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  • By Bill Seklar

January 2018

“It is every man's obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what he takes out of it” – Albert Einstein

As we begin this – our milestone 95th anniversary year – full of hope and optimism, all of us at The Community House have taken pause to reflect back on all of the people; individuals, corporations, foundations – kindnesses large and small – which have made a true and lasting difference at The Community House over these last 94 years.

As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization, it is our duty and our obligation to remain ever mindful that good stewardship is an essential part of the fundraising cycle. It covers the entire relationship between donor and organization. Likewise, we must continually celebrate and honor the importance of selfless service and volunteerism. For without either, the work and missions of noble organizations such as The Community House would not be possible.

I read recently that “Selfless service is absolutely fundamental, both from an individual perspective and from the perspective of the entire human race, without which there can be no true progression. Selfless service should be offered and provided out of a genuine and deep desire to help and be of service to others.”

Over the last several years, The Community House has created four Pillars of Vibrancy: Philanthropy, Education, Wellness and Culture. The purpose was to publicly recognize extraordinary individuals in one or more of these categories who have demonstrated selfless service and philanthropy toward others while helping to “Create More Vibrant Lives” in the community – selfless service offered and provided out of a genuine and deep desire to help and be of service to others.

Since its inception, 41 pillars in our community have been recognized and inducted into The Community House’s Pillars of Vibrancy. In 2018, seven new pillars will join this impressive body. Recently, The Community House announced its 2018 Pillars of Vibrancy – what an extraordinary and selfless group. Our inductees include:

Pillars of Culture: Dr. David DiChiera, Judge Gerald E. Rosen, Paul W. Smith.

Pillars of Philanthropy: Geoffrey Hockman, Julie Rodecker, Katie Valenti.

Pillar of Wellness: Dr. Robert Folberg.

In an effort to also recognize individuals, corporations and foundations that have given extraordinary treasure; $25,000 or more cumulatively, or donors who make an irrevocable legacy gift of $25,000 or more to The Community House, TCH leadership decided to gather and recognize all of these key stakeholders, Pillars of Vibrancy and Major Donors, together, under one philanthropic umbrella, the Bates Street Society.

Bates Street Society was established in 2015, to publicly recognize and induct members who have made significant charitable contributions to support the work and mission of The Community House in Birmingham. Members will be acknowledged annually at its Bates Street Society Dinner, a semi-formal event hosted by The Community House's Officers and Board of Directors.

The third annual Bates Street Society Dinner, a three-course sit-down dinner is scheduled for Saturday, February 3, 2018 in the Wallace Ballroom of The Community House. To coincide with our 95th anniversary year, guests in attendance will also hear from our special keynote speaker, musical artist, businessman and treasurer of the William Davidson Foundation, Ethan D. Davidson.

Members of the community are not only welcome, but encouraged to attend. This important dinner will offer guests a wonderful opportunity to publicly show enthusiastic support for the 2018 TCH Pillars of Vibrancy inductees, and to the scores of individuals, foundations and corporations whose contributions and kindness makes The Community House’s work and mission possible. General Admission Tickets are $200/person; Benefactor Tickets $300/person and are now on sale by going online at or by calling The Community House at 248.644.5832.

Special thanks to our founding third-year presenting sponsor PNC Wealth Management – PNC Bank. Our thanks as well to The Bates Street Society’s other corporate sponsors; DeRoy & Devereaux Private Investment Council, Inc., Dickinson Wright, PLLC, dbusiness, and Parsonage Florist.


Tickets on sale now. 26th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Breakfast, 8:30 a.m., Monday, January 15, 2018 at The Community House. Keynote speaker; Stephen Henderson, Editorial Page Editor, Detroit Free Press, Radio Host, WDET. Sponsored by Mercedes-Benz Financial Services. Hosted by The Community House – Race Relations & Diversity Task Force. Tickets $40 (includes breakfast). Register

To find out more about The Community House, go to or call 248.644.5832.

William D. Seklar is President & CEO of The Community House in Birmingham.

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