700+ gather for 19th annual Judd Sondreal Memorial Rise & Shine for Peace Breakfast

For 19 years, CVIC has hosted an annual breakfast fundraiser geared towards area businesses and professionals, as well as existing donors and their guests to raise money for the support and services our organization provides in Grand Forks County.

This year, more than 700 attendees gathered at Alerus Center on May 1 for the 2024 Judd Sondreal Memorial Rise & Shine for Peace Breakfast where they heard from CVIC leaders about ways in which the power of one community equals the power to end violence.

Just 24 hours later, our business community collectively raised $410,000.

Grand Forks Herald reporter Sav Kelly covered the event, which made front-page news in the paper and online. (Zoom in on the newspaper images below to read the full story.)

The Power of ONE

During the breakfast, Ralph Engelstad General Manager and CVIC board chair Jody Hodgson introduced this year’s theme, The Power of One, and how it represents an appeal to everyone in support of CVIC’s three core pillars: safety, healing and education and prevention.

Hodgson welcomed to the stage Pastor Aaron Bye of Calvary Lutheran Church who recited an invocation that encouraged people to keep their hearts open.

“Each of us has it in us to spark change … (and with) empathy, determination and acts of kindness, we can illuminate a path free of violence,” Bye said.

CVIC President and CEO Coiya Tompkins Inman addressed the audience several times during the hourlong event, including to introduce this year’s guest speakers, CVIC client Sherah Adkins, as well as keynote speaker, domestic violence-turned-activist Amorelle Upton.

Hiles earns 2024 Jim Vigness Peacemaker Award

Maintenance professional and owner of C&B Home Improvement Chuck Hiles earned this year’s Jim Vigness Peacemaker award for his “above-and-beyond” care and attention to CVIC’s facilities, especially the shelter. Read all about Chuck’s award here. Hodgson presented the award to Hiles during the breakfast.

Sherah’s story

In a deeply moving video symbolizing the strength and resilience of so many sexual assault survivors, CVIC client Sherah shared her story of being sexually abused by a family friend and caregiver. CVIC therapist Stephanie Kristjanson also explains EMDR, a type of therapy Sherah said helped her make major breakthroughs.

Amorelle’s story

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The event’s keynote, former Teen Miss North Dakota and domestic violence survivor Amorelle Upton, also shared her story—one that blindsided herself, her family and her friends.

“I didn’t think it could happen to someone like me,” Amorelle said.

Controlled and manipulated by her high school boyfriend, Amorelle described her relationship in detail—how things got so bad that she surrendered her phone, her clothes and her life to please the boyfriend. Amorelle also relayed to the crowd that it’s important for people to speak up if they see someone they love suffering at the hands of another person.

In Amorelle’s case, a good friend addressed the abusive behavior and ultimately called the boyfriend and told him he couldn’t see Amorelle anymore. Things were over.

“I will forever be thankful for my friend for speaking up for me,” she said. “I was unrecognizable, even to myself, brainwashed without even realizing it.”

A Fargo resident at the time the abuse occurred, Amorelle sought help from the Rape and Abuse Crisis Center. When she moved to UND for college, she became involved with CVIC, as well as on campus and elsewhere in hopes that her story will empower others.

While the event wrapped up at precisely 8:30 a.m. (event organizers promised attendees they’d be to work on time), the energy lasted all day and continues to permeate the minds of CVIC staff and supporters.

“The breakfast is a huge opportunity for us at CVIC to raise awareness of what we do and also raise critical funding so we can do the work of ending violence in two generations,” Tompkins Inman said. “This year was spectacular and so many people showed up in spades, giving of their time, talent and money, too. We couldn’t be more grateful.”

Special thanks to our sponsors

Because of our event sponsors Lisa Sondreal, Altru Health System, and Dakota Medical Foundation we were able to spend our morning together and get a headstart toward our fundraising goal.

Another big thank you to our event production supporters Brady Martz & Associates, Mobile Pro, and the Alerus Center.