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  • Sally Gerak

Week of 4.9.18

Brother Rice Irish Nite XLI

Most of the 41 Brother Rice High School fundraising auctions have been held in the school gym. But this year school loyalists, 400 strong, gathered on St. Patrick’s Day at Birmingham Country Club to bid, banter and imbibe. Among the guests were retired football coach Al Fracassa and retired principal John Birney. Both were greeting alums who now have sons of their own at the school. Lively fellowship reigned throughout the club where multiple rooms provided separate venues for multiple activities – raffles ($13,500), wine pull ($3,000), silent auction ($81,000), buffet with carving station. But partygoers crowded into the main dining room for the live auction conducted with good humor by school president Tom Reidy and principal Ed Okuniewski. The top dollar item ($10,000 for the private plane round trip Fly Away for nine people for a two-three night trip) brought the auction total to $60,000. Combined with the $10,000 Paddle Raise income and generous sponsors (see photo gallery), Irish Nite XLI grossed more than $300,000.

Sharin’ O’ the Green

Detroit’s historic (since 1834) Most Holy Trinity Parish St. Patrick’s Day Celebration traditionally attracts people from all over the metropolitan area including politicians and civic leaders. They know whatever they drop in the collection basket will benefit the parish medical clinic, legal clinic, food pantry and clothing closet that serve the neighborhood needy. And for more than 50 years, a luncheon held at the nearby Corktown IBEW Hall has added “green” to the charity kitty. This year approximately 1,000 people attended the Mass (celebrated by Bishop Gerard Battersby with traditional Irish music and bagpipers) and 450 of them had tickets ($40) for the sold-out lunch. The menu put a modern twist on Celtic favorites like corned beef and cabbage sliders, mini shepherd’s pies and Irish cheddar mini grilled cheese sandwiches. Beer selections included Guinness, American standards and local craft beers. Family-friendly diversions included a band, Irish dancers and a magician. And three Good Samaritans – John Lenihan, Mary Ellen King, and Alfred Mirabitur. – were honored for extraordinary volunteer dedication to the outreach ministries. For the first time, a late afternoon Mass was followed by the Young Adult Happy Hour. It drew another 75 revelers who lingered well past the advertised 7pm close. The two socials, chaired by Maureen Miller Brosnan, grossed about $120,000 for the parish’s charities.

West Point Founders Day Dinner

West Point alumni around the world annually celebrate the Military Academy’s 1802 founding and have done so since the Civil War ended. The West Point Society of Michigan (WPSMI), which conducts a leadership, ethics and STEM skills program for Detroit area youth, saluted the Military Academy’s 216th anniversary at the Founders Day Dinner chaired by Jim Suhay ’66. It attracted 190 ($75 ticket) to the Auburn Hills Marriott and featured Pat Locke ’80 as guest speaker. She recalled how the impressive appearance and demeanor of the soldiers camped near her very humble home during the 1967 Detroit riots inspired her decision to apply to West Point. As the first African American woman to graduate from West Point, she has dedicated her retirement to improving life skills of underserved youth. The evening was accented with traditions and toasts including one, in absentia, to the fallen soldier for whom a dinner place was set, a video message from the West Point superintendent and remarks from the oldest and youngest grad in attendance ( MG Jim Pocock ’57 and Caleb McCullum ’08). Among those applauding were 20 future cadets who were cheered when they were introduced. Len Dixon ’73 was awarded the WPSMI Distinguished Member of the Year award and emcee/WPSMI president Tom Lynch ’82 shared some Irish humor because it was St. Patrick’s Day. However, in typical military style, the dinner ended on schedule.

Women's Fund of Rochester

Representatives of the Women's Fund of Rochester recently presented a grant to Career Dress at the non-profit’s Pontiac boutique where low and moderate income women who are actively seeking employment can select professional attire. Career Dress has 10 dedicated volunteers. Last year they dressed 320 women. The Women's Fund grant will go towards bus passes and gas cards to get the women to the boutique, to their job interviews and, hopefully, to economic independence.

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

Habitat for Humanity-Oakland Women Build Luncheon

Women’s Division Project HOPE Tea

Women of Tomorrow Inspiring Detroit Dinner

Junior League of Birmingham Little Black Dress Brunch

Bloomfield Hills Schools Foundation Magic of BHS

Charlotte’s Wings Gala Benefit

Alternatives for Girls Role Model Dinner

Girl Scouts Cookie Gala


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

Becky Hanel and Peggy Meador are chairing the Michigan Humane Society Bow Wow Brunch 10:30 am – 2 pm, Sunday, April 15 at the MGM Grand. Plans include valet parking, a champagne reception, custom cocktails, live jazz, silent auction, the three-course brunch, live auction and a prize for best animal-inspired outfit. Guests may also pledge dollars to get GreenSpace Café’s Dr. Joel Kahn, Michigan Humane Society President / CEO Matt Pepper, Premier Pet Supply’s Mike Palmer and Summit Property Management’s Nicolette Romans-LeBlanc out of the Doghouse. For tickets ($250-adult, $100-child) call 248-283-5662 or go to .

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. Plans include free parking, strolling hors d’oeuvres, restaurant stations, silent auction, photo booth, the Treasure Chest, wine/beer/specialty drinks, desserts, brief remarks by Secretary of State Ruth Johnson and a concert by Your Generation In Concert. For tickets ($60-adult, $35-student) call 248-770-5172 or go online to .

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. 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

Kellie Kennedy is chairing the popular Project 1 Whose Your Bartender event, 5 pm-11pm, Tuesday, April 24 at Dick O’Dow’s. The bartenders and their non-profits are: Erin Keating DeWald and Renee Acho for South Oakland Shelter; Mark Breimeister and Lauren Crocker for Detroit Dog Rescue (DDR); Terri Macksoud for Project 1, Sandra Hamady and Bryan Smolinski for Gigi’s Playhouse, Mike Walls and Rob Chimelak for U CAN-CER VIVE; Niraj Sarda and Sasha Archer for Imerman Angels; Sandy Nida and Stacey Dewey for Suite Dreams; Doris Gilles, Nicole Walker and Christina Schneider for Project Beautiful.

Marge Kaiser and Sue May are chairing the Meadow Brook Theatre Guild 37th annual Luncheon on the Aisle 10:30 am, Thursday, April 26 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 Thursday, April 26 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.

The Alzheimer’s Association Sip, Savor & Shop Spring Soiree is 6-9 pm, Wednesday, May 2 at Neiman Marcus. The event co-chairs are Rachel and Christian Adenaas, Tara and Steven Grekin, Tammy and Joe Haney, Danielle and Andrew Petcoff, Lori and Lawrence Rapp, Amie and Daniel Stern and Whitney and Eliot Weiner. Plans include tequila tasting sponsored by Lalique, Shinola pop-up shop, Shinola Cola Bar, “Make it your Own” on-site Shinola personalization (belts, journals), "Made to Measure" services, Coravin wine opener demonstration & tasting, fashion animations, gift wrapping station, and a grand raffle for a "Season of Shoes" courtesy of Neiman Marcus ($3,000 value). For tickets ($75, raffle-$50, need not be present to win) go to or call Maureen O'Reilly at 248-996-1050.

Stephanie Freedman, Deborah Rosenthal and Julie Rothstein are chairing ORT and the City 6:30 pm, Wednesday, May 2 at Eastern Market. Plans include a silent auction of one-of-a-kind art designed by emerging and nationally recognized Detroit artists juried by and sponsored by local art collectors, a strolling dinner via food trucks, passed hors d’oeuvres, dessert, an open bar with signature cocktails, a very desirable gift bag featuring an item from B.May and a raffle. The Grand Prize is a Season of Designer Shoes at Neiman Marcus, Somerset Collection; the Second Prize is a Peloton Bike Bundle; Third Prize is a private Detroit Street Art Bus Tour for 24 guests; and the Fourth Prize is a $500 gift card to Ticketmaster. Raffle winners do not need to be present to win. Raffle Tickets (1 for $25 | 3 for $50 | 10 for $100 | 25 for $200. For tickets ($100; $55-young adult; $250 for 2 inc. 5 raffle tickets; $500-benefactor, inc. 2 plus 18 raffle tickets) or by calling the ORT office at 248-723-8860.

The SKY Foundation Women’s Event is 5:30 pm, Wednesday, May 2 at the Townsend Hotel. Plans include cash bar, dinner and updates on pancreatic cancer research. For tickets ($75) call 248-385-5143.

HAVEN’s Blossom Gala is Thursday, May 3 at the Royal Oak Farmers Market. Plans include 5:pm VIP Reception, 6 pm cocktails, 7 pm dinner and program, live music, silent and live auctions and inspiring speakers. For sponsorships and tickets ( $175 before April 16; $200.after April 16; $200-supporter,$500-patron, $75-under 30; $1,000 for 2 VIPs) go to .

Deacon Michael & Joyce McKale, Allen Wall & Mary Cafferty, Johny & Leila Kello, Victor & Michelle Saroki and Bishop Robert Fisher are the honorary chairs for the Spirit of Manresa Banquet 6 pm Thursday, May 3 at Shenandoah Country Club. Plans include a talk by noted author Chris Lowney, a Super Silent auction, 50/50 raffle and access to the Chaldean Cultural Center. For tickets ($150 & up) go to or call 248-644-4933 Ext. 100.

Clayton and McKervey’s Denise Asker is chairing the Walsh College Springfest 6-9 pm, Friday, May 4 at the Royal Oak Farmer’s Market. Plans include valet parking, craft beer & wine tasting, local food trucks, old-fashioned carnival games and great networking. Proceeds will benefit the Walsh College Scholarship Fund. For tickets ($100) go to .In addition to individual tickets sponsorships are also available. Contact Holly Blust at 248-823-1245 or

Humble Design Beauty Within Luncheon is 11 am-2 pm, Saturday, May 5 at the DTE Atrium in Detroit. Plans include lunch, drinks, a silent auction and panel discussion with Jen Guarino from Shinola, Julie James from Drought and Amy Peterson from Rebel Nell moderated by Dr. Rita Fields. For tickets ($100) go to .

The Community House President’s Advisory Council is hosting the second annual Birmingham Downs 5 – 9 pm, Saturday, May 5 at The House. Plans include strolling food stations, beer, wine and cocktails, music and dancing, silent auction and the running of the 144th Kentucky Derby on the big screen. Hats and derby attire are strongly encouraged. Prizes will be awarded for “Best Dressed”. For tickets ($50-early bird thru April 24; $75 after) call 248-644-5832 or go to . Proceeds benefit the children’s programs and services provided by The Community House.

Michael Coyne and Laurie Fischgrund are chairing Variety, the Children’s Charity Hearts & Stars Saturday, May 5 at The Townsend. The program will honor Felicia and Ed Shaw for their 25 years of dedicated commitment to the children of Variety. Plans include cocktails & hors d’oeuvres at 6:30 pm; dinner and program at 7:45. The Presenting Sponsor is Lincoln of Troy. For tickets ($250-friend, $500-Wish Upon a Star includes Derby Watch reception at 5:30 pm) go to or call 248-258-5511.

Robert Gaylor and Russell Moore are chairing the Oakland Literacy Council fifth Motor City Wine and Food Festival. It kicks off 2 – 6 pm, Sunday, May 6 with a Prohibition Frolic at The Players Club in Detroit. Plans include valet parking, savory appetizers, a dessert medley, drinks (including a special Speak Easy concoction), toe tapping music, a tour of the Player’s Club and light-hearted entertainment presented by the Players ensemble. Tickets are $150 per person. The festival continues 1 – 5 pm, Sunday, May 20 with--Bocce, Bocce, Bocce! at Palazzo di Bocce, 4291 Lapeer Road, Lake Orion. Plans include friendly games of lawn bowling, cheering the teams that include some local celebrities, Italian buffet, open bar, the musical magic of Joe Recchia and a vintage car display. Tickets are $75 per person. Go to for tickets to both events.

Julie Beals, Judy Jonna, Martha Kistler, Sally Mezey and Diane Widlak are planning Angels Place WINGS Evening of Spring Fashion Wednesday, 6 pm, May 9 at Neiman Marcus. Plans include valet parking, small bites, wine, signature cocktails, a gift basket raffle, gift bags and fashion show by Real Styels. For tickets ($60, $100- includes WINGS’ membership) go to

Amy Spitznagel is the honorary chair of the Suite Dreams Project Hats Off Luncheon 11 am, Friday, May 11 at the Townsend Hotel. Plans include a social hour, brief program and lunch followed by the third annual Hat Crawl (wine tastings at 3 local restaurants). For tickets ($150-friend; $200-patron; $1,250-taable for 10; $50-Hat Crawl) call 248-601-0799.

Rev. Msgr. Anthony Tocco and Aviva & Dean Friedman will be honored at the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival 25th Anniversary Founders Gala 6 pm, Saturday, May 12 at Detroit’s Colony Club. Plans include a cocktail reception, musical performance by James Tocco and Paul Watkins, dinner and dessert. Parking is in the Fox Theatre Garage.

Nancy Hodari & Toni Sova are chairing the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation Spring Ingo Health, Wellness & Style Event 11 am, Thursday, May 17 at the Townsend Hotel. Plans include guest speaker author Michael Tonello, a silent auction, ultimate raffle, a compelling testimonial from Mission Moment Speaker Brandon Pomish and presentation of the 2018 Harriett Fuller Uniting to Care & Cure honoree Dr. Robert DiPilla. For tables and tickets ($185-patron; $285-benefactor) go to events at .

Beth Cafaro is chairing Eisenhower Dance Detroit 27th Annual Gala 6 pm, Friday, May 18 at Detroit’s Garden Theater. Plans include valet parking, cocktails, a short dance performance by the company, dinner, dancing and a silent auction. For tickets ($140-paatron; $90-junior patron; $1,400-table) call 248-877-2860 or go to .

Beaumont Health will be honored at Starfish Family Services Great Hearts Gala 6 pm, Friday, May 18 at Ford Field. Plans include valet parking, cocktails, dinner, a live auction and afterglow dance party. For tickets ($225; $500-patron) go to .

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 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.

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

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