Board & Officers

Who We Are

Kimberly Britt

Vice President


  • David C. McKnight, owner and founder of Emerald City Designs, THE SPECIAL EVENT GROUP, has operated his business since 1993, and has built his reputation on “exceeding expectations” and creating events with “personality and style. From wedding receptions and mitzvahs to corporate parties and charity fundraisers, David C. McKnight provides high-end floral designs, accessory rentals, unique stationery concepts and full planning and event coordination.

    McKnight has grown his business with the commitment of “bringing visions to life,” and combines his cutting-edge originality and attention to detail with innovative and creative floral designs. The end results are often referred to as over the top and totally unique. From a one-person operation (1993) to a vibrant, highly regarded event firm with staffing dozens of employees seasonally, Emerald City Designs sets the standard for professionalism within the special event industry.

    In 2009, David re-connected with schoolmate from Lake Orion, Shelly Lang Burton. At that time, Shelly and David became very close as he learned of Shelly’s daughter, Nicole Marie Burton. She was diagnosed with Leukemia on September 11, 2008. Through her life altering experience, Nicole finished treatment on March 23, 2011, and then relapsed on May 17, 2011. At that time, through many hospital and doctor visits, Nicole received a bone marrow transplant on January 16, 2012. With a perfect matched donor, Nicole was in and out of the hospital in 30 days – she was expected to stay at least 100 days or more. Nicole had 18.5 great months until rejection to the bone marrow set in, she then started treatment in September of 2013. During this difficult time, the idea of KIDSgala arose from Shelly and David’s communication and the first idea started to become a reality. On October 23, 2013, Nicole relapsed again, making it even more important for her to receive the first KIDSgala gifted party to a child. With now the rejection in full force as well as her leukemia returning, she didn’t qualify for any trials. When Nicole’s parents Shelly and Jim told her that the cancer was back, she stated “I want to go home mumma”. In full force, David worked with many colleagues on obtaining a date, venue, vendors, etc. and on October 31st, 2013, Nicole was discharged for the last time. It was with great sorrow, that on November 8th, 2013, she peacefully passed away at home with her parents, uncle, grandmother and David. Unfortunately, the KIDSgala gifted celebration that was being planned turned into a memorial luncheon for Nicole Marie Burton. In memory of Nicole, KIDSgala – A David C. McKnight Foundation was created in her honor. The foundation would not be possible without the endless hours of the volunteering Board Members, Officers and Volunteers.

    Since late 2013, David C. McKnight, President and the Board of Directors have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars with fundraising events, and in 2014 KIDSgala started gifting private parties, that celebrate each child.  And with the help of generous sponsors, donations, and volunteers of KIDSgala, a David C. McKnight Foundation continues to grow…

  • Kimberly’s most fulfilling career has been that of wife and mother. Her 25 years of marriage has brought her three wonderful children and kept her very busy supporting a variety of school activities and several travel sports. With two children in college and the youngest heading into her senior year of high school, Kimberly is looking forward to enjoying the last year and embracing what the next phase of life will bring!

    Kimberly is a proud graduate of Michigan State University along with her husband and oldest son. It was there she pursued her lifelong dream of entering the medical field. The Nursing program offered her the opportunity to a rewarding and enduring career path. Kimberly graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and then joined the staff at Detroit Medical Center in the Medical Intensive Care Unit at Harper Hospital. Taking care of high acuity, critically ill patients sparked her desire to advance her education. A year later she accepted full-time enrollment to the Nurse Anesthesia program at Wayne State University and two years later received a Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia. Continuing her employment with the Detroit Medical Center, Kimberly provided care in the surgical suites at Hutzel Women’s Hospital. While providing anesthetic services her passion for maternal anesthesia flourished which led her to accept a position lecturing the Obstetrical Anesthesia didactic curriculum in the Wayne State University Nurse Anesthesia master’s program. She enjoyed lecturing for the next 14 years while working with individual students in the anesthetic clinical setting. The passion Kimberly has for providing care for women led her to open a new business, Beauty by Britt. She partnered with her husband, Dr. Britt to provide aesthetic services. Beauty by Britt offers neurotoxin and wrinkle injections, medium depth chemical peels, and medical grade skin care products to help their patients preserve a youthful appearance and promote inner vitality.

    In 2013, Kimberly’s longtime friendship with David C. McKnight and Shelly Burton brought her to KIDSgala. Shelly and Jim’s love and dedication to their daughter Nicole and the struggles they endured proved an inspiration to her. Coalescing her years in medicine and the compassion one feels from working with children battling diseases or congenital medical problems compelled Kimberly to get involved with KIDSgala. Her experiences have taught her children the need to feel the joy of simple things such as birthday parties with friends, attending sporting events, and reveling in school functions. Seeing the happiness these celebrations bring to the children and their families is why Kimberly is very proud to be Vice President of this dedicated organization.

  • Erinn O’Connor is currently The President and owner of The O’Connor Group, an executive search firm that specializes in placing top talent with great companies mainly in the Metro Detroit Area.

    The O’Connor Group celebrated its 22nd year this year and is headquartered in Lake Orion, Michigan. Erinn has been actively recruiting in the staffing business for over 30 years. She has three children ages 32, 22, and 12.  Erinn joined the KIDSgala family in 2016 with a passion for giving back.  Providing parties for kids who are dealing with life-changing events fulfills that passion.  Erinn is actively involved in her community and when she is not working she is enjoying her life living on the lake!

  • Sandy Hughes O’Brien serves as legal counsel to the President and Chairman of the KIDSgala Board of Directors. In this capacity, she advises on corporate governance, nonprofit law, tax matters and best practices for nonprofits. Sandy is also a devoted public servant, elected to serve an eight-year term on Wayne State University’s Board of Governors in 2012. She is the first person of Latino heritage to be elected statewide to the Wayne State University Board of Governors. Sandy currently serves as the Deputy County Clerk and Register of Deeds for Oakland County. She is an active member of the Michigan Bar Association and several professional organizations and speaks frequently on the topic of women and minorities in law careers. Sandy is a frequent speaker and panelist at conferences related to education, empowerment, and inclusion. She serves on numerous community boards and committees. She is a graduate of the Detroit College of Law at Michigan State University (J.D., cum laude, 1998) and received her undergraduate degree from Grand Valley State University. Sandy grew up in West Michigan and now resides in Northville with her husband, Barrie, their three children, Faelan, Fiona, and Rory; and their dog, Lola.

  • Dorothy Kinnunen is a self-employed Certified Public Accountant (CPA). She graduated with a BSA from the University of Michigan – Dearborn with a double major in accounting and finance in 1994. Dorothy has spent most of her career in industry as a controller, the most recent being a $160 million company nationwide. She left the industry 10 years ago, to start her own company providing accounting services to small businesses and individual tax preparation to a limited number of clients. Dorothy was treasurer of her own non-profit for over five years, raising over $100,000 for breast cancer and providing funds to organizations that assisted with out-of-pocket costs for those men and women suffering from breast cancer. Dorothy is married to Craig, who has been an engineer at Detroit Diesel for the past 27 years. They have three kids and one granddaughter.  Dorothy was introduced to KIDSgala by David McKnight when he requested her assistance with the accounting. She volunteers her time as the treasurer and enjoys being part of an organization providing smiles and joy to children in need.

  • Jeffery is a retired Westland Police Sergeant and former SWAT Team Member. During his 27 year Career, Jeffery has been very active in the community. As a child, Jeffery was a recipient of Christmas Gifts from the Goodfellows, which was an introduction to charitable efforts. During his Storied Police Career, Kavanaugh was able to give back and assist many local Charities as well as Chair numerous events, within the community.

    Jeffery was a Police Explorer Advisor and has coached youth sports for over 25 years, receiving his USSAF National Coaching License in Soccer and is currently the Head Varsity Golf Coach for the Walled Lake Western Boys and Girls Golf Teams. Jeffery is also a Coach at the Golf Leadership Academy in Novi.

    In 2008, Kavanaugh along with 3 partners opened Remerica Integrity II, Realty, eventually being named Business Person of the Year. Since then, He has built a team and created the Jeffery Group, which specializes in Real Estate and Insurance. I founded Krazy Kopz Rentals, LLC, in 2008, which is a fundraising company for 501c(3) organizations.

    Jeffery Currently resides in Novi with his wife of 19 years and 2 teenage daughters, 18 (Golfer) and 15 (Competitive Cheerleader)

    Through his friendship with David C McKnight and his years of charitable fundraising, KIDSgala seemed to be a perfect fit.


Nicole Marie Burton

A foundation created in the memory of Nicole Marie Burton, to provide a gifted celebration to children who have or are battling a life altering event. KIDSgala is dedicated to hosting events that will individually celebrate each child’s life achievements…