Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio

Barbara Hendel

Fresh philanthropy

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Benefit dinners, auctions, celebrity wait nights. Encouraging giving, while still making giving fun, can be difficult, but some groups have found new ways to put the fun in fund-raising.

CHICKS for Charity. It's an informal professional women's group that believes in giving back to the community. Founders Martha Vetter, Laura Jakes, Kristin Brochetti, Holly Goldstein, Jess Lane, Cyndi Durham, and Susan Gdowik have a few simple beliefs: "Enjoy life. Laugh a lot. Work hard. Play hard. Be thankful for our blessings. Share the wisdom. Give back."


TOP CHICKS: Becky Zibbel and DeAnna Starn enjoy the fund-raiser at Brandywine Country Club.


At the first gathering in April, the chicks hatched their first fund-raiser while socializing at Paula Brown Shop. In the process, they feathered their nest with bucks from the cash bar.

On June 15 at Brandywine Country Club, ladies - 289 of them at $30 each - chatted, lunched, chatted some more, and shopped the silent auction of purses to aid the Toledo Lucas County Furniture Bank, which provides furniture and household items at no cost to the needy. In return, they were entertained by The Blade's own Roberta de Boer. Her witty banter included a light-hearted jab at yours truly, but I'm guessing she just wanted her name in the society column.

Judy Pearson was one of the 25 Chicks in Charge, and she had a whole flock of chicks there, including Julia Orwig, Nancy Farber, Kristen Mori, Betsy Brady, Wendy Greeley, and Becca Gorman. Mrs. Pearson said many of her guests wrote checks for the cause that day. A no-fuss, no-muss deal. So far, the Chicks have netted nearly $14,000, and that's something to cluck about. For information, go to www.


THE American Red Cross "Club Red" members held a Flirting with Disaster reception June 19 at Petit-Fours Patisserie & Cafe. Because the Red Cross was started by a woman, Clara Barton, it seemed appropriate to start a group to mobilize women to help the Red Cross, said spokesman Kristen Cajka. The gatherings are informative, fun, and great for networking. Membership is $100 annually and each year the group selects a project. Last year it was CPR training scholarships for underprivileged mothers.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to all! Jill Kopanis celebrated her big 50th birthday in big-hearted way. She organized "It's My Birthday!" to celebrate birthdays of children affected by domestic violence. The first event was at Inverness Club for her own special day. Her nearest and dearest friends came from near and far to roast the self-proclaimed princess, reaping about $500 in the process. That was enough to pay for birthday party for a little boy at the Cocoon Shelter in Bowling Green, complete with a clown, cake and presents. She's hoping to extend It's My Birthday! as a national organization.


BATTER UP: Doug Towslee of Northern Lights F&AM banters with James Williamson, Grand Master of Masons in Ohio at the Kidney Foundation Pancake Breakfast.


PANCAKE breakfasts are still popular - and yummy - fund-raisers. The Kidney Foundation of Ohio held an All You Can Eat Pancake Breakfast in conjunction with the Northern Lights F&AM in Maumee. And it was as advertised: truly all you could eat! Pancakes, eggs, sausage, hash browns, coffee, juice, and baked goods fed 700 hungry guests. The proceeds fed the Kidney Foundation. In the last seven years, the lodge has raised more than $50,000 for the local kidney foundation by flipping pancakes.This year's net was $7,000, said chairman Doug Towslee, lodge treasurer.

GEE, there's nothing to do. Kids getting bored and summer vacation isn't over yet? Do what the Miller family did. Last spring, rather than mope around the house, Ann Miller and her children Isaac, 14, Meredith, 13, and Mack, 10, did something different while dad - Doug - was at work. They launched the Lunch House Diner, a two-day restaurant in their home to benefit Family House, a local homeless shelter.

They printed up menus and sent flyers and e-mails to family, friends, and neighbors. Then created a 50s style diner. The film Grease was on TV, songs of yesteryear, like "Poison Ivy," played, poodle skirts, cars, and old 45 records decorated the walls, and a giant jukebox sat in front of the fireplace. Pink-and-black Rock 'n Roll napkins with turquoise covered tables, silverware in Mason jars, pink paper place mats, and glass plates with cups to match set the diner scene.


ON A ROLL: Melanie Whipple, 4, gets a hand from mom Cori Whipple at Ducat Imperial Lanes for the shelter.


Isaac greeted and seated guests. Meredith, in a ponytail, monogrammed sweater, and skirt, served guests. Mrs. Miller was the short-order cook and the busboy, Mack, was the soda jerk. How about homemade chili, a fresh burger, baked mac 'n cheese, or tuna salad? Guests quenched their thirst with lemonade or mini Cokes in old-fashioned bottles. Dessert? Chocolate cake, pies, and the Special: rootbeer floats! They had a great time and made $650. (Dad paid all the bills so it was all profit.) Hmm. There's still a few more weeks before school!

SHARE, Care, and Spare: Bowl to Benefit the Beach House was a new way to make moolah and have fun too. Some 50 bowlers gathered for the first-time event May 7 at Ducat's Imperial Lanes to net $3,000 for the shelter. For $30 a person, there were three bowling games, free shoes, refreshments, and cash prizes.

Earlier in the year, the Ability Center hosted its third annual Bowl-A-Thon Fun Raiser at Imperial Lanes with music, pizza, Pepsi, and prizes. Some 150 bowlers, with and without disabilities, joined in stand-up and sit-down bowling. Event chairmen Beth Bowman and Sue Cardone report a net of $10,000. Proceeds go to the center's peer support network for teens.


PURSE PASSION: Alexandra Martin and her mother, Mary Martin, peruse the purses at the YMCA auction.


IT'S IN the Bag. The YWCA's new purse auction was April 27, and was hosted by Loft & Home Essentials. Purses were created/donated by two dozen artists and movers and shakers, including Jan Pugh, Randi Betz, MEIG, Carol Kistler, Karyn Hajjar, Mary Pat Peltier, and Karin McNerney. Purses were on display the week before and folks had up to the last minute that night to bid. So get out of the way! It was time to shop. Event chairman Mary Martin reports a net of about $4,000. Next year, accessories may be added.

ALL IN good fun was "Let's Hear It for the Boys," a Bachelor Raffle May 4 at Gumbo's to benefit the American Cancer Society. Bachelors - ages 25-53 in a range of careers from fighting fires and crime to journalism and construction - had the bravado to be raffled off with a date package for charity.

During a mix-and-mingle, the gents showcased their sense of humor, manners, and compassion. Tunes added pep as guests wetted their whistles and noshed. Then it was time for what they were all waiting: the winners. Heading it up were celebrity emcees Mike Bell, Toledo fire chief, and Leah D'Emilio, the "Face of Fox Toledo."

While it was scary for some to be matched with a stranger, it was good fun and for a good cause. You never know when Mr. or Mrs. Right might show up: Erin and Scott Callahan met at 2003's bachelor raffle and wed the next year.

Chairman Lindsay Feasel reports a net of more than $4,000, and a few possible matches.

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