Society: A look back on 2014's party highlights

Chuck Bennett

As Detroit exuberantly emerges from pending financial ruin and social despair, the philanthropy and charitable giving of its residents and businesses continues to thrive. Millions of dollars were raised in 2014 for a multitude of crucial causes. Here's a roundup of a few of the favorites:

■On June 8, the city woke up to torrential rains. The same day, Sydney and Elizabeth Ross hosted their annual Garden Party at Meadow Brook Hall to benefit Children's Leukemia Foundation of Michigan, Children's Tumor Foundation and OCC Culinary Studies Institute. By party time, almost miraculously, the rain stopped, the clouds parted, and with sunny skies above, some 30 restaurants served up samples of their finest dishes alongside hundreds of fine wines. About $200,000 was raised.

■The DSO had a special treat for its supporters at the fourth annual Heroes Gala on June 14. Celebrating the music of Oscar-winning composer John Williams and legendary director Steven Spielberg, who both attended, the event also honored businessmen Dan Gilbert and Matt Cullen. The evening included a magical concert, dinner and cocktails, with tickets ranging from $500 to $10,000, raising $1.3 million.

■Detroit's premier fashion event Fash Bash was on point at the Detroit Institute of Arts on Aug. 14. The Neiman-Marcus fashion show was exceptional, as was the food and service from Forte Belanger. The DIA provided a most elegant backdrop and the guests, in their glorious fashion looks, were the stars of the evening. Julie and Bobby Taubman hosted a very chic dinner party at Wessen Lawn Tennis Club on Sept. 10. It was a part of the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit's highly successful Interchange dinner series.

■Detroit Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg and his wife, Swedish television star Emma Andersson Zetterberg, presented an inaugural charity event on Sept. 12 for their eponymous foundation, which supports charitable causes throughout Detroit and globally, involving children, education and health care. The event, an elaborate dinner party at Tre Monti in Troy, raised $175,000.

■A consistently hot annual ticket, the CCS Wine Auction is the signature event benefiting College for Creative Studies and was once again one of the best parties of the year. On Oct. 18, chaired by General Motors CEO Mary Barra and husband Tony Barra, more than 700 people enjoyed the evening which included a vintner's private reception, a gourmet dinner masterfully prepared by Bacco Ristorante's Chef Luciano DelSignore and his team, and an over-the-top live auction. It was a record-breaking event, raising more than $2.4 million for scholarships and community arts programs.

Chuck Bennett is the Fox 2 News Style Ambassador and the creator of the Social D, a website that represents the social side of Metro Detroit. See