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  • Sally Gerak

Week of 2.26.18

The Community House Bates Street Society Dinner

“I can’t say ‘no’ to Lois Shaevsky,” Ethan Davidson said by way of explaining his role as keynote speaker at The Community House Bates Street Society Dinner. The man who chairs the grants committee of his late father’s foundation (William Davidson) was a most appropriate choice because the annual event salutes those who have made $25,000 legacy gifts to the institution that was founded 95 years ago by some women who thought Birmingham needed a place for people to gather. (Society membership numbers 159 including the four new inductees: Ann & David Conrad, Howard & Howard PLLC, Tuktawa Foundation and Valenti Foundation.) The capacity crowd (225) included not only many of the society inductees, but also friends and fans of the seven 2018 Pillars of Vibrancy recognized for their contributions to community vitality in the realms of Culture, (Dr. David DiChiera, Paul W. Smith, Robert Bury), Education & Wellness (Dr. Robert Folberg), and Philanthropy (Geoffrey Hockman, Julie Rodecker, Katie Valenti). Their impressive accomplishments generated standing ovations and confirmed presenting sponsor PNC Wealth Management’s Ric Devore’s observation that “ in (this region) excels every other PNC city.”

Marian Mardi Gras Benefit Evening

Sue Bentley Atwell, Cathy Brooks, and Joellen Shortley chaired the MHS Benefit Evening. It attracted 300 school loyalists (($100, $125, $300 tickets), some of whom began the evening at Mass in the school chapel before convening in the Marian Commons for silent auction bidding and socializing accompanied by (Howe’s Bayou) Creole appetizers and (Two James Distillery) bourbon and craft cocktails. The silent auction, which included original art by alums Kathy Mielock Carroll, Julie Stenger Ryckman and Janet Kempf raised more than $30,000. Raffles, which offered such temptations as a South Beach resort vacation, a Jeep lease, and luxury items, raised more than $41,000. En route to the auditorium for dinner many guests stopped at a photo booth for souvenir pictures with Mardi Gras props. (See photo gallery.) A Creole dinner that concluded with beignets for dessert preceded the live auction. It was emceed by Marian dad Dan Sharkey and included highlights like a winsome cockapoo puppy and a gourmet dinner for 10 prepared by Marian Chef Jimmy Stepp. Kathy and Dave Petoskey were the successful bidders for the pup, Patty and Gerry Phillips for the dinner party. The live auction raised $24,000. When Marian Head of School Sr. Lenore Pochelski took the microphone, guests raised their paddles – and $29,250 – for Marian’s science program. Other event proceeds will fund tuition assistance at the college prep school for young women sponsored by the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Music by Good Gravy kept the good times rolling as guests danced into the night.

Good Samaritans’ Tea

Named after Holy Cross Services’ one-stop community resource center in Detroit, the women’s support group hosted a membership tea ($35-ticket) chaired by Karen Brown and Carolyn Andrea at The Village Club in Bloomfield Hills. GS president Mariann Bolton told the 48 guests (including six new/potential members) about the group’s charitable works and invited them to join the effort. HCS began in 1948 as Boysville, a home for homeless boys, and since then has become a full network of child welfare and behavioral healthcare services for children, adults and families.

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

Academy of the Sacred Heart Benefit

The Unabashed Bash

Impact 100 Membership Party

Fallen and Wounded Soldiers Fund Benefit

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


Nicolena Inniss-Stubs is chairing Eton Academy 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) go to

Therese Peace Agboh and Janice Cosby are chairing the DSO Classical Roots Celebration Saturday, March 3 at Orchestra Hall. Dinner precedes the 40th anniversary concert; dancing and desserts follow. For tickets, go to

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

Karla Sherry and Anna Giammarco are chairing Sing Out 4 Kids benefiting FAR Therapeutic Arts and Recreation 6:30 pm, Friday, March 9 at The Townsend Hotel. Plans include valet, entertainment, dinner, silent and live auctions, celebrity performances and cash bar. For tickets ($125, $150-Patron, includes preferred seating; $1,0000-Patron table of 80, call FAR at 248-646-3347.

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.

Joy Levran, Carly Sanfield and Jennifer Teper are chairing ORT WINGO at the Club 5:30 pm, Wednesday, March 15 at Knollwood Country Club. Plans for the Women’s Only evening include strolling dinner, cocktails, silent auction, BINGO, dessert and raffles. For tickets ($85 and up) call 248-723-8860 or go to Proceeds support education for impoverished communities.

Uhy’s Gordon Follmer and volunteer Mary Dunn will be honored at Beyond Basic’s Annual Event 6 pm, Friday, March 16 at the Detroit Athletic Club. Plans include cocktails, sweated d inner, and live auction. For tickets ($150, $500-benefactor) call Johanna Zwally at 248-408-1735.

Maureen Miller Brosnan is chairing the 184th annual celebration of St. Patrick’s Day at Detroit’s Most Holy Trinity Church Saturday, March 17. The prelude begins at 11:30 am; Mass is at 12 noon. Luncheon at the IBEW Hall 1358 Abbott St. follows at 1:30 – 4 pm and plans include Celtic-inspired fare, beer, wine and entertainment including music and kids activities. For luncheon tickets ($40-adult; $15 -12 & under) go to A Young Adults Mass at 4 pm and Happy Hour with food and craft beers from 5 – 7 pm is also on the docket. For those tickets ($20-advnace) go to Proceeds from Sharin’ o’ the Green support Holy Trinity’s outreach ministries including a free medical clinic, legal clinic, food pantry, clothing room and Pre-K-8 school.

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

Lidija Grahovac is chairing the Women’s Division Project HOPE Hats Off to New Members Tea at the Townsend noon – 3 pm, Wednesday, March 21. In addition to the Townsend’s legendary savories and sweets plans include a $25 gift certificate for new members, informal modeling of Nina McLemore spring fashions and Luke Song hats, Art Loft shopping, a raffle and harp music. For tickets ($65-friend, $75-patron includes 15 raffle tickets, $100-benefactor includes 30 raffle tickets) contact Contessa Bannon at 248-860-7004 or by email at Proceeds support medical services worldwide.

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, iHeartMichigan 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.

April Allard is chairing the Junior League of Birmingham Little Black Dress Brunch, 10:30 am, Saturday, March 24 at The Community House. Plans Include a plated entrée, two drink tickets, silent auction, fashion show and a program spotlighting Lighthouse of Oakland County’s rescue of vulnerable women. For tickets ($50) go to

Faye Nelson and Pam Rodgers are chairing the Alternatives for Girls Role Model Dinner Wednesday, March 28 at Cobo Center. The honorees are GM’s Alicia Boler Davis, attorney Deborah LaBelle and Comerica’s Monica L. Martinez. Plans include valet parking, 5:30 reception and silent auction, 6:45 dinner, program and live auction. For tickets ($200) call Joi Mitchell at 313-361-4000, ext. 4000 or go to

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

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