top of page
  • Sally Gerak

Week of 6.18.18

Women Rock Science

One of the region’s educational jewels – the Cranbrook Institute of Science – staged a women-focused fundraiser and 200 attended ($100, $250, $1,000 tickets). They conversed, sipped, snacked and cruised the exhibits before convening in the mineral hall for the program. Highlights included a description by event sponsor/jeweler Robert Greenstone of a 15-carat natural yellow diamond valued at $375,000. (See photo gallery.) It was from sponsor Forevermark’s collection, whose Jeff Skaret noted “...our diamonds are responsibly sourced...we are guests in these lands.” CIS board chair/DTE Energy’s Trevor Lauer introduced women on his team and passed the microphone to his associate Heather Rivard who was trained as an aerospace engineer. She echoed CIS director Matt Stafford’s message about the importance of getting young women interested in science. The evening, chaired by Adele Acheson and Linzie Venegas, raised more than $30,000 for outreach programming at the institute. Souvenir bags contained rocks; not the glistening kind like were in the Greenstone jewelry display, but edibles (rock candy and Pop Rocks), plus a jar of jewelry cleaner.

OU School of Nursing Nightingale Awards

The 30th annual celebration of excellence in the nursing profession attracted 675 to the San Marino Club. During the social hour they bid $6,000 on 23 chance raffle items and a silent auction item – dinner with Dean Judy Didion for 10 guests – while jazz pianist Bob Allesee made music as he has done for every one of the 30 years. The after dinner program led off with the presentation of the inaugural Legend Award to Maggie Allesee, who founded the event. Then it put real live Florence Nightingales in the spotlight. The inspiring award winners in 10 categories, selected from more than 100 nominees, were each featured in a video before accepting their statuette. They included Pamela Laszewski, Diane Zalecki Bertalan, Michele Rausch, Kino Anuddin, Marilyn Begle, Sabrina Zott, Deborah White, and Leesa Jones. Their stories, as well as the runner-ups who were featured in the print program, confirmed OU president Dr. Ora Hirsch Pescovitz’s assertion that “...nurses are the face of medicine.” Thanks to generous sponsors ($137,000, see Photo Gallery), the event raised $170,000 for RN scholarships and research.

Suite Dreams Project Hats Off Luncheon

Just as 17 years ago when this event debuted, most of the 365 guests ($150, $200 ticket) wore hats and looked like a million dollars as they socialized and sipped in the crowded Townsend ballroom lobby. The luncheon program highlights were the remarks made by the mothers and grandmother of the sick children featured in videos of rooms decorated by the talented SDP designers. One speaker marveled that “...they (change lives) for people they don’t even know.” Another declared the “new” room was a happy place, “... the best medicine my grandson could receive.” Event designer David C. McKnight announced two hat awards: Most Creative was Brandy Lewo; Most Chic was Patti Prowse. (See photo gallery.) After the chance raffle prizes were announced, departing guests picked up yummy orange Creamsicle Push-Ups in the lobby. These were the final salute to the creative event orange sherbet color scheme. About 75 of the guests ($50 add-on ticket) proceeded to bar hop on the Hat Crawl to the Triple Nickel, 220 Merrill and Bella Piatti for special drinks and a raffle prize. The 17th annual benefit was chaired by Amy Spitznagel and raised more than $100,000 to create special environments for seriously ill children.

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

Beaumont Foundation Heart & Style

Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation Spring Into Health, Wellness & Style

Eisenhower Dance Detroit Gala

Starfish Family Services Great Hearts Gala

The Furniture Bank Wine Tasting

Detroit Meals on Wheels at Matick Car Wash

Gleaners Women’s Power Events

Frame Your Face Art of Giving

Belle Isle Conservancy Grand Prixmiere

South Oakland Shelter Rent Party

Preservation Birmingham Dedication

Beaumont’s Drive for Life Invitational

Women’s Division Project HOPE SOS Luncheon

American House Foundation Fundraiser

Celebration of Samaritan Center

Sunset at the Zoo

ChildSafe Legends of Tomorrow Gala

The Garden Party Foundation Garden Party

Rose Hill Golf Fundraiser

Franklin Garden Walk

JVS Strictly Business

French American Chamber of Commerce Gala


The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit Fifth Annual Interchange Art + Dinner Series fundraiser offers eight dinners in spectacular locations from Detroit to New York state featuring landmark architecture, lakefront vistas and outstanding art collections. The next one is hosted by Norman Silk and Dale Morgan, 7:30 pm, Wednesday, June 20, 7:30pm at their Frank Lloyd Wright Turkel House in Detroit’s Palmer Woods. For tickets ($50-members, $75-non-members) call 313.832.6622 or go to

Karen and Matt Cullen will be honored at the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy Shimmer on the River 6:30 p.m., Thursday evening, June 21 at the Rivard Plaza. Plans include a VIP reception at 5:30 p.m., valet parking, exclusive preview of GM River Days attractions, open bar, strolling dinner, unlimited carnival rides and games. Suggested attire is ‘60s cocktail chic. For tickets ($250-VIP; $150-regfular; all include up to 2 children) contact or call 313.566.8215. The 12th annual GM River Days Festival presented by Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort continues Sat and Sunday, June 22-24. For the many, family-friendly attractions 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

Penny and Harold Blumenstein will be honored at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra 2018 Heroes Gala Saturday, June 23 at Orchestra Hall. Go to for details and tickets.

Blue Cross Blue Shield’s Dan Loepp is chairing the executive committee of the Parade Company’s Ford Fireworks Rooftop Party Monday, June 25, 5:30 – 11 pm, atop the Center Garage adjacent to the Renissance Center. Plans include Andiamo cuisine, Your Generation in concert, games and activities for all ages and the best seats in town for viewing the 60th annual Ford Fireworks. For tickets ( ($275-adult, $125-child 6 & under) call 313-923-7400 ext 244. The rain date is Tuesday, June 26.

Joann Gordon, Sandie Knollenberg and Diane Roelant are chairing the St. Hugo of the Hills Altar Guild Summer Garden Party, 6 pm, Saturday, July 14 at the Bloomfield Hills home of Jack Krasula. Plans include valet parking, a strolling supper and self-guided tours of the beautiful gardens. Proceeds will benefit Altar Guild charities. For tickets ($200) call Joann Gordon (248)939-6702, Sandie Knollenberg (248)770-3006 or Diane Roelant (248)225-0122.

Concert & Cuisine is 6 pm, Saturday, July 14 at Meadow Brook Theatre. Plans for the fourth annual MBT fundraiser include a pre-glow party with strolling cuisine, drinks and silent auction with an Under the Boardwalk theme to set the tone for The Drifters' famous repertoire of hits. Beach party attire is encouraged. The Drifters concert will follow, They have been making music for 60 years and are regarded as one of early Rock and Roll’s super groups. For tickets ($85, $125) call 248-377-3300.

The Women's Fund of Rochester Summer Soiree is 6- 8:30 pm, Thursday, July 19 at Meadow Brook Hall. Plans include self parking, wine, hors d'oeuvres violin music and self-guided tours of the historic manse. For tickets ($65, $100-patron includes guided hall tour) go to www, Sue Upton, Kathy Bogdziewwicz, Lynn Florek, Barb Cenko, Kelly Dean, Judy De Steiger, Christina Hogan, Erika Kruse, Kathy McCarter, Lynn Oates and Lori Roscoe comprise the fund’s board.

The Founders Junior Council FASH Bash is Thursday, August 16 at the Detroit Institute of Arts. The co-chairs are David and Christine Colman, Andrea and Chris Provenzano, Mohammad Qazi, Nedda Shayota and Nathaniel Wallace.

Jason Brooks, Kevin Elbinger and Renee Wolgin are chairing Rub-A-Dub 5:30 pm, Tuesday, Aug. 21 at Franklin Hills Country Club. The annual event benefiting ORT’s education programs will honor Randy Wertheimer. Call 248-723-8880 for tickets.

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

PayPal ButtonPayPal Button

DOWNTOWN: Unrivaled journalism worthy of reader support

A decade ago we assembled a small but experienced and passionate group of publishing professionals all committed to producing an independent newsmagazine befitting the Birmingham/Bloomfield area that, as we like to say, has long defined the best of Oakland County. 


We provide a quality monthly news product unrivaled in this part of Oakland. For most in the local communities, we have arrived at your doorstep at no charge and we would like to keep it that way, so your support is important.


Check out our publisher’s letter to the community here.

Sign Up
Register for Downtown's newsletters to receive updates on the latest news and much more!

Thanks for submitting!

bottom of page