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  • By Bill Seklar


On January 1, 2018, The Community House Association’s Board of Directors announced the creation of a new and separate entity, The Community House FOUNDATION to act as a supporting organization to The Community House ASSOCIATION. This was a transformational announcement.

With this historic announcement we learned that the mission of the new Community House Foundation is to generate, and secure supplemental philanthropic funds needed to fulfill our promise – to families and to the community – who depend on us to deliver a variety of quality programs and services throughout the region. Robust philanthropy supports a wide range of programs and services, today and in the future that benefit the community.

In addition to securing supplemental funding to maintain quality programming and services at TCH, Community House Association’s leadership also mandated that The Community House Foundation dedicate itself to raising funds and awareness for the preservation and perpetual care of The Community House Association’s historic building and nearly century-old plant.

In setting up the new foundation we were reminded that historic preservation is a critical movement in planning – designed to conserve old buildings and areas in order to permanently tie a place’s history to its population and culture.

With these goals in mind, much of The Community House Foundation’s initial efforts have focused on assessing, educating and carefully pairing passionate and caring donors with the immediate and emerging needs of The Community House Association – critical needs over and above its normal day-to-day operations.

As a separate non-profit charitable organization, the new Community House Foundation was launched and carefully governed by a separate and independent Board of Directors, staff and volunteers.

2018-2019 Community House Foundation Board Members included: Barbara Hertzler, Chair, Brad Wolf, Vice Chair, William D. Seklar, President & CEO, Deric Righter, Treasurer, Jacob Taylor, Officer.

It was especially fitting that the Community House Foundation’s first year anniversary coincided with its annual Bates Street Society Dinner – an annual celebration during which time The Community House organization takes pause from its own fundraising initiatives to reflect back on and recognize all of the people, individuals, corporations, foundations, kindnesses large and small, which have made a true and lasting difference in the community, at The Community House and now, the new Community House Foundation.

The purpose of the Bates Street Society Dinner is to 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. This year was no exception.

During the 2019 Bates Street Society celebration, The Community House Association, its foundation, officers and board members will honor and recognized new Pillars of Vibrancy; in Philanthropy, Education, Wellness and Culture. It will be a magical evening.

Since its inception, nearly 50 pillars throughout our region have now been recognized and honored as Pillars of Vibrancy. On February 2, eight new pillars will joined this impressive fraternity. 2019 pillar honorees include:

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

Pillar of Philanthropy & Education: Jennifer Granger

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

Pillar of Culture: Arthur Horwitz

2019 Bates Street Society inductees included: Barbara & Jim Suhay, Marilyn & Ken Way and Gorman’s Home Furnishing.

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

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