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March 2022



Happy 99th Birthday Community House! Nearly a century ago, April 1923, visionaries and founders of The Community House assembled on the corner of Townsend and Bates Street to establish the first Community House (TCH) in Birmingham. Wow! Thanks to you, what a ride it has been. Next year in 2023, briming with hope and great excitement, The Community House will celebrate its 100th Centennial Anniversary – a rare and almost extinct milestone. Plans are well underway to recognize and celebrate such an important occasion!

In reflection of the last two years and looking forward to the promise of the next century of service at The Community House, we take comfort and joy in the timeless phrase “Hope Springs Eternal.” This age-old proverb reminds us that it is human nature to always find a fresh cause for optimism. Alexander Pope wrote in “An Essay on Man” that even in the darkest of times – people always hope for the best – even in the face of adversity. And hope means looking towards the future with confidence. With great reason for optimism – all of us at the historic Community House look towards the future – a bright new future post-COVID, post-Delta and post-Omicron, rising from history interrupted, actions taken, future uncertain – looking ahead towards a new millennium with renewed optimism, confidence and excitement.

In anticipation of swinging our black lacquered doors back “wide-open” this spring – we have begun the process of rebuilding our historic nonprofit, charitable organization safely, fiscally and responsibly. We have already welcomed back new and old friends like the Optimist Club of Birmingham, The Birmingham Shopping District, Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber, Birmingham Bloomfield Young Professionals, Communicare Michigan and Project2, and reached out to cherished partners like the Senior Men’s Club of Birmingham, the Women’s Club and the Junior League of Birmingham – to rediscover synergy, friendship, support and respect for one another. While the road ahead remains unpredictable, we are optimistic that we can rediscover new ways to reinvent ourselves, new ways to serve the community, new ways of meeting our stewardship responsibilities and new ways to hand-off the baton of leadership to the next generation. Happy Birthday TCH!


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. Out of an abundance of safety and caution, the Bates Street Society Dinner was moved to Saturday, April 30, 2022.. Once again, to help lead this extraordinary gathering, Mr. Huel Perkins, i­conic broadcast journalist and American news anchor, will 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.

2022 Pillars of Vibrancy Honorees include:

• Honorable Dave Bing – Business & Culture; Dominic DiMarco – Education; Barry Franklin, Ph.D. – W; Rabbi Daniel B. Syme – Culture; Linda Schlesinger-Wagner – Business & Philanthropy; S. Evan Weiner – Business & Philanthropy; and Jessie Beld Elliott – Business & Philanthropy.

Saturday, April 30, 2022. 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 2022 Bates Street Society Dinner. Sponsorship opportunities and ad buys are still available. To purchase tickets (reservations) to the BSSD or for more information about sponsorships or ad buys, please contact Christopher Smude, VP, The Community House Foundation at

William D. Seklar is President & CEO of The Community House and The Community House Foundation in Birmingham.


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