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  • Sally Gerak

Week of 1.22.18

Angels Place 25th Anniversary Dinner

The silver anniversary of the organization that provides lifetime, Christian homes for developmentally disabled people proved again a verity of the local charity scene – friends and family are the best support for non-profits. This reporter has seen the phenomenon proven repeatedly during nearly 40 years of covering the beat. In fact, there were times when the AP Dinner Patron Reception (450 @ $350 ticket ) seemed like a family reunion for co-chairs Maryclare and Bob Pulte. Bob’s cousin Colleen is married to guest speaker Major League Baseball Commissioner Ron Manfred and their kin traveled from afar to attend. That his aunt by marriage/Colleen’s late mother Jane Martin Feely had been a longtime AP supporter as a good friend of co-founder Loretta Nagle is just one of the countless friend components that attracted 350 more supporters ($225 ticket) to the annual event at The Henry Hotel. The local MLB family (i.e. Detroit Tigers) also turned out enthusiastically. In his speech Manford mentioned that the pace of the game is a huge issue for baseball. “Change will to manage that change is the challenge,” he concluded. Thanks also to Jim Crowe giving his raffle winnings to AP, generous sponsors (see photo gallery) and Manford’s generous donations to a brief auction ( a World Series package that brought $8,250 and two All Star packages that brought $5,250 each), the 25th anniversary celebration raised more than $420,000 to support the 20 homes and hundreds of people on the waiting list who participate in AP programs.

Kidney Ball

Nearly 600 ($250 ticket) kidney disease warriors gathered at the MotorCity Casino Hotel for the annual black tie fundraiser that traditionally attracts a fun-loving crowd. VIPs convened in the Sound Board before perusing the silent and Kids auctions on the way to the dinner in the ballroom. As he has each of the 13 years, WDIV’s Steve Garagiola emceed the program which had highlights: Henry Ford Health nephrologist Dr. Jerry Yee received the first Kidney Crusader Award; Madison Heights Glass Company president Jon Krebs received the Cynthia Shannon Award ( named for event founder/Birmingham native Cindy Hoglund Shannon whose husband donated a kidney to their son); the fundraising saga of teen Danny Zivian; and pep talks by co-chairs Jeff Chandler and Duane McLean. The latter also generated excitement with his last minute offer of “manager for a day” at Tigers spring training. It brought $8,000 twice. Combined with Fund A Need pledging and generous sponsors (see photo gallery), the 13th annual Kidney ball raised more than $600,000 for programs and services to more than 900,000 people in Michigan affected by chronic kidney disease. After the auctions, guests danced to Your Generation in Concert in the Sound Board, savored the Mars Wrigley Confectionery bar and one group toasted Jill Miller’s birthday.

Christ Child Society Home Tour

Most of the sold out crowd of more than 600 got to the five, splendid Birmingham homes that were decorated for Christmas by the generous homeowners. These were Linda and Robert Crosby, Nancy and Chris Fullerton, Amy and Jim Gooch, Shawn and Mark Vestevitch and Lydia and Dick Wallace. At the Birmingham Country Club, where most ticketholders ($60) reconvened to brunch and shop at the 21 vendor boutiques, everybody was marveling at the Wallace’s renovation of the home where they had raised their family into their remarkable retirement digs. Kim McNulty and Kelly Patterson chaired the popular, annual event which netted an all-time high of $50,000-plus.

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

The Boys & Girls Clubs Great Futures Gala

Cranbrook Charity Tea

Meadow Brook Hall Starlight Stroll

Detroit Historical Society Ball

Detroit Symphony Orchestra New Year’s Eve Bash

NAIAS The Gallery

CARE House Circle of Friends Preview Party

NAIAS Charity Preview and AutoGlow

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


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. For sponsorships and tickets ($100 – before 1/26; $150; $300-reserved seating with table service) go to

Tom & Karen Hartle are chairing the Academy of the Sacred Heart 2018 Benefit, Friday, February 9 at the Detroit Athletic Club. Sr. Bridget Bearss will be honored at the Heart of Gold Gala as the second annual Heart of Gold winner. Plans include a Midnight in Paris theme, cocktails, auctions, seated dinner and afterglow. For sponsorships and tickets ($250) contact Danielle Bell at 248-646-8900 x134.

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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