Detroit Institute of Arts 'Night of Illusion' co-chairs Vivian Pickard, from left, Nedda Shayota, Karen Davidson and Lauren Fisher. (Martin LeFlore)
Millions of dollars were raised for a number of charities throughout Metro Detroit last year, from cool and casual garden parties to elegant, sophisticated black-tie galas. Here are some favorite fundraisers from 2013:
The Garden Party: Some 700 people decked out in their garden party finest — most women in astoundingly glamorous hats — gathered at Meadow Brook Hall on June 9 for amazing food from 30 top Metro Detroit restaurants, an abundance of fine wine and jaw-dropping classic cars. Always a fun party, hosted by Sydney and Elizabeth Ross, proceeds benefit Children’s Leukemia Foundation of Michigan, Children’s Tumor Foundation and Oakland Community College Culinary Studies Institute.
Fash Bash and Saks Blast: Annual fashion show event favorites, Fash Bash and Saks Blast continue to set the bar on glamorous fundraising parties. At Fash Bash Aug. 15, some 800 people in fashion’s best filed onto the front grounds of Detroit Institute of Arts for an evening that started with an over-the-top cocktail party on the front steps of the museum.
After an hour or so, guests were moved inside for the dazzling, first-rate fashion show produced by Neiman Marcus called “The Art of Fashion.” Following, guests returned outside and danced under the stars to the music of DJ Jared Sykes. The event was sold out with tickets ranging from $1,000 to $75. Reportedly, more than $300,000 was raised to benefit DIA’s unrestricted operating endowment.
At Saks Blast, the entire Aug. 23 event was an intricate production that came off without a hitch. Held at Saks Fifth Avenue at Somerset Collection in Troy, this gala, benefiting Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit and Transition to Betterness in Windsor, was sold out to sponsors before tickets could even go on sale to the public.
The festivities began with a welcome reception on Level One of the upscale department store, including signature cocktails, music and photos in front of a step and repeat. Then the 800-plus guests — probably 50-percent Canadian — headed up to Level Two for the main reception and a chance to meet J. Mendel Designer, Gilles Mendel, who presented his Fall 2013 Collection. The next stop was the parking structure rooftop for the tented fashion show venue trimmed with bright lights, white chairs and a long white runway. There was also an exciting afterglow. The entire evening, thanks to co-chairs Stephanie Zekelman and Lil Erdeljan, raised nearly $1.2 million.
Art of Wine: Metro Detroit dignitaries and socialites came out in full force Oct. 19 to enjoy a luxurious evening of world-class wines, fashion and art to benefit Detroit’s College for Creative Studies. “The Art of Wine,” the 32nd annual Detroit International Wine Auction, took place for the first time in the heart of downtown at Detroit’s historic Cadillac Square.
More than 500 guests in black tie attire enjoyed two cocktail receptions, wine tasting, passed hors d’oeuvres, sit-down dinner and live and silent auctions. Tickets were $500 to $5,000. More than $1 million dollars was raised to fund scholarships to College for Creative Studies and , provide free art classes for at-risk youth.
Casino Royale: Rugiero Casino Royale at the Italian American Club of Livonia on Nov. 5, benefitted research at the University of Michigan Brehm Center through the Antonio Rugiero Diabetes Research Fund.
More than 500 people participated in the event that included dinner, dancing, entertainment and lots of gambling. The annual event pays tribute to Antonio Rugiero, for whom the Diabetes Research Fund was created. Tickets were $75, and an estimated $100,000 was raised to fight diabetes.
Night of Illusion: Co-chairs Vivian Pickard, Nedda Shayota, Lauren Fisher and Karen Davidson proudly raised $1 million for Detroit Institute of Arts at its Gala Extravaganza themed “A Night of Illusion” on Nov. 9.
More than 500 attended a spectacular black-tie cocktail and dinner presentation and an additional 300 for the late night party. All three ticket levels were sold out — $2,500, $600 and the $100 afterglow ticket. This is the DIA’s largest annual fundraiser supporting educational programming.
Chuck Bennett is the Fox 2 News Style Ambassador and the creator of The Social D, a website that represents the social side of Metropolitan Detroit. thesociald.com.