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  • By Bill Seklar

A foundation for the future

On January 1, 2018, The Community House Board of Directors was delighted to announce the creation of a new and separate entity; The Community House FOUNDATION to act as a supporting organization to The Community House (ASSOCIATION).

The mission of The Community House FOUNDATION is to secure philanthropic funds that are critical in our ability to keep that promise to our families, and to the community, who depend on us to deliver a variety of quality programs and services throughout the region. Robust philanthropy also helps support a wide range of programs, projects and services, today and in the future that benefit the community.

The Community House FOUNDATION will also help raise funds and awareness for the preservation of The Community House and its historic building. Historic preservation is a critical movement in planning – designed to conserve old buildings and areas in an effort to tie a place’s history to its population and culture.

Much of The Community House FOUNDATION’s work will be done by carefully pairing passionate donors with immediate and emerging needs throughout The Community House organization; operationally, for capital purposes and for a strong endowment.

As a separate entity, The Community House FOUNDATION will be governed by a separate Board of Directors. The Community House wishes to thank the leadership, guidance and heavy lifting of the founding Board of Directors of the new FOUNDATION for bringing this new entity to fruition. These members include:

• Rob Farr, Chair

• Kevin Browett, Vice Chair

• William D. Seklar, President & CEO

• David Leslie

• Christopher Mann

• Deric Righter, Treasurer

• Jacob Taylor

As we launch this most important endeavor during this – our milestone 95th anniversary year – full of hope and optimism, we believe it important to pause from time to time 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.

As part of that effort, The Community House created four Pillars of Vibrancy: Philanthropy, Education, Wellness and Culture. The purpose was to annually and 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. On February 3, 2018, seven new pillars joined this impressive body. Our 2018 honorees included:

Pillars of Culture: Dr. David DiChiera, Robert Bury, Paul W. Smith.

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

Pillar of Wellness: Dr. Robert Folberg

In addition, 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 gathered to recognize and induct into The Bates Street Society, key stakeholders, Pillars of Vibrancy and Major Donors, together, under one philanthropic umbrella: The Bates Street Society.

To coincide with our 95th Anniversary year, guests in attendance heard an inspirational message from our special keynote speaker, musical artist, businessman and treasurer of the William Davidson Foundation, Ethan D. Davidson. It was a magical evening of inspiration, celebration and gratitude.

Finally, the 2018 Bates Street Society Dinner would not have been made possible without our founding third–year presenting sponsor PNC Wealth Management – PNC Bank. In addition, special thanks to The Bates Street Society’s other corporate sponsors, The Valenti Foundation, DeRoy & Devereaux Private Investment Council, Inc., Beaumont Health – Oakland University School of Medicine, The Beaumont Foundation, Dickinson Wright, PLLC, Barbara & Tim Hertzler, dbusiness, and Parsonage Florist.

“We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill

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

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

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