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  • Sally Gerak

Week of 11.6.17

Belle Isle Conservancy Polish the Jewel Luncheon

There have been changes since the first conservancy benefit luncheon in 2005, but it still attracts nearly 400 ($150, $300, $500, $1,000-tickets) people to the island jewel. The Detroit Grand Prix schedule moved the event to the fall from an al fresco June event. The original Belle Isle Women’s committee melded with longer standing support groups into the Belle Isle Conservancy and the state DNR is a welcome operating partner. This year’s chair Mona Simoncini moved it inside to the Detroit Yacht Club and added some nice touches. Guests were greeted with a glass of sparkling wine and an exhibition of Michigan designer fashions which led them to the silent auction display. The social hour seemed especially animated, at least for the harem accompanying Dr. David Di Chiera. They all wanted to be photographed with the opera legend. Each place setting at the tables was accented with a jewel-shaped chocolate in a velvet box and a jeweler’s polishing cloth. Nice touch. Likewise for the take home bag of goodies. Fortunately, the printed program contained all the important island updates because the ballroom acoustics were challenging. However, the informal modeling of eight of Leslie Pilling’s BLANK iTTi BLANK Collection and eight of Bridget Sullivan's eco-friendly romantic silhouettes required no commentary. And thanks to generous sponsors (see photo gallery) the 13th annual event raised more than $230,000 for the creation of the new splash park that was unveiled at the luncheon. The estimated cost to revitalize the beach area is almost $4-million. The project will be implemented in phases as funds are raised. But there is no doubt they will be raised. The first 12 luncheons raised more than $3 million.

Wine & Dine in the D for Multiple Myeloma Research

Some 400 people ($175, $275-patron) crowded into the Westin Book Cadillac ballroom at the food and wine event Sid Moss designed seven years ago to put the spotlight on research dear to him. (Like some others in the crowd, he lives with Multiple Myeloma, a cancer that affects the white blood cells.) But this night his other passions – fine food, wine and jazz – ruled as 25 food and 18 beverage purveyors (see photo gallery) served up delectable fare and the Buddy Budson Qunitet and Ursula Walker made music. “He (Sid) may be small but he sure does things in a big way,” observed a first time event guest as he held out a wine glass for another sample. About 100 had come early for a panel discussion with researchers where there was optimism about new developments including individual treatment options. Many also found goodies to buy in the silent auction. Patrons and sponsors savored dessert wines and chocolates at a more intimate Afterglow. The event raised an all time high of $140,000. Funds support the local, non-profit Cure Multiple Myeloma Corporation which assists Metro Detroit patients and caregivers and research projects of the national Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.

MOCAD Gala + Art Auction

The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit’s annual fundraiser attracted 250 supporters, 130 of them for the VIP segment ($200 ticket). It featured serious socializing and scrutinizing of the curated auction art over handcrafted cocktails before a seated dinner. The After Party crowd ($75, $20, $15 tickets) then arrived for popular DJ Frankie Banks music, New York based fashion model/rapper Chynna Rogers’ gritty performance and other diversions like readings by Aura Aura Polaroid and Rincon Tropical food. Counting some online sales, 183 lots of the donated art had new ‘homes’ and the 11th annual Gala+Art raised nearly $300,000 for the creative visual, music, performance and literary programming at MOCAD.

Wright Gala: Kaleidoscope of Human Color

More than 425 people gathered at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History which Curb Gardner’s Creative Group had transformed it into a colorful kaleidoscope for the annual gala. From a sleek, black glass floor entryway to colorful geometric shapes that sparkled the museum’s iconic dome, the decor echoed the party’s goal – to celebrate the diversity of human culture and color and the richness of shared histories. Fifth third Bank’s Byna Elliott and Ascension Health’s Janice Cosby chaired the swanky soiree and thanked all for supporting “...the Wright Museum...a place where history comes alive and Detroit comes together.” Andiamo’s surf and turf dinner menu had universal appeal as did the post dinner dance music by Al Mckenzie and DJ Yeezy. Proceeds are still being tallied but sponsors and ticket sales ($450 - $5,0000 will enhance museum programming as a community centerpiece. The current exhibition – “Say It Loud: Art, History, Rebellion’ – will be open through Jan. 2, 2018. It includes a wall on which to write personal observations.

Check in the coming weeks for reports & photos from these events:

CARE House of Oakland County’s CARE Night

Judson Center Rock Star Gala

HAVEN Tailgate

OUR TOWN Art Show & Sale

Rose Hill Center 25th Anniversary

Guest House Detroit Bishop’s Dinner

John W. Hunter Questers Horse Race

Sweet Dreams A Night to REMember

College for Creative Studies Detroit International Wine Auction

Camp Mak-a-Dream Cookies N’ Dreams

Theodore Alexander Showhouse for Variety

Karmanos Cancer Institute Partners Night

Alzheimer’s Association’s Chocolate Jubilee

Homes for Autism Ring of Hope Dinner

Habitat for Humanity Oakland Fall Extravaganza

Ladies of Charity Luncheon

House of Providence Wishes Gala

The Community House SIP

SKY Foundation Annual Luncheon

Send ideas for this column to Sally Gerak, 28 Barbour Lane, Bloomfield Hills, 48304, email or call (248) 646-6390.


Look over the following list of fundraising events and pick a non-profit you’d like to support. If you get to the party and don’t know anyone, find me. I’ve been covering the charity scene for nearly 40 years and can probably introduce you to some really nice people. Heck, if you can’t afford a ticket, call and see if they need volunteers. Sally G

The JARC 37th annual Fall Fundraiser – British Rock Invasion is 7:30 pm, Monday, Nov. 6 at the Max & Marjorie Fisher Music Center. It will feature the Detroit Symphony Orchestra with Brent Havens conducting and vocals by Brody Dolyniuk. For sponsorships and tickets ($100, $159, $259) go to or call 248-538-6611.

The Detroit Historical Society Ball is not until Dec. 9, but Benefactors are invited to an exclusive event 6 pm, Thursday, Nov. 9 in Grosse Pointe. The evening of cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and good company is sponsored by the Richard and Jane Manoogian Foundation. The main event Saturday, Dec. 9 at The Factory at Corktown (1907 Michigan Ave) will honor Detroit Public Schools Community District Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti and University of Michigan President Dr. Mark Schlissel. For tickets ($850) contact Vanessa Miller at, call 313.833.4143 or go to do/special-events.

Judy Lindstrom is chairing the Oakland Literacy Council annual Ex Libris dinner Thursday, Nov. 9 at the Village Club. Plans include cocktails, dinner, and, always inspiring remarks by a tutor (George Zak) and a student (Jose Arenas), as well as a presentation by Michigan author Sarah Miller. Her nonfiction debut, “The Borden Murders: Lizzie Borden and the Trial of the Century,” was hailed by the New York Times as "a historical version of Law & Order." For tickets ($125, $175-benefactor) call the council office at 248-253-1617.

Paddy Lynch is hosting the Beyond Basics Fall Fundraiser 6, pm Thursday, Nov. 9 at his historic Detroit home where Partner of the Year, UHY, and volunteer of the year, Mary Dunn, will be honored. For tickets ($150, $300-benefactor) and information call Johanna Zwally at 248-408-1735.

Suzanne Tedesco and Jennifer Donovan are chairing the Rochester Community Schools Foundation’s sixth annual Sip, Savor and Shop 6:30-9:30 pm Thursday, Nov. 9 at the Forestre Banquet Center, 1919 Star Batt Drive, Rochester Hills. Plans include beverages, appetizers, shopping at more than 30 vendor stations, a silent auction, a raffle and gift bags for the first 200 guests. For tickets ($25-in advance, $35-after Nov. 1) call 248-726-3190. No tickets will be sold at the door.

Janelle Boyce and Jennifer Wheeler are chairing Baldwin Public Library’s Books & Bites fundraiser 6 – 9 pm, Friday, Nov. 10. In honor of the library’s 90th anniversary it will have a Speakeasy theme. Plans include hotsy-totsy auction items, live jazz music, a photo booth, gaming tables plus food and drink from Big Rock Chophouse, Griffin Claw Brewing Company, The Bird & the Bread, Bistro Joe’s, Great Harvest Bread Company, 7 Greens, Svenska Café, Toast, Whistle Stop Diner, and Whole Foods Market. Tickets are $75 for Shakers ages 64 and under, $65 for Boomers ages 65 to 89, and free for attendees 90 and over. Tickets can be purchased at or by calling 248-554-4683. Auction donations are welcome and sponsorship opportunities are also available. All proceeds from the event will help fund an expansion and renovation of the Youth Room.

The Julian Boivin Courage for Cures Foundation’s annual Brave Knight Benefit for Pediatric Brain Tumor Research is 7:30 pm, Friday, Nov. 10 at Pine Lake Country Club. Plans include a champagne reception, strolling dinner, hosted bar, silent and live auctions and raffle prizes. For tickets ($175) go to

The annual DIA Gala is Saturday, Nov. 11 at the museum. For tickets call Marcia Johnson at 313 578-1063.

Ed Sosnick and his RESTORE Foundation, which funds Oakland County substance abuse court programs, is hosting A Motown Review 6:30 – 8pm, Tuesday, Nov. 14 at the Somerset Inn. Plans include music by the “amazing” Stubbs Girls, appetizers and cash bar. For tickets ($60 to $1,000) go to or contact Sosnick at

Keri Vizena is chairing the Assistance League of Southeastern Michigan Mistletoe Marketplace 9am – 3 pm, Wednesday, Nov. 15 at the San Marino Club in Troy. Plans include boutique shopping, a silent auction, raffles, fashion stroll of resale Connection consignments and luncheon program emceed by Fox-2’s Monica Gayle, honorary event chair. For tickets ($85) call 248-821-4668 or go to

Heather Dell and Rita Norkiewicz are chairing the 17th annual FAR, Friends & Fa-La-La Be Inspired Wednesday, Nov. 15 at Detroit Country Day School’s Selig Performing Arts Center. The doors open at 5:30pm to shop for gifts handmade by clients of FAR Therapeutic Arts and Recreation and for the Silver Circle Pre-Glow Reception ($150 ticket). The Honorary Chairs are Dr. Mitchell and Carol Klein. The show featuring FAR’s Stars and their therapists begins at 7 pm. The Ted Lindsay Foundation for Autism, Steve Acho and Dale Hollandsworth will be honored during intermissions. An AfterGlow for all follows the show. For sponsorships and tickets ($75, $150) call Pamela Ayres at 248.646.3347.

Carol Shaya, Mia Materka and Sue Nine are chairing Preservation Bloomfield’s Tea and Tiara Luncheon 11am – 3 pm, Thursday, Nov. 16 at Pine Lake Country Club. Plans include music by Bloomfield Hills High School students and British-themed centerpieces / tablescapes by PB members. All tablescapes will be available for purchase by the highest bidders. For tickets ($100-Patron, $150-benefactor) contact Claudine Bacher at 248-230-9596, email

Iris Yellen and Dr. Ernesto Drelichman will be honored at Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of Michigan’s 40th annual Evening at the Movies, Thursday, Nov. 16 at Royal Oak Emagine Theatres. Plans include a silent auction and strolling dinner with wine pairings at 6:30pm, program featuring speaker Shelden Yellon at 7:30 pm, movie preview at 8 pm. For sponsorships and tickets ($150 & up) go to For more information or questions please contact Kiel Porter, Development Director, at 248-737-0900 ext. 4.

Ford Motor Company is presenting The Parade Company Hob Nobble Gobble Friday, Nov. 17 at Ford Field. This exceptional event offers fun for all ages, including a midway, carnival games and non-stop prizes, entertainment and cuisine. For tickets ($350, under7-$200) call CarolAnn Barbb at 313-432-7831.

Jennie & Bill Cook and Marci & Tim Rice are chairing South Oakland Shelter Dancing with the Detroit Stars 7pm, Saturday, Nov. 18 at the Townsend Hotel. This ninth annual fundraiser features dancing, music, strolling dinner, open bar, a silent auction and celebrity judges picking a winning dancer. Fox 2’s Ryan Ermanni will be the emcee. Dancers include Barbara Bloink, Catherine Badalamente, Eric Fadie, Marla Govan, Jimmy King, Chef Bobby Nahra, Brenda Orlando and Dan Colombo. The judges are John Akouri, Jeremy Childers, Judge Vonda Evans and Jackie Kallen. The auction will go live Nov. 6 online at For event tickets ($200-standing; $1,000- table for 4) go to or call 248-809-3773.

Meadow Brook Hall’s 46th annual Holiday Walk is Nov. 24 through Dec. 23. It offers self-guided tours of the grand manor’s elegant rooms decorated for the holidays plus tours of Knole Cottage and Danny’s Cabin daily from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Dec. 18 through Dec. 23 touring ends at 9pm. Guests should plan on spending approximately 1.5 hours to tour the Hall, Knole Cottage and Danny’s Cabin. Last admittance is one hour prior to closing. Go to for the ticket prices and the full schedule of opportunities including the Starlight Stroll, 7 – 10 pm, Thursday, Dec. 7. Plans include valet parking, a four-course strolling dinner with chef attended stations placed throughout The Hall, full bar service including signature cocktails, live music, dancing in the ballroom and self-guided tours until 8 pm. For tickets ($100, $90-members) call 248-364-6252.

Maggie Allesee and Sue Nine are chairing the Women’s Division Project HOPE Holiday Boutique and Luncheon 10am – 3 pm, Wednesday, Nov. 29 at Oakland Hills Country Club. Plans include valet parking, shopping, raffle, silent auction, entertainment. cash bar and luncheon at 12 noon. For tickets ($65-members, $75-non-menbers,$100-patron, $150-benefactor) contact Maggie Allesee at 248-540-8467 or

Maryclare & Bob Pulte are chairing Angels’ Place Silver Anniversary Dinner Thursday, Nov. 30 at The Henry. Plans include the 6pm patron party, 6:30pm general reception and silent auction, 7:30pm dinner and program with Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred as the speaker. For sponsors and tickets ($225, $350-patron) call 248-350-2203.

Kim McNulty and Kelly Winkler Patterson are chairing Christ Child Society’s popular, annual Christmas Home Tour Friday, Dec. 1. Plans include touring five Birmingham homes decorated for the holidays from 9:30am – 2pm and brunch and shopping at Birmingham Country Club form 9am – 2:30pm. For tickets ($60) got to www.

The Detroit Tigers’ Duane McLean & GM’s Ed Pepper are the honorary chairs and Jon Krebs & Jeff Chandler are the co-chairs of the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan’s Kidney Ball, 6pm, Saturday, Dec. 2 at the MotorCity Casino Hotel. Plans include a Casablanca theme, cocktails, dinner, auction, a kids toy room auction, a fine wine tasting auction in the Sound Board during the reception and the night-ending MARS candy bar. For sponsorships and tickets ($250) go to or call 800-482-1455.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of SE Michigan’s Great Futures Gala is 6 pm, Wednesday, Dec.6 at the Detroit Athletic Club. It will honor Suburban Collection’s David Fischer with the Great Futures In Celebration award. For sponsorships and tickets ($250) go to

The 2017 Detroit Historical Society Ball is 6pm, Saturday, Dec. 9 at The Factory at Corktown (1907 Michigan Ave). Plans for the black tie event in the successfully reclaimed three-story historic building include valet parking, cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, seated dinner, live entertainment, live and silent auction, and the Afterglow (9pm-12am) for dancing, snacks and cocktails. Detroit Public Schools Community District Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti and University of Michigan President Dr. Mark Schlissel will be honored during the program. For sponsorships and tickets ($850-Benefactor, includes a Benefactor Party on Nov. 9; $500-Patron, $75 for 1 Afterglow ticket, $100 for 2) go to or contact Vanessa Miller at 313.833.4143 or at

Cindy Nicholaou and Kelly Dean are chairing the Rochester Women’s Fund’s Toast to the Holidays is 6 – 8 pm, Tuesday, Dec.12 at The Greystone Manor in Oakland Township (4911 Pinnacle Blvd., 48306). Plans include valet parking, wine and hors d’oeuvres. For tickets ($65; $70 after Dec. 5) go to Funds support the totally volunteer non-profit’s mission - women helping women.

Send ideas for this column to Sally Gerak, 28 Barbour Lane, Bloomfield Hills, 48304 or email

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