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…