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  • By Bill Seklar

January 2019

“It is every man's obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what he takes out of it.”

– Albert Einstein

As we begin 2019, full of hope and optimism, all of us at The Community House have taken pause to reflect on all the people, individuals, corporations, foundations – kindnesses large and small – which have made a true and lasting difference at The Community House over these last 95 years.

As a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization, it is our duty and our obligation to remain ever mindful that good stewardship is an essential part of the fundraising cycle. It covers the entire relationship between donor and organization. Likewise, we must continually celebrate and honor the importance of selfless service and volunteerism. For without either, the work and missions of noble organizations such as The Community House would not be possible.

I read recently that “Selfless service is absolutely fundamental, both from an individual perspective and from the perspective of the entire human race, without which there can be no true progression. Selfless service should be offered and provided out of a genuine and deep desire to help and be of service to others.”

Several years ago, The Community House created the four Pillars of Vibrancy: Education, Wellness, Culture and Philanthropy. The purpose was to publicly recognize extraordinary individuals who have demonstrated selfless service and philanthropy toward others while helping to “Create More Vibrant Lives” in the community – selfless service offered and provided out of a genuine and deep desire to help and be of service to others.

Over the last few years, 51 pillars in our community have been recognized and inducted into The Community House’s Pillars of Vibrancy. This year is no exception. Recently, The Community House announced its 2019 Pillars of Vibrancy – what an extraordinary and selfless group. They include:

Pillar of Culture: Arthur Horwitz

Pillar of Wellness & Education: Dr. Jeffrey S. Fischgrund

Pillar of Education & Philanthropy: Jennifer Granger

Pillars of Philanthropy: Mitch Albom, Bill Roberts, Richard DeVore, Amy & Dan Loepp

In an effort to also recognize individuals, corporations and foundations that have given extraordinary treasure, $25,000 or more cumulatively, or donors who make an irrevocable legacy gift of $25,000 or more to The Community House, TCH leadership decided to gather and recognize all of these key stakeholders, Pillars of Vibrancy and Major Donors, together, under the new Community House Foundation and under one philanthropic umbrella: Bates Street Society.

Bates Street Society was established in 2015, to publicly recognize and induct members who have made significant charitable contributions to support the work and mission of The Community House in Birmingham. Members will be acknowledged annually at its Bates Street Society Dinner, a semi-formal event hosted by The Community House together with The Community House Foundation’s Officers and Board of Directors. The fourth annual Bates Street Society Dinner, a three-course sit-down dinner is scheduled for 6:30 p.m., Saturday, February 2, 2019, in the Wallace Ballroom of The Community House.

The Special Keynote Speaker for the 2019 Bates Street Society Dinner is Mrs. Cynthia Ford, philanthropist and humanitarian.

Special thanks to our founding presenting sponsor PNC Wealth Management – PNC Bank. Our thanks as well to The Bates Street Society’s other corporate sponsors: Beaumont, Oakland University, Mills Pharmacy & Apothecary, DeRoy & Devereaux, Barbara and Tim Hertzler, Renaissance Media, Jewish Renaissance Media and Neighborhood SEEN.

Members of the community are not only welcome but encouraged to attend. This important dinner will offer guests a wonderful opportunity to publicly show enthusiastic support for the 2019 TCH Pillars of Vibrancy inductees, and to the scores of individuals, foundations and corporations whose contributions and kindness makes The Community House’s work and mission possible. Tickets are $250 per person and are on sale now by going online at or by calling The Community House at 248.644.5832. Seating is limited.

Congratulations and deep gratitude to this year’s very special honorees.

William D. Seklar is President & CEO of The Community House and The Community House Foundation in Birmingham.

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