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  • Sally Gerak

Week of 11.12.18

Pink Fund Dancing with the Survivors

He wasn’t one of the six dancers, but sponsor Advomas’ W. Bruce Knight was honored at the dancing event because his was the first Pink Fund donation ($3,000 12 years ago) to help a breast cancer patient with non-medical bills. It has since grown to more than $3 million. Thanks to fundraisers like the dance exhibition which brought 340 people ($150-ticket) to the Shriners Silver Garden Events Center. The dancing happens thanks to other good guys – Evan Mountain, owner of the Fred Astaire Bloomfield Hills Dance Studio and his teachers, who spend weeks practicing ballroom moves with the survivors. (“I tell the teachers to get to know their partner’s story…It‘s always inspirational,” he noted.) Indeed, those poignant video stories each evoked warm applause before the featured dancer took the stage. One survivor, Sara Erzen, was also joined by her three daughters, one of whom, now 3, was 21 weeks in utero when chemotherapy started. Before people settled in for the show, they had sipped, supped, bought raffle tickets ($7,190), checked out the silent auction ($10,000) and vendor stations. The high energy, happy evening raised more than $145,500 for Molly MacDonald’s Pink Fund to pay non-medical bills for breast cancer patients in treatment.

Belle Isle Conservancy Polish the Jewel Luncheon

Nearly 400 people ($150-ticket, $300 & up-benefactor) convened at the Detroit Yacht Club, many in gorgeous hats, to sip mimosas, socialize and bid $17,000 in the large silent auction before sitting for lunch. Lila Lazarus emceed the program that featured founder / board chair / event chair Sarah Earley and Belle Island Conservancy president Michele Hodge. They thanked everybody including the William Davidson Foundation whose gift will help restore the Belle Isle Aquarium. Foundation president Darin McKeever called Belle Isle “…a north star for me;” adding “…caretaking jewels requires polishing.” Three weeks earlier, Sarah Earley hosted the Benefactor Party for 60 at artist / metalsmith Carlos Neilbock’s CAN Art Handworks foundry in Eastern Market. Art and industry met in the whimsical space that includes more upcycled windmills like the one Neilblock created for the nearby DTE Energy Foundation Plaza. Thanks also to DTE and other sponsors (see photo gallery) the 14th annual Polish the Jewel Legacy Luncheon grossed nearly $200,000 to help fund a fully-accessible Belle Isle beachfront splash park and picnic area.

Beaumont Red Tie Ball

Red ties were de rigueur for men at the gala benefiting the Beaumont’s Center for Exceptional Families. Patrick Rugiero chaired the 13th annual event that brought 450 ($275 ticket) to the Motor City Casino. During the program emceed by Fox-2’s Monica Gayle, CEF patients and their families were championed for overcoming obstacles and serving as inspiration for a number of accomplishments. These included Gabriel Arnold, Taryn Boller, Alyssa Patrias and Luay Alsiadi. Bidding in the live auction that followed dinner was highlighted by a week’s stay in the private home of the Rugiero family in Perugia, Italy. So popular it sold twice. The live and silent auctions accounted for nearly $57,000 of the event’s $432,000 earmarked for the CEF. Beaumont Children’s Center for Exceptional Families offers diagnostic clinic and comprehensive multidisciplinary treatment services plus an Autism Evaluation Center with comprehensive and focused, center-based applied behavioral analysis (ABA) treatment.

SHE Celebration / Cancer Center Benefit

Sharon Eisenshtadt celebrated the 10th anniversary of her SHE boutique and the grand opening of its new home with an evening party followed by two days of charity shopping. (A percentage of the proceeds were donated to the Breast Oncology Program for the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center.) The new digs next door to Citizen Yoga at 6400 Telegraph Road (just north of Maple) offer 4,000 square feet, high ceilings and lots of light to showcase expanded contemporary and designer clothing, athleisure, shoes, accessories, cosmetics, jewelry and gifts.

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

Children’s Leukemia Foundation Hope Rocks Luncheon

Walsh College Leadership Awards Dinner

MOCAD Gala + Art Auction

CARE House Care Night

Beyond Basics Family Literacy Center Launch

Lakeshore Legal Aid Annual Event

Baldwin Library Novel Wine Tasting

HAVEN Tailgate

Night of Swine Dining

Impact 100 Grants Selection

Friends of Camp Mak-A-Dream Cookies and Dreams

Community Foundation of Greater Rochester Tailgate Party

Friends of Foster Kids Fundraiser

Alzheimer’s Association Chocolate Jubilee

OUR TOWN Art Show and Sale Opening Night Party

Oakland Literacy Council Ex Libris

Habitat for Humanity Oakland Fall Extravaganza

Panhellenic Alumnae Scholarship Luncheon

Christ Child Society Night of Angels

Judson Center Rewind Gala

Sky Foundation 10th Anniversary Celebration

JARC Fall Fundraiser

Ladies of Charity Friendsgiving Luncheon

Village Club Foundation Benefit

Julian Boivin Courage for Cures Foundation Brave Knight Benefit

Beaumont Autumn Gala


Katie Gantner is chairing Brother Rice Mothers’ Club Holiday Sip & Shop 5 – 9 pm, Tuesday, Nov. 13 at the school. For tickets ($35) go to

Julie Kowalik and Cynthia Lutz are chairing FAR Therapeutic Arts & Recreation’s annual FAR, Friends & Fa La La Wednesday evening, Nov. 14 at the Seligman performing Arts Center at Detroit Country Day School. Doors open at 5:30 pm for FAR Bazaar shopping and the Silver Circle Pre-glow reception. Variety, The Children’s Charity, Steven Teich and Ron Piotrowski will be honored. For tickets ($75-reserved seating, Afterglow Party; $150-valet, Pre-glow, special seating, Afterglow) call Pamela Ayres at 248-646-3347.

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

The Restore Foundation is hosting a Thanks for Giving Fundraiser 5:30-8 pm, Thursday, Nov. 15 at The Iroquois Club. Proceeds benefit Oakland County Courts substance abuse recovery programs. Tickets ($60 - $500) at the door or contact Judge (ret.) Ed Sosnick at

The Junior League of Birmingham is hosting the first ever Bingo for Boots event at The Royal Oak Elks Club (2401 E. 4th Street #34, Royal Oak, MI 48067) 7 pm, Friday, Nov. 16. Plans include cash bar, games, prizes and Bingo to benefit Lighthouse of Oakland County families in need. Guests are welcome to bring food but no outside alcohol. For each ticket sold, one pair of boots will be donated to a family in need. For tickets ($30-general, $120-reserved seating for 4) go to the JLB EStore at

Dan Loepp is chairing the executive committee of Hob Nobble Gooble 6:30-10:30pm, Friday, Nov. 16 at Ford Field. Plans for this 2018 Michigan Thanksgiving Parade benefit include valet parking, dinner, delights, carnival midway, new ride, give-a-ways, music by Your Generation in Concert and performance by Jesse McCarthy. Tickets range from $200 for children 6 and under to $500. Call 313-923-7400 ext. 244.

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

Meadow Brook Hall’s 47th annual Holiday Walk is Nov. 23 through Dec. 23. It offers self-guided tours of the grand manor’s elegant rooms decorated for the holidays plus tours of Knole Cottage and Danny’s Cabin. Go to for the ticket prices and the full schedule of opportunities.

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

Shirley Maddalena is hosting the 30th annual Holiday High Tea benefitting Alternatives for Girls 3 – 5 pm, Friday, Nov. 30 at The Townsend Hotel. Plans include a silent auction of “treasures” brought by guests. For a reserved table for 8 ($750) contact Taylor Gawlik at 313-361-4000 ext. 273. For tickets ($75; $125-Patron) 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

Detroit Tigers’ Duane McLean and Lou LaRiche Chevrolet’s Scott LaRiche are the honorary chairs of the Kidney Ball Saturday, Dec. 1 at the Westin Book Cadillac. Madison Heights Glass Company’s Jon Krebs, and Surety, VTC Insurance Group’s Jeff Chandler are chairing the committee that has chosen a Roaring Twenties theme for the 14th annual National Kidney Foundation of Michigan fundraiser. Plans include open bar, appetizers, champagne cocktails, and a beer and wine tasting, starting at 6:00 pm, holiday shopping along several hallways of over 250 eclectic silent auction items, including the popular Kids Auction Toy Room, and dinner at 7:30 p.m. followed by a short program a live auction. After the auction, dance to Your Generation in Concert (YGIC) in the Venetian Ballroom. New this year are tickets for the after-party from 10:00 pm. to 1:00 am. Sponsored by Madison Heights Glass, the “Party Hard Speakeasy”-themed after-party includes an open bar, beer tasting, dancing to YGIC, late night Coneys, and the candy “bar”. The Party Hard Speakeasy ticket, which is $100 per person, also includes access to mobile bidding on Kidney Ball silent auction items prior to the auction close. For tickets ($350, $100-afteroarty) call the NKFM at 800-482-1455 or go to

The Gatzaros Family is hosting the Salvation Army Sing-a-Long at the London Chop House noon – 2 pm, Thursday, Dec. 6. Tom & Diane Schoenith rekindled the legendary event and Paul W. Smith will emcee the frivolity. For tickets ($250; $10,000 per booth) call the LCH at 313-962-0277.

One of the highlights of the holidays at Meadow Brook Hall is the Starlight Stroll, 7-10 pm, Thursday, Dec.6. Plans include valet parking, a four-course strolling dinner with chef attended stations placed throughout The Hall, full bar service including signature cocktails, live music, dancing in the ballroom and self-guided tours until 8 pm. For tickets ($100) call Jill Moran at 248-364-6252.

The Detroit Historical Society Ball is 6 pm, Saturday, Dec. 8 at the Lexus Velodrome. Plans for the free-wheeling, black-tie evening that will draw upon Detroit’s rich and relatively unknown cycling history include: valet parking, a VIP Reception at 5 pm, champagne upon arrival, VIP-only auction items, and a special toast from new CEO, Elana Rugh; cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, silent auction followed by an elegant seated dinner, the announcement of the 2018 Moving Forward Honoree, and a live auction. At 9 pm the party shifts into high-gear with a demonstration of cycle racing on the Velodrome’s dramatic banked track, music from Ben Sharkey and dancing until midnight with an open bar, coffee and desserts. Cocktail attire. For sponsorships and tickets ($850-VIP; $500-patron; $75 Late Night) call Mary Ann Bauman at 313-833-4143 or go to

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

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