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  • Sally Gerak

Week of 4.23.18

Junior League of Birmingham Little Black Dress Brunch

The Little Black Dress Initiative, started by the Junior League of London to acknowledge the fashion item that liberated women from corseted dressing, was embraced by the Birmingham league at its second LBD Brunch chaired by April Allard. It attracted 120 to The Community House for Saturday morning networking, shopping at Dee Wright Masilotti’s boutique filled with India Hicks accessories, and several notable presentations. President Noelle Schiffer recalled how her vintage DVF dress boosted her confidence years ago in Paris. Past president Susan Foley compellingly shared examples of the fantastic return on investment her 30 year-JLB history has had on her career. Lighthouse PATH’s Liz McLachlan saluted JLB as a founder of the life-changing agency. And former client Shannon Smith, now a PATH staff member, got a standing ovation when she finished her personal, moving story of survival. The event raised $5,000 for JLB’s community improvement and volunteer training programs.

Bloomfield Hills Schools Foundation Magic of BHS

The annual schools foundation benefit party attracted 180 advocates ($250, $125 tickets) to Wabeek Country Club to raise money for enrichment programs not in the regular budget. Pre-dinner diversions included socializing in the grill room as the BHHS Chamber Orchestra made music, bidding in the silent auction, the wine pull and grub grab ($5,000) and checking out the displays of student projects like Niranjan Anantharaman’s robot. The program following the buffet dinner had highlights: a reunion performance by Jills alumnae directed by Bruce Snyder and accented with a video of charming photos from the singing bell ringers’ high school days; a terrific Where Are They Now? video featuring alums like Lawrence Bacow, who went from president of the National Honor Society to be the 29th president of Harvard and Chad Smith who went from the high school marching band to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as the Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer; and riveting remarks by Christine Tang, who not only attended BHS for 12 years and taught there but is now a BHS parent. “I had so much fun at school I forgot I was learning,” she declared enthusiastically. A live auction and directed giving ($20,000-plus) brought the event total to $80,000. Casino gaming and watching the NCAA tournament rounded out the evening that was coordinated by BHS Foundation executive Director Cathie Badalmenti.

Charlotte’s Wings Gala Benefit

Charlotte’s Wings endeavors to help children and their families cope with the challenges of health crises by giving them new books. It was founded in 2008 to memorialize the short life of a beloved 5-month old child named Charlotte who had a rare, incurable brain disease. Since the inception of the all-volunteer non-profit, CW has donated over 87,000 books to its hospital partners throughout Michigan. Its 11th event to raise funds brought 463 ($100 ticket) to the Royal Park Hotel. The dinner program was highlighted by presenting the 2018 Rose Award for extraordinary service to Karen Holt and by Samantha Kopacz’s recollection of reading a CW-donated book to her newborn twins in the Beaumont NICU. (It was especially moving because one of the twins died shortly afterwards.) After dinner, the live auction ($19,300) and dedicated giving ($30,000), many guests retreated to the March Madness lounge to eat pizza and watch Michigan beat FSU in the NCAA tourney. Thanks also to the silent auction and sponsors (see photo gallery), the annual benefit netted $104,000.

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

Alternatives for Girls Role Model Dinner

Girl Scouts Cookie Gala

United Way 101st Anniversary Gala

Rochester Hills Library Wine, Wit & Wisdom

Michigan Humane Society Bow Wow Brunch

Gleaners Women’s Power Breakfast

Ted Lindsay Foundation Wine Tasting

Donate Life Coalition of Michigan ALIVE 2018

Grace Centers of Hope Women Helping Women Luncheon & Fashion Show

Roeper Scholarship Auction & Dinners


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

The inaugural Women Rock Science is 6:30 – 9 pm, Wednesday, May 9 at Cranbrook Institute of Science. Plans include hors d’oeuvres, cocktails, a gift bag, hands-on STEM and STEAM activities, a show in the Institute’s planetarium, the traveling exhibit Ancient Rome: Age of the Caesars presented by Flagstar Bank, and a display of stunning jewelry from Greenstone’s Fine Jewelers featuring Forevermark diamonds. A portion of the sales will support science education to underserved communities. The evening will honor women in STEM and STEAM education and expand the scope of the institute’s outreach programming in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). For tickets ($100, $250, $1,000, additional $50-to bring one’s mother) go to

JARCapalooza 2018 SpringElation – an all-inclusive family friendly evening - is 5:30 - 8:30 pm, Thursday, May 10 at Emagine Royal Oak. Plans include a complete dinner catered by Quality Kosher Catering, bowling for ALL abilities, face painting, magic shows, musical performances, kids cartoons, and a photo booth, as well as the movies “Avengers: Infinity War” (with open caption) and “Sherlock Gnomes!”. Proceeds support JARC’s broad range of services for men, women and children with developmental disabilities. For sponsorships and tickets ($25) visit or call 248-538-6611.

Eva Feldman and Jim Hiller are hosting a special presentation of Staring Down Fate Thursday May 10 at the Maple Theater. Plans include a 6 pm reception (appetizers, complimentary sodas, cash bar) and Q & A following the 7 pm film viewing with both the film producer as well as ALS researchers Dr. Eva Feldman and Dr. Stephen Goutman. The documentary film about searching for purpose in life and in mortality in the face of uncertainty is a story about 7.4 billion people and their relationship with nature told through one person's life - Chris Lucash, a red wolf biologist diagnosed with ALS. Proceeds benefit the ALS Center of Excellence at Michigan Medicine. For tickets ($50) go to or contact

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.

Robert Gaylor and Ellen & William Couch are chairing the Friends of the Kresge Library Fundraising Dinner 6 pm, Friday, May 11 at the library. Plans include The best of Oakland University’s Performance Arts. For tickets ($125) go to

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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