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  • Sally Gerak

Week of 2.5.18

NAIAS The Gallery

The Saturday night before 5,000-plus journalists from 60 countries descended on the North American International Auto Show for press days, 800-plus luxury lovers ($250 ticket) flocked to The Gallery to dine, drink and drool over a $10 million collection of exclusive automobiles. (See photo gallery for brands represented.) The 12th annual showcase was staged in and around Cobo Center’s Grand Riverview Ballroom. Cars like the gleaming white 2018 Rolls Royce Phantom making its North American debut shared exhibition space with a silent auction that raised $28, 675 for benefiting the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. (Not surprisingly, it included a signed Jim Harbaugh football jersey, a “steal” at $800.) One guest who had not previously been to the event said he thought the party was “a bargain” at $250 compared to the $400 ticket for Charity Preview.

NAIAS Charity Preview

Six nights later, the preview attracted 12,714 people to Cobo Center for the 42nd annual fundraiser benefiting children’s charities. The first 12 years the black-tie event was sparsely attended and tickets were cheap. (I’m remembering $15 - $25.) But since the show became “international” 30 years ago, the Charity Preview has become the Motor City Prom Night and among the largest annual single night fundraisers in the world. The nearly $5.1 million it raised this year brings the 42-year total to nearly $118-million. The beneficiaries are Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Michigan, Boys Hope/Girls Hope, The Children’s Center, Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation, Detroit PAL, Judson Center, March of Dimes and the Detroit Auto Dealers Association Foundation.

The Children’s Center AutoGlow

Nearly 1,000 NAIAS Charity Preview guests ($400 ticket) also supported The Children’s Center AutoGlow ($275, $325 ticket) which Ford Motor Company presented in the Ford Field atrium. Guests savored sips and snacks before taking the shuttle to Cobo and returned to party a la "An Evening in Casablanca.” The legendary film was playing on the stage backdrop screen, but as one guest noticed, “The band (Nightline) sure doesn’t know any 1940s music.” However, Levy Restaurants incorporated the theme at the bountiful strolling supper stations which featured the flavors of Morocco such as Chicken Tangine and the Marrakesh bazaar market table featuring fresh and dried fruits and vegetables, olives and breads, a Moroccan bocadillo sandwich and Turkish coffee. Guests were also issued comfy slippers and, to mimic a fashion of the era, many donned the 1940-style, souvenir straw fedoras. Thanks to the generosity of Delta Air Lines, 10 guests took home round trip first class tickets to anywhere in the U.S and travel vouchers worth $2,000. A display of 2018 Ford and Lincoln vehicles (including the Lincoln Navigator, Lincoln Continental, Ford F-150, and 2018 Ford Expedition) echoed the accolades at the auto show. A moving display of therapy art masks made by clients of The Children’s Center also garnered interest. (See photo gallery.) AutoGlow was hosted by Lisa and Bill Ford and Kathy and Jim Hackett. The Ford family has supported The Children’s Center since it was founded in 1929 and Ford Motor Company has been AutoGlow presenting sponsor since its inception. (See other major sponsors in the photo gallery.) AutoGlow generated nearly $250,000 in net proceeds for The Children’s Center. This will provide vital services for 7,500 families and vulnerable children.

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

Holocaust Memorial Center Exhibition Opening

CARE House Circle of Friends Preview Party

CARE House Circle of Friends Luncheon

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

Dancing with the St. Regis Stars Gala

Oakland County Bar Foundation Fellows Reception

Motor City Open Sponsors Party

The Community House Bates Street Society Dinner

Marian High School Mardi Gras

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


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, become sponsors or buy tickets ($150) contact Alison Hendry at 248-203-3030.

Cindy Lazarus and Lynne Minish are chairing the Fallen and Wounded Soldier Fund 13th annual Dinner, Dance & Auction Saturday, Feb. 24 at the MGM Grand. The VIP reception starts at 5 pm; program emceed by Lil Lazarus begins promptly at 6. Congressman Mike Rogers is the featured speaker. For sponsorships and tickets ($150) contact Lynne Minish at or go to Proceeds support the all-volunteer organization which uses 97% of the proceeds for direct assistance to Michigan veterans and their families.

Nicolena Inniss-Stubs is chairing Eton Academy’s Lights, Camera, Auction Saturday, March 3 at the Birmingham school. Plans include silent and live auctions, raffle and catering by Forte Belanger. For tickets ($200) call the school at 248 642 1150.

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, 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

Brooke Kircher and Ruthie Seltzer are chairing the SHINE Fashion Show, 2 pm, Sunday, March 11 in South Rortunda at the Somerset Collection. It will star the beautiful FAR and Variety children and benefit the camp programs of FAR Therapeutic Arts & Recreation and the Variety 4-H Horseback Riding Program. For tickets ( $35; $100-patron; $200-benefactyor, includes a one-week campership for a child) call 248-258-5511.

Beyond Basic’s Annual Event is 6 pm, Friday, March 16 at the Detroit Athletic Club. For information and tickets call Johanna Zwally at 248- 408-1735.

Brother Rice High School Irish Nite XLI is 6 pm, Saturday, March 17 at Birmingham Country Club. Plans include food, fun, fellowship, silent and live auctions. March Madness games will be playing live on all TVs at the club with great tournament auction items up for bid. The Honorary Chairs are Alyson & Mike Brown ’86, Karen & Roger Denha ’74, Julie & Richard Penington, and Krystin & William Saputo ’99. The Auction Coordinators are Megan Marderosian and Susan Reid. For tickets ($75-friend, $150-benefcator, includes premium open bar) 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, PNC’s Gina Coleman, i HeartMichigan Media’s Nick Gnau plus mentors Joanne Faycurry and Judith Trepeck. For sponsorships and tickets ($175) 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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