Social Lights April 2019
Updated: Feb 8
In this edition
Motor City Open Squash Tournament at the BAC: story & photos
Figure Skating in Detroit Reception during the U.S. Championships: story & photos
Detroit Cristo Rey Gift Gathering Pre-Party: story & photos
The Community House, a brief reflection
Marian Mardi Gras Benefit: story & photos
Birmingham Education Foundation Unabashed BASH: story & photos
In future editions
Beyond Basic's 20th Anniversary Gala
SHINE benefit for Variety and FAR camp programs
Erin Go Bra(gh) CARE House benefit
Academy of the Sacred Heart Annual Benefit
West Point Founders Day Dinner
Women's Division Project HOPE Safari
ORT Michigan Region WINGO
Brother Rice Irish Nite
Detroit Zoological Society Conservation Gala
Junior League of Birmingham Little Black Dress Brunch
Roeper School Scholarship Auction
Alternatives for Girls Annual Role Model Dinner
Screening of "Call Me Bill, The William Davidson Story"
Friends of Preservation Bloomfield "Hamilton" Benefit
Questers Vintage Fashion Luncheon
FAR Sing Out 4 Kids
Bloomfield Hills Schools Foundation Celebration
Motor City Open
As a 24-year-old widow I moved to Birmingham after college in Ann Arbor to share an apartment with a Best Friend. A swim and racquet club was under construction on Maple Road in Bloomfield. At the time, I remember thinking “Who on earth would want to play beside such a busy road?” That was sixty years ago.
That club, the Birmingham Athletic Club, is now renowned for its sports and family friendly, social atmosphere. It is home to three, thriving racquet programs, a top-tier swim program, fitness center and dining facilities. And, as the Polar Vortex was raging outside, BAC members were warm inside hosting the Motor City Open, the second-longest running pro squash tourney in the United States.
Derrick Glencer, Peter Schmidt and Mike Beauregard chaired the 20th annual MCO. It was presented by the BAC’s Motor City Squash and Education Foundation and The Suburban Collection. In addition to five days of outstanding competition by 24 top-ranked professionals from around the world, the schedule included, thanks to support from the DeRoy Testamentary Foundation, a Junior Clinic with the Pros. Participants included kids from Racquet Up Detroit, an impressive, non-profit, urban youth development program that combines squash, mentoring, and community service.
And since the tournament purse of $75,000 is critical to attracting the best pros, sponsors were guests of honor for a strolling supper with the players following the first night of competition. A lively, Roaring 20s members / player party after the final match concluded the five days. Egyptian Mohamed Abouelghar defeated Peruvian Diego Elias in the finals. In addition to their shares of the purse, they both got a Longines watch from Greenstone’s. In the post-match ceremony, Racquet Up Detroit received a check for $20,000 from The Suburban Collection. This brings to more than $300,000 the total raised for charities by the foundation at “that club on a busy road” in the 20 years of hosting the MOC.
Figure Skating in Detroit
Twenty-five years ago, when the US Figure Skating Championships were last in Detroit, the Bloomfield-based Detroit Skating Club managing director Jerod Swallow and his wife Elizabeth Punsalan won the dance competition. This year one of their many commitments was the reception hosted by Figure Skating in Detroit, an organization for girls of color that combines the life-transforming power of education with the discipline of figure skating. The girls practiced their social and speaking skills at a reception for 200 in the Legends Suite at Little Caesars Arena and they cheered with pride when 20 of their number skated in the closing ceremony. You go, girls!
Detroit Cristo Rey Gift Gathering Pre-Party
The HG Oldenkamp kitchen cabinet showroom on Coolidge Highway was a perfect place for 80 area supporters of Detroit Cristo Rey High School to gather before the school’s big fundraiser. They brought items that will be on the silent auction block at Viva! Gems of Detroit, Friday, May 17 at Eastern Market Shed 3. At the Pre-Party - hosted by the John Bergmanns, Mark Thuts, Julian Joniks and Janet Baccanari – folks socialized, savored Mexican chow and met DCR president Mike Khoury. All we talked with who have seen the Detroit school up close eagerly commented on the extraordinarily positive atmosphere they witnessed at the college-preparatory Catholic high school that serves economically disadvantaged students. For tickets to Viva ! Gems of Detroit call 313-402-0081.
The Community House
Cynthia Ford was the keynote speaker at the Bates Street Society Dinner which honors pillars of the community and the most loyal donors to The Community House. The passionate philanthropist was introduced by her daughter-in-law, Sarah Ford, a new TCH board member. The presence of Ford family members made this reporter smile to recall something she learned doing research in 1993 as chair of The Community House 70th anniversary celebration. The local newspaper report of the 1923 grand opening of the house proudly included the society note that Mrs. Henry Ford was in attendance. Want to bet there’ll be a Ford at the 100th anniversary in 2023?…And speaking of TCH, its annual OUR TOWN Art Show and Sale has moved from the fall to May. The not-to-miss opening night party ($75 tickets) is 6 – 9 pm, Thursday, May 16. The show is free the next two days.
Marian Mardi Gras Benefit Evening
Sue Atwell, Mary Wenzel and Joellen Shortley chaired the annual Marian High School Mothers’ and Dads’ Club fundraiser. They continued the rolling good times Mardi Gras theme of recent years. Guests - more than 250 parents, alums and alum parents ($150, $125, $100 tickets) - first congregated in the student lounge to banter, imbibe and bid in the huge silent auction ($35,800). The buffet spread Ferndale’s Howe’s Bayou presented featured savory Cajun specialties for sustenance throughout the live auction ($29,900). The top dollar item in the live auction ($5,000) was the 2019 graduation perk of choice reserved seats and extra tickets. The MHS loyalists then pledged $41,900 for STEM initiatives. Thanks also to raffles ($12,225) and sponsors the annual benefit evening raised more than $150,000 for tuition assistance and the science program at the faith-based, all-girls, college prep school.
Birmingham Education Foundation Unabashed BASH
Dr. John Hoeffler, the visionary who founded the BEF when he was the superintendent 26 years ago, received the inaugural Legacy Award at the 19th annual BEF fundraiser. It attracted 271 to The Townsend Hotel where cocktail hour diversions included a large silent auction coordinated by Catherine Turnbull, a wine pull and buying Heads or Tails participation necklaces. An event tradition – entertainment by BPS students – was continued by Groves’ Electric Mayhem and Seaholm’s “Hello Dolly” cast before the short live auction. (The unusual last item – the opportunity to select the first three songs for dancing – brought $1,200 from a guest who wanted to be sure that people stuck around and danced.) The live auction was followed by pledging outright donations ($31,400) and the fun Heads or Tails game with valuable prizes. Not counting an online auction that continued after the BASH and thanks also to generous sponsors, the event raised more than $150,000 to fund exceptional educational experiences for all student levels.
Please send story ideas to SamGerak@AOL.com