Men’s Club auction sets new record with $154,000 raised

By: Joshua Gordon | Woodward Talk | Published April 16, 2014

HUNTINGTON WOODS — With the focus of this year’s Huntington Woods Men’s Club auction being the Burton Community Park, club members expected the turnout to be on par with some of the most successful auctions in past years.

With returns now in from the March 29 event, the turnout and fundraising was found to be greater than any of the past 32 years.

The 33rd Huntington Woods Men’s Club service auction saw more than 800 people pack into the Huntington Woods Community Center and help raise more than $154,000, exceeding the previous record, which was set last year, by more than $19,000.

“I think there is a lot of factors involved, with No. 1 being there is a lot of commitment on behalf of our attendees to support the Burton Community Park,” club member and Auction Publicity Chair Alex Cooper said. “Also, I think this is another sign the economy is doing well, and a lot of gifts were appealing to the attendees, so they were willing to go above and beyond. Our auction’s reputation is well-known, so that helps, as well.”

The auction is held every year to raise money for the club to then grant to various groups, organizations and projects in the community. Since its beginning in 1975, the club has generated more than $1.5 million to improve various aspects of the community.

For the second year in a row, the Burton Community Park project was the focus of the auction. With deteriorating play structures, the project’s committee is looking to purchase new play structures and expand the park.

The project is estimated at $440,000, but with the $70,000 the Men’s Club donated last year and the pledge of at least a $60,000 donation this year, the project is set to get underway this summer.

After auction expenses are finalized, additional proceeds will be conveyed to the park project, Cooper said, but that final number will not be ready for at least a couple of weeks.

“I think it is absolutely wonderful the turnout we received,” Cooper said. “The club has a wonderful longtime reputation in the community, and not only helping out the park, but we are helping other projects and events throughout the year. People know who we are and what we do, and 100 percent of proceeds go right back into the community for a variety of things to just make quality-of-life improvement that we can help.”

Attendees paid $20 each to attend the four-hour open house event. The auction included approximately 525 items ranging from Detroit Tigers suite tickets to various trips and catered parties.

Throughout the years, the Men’s Club has helped fund the Huntington Woods tree maintenance program, purchased single stream recycling bins for each home, renovated the city pool deck and funded a kitchen renovation in the basement of the Huntington Woods Public Library.

Like Cooper, club President Brian Bell said he thinks a big reason for the record turnout this year was the cause.

“There have been years that we have not grown, but I really do believe it is dependent on the project, and this year, like last year, had to do with the playground for Burton Community Park,” Bell said. “The city and the residents support that project 110 percent, and they came out and showed that support. It is the main playground in the city, and I think that definitely brought the people out.”

The Men’s Club also has made smaller donations to various groups and events in the city over the years. The club annually donates money to the city’s Fourth of July parade and fireworks, and last year, the club donated $3,500 to the Berkley High School music program to purchase a new vibraphone.

Supporting the community in any way possible is the club’s mission, Bell said, and the auction and those who attend make it possible.

“Being part of this club means being part of the community and our city, and we do our best to try and keep it up,” he said. “We want good things for the children in the neighborhood and the residents of Huntington Woods, and if we can contribute to that by getting out and raising funds, we are happy to do so.”