Fast-talking fundraiser and friend
Professional auctioneer tabbed for the Academy’s upcoming May 13 Action Auction says he’s looking forward to working at the country’s ‘grand dame’ of learning.
Mark Schroeder has helped raise more than $100 million for nonprofits and learning institutions located throughout the United States. He’s a professional auctioneer and his travels next month will bring him to The Grosse Pointe Academy to help raise much-needed funds during the school’s 50th Anniversary Action Auction on May 13.
Proceeds from the annual Action Auction enrich academic offerings, raise scholarship money and tuition assistance funds to benefit students and to support the preservation of the Academy’s historic campus.
Even though he’s based in not-too-far-away Cleveland, it will be the first time Schroeder has worked an auction in the greater Detroit area, although he’s worked a few events a bit north of the Pointes.
“One of them was for a long-time client of mine that is really an incredible organization,” he said. “The Child Abuse and Neglect Council Great Lakes Bay Region, or the CAN Council, does great work in that area of the state.”
Schroeder, who is looking forward to a great gig at the Academy’s auction, said that while it’s his first job with the school, he is well aware of its reputation and status and has more than a few connections to both the school and the Grosse Pointes.
“One of my college roommates at John Carroll University was a Grosse Pointe Farms native,” he said. “And I believe his father was, and could possibly still be, Bob Seger’s accountant. I also think he was a GPA grad. In addition, another John Carroll classmate of mine, Mary Alice Mecke, is currently a parent at GPA and a member of the auction committee. As a John Carroll University alum, I have a number of great friends from the Grosse Pointe area. The Pointes have always sent outstanding young men and women to JCU — and they still do.”
As a certified auctioneer, Schroeder holds a CAI designation, which means he’s one of less that 1 percent of all licensed auctioneers in North America who have been accredited by the Certified Auctioneers Institute. He’s also one of the first auctioneers in the country to earn the Benefit Auctioneer Specialist certification, reflecting a fairly elevated status and expertise in the auction industry.
From TV to an auction podium
A graduate of the aforementioned John Carroll University, the Reppert School of Auctioneering and the Hondros College of Business, Schroeder is a 31-time Emmy nominated sports anchor and reporter. He’s won four Emmys and a Telly Award with WJW-TV, a Fox-affiliated television station located in Cleveland, and has earned more accolades with the CBS network and SportsTime Ohio. Plus, he’s accumulated multiple awards from the Associated Press and Cleveland Press Club.
But — we wanted to know — with all of that broadcasting expertise, why get into auctioneering for nonprofits and charity events? Surely it must be more than having the ability to talk fast. . .
“When I was a television producer and reporter, our TV station, WJW-TV, believed in human-interest stories,” he said. “I was fascinated by those stories of people’s lives and the impact those pieces made in their community, our city and beyond. Working in TV, I had lots of opportunities to be the master of ceremonies for many nonprofit galas way before I became a licensed professional benefit auctioneer.”
He said that after doing so many of those benefit auctions, it just seemed natural for him to start his own professional auction business.
“I receive so much satisfaction, not only raising more money for my clients, but seeing the results of that money and how it has helped people — from battling cancer, to housing organ-transplant recipients, to sending hearing and visually impaired kids to an ‘experience camp,’ to scholarship and tuition assistance, to erecting a new science and engineering building for a school. The list is endless.”
‘Doesn’t get any better’
He said he is very proud to have been a team member for wonderfully caring organizations and learning institutions that enhance peoples lives and to watch how that investment is manifested in students, for example, who go on to become leaders of our cities, states and country.
“For me, it just doesn’t get any better than being a professional benefit auctioneer!”
Despite such a wide swath of auction experience and success, Schroeder nonetheless is very excited to be a part of the GPA family on May 13.
“There is a rich fundraising history at GPA and being part of the team that is celebrating the 50th Anniversary is a very special to me,” he said.
He said he was somewhat aware of the rich history of education at The Grosse Pointe Academy, but wanted to know more. So he asked for and received a thorough tour of the school when he first met with GPA auction officials a few months ago.
“As a former television reporter, I believe in knowing as much as possible about my client or subject and the more I know and understand about them, the better agent I will be for them on the night of the event,” he said. “I’m a Catholic kid with 16 years of Catholic school education — kindergarten through college — so I fully appreciated this landmark, this institution of learning, the gorgeous chapel and the beautiful workmanship of wood on the walls as you walk the halls.
“It truly stands as the ‘Grand Dame’ of learning in our country.”
Schroeder said attending guests at the May 13 auction are in for a great celebration and some surprises.
“My duty that evening is hosting as master of ceremonies in addition to conducting an amazingly procured 30-live auction experience and, most importantly, the ‘paddle-raise,’ which we are now calling, “Make It Happen.”*
*This year’s auction paddle-raise will benefit the school’s Tracy Fieldhouse.
More on the auction is here.
The Grosse Pointe Academy is an independent, coeducational day school serving children age 2-1/2 through Grade 8. We foster an inclusive environment that respects all cultures and religious beliefs. We seek to remain faithful to our heritage as a former Academy of the Sacred Heart and to those who through their Catholic faith and perseverance sought to preserve and enhance the legacy of this past for generations. Incorporated as a nonprofit institution, The Grosse Pointe Academy is directed by a Board of Trustees working together to serve the Southeastern Michigan community.