Why should we support the Michigan Witches Ball

by Mistress Belladonna aka Kenya Coviak

There are a large amount of great times and good fundraisers going on in Pagan Michigan right now. Chief among them are usually the food drives and human interest stories. However, there is a special quality to supporting the ball that speaks to a unique need in our community. The Michigan-Midwest Witches Ball expressly supports the Michigan Pagan Scholarship Fund.

This fund was the natural evolution, and legacy, of the Tempest Smith Foundation’s works, and continues to serve the families of Michigan in noble spirit. Through the tireless efforts of Gordon Ireland, and the Board of Governors of the Michigan Pagan Scholarship Fund, two awards have been given to young scholars as of 2015 CE. In the form of $500 recurring grants for four years, it is a critical resource that must be renewed in order to facilitate tomorrows thinkers, dreamers, builders, artists, and mystics.

The ball has made the honorable stand of donating a dollar per ticket to the fund. This is about $500 per year, and is the most visible supporter in the communities. Not to be discounted, however, is the ongoing support of the Magical Education Council. They have pledged $500 per year. So that covers just a little, but this does not help with administrative costs, reporting, logistics, or even continuing the selection and award process for a third winner.

Support in the forms of donations through drawings at the famous Gatherings of Pagans by the Witches of Michigan continually chip away at the maintenance concerns. Goodhearted and generous folk of many paths come together each month to assist with the mission of keeping it going. Through raffles, and even straight gifting, the group, and it’s partner the Universal Society of Ancient Ministry, keeps grinding away with innovative and inspired efforts. With Rev. Gerrybrete at the helm, we expect great things.

A community based style partnership has also bloomed between Pagan Pride Day Detroit and the fund as well. It’s annual tea cup drawing has been dedicated to the fund. The organizers at Pagan Pride Detroit, Inc. have thrown their full support in getting on board with this cause.

But these groups alone are not enough. The ball, while the event of the Midwest, is not going to sponsor itself. It needs support. It needs the support of the communities and societies that make up Pagan Michigan. It needs the sponsorship of the local businesses, whether brick and mortar or online entities, in order to secure the material resources that it needs to facilitate the fete. If you are so moved to do so, you can find the information by following this link.

It needs people to commit to buying the tickets and attending. It needs people to say that they support its donation goals in the form of advertising, patronage, or even just promotion. Because it is more than just the “Pagan Prom” now, it is the bridge to college and beyond. They need a hero. Is it you?

Full Disclosure: This writer is affiliated with multiple organizations and projects in the Michigan, and other, Pagan communities. This includes the USAM and the ball itself. If you want to know more about this writer’s activities, message her.

See Original Article Here
http://www.examiner.com/article/why-should-we-support-the-michigan-witches-ball

Little Witches’ Ball

Little Witches Ball

October 9, 2015
6 pm – 10 pm
VFW Hall
25500 Sherwood Ave
Warren, MI 48091

This years theme is going to be “Welcome To Hogwarts” from the Harry Potter movies and books to match the grown up Witches Ball theme “Magic and Mayhem”.

This is going to be a blast for our children, we will have soft drinks – Pizza and music. We are requesting donations of candy, flat ware and party decorations and of course money…all donations may be given to Gerrybrete Leonard or Merlyn Firstborn.

Want to Sponsor? Get a link to your site here http://usoam.org/little-witches-ball/little-witches-ball-sponsors/

Admission: Children up to 17 years old $7.50 Adults 18 years and older $10.00

Universal Society of Ancient Ministries Church members go here for pricing http://usoam.org/little-witches-ball-member-pricing/

Children Under 10 must be accompanied by a parent.

Tickets may be purchased at the following link and your PayPal receipt will serve as your ticket. http://usoam.org/little-witches-ball/

We will be collecting food for Pagans In Need http://pagansinneed.org/

We will also be collecting Toys for Yule, so please bring a new unwrapped toy to donate.

Michigan Pagan Scholarship Fund Ramps Up Efforts

Original article posted on the Wild Hunt

http://wildhunt.org/2015/05/michigan-pagan-scholarship-funds-ramps-up-efforts.html

Terence P Ward —  May 19, 2015

DETROIT, Michigan –The Michigan Pagan Scholarship Fund announced its second annual winner last week, naming Rebecca Phoenix as the 2015 recipient.

Rebecca A Phoenix lives in Ferndale, Michigan, and recently graduated from Ferndale High School. Rebecca Phoenix is a die-hard history, mythology and art buff. Put these passions together you get a direct line to studying museum sciences. Rebecca will be attending Oakland Community College in the fall for her associates and then will finish her degree at Wayne State University. In the summers she will be performing with the Legends drum core marching band, competing all over the Midwest.

Phoenix’s essay was selected by the Board of Governors of the Michigan Pagan Scholarship Fund, and for that she will be awarded $500 a year for the next four years. This commitment is a significant step up from its predecessor organization, the Tempest Smith Foundation (TSF), and seeks to widen the trail that was blazed by that non-profit. TSF provided scholarships as part of a mission focused on encouraging religious tolerance. As reported by The Wild Hunt in late 2013 as TSF was winding down operations, teaching tolerance was important to the foundation’s late founder, Denessa Smith:

Before passing away, Denessa’s dream was to award TSF college scholarships. The recipient would be chosen through a contest in which students would submit a 300 word essay on the meaning of ‘tolerance.’ Annette [Crossman, who succeeded Smith in leading the foundation] fulfilled this goal. Since 2010, TSF has given out 6 $500 dollar scholarships to Michigan high school seniors. At ConVocation 2014, TSF will award three more scholarships – its last action before closing down operation.

Gordon Ireland, administrator of the Michigan Pagan Scholarship Fund, told The Wild Hunt how this one aspect of TSF’s work has been carried forward. “I took over doing this because I also run the Midwest Witches Ball . . . and the Ball was always a strong supporter of TSF, in donations and promotion. When they closed down, [I] just hated to see it go away,” he said.

Actually establishing a scholarship according to IRS requirements is by no means an easy feat. However, it was completed timely enough so that there was no gap in offering a scholarship opportunity for Michigan Pagans. Specifically, the eligibility criteria are:

  • Resident of Michigan
  • Self-identify as Pagan for at least one year
  • Minimum age of 16 at time of application
  • Senior in high school, or equivalent education
  • GPA of 2.85
  • Acceptance to an accredited college or university.

Applicants must be able to provide proof of the above requirements, including such things as school transcripts and letter of recommendations by a religious leader or other responsible adult.  They must also write a 500-word essay on how Paganism has changed their life, as well as a 250-word explanation for applying in the first place. That’s one of the differences between the new scholarship and that offered by the Tempest Smith Foundation. TSF’s essay requirements focused on the exhibition of tolerance, reflecting the organization’s mission.

Once the new scholarship is awarded, the recipient can renewed it annually three times for a total of $2,000 as long as they maintain a 2.5 GPA and otherwise comply with requirements set forth by the Board of Governors. That’s another big difference from the TSF program, which awarded a single amount each year.

According to Ireland, this longer-term commitment was made possible through the support of a number of other organizations. The Witches Ball committed to a dollar per ticket, which averages $500 in funding a year, and the Magical Education Council (organizers of ConVocation, where TSF’s founding ritual took place in 2003) has committed to a straight $500 annually. Pagan Pride Detroit organizers promised the proceeds from the raffle held at its annual event, and additional support has been provided by the Universal Society of Ancient Ministry, which provides the non-profit legal framework and local business sponsors. In addition to this ongoing local support, the scholarship is also the focus of two of its own fund-raising events each year.

“Creating a scholarship is about raising funds,” Ireland said. “If you cannot guarantee a certain yearly income do not bother, as all you end up doing is disappointing some kid.” With two scholarships to award, the organization will be doling out a thousand dollars this year, ramping up to the $2,000 annually to be divided among four recipients when it reaches its peak. Together with operational costs and publicity, the Michigan Pagan Scholarship Fund expects to need $2,500 a year. Ireland recommends that anyone wishing to copy this model take heed of the work-load, adding that having “a business networking model of raising money” is helpful. He also said “it takes a village to raise a child, or at least put one through college.”

Michigan Pagan Scholarship is Pleased to Announce it’s 2015 Scholarship Winner

First we like to recognize that and thank the Tempest Smith Foundation for starting the scholarship program and for allowing us continue with it.

We would like to thank the following organizations for stepping up to insure that the Pagan Scholarship Fund continues:

Universal Society of Ancient Ministry
Magical Educational Council
Witches Of Michigan
Pagan Pride Detroit
Back 9 GraFX
Midwest Witches Ball

The Michigan Pagan Scholarship purpose is to recognize and encourage young Pagans. Only one scholarships is awarded each year, Winners must demonstrate evidence of leadership, and engage in community service.

We are pleased to inform you that Rebecca Phoenix has been selected by the 2015 Michigan Pagan Scholarship as this years winner.

Rebecca A Phoenix lives in Ferndale, Michigan, and recently graduated from Ferndale High School. Rebecca Phoenix is a die-hard history, mythology and art buff. Put these passions together you get a direct line to studying museum sciences. Rebecca will be attending Oakland Community College in the fall for her associates and then will finish her degree at Wayne State University. In the summers she will be performing with the Legends drum core marching band, competing all over the Midwest

Read her winning Essay’s @ http://pagancollegescholarship.org/recipients/winner-2015/
What it means to be a Pagan

Universal Society of Ancient Ministry New Online Store

Universal Society of Ancient Ministry New Online Store
http://usoam.org/shop/
100% of the profits from these goods directly fund the Churches Building Fund, Pagans In Need, The College Fund and other projects that help us grow as a Church and community.
Non Church Members can use this code for 10% off discount usam10
Church Members log on to the site and look under http://usoam.org/protected-2/store-discounts/ for your 20% off discount code

A call to help the Michigan Pagan Scholarship continue its mission

By Kenya Davis aka Mistress Belladonna

http://www.examiner.com/article/a-call-to-help-the-michigan-pagan-scholarship-continue-its-mission

The Michigan Pagan Scholarship fund is once again accepting applications from hopeful high school students who identify as Pagan. Last year at the Pagan Picnic, they gave away their first $500 Scholarship to Miranda Owens. Their goal is to give away $2,000 a year. And unlike many other kinds of scholarships, Miranda can actually apply to renew her scholarship if she maintains a 2.4 GPA and is continuing her education. The organization is now gearing up for 2015.

UNIVERSAL SOCIETY OF ANCIENT MINISTRY

Your friendly neighborhood Detroit Paganism Examiner had the unique honor to get some history from the driving force championing its existence, Gordon Ireland. Those in the Michigan Pagan Community know this name very well. So, take a spell and to sit and read the story of the scholarship straight from the person who knows it best.

So without further introduction, here is the history.

A little history behind the Michigan Pagan Scholarship Fund. After the Announcement that Tempest Smith Foundation was closing it’s doors. Paula and Myself (who have been donating to their college fund for years) decided that it needed to continue. We knew we needed help to make it work, as the Witches’ ball only has so much money available to donate. The first thing we did was contact an established Church, requested some information (IE to make this work legally needed and incorporated organization and 501(c)3) They passed on providing the information.

The next biggest established organization was Witches of Michigan, so we contacted Merlyn and as his daughter, Gerry Leonard who is also a committee member of the Witches’ Ball, made thing a little easier. WOM (Witches of Michigan) is not legal established Church. However that has always been the goal. Paula and I decided to assist Gerry Leonard in establishing her church Universal Society of Ancient Ministry and in the process giving the Michigan Pagan Scholarship fund a home and someone to be the face of the college fund.

The next step was insuring a steady income for the scholarship fund. The Witches ball promised a minimum of 500 a year. Plus the Witches Ball also holds a 50/50 raffle during the Ball to raise money for the College fund second prize is the Balls altar. (Which this year is being donating by The Great Lakes Witches Council) The Magical Education Council (the find people who host Convocation, Beyond the Veil and the Pagan Picnic) also promised 500 a year. Pagan Pride Detroit also promised all proceeds from their annual raffle.

We also have local stores that have donation boxes for the College fund. Mystic Moon, CandleWick Shop, Crystal Pathways, Mama Tracy’s and Gemini Moon. Last year at the Pagan Picnic, we gave away our first $500 Scholarship to Miranda Owens.

Our Goal is to give away $2,000 a year. As last year’s winner can apply to renew their scholarship if they maintain a 2.5 GPA and are continuing their education. We are now accepting applications for 2015. Michigan Pagan Scholarship Fund is offering a $500.00 Pagan College Scholarship for a rising high school senior, undergraduate, or graduate. All applicants must

  • live in Michigan
  • be 17 years of age or older
  • have a current GPA of 2.50 or higher
  • be Pagan, and currently accepted in a full time course of study in any accredited four-year college or university.

Applicants must provide their most recent school transcript to establish state of residency, and GPA requirements. In addition they must also state the reason for applying for this scholarship in 250 words or less and submit a 500 word essay about what being a Pagan means to them.

This is a big deal, readers. This can mean the difference in a young person’s life that will allow them to pay for books, classes, and other things to enable them to pursue their dreams. And you do not have to be in Michigan to help. All those readers who this touches, in all areas, can donate to this fund at http://pagancollegescholarship.org/. It is tax deductible, and the right thing to do.

Help someone explore their destiny. That destiny could be a part of your own. A ripple of kindness goes on forever.

For those who would like to keep up to date on some of the best that Michigan Paganism has to offer insofar as insights and information, you might want to check out  http://pagancollegescholarship.org/

 

A Little History behind the Michigan Pagan Scholarship Fund

After the Announcement that Tempest Smith Foundation was closing it’s doors. Paula and Myself (who have been donating to their college fund for years) decided that it needed to continue.
We knew we needed help to make it work, as the Witches’ ball only has so much money available to donate.

The first thing we did was contact and established Church, requested some information (IE to make this work legally needed and incorporated organization and 501(c)3) They passed on providing the information.

The next biggest established organization was Witches of Michigan, so we contacted Merlyn and as his daughter, Gerry Leonard who is  also a committee member of the Witches’ Ball, made thing a little easier.  WOM (Witches of Michigan) is not legal established Church.

However that has always been the goal. Paula and I decided to assist Gerry Leonard in establishing her church Universal Society of Ancient Ministry and in the process giving the Michigan Pagan Scholarship Fund a home and someone to be the face of the college fund.

The next step was insuring a steady income for the scholarship fund. The Witches ball promised a minimum of 500 a year. Plus the Witches Ball also holds a 50/50 raffle during the Ball to raise money for the College fund second prize is the Balls altar. (Which this year is being donating by The Great Lakes Witches Council) The Magical Education Council (the find people who host Convocation, Beyond the Veil and the Pagan Picnic) also promised 500 a year. Pagan Pride Detroit also promised all proceed from their annual raffle.

We also have local stores that have donation boxes for the College fund. Mystic Moon, candle Wick Shop, Crystal Pathways, Mamma Tracy’s and Gemini Moon.

Last year at the Pagan Picnic, we gave away our first $500 Scholarship to Miranda Owens.

Our Goal is to give away $2,000 a year. As last year’s winner can apply to renew their scholarship if they maintain a 2.4 GPA and are continuing their education.

We are now accepting applications for 2015.

Michigan Pagan Scholarship Fund is offering a $500.00 Pagan College Scholarship for a rising high school senior, undergraduate, or graduate. All applicants must live in Michigan. Applicants must be 17 years of age or older, have a current GPA of 2.85 or higher, be Pagan, and currently accepted in a full time course of study in any accredited four-year college or university. Applicants must provide their most recent school transcript to establish state of residency, and GPA requirements. In addition they must also state the reason for applying for this scholarship in 250 words or less and submit a 500 word essay about what being a Pagan means to them.