• Sally Gerak

Social Lights Nov. #2, 2019

Updated: Dec 13, 2019

Events in this issue

  • Detroit International Wine Auction - The Art of Wine

  • A Celebration of The Village Club

  • Detroit Uncorked for the Rainbow Connection

  • Guest House Bishop's Dinner

  • Yatooma Foundation Big Kid Costume Party

  • Crohn's & Colitis Foundation Evening of Hope

  • Santa Society Cause for Claus

  • Rochester Women's Fund Shopping Benefit

Detroit International Wine Auction

Wine lovers were on cloud nine at the 38th annual Detroit International Wine Auction. The Art of Wine fundraiser for the College for Creative Studies attracted 300 enthusiasts ($1,500 & up tickets) to The Fillmore Detroit. During the reception, sipping wine competed for attention with bidding on the silent auction art which raised $38,575. (Fashion statements by such dapper dudes as GM creative designer Chris Webb and Tiffany Director Glen Ross also turned heads. See photo gallery.) When guests were seated for dinner, CCS Board Chair Jim Nicholson, new President Don Tuski and Gerard Bertrand winemaker Stephane Queralt took turns revving them up for Fritz Hattorn’s adroit auctioneering of 27 lots. Queralt smiled broadly when his winery’s Grand Lot sold for $20,000, making the live auction total $237,900. Then a video starring CCS scholarship recipients inspired pledges totaling another $150,000. While bidding, people also savored Forte Belanger’s superb, five course dinner (see the menu in the photo gallery). Some had sufficient energy to stay for the afterglow that featured passed desserts and Ben Sharkey’s music. The evening was chaired by Vivian Pickard, Don Manvel, and the Matt Cullens, Dave Meadors and Jim Nicholsons. It grossed more than $1.5-million for scholarships at the college and free art programs for Detroit youth.


1. Co-chairs Peggy & Dave Meador
2. Co-chairs Vivian Pickard and sponsor AVL’s Don Manvel, committee member sponsor AVL’s Chet & Margery Ricker

3. Co-chairs Jim (CCS board chair) & Mary Beth Nicholson, committee members Kimberly & Frank Capanale
4. GM creative designer Chris Webb wearing gold Versace shoes, Hugo Boss shirt and HEX tie with a brocade suit from Jenny Ouliguian’s Dolce Mode Birmingham boutique
5. CCS President DonTuski, CCS VP for Institutional Advancement Tracy Muscat
6. Committee member Rich & Karen Brown
7. Rachael & sponsor Plante Moran’s Adam Counts
8. Kyle & Dan Reinhart, Julie & Mark Dunkeson
9. Pam Lord, Event Source’s Suzanne Chandler
10. Erin & donor Tiffany Director Glen Ross, nodding to his Scottish homeland by wearing a formal kilt
11. Veronica Johnson, Peter Ghafari, Alexandria Jeyes

12. Detroit Arts and Culture Director Rochelle Riley, Julia Gerak McEligot
13. Matt & Michelle McNeil

14. “Pohuka Stacked Stones”, glass sculpture by Robert Madvin (’06, Crafts)

15. “Upside Down Kiss”, comic collage by Joseph Mayernik (’98, Art Direction)

16. “Blue Tunnel”, Plexiglas sculpture by Mark Sengbusch (’02, Fine Arts)
17. “Cosmic Portal II”, bronze sculpture by Anne Furnais (’00, Fine Arts)

18. Sponsors

19. Sponsors
20. Menu

21. Cheese course presentation on Zara plate supplied by Event Source

The Village Club Celebration

The structure that is now The Village Club in Bloomfield Hills was named Robin Hood’s Barn by advertising executive Charlie Winningham when he bought it in 1919. (A previous owner had remodeled it to include a barn and Winningham was a Robin Hood aficionada. He also named his sea-going yacht Maid Marion.) Seventy-five people, including Gail Winngham MacLain who grew up in Robin Hood’s Barn, celebrated the centennial of that purchase at a dinner party in the Winningham Room. Gail, who now lives in Florida, shared stories: she would surprise guests by popping out of the secret cupboard in the foyer during her parents’ many parties; she was once discovered fast asleep in an apple tree on the seven-acre grounds; she met many of her father’s famous friends like Henry Ford, Charles Lindberg and Babe Ruth. Guests also perused a number of historic scrapbooks and posters created by Club Historian and past president Lou Simpson. To further honor the event a commemorative plaque now hangs next to the front door. The Village Club will celebrate its own centennial in 2056. Go to https://www.thevillageclub.org/ for more information about its history and programs.


1. Louise Simpson (center) with Gail Winningham MacLain & Manny MacLain
2. Event chairs Linda Wilson and Mary Kay Heintz
3. Club manager Stan Pena, President Leigh Ann & Matthew Mills in the President’s Lounge
4. Julia Reisig, Jackie & David Ong, Susan & Thomas Sweeney
5. Kathy Dalton, Emily Karalash, event co-chair / Preservation Fund Chair Linda Wilson

6. Margaret Suter, event co-chair / Social Chair Mary Kay Heintz, Carol Zuzenak
7. Linda Lang, Martha Torre

8. Trudy & Dick Schwartz, Joyce & David Pippel
9. Ben Mangiapane, Jim & Becky McLennan

10. Emily Karalash and Mary Ann Rosenberger with historical display

11. Frank Jamerson & Beth Graves

12. Judy Kramer, Judy Shagena

13. Gail Winningham McClain in the Garden Room
14. Centennial Plaque

Detroit Uncorked

The Detroit Wine Organization (it promotes wine education and enjoyment and supports local charities), staged its 15th annual fundraiser, this year for The Rainbow Connection, in the Apparatus Room at the Detroit Foundation Hotel and nearly 500 people ($100, $125 tickets) attended. Volunteer pourers served more than 300 wines to go with comestibles from 15 eateries. Other diversions included a silent auction ($7,400), a wine wall ($2,400) and a raffle for a Sonoma Valley trip ($100 tickets) all accompanied by Dan Tillery’s music. The three-hour event was preceded by a reception for sponsors and raised more than $106,000 for The Rainbow Connection’s wish grants to seriously ill children. To sign up for free membership in the wine organization go to www.detroitwine.org. For more information about The Rainbow Connection, including the Nov. 24 Celebration of Dreams, go to https://www.rainbowconnection.org/.


1. Detroit Foundation Hotel general manager Bob Lambert, Rainbow Connection director George Miller and board member Rob Bava
2. Detroit Wine Organization board chair Robert Allen, Mark VanderMay, Darrin Keener

3. Sponsor Chemical Bank’s Renee Munoz, volunteer Joan Haber
4. Rainbow Connection board members Don Flynn, Kevin Schnieders and (also a sponsor) Sue Welker
5. Volunteers Jay Lamky and Bonnie DeMeyere
6. Debbie Deneweth, DWO / board member / co-founder / 160 Main’s John Marasco, Lisa Messana

7. Sheri Kay, Susie Becker
8. Elana & Chris Rugh, Julia Gerak McEligot

9. Anne Hansen, Sharon Simkins, Terri Gonzales
10. Ellen Safley, Kate Bandol
11. John Livingston, Kristin Rogers, Dee Moran, Tom Stefani


12. Steve Perrine
13. Darrin Keener, Alex Dagenais

14. Event sponsors

Guest House Bishop’s Dinner

More than 300 ($250 ticket) attended the 61st annual Detroit Bishop’s Dinner at The Henry Ford’s Lovett Hall. Chuck Gaidica emceed the program in which event chair Bob Babinski presented awards to Fr. Edward Prus, Fr. Edward Zaorski and Loretta Nagle Ryan for her charitable works. In the keynote speech Sacred Heart Major Seminary President Msgr. Todd Lajiness likened a good priest to a strong bridge to Christ. Proceeds support the Guest House ministry of recovery and wellness for clergy suffering from addictions.


1 Awardee Loretta Nagle Ryan, event chair Bob Babinski
2. Emcee Chuck Gaidica (center) with Barbara & Alfred Fisher

Yatooma Foundation Big Kids Costume Party

The finale of the Yatooma Foundation for the Kids two-part, golf & gala fundraiser attracted more than 350 ($300 ticket) to Detroit’s Garden Theatre. Many in costume, as per the party theme. A silent auction coordinated by Jenn Mylnarek and Char Wells and Simone Vitale’s music provided diversion before the program emceed by Paul W. Smith wearing an “avocado head.” It included “Stand By Me” and other selections by some Detroit Youth Choir singers (fresh from wowing the nation on “America’s Got Talent”). Hollie Jackson, the mother of choir member Gwendolyn, got a rousing ovation when she told how helpful the Yatooma Foundation had been to her family of six kids (providing everything from help with bills to an eight-day Disney World trip) since their father’s death seven years ago). An auction ($36,900) and dedicated giving conducted with vigor by Wade Leist preceded the winning costume announcement: David C. McKnight as a Drama Queen Zombie was first; Ross Schoenherr as Captain Morgan was second. The golf event and the festive evening chaired by Pam Good and Jack Krasula raised nearly $350,000 to help families who have lost a parent, as foundation founder Norman Yatooma did in 2003.


1. Foundation founder / president Noman & Nicole Yatooma a la Disney’s “Alladin”
2. (As President Trump) Robert Dempster & Caroline Rooney, event chairs Pam Good & Jack Krasula

3. Host committee members Zombi Chef Jim Dunn & Best Costume Zombie Drama Queen David C. McKnight

4. Costumes inspired by Disney: Olivia (as Belle), Sophia (as Cinderella), Ava (as Mulan), Gabriella (as Snow White) and Nicole Yatooma (as Princess Jasmine)

5. Patti (Edna Mode for the night) & Robert Koval (in a Fake News blazer)
6. Tara & Carl Clavenna, host committee members Valerie & Richard Leebove
7. Sr. Shelley Jeffrey, Sr. Felicity Madigan (NOT in costume!)
8. Host committee members Nabby & Maryann Yono with Jacoub & Boushra Mansour

9. Katie Zacharzewski (as Cruella de Vil), Erin Baker (as a flapper girl)
10. Willie & Felisha Bell (as peanut butter & jelly sandwiches)

11. Behind the FLOTUS & POTUS masks: Terry & Ron Hughes
12. Board member Ross Schoenherr as Captain Morgan

13. Sponsors

Crohns & Colitis Foundation Evening of Hope

The 42nd annual CCF fundraiser replaced the long-standing Evening at the Movies theme with a vintage Las Vegas spin and it attracted 320 ($225 & up tickets) to the MGM Grand Detroit. They were greeted by two glamorous show girls (actually volunteers, including Crohn’s patient / top CCF fund raiser Natalie Madison). Other costumed volunteers were selling $100 raffle tickets (60) for a VIP trip to Las Vegas while guests socialized, sipped and “shopped” 36 silent auction baskets ($11,315). Fox 2’s Lee Thomas emceed the post dinner program. It had highlights, not the least of which was law student Suktiti Saxena’s saga of living with Crohn’s since the age of seven. Both she and awardee / pediatric gastroenterologist Dr. Souheil Gebara extolled the benefits of Camp Oasis for children with IBD (Irritable Bowel Disease). When Sander Levin was honored, he referenced family members with the disease. Auctioneer Jerick Miller cajoled guests to pledge $36,000. Thanks also to generous sponsors the event raised more than $190,000 for research and patient quality of life improvement.


1. Newly engaged couple - mission speaker Suktiti Saxena and John Meads
2. Committee members Walter & Kim Schram, honoree Dr. Souheil and Theresa Gebara

3. Board members Nate Markou and Sarah Russell, committee members sponsor Flagstar Bank’s Sandro & Cathy DiNello
4. Sally & sponsor HAP’s Doug Snyders
5. Kerry and sponsor HAP’s Steve Selinsky, Cathy & Dan Kilberg
6. Marlo & Tom Shaevsky

7. Committee members Jason (a past board president) & Hope Brown, Nicole & Andy Ashley

8. Sponsor Michigan Health’s Dr. Ryan & Carrie Stidnam

9. Sponsor Takeda’s Michelle Wygocki with her step daughter Kaylee Wygocki

10. Nicole & Board president David Paull
11. Sponsor Takeda’s Erin Ellis and Susan Larue
12. 2018 honorees Gerry & Audrey Weinberg
13. Honored Hero Penny Stapleton

14. Volunteers Natalie Madison and Jillian Nemeth
15. Volunteer Taylor Neubecker
16. Volunteer Amy JanFrancisco selling raffle tickets for a Las Vegas package
17. Sponsors

Santa Society Cause for Claus

The 22 good guys that comprise the Santa Society tossed their 27th annual party at the Troy Marriott and nearly 400 people arrived bearing donations to the US Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots program. The guys are: Mario Apruzzese, Richard Bloom, Robert Bloom, Dave Boor, Mark Boswell, Jack Bourget, Kevin Brown, Keith Butler, Lee Cabelof, Dave Costa, Ray Dallavecchia, Matt Damman, Steven Dempsey, Mike Guerin, Hillary Heacock, Jason Phillips, Jim LaHaie, Michael Obloy, Harry Radtke, Norm Skomski Tim Turner and Jim Wood. They pay for the ballroom, the band (Tedi Mind Trip), hors d’oeuvres and decorations. The joy they produce for needy children is priceless.


1. The price of admission - Toys for Tots
2. U.S. Marine Corps representatives thank the Santa Society members
3. Captain Michael Droogleever, Gunnery Sergeant Jerome Oswald
4. Eric Huffman, Erin Turner, Noemi & Santa Society founder Tim Turner

Rochester Women’s Fund Just Us Girls Stroll

Three Rochester shop owners - Valerie Keuten, Pamela Krampf and Dianne Elnicky - enlisted fellow business owners to participate in a shopping benefit for the Women’s Fund. Penny Black, Nothing Bundt Cakes and Linos provided food for guests to savor as they strolled from shop to shop and Dessert Oasis hosted an afterglow. The evening raised $7,150 through ticket sales and a percent of sales. Over the past 18 years, the Women's Fund has donated more than $300,000 to organizations helping women. The fund is a permanently endowed fund owned and administered by the Community Foundation of Greater Rochester. Through grant-making, the Fund provides ongoing and future support for programs that aid women while preserving and managing its donations in perpetuity by spending only the fund's income and annual earnings. For more information on the Women’s Fund, go to www.womensfundrochester.org.


Please send material for Social Lights to SamGerak@aol.com or to 28 Barbour Lane, Bloomfield Hills, MI 48304.

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by Sally G.

Sally G.

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