Society: Spirit of Giving Gala aids children, seniors

Chuck Bennett
Sydney Bowden, from left, Franklin Wright Settlements CEO Monique Marks, and MarNeisha Walker

Franklin Wright Settlements presented its Spirit of Giving Gala on Dec. 9 to a sold-out audience at DTE 1 Energy Plaza. The 300 guests enjoyed a cocktail hour along with a delightful dinner of dishes from various regions.

There also was the awards presentation honoring unsung heroes whose generous donations of time, talent and financial resources continue to fulfill Franklin Wright’s commitment to help children, families and seniors obtain a higher quality of life. There was a welcome from the Franklin Wright board chair, the Rev. Robert Dulin Jr., and greetings from Franklin Wright CEO Monique Marks.

Honorees were attorney Maryann Bruder; professor Marvin Bryant; David Johnson, senior vice president at DTE; Kim Trent from Michigan Future Inc.; and Lou (Mama Lou) Harris, who received a standing ovation for her amazing story and for being the foster mother to more than 250 children.

Mayor Mike Duggan and his wife, Lori Maher, with SéVa Love

Closing remarks were made by Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and his wife, Lori Maher, who were introduced by an adorable5-year-oldd girl named SeVa Love, a client of Franklin Wright, and DTE Chairman and CEO Gerard Anderson and his wife, Lizann. Electrifying entertainment was provided by Alexander Zonjic and friends, featuring Serieux.

Ticket price was $137, coinciding with the settlement’s age, which turned 137 this year. Dollars raised will benefit the youth programs at Franklin Wright, such as the annual College Tour, Early Start Child Development and the Teen Center.

Chuck Bennett is the creator of, hosts “Chuck’s Closet” Saturdays from 4-5 p.m. on 910AM Superstation and is the Fox 2 News Style Ambassador.