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  • Sally Gerak

Week of 1.28.19

NAIAS The Gallery The Saturday night before journalists from around the world descended on the 2019 North American International Auto Show for press days, 500 luxury car lovers ($500 ticket) flocked to The Gallery at the MGM Grand for the official kick-off. Their first stop was the Topgolf Club (formerly the Ignite Lounge in the Casino) for conversation, spirits and superb comestibles (lamb chops, beef tenderloin, crab claws, and lobster bites). When the Car Salon in the hotel ballroom opened, it was time to get up close and personal with the 29 ultra-luxury automobiles exhibited there. Think Aston Martin, Bentley, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche and Rolls Royce, to name just a few. Unlike this reporter, connoisseurs in the crowd knew that the back door of the Rolls Royce contained a handy, storage chamber for the silver-handled umbrella. Just outside the ballroom was a charity auction display (55 packages). Thanks to such bids as $1,850 for two Detroit Tigers hand painted stadium seats with two autographed framed jerseys, the auction raised $30,000 for the music therapy program (Sophie’s Place) at the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. The Children’s Center Auto Glow More than 900 NAIAS Charity Preview guests ($400 ticket) began and ended the evening at the Children’s Center AutoGlow ($275, $325 ticket) which Ford Motor Company presented in the Ford Field atrium where the 2019 Bullitt, the 2019 Raptor, the 2019 Nautilus and the 2019 Lincoln Continental were on exhibit. Guests savored sips and snacks before taking the shuttle to Cobo Center and returned to dance and dine at the Dream Big-theme event. Levy Restaurants served up Cajun Mahi Mahi, herb encrusted tenderloin and heavenly desserts. Thanks to the generosity of Delta Air Lines, 10 guests took home round-trip first class tickets to anywhere in the U.S and travel vouchers worth $2,000. AutoGlow was hosted by Lisa and Bill Ford and Kathy and Jim Hackett. The Ford family has supported The Children’s Center since it was founded in 1929 and Ford Motor Company has been AutoGlow presenting sponsor since its inception. (See other major sponsors in the photo gallery.) AutoGlow 2019 netted $240,000 for The Children’s Center to provide vital services for 7,500 families and vulnerable children. NAIAS Charity Preview “I didn’t even miss the German cars,” said Charity Preview loyalist Luisa di Lorenzo when the evening was over. The Birmingham ophthalmologist wouldn’t think of skipping the last “winter car prom” which celebrated the 30th anniversary of the auto show’s “internationality.” She and her husband Dr. Joe Skoney and friends were in the crowd of 10,072 ($400 ticket) at the largest black-tie gala in the world. It raised $4-million for children's charities. Charity Preview beneficiaries are: Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan, Stein; 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. Doug North is chairing the 2020 NAIAS and the Charity Preview will be June 12, 2020. That gives women lots of time to shop for summer dresses. Check in the coming weeks for reports & photos from these events: CARE House Circle of Friends Preview Party CARE House Circle of Friends Luncheon Variety, The Children’s Charity Chili, Wings & Soup(er) Bowl Eisenhower Dance Detroit Gallery Benefit Cranbrook Edible Landscapes Dinner at Thornlea


The Max Broock Charitable Foundation and the Multiple Sclerosis Society are presenting the 5th annual Sushi Event Fundraiser to benefit Multiple Sclerosis 4 – 7 pm, Friday, Feb. 1 at The Broock, 413 W Nine Mile Rd, Ferndale MI, 48220. Minimum donation is $25. Plans include sushi, wine, a silent auction, a raffle, a kid-friendly room and valet parking available. Public parking is available in the adjacent lot. 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.

Beyond Basics 20th Anniversary Gala is 6 pm., Friday, March 1 at the Detroit Athletic Club. Marcy & Dick Ford are chairing the Eton Academy Auction, March 2 at the school. The theme - Unmasking the Art of Learning - invites masks as accessories. For sponsorships and tickets ($200) go to Zaina Elia and Anita Hakim are chairing St. Hugo of the Hills Auction Gala March 2. Michelle Jonna and Karen Wilson are chairing the Academy of the Sacred Heart Benefit – The Secret Garden Gala – 6 -11 pm, Saturday, March 9 at Bloomfield Hills Country Club. Plans include cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, a silent auction, 52-card raffle, dinner and a live auction. For tickets ($185, $250-patron, include a 6 pm pre-party in the Colt Lounge and a special raffle sponsored by Miner's Den Jewelers) go to Tena Prevas and Diana Shoushanian are chairing The Women’s Division Project HOPE Hope on Safari, 6 pm, Saturday, March 9 at the Huron River Hunting and Fishing Club in Farmington. Plans include wine tasting, dinner dancing. For tickets ($100, $159) contact Tina at 248-568-0532.

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.

Mindi Fynke is the honorary chair & keynote speaker at the JVS Trade Secrets benefit evening which Roz Blanck, Kristen Gross and Linda Schlesinger-Wagner are chairing 6 pm, Thursday, April 11 at the Troy Marriott. Plans include cocktails, dinner, and the signature raffle. For tickets contact Judy Strongman at 248-233-4213.

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

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