• Sally Gerak

Social Lights July #3, 2019

Updated: Jul 24, 2019

In this issue:

  • Christ Child Society pour les enfants

  • A Night for Sight Charity Wine Auction / Dinner

  • Angels’ Place W.I.N.G.S Garden Party

  • McCann Worldgroup Kidney Benefit

  • Sweet Dreams Project Hats Off Luncheon

  • Women’s Association Boys & Girls Clubs Annual Luncheon

  • American House Foundation Celebration of Dignity & Hope

  • Lighthouse / South Oakland Shelter Better Together Celebration


Christ Child Society pour les enfants

More than 300 women (and Woman of the Year honoree Carol Roney’s husband Brian), convened at Pine Lake Country Club for the society’s annual benefit luncheon with a French name that had a Bloom Where You are Planted theme. Before lunch, they shopped the wares of 15 vendors, bought tickets for the raffle/auction and chatted in the grill. While dining they watched Darin Lenhard of fleurdetroit create a floral arrangement and give professional advice (like “no leaves in the water”). But the highlight of the day was Nini Dauer’s WOTY award presentation and Carol’s declaration of love for the at-risk boys who live at Christ Child House. This includes two who are now Brother Rice students, thanks to Carol quarterbacking the intricate application process and serving as Education Advisor. The event raised $40,000 for the society’s child welfare programs.


1. President Chris Schwartz, Woman of the Year Carol Roney

2. Co-chairs CeCe Lipsky, Valerie George and Kristen Wise (also a sponsor) Co-chair not pictured – Tara Nittis (also a sponsor)

3. Brian Rooney, his mother-in-law Connie Verbiest, Nini Dauer, who introduced “WOTY” Carol Rooney

4. Committee members Julie Wells and Maria Glod

5. Clare and sponsor Katie Parks, a past Woman of the Year honoree

6. Kathy Broock Ballard, Kathy Martin, Janet Kavanagh, Anne Rich

7. Shanna Gorga, Amy Fitzpatrick

8. Meredith Lovell, Marie Dowler, Kim McNulty

9. Stephanie Toma, Shannon Anderson

10. Christine Besar, Nancy Harrison, Sara Marshall

11. Mary Kay Heintz, Barbara Madigan

12. The Pepper Tree’s Cindy Chesley, Bernadette Cooper, Jill Barker

13. A 2019 provisional member Dona Tracey

14. fleurdetroit’s Darin Lenhard and the arrangement he made during the luncheon

15. One of many different centerpieces


16. Souvenir envelop of flower seeds

A Night for Sight

Dr. Michael and Jessica Ober hosted an elegant charity dinner at their home on Wing Lake to benefit the non-profit Alliance for Vision Research. The evening was sponsored by ophthalmologists Dr. Frank Nesi and Dr. Evan Black and coordinated by Scott Wheat. It was catered by superstar chefs Luciano DelSignore and Takashi Yagihashi. The 42 guests ($1,000 each) first socialized on the handsome terrace that overlooks the lake, perused the silent auction of fine wines (16 lots that brought in $50,000) and studied art from the Lisa Spindler Studio that had been installed for the occasion. When they settled into their places at long tables for dinner, pianist Buddy Budson played light jazz and a printed menu named the epicurean treats to come. (See the menu and some of the plated selections in the following photo gallery.) At dinner’s end, both chefs spoke about the restaurant – Pernoi - they are opening in the former Café Via space (310 E. Maple, Birmingham) before summer’s end. They plan to set new standards for superlative dining at the restaurant whose name is Italian and roughly means “for us”. Go to http://pernoibirmingham.com/ to sign up for updates). Master Sommelier Madeline Triffon also explained her career passion: “Serving you is sheer joy for me.” The remarkable evening raised more than $100,000 to fund vision research and aid Detroit area organizations providing direct support services to the visually impaired. Since its inception, the alliance has distributed over $1-million in grants.


1. Chef Luciano DelSignore, Master Sommelier Madeline Triffon, Chef Takashi Yagihashi

2. Karen & sponsor Dr. Frank Nesi, hosts Dr. Mike & Jessica Ober

3. Nickole & sponsor Dr. Evan Black, Lena & Frank Simon

4. A painting from Lisa Spindler Studio: “Sunrises and Sunsets” by Donn Angel Perez; 52” x 91”, acrylic on canvas

5. Drs. Evan Black, Kevin Everett, Luisa DiLorenzo & Joe Skoney

6. Nick DiLorenzo, Rick & Laurie DePanicis

7. Julia Keim, Ann Nicholson, Dr. Paul Edwards, Karen & Rich Brown

8. Laura & Stephen Trudeau, Victoria Trudeau & Colbert Lucey

9. Gary Shapiro & Dr. Susan Malinowski

10. Nickole Black, Frank & Lena Simon

11. Buddy Budson at the piano

12. Nick DiLorenzo, Dr. Luisa DiLorenzo & Dr. Joe Skoney, hosts Dr. Michael & Jessica Ober

13. Stephen & Laura Trudeau, Karen & Dr. Frank Nesi

14. Gary Shapiro, Dr. Susan Malinowski, Dr. Evan Black, Nickole Black, Lena & Frank Simon

15. The superb menu

16. Calvisius Ossetra Caviar on imported Burrata cheese in spring onion oil

17. Roasted Sablefish presentation

18. Washugyu beef strip loin on braised Belgium endive

19. The Egg – chocolate pot de crème, caramel foam

20. View from the terrace with waterfall in foreground

21. Dinner table flowers

Angels’ Place W.I.N.G.S Garden Party

As it turned out, the white festival tent erected outside the fleurdetroit shoppe and courtyards wasn’t even necessary for the 175 supporters of Angels’ Place to be comfortable sipping, supping, socializing and shopping at the annual spring gathering of W.I.N.G.S (Women Involved in Nurturing and Giving Service) to those with developmental disabilities. Many also bought raffle tickets and gathered in one of the studios to watch Daren Lenhard create a floral arrangement that Maryclare Pulte won in the live auction that followed. Thanks also to generous sponsors, the event raised more than $26,000, including the dues ($100) from the 124 who renewed their W.I.N.G.S membership.


1. Event chairs: Diane Widlak, Martha Kistler, Judy Jonna, Sally Mezey and Julie Beals

2. Volunteer bartender Joe Beals, committee members Julie Beals (also an event sponsor) and Sally Mezey, volunteer bartender Wade Mezey

3. Martha Torre, Fadya Sarafa

4. Host committee member Joslin Crowe selling raffle tickets

5. Gale Gordon, Lynn Gates

6. Cathy Nagle, AP executive director Cheryl Loveday, Julie Nagle

7. Kelly Cash, Nancy Smith, Wendy Powers

8. Jill Robnett

9. Amanda Berishaj, Dina Pitsos, Gina Zawaideh, Jen Yert

10. Leslie Collins, Carrie Cowdrey

11. Laurie Balian Aiello, Cheryl Hall Lindsay

12. fleurdetroit’s ’s Darin Lenhard completing arrangement that Maryclare Pulte bought in a live auction

13. Event sponsors

McCann Worldgroup Kidney Benefit

McCann Worldgroup good guy Bill Kolb hosted a charity cocktail party at the company’s Birmingham offices and 80 other good guys and gals accepted his invitation. They savored food and spirits donated by generous purveyors, socialized and bid about $15,000 on 30 silent auction packages. But the highlight was Matick Chevrolet’s Mollie Williams’ amazing story of finding a match for her kidney transplant seven months previous. The challenge was solved, serendipitously, as time was running out, by a fellow exerciser at Orange Theory who offered to be tested when she heard why Mollie had been absent from class. The event raised some $30,000 for the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan. It supports research and services for the one million Michigan adults who are living with kidney disease, according to NKFM’s Lisa Schultz Jelic, who also spoke.


1. Event coordinator / McCann’s Lisa Schultz, event host / McCann’s Bill Kolb

2. Laurie Cunnington, her granddaughter Emily Cunnington

3. Transplant recipient / Matick Chevrolet’s Mollie Williams, NKFM’s Lisa Schultz Jelic

4. Foundation board chair Dr. John & Melinda Magee

5. Myra Moreland and her son / McCann’s Jason Moreland

6. Two times transplant recipient David Maiuri & his wife Megan

7. McCann’s Mary Beth Lantzy and Nicole Dowswell

8. Event professional coordinator Gail Ball, McCann’s Karen Valimont and Kristin Dipple

9. Michael Rhoads, Melissa Rainwater

10. Tom Cunnington, McCann’s Jeff Cruz

11. Generous food & beverage donors

Sweet Dreams Project Hats Off Luncheon

When the Suite Dreams Project follows its Hats Off Luncheon at the Townsend Hotel with the Hat Crawl to nearby bars, downtown Birmingham looks better than ever. This year 100 of the 334 luncheon guests, most dolled up in gorgeous hats, did the crawl to 220 Merrill and Bella Piatti. The after party prolonged the good vibes generated by the luncheon video which starred Jamie and Ben in the room Designing Angel Sharon Kory created. Thanks also to the auction/raffle and text pledging, the 18th annual benefit raised more than $100,000 for SDP to bring comfort and joy to sick children.


1. Co-chairs Kelly Lauer and Dana Brophy

2. SDP co-founder, Kris Appleby, her sister, a founding committee member Kathleen Reid, décor chair Emerald City Designs’ David C. McKnight

3. Co-founder Kay Ponicall, Susan Willis Reickert

4. Joni Gabriel, Patti Padilla, Susan Paroly

5. Emma Ponicall, Blythe Spitsbergen

6. Meredith Meyer, Mona Chang, Crissy Krempel, Leah Grenadier

7. Millie Scott, Cheryl Nestro

8. Julie Kowalik’s hat

9. Kimberly Adamski, Lexi Adamski, Francesca Adamski, holding the souvenir umbrella

10. Terri Macksoud, Taleen Baldwin


11. SDP founding committee member Barb Lerner (seated left), her sister Denise Bianchini, her daughters Theresa Petsch, (standing left) and Kate Petsch, their friend Marilyn Stroh

12. Denise Yaldo Paulus, Danya Yaldo Bahoora

13. Christi Walters, June Aiello

14. Jenny Atkinson, Carol Robinson

15. Jessie Beld Elliott, Cheryl Hall Lindsay, Bonnie Foley

16. Reagan Boyse, Quinn Appleby

17. Kelly Lauer, Nancy Daniels

18. Kim Peterson, Amy Patton, Annemarie Heinrich, Dominique Blondo, Sheri Dougherty , Nicole Karmazin

19.Julie McManus, Julie Konalik, Gail VanCleave, Brandy Lee, Leslie Joseph

20. Dasha Kumm, Maria Barone

21. Susie Miruzzi in the hat judged “Most Creative”, Karen Berman

22. Devon Cook in the hat judged “Most Original”, Kristin Hall

23. Melanie Esland in hat judged “Most Beautiful”

Women’s Association Boys & Girls Clubs Annual Luncheon

The annual award event attracted 80 to Bloomfield Hills Country Club. The program opened with Anita Dauch’s inspiring rendition of “God bless America.” What followed – from Youth of the Year runner-up Princess Kandji’s story to honoree Stephanie Germack’s saga of her journey from Poland to Detroit by way of Russia, Iran and Canada –gave the vocal selection meaning. Likewise, new BGC President / CEO Shawn Wilson’s reimagination of the clubs and WA co-president Sue Nine’s entertaining description of the award’s namesake Matilda Dodge Wilson. All in all, ‘twas a lovely luncheon to support the 15,000 youth and who knows-how-many new adult members served by the reimagined Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan.


1. Honoree Stephanie Germack (center), co-chairs Linda Dekar (left) and Lynn Miller

2. BGCSM Pres/CEO Shawn Wilson (center), WA co-chairs Beth Moore (left) and Sue Nine

3. Vocalist / board member Anita Dauch, Kathy Broock Ballard

4. BGCSM Youth of the Year 2019 Runner-Up Princess Kandji, past honoree Valeri Straith Marie Brigstock

5. The Honoree’s family: Elyse & Frank Germack, Suzanne Germack Frederckson


6. Rosette Ajluni, her daughter Sonia Pastore. Flowers in the foreground by Alexandra Zikakis.

American House Foundation Celebration of Dignity & Hope

More than 250 people ($175 tickets) gathered in the American Center atrium for the annual American House Foundation cocktail party. They savored Holiday Market cuisine (brisket mini tacos, crab cakes, Kentucky Derby hot browns, chopped salads, chicken skewers, salmon skewers, dessert bar) and bought raffle tickets and the 52 items in the silent auction. They also heard foundation president Rob Gillette briefly explain the foundation’s mission – to meet vital needs of seniors living in poverty and to fund research at Wayne State University’s Institute of Gerontology. Thanks also to sponsors, the event raised more than $190,000.


1. American House Foundation president Rob Gillette with his family: Lauren (left), Katie & Kari

2. Morrison Community Living’s Caleb Cook, Foundation VP & sponsor American House Senior Living Communities / Redico’s Dale Watchowski, Morrison Community Living’s Kevin McLaughlin and Lamar Davis

3. Kelley Lyne, sponsors American House Senior Living Communities & Redico CFO Paul Stodulski

4. Event volunteers: American House Senior Living Communities’ Kim Randall, Christine Henzel, Jillian Tisch, Heather Ferow, Holly Ellis and Chris Vogt

5. Event sponsors

Better Together Celebration

More than 250 supporters of Lighthouse of Oakland County and South Oakland Shelter celebrated the sagacious merger of the two, long-established, social service agencies into Lighthouse Michigan at the M1 Concourse. For many years, Social Lights has reported fundraising events for both organizations. We had to miss the celebration event but a good description of it may be found at

https://southoaklandshelter.org/2019/07/05/heartfelt-speeches-and-fireworks-kick-off-lighthouse-merger/. The website for the new agency is https://lighthousemi.org/.


Please send story ideas to Sally at SamGerak@aol.com or by snail mail to 28 Barbour Lane, Bloomfield Hills, MI 48304

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by Sally G.

Sally G.

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