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  • Sally Gerak

Week of 1.29.18

B&GCSM Great Futures Gala

Dr. Ben Carson returned to his boyhood home bearing a gift – an EnVision Center. Carson described the new HUD initiative to the 240 Boys & Girls Clubs supporters ($250 ticket) gathered at the Detroit Athletic Club to honor car dealer /civic leader David Fischer. The first of 10 centers to better connect low-income people with the resources they need to break the cycle of dependency would be in Detroit on the campus of the Dick & Sandy Dauch club. The HUD secretary got a standing ovation when he concluded in his soft spoken manner, “...reject voices of division and hatred...divided civilizations do not succeed.” Fischer, national B&GC president Jim Clark, Women’s Association co-chairs Sue Nine and Beth Moore and B&GCSM board chair Hiram Jackson, who thanked Len Kirchko for 30 years of service and reminisced about a tough mentor, also earned applause. The enjoyable evening raised some $100,000 for programs that serve 15,000 members in 10 clubs across four counties in southeast Michigan.

Meadow Brook Hall Starlight Stroll

Approximately 14,500 people visited Meadow Brook Hall during the five-week Holiday Walk exhibition which was coordinated by Grand Haven floral designer Alice Waterous. Some of them were guests at one of the 50 private parties that were booked by savvy people and more than 300 of them ($100 ticket), including couples and girlfriend groups, were there for the Starlight Stroll. That evening offered: self-guided tours, butler-passed hors d’oeuvres and desserts; bar service on two levels; chef-attended dining stations (carving, Mediterranean, Asian, pasta) in the dining room, study and library; a photo booth and listening and dancing to Kimmie Horne and her quartet in the lower level ballroom. (By the way, Horne is a descendent of the legendary movie star and singer Lena Horne) It also afforded guests a sense of being “to the manor born” as they partied throughout the elegant manse. When the walk closed on Dec. 23 the 46th annual event had raised $178,000 to preserve the fourth largest historic house museum in the country, The public may also celebrate Valentine's by candlelight at Meadow Brook Hall 6:30 pm, Saturday, Feb. 10. Plans include valet parking, cocktails, self-guided touring with strolling violinists and a three-course dinner with wine service at a private table for two.

Detroit Historical Society Ball

For a blue collar town like Detroit, the Factory at Corktown was a super choice for the Historical Society’s annual gala fundraiser. That the renovated, three-story, former hosiery factory oozes historic patina and is now owned by DHS board president Tom Buhl and his racing team / business partner brother Robbie explained the choice. By the time the 331 guests ($850, $500 tickets) had cocktailed, bid $24,115 in the silent auction, dined and settled in for the live auction, the Buhls’ offer to host a party for 20 on the rooftop overlooking the old Tigers ball field sold for $4,000. After the live auction bidding ($41,00) guests pledged another $52,450 for the museum’s education outreach. (This paired nicely with the evening’s Moving Forward Awards to DPS superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti and U-M president Dr. Mark Schlissel.) Thanks also to raffles ($8,700), the live auction ($41,000) and generous sponsors (see photo gallery), the annual event netted nearly $325,000.

Cranbrook Holiday Tea

Before the holiday break, Cranbrook Kingswood parents gathered at Cranbook House to socialize, celebrate the school community and share their resources with Lighthouse of Oakland County, whose Liz McLachlan shared some client success stories. She also marveled at the mountain of donations (food and toys) guests brought as well as the cash donations (nearly $5,000). A gift trade with comedic accents capped off the seventh annual event. It was the swan song for the popular, soon-to retire, Director of Schools Arlyce Siebert.

DSO New Years Eve Bash

Nearly 2,000 people welcomed 2018 at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra Michael Jackson music concert. More than 500 of them - including board chair Mark Davidoff, Vivian Pickard, Don Manvel, Craig and Shari Morgan and members of DSO support groups - made a night of it as BASH guests ($500, $275, $125 tickets) by wining and dining before and after the concert. All were showered with confetti during the midnight champagne toast and sang “Auld Lang Syne” with the DSO. Stay –at-homes could watch the Channel-56 broadcast of the festivities.

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

NAIAS The Gallery

CARE House Circle of Friends Preview Party

NAIAS Charity Preview and AutoGlow

CARE House Circle of Friends Luncheon

Variety, the Children’s Charity Chili, Mac & Apps Cook-Off

Dancing with the St. Regis Stars Gala

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


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.

Roz Blanck, Kristen Gross and Linda Schlesinger-Wagner are chairing JVS’ Trade Secrets, 6 pm, Tuesday, March 6 at the Troy Marriott. It will feature cocktails, dinner, the JVS signature raffle and the keynote speech by honorary chair Camille Walker Banks, executive director of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses at Wayne State University. For sponsorships and tickets ($150 & up) call Judy Strongman at 248-233-4213 or go to

Vic Pooler is chairing the Birmingham Rotary Club’s Masters Madness fundraising party 6 pm, Friday, March 9th , at the Birmingham Athletic Club. Plans include the drawing for tickets to the 2018 Masters golf tournament ( trip by private charter for 2 to Aiken. SC, tickets for Saturday and Sunday, April 7 & 8,) and other raffle prizes, a silent auction, food and spirits, and music by popular local band, Collision Six. For sponsorships and tickets ( $95 and up) call Bryan Frank at 313- 414-1169, email Birminghamrotaryclub or go to

Florine Mark and Anne Parsons are chairing the Women of Tomorrow Inspiring Detroit Dinner 6 pm, Thursday, March 22 at the Detroit Athletic Club. Plans include cocktails, dinner and a program emceed by Paula Tutman. It will honor philanthropist Katie Valenti,, WDIV’s Marla Drutz and PNC’s Gina Coleman. For sponsorships and tickets ($150 until Jan 31; $175 after Jan. 31) call Jill Harris at 248-430-4095 or go to Proceeds will support the mentoring and scholarship program that pairs 130 highly accomplished women with more than 1,200 at-risk girls in Metro Detroit public high schools for inspiration, motivation and guidance.

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

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