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  • Sally Gerak

Week of 12.24.18

The Village Club Foundation Benefit Event chair Annie Ellis and her dedicated committee added the renaissance of Detroit to the traditional Torches Aglow theme (from Plato quote about passing torches) for the biennial fundraiser. It attracted a sold-out crowd (218 members and guests at $100, $125, $250 tickets) to the Bloomfield Hills club where an enormous silent auction display competed with socializing before dinner. In her welcome remarks, foundation president Sandra Pott noted that 48 non-profits received $184,000 in 2018 after intense vetting by grants committee members. A brief live auction and dancing to Motown music followed dinner. The evening added $55,000 to the more than $2.5 million granted to tri-county non-profit organizations since the foundation was established in 1983 as the philanthropic arm of The Village Club. Courage for Cures Foundation Brave Knight Benefit After two years at a country club, the eighth annual Brave Knight Benefit returned to The Townsend Hotel and nearly 300 ($200 ticket) gathered there in memory of Julian Boivin. (The little superhero fan lost a seven-month battle with brain cancer in June, 2011 at the age of five. His image and those of other brave victims were displayed on banners around the ballroom.) Dan Morse and Pat Lowman (friends since high school) kick-started the inspirational tone of the evening when they rallied a standing ovation for Julian’s parents Brad and Nettie Boivin before garnering $13,000 for three live auction items and nearly $30,000 in pledges for pediatric brain tumor research. Dr. Carl Koschmann, pediatric oncologist and researcher, brought good news from Michigan Medicine that research is turning up the pace of progress. Thanks also to a silent auction that raised $35,000, a raffle and generous sponsors, (see photo gallery) the “best yet” event netted $130,000. This brings to more than $1-million the total raised by “Team Julian,” which is now partnering with the ChadTough Foundation as well as the DIPG Collaborative to find a cure for pediatric brain tumors. Ladies of Charity Friendsgiving Luncheon Mia Materka and Denny Dinan-Panico chaired the Ladies of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul of Oakland County luncheon at Red Run Golf Club where each table was centered by a framed photo of a Detroit-area church. Guest speaker Patricia Montemurri knew her topic well. One branch of her in-laws (Diehl & Diehl Architects) designed many area Catholic churches like Birmingham's Holy Name, Detroit Gesu and St. John's Seminary. Another branch (Friederichs & Staffin) created the stained glass for iconic houses of worship like St. Mary's Greektown, Detroit St. Joseph, Sweetest Heart of Mary, St. Albertus and St. Josaphat and Gesu. Because the speaker’s husband Paul Diehl was on hand to assist with the slide show, he met some cousins for the first time. Lois Fredericks Thornbury and Marcia Fredericks McGratty were in the audience of 160 ($55, $155 tickets). Luncheon proceeds benefit the all-volunteer organization’s services to the poor. JARC Annual Fundraiser More than 1,600 JARC supporters ($75 and up tickets) trekked to the Orchestra Hall for a magical evening chaired by board member Dani Gillman and her husband Ben Chutz featuring the Masters of Illusion. The 90-minute performance included nationally renowned magicians Michael Turco, Jonathan Pendragon and Bill Cook, who with the help of eager audience participants, performed perplexing interactive mind magic, hilarious comedy and jaw-dropping grand illusions. Other highlights of the evening included a pre-glow and after-glow catered by Quality Kosher Catering and the premiere of JARC’s new, heartwarming video of JARC love stories produced by Exxodus Pictures. Proceeds of the 38th annual event will enable JARC to continue providing the richest possible life for people with developmental disabilities as it has done since 1969, when it was founded by a group of parents. Check in the coming weeks for reports & photos from these events: FAR Therapeutic Arts & Recreation’s annual FAR, Friends & Fa La La Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation Evening at the Movies South Oakland Shelter Dancing with the Detroit Stars Women’s Division Project HOPE Holiday Luncheon & Boutique Angels Place Annual Dinner Boys & Girls Clubs Great Futures Gala Christ Child Society Christmas Home Tour Alternatives for Girls Holiday High Tea Grace Centers of Hope Night of Hope Kidney Ball Rochester Women’s Fund Holiday Party Salvation Army Sing-a-Long Meadow Brook Hall Starlight Stroll Detroit Historical Society Ball Irish Nite Auction Ingathering


The Gallery kicks off the 2019 North American International Auto Show at 6:30 pm, Saturday, Jan.12, 2019 at the MGM Grand. Plans include a strolling dinner from 6:30- 8pm, a silent auction to benefit C.S.Mott Children’s Hospital and the Car Salon from 8 – 11 pm. The salon will feature a $10 million collection of the most acclaimed automobiles the world has to offer. For tickets ($500) call 248.283.5126. For sponsorship opportunities contact Tavi Fulkerson at 248-819-8332 The NAIAS Charity Preview is 6 -9 pm, Friday, Jan. 18, 2019 at Cobo Center. Plans include first views of the spectacular North American International Auto Show 2019 at one of the most exclusive, high profile events in the nation. Since 1976, the Charity Preview has raised more than $117 million for southeastern Michigan children's charities - over $40 million of which was raised in the last 10 years alone. Charity Preview beneficiaries are: Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan; Boys Hope Girls Hope Detroit, Children's Center, The Children's Hospital of Michigan Foundation; Detroit Auto Dealers Association Charitable Foundation Fund, Detroit Pal, Judson Center, and March of Dimes Metro Detroit. For tickets ($400) 1-888.838.7500. The night of Charity Preview Lisa & Bill Ford and Kathy & Jim Hackett are hosting AutoGlow 4:30 pm – midnight at Ford Field to benefit The Children’s Center. Plans include valet parking, shuttle service to and from the Charity Preview, a pre-event reception, strolling dinner service, desserts and full bar service, live music and dancing, followed by a late-night menu. For those looking to design a dream getaway, the evening's raffle features travel vouchers for air travel, made possible by sponsor Delta Air Lines. There are several drawings throughout the night and raffle tickets are $25 each or five for $100. For AutoGlow tickets ($275 -by Dec. 14, 2018, $325 after Dec. 14) call the Children’s Center at (313) 262-1085 or go to

Kris & Andy Applebee are hosting the CARE House Circle of Friends Preview Party 6 – 8 pm, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019. The celebrity guest / author / sex trafficking survivor Theresa Flores will also be the featured speaker at the luncheon the next day chaired by Lisa Bouchard & Anna Rea at The Townsend Hotel. For tickets ($125-luncheon; $175-patron, $150-preview party; $275- patron & preview party) go to For sponsorships go to

David King, Dante Rosa and Aubrey Tobin are chairing Variety, The Children’s Charity’s sixth annual Chili, Wings & Soup(er) Bowl 6:30 pm, Friday, January 25, 2019 at the Townsend Hotel. Bruce & Kathy Broock Ballard are the honorary chairs. Plans include drinks, dancing, a raffle and friendly competition for best chili, wings and soup. Featured restaurants include: Under Bar & Grill, Beans & Cornbread, Birmingham Country Club, Brady's Tavern, The Community House, Hazel Ravines & Downtown, Jim Brady's Detroit, The Maple Kitchen, The Rugby Grille, The Souperbowl, Whistle Stop Diner and more. Awards for both People's Choice and Critic's Choice (with Celebrity Judges Annabel Cohen, Kate Lawson and Matthew Prentice) will be announced. For sponsorships and tickets ($100, $150) call 248-258-5511.

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

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