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  • Sally Gerak

Week of 12.11.17

Detroit Institute of Arts Gala

More than 600 DIA supporters wined and dined at the museum’s annual gala benefit. It was chaired by Frances Eisenberg, Nicole Eisenberg, Juliette Okotie-Eboh, Brooke Fisher and Barbara Fisher with design inspiration from NYC-based event planner/artist/author David Monn (Among his many credits is one of President Trump’s inaugural dinners.) Guests savored Forte Belanger prepared charcuterie, cheeses and seafood in handsome, lounge-style settings before dining in the galleries on fare such as smoked scallops and grits, beef (filet or braised) and truffle risotto. In keeping with the event theme of the museum as a town square for community gatherings, dessert was served in the Great Hall and Woodward lobby. (Dessert was Belgian waffles and toppings - a la Wafels & Dinges, the popular NYC eatery.) Event tickets - $5,000, $2,500, $750 – sold out. Thanks also to many sponsors (like Fisher & Company, Kenwal, Richard and Jane Manoogian Foundation, Quicken Loans Family of Companies, Strategic Staffing Solutions and The Suburban Collection at the Platinum level) the elegant soiree raised $2 million.

Habitat for Humanity Extravaganza

“This mission is all about love,” CEO/Executive Director Tim Ruggles told the 275 Habitat for Humanity supporters ($185, $265 tickets) gathered in the Townsend Hotel ballroom. “And each of you is changing our world,” he concluded before presenting honors to Volunteer of the Year Mike Baldridge and Community Builder Awardee Bruce Trevarrow. All earned standing ovations, as did Mercedes Shamburger following the video that chronicled her quest for education and a Habitat home. Ruggles was preceded at the podium by Cheryl Henderson, who joined the Habitat staff after embracing the organization’s mission as the volunteer event chair for two years. Dan Stall then conducted a live auction and pledging that brought the event total to $160,239 for building and renovation projects to improve lives and communities. Contemporary folk singer / songwriter May Erlewine and her dance band the Motivations keep the evening swinging.

House of Providence Wishes Gala

The Wishes Gala benefiting J and Maggie Dunn’s home for foster system girls attracted 600 people ($125 ticket) to the Royal Park Hotel for a joyful night. The dinner program emceed by Chuck Gaidica began with a Mt. Zion School of Performing Arts dance group and concluded with a beautiful vocal by Quela Harris. In between it contained many highlights: the earnest dedication to kids that was evident in their remarks when Warrior Honorees Michigan Assistant Attorney General Elizabeth Barash and judge Karen Braxton accepted their awards; the joy when Survivor Honoree Tiffany Sinawi learned she, her mom and two sisters were going on a Disney cruise; country singer, writer Jimmy Wayne’s music and his moving saga of growing up homeless; the news that House of Providence has acquired 118 acres in Oxford for a homes to serve boys and children with disabilities as well as girls. The fourth annual gala raised $175,000 for House of Providence (which prioritizes finding families, closing educational gaps, promoting healing and implementing a lifetime support system for foster children).

St. Hugo Razzle Dazzle Club

The fifth annual Razzle Dazzle fundraiser attracted 160 ($70 & $170 tickets) to Oakland Hills Country Club for ladies night out supping, socializing, shopping (16 vendors offered giftables) and raffles. Lorraine Carlin won the grand raffle prize – a $1,000 Somerset Collection gift card. Karen Seitz chaired the evening event which replaced the Altar Guild’s traditional fundraising luncheon. Proceeds support scholarships and local charities through outreach programs.

Homes for Autism Benefit

State Senator Jim Marleau, a supporter of services for people with autism, was honored at the 21st annual Ring of Hope dinner. It attracted 100 ($150 & up tickets) to the Village Club for cocktails, silent auction, dinner, entertainment and dancing. Prominently displayed was the quote: “A house is made of walls and beams, A home is built with love and dreams.” The event raised about $35,000 to help HfA maintain and pay mortgage debt on its seven homes for adults with autism.

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

Karmanos Cancer Institute Partners Night

Ladies of Charity Luncheon

The Community House SIP

SKY Foundation Annual Luncheon

Holocaust Memorial Center Anniversary dinner

The JARC Fall Fundraiser – British Rock Invasion

Oakland Literacy Council Ex Libris Dinner

Rochester Community Schools Foundation Sip, Savor and Shop

Baldwin Public Library’s Books & Bites

Brave Knight Benefit

Birmingham Panhellenic Alumnae Association Luncheon

DIA Gala

Mistletoe Marketplace

FAR Friends and Fa-La-La

Preservation Bloomfield Tea & Tiara Luncheon

Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation Gala Evening at the Movies

South Oakland Shelter Dancing with Detroit Stars

BARD Foundation Gobble Wobble

Women’s division Project HOPE Luncheon & Boutique

Angels Place 25th Anniversary

Rochester Garden Club Greens Market

Christ Child Society Christmas Home Tour

Alternatives for Girls High Tea

Kidney Ball

Meadow Brook Hall Starlight Stroll

The Boys & Girls Clubs Great Futures Gala

Detroit Historical Society Ball

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


Cindy Nicholaou and Kelly Dean are chairing the Rochester Women’s Fund’s Toast to the Holidays 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.

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s annual New Year’s Eve Bash concert 10 pm, Sunday, Dec. 31 will feature the music of Michael Jackson but partying occurs before and after. Party packages include: $125 (Pretty Young Things) and $275 (Thriller) with dining on the stroll; $500 (Man in the Mirror) with seated pre-concert dinner. PYTs park in the DSO garage; others include valet parking. Post concert sipping, supping and dancing revelry goes on until 2am. Go to for more details and to buy tickets or call Sarah Hamel at 313-576-5449.

New. After 12 years of staging The Gallery at the MGM Grand, it is now the official kick-off of the North American International Auto Show and will be 6:30 - 11 pm, Jan. 13, 2018 in the Atrium at Cobo Center. It is a night of exclusive guests, fine food, and the world’s most exclusive automobiles. Guests will experience a nearly $10-million collection of the most acclaimed automobiles the world has to offer, including brands such as Aston Martin, Bentley, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche and Rolls Royce, to name just a few. For tickets ($250) go to For all NAIAS information, including the Charity Preview Friday, Jan. 19, 2018, go to

Lisa & Bill Ford and Kathy & Jim Hackett are hosting 2018 AutoGlow, An Evening in Casablanca, at Ford Field before and after the above-mentioned NAIAS Charity Preview. Plans for The Children’s Center fundraiser include valet parking, shuttle service to and from Cobo, tastes from the culinary talents of Ford Field's Levy Restaurants throughout the evening, including a pre-event reception, full strolling dinner service, desserts and full bar service, live music and dancing to the Nightline band and a late night menu. AutoGlow tickets are $275 each when purchased by Dec. 15, and $325 after that date. For AutoGlow tickets and sponsorship information go to or call The Children’s Center at 313- 262-1085. In order to purchase an AutoGlow ticket, individuals must be a NAIAS Charity Preview ticket holder. To order NAIAS Charity Preview tickets, call (888) 838-7500. The Children’s Center is one of eight charities benefiting from North American International Auto Show Charity Preview proceeds

Elise and Steve Guidos are hosting the Preview Party for the annual CARE House Circle of Friends event Thursday evening, Jan. 18, 2017 at their Bloomfield Hills home. The guest of honor will be abuse survivor Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Mulcahy. He is the featured speaker at the main event, the Circle of Friends Luncheon, Thursday, Jan. 25 at The Townsend. Jeana Asmaro and Elise are the chairs. For tickets, ($125 and up) call CARE House at 248-332-7173 or go to

Save Friday evening, Jan. 26, 2017 for Variety, the Children’s Charity’s popular comfort food cook off at The Townsend Hotel. This year it will include Chili, Mac & Apps (appetizers). Details to follow.

Ethan Davidson is the keynote speaker at The Community House Bates Street Society dinner Saturday, Feb.3 at The Community House. The celebration of service and philanthropy will honor 2018 Pillars of Society inductees Dr. David DiChiera, Dr. Robert Folberg, Geoffrey Hockman, Julie Rodecker, Judge Gerald E. Rosen, Paul W. Smith and Katie Valenti. Plans include valet parking, cocktails, three course seated dinner and live entertainment. For tickets ($300-patron, includes 6 pm reception with honorees past and present; $200-6:30pm admission), go to Philanthropy at or call 248-644-5832.

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

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