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  • Sally Gerak

Week of 3.12.18

Fallen and Wounded Soldiers Fund Benefit

From the bagpiped opening to the presentation of Colors to the National Anthem sung with operatic gusto by Carl Nilson to the Taps that concluded the program, the 13th annual Fallen and Wounded Soldiers Fund dinner program emceed by Lila Lazarus was a patriotic tour de force. The 650 supporters ($150 ticket) at the MGM Grand gave standing ovations to the three Patriots of the Year, some clients’ moving expressions of gratitude and guest speaker, former Congressman Mike Rogers. They also bid $26,350 in a brief live auction. The dinner and auction will net more than $100,000, 97 percent of which directly assists warriors and their families with immediate financial needs. This exceptional payout is because everybody is a volunteer, even Executive Director Dr. Lynn Phillips. And those proceeds are but a fraction of the FWSF annual distribution, which last year totaled $715,514 and helped 476 Michigan vets. The 150 people who helped raise those funds at other events throughout the year were honored with a VIP reception preceding the dinner. As board president Rob Grimaldi said, “ We’re careful stewards of your care for the vets who care for us.”

JVS Trade Secrets

More than 400 advocates of vocational education for women ($150 ticket) gathered at the Troy Marriott for the 10th annual Trade Secrets event. The signature chance raffle ( bigger than ever with 190 donated items arranged in 62 packages) was a diversion during the wine reception preceding dinner. Cheryl Chodin emceed the program which had two stars. Women to Work program graduate Paula Perelman not only drove all the way from Marquette to be honored, but she also solicited a sponsor donation from her brother. “What a tremendous honor,” she declared, adding, “(JVS’s) Judy Richmond’s love, wisdom, strength and grace...made me a victor, not a victim.” When 2010 honoree photographer Linda Solomon presented 2018 honoree Camille Walker Banks, she noted that 2016 honoree, SkinnyTees founder Linda Schlesinger-Wagner, is a graduate of Banks’ small business program (10KSB) at WSU. “It’s CEO school...her graduates outpace all the competition,” said Solomon who was wearing a SkinnyTee like the one Oprah Winfrey wears on the March cover of “O”. Walker Banks’ career path illustrated her admonition about the importance of learning from one’s mistakes. She also shared three secrets – don’t settle; think like an entrepreneur; own who you are – and suggested, to great applause, that entrepreneurs in the room should look to Women to Work graduates for employees. Thanks also to generous sponsors, (see photo gallery) the evening will add more than $220,000 to the $1.5-million past Trade Secrets have raised to assist more than 10,000 women job seekers. Strictly Business, the other big JVS annual fundraiser, is Tuesday, June 14, and will star GM’s Mark Reuss as luncheon speaker.

Figo Salon ALS benefit

Chef Anthony Lombardo wowed the 50 benevolent fun lovers who dined in Rino and Kristina Marra’s Figo Salon in Birmingham to donate to the ALS association ($150 each). Event planner Jon Gerych, whose wife has ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), transformed the upscale hair salon into an upscale dining room for the Saturday night dinner party. And yes, the menu did include a pasta dish (Orecchietti Grano Arso) similar to that which Lombard intends to feature at his soon-to-open SheWolf restaurant (Selden Building in midtown Detroit) where he will mill his own pasta flour.

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

Eton Academy Auction

DSO Classical Roots Celebration

Birmingham Rotary Club’s Masters Madness

Sing Out 4 Kids

SHINE Fashion Show by Variety, The Children’s Charity


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

Bloomfield Hills Schools Foundation Executive Director Cathie Badalmenti is chairing the foundation’s fundraiser, The Magic of BHS, Saturday, March 24 at Wabeek Country Club. Plans include valet parking, cocktails (6 pm-VIP, 6:30-general), strolling dinner, casino games, auction, wine pull, grub pull and live entertainment by talented BHS students plus a special performance by The Jills alumnae. For tickets ($250-VIP, includes 2 drink tickets; $125-cash bar) go to

Larissa Thompson, Jennifer Mohl and Andrea Myrick are chairing the Charlotte’s Wings 11th Annual Gala Benefit 6 pm, Saturday, March 24 at the Royal Park Hotel. Plans include a March Madness Lounge, live music from SpaceCat, top shelf cash bar, dinner, dancing and Charlotte's Wings' signature fabulous live and silent auctions, hosted by Charles Wickins, The English Auctioneer. Tickets are $100 per person and proceeds will benefit Charlotte’s Wings’ mission to provide new books to children in health crises. For more information email

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

The Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan 2018 Cookie Gala is 6 – 9 pm, Wednesday, March 28 at the MGM Grand. Plans include signature cocktails, the creations of 8 chefs using Girl Scout cookies, and live and silent auction action. For tickets ($100) call Jeni Carino at 313-870-2545 or go to

Theresa Meegan is chairing the Friends of the Rochester Hills Public Library 5th annual Wine, Wit & Wisdom 6:30-10 pm, Saturday, April 14 at the Library (500 Olde Towne Rd. in downtown Rochester). Plans include a strolling dinner with beverages (wine, beer, soft drinks), and desserts, a silent auction and 45-minute presentations (each guest can get to two) by informative speakers. Topics include: The Mackinac Bridge – Then and Now; Going Grammando: A Linguist’s Look at Language Peeves; Michigan Lighthouses, an Aerial Photographic Perspective; Detroit in World War II; Motorsports: The Thrill of the Track. Get tickets ($55, $65 after April 2) at the library or online for a fee at

MGM Grand’s Juliette Okotie-Eboh and Children’s Hospital of Michigan’s Luanne Thomas Ewald, are chairing Gleaners 25th annual Women’s Power Breakfast, 7 am, Thursday, April 19 at Little Caesars Arena. A month later, Jaffe Raitt Heuer & Weiss’ Judith Greenstone Miller and Hennessey Engineers’ Joan Hennessey are chairing the 5th annual Women’s Power Happy Hour 5:30 – 7:30 pm, Tuesday, May 22 at the MGM Grand. For tickets to both go to The founding chair is Dulcie Rosenfeld. Skillman Foundation’s Tonya Allen is the honorary presenter. Honorary chairs are Jessie Beld Elliott, Amanda Fisher, Jennifer Granger and Vivian Pickard.

The Ted Lindsay Foundation’s popular annual Wine Tasting is 6 pm, Thursday, April 19 at Troy’s San Marino Club. Plans include celebrity wine pourers, a strolling dinner, wines, a silent auction and complimentary valet parking. The honorary winemaker is Farmington Hills native Sonja Magdevski of Casa Dimetz wines ( For tickets ($125) go to at or call Lyn laPaugh at 248-310-2853. Proceeds support research and educational programs focusing on the cause and management of Autism Spectrum Disorders.

ALIVE 2018, a benefit for the Donate Life Coalition of Michigan, is 6:30 – 11 pm, Friday, April 20 at the Art Moran Buick Showroom on Telegraph in Southfield.

Shannon Lazovski is chairing the Grace Centers of Hope annual Women Helping Women Luncheon & Fashion Show Saturday, April 21 at the Royal Park Hotel. Plans also include a silent auction. For sponsorships and tickets ($100) call Susan Cetnar at 248-334-2187, ext. 1131.

The Piston’s Vinnie Johnson is the honorary chair of the Rainbow Connection’s Dream Makers Ball, Saturday, April 21 at the MGM Grand. Plans include cocktails, dinner, live auction, and dancing to the music of The Rhoedes Band. The magical evening will include a special appearance of featured guests, WYCD 99.5 morning show: Chuck, Rachael and Grunwald. For sponsorships and tickets ($200) , go to Proceeds grant wishes for seriously ill children.

Sandy Pierce, Andra Rush and Gina Coleman are chairing the Michigan Women’s Foundation 2018 Lights, Courage Action! 5:30 pm, Monday, April 23 at Cobo Center. For sponsorships and tickets ($175, $250) go to

Marge Kaiser and Sue May are chairing the Meadow Brook Theatre Guild 37th annual Luncheon on the Aisle 10:30 am, Thursday, April 27 at the Theatre located at 207 Wilson Hall on the Oakland University campus. Plans include the LOA Bake Shoppe, a basket raffle of great prizes, jewelry raffle, door prizes, a box lunch for dining in the theatre seats and a working rehearsal of the play, “The All Night Strut!”, a two-act musical celebration of the 30’s and 40’s.This annual event is usually sold out. For more information and tickets contact the Meadow Brook Theatre Box Office at 248-377-3300. Tickets are $30 seniors (62 and older), $35 for individuals, $100/Benefactor- acknowledgement of donation). Groups of 8 or more, can contact Group Sales at 248-370-3316.

Patti Chinonis, Paula Garrity and Connie Quarrier are chairing the Christ Child Society pour les enfants Boutique and Luncheon at Pine Lake Country Club. Plans include shopping and a chance raffle, beginning at 10 am and luncheon at noon. The luncheon will include a fashion show by Bell & White with CCS members modeling outfits from local retailers selected by Bell & White. The society also honor Nancy Barnett as the 2018 Woman of the Year. For tickets ($75) go to

The Oakland County Bar Foundation Signature event is 6:30- 9 pm, Thursday, April 26 at Oakland Hills Country Club. Plans include food, drink and fellowship. For sponsorships and tickets ($175) call Katie Tillinger at 248-334-3400. Proceeds support legal services and education.

Ford Motor Company is presenting the Detroit Zoological Society Wildlife Conservation Gala, 6- 9:30 pm, Friday, April 27 at the zoo’s Wildlife Interpretive Center. Plans include hors d’oeuvres, cocktails, a sit-down dinner, a brief presentation on the DZS’s worldwide work to save species from extinction, and announcement of the 2018 Nautilus Awardee. The evening will also feature a raffle with the chance to win “zoonique” prizes. Tickets start at $300 and can be purchased at .

Ashley Crain and Gretchen Davidson are co-chairing Cranbrook Academy of Art STUDIO 2018, 6:30 pm, Saturday, April 28 at the academy. Plans include strolling through the students and artists-in-residence studios, a reception, short program, banquet dinner and an (AFTER)STUDIO dance party. Proceeds from STUDIO support scholarships benefiting Cranbrook Academy of Art students and the Cranbrook Art Museum. For tickets ($300, $500) go to .

Kelly Dean is coordinating The Older Persons’ Commission Night in Monte Carlo 5:30 pm, Saturday, April 28 at the Royal Park Hotel. Plans include a salute to the Meals on Wheels volunteers, WXYZ’s Dave LewAllen as emcee, complimentary valet, music, food, cash bar, raffle prizes, casino games, silent auction and entertainment. For sponsorships and tickets ($150) call 248-659-1029 or go to Proceeds will support the Meals on Wheels program.

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

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