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July 2023


I recently read that “nonprofit organizations play a vital role in building healthy communities by providing critical services that contribute to economic stability and mobility. They also strengthen communities in other important ways. Frequently, nonprofit leaders are the voice of the people they serve. Thanks to the combination of strong community relationships and intimate local knowledge, these organizations often understand better than anyone else their communities’ needs and the best ways to meet them. Strong, well-resourced nonprofits that are connected to the decision-making infrastructure in their communities can catalyze growth and opportunity.”

In that spirit, JPMorgan Chase & Co. announced it is increasing its commitment to building the capacity of community-based nonprofits and strengthening networks with peer institutions, civic leaders, elected officials, and other stakeholders who help shape the policies that directly impact the communities they serve. Bravo! In our community, in addition to our 100-year-old nonprofit organization, two other (amongst many) essential organizations continue their excellent work and service in Birmingham, and beyond as well – the Birmingham Shopping District and the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber. It is critical that building the capacity of nonprofit organizations in Birmingham, in coordination with its residents, peer institutions, civic leaders and elected officials is paramount. None of us can do it alone.

As proud members and supporters of the Birmingham Shopping District and the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber, we strongly and enthusiastically support the many important events, services and impact these two extraordinary organizations have on the residents, businesses, and civic organizations - in Birmingham and its surrounding communities.


As many of you may know, the mission of the Birmingham Shopping District is to “strive to provide leadership in marketing, advertising, and promotion of the Birmingham Shopping District. We actively work to promote a district that is exciting, clean, safe, and pedestrian-friendly and ensure that the district continues to serve as a center for business, service, social and community activities. The Birmingham Shopping District Board oversees the expenditure of funds for the principal shopping district programs.”

Under the effective leadership of Cristina Sheppard-Decius, BSD Executive Director, many community and business-friendly events and programs are planned and led by the tireless Birmingham Shopping District (BSD) team year-round.

Recently the Birmingham Farmers Market (sponsored by the BSD) opened on May 7th for its 21st season. According to the BSD, “Visitors of all ages are invited to experience the outdoor market and shop for local produce, meat and dairy, artisan goods, fresh foods and more. The market proudly offers Michigan-grown produce subject to local growing patterns.” In addition to foods, shoppers can browse unique and stunning floral bouquets, hanging baskets, garden flats and other plants. A produce guide is available online at the BSD.

On one recent visit, my wife and I came across the family-owned and operated Ptashka’s booth. Ptashka’s, founded by local a mother-daughter team, Galyna Semenkova and Jenya (nee Semenkova) Schwartz, has been locally producing nalysnyky (NAH-liss-nee-kee), the word and spelling in Ukrainian for “crepes” since mid-February. After one taste, we were hooked.

We learned that six vegetarian varieties of nalysnyky are carried at Birmingham’s Market Square, Long Lake Market in Bloomfield Hills, Market Fresh in Beverly Hills, in addition to the Birmingham Farmer’s Market. Saturday is their day for producing sweet nalysnyky: cherries and vanilla sauce, apples, and vanilla sauce and one that’s especially popular in Ukraine, farmer’s cheese, and raisins. To die for.

Their nalysnyky are made with locally sourced and natural ingredients. Best of all, 10 percent of Ptashka’s proceeds quarterly is donated to United Help Ukraine ( The nonprofit charity provides medical and humanitarian relief in the Semenkovas’ war-torn native land. Check them out as well as the many other food and products at Birmingham’s very own farmer’s market.

Hours of the Birmingham Farmer’s Market - every Sunday May 7 – October 29 from 9 a.m.- 2 p.m.. The market is held on Public Parking Lot #6 located at 660 N. Old Woodward, Birmingham, Michigan 48009. Stop by and support your local community.

Another “must attend” BSD event happening now in Birmingham is the annual In The Park Summer Concert Series* sponsored by the Birmingham Shopping District. Visitors to downtown Birmingham can enjoy live music in downtown’s centrally located Shain Park during the free In the Park Summer Concert Series, taking place on Wednesday evenings all summer long. Go online to the Birmingham Shopping District's website to also view their dining directory to see a list of restaurants perfect for dinner before the show, For the latest concert information and line-up, visit


As proud members of the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber (BCC) we likewise applaud and support Joe Bauman, chamber president, and the chamber’s strong partnerships and advocacy for our schools, government, community organizations (like The Community House) and the community at large. The Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber’s mission is to serve six surrounding communities as their leading resource for advancing business interests and building relationships. Our chamber serves the community with distinction and excellence.

As many of you know, the BCC is a member-driven organization that builds strong relationships with government, education, and community to create a prosperous business climate in Beverly Hills, Bingham Farms, Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, Bloomfield Township, and Franklin. They strive daily to:

• Promote programs and services that meet the needs of chamber members and potential members.

• Maintain a positive business and community image.

• Utilize and strengthen partnerships with schools, government, community organizations and the community at large.

• Achieve and maintain the organizational and fiscal stability of the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber.

• Be the lead voice for the larger business community.

We at The Community House humbly urge both residents and businesses alike to support the BBC.


On deck for the BBC is their Annual Golf Outing (and fund/friend raiser). It will be held on Tuesday, July 18, starting at 10 a.m. at the esteemed Indianwood Golf & Country Club, 1081 Indianwood Road in Lake Orion.

Register now and join local community and business leaders for this fun day on the course. Golf packages and sponsorships available. Golfer package includes Grab & Go Breakfast, BBQ lunch, 18 holes of golf, after-golf reception with an open bar. For those who want to join the BBC for the after-golf reception only, it runs from 3-5 p.m. All are welcome. Tickets are $50/person (includes food and an open bar). Registration at 9 a.m.; Shotgun Start at 10 a.m.; After-golf reception from 3-5 p.m..


The 19th Annual Vine & Dine, a benefit for the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber and Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan will take place on Tuesday, September 12, at the Kingsley Hotel in Bloomfield Hills. Join the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber for this “not to miss” food and wine tasting event showcasing the best of Birmingham food and wine. Featuring live entertainment, silent and chance auctions, and live entertainment. Wear Gleaner’s Green and be entered to win.

Remember it’s important to live, shop and dine locally! All money raised or spent in Birmingham should stay in Birmingham. We’re in it together.

William D. Seklar is Officer, President & CEO of The Community House Association, and Board Chair, President & CEO of The Community House Foundation.


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