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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. In tandem 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 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 benefits the community. Ultimately, our goal is to offer as many programs and services to all, regardless of a person’s ability pay. In addition to securing supplemental funding to maintain quality programming and services at TCH, The 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. 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 – needs over and above normal day-to-day operations. As a separate non-profit charitable organization, The Community House Foundation was launched and governed by a separate and independent board of directors, staff and volunteers. 2019-2020 Community House Foundation board members include: Barbara Hertzler, chair; Brad Wolf, vice chair; William D. Seklar, President & CEO; Deric Righter, treasurer; and Jacob Taylor, officer. It was especially fitting that the Community House Foundation’s second year anniversary will coincide 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 – 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. This year was no exception. During the 2020 Bates Street Society celebration, The Community House Association, its foundation, officers and board members will honor and recognize new Pillars of Vibrancy in Philanthropy, Education, Wellness and Culture. It will be a magical evening. Since its inception, 59 pillars throughout our region have now been recognized and honored. On February 8, nine new pillars will join this impressive fraternity. 2020 pillar honorees include: Pillar of Business, Mary Kramer; Pillars of Philanthropy, Margaret Cooney Casey, Christine and David Provost; Pillar of Culture & Philanthropy, Linda Solomon; Pillar of Education, Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, M.D.; Pillar of Wellness & Philanthropy, Keith Pomeroy; Pillar of Wellness, Brian Berman, M.D., Hannan Lis. We also recognize those that have given $25,000 or more cumulatively, or donors who make an irrevocable legacy gift of $25,000 or more to The Community House: Bates Street Society. 2020 Bates Street Society Member inductees included: Amy and David Palmer, Bobbi and Stephen Polk, DeRoy & Devereaux, Elaine Dietze (posthumously), Ethan Allen Home Interiors, Mills Pharmacy + Apothecary, and Patricia & Eugene Jacoby. In addition the ceremony will present President’s Community Leadership Award to Rose & Brian Bolyard. The 2020 Bates Street Society Dinner would not have been made possible without the generosity and support of our founding fifth year presenting sponsor PNC Wealth Management, and to Private VIP Champagne Reception sponsor, TCF Bank. William D. Seklar is President & CEO of The Community House and The Community House Foundation in Birmingham.

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