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  • Sally Gerak

Week of 7.2.18

Gleaners Women Power Events

The 25th anniversary of women helping Gleaners provide meals for the vulnerable in our community kicked off with the Women’s Power Breakfast chaired by MGM Grand Detroit’s Juliette Okotle-Ebeh and Children’s Hospital of Michigan’s Luanne Thomas Ewald. It was presented by PNC Bank and attracted almost 700 savvy women ($125, $85 ticket) to Little Caesar’s Arena. One month later, nearly 400 women ($150, $100 ticket) convened at the MGM Grand for the Women’s Power Happy Hour chaired by Jaffe,Raitt Heuer & Weiss’ Judith Greenstone Miller and Hennessey Engineers’ Joan Hennessey. It offered 45 great silent auction packages that raised $8,000 and a raffle of two Delta airline vouchers that raised $1,300. It also afforded many of her fan club members the opportunity to chat with Dulcie Rosenfeld, who founded the Women’s Power event lo these many years ago. The main message at both events has not changed: the importance of creating a healthy, happy and hopeful future for children. All cheered when Gleaners CEO Gerry Brisson announced that their power combined with generous sponsors (see photo gallery) resulted in more than 2.5-million meals for kids.

Furniture Bank Wine Tasting

For the third year Furniture Bank supporters (250 - $60 ticket) gathered in an art deco setting on the 32nd floor of Detroit’s Guardian Building to savor fine wine provided by Michelle Nylan, hors d’oeuvres catered by Lafayette Grande, cool jazz by guitarist Eric Watson and spectacular views of downtown Detroit. Some guests took guided tours of the iconic building. All applauded the moving remarks of event co-chair Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Kathleen McCarthy, FB volunteer Tami Jelnick and FB client Sabrina. The latter was celebrating one year free of violence and earned a standing ovation from the audience. Auctioneers Karl Zarbo and Noreen Rybar persuaded guests to bid $28,000 in the live auction and $14,580 in paddle-raise pledging. Thanks also to generous sponsors, (see photo gallery) the evening raised nearly $80,000 to furnish homes and bedding for needy families in Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties. According to Executive Director Rob Boyle the agency had already served 350 families during the first four months of this year.

Art of Giving

Artist Tom Maniaci of Frame Your Face fame moved his ninth annual fundraiser to The Elm Room in Vinotecca (formerly The Bird and Bread) and it attracted more than 250 ($75, $100 tickets). It was a splendid call, especially for the delicious small bites, the wine, and space to display the silent auction, which raised more than $10,000, and set up the Bruce Springsteen paint-by-number canvas (see photo gallery) which sold for $750. Pistons cheerleaders were also selling raffle cards and four women modeled the eye-catching, paper dresses Matt Richmond created using colorful prints made by area artists Kim Fujiwara, Carl Lundgren, Tony Roko and Maniac (see photo gallery). However, the highlight of the evening occurred when Linda Luchi, who founded the non-profit event beneficiary – Support Our Unique Learners (SOUL) – spoke about the organization’s mission. The all volunteer SOUL provides whatever tools, specialists and therapists are needed to ensure that special needs learners attain success in education and in life. The ninth annual Art of Giving raised $15,000 and awareness of special learners.

Sunset at the Zoo

More than 400 patrons ($325 & $350 ticket) attended the VIP Reception sponsored by ITC Holdings in the African Grasslands that kicked off the Detroit Zoological Society’s Sunset at the Zoo Safari. They were joined by more than 1,800 partygoers ($175 & $200 ticket) for the remainder of the evening that offered comestibles and spirits from more than 45 purveyors and live entertainment like Detroit Circus fire breathing, acrobatic and aerial shows and live music by the Jerry Ross Band, Tom Butwin and the Kuungana African Drum and Dance Company. Many also bought Sunset Keys ($18,000) and silent auction items ($40,000) before the live auction conducted by Steven Gross. It raised another $55,200. Two weeks before the main event, Karen and Matt Cullen hosted the Sunset Benefactor Bash at their Grosse Pointe home and 50 guests ($750 ticket) sipped, supped and applauded Shannon and Dr. Terry Harvill, the Sunset chairs, and departed with a plush giraffe. The annual benefit netted more than $575,000 for DZS educational programs that instill respect for wildlife and wild places.

Motor City Wheels for Meals

Matick Automotive Group’s Karl Zimmermann hosted the first annual Motor City Wheels for Meals fundraiser inside the new Matick Car Wash on Telegraph Road in Redford Township. It’s the nation’s largest car wash and easily accommodated the 300 guests ($125 ticket) on hand for the ribbon cutting that kicked off the program emceed by Fox-2’s Roop Raj. It included remarks by Wayne County Executive Warren Evans and Detroit Mayor Michael Duggan about the importance of the Detroit Area Agency on Aging and The Senior Alliance Meals on Wheels programs. A strolling dinner and live music completed the scene. Thanks also to sponsorships, the event raised more than $113,000 for the programs that serve 6,000 meals weekly.

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

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

ChildSafe Legends of Tomorrow Gala

The Garden Party

Rose Hill Golf Fundraiser

Franklin Garden Walk

JVS Strictly Business

French American Chamber of Commerce Gala

Shimmer on the River

Salute America

DSO 2018 Heroes Gala

A House Party at Cranbrook


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 Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit Fifth Annual Interchange Art + Dinner Series fundraiser offers eight dinners in spectacular locations from Detroit to Long Island featuring landmark architecture, lakefront vistas and outstanding art collections. The next one is hosted by Chris Byrne, 4 pm, Sunday, July 15 in East Hampton, NY. The others include: Kate Ostrove and David Klein at 7 pm, Thursday, July 19 in Detroit; Rebecca and Alan Ross at 6 pm, Thursday, July 26, in their Bloomfield Hills home; Roz and Scott Jacobson at 7 pm, Friday, August 24 in the Bloomfield Hills home; Ann Stevenson and Curt Catallo at 7 pm, Saturday Sept. 8 at their lakefront Grosse Pointe home. For tickets call 313.832.6622 or go to

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

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