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  • Sally Gerak

Week of 4.16.18

Women of Tomorrow Inspiring Detroit Dinner

“We would be nothing without you,” Women of Tomorrow Executive Director Jill Harris said to the mentors among the 200 guests ($175 tickets) assembled at the Detroit Athletic Club for the organization’s second annual fundraising dinner chaired by Florine Mark and Anne Parsons. Paula Tutman emceed the program that featured inspirational remarks by board chair Ellen Hill Zeringue plus a WoT participant and a graduate, the first in her family to go to college. A candlelight procession of the current high school graduates earned them a standing ovation before the presentation of five extraordinary people: Leader Awardees WDIV’s Marla Drutz, PNC’s Gina Coleman and iHeartMichigan Media’s Nick Gnau and Mentors of the Year Judith Trepeck and Joanne Faycurry. (The latter’s old friend former Neiman Marcus manager Ariela Shani was there from Utah to support her.) Thanks also to generous sponsors (see photo gallery), a cocktail hour silent auction, a two-item live auction and pledging for scholarships ($22,500), the event grossed more than $172,500. Proceeds will support the mentoring and scholarship program that pairs 130 highly accomplished women with more than 1,000 at-risk girls in 49 Metro Detroit public high schools for inspiration, motivation and guidance.

Figure Skating in Detroit Reception

“I can do anything...falling down is not the end of the world...I’m a master at setting goals...(I will be in) the 2026 Olympics,” eight-year-old Layla Wagner confidently told the 155 guests ($50 - $10,000 tickets) gathered in The CUBE at the Max & Marjorie Fisher Music Center. They assembled to celebrate the organization for girls of color that combines the power of education and leadership with the discipline of figure skating to build champions in life. It is completing its first year in Detroit after being singularly selected for expansion by its 20-year old “sister” Figure Skating in Harlem. The reception program emceed by WDIV’s Kimberly Gill was packed with highlights. The Michigan Women’s Foundation and Liz (Punsalan) and Jerod Swallow’s Detroit Skating Club were honored for critical support. Amway’s Candice Matthews was thanked for adding three years of FSD support ($75,000) to her 15 years of support for FSH. Detroit Director Dr. Geneva Williams and Champions Committee co-chairs Meryl Davis and Alissandra Aronow cited how FSD is transforming lives. But the icing on the cake was special guest / Supremes original Mary Wilson, a 20-year supporter of the Harlem program. She reminisced briefly (“Detroiters are the greatest people in the world”) before singing three Supremes hits with audience members joyously joining her on stage as back-up singers. The event generated more than $50,000 to help get girls off the waiting list for FSD’s after school program.

Women’s Division Project HOPE Tea

As harpist Onita Sanders made beautiful music and Dior artists applied touch-ups, 68 ladies ($65, $75, $100 tickets) sipped and socialized during the Hats Off to New members Tea Lidija Grahovac chaired at the Townsend. Sue Nine, honorary chair with Maggie Allesee, spoke about Tea and Project HOPE traditions. Spring fashions from Nina McLemore were modeled to great approval. Guests also shopped at displays by Artloft and international hat designer Luke Song. The latter sold 14 creations and donated one to the raffle. It was won by Betty Bright.

Habitat for Humanity of Oakland County Women Build Luncheon

To ring in its fifth year, Habitat Oakland’s Women Build Team hosted a Welcome Home luncheon at The Community House accented with music by singer/songwriter Mike Stefaniak. Led by WB founder/entrepreneur Johnna Struck (Changing Places Moving owner), 177 Habitat for Humanity advocates heard Laura Miehls talk about traveling the globe to build with Habitat Global Village and moving testimonials from four partner homeowners detailing the improvement in their lives created by homeownership. The WB team is committed to a world where everyone has a decent place to live. New team members are welcomed with open arms. Each contributes $500 annually, and, from August through December, participates in the actual construction alongside the future owner. To make homeownership possible for an area family the 2018 fundraising goal is $100,000. Women Build is holding a free How-to-Clinic at Lowe’s on April 28 from 10:00 am to 11:00 am. Advance registration is appreciated through Eventbrite at www.WomenBuildClinic.

McCann Worldgroup Gala

McCann Worldgroup Global President Diversified Agencies Bill Kolb welcomed about 175 guests to the lobby of his Birmingham offices for food, fun and to raise some cash for the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan (NKFM). Guests savored goodies from Andiamo, Forest, Forte Belanger, Griffin Claw Brewing Company, Plum Market, Two Unique, Vinotecca, Gayle’s Chocolates, Nibble and Nosh and White Pine Coffee. A silent auction offered tempting packages (raising $24,000) and a Giving Tree offered ornaments for purchase. Folks paused their cocktail hour chatter to hear kidney transplant recipient Shannon Brink’s expression of gratitude “...for my new chance at life.” Participants from Shannon’s five-person kidney transplant chain attending the gala included her donor Todd Ramsdell from Kalamazoo and her friend Sarah-Rae Andreski. (While Sarah-Rae wasn’t a match for Shannon, she tested as a “once in a lifetime” match and donated her kidney to a woman in Seattle.) The host, who is chairing the Kidney Walk on Sunday, May 20, also invited all to walk with him at the Detroit Zoo. The mission of the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan is to prevent kidney disease and improve the quality of life for those living with it.

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

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

United Way 101st Anniversary Gala

Friends of the RHP Library Wine, Wit & Wisdom

Michigan Humane Society Bow Wow Brunch


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.

Artist Tom Maniaci (Frame Your Face) is hosting his ninth annual Art of Giving 7 – 11 pm, Thursday, May 24 in The Elm Room inside Vinotecca (formerly The Bird & Bread). This year it will benefit S.O.U.L. ( Plans include a silent auction, a raffle, live auctions of a Frame Your Face paint-by-number canvas and Matt Richmond's Paper Dress Code dresses based on the artwork of Detroit-area artists Tony Roko, Kim Fujiwara, Carl Lundgren and Tom Maniaci signed by the artists, food by Vinotecca, signature cocktails and special appearance by The Detroit Piston Dancers. Tickets are $75 online, $100 at the door. Go to, or

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

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