65-year-old men’s club refocuses on charity

Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published January 12, 2022

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By Zachary Jewell

BIRMINGHAM — The Senior Men’s Club in Birmingham started 65 years ago for 55-and-older men to get together for shared activities and community fellowship. Today, the club boasts a membership of around 550 men. The club holds weekly meetings and invites speakers such as CEOs, university professors and politicians to come present and inform the members about different issues. There’s also bowling, golfing, bridge, and book and movie groups, all sponsored by the club.

But the Senior Men’s Club doesn’t only look for ways to have a good time.

Through the years, it has also helped raise money for local charities, such as raising $80,000 per year to support The Community House, a place dedicated to being a site for local community groups to meet.

Two years ago, after more than six decades of partnership with TCH, the relationship between the two entities ended due to changes in TCH’s business model. That made the Senior Men’s Club rethink what it wanted to do for charity, and the leaders came up with an idea.

In November, the club announced the Senior Men’s Club Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charity to act as the club’s charitable arm.

“The decisions of the Community House encouraged us to reassess our charitable giving,” said former Senior Men’s Club President and current Foundation President Tim McGee, of Troy. “The Senior Men’s Club Foundation of Grosse Pointe and the creation of The Community House Foundation in 2017 provided us examples of how organizations can successfully split their charitable activities from their other functions,” he added.

The new foundation’s mission is to “enhance the physical, spiritual and mental well-being of older men in the tri-county area,” McGee said.

And the foundation is already making an impact.

It has given its first grant of $5,000 to the Alzheimer’s Association of Michigan to help family caregivers of those who have Alzheimer’s disease. The funds will go to male caregivers in the Detroit metro area.

“The Foundation board felt an unmet need existed,” club Recording Secretary Larry Imerman commented. “[A need] to which our gift might make a small difference in the lives of older men in the tri-county area,” he added.

Alzheimer’s is all too familiar for many men in the club. Two former presidents of the club had the disease, and other members have known someone close to them who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

“We have all known men who have acted as caregivers for their wives who suffered from Alzheimer’s or dementia,” McGee commented. “Many lack family in the area or others who might provide relief from their 24/7 responsibilities. The grant is intended to help those men by allowing them to bring in a home health aide or bring their loved one to a licensed day care program.”

The foundation has yet to hold a charity event, but the board is considering options. “We would likely in the future elect to support events held by other charitable organizations whose activities fit the Foundation’s mission rather than increasing our administrative expenses by mounting our own fundraising events.”

Anyone wanting to help the foundation can send a donation to SMC Foundation, PO Box 1149, Birmingham, MI, 48012.

The Senior Men’s Foundation hopes that the grant to the Alzheimer’s Association of Michigan is the first of many grants to charities and institutions helping people in need, especially older men, in the community.

“The foundation views the gift to the Alzheimer’s Association as the first of many grants in the future to a variety of health care institutions, social service agencies, and nonprofit groups in this area, thereby providing an incentive for those organizations to create programs aimed at the emotional and physical needs of older men in the tri-county area,” said Imerman.