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November 2023


Happy Thanksgiving!

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 100-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. As we celebrate our important Centennial Year, it is fitting that we have expanded our century-old mission and community outreach to include Life, Health & Wellness to our core values. 

It is during this time of thanksgiving and continued 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 2023 Annual Fund Drive is upon us. We humbly ask for your support. By making an end of the year tax-deductible gift to The Community House, a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit charitable organization, now, your gift will ensure that we continue to navigate through economic challenges, world unrest, strife at home and related health and mental challenges - so that we remain the important educational, philanthropic 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 100-year-old mission of our beloved Community House is to serve. Nothing less, nothing more. Short of an unexpected lifeline (or two or three…) we will continue to struggle financially. Unlike so many historical institutions, universities, medical centers, noble causes – many donors do not think of The Community House as a place to make large transformational gifts to. But we pray that everyone takes a second look – we’re worth it. Community Houses across our nation are rare, cultural, educational, and philanthropic gems. And all are self-supporting, none receiving tax dollars. Yet, they fill a critical need; they fill a gap that so many depend upon. Pre-COVID, over 200,000 people entered through our doors annually. We’re on our way back. After nearly a century of service we must have been doing something right. Please, please, please consider an estate gift or include us in your legacy plans. It’s painless and can help build a life-saving foundation upon which the Community House can serve the community, and those in need for another 100 years! In humble gratitude. Bill Seklar


2023 Classical Brunch Series: Be part of an unforgettable experience on November 19th at the grand finale concert of the 2023 Classical Brunch Series to be held in the acoustically exquisite Wallace Ballroom at The Community House. Witness the riveting performance by the talented musicians of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra as they perform classical melodies in an intimate setting and enjoy gourmet brunch offerings. After the performance, the musicians will engage with audience members to further enhance the experience. We express our sincere appreciation to our generous sponsors: Gwen and Richard Bowlby, Hagopian World of Rugs, and long-time partners, WRCJ 90.9 FM, for their leadership, support, and generosity. Note: The October event sold out fast - so hurry and purchase your November tickets now. Tickets are $55 per person and reservations can be made at

Winter Markt 2023: We’re back. We are proud to join fellow community members at the annual Birmingham Winter Markt in Shain Park, on our Van Deusen Terrace, December 1–3. Experience the charm of the holidays with displays from local artists and vendors, thousands of holiday lights, ice sculptures, live entertainment, complimentary carriage rides and more. The Community House will be serving authentic German favorites including gluhwein, beer, brats, pretzels, and other tantalizing treats under our big tent at the corner of Bates & Merrill Streets.

Storytime with Santa 2023: He’s back. Bring your loved ones together for an experience filled with heartwarming holiday spirit at Storytime with Santa on December 9th (9:30 a.m. & 11 a.m). Jolly ole Santa himself will be the star, captivating young and old and creating magical moments. The enchantment continues at the craft stations, where little hands can create their own holiday memories. Guests of all ages can treat themselves to a variety of cookies and cups of hot chocolate (and the adults can add a touch of extra holiday cheer from the hot chocolate bar). Learn more at  

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. The Bates Street Society Dinner and Awards Ceremony 2024 will take place on Saturday, February 10, 2024, in the Wallace Ballroom of The Community House. To help lead this extraordinary gathering, Mr. Huel Perkins, and Ms. Lila Lazarus, will assume the role of Master & Mistress of Ceremonies. The Bates Street Society Dinner will also recognize The Community House Foundation’s Annual Pillars of Vibrancy in Business, Education, Culture, Health & Wellness and Philanthropy. 

2024 Pillars of Vibrancy Honorees include: 

• Ms. Florine Mark (posthumously) — Business, Culture, Education, Health &

Wellness & Philanthropy

• Dr. Lewis H. Rosenbaum, MD — Health & Wellness and Education

• Ms. Diana Lewis — Culture & Philanthropy

• Ms. Michelle Saroki — Business & Philanthropy

• Ms. Glenda Lewis — Culture & Philanthropy

• Mr. Michael Bickers — Business & Philanthropy

• Mr. Salvador Salort-Pons — Business & Culture

• Mr. Paul Gross — Business & Philanthropy

Save-the-Date: Saturday, February 10, 2024. Seating is limited. Tickets (reservations) on sale now.

Sponsorship opportunities are still available.  For more information, contact Christopher Smude, Senior Vice President, CMO, The Community House Foundation at 


Volunteers have been involved in the everyday life of The Community House for over 100 years. They give the “House” a face, a voice, helping hands, and a heart.


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 the Holidays 2023 and beyond - please go to or call 248.644.5832. 

William D. Seklar is President & CEO of the Community House Association and Board Chair, President & CEO of the Community House Foundation in Birmingham.


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