Men’s Club auction brings in $143,000 to support community pool

By: Joshua Gordon | Woodward Talk | Published April 8, 2015

 Huntington Woods residents Gina and Guy Saperstein pose March 28 during the annual Huntington Woods Men’s Club service auction at the Huntington Woods Community Center.

Huntington Woods residents Gina and Guy Saperstein pose March 28 during the annual Huntington Woods Men’s Club service auction at the Huntington Woods Community Center.

Photo submitted by Alex Cooper

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HUNTINGTON WOODS — The Huntington Woods Men’s Club regularly uses a good chunk of the money raised at its annual service auction to benefit community projects. This is why Men’s Club Publicity Chairperson Alex Cooper said the community always supports the event.


Last year, the Men’s Club set a record for money raised when it brought in nearly $160,000. More than $60,000 went to support the new Burton Community Park equipment.


The 34th annual auction held March 28 at the Huntington Woods Recreation Center didn’t do quite as well as last year, but the roughly $143,000 raised is still the second-most ever raised from the event.


“It was a really good, even great, evening,” Cooper said. “We had 800 people buy tickets, and we sold out two weeks ahead of the event, so that is always good. We don’t know the final take, as we are still running through invoices, but our goal was certainly met.”


Since the auction began in 1975, it has generated nearly $1.7 million to invest in various projects around Huntington Woods. In the past, the Men’s Club has donated to the city’s tree maintenance program, a recycling program, and last year was the second consecutive year wwit donated to the Burton Community Park project.


This year, the Men’s Club pledged to donate at least $60,000 to the Huntington Woods Parks and Recreation Department and the city’s aquatic club to purchase new pool equipment, including an electronic touch pad timing system and an electronic scoreboard.


The equipment will help timing operations during swim meets at the pool and allow the city to display messages on the scoreboard during regular pool hours.


“This is our largest fundraiser of the year, and we do several fundraisers, but this is by far the biggest one,” Cooper said. “This year, our main funding goal was for the scoreboard and timing system for the community pool, and that project costs about $70,000. It will benefit all the pool users and certainly the swim team. It is a nice addition to the pool and the swimming pool experience.”


A portion of auction proceeds annually are used as smaller donations to help various groups and events in the city. Annually, the club donates money to the city’s Fourth of July parade and fireworks, and the club regularly helps the Berkley School District music programs purchase equipment, such as a new vibraphone in 2013.


Just like the big projects, Cooper said the Men’s Club gets a lot of satisfaction out of helping where it is needed.


“We help underwrite a lot of activities throughout the year in the city,” he said. “We print city calendars that we hand-deliver to every house, and we help with the parade and fireworks. All of the proceeds raised, whether through the auction or Fourth of July raffle, all the proceeds that are raised go right back into the community with projects throughout the year — not only the big projects.”


As for the auction itself, Cooper said it is a night for residents and neighbors to get out and bid on some attractive items. This year, the auction included Detroit Tigers suite tickets, African safari vacations and the Men’s Club-hosted surf-and-turf dinner party.


One reason Cooper said the total money raised may have been down some is that not as many of the big-ticket items were sold this year as last year.


While it may be the Men’s Club that gets the recognition, Cooper said the auction is a community effort and couldn’t be accomplished without a lot of help.


“We are very happy with the results and, consequently, we think the community will be happy with the benefits of those results, as well,” he said. “What is really great is the event brings the community together, and the business community gets involved by donating gifts and advertising. The auction is really a major event the club puts on, and it takes a lot of teamwork to put this thing together.”


Men’s Club President Rob Robertson said collaboration between the Men’s Club and the community gets a lot done in the city that the city government can’t do alone.


“It’s difficult to put into words how lucky we are to live in a community that is so giving and supports the various different projects and activities within Huntington Woods,” he said. “I’m extremely proud of the Men’s Club membership who worked very hard to execute this event.”

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