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  • Sally Gerak

Week of 1.1.18

Brave Knight Benefit

The enthusiasm level was high at Pine Lake Country Club when 320 ($175 ticket) Courage for Cures Foundation supporters partied there to fundraise for pediatric brain tumor research. Life size display boards of six young people diagnosed with a form of the disease (see photo gallery) stood at the entrance to the party. Only one of them - Sam Kell - is still alive. “Sam is one of our success stories,” guest speaker Michigan Medicine’s Dr. Carl Koschmann said of the Rochester teen, one of his Precision Therapy patients. The death of another – 5-year-old Julian Boivin – inspired his parents Brad and Nettie Boivin to establish the foundation “ rally support and make change happen,” Nettie said after admitting, oh so understandingly, “We wanted revenge (on the deadly disease).”

Memories of the evening that linger: Mitch Albom’s powerful video message of the unsuccessful, 23-month long search for a brain tumor cure for the Haitian orphan he and his wife embraced; MSU loyalist Brad’s report of “an old man at the back of the room” who said he would match funds pledged at the party. (The old man was Michigan Regent Ron Weiser and the foundation sent $50,000 for matching to his pediatric brain cancer research initiative at the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.) Raffles ($11,795), auctions and generous sponsors (see photo gallery for logos) enabled the 7th annual Brave Knight Benefit to raise $125,000 for pediatric brain tumor research.

Baldwin Library Books & Bites

In honor of Baldwin Library’s 90th birthday its annual fundraiser had a speakeasy spin this year. In fact, 13 of the 218 guests aged 90 and over got in free. Many, women especially, gussied up in Roaring Twenties accents to socialize, sip, sup, shop a chance raffle (16 winners) and play casino games with background jazz by musicians from the Michigan Philharmonic Orchestra. The comestibles and spirits were donated by The Bird & the Bread, Toast, Papa Joe's, 7 Greens, The Great Harvest Bread Company, Whistle Stop Café, Svenska, Whole Foods Market., Big Rock Chophouse/The Reserve, Bistro Joe’s and Caruso World Coffee. Janelle Boyce and Jennifer Wheeler chaired the festivities that raised $20,000 for the Youth Room expansion. Their committee comprised Frank Pisano, Robert Whittington, Michelle Hollo, Missy Mark, Doug Koschik and Rebekah Craft.

Birmingham Panhellenic Alumnae Luncheon

Local sorority alumnae groups comprise an association that provides financial awards for high school girls’ extracurricular pursuits. This year, the luncheon that raises the funds for those awards was chaired by Anne Hammond and Cheryl Noonan. It attracted 100 sorority alums ($45, $60, $80 tickets) to the Birmingham Country Club where 19 national sororities answered the roll call. Guests paid $1,200 for gift baskets assembled by the 10 member sorority groups, applauded 50-plus-year members and paid rapt attention to a fun fashion show that depicted 10 decades of fashions and automobiles. It was presented with entertaining commentary by Lynn Anderson.

Salvation Army Sing-A-Long

The Salvation Army musicians and the solicitous door man that greeted arrivals at the London Chop House lent an anticipatory aura as more than 100 people ($250 & up donation) convened at the Congress Street restaurant one noon before the holidays. The Salvation Army fundraiser, which originated in the ‘80s, was revived by the Schoenith and Gatzaros families after the later bought it a few years ago. WJR’s Paul W. Smith emceed the festivities. Highlights included: impeccable service of luncheon cuisine; a toast to the late Dale Austin; the great singing of Birmingham surgeon Carl Pesta, who joined Nicole New on the stage; Tom Schoenith giving lottery tickets to all guests. (Only one was a winner and, of course, it was given over to the Salvation Army.) Tom also recalled that 50 years ago he gave Diane an engagement ring at the restaurant. More than $61,000 was raised for the Metro Detroit 2017 Red Kettle fundraising goal of $7.85-million. These funds will support critical social services like educational programs for youth, a legal aid clinic, drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs in addition to meals and shelter.

Rochester Garden Club Greens Market

The Rochester Garden Club’s 71st annual Greens Market attracted hundreds of shoppers to the Rochester Schools Administration Center to buy arrangements, fresh greens, hand crafted gifts and homemade delicacies. The three-day event, chaired by Pat Hambleton, Nancy Flasck, Jane Giblin, Colleen Dykstra and Sally Edwards, raised about $20,000 for the club’s service projects. These include the Van Hoosen Farms Children’s Garden, pre-kindergartener gardening lessons and spring plantings in public spaces around the community. The club always welcomes new members.

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

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

Women’s Division Project HOPE Luncheon & Boutique

Angels Place 25th Anniversary Dinner

Christ Child Society Christmas Home Tour

Ronald McDonald House Tea

Kidney Ball

The Boys & Girls Clubs Great Futures Gala

Meadow Brook Hall Starlight Stroll

Detroit Historical Society Ball

Detroit Symphony Orchestra New Year’s Eve Bash

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


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, Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018 in the Atrium at Cobo Center. It is a night of fine food and the world’s most exclusive automobiles. Guests will see 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. A silent auction will benefit C.S. Mott Children’s hospital. For tickets ($250) call 248-283-5126 or go to All NAIAS ticket information, including the Charity Preview Friday, Jan. 19, 2018, is available at both places.

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 call The Children’s Center at 313- 262-1085 or go to 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, 2018 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

David King and Dante Rosa are chairing the Chili Mac & Apps Cook-Off benefiting Variety. The Children’s Charity, 6:30 pm Friday, Jan. 26, 2018 at The Townsend Hotel. Plans include, chili, mac’n’ cheese and appetizers from noted area chefs vying for “best” titles, open bar and foot-stomping music for dancing. For tickets ($100 & $150) go online to or call 248-258-5511.

Patti Brozek and Bridget Sagmani are chairing the Dancing with our St. Regis Stars Gala Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018 at the Detroit Golf Club. Plans include strolling dinner, drinks, DJ, live auction, wine, champagne and bourbon wall, 50/50 raffle, a cigar tent, souvenir photos and a dance contest. It will feature six St. Regis celebrities - Roseann Donaldson, Krustin Impasto, Meghan Rivard, Nick Gorga, Mike Kulka and Gaabe Zawaideh – performing with professional dancers from Fred Astaire Dance Studio. For tickets (VIP-$250; General-$150) and to vote for dancers go to Proceeds benefit St. Regis School.

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.

Sue Atwell, Joellen Shortley and Cathy Brooks are the leadership team for the Marian High School Mardi Gras, Saturday, Feb.3 at the high school. Plans include Creole cuisine, open bar, silent and live auctions, dancing to the Good Gravy band, scholarship raffle and camaraderie.

The Birmingham Education Foundation’s annual Unabashed Bash is Saturday, February 10 at The Townsend Hotel. It will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the foundation. Plans include online, silent and live auctions, dinner and student entertainment. To donate auction items and become sponsors contact Alison Hendry at 248-203-3030.

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

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