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  • By Bill Seklar

August 2020

“Finding a New Normal Together” Gina LaPapa

As we begin Fall 2020, forever changed by a worldwide pandemic, COVID-19, we at The Community House take pause to reflect on all of the people: individuals, corporations, foundations – kindnesses large and small, which have helped sustain us over these last six months, and to those who have made a true and lasting difference at the historic Community House, yesterday, today and always. If you are wondering when will the coronavirus end, you’re not alone. Until then, we shall endeavor to carry on. As a 501(c)3 non-profit charitable organization, it is our duty and our obligation to remain ever mindful that good stewardship is an essential part of the fundraising cycle. It covers the entire relationship between donor and organization. Likewise, we must continually celebrate and honor the importance of selfless service and volunteerism. For without either, the work and missions of noble organizations such as The Community House would not be possible. Normally held in February, The Community House created the Bates Street Society Dinner - at which annual Pillars of Vibrancy: Education, Wellness, Culture, Philanthropy and Business are celebrated and honored. The purpose is to publicly 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. Over the last few years, 69 pillars in our community have been recognized and inducted into The Community House’s Pillars of Vibrancy. 2021 will be no exception. Recently, The Community House announced the 2021 Pillar Nominees to date. They include: Pillar of Business & Philanthropy Jessie Beld Elliot and Ed Welburn - Businesswoman, Legendary GM Design Chief, Philanthropists S. Evan Weiner – President & CEO, Businessman, Philanthropist Linda Schlesinger-Wagner – Founder, Businesswoman, Philanthropist Pillar of Culture & Philanthropy Dave Bing - Former Mayor of Detroit, Hall of Fame Basketball Player, Businessman Rabbi Daniel B. Syme - Rabbi Emeritus Pillar of Education Dominic DiMarco - President, Cranbrook Educational Community The Bates Street Society was established in 2015, to publicly recognize and induct members who have made significant charitable contributions to support the work and mission of The Community House in Birmingham. New member-inductees will be acknowledged annually at its Bates Street Society Dinner, a semi-formal event hosted by The Community House and The Community House Foundation’s - Officers and Board of Directors. In an effort to recognize those that have given extraordinary treasure; $25,000 or more cumulatively, or donors who make an irrevocable legacy gift of $25,000 or more to The Community House, Community House Association and Foundation Leadership decided to combine and recognize key stakeholders; major donors, foundations and corporate partners - together with the Pillars of Vibrancy - at the annual Bates Street Society Dinner, under one philanthropic umbrella event. Impacted by COVID, the 6th annual Bates Street Society Dinner has been moved to Saturday, April 17, 2020. The three-course sit-down dinner is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. in the Wallace Ballroom of The Community House. Please save the date. Until then, The Community House shall continue to monitor the pandemic, and if necessary, out of an abundance of safety and caution, adjust accordingly. To help lead this extraordinary evening of recognition and celebration, Huel Perkins, beloved Broadcast Journalist and iconic American News Anchor, will return in the role of Master of Ceremonies. This important gathering/dinner will offer guests a wonderful opportunity to publicly show enthusiastic support for the 2021 TCH Pillars of Vibrancy inductees, and to the scores of individuals, foundations and corporations whose contributions and kindness makes The Community House’s work and mission possible. Reservations (no tickets issued!) are $250/pp for General Admission and $350pp for Patron Admission. In addition, sponsorship opportunities are needed and available at all giving levels. Until we find our new normal “let’s practice reckless optimism together.” Stay safe, be well. For reservations, tickets or to become a sponsor of the 2021 Bates Street Society Dinner, please go to or call 248.644.5832. William D. Seklar is President & CEO of The Community House and The Community House Foundation in Birmingham.

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