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  • Sally Gerak

Week of 10.15.18

Parade Company Grand Jester Reception

For the 12th consecutive year, the LePage family has generously hosted a cocktail supper for the America’s Thanksgiving Parade Distinguished Clown Corps. Members pay $1,000 per year and honor a different member as Grand Jester each year. Van Conway, the 2017 Grand Jester who missed the reception last year, received his Crystal Clown Statue before Parade Company CEO Tony Michaels introduced his successor, Jeff Sadowski, a 26-year Distinguished Clown. He talked about how he always says he’ll be a DC “…for one more year…(but)…it’s in my blood…a phenomenal experience.” He added it will be especially meaningful now that his three sons are also DCs and his wife/their mother passed away this year. The 200 guests at The Reserve at Big Rock Chophouse socialized, sipped, supped and perused the colorful photo albums that chronicle each year’s band of some merrymakers in their make-up and clown costumes. The latter are ranked in grandeur according to years in the corps. Distinguished Clown nominees have until Oct. 31 to sign up.

New Day Foundation for Families Hope Shines Gala

Families who struggle financially when fighting cancer have had a source for help since Michael Spehn and Gina Kell Spehn launched a foundation in 2007 as a legacy for their late spouses who both died of cancer. It's fall fundraiser attracted 320 supporters ($200 tickets) to the ballroom in Greektown’s Atheneum Hotel for cocktails, dinner, dancing to music by Rennie and Esther Kaufman, silent and live auctions and Dedicated Giving. The latter raised $14,000 in less than 5 minutes and donors made “Hope Shine” as they held up their lighted cell phones in the darkened ballroom. The highlight of the live auction was the Spehns’ homemade “Sauce and Balls” Italian dinner party for six at the Greystone Manor. It sold for $9,000. The BSP Law Offices got the Matt Kell and Cathy Spehn Legacy Award and Juliana Meidi, Terri Miller and Heather Lynch were the honored volunteers. The gala netted $140,000 for the foundation’s programs which ameliorate cancer-related financial toxicity.

The Community House SIP Food & Wine Classic

Seven food stations, all staffed with talented, solicitous chefs, served up small plates to the 150 “SIP-sters” ($295, $195, $95 tickets) gathered on a Friday night in the Wallace Ballroom at The Community House. Selections included: seared scallops at Cameron’s Steak House; steak Diane at Eddie Merlot’s; fresh oysters at Hazel, Ravines and Downtown; ribeye and herb mashed potatoes at Hyde Park Steakhouse; sushi rolls at Joe Muer Seafood; Michigan rabbit at Vinotecca Wine Bar & Restaurant; dessert shooters at The Community House. Wines selected by event wine director John Jonna were at the ready to pair amicably with each offering. The Dawn Giblin Quintet made music while people sipped, supped and checked out the silent auction display of 25 food & wine-centric packages. TCH President/CEO Bill Seklar interrupted only briefly to thank the generous eateries who made the Community House Foundation fundraiser possible. At evening’s end a smiling guest awaiting his car described the scene: “A delicious Friday night in a historic meeting house in a small midwestern town.”

Hickory Sticks Evans Scholar Fundraiser

A bagpiper led 92 golfers clad in plus-fours (knickers) and tams onto Forest Lake Country Club for the 21st annual Hickory Sticks Invitational. When play with the antique, wooden-shaft clubs concluded the Low Gross winner was Drew DeMart; Jeremy Rahn and Hank Cooney tied for the Low Net; Al David, Nick Denis, Matt Roberts, Mike Roberts and Scott Wilson comprised the winning team. During the cocktail hour before dinner, a silent auction and raffle helped the event raise more than $65,000. The post-dinner program featured remarks by Molly Stachurski, President of the U-M Evans Scholars and Andrew Najor, President of the MSU chapter. They represented the 965 Evans Scholars currently attending 19 universities across the country. Each receives full tuition and housing scholarships renewable for up to 4 years from the Western Golf Association’s Evans Scholars Foundation. Dave Robinson, the immediate Past Chairman of the Western Golf Association, also gave special recognition plaques to HS Invitational Co-Directors Chuck Plein and Marty Gillespie for raising more than $500,000 for the foundation. They announced Sept. 16, 2019 for the next event at Edgewood Country Club.

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

Rochester Area Neighborhood House 50th Anniversary

100+ Millennials Who Care Launch

Karmanos Partners Night

American Cancer Society Cattle Baron’s Ball

Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber Vine & Dine

Habitat for Humanity Design Challenge

Variety Feeds Kids Luncheon

Women Officials Network Wonder Woman Dinner

Yatooma Foundation Champions for the Kids

MOT Gala

Northwood University Distinguished Women Award Gala

Bloomfield Hills Garden Club Luncheon

Wine & Dine in the D

Birmingham Bloomfield Cultural Council Awards

Pink Fund Dancing with the Survivors

Belle Isle Conservancy Polish the Jewel Luncheon

Walsh College Leadership Awards Dinner

MOCAD Gala + Art Auction

CARE House Care Night


The Beyond Basics Inaugural Family Literacy Center in HUD’s Durfee Innovation Society will host a strolling dinner fundraising event 3:30-6:30 pm, Wednesday, Oct. 17. For tickets ($250) and information call Kelly Gray at 248-234-6950.

Beth Ann Richardson is chairing Lakeshore Legal Aid’s Annual Event 5:30 – 7:30 pm, Thursday, Oct. 18 at the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant (461 Piquette St, Detroit, MI 48202.). Plans include free self-parking, live music, hors d'Oeuvres, a hosted bar, networking and antique cars, to celebrate Lakeshore’s impactful legal work with seniors and low-income clients in 47 Michigan counties. For tickets ($75, $50-student) go to

Jennifer Wheeler is chairing Baldwin Library’s Novel Wine Tasting 6 – 9 pm, Friday, Oct. 19 at the library. This is the 2018 version of the former Books and Bites. Plans include a silent auction, live jazz music, a photo booth, a wine tasting game, a strolling dinner and desserts from Cannelle Patisserie, Commonwealth, Holiday Market, Noble Fish, Svenska Café, Papa Joes, and Ike’s Restaurant. The beer tasting is sponsored by Griffin Claw Brewing Company and the wine tasting is sponsored by Uptown Market. Proceeds will help fund the expansion and renovation of the Youth Room. Silent auction donations are welcome. For sponsorships and tickets ($75, $65 for ages 65 and older) go to

The Lear Corporation is presenting the 6th annual HAVEN Tailgate 12 pm, Sunday, Oct. 21,at Red Run Country Club (2036 Rochester Road, Royal Oak). Plans include a barbecue buffet, bloody Marys, craft beer, open bar, cigars, special liquor tastings, football squares, silent and live auctions and Detroit Lions legends teaming up to tackle domestic and sexual violence. WDIV’s Jamie Edwards will emcee the program. For sponsorships call Blanca at 248.322.3703. For tickets ($125 until 10/8, $150 after 10/8; $60 – under 35) go to

Catherine & Nathan Forbes are chairing the annual Cookies and Dreams, a cookie contest benefiting Friends of Camp Mak-A-Dream, a cost-free camp for children and young adults touched by cancer. It is 5 – 7:30. Wednesday, Oct. 24 at Somerset Collection North. For sponsorships and tickets ($60, $100, children under 17 -pay their age) go to or call Pete Grimes at 248-723-5575.

The Community Foundation of Greater Rochester eighth annual Tailgate Party is 6 pm, Thursday, Oct. 25 at the Royal Park Hotel. It will celebrate the football season and the Foundation’s 35th anniversary as well as launch the new Community Enhancement Fund. Plans for the casual event include fan attire, tailgate-style food, cash bar, self-parking and performances by local high schools. For sponsorships and tickets $65) go to To become a Community Enhancement Fund 35th Anniversary Donor contact the Community Foundation of Greater Rochester at 248-608-2804.

Michigan Supreme Court Justice David Viviano will emcee the fifth annual Friends of Foster Kids Fundraiser, 6-9 pm, Thursday, Oct. 25 at Troy’s San Marino Club. Plans include food stations, cash bar, raffles and a 50/50 drawing. Go to for tickets ($100).

Blue Cross Blue Shield’s Dan Loepp is chairing the Alzhimer’s Association’s Chocolate Jubilee Gala - A Night in Havana - Saturday, Oct. 27 at the MGM Grand. Plans include a Pre-Glow at 6:30 pm for donors of $2,500 +, dinner at 7 pm, the chocolate samplings at 9 pm. For sponsorships and more information go to

Elizabeth DuMouchelle is chairing the OUR TOWN Art Show and Sale which opens with the Opening Night Party 6-9 pm, Thursday, Nov. 1 at The Community House. The Benefactor Chairs are Connie & Ian McEwan. Plans include valet parking, cocktails, strolling dinner and desserts and first chance to see and buy the 372 works of art juried into the show by Barbara Heller and Melissa Parks. For tickets ($75) go to or call 248-644-5832. The 33rd annual show will remain open to the public free of charge through 8 pm, Saturday, Nov. 3

Barbara Van Dusen is the honorary host of the Oakland Literacy Council Ex Libris 6:30 pm, Thursday, Nov. 1 at the Village Club. Plans include cocktails, dinner, and keynote address by U-M English professor Anne Curzan, a member of the American Heritage Dictionary Usage Panel, and co-host of Michigan Public Radio’s “That's What They Say.” For tickets ($125, $175, table of 10-$1,000) call 248-253-1617 or go to Proceeds support adult literacy.

The Habitat for Humanity Oakland Fall Extravaganza is 6:30 pm, Thursday, Nov. 1 at the Troy Marriott. Plans include cocktails, dinner, awards to the Community Builder and Volunteer of the year, live auction and afterglow. For sponsorships and tickets ($185-Patron, $265-Benefactor, includes 6 pm reception) call 248-338-1843 or go to

The House of Providence Wishes Gala is 6 pm, Friday, Nov. 2 at the Royal Park Hotel. Plans include strolling hors d’oeuvres, dinner and a program emceed by Chuck Gaidica, Go to for tickets $125). Proceeds benefit girls in foster care.

The Santa Society’s 26th annual Cause for Claus Gala Charity Ball is 7:30-11:30 pm, Friday, Nov. 2 at the Troy Marriott. Plans include hors d’oeuvres, cash bar and music by Jedi Mind Trip. The host committee of 22 good guys covers expenses. Guests bring one new, unwrapped toy per person for the Marines’ Toys for Tots program.

Julie Pietrosante and Annette Royce are chairing Christ Child Society Night of Angels Saturday, Nov. 3 at Bloomfield Hills Country Club. Plans include a revival of the old-fashioned Feather Party with cocktails at 6 pm, dinner, BINGO and dancing at 7:30 pm, plus raffles, live and silent auctions. For ticket ($175) go to

Judson Center Rewind Gala is 6 pm, Saturday, Nov. 3 at the MGM Grand. Plans include silent and live auctions, cocktails, dinner, program and Afterglow. For tickets ($300, $400-VIP, includes 5:30 VIP reception) and sponsorships go to at or call Joann Ingoglia at 248-837-2075.

Mary Beth Castorri, Lauren Eaton and Carol Quigley are chairing the Sky Foundation 10th Anniversary Celebration 1 pm, Sunday, Nov.4 at the MGM Grand. Plans include hors d’oeuvres, lunch, program emceed by WXYZ’s Alicia Smith, a wine pull raffle, live auction and a performance by NUCLASISCA. For tickets ($135 and up) call 248-385-5143 or go to

Dani Gillman & Ben Chutz are chairing JARC’s annual Fall Fundraiser 7:30 pm, Thursday, Nov. 8 at the Max & Marjorie Fisher Music Center. Plans include the amazing Believing the Impossible Live Tour of the Masters of Illusion. For tickets ($75 an up), go to or call 248-538-6611.

Denny Dinan-Panico, Mia Materka and Martha Whiting are chairing the Ladies of Charity Festive Friendsgiving Luncheon 11 am, Friday, Nov. 9 at Red Run Golf Club. Plans include cash bar, a raffle, luncheon and talk by Patricia Montemurri about her book on the history of Detroit Catholic parishes. All guests will receive a signed copy of the book. For tickets ($55, $155) call Rose Obloy at 248-646-1043.

The Julian Boivin Courage for Cures Foundation 8th annual Brave Knight Benefit for pediatric brain tumor research is Saturday, Nov. 10 at the Townsend Hotel. Plans include a seated dinner, silent and live auctions, raffle prizes and dancing. Proceeds of the 2018 Brave Knight will fund research grants at U-M's Chad Carr Pediatric Brain Tumor Center and The DIPG Collaborative. To donate an auction item, become a sponsor, or inquire further, call (248) 790-2350.

FAR Therapeutic Arts & Recreation’s annual FAR, Friends & Fa La La is Wednesday evening, Nov. 14 at the Seligman performing Arts Center at Detroit Country Day School.

Audrey & Gerry Weinberg and Dr. James P. Lynch will be honored at the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation 41st annual Evening at the Movies 6:30 pm, Thursday, Nov. 15 at the Masonic Temple. Plans include valet parking, strolling dinner, silent auction, the program with Brandon Pomish as the Mission Speaker. A movie presentation will follow at 8 pm. For sponsorships and tickets ($175 and up) call Laura James at 248-737-0900, ext. or go to

Jennie & Bill Cook and Tim & Marci Rice are chairing South Oakland Shelter Dancing with the Detroit Stars 7 pm, Saturday, Nov. 17, at the Townsend Hotel. Plans for the 10th annual glam fundraiser include strolling food stations, open bar and watching as six couples compete for the winners’ trophy based on the decision of celebrity judges. The dancers who will have partners from Arthur Murray Dance Studio are: Eric Fadie (The Detroit Cast), Tara Szott Wasik (Szott Automotive Group), Kelli Robinson (Stella & Dot), Angel Lavery (Brother Rice High School), Alexandria T. Riley (City of Pontiac) and Chef Eric Avila (The Townsend). The judges are Rabbi Rachel Shere (Adat Shalom Synagogue), Karen Dumas (Images and Ideas Inc.), Roop Raj (Fox 2 Detroit) and Derrick Coleman (DC Elite). For tickets ($200) and sponsorships go to

Linda Juracek-Lipa, Tina Prevas and Sherry Saginaw are chairing the Women’s Division Project HOPE annual Holiday Luncheon & Boutique, 10am - 3pm, Wednesday, Nov. 28 at Forest Lake Country Club. Boutique Shops include: Art Loft, Christian Dior Beauty, Christina Larosa Pottery & Garden Gifts, Ella’s Designs, El-Mar Furs, Event Bliss, Franklin Village Boutique, Gifted, Innis Joswick Jewelry, Klassics by Kurtis, Michelle’s Chocolate, Mrs. Mason’s Company, Sutherland Style, Trends in Fashion and others. Lunch will be served at noon. For tickets ($80-Guest, $100-Patron, $150- Benefactor) or Sponsor ($250-2 tickets) Contessa Bannon at 248-860-7004 or

Wade & Sally Mezey and Joe & Julie Beal are chairing the Angels Place Annual Dinner 6:30 pm, Thursday, Nov. 29 at The Henry Hotel. Plans include valet parking, cocktails, dinner and the program featuring an address by super sports star Kirk Gibson. For sponsorships and tickets ($225, $350-includes 6 pm reception with Gibson), go to

The Boys & Girls Clubs Great Futures Gala, is Thursday, Nov. 29 at the Westin Book Cadillac. Plans include valet parking, cocktails, music, dinner and the program honoring Matt Cullen. For tickets ($250 and up) contact Jennifer Trussell at 248-522-4412 or

Amy Gooch, Mary Taylor and Babbie Thomas are chairing the Christ Child Society Christmas Home Tour Friday, Nov. 30. Five homes will be open for touring. Boutiques and a buffet will be set up at Birmingham Country Club from 9:30 am – 2:30 pm. For tickets ($65) go to

Emilie Mardigian Fitch and Nanette Drouillard are chairing Grace Center of Hope’s Night of Hope 7 pm, Friday, Nov.30 at the Townsend Hotel. Plans include valet parking, strolling dinner stations, live music and dancing, silent and live auctions, photo booth and stories about the children whose lives have been impacted by the children's programs at Grace Centers of Hope. For tickets ($95-dinner, cash bar; $135 – VIP dinner & cocktails) and sponsorships call Kim Wehner at 248-334-2187 ext 1140 or Olivia Jones at, (248) 334-2187 ext. 1142 or go to

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

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