TRAVERSE CITY — Habitat for Humanity was about $10,000 short of its $100,000 goal last week going into the final night of the SwingShift and the Stars Dance-Off for Charity.
Then, the Habitat dance team — “star” Dan Brady and instructor Maria West — performed their crowd-rousing rumba to the tune of “Whatever Lola Wants” in the Dec. 20 finale at the City Opera House.
Next, along came an anonymous Santa.
By night’s end, Brady and West took first place in the dance competition, and Habitat fundraisers topped their goal – bringing in $103,000 for a new affordable housing project it plans to start in 2014. That’s the most money ever raised in the competition. The next highest amount was $79,100 raised last year by Food Rescue of Northwest Michigan.
Wendy Irvin, executive director of Habitat for Humanity Grand Traverse Region, said the team had earned about $83,000 by late November and still had “a significant amount” to raise going into the final night.
“When they announced that we had exceeded our goal there were lots of tears of joy, including my own,” she said. “It’s a Christmas miracle.”
And the donor who pushed the total over the top remains unnamed.
Overall, the six Swingshift charity dance teams earned a total $284,000 during the 2013 competition season, which started in September and ended last week. The annual event, now in its sixth season, has raised $971,000.
The Father Fred Foundation and its dancers, star Rick Summers and instructor Jennifer Howard, came in second, earning $69,306, followed by:
n No Unwanted Pets (star Jen Klabunde and instructor Danny Brizard), $49,437
n Grand Traverse Dyslexia Association (star Tammy Ensman and instructor Rodney Woodring), $24,240
n Great Lakes Children Museum (star Lars Kelto and instructor Lauren Harris), $21,704
n Peace Ranch (star Juliette Schultz and instructor Clif Shanoski), $13,488
All the listed totals are unofficial until verified by Traverse City State Bank.