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  • Sally Gerak

Week of 2.4.19

CARE House Circle of Friends

The 23rd annual Circle of Friends luncheon benefiting Care House of Oakland County attracted a sold-out crowd (305 @ $125, $175) to the ballroom at The Townsend Hotel. Event chairs Lisa Bouchard and Anna Rea and executive director Blythe Spitsbergen shared the welcoming honors (see photo gallery for sponsors and 20-year patrons) before Sheriff Mike Bouchard hit the reality button. He cited two recent cases of very real evil in Oakland County before he thanked the guest speaker Theresa Flores for stepping out of the shadow to advocate for victims of human sex trafficking. Her personal story of being a victim of three fellow Groves High School students in the early 1980s was incredible. But in her speech and her book, “The Slave Across the Street,” she told how to spot and help victims. She got a standing ovation when she concluded, “I left here 39 years ago broken…This is what healing looks like.” Seventy-five guests ($150) had met Flores the previous evening at the Preview Party Kris and Andy Appleby hosted in their Bloomfield home where a baby grand player piano in the receiving room of the 179-year-old manse provided lilting background music and servers offered arrivals glasses of champagne. The conversation paused briefly for the co-chairs to give Flores a gift of art by Jessie Chamberlain (see photo gallery). Thanks also to proceeds of a Somerset Collection $1,000 gift card raffle won by Julia Girdler and generous sponsors, the event raised a record $96,000-plus.

Cranbrook Center for Collections Benefit Dinner at Thornlea

The National Historic Landmark Cranbrook was founded by George Gough Booth and Ellen Scripps Booth. Carolyn Scripps, the granddaughter of their youngest son Henry and Carolyn Booth, seems to have inherited the family gene for documentation and the arts. Using Cranbrook Booth Family photos (see photo gallery) and a poem her grandfather wrote in 1976 she created the booklet “Ballad of Thornlea.” It consists of 26 rhyming stanzas (each ending with “High Ho!”) that recall with good humor and candor the first 50 years her grandparent’s home existed. It includes the home’s eccentricities and inhabitants both two-legged and four-legged. Near the end, Booth writes “…May it stand up proudly for fifty years more/ And welcome whoever comes into its door. High Ho!.”

On January 27, a capacity crowd of 50 supporters of the Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research ($195-ticket) came in Thornlea’s door to tour the 1926 home and dine based on menus from the Booths’ travels in France. (See photo gallery for the menu of the dinner executed by Chef Matthew Baldridge with wine pairings by Jarrod Kassis, served at two long tables in Thornlea’s living room.) But for many of the guests, the take away treasure of the fundraiser was contained in Executive Director Greg Wittkopp’s welcoming comments that placed Thornlea smack dab in the middle of the current hit movie “Green Book.” It’s about African American classical jazz musician Don Shirley’s road travels with his Italian American bodyguard / driver during the Jim Crow days of the 1960s. In keeping with the Cranbrook Booth family vision of support for the arts, not only is there picture evidence of Shirley at Thornlea in 1955, but in there was a 1962 letter from the bodyguard to his wife describing Thornlea: “Dr. Shirley decided to stop off in Detroit for a day to visit some people he knows, you remember I told you he knows people wherever he goes and he knows all big people (millionaires). We went over some guy’s house, I’m sorry I meant a mansion, it was really a castle. His name was Henry Booth, he lives in a place called Mich Hills (sic), it’s like Riverdale Yonkers, but the place makes Riverdale look like the Bowery. Dolores, I never saw such beautiful and fabulous homes in all my life.” Although Thornlea is not on the schedule of tours the Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research arranges, the center does offer many opportunities for visitors to experience Cranbrook’s beautiful, historically-significant campus.

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

Variety, The Children’s Charity Chili, Wings & Soup(er) Bowl

Eisenhower Dance Detroit Gallery Benefit

Motor City Open Sponsors Party

Max Broock Foundation MS Benefit

Bates Street Society

St. Regis Gala


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. It will honor the Farbman Group as Partner of the Year and volunteers Sue Galambos and Sue Wilhelm. Plans also include cocktails, dinner and artwork. For sponsorships and tickets ($250, $500) call Sarah Kmetz at 248-250-9304 or go to 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.

The Ted Lindsay Foundation annual Wine Tasting is Thursday, April 11 at the San Marino Club.

The Catholic Charities of Southeast Michigan Annual Celebration is 6 - 11 pm, Saturday, April 27 at Petruzzello’s of Troy. Plans include cocktails, a silent auction, dinner, a program honoring five parishes and dancing. For tickets ($200) email For sponsorship go to

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

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