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  • By Bill Seklar

December 2020


Over the years, I have written about gratitude as a virtue every man should cultivate. Yet gratitude means nothing if you haven’t mastered the art of expressing it. “A man should use every opportunity to express to those around him how much he appreciates their love, support, and generosity.”

As our “community” heads into the sacred season of counting our blessings and giving back to others, so too are all of us at The Community House our leadership, staff and TCH beneficiaries – counting our blessings. For it is without all of our cherished supporters, our donors, corporate sponsors, class takers, child-care families, event guests, community partners, dancers, seniors and our dedicated corps of volunteers – that our work would not be possible. Saying “thank you” never seems to be enough, but it is a place to start.

As a 97-year old non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, The Community House relies solely on the kindness and generosity of others – to deliver on our mission – and to provide the community critical programs and services, programs and experiences which benefit and enrich the lives of others in our great community – some, without the ability to pay.

It is during this time of thanksgiving and extreme uncertainty that The Community House pauses to humbly acknowledge and remember the many kindnesses and extraordinary generosity from those that have been entrusted with much...and to offer all of you, from all of us – a big “Thank You.” Be safe, stay well. Happy Holidays!


The end of the year is almost here and the last chance to support our critical 2020 Annual Fund Drive is upon us. Given COVID, it is hard to overestimate how important this year’s end of the year Annual Fund appeal is to the historic Community House. Our situation remains dire. Except for our Early Childhood Centers, by order of the Governor, our building/facilities remain closed. Many staff remain furloughed or laid off. For the last nine months (and counting) we find ourselves, like so many, continuing to navigate through a perfect storm.

By making an end of the year tax-deductible gift to The Community House now, your gift will ensure that we continue to navigate through this terrible world-wide pandemic, and that post-COVID we remain the important educational and community resource that thousands of individuals have relied upon for nearly a century. To make an end of the year gift now, you can send your donation in by mail at: TCH 380 S. Bates Street, Birmingham, Michigan 48009, give online at or by calling The Community House Foundation at 248.594.6417.


The Bates Street Society was created to help recognize donors who make significant charitable contributions to support the work and mission of The Community House. New members are acknowledged annually at The Bates Street Society Dinner, an extraordinary evening hosted by The Community House Association and Foundation Board of Directors. In 2021, the Bates Street Society and the Bates Street Society Dinner will be moved to Saturday, April 17, 2021. To help lead this extraordinary gathering, Huel Perkins, Iconic Broadcast Journalist and American News Anchor, will once again assume the role of Master of Ceremonies. The Bates Street Society Dinner will also recognize TCH/TCHF’s annual Pillars of Vibrancy in Business, Education, Culture, Wellness and Philanthropy.

2021 Pillars of Vibrancy Honorees include:

• Honorable Dave Bing — Business & Culture

• Dominic DiMarco — Education

• Barry Franklin, Ph.D. — Wellness

• Lila Lazarus — Wellness & Education

• Duane Mezwa, M.D. — Education & Wellness

• Rabbi Daniel B. Syme — Culture

• Linda Schlesinger-Wagner — Business & Philanthropy

• S. Evan Weiner — Business & Philanthropy

• Jessie Beld Elliott and Ed Welburn — Business & Philanthropy

Save-the-Date: Saturday, April 17, 2021. Seating is limited. Tickets (reservations) on sale now.

Our gratitude and special thanks to founding sponsor, PNC Wealth Management and to Beaumont, TCF Bank, Oakland University, Metalbuilt and Hall & Hunter Realtors for their lead sponsorships of the 2021 Bates Street Society Dinner as well. Sponsorship opportunities are still available. For more information, contact Christopher Smude, AVP, The Community House Foundation at

Note: The Community House and The Community House Foundation shall continue to monitor the pandemic throughout the next few months, only if necessary, out of an abundance of safety and caution, the Bates Street Society Dinner and Awards Ceremony would be moved to a later date.


Volunteers have been involved in the every-day life of The Community House for over 97 years. They give the “House” a face, a voice, helping hands, and a heart.

Even though our doors remain closed for now, much work continues behind the scenes. The Community House invites you to consider joining our esteemed volunteer team – and by doing so, you can be assured that your precious donation of time and talent will be greatly appreciated and will positively impact the lives of those we serve


For more information about volunteering at The Community House, please visit our website at to download a volunteer application or call Kathie Ninneman at 248.594.6403.

For reservations, sponsorships or more information about booking gathering and meeting space for Spring 2021 and beyond - 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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