Festival of Trees


About Us

Festival of Trees, an annual benefit for the Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation, is a special event for the community, coordinated through volunteer efforts and dedicated to funding research into the causes and cures of childhood diseases. These philanthropic funds have been a crucial source of support for innovative pediatric research projects at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan that have advanced the science and practice of pediatric health.

The origins of Festival of Trees began in 1972 with the founding of Tennis & Crumpets, a group of Detroit area tennis enthusiasts in Grosse Point, Birmingham and Downriver.  When the local economy took a downturn in the early 80’s, the T&C Board saw a need to reach out to a more diverse group of people through charitable giving and activities.  In researching where their efforts could have the most impact, they came upon an organization called Festival of Trees in Atlanta that used the Christmas holiday as a backdrop for an annual fundraiser.  Using the good work of this organization as a template, Tennis & Crumpets founded their own Festival of Trees organization and began the first of our annual events in 1985. In 1987, Festival of Trees was incorporated under the leadership of Rosanne Gjostein, Estelle Bletsas, Mary Beth Winkworth, M. Kathleen Neumann, Cinda Roudebush, Diane LeFranc, Beth Kastner and Paul Broughton. The decision was made at that time to donate all profits from the Festival to Children’s Hospital of Michigan, then a non-profit organization dedicated to research into childhood diseases and treatment of the children affected by them. Festival of Trees (Detroit) went on to become one of the largest festivals of our type in the country.      

Over the years, Festival of Trees funded the purchase of equipment and research vital to the work of Children’s Hospital, including children’s activity rooms to reduce stress in patients, and new operating rooms with warming beds to help maintain patient body temperature during surgery.  The organization also funded a Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scanner built specifically for children, one of the first in the United States.  In 1998, Festival of Trees honored Tennis & Crumpets for 25 years of service raising money for the Children’s Hospital.  T&C also started the Evergreen Foundation Trust in 1985, which continues to provide funding for the Children’s Hospital and our annual event.    

From 1972 through 2011, Tennis & Crumpets and Festival of Trees raised over 16 million dollars to support various activities at Children’s Hospital of Michigan.  Children’s Hospital is part of the Detroit Medical Center, which was purchased by Vanguard Health Systems in 2011.  In 2013, Vanguard was purchased by Tenet Healthcare in 2013.  Even though the hospital is now a for-profit institution, Festival of Tree continues to hold our annual event and raise funds for critical research that might otherwise not be pursued due to budget constraints.  Over the years, Festival of Trees has raised over 25 million dollars for equipment and research activities.

Festival of Trees’ annual event was held in many different venues over the years, including Cobo Hall (up to 2002), the Ford Conference and Event Center (2003 – 2004), Suburban Showplace (2005), Compuware (2006 – 2007) and Allen Park City Hall (2008 – 2009) before holding our first event in the beautiful Ford Community & Performing Arts Center in Dearborn in 2010.  Since that time, the City of Dearborn continues to graciously allow us the use of this facility for our event, which also allows our guests to participate in the city’s annual tree lighting ceremony.

Festival of Trees is registered as a tax-exempt organization under IRC Section 501(c)(3) and is classified as a public charity as defined in IRC Sections 509(a)(1) and 170(b)(1)(A)(vi). Festival of Trees has earned a Silver Seal of Transparency from GuideStar for 2023.

For more information contact Theresa Diefenbach at (734) 748-3822 or send an email to info@fot.org

Festival of Trees is a proud member of the Livonia Westland Chamber of Commerce