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  • Sally Gerak

Week of 1.14.19

Grace Centers of Hope Night of Hope

Event chairs Emilie Mardigian Fitch and Nanette Drouillard moved the annual fundraiser for the Hands of Hope Childcare Center to The Townsend and 300 Grace Center of Hope loyalists ($95, $135 tickets) gathered there in a giving mood. They bought silent auction donations ($28,990) and raffle tickets ($10,000) for jewelry from the Diamond Vault of Troy. When they settled in the ballroom, they gave little Hands of Hope children rousing applause when they sang “Jesus Loves Me.” Pastor Kent Clark also thanked staffers Kim Wehner and Olivia Jones for their coordination of the party details. Following the strolling dinner, Charles Wickins persuaded folks to bid $40,900 in a brief live auction and to pledge $55,600 in outright donations to care for a child. Other highlights of the program emceed by Fox 2's Roop Raj included a film depicting homelessness and drug abuse through the innocent eyes of a child and graduate Amanda’s moving success story. (She now works at the Hands of Hope center.) The classy evening grossed more than $200,000.

National Kidney Foundation Michigan Kidney Ball

The annual Kidney Ball moved to the glamorous ballrooms at the historic Westin Book Cadillac and some of the 440 guests followed the invitation suggestion to accent their finery with 1920s accessories. At the early VIP reception, event co-chairs Jon Krebs and Jeff Chandler and honorary chairs Duane McLean and Scott LaRiche greeted 120 VIP guests in the fourth floor Italian Garden room. It overlooked the expansive Meijer Kids Silent Auction display that was irresistible to the youngsters in the crowd. WDIV-TV's Steve Garagiola emceed the dinner program in the second floor Woodward ballroom. (Like McLean, he noted that kidney disease impacted his family.) Highlights included the presentation by Dr. Jerry Yee of the Kidney Crusader Award to his highly-esteemed colleague Dr. Francis Dumler, who retired three years ago as Beaumont Hospital’s Chief of Nephrology, and presentation of the Daraskavich family’s fundraising efforts for NKFM. At the end of the live auction conducted by Christopher Aslanian, McLean added “Manager for a Day at Spring Training” that brought in $5,500 and applause for the memory of Mike Ilitch. Thanks also to generous sponsors, a huge silent auction and Fund a Need pledging to support the children’s programs, the 14th annual Kidney Ball raised $420,000. After the program, guests moved to the elegant Venetian Ballroom to dance to Your Generation in Concert (YGIC). The “Party Hard Speakeasy”-themed after-party also included an open bar, more beer tasting, late night coneys, and the popular Mars candy “bar”. Ball sponsors included Madison Heights Glass Company, Inc; Meijer; Mars Wrigley; MillerCoors; Founders Brewing Co; William Hill Estate Winery; LaMarca USA; and New Amsterdam Vodka, among many others.

Salvation Army Luncheon Sing-a-Long

Seven years ago, the historic London Chop House, now owned by the Gatzaros family, rekindled the award-winning eatery’s 1980s tradition of raising money for the Salvation Army at Christmas. In those days of the two-martini lunch, coveted luncheon reservations entitled patrons to hob nob with the powerful and make others take center stage to sing in exchange for a significant donation to the Army. The new version, co-hosted by Diane and Tom Schoenith and the Gatzaros family, depends on luncheon reservation donations ($250, $10,000-for booth 1 & 2) and all provisions are totally underwritten by the London Chop House. (A limited menu offered classic cuisine and premium spirits, all impeccably presented.) The singing, this year led by Tasha Lord, is heavenly compared to the boozy caroling of the old days. Bartender Derrick also did a stirring rendition of “Oh Holy Night”. The Salvation Army brass band and a mounted Detroit policeman greeted the 100 arrivals that included some, like Rosemary Bannon, Lucia Zurkowski, Susie Lambrecht, Stephanie Germack, Dick and Jane Manoogian and the Schoeniths, who remember the original version of the event. More than $33,000 was raised for the Metro Detroit 2018 Red Kettle fundraising goal of $8.2-million. These funds will support critical social services like educational programs for youth, a legal aid clinic, drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs in addition to meals and shelter.

Women’s Fund of Rochester Holiday Party

When philanthropists party, they almost always include a fundraising component. The Women’s Fund of Rochester partners are no exception. Sixty-five of the 225 partners ($1,000-plus annual donation) toasted the holidays at Rochester’s Fieldstone Winery & Hard Cider. They also bought Rochester-themed baskets ($4,000) and saluted the grant committee’s 2018 choices. These include: Families Against Narcotics; Jewish Vocational Services; Career Dress; Rochester Area Neighborhood House; Assistance League of Southeast Michigan. Over the past 17 years, the Women's Fund has donated more than $300,000 to organizations helping women. The fund is permanently endowed, owned and administered by the Community Foundation of Greater Rochester. Through grant-making, the Fund provides ongoing and future support for programs that aid women while preserving and managing its donations in perpetuity by spending only the fund's income and annual earnings.

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

Meadow Brook Hall Starlight Stroll

Eisenhower Dance Afterglow

Detroit Historical Society Ball

Irish Nite Auction Ingathering

The Gallery


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.

The Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research is presenting an Edible Landscapes Dinner at Thornlea, 5:00 - 8:45pm, Sunday, January 27, 2019. The Farm-to-Table Dining and Cranbrook History Experience will feature a five-course dinner and wine pairings by Chef Matthew Baldridge and bartender Jarrod Kassis inspired by Henry and Carolyn Booth’s journeys and the menus they collected in France. Tours of Thornlea’s four floors will be included. This intimate dinner, which is strictly limited to 50 guests, is hosted by Gregory Wittkopp, Director of the Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research, and will feature Cranbrook storyteller extraordinaire, Collections Fellow Kevin Adkisson. For tickets ($195) go to The Bates Street Society Dinner is February 2, 2019 at The Community House. Plans include valet parking, a three-course seated dinner, wine and cocktails, keynote speaker Cynthia Ford, music by Ben Sharkey and inspirational recognition of new Pillars of the Community: Mitch Albom, Richard DeVore, Dr. Jeffrey Fischgrund, Jennifer Granger, Arthur Horwitz, Amy and Daniel Loepp and Bill Roberts. For tickets ($300-Patron, $100-Past Pillars - includes 6 pm champagne reception; $250-cocktails at 6:30) go to

Patti Brozek and Bridget Sagmani are chairing the St. Regis Gala: Dancing with the St. Regis Stars 2 7 pm, Saturday, Feb. 2 at Shenandoah Country Club. Plans include open bar, strolling dinner, live auction, raffles, DJ & Dancing, Cigar Lounge, Late Night Snack and the dance competition. Featured dancers include parents Alessandra Ercolani, Audrey Moran Faust, Brooke Murphey, Chris Bouschet, Matt Stenger, Tommy Lee and teacher Renee Morency. For tickets ($150, $250-VIP includes champagne toast at early reception and reserved seats) go to

The Birmingham Education Foundation annual fundraiser – The Unabashed BASH – is Saturday, Feb. 9 at The Townsend Hotel. Plans include valet parking, cocktails, silent, online and live auctions, dinner and entertainment. For sponsorships and tickets ($200) go to or call 248-203-3030.

Sue Atwell is chairing Marian High School’s Mardi Gras, Saturday, Feb. 9 at the school. The co-chairs are Joellen Shortley, Mary Wenzel and Julie Murray. Contact Atwell at to donate or volunteer for this Mothers’ and Dads’ clubs event.

Joy Levran, Lisa Rothberger and Carly Sanfield are chairing ORT’s WINGO, 5:30 pm, Thursday, March 14, at Knollwood Country Club. This women’s only bingo party offers lots of prizes, a strolling dinner, signature cocktails, a silent auction and lots of raffles with great prizes.

Ron & Katie Gantner are the Leadership Chairs of the Brother Rice Irish Nite 6 pm, Saturday, March 16 at Birmingham Country Club. Bro. David MacIntyre is the Honorary Chair. For tickets ($250-includes 5pm VIP reception, $100-friend) go to

The Detroit Zoological Society’s third annual Wildlife Conservation Gala, presented by Ford Motor Company, is 6-9:30 pm, Saturday, March 16 at the Detroit Zoo’s iconic Wildlife Interpretive Gallery. Plans include hors d’oeuvres, cocktails, a sit-down dinner, raffle and presentation of the Nautilus Award to an individual whose efforts have made a profound impact on the future of wildlife and embody the DZS’s mission of Celebrating and Saving Wildlife. Themed “Saving Birds Around the World”, the gala will include a presentation highlighting the DZS’s extensive field work with penguins in the Falkland Islands and Antarctica, as well as long-term work in the Great Lakes region with piping plovers and other avian species. For tickets ($250 and up) go to All proceeds will benefit the DZS’s wildlife conservation programs.

The Alternatives for Girls annual Role Model Dinner is Wednesday, March 27 at the MGM Grand. It will put the spotlight on Franklin Community Church’s Dr. Althea Simpson, the Detroit Police Department’s Lashinda Stair and Meritor’s Linda Taliaferro.

The Girl Scouts of Southeast Michigan’s annual Cookie Gala is 6-9 pm, Thursday, March 28 at the MGM Grand.

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

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