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  • Sally Gerak

Week of 8.13.18

A House Party at Cranbrook

Six years ago, Cranbrook Educational Community organized the archives and tours of its historically significant resources (art, architecture, science, history) into one entity – the Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research. And its very first fundraiser would have made HGTV envious. The event spotlighted remarkable residential architecture and attracted 190 guests ($375 & up tickets). Many of them first toured the 1920’s iconic Art Deco Saarinen House and the recently donated 1950 Frank Lloyd Wright Smith House before gathering at Cranbrook House – the 1908 Arts and Crafts home of Cranbrook founders George and Ellen Scripps Booth. Models and a few guests wore fashions representing the eras when Booths, Saarinens and Smiths lived in the homes. Cocktail hour diversions on the tented North Terrace overlooking the extraordinary gardens included signature drinks (Bees Knees, Saarinen Finlandia Martinis, Sara Smith’s spritzers) and retro hors d’oeuvres. The program included remarks and expressions of gratitude by CEC CEO Dom DiMarco (who credited George and Ellen’s granddaughter Ginny Fox for convincing trustees that the center was essential), CCCR Director Greg Wittkopp, event chair Beth Willoughby, CCCR Subcommittee chair Sandi Smith and Anne Fuchs Smith Towbes, whose great uncle Albert Kahn designed Cranbrook House. The latter’s two late husbands, Bob Smith and Michael Towbes, both shared her dream for the Smith House “ be (part of) Cranbrook.” (She graduated from Kingswood and taught at Brookside, which her children attended.) Her family’s commitment earned a standing ovation and generated passion for the nine-item live auction conducted by Gregory Bator that included VIP experiences at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater masterpiece in Pennsylvania and the Eames Home and Studio in California and raised nearly $75,000. After relishing a four-course, seated dinner set throughout Cranbrook House, guests returned to the terrace to dance to music of the ‘20s, ‘30s, ‘40s and ‘50s by the Rhythm Society Orchestra. Here’s betting that George and Ellen Scripps Booth would be pleased the inaugural CCCR benefit raised $232,663 to preserve their legacy.

St. Hugo’s Altar Guild Garden Party

When most women’s primary work was home-centered, the St. Hugo of the Hills Altar Guild’s annual charity luncheon was a sold-out affair and raised lots of money for the group’s community service projects. (This reporter’s first newspaper assignment in 1978 was one of those luncheons. It featured actress Mary Martin as celebrity speaker.) To accommodate working women, in recent years that luncheon evolved into a ladies-night-out at a country club with modest success. This year, thanks to the largess of philanthropist Jack Krasula whose Bloomfield Hills garden is legendary, the chairs – Joann Gordon, Sandie Knollenberg and Diane Roelant – staged a Garden Party there. On a Saturday evening. In mid-July. When many people, including one of the chairs, are Up North. They still welcomed 50 guests ($200 ticket), many of whom were intrigued by the hosts’ sports memorabilia collection and art, as well as the magnificent, park-like garden. The warm hospitality, wining, dining and conversation were all splendid. Proceeds will support the guild’s service projects.

Meadow Brook Theatre Concert and Cuisine

The fourth annual Meadow Brook Theatre summer fundraiser’s beach party theme attracted 500 fans to the Oakland University home of Michigan's largest producing professional theatre. They perused a silent auction and sipped and supped on the stroll (cuisine provided by local restaurants) before convening in the auditorium for a concert by The Drifters and a mini live auction energetically conducted by MBT Artistic Director Travis Walter. Items included a walk on role in Meadow Brook's “A Christmas Carol” and the opportunity to sing the evening’s anthem onstage with The Drifters. Ken Papa was the high bidder and gave it to his father who joined The Drifters on stage for a rousing rendition of the group’s iconic song “Under the Boardwalk”'. The group, whose origins stretch back to the ‘50s, also played hits like “Stand By Me,” “On Broadway” and “Up on the Roof” – musical memories for a generation that came of age with them. The lighthearted evening raised more than $30,000 to benefit the non-profit theatre.

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

Women's Fund of Rochester Summer Soiree

OPC Rochester Garden Walk

Ghana Mission Donor Dinner

Judson Center Golf Challenge

Beaumont Children’s Miracle Classic

Paul W. Smith PAL Invitational


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 remaining events are hosted by Roz and Scott Jacobson at 7 pm, Friday, August 24 in their 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 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, Farhat and Mohammad Qazi, Nedda Shayota and Nathaniel Wallace. Plans include valet parking, a cocktail reception on the DIA Woodward Plaza at 7 pm, Neiman Marcus fashion show inside at 8:30, the Lincoln Motor Car Company Afterglow on the plaza at 8:30. The $375 and $250 tickets that include seats for the show are sold out. The $1,500 and $750 tickets are still available. So are the $150 tickets to the Afterglow. The latter include 8:30 arrival and the fashion show via live feed streamed outside. To purchase tickets go to www. or call 313.833.5646.

Kevin Kernen and Jonas Rodger are the co-chairs and Mark Anusbigian is the honorary chair of Forgotten Harvest’s 16th annual Cruisin’ to Drive Out Hunger 6 – 10 pm, Friday, Aug. 17 at his Westborn Market in Berkley. Plans include valet parking, food and drink from Metro Detroit’s best purveyors, live music by Larry Lee and the Back in the Day Band, a photo booth, a silent auction and a sneak preview of the Woodward Dream Cruise from a great, curbside vantage. Mercedes-Benz Financial Services is the presenting sponsor. Call Rebecca Gade Sawicki at 248-864-7527 for other sponsorship opportunities. For tickets ($150) go to events at

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.

Tom MacLean and Rhonda Adams are chairing Angels Place Friends and Family Fun Day 10 am – 2 pm, Saturday, August 25 on the Marian High School campus. Plans include arcade games with prizes (chaired by Mark & Amy Carroll), a basketball challenge (chaired by Tammi & Joey Jonna), a Michigan raffle (chaired by Julia Furtaw and Marta Hoetger), a video game tent, non-stop food tent (Coneys/veggie option/icecream/snow cones/popcorn/Pop Daddy), slide, inflatables, dunk tank, petting zoo, rock climbing wall, face painting, sports mascots, and a hoedown. For tickets ($20-per person; $85-family of 5) go to They are also available at the door.

Frank Torre and Kerrie Binno are chairing the Boys Hope Girls Hope Liberty Mutual Invitational Monday, Aug. 27 at Franklin Hills Country Club. Plans also include post golf cocktails, dinner, auctions and awards program. Go to for sponsorships, registration and details or call Nancy Stahl or Michael Gallo at the Boys Hope Girls Hope office at (313) 862-0707.

The annual Big Wine Classic that raises college scholarship funds for deserving students and honors the memory of the late Rob Schuele is Monday, Aug. 27 at Birmingham Country Club. For registration, sponsorships and details go to

The 18th Annual Ted Lindsay Foundation Golf Outing Monday, September 10 at The Detroit Golf Club offers golf, dinner and open bar, silent and live auctions and the awards program or the post golf-only activities. A highlight of the dinner program will be the presentation of two Courage Awards which recognize a person and a family who demonstrate great character and perseverance while living with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. For information go to

Laurie and Tom Cunnington are chairing Girls On Track 6 – 9 pm, Wednesday, Sept. 12 at the M1 Concourse to benefit the Women of Tomorrow mentoring program for more than 1,200 girls at-risk girls. Plans include valet parking, food, specialty drinks, thrill ride on the track with professional driver, racing simulator, DJ music by iHeart media and exotic cars on display. For sponsorships and tickets ($200-individual; $2,500 & up - tables) contact Jill Harris at or 248- 430-4095 or go to

Rose and Brian Bolyard are chairing the 31st annual Birmingham House Tour fundraiser for the Community House 9:30 am – 3:30 pm, Thursday, Sept. 13. Tickets are $40 in advance and can be purchased by phone at 248-644-5832 or online The event is presented by Hall & Hunter Realtors, with support from : Ethan Allen, Gorman’s Furniture and Boylard Lumber. Plans include self-guided touring of seven unique homes ranging in style from traditional to contemporary. Day of tour tickets will also be available for $45.

Linda Juracek-Lipa and Sue Nine are chairing Hospice of Michigan’s SPEED – A Chandeliers Event 5:30 – 9:00 pm, Thursday, Sept.13 at M1 Concourse in Pontiac. Plans include valet parking, open bar, a strolling dinner, one-of-a-kind thrill rides with professional drivers along the concourse and the program. It will feature the presentation of the 32nd annual Crystal Rose Award to Rabbi E.B. (Bunny) Freedman from the Jewish Hospice and Chaplaincy Network for his passionate commitment to HOM and its mission. For tickets ($120; thrill rides-$100 donation) go to Proceeds will benefit HOM’s Open Access program that ensures palliative care regardless of age, diagnosis or ability to pay.

The Community House Foundation and the Birmingham Teen Council are presenting the inaugural Movie Marathon Friday, Sept. 14 12:30 pm – to Saturday, Sept. 15, 6:00 am at Emagine Palladium in Birmingham. Plans include 18-hours of movie watching fun, unlimited soda and popcorn, dinner, breakfast, a midnight snack. Proceeds will benefit Community House children’s programs. Registrants will create their own personal fundraising page to raise a minimum of $100 to participate. Contact The Community House for details on how to register at 248-644-5832 or visit

Kirsten Adgate and Audry Moiseeff are chairing the Camp Casey annual Gold Rush Gala 7 – 11 pm, Friday, Sept. 14 at The Reserve. Plans include valet parking, heavy hors d'oeuvres, open bar, silent auction, dessert auction and entertainment. For tickets ($100, $250 and up) go to Proceeds support Camp Casey equine programs for kids with cancer and their families.

Rochester’s Neighborhood House will celebrate 50 years of helping people in crisis on Sunday, Sept. 16 at Canterbury Village in Lake Orion. Plans include a car show open to the public from 9 am – 2:30 pm and a Birthday Party with dinner, open bar, music and silent auction from 3 – 7 pm. For tickets to the latter ($115) go to or call 248-651-5836, ext. 17.

The Community House third annual SIP Food & Wine Classic, a unique event celebrating cuisine and wine, is 8:30 pm, Friday, Sept. 21 at the Community House. Plans include valet parking, exceptional wine and small plate food stations with area Chefs and Sommeliers, and wine-centric silent and live auctions. For tickets ($298-patron 6 pm arrival, $195-general; $95-Young Adult 21 to 30) call 248-644-5832 or go to The event serves as a signature fundraiser for The Community House Foundation, a charitable nonprofit organization under the umbrella of The Community House.​ Connie Beckett and Kelly Shuert are chairing the Variety Feeds Kids Luncheon 11:30 am, Thursday, Sept. 27 at Pine Lake Country Club. It will feature inspirational author/speaker Steve Pemberton, Chief Diversity Officer and Divisional Vice President—Walgreens. The Honorary Chairs are Karen and Alan Barry. For sponsorships and tickets ($125, $225-includes feeding one child for a year) call 248-258-5511, email or go to https://varietyfeedskids.event.

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

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