season Opening Eve”, and Great Oaks C.C. President’s Night. All these groups were very kind and generous to our organization and did it with a grateful attitude and class.

Every time we get an application, it is us entering a person’s life who has come upon difficulties with nowhere to turn. We respond quickly and efficiently as best we can. I am happy to say that our team responds to the application within 24-48hrs and contacts the requesting party. Then we work alongside them to assist and encourage them. This past year we have helped with mortgage payments, medical expenses, utilities, car payments, funerals, partial payment for a PTSD therapy dog for a LEO, and rehab from drugs and alcohol for first responders. These opportunities to help the community in a way that, us as First Responders, can’t do in our daily routines is a blessing. Because we can come along side someone privately and confidentially, without embarrassment and truly change the outcome of someone’s life. That is humbling and a blessing.

This past Christmas 2023, we sponsored twelve families within Oakland County. The ten families were chosen using the Oakland Co. Sheriff School Resource Officers, one family was from HAVEN of Oakland Co., and one family was from CARE House of Oakland Co. We were supplied with wish and need lists from each family. Our team purchased, through 100% donations, toys, cleaning supplies, clothing, dinner for the families (at local restaurants where they live), and gas cards. In total, $12,000.00 was used to give these severely struggling families a Christmas of less stress and peace. 

2024 is already ramped up with applications coming in weekly, planning fundraisers, and meeting new partners of the Family Benevolent Fund. We are so grateful to those who give and trust us to be good stewards of their hard-earned money and we do not take it for granted. I am pleased to report that we have continued the 1.58% operating cost. We are a group that is completely voluntary. We collect no money for gas, phones, or our time. 

We are looking forward to seeing how we can bless those who are in need once again. We are also excited to announce that this year we will be hosting our Comedy / Fundraiser (Sponsored, “In Memory of Dr. Fugile”) at Pine Knob’s ‘The Carriage House’ on April 11, 2024. The dinner is going to be phenomenal, the comics will be top notch, and time with those who support us will be precious. Let’s make a difference in the lives of First Responders in the State of Michigan and the Residents of Oakland County.

From all of us on the board at The Family Benevolent Fun, We Thank YOU!

Rich Knodel III
President of the Family Benevolent Fund


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