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  • Sally Gerak

Week of 4.30.18

United Way Anniversary Gala

Nearly 500 party goers ($250-ticket) gathered at City Airport to celebrate The Power of One – that is 100-plus1 years of combining resources to strengthen the community. Lounge seating, stages and dramatic lighting accented the terminal. Before the program, acrobats from Detroit Circus and violinists from Jordan Broder’s NUCLASSICA (see photo gallery) provided diversion while guests bought raffle tickets, bantered and imbibed signature drinks named after major sponsors. Forte Belanger staffers passed hors d’oeuvres and some guests trekked to the food stations for such bites as beef Argentina, short ribs and sushi. Remarks by board chair Mark Petroff and event co-chair Bill Ford recalled the organization’s origins as the Torch Drive and the membership growth in UW’s Alex de Tocqueville Society ($10,000 per year minimum donation) which Bill and Lisa Ford chair. Auctioneer Jason Lamoreaux then conducted a brief live auction that garnered $27,400 and a paddle raise that brought in nearly $170,000. Combined with a match by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and sponsorships (see photo gallery) the celebration raised some $1.2-million for UW’s third grade reading initiative. A performance by British Grammy winner Corinne Bailey Rae and dancing to DJ Prevu’s music concluded the festivities.

Alternatives For Girls Role Model Dinner

The Rise Up, City Rose theme with its E.E. Cummings quote – “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are” – were splendid accents for the annual fundraiser spotlighting aspirations and accomplishments. The annual event, chaired by past role model honorees Faye Nelson and Pam Rodgers, attracted 380 to Cobo Center for networking, silent auction bidding ($15,849), dinner and a four-item, live auction ($10,450). But the highlights of the evening were in the messages of four AFG participants. Recently homeless Kaye Lynn Fields’ declared, “Alternatives For Girls saved my life.” Sierra Bentley said she wanted to get a PhD in astronomy. Eboni Edwards mentioned she has been accepted by six colleges while working two jobs. Leah Perry that she has learned, “...if you want something, don’t be afraid to ask for help.” Together with remarks by honorees Alicia Boler Davis, Monica Martinez and Deborah Labelle, they inspired nearly $50,000 in Fund the Mission pledges. Thanks also to sponsorships (see photo gallery), the 27th annual event raised $287,145 for AFG’s remarkably successful shelter, transition, prevention and outreach programs.

Girl Scouts Cookie Gala

Seven chefs used Girl Scout cookies as the main ingredient in recipes sampled by 350 guests ($100 tickets) who gathered in the MGM Grand ballroom for the 16th annual Cookie Gala. Guests voted thusly: the People’s Choice award went to Crispelli’s Shawn Wright; Girl’s Choice to 5101’s Kristin Jablonsky; CEO’s Choice to Holiday Market’s Sandi Fox; Judges Choice to MGM Grand’s Orlando Santos; Honorable Mentions to Big Rock’s Eric Voigt; Granite City’s Justin Samueloff and Treat Dreams’ Cheryl Allen. They also bid for goodies in a silent auction as well as a live auction conducted by Gregory Bator after top cookie-seller Kylia Welch spoke about all she has learned in scouting. The 10-year-old Detroit scout made a compelling pitch for scouting and for people to support the council’s initiative for underprivileged girls in southeast Michigan by bidding in the live auction. The $12,000 it raised, plus generous sponsors (see photo gallery), brought the event total to nearly $130,000 to support the more than 24,000 girls and adult volunteers served by the Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan (GSSEM).

Friends of Rochester Hills Library benefit

A record crowd of 300-plus people ($55, $65 tickets) gathered at the Rochester Hills Library for the Friends’ 5th annual Wine, Wit and Wisdom fundraiser chaired by Theresa Meegan whose husband leads the Friends’ board. In addition to a strolling dinner and silent auction they could choose two presentations from five offered. The speakers were U-M professor / linguist Anne Curzon, Mackinac Bridge Authority chief engineer Kim Nowack, Michigan lighthouse expert John Wagner, motorsports aficionado and longtime Audi executive Marc Trahan and entomologist and beekeeper at the Michigan State University Extension Abi Saeed. Top draw in the auction ($500 by the Fox automotive family) was a gourmet dinner for eight prepared by library director Christine Hage. It helped the event gross more than $17,000 to augment the library’s government budget.

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

Michigan Humane Society Bow Wow Brunch

Gleaners Women’s Power Breakfast

Daffodils4Detroit Luncheon

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

Michigan Women’s Foundation Lights, Courage Action!

Project 1 Whose Your Bartender

Meadow Brook Theatre Guild Luncheon on the Aisle

Christ Child Society Boutique and Luncheon

Oakland County Bar Foundation Signature Event

Detroit Zoological Society Conservation Gala

Cranbrook Academy of Art STUDIO

Older Persons’ Commission Night in Monte Carlo


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

Adele Acheson and Linzie Venegas are chairing the inaugural Women Rock Science 6:30 – 9 pm, Wednesday, May 9 at Cranbrook Institute of Science. Plans include valet parking, 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

Ruth Porter, Isabelle Smith, Eileen Evans, Sally Parsons and Nancy Breithart are chairing the University of Michigan Birmingham Alumnae Club’s scholarship benefit dinner Rhapsody in Blue & Gold 6 pm, Thursday, May 17 at Orchard Lake Country Club. Plans include cash bar, dinner, and presentation by professor Mark Claque about the Gershwin Library at the School of Music, Theater and Dance. For a reservation ($75) call Breithart by May 7 at 248--641-7209.

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

The South Oakland Shelter 3rd annual Rent Party is 7 pm, Saturday, June 2 at Paddy Lynch’s historic Detroit home in the Arden Park-East Boston Edison Historic District. Plans include self parking with shuttle, three stages of jazz curated by the top local music venues of the genre, a strolling dinner and open bar. For sponsorships and tickets ($125, $250-VIP includes 5-7 pm tour of neighboring homes) .

Marianne Bolton, Carolyn Andree, Sue Nine and Lisa Wilson are chairing the 17th Anniversary Celebration of Samaritan Center Thursday, June 7. Plans include 5:30 pm dinner at Cuisine restaurant followed by 8 pm performance of “Motown the Musical” at the Fisher Theatre. For tickets ($200) call Karen at 517-423-7556.

Shannon & Terry Harvill are chairing Sunset at the Zoo 7 – 11 pm, Friday, June 8. The 21-and-older event presented by Strategic Staffing is held rain or shine. Plans include a strolling supper with tastes of signature dishes from 45 of the area’s finest restaurants as well as desserts and zoo-themed specialty drinks, live entertainment by Detroit Flyhouse and the Kuungana Drum and Dance Troupe, live music by The Jerry Ross Band and Tom Butwin, dancing under the stars, live and silent auctions, and access to many of the Zoo’s award-winning animal habitats. Attire is “summer chic”. For tickets ($175-supporter in advance, $200-at the door; $325-patron in advance, $350-at the door, include a 5:30 – 7 pm VIP reception sponsored by ITC Holdings Corp. in the African Grasslands) go to . Proceeds support the Detroit Zoological Society’s wide array of education programs.

Christine and David Colman and Susu Sosnick are chairing the ChildSafe Legends of Tomorrow Gala Friday, June 8 at the Townsend Hotel. Plans include the VIP reception at 6 pm in the Clancy room, gala reception at 7 in the Main Ballroom Lobby, cocktails, dinner, brief program, live auction and musical entertainment. For sponsorships and tickets ($300, $500-VIP and up) contact Ashley Hudson at 248-554-6413.

Beth Gothelf and Bob Canvasser are chairing the JVS Strictly Business luncheon Thursday, June 14 at the MGM Grand. GM’s Mark Reuss will be the keynote speaker. Plans also include valet parking, networking, cash bar and lunch plus award presentations to Broder & Sachse Real Estate, Inc and Fuse45’s Samantha Friedman. For sponsorships and tickets ($150 and up) go to .

The 15th anniversary of Salute America is 7 pm, Friday, June 22 at The Lafayette Grande in Pontiac. Plans for the Lighthouse of Oakland County benefit include a 1940's Americana theme (with musical entertainment provided by the Rhythm Society Orchestra - a "big band" specializing in true vintage swing music of the '30s and '40s, valet parking, a seated dinner, complimentary open bar, silent and live auction, a presentation highlighting how your support makes a difference, as well as a special tribute to honoree Andy Meisner. Sponsors arrive at 6 pm. For sponsorships and tickets ($150, $250) got to

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

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