The 2018 Bates Street Society Dinner recognized Dr. Robert Folberg, Julie Rodecker, Geoffrey Hockman, Katie Valenti, Paul W. Smith, Robert Bury and Dr. David DiChiera.
By Allison Jacobs
Photography by Julie Smith Yolles
The Community House in Birmingham hosted its third annual Bates Street Society Dinner Feb. 3. The event recognizes new inductees into the Bates Street Society, a group of donors who contribute $25,000 or more to support The Community House.
This year’s Bates Street Society inductees included Anne and David Conrad, Howard & Howard PLLC, Tuktawa Foundation and Valenti Foundation.
In addition to a decadent three-course dinner and live musical entertainment, the highlight of this year’s soiree was The Community House’s Pillars of Vibrancy awards ceremony, honoring individuals who have made impactful philanthropic efforts in the community. William D. Seklar, president & CEO of The Community House, introduced the honorees.
Dr. Robert Folberg, founding dean of the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine and professor of pathology and ophthalmology, was selected as a Pillar of Education and Wellness.
Julie Rodecker was chosen as a Pillar of Philanthropy. She developed a passion for philanthropy early on and now creates programs to better the lives of individuals in Metro Detroit through her family’s legacy, the DeRoy Testamentary Foundation.
Geoffrey Hockman, member and chairman of the Oakland Housing Foundation, was also named a Pillar of Philanthropy. For 27 years, Hockman has committed to providing housing options for low- and moderate-income families, among other upstanding efforts.
Katie Valenti was honored as a Pillar of Education & Wellness for her efforts in promoting education and women’s issues. Valenti also advocates for underprivileged children, acting as chair and CEO of Valenti Foundation in Bloomfield Hills and chair of the Big Day Foundation in New York City.
“The King of Talk Radio in Detroit,” Paul W. Smith of WJR Radio, was acknowledged as a Pillar of Culture, in addition to Robert Bury, executive director and CEO of the Detroit Historical Society. Bury is also recognized for managing daily operations at the Detroit Historical Museum in Midtown and the Dossin Great Lakes Museum on Belle Isle.
The final Pillar of Culture was Dr. David DiChiera, the composer and professor who created the iconic Detroit Opera House.
Following the awards ceremony, keynote speaker Ethan D. Davidson offered wisdom and a touch of humor while sharing his philanthropic journey. In 2005, Davidson paused his musical career and returned to Detroit to work for his father William Davidson.
“My father’s message was, ‘Do what I’ve always done — do good, and try to do it well,’ ” Davidson says.
Since his father’s passing, he continues to lead the William Davidson Foundation, an organization devoted to furthering education and culture in Southeast Michigan, with an emphasis on supporting the Jewish community and Israel.
Since inception, PNC Wealth Management has acted as founding presenting sponsor of the event. Additional sponsors this year included Beaumont Health, Oakland University Medical School, Valenti Foundation, DeRoy & Devereaux, Dickinson Wright PLLC, Barbara and Tim Hertzler, Parsonage Events and DBusiness Magazine.