Fordney Club of Saginaw
The Fordney Club of Saginaw County is one of the oldest and most historic civic organizations in county history. The organization takes its name from the Honorable Joseph W. Fordney (1893-1932), who served in the House of Representatives for 12 consecutive terms. The Fordney Club was founded in 1923 by 70 prominent businessmen, and Fordney was named the club’s first honorary member. The mission of the Fordney Club is to support education, youth athletics, and the general community welfare by action, word, and deed. The organization was involved with Arthur Hill High School’s Memorial Stadium from its inception in 1949, assisting with funding for its construction. The Fordney Club announced it would use Memorial Stadium as the site for an annual football game – the Red Feather Game – to raise funds for Saginaw County’s United Fund Community Chest (known today as the United Way). The initial effort began an 18-year series which raised almost $100,000 for Saginaw charities. The inaugural Red Feather game took place on September 20, 1952, pitting Central Michigan College against St. Ambrose College (Iowa). The Chippewas won the inaugural contest 38-14 as former Arthur Hill standout Vern Hawes ran for a 90-yard touchdown. Central Michigan would go on to appear in 14 additional Red Feather games. The Fordney Club announced in the early 1970s that it would contribute its Red Feather game net revenues to area charities and athletic organizations. The game was renamed the Fordney Charities Classic in 1971, hosting Alma College and Ferris State College for two years. Following the ‘72 game, the club fulfilled its mission and concluded the annual event. In 1997, the Red Feather Classic was revived by the Fordney Club as a charity fundraiser as a tradition was established to raise funds specifically for youth athletic programming in Saginaw County. Saginaw Valley State University beat Michigan Tech 45-28 in that revival of the Red Feather Classic game. In 2000, the Fordney Club elected to involve high school teams for the first time in the Red Feather history. Arthur Hill High School hosted Midland High School in the inaugural high school game. High school teams would continue to appear in the Red Feather Classic at Arthur Hill’s Memorial Stadium through 2010. In 2011, the Red Feather Charities Classic returned to the collegiate arena once again with SVSU becoming the annual host-team of the Red Feather game. The home opener each year at Wickes Memorial Stadium will present the Fordney Club’s Red Feather Charities Classic contest.