By Staff


Dr. Dipilla

If you live in Michigan you need to know Dr. Robert DiPilla. He has a long list of A-lister clients. In fact, DiPilla has had the privilege of perfecting the smiles of celebrity clientele such as Kathie Lee Gifford, Wayne Gretzky, Steve Duchesne, and Sarah Ferguson among others. He is recognized as an expert in all things dentistry. DiPilla is the official dentist to the Detroit Pistons, and was just recently also appointed the official dentist of Oakland University Athletics.
He is so well respected and in demand that he now has offices in Birmingham, Downtown Detroit and just recently opened a new office in New Baltimore. He also continues to travel to Manhattan to service patients there that he has been caring for, for over 2 decades.

Dr. Robert DiPilla studied dentistry at the University of Detroit-Mercy, and then went on to attain a Fellowship for Dental Implants at the Harvard Club. He was quickly recruited to Manhattan, where he honed his dentistry techniques, and had the opportunity to work on many high-profile clients. Dr. DiPilla became a partner at the renowned Rosenthal Dental Group on Madison Avenue, and earned the title “the dentist’s dentist” by his peers in the industry.

He continues to be recognized as a leader and expert resource in aesthetic dentistry and is the President and Program Director for the Society of Comprehensive Dentists, a teaching and mentoring stewardship that he created in 2018.



Larry Johnson

After years of helping the underserved in under resourced communities, Larry Johnson and his wife and Marilyn co-founded LifeBUILDERS, an organization committed to reclaiming, empowering and building in the Regent Park neighborhood on Detroit's northeast side.

Prior to LifeBUILDERS, the Johnsons were living the American Dream. They owned and ran a large computer leasing company that counted multiple Fortune 500 companies as its clients, and lived in an affluent community just outside of Detroit. More than 15 years ago, following the sale of that business and subsequent retirement, the Johnsons chose to follow God's calling to serve and made themselves available to make a difference in Detroit. They ultimately moved into the community they chose to serve – the big 48205, once designated as Detroit’s most deadly zip code.


Decades ago, Regent Park was a thriving working-class neighborhood, home to many of Detroit’s firefighters, police officers, teachers, families and seniors. It boasted two public schools that brought education and opportunity to the neighborhood’s youth. But decades of abandonment and disinvestment plagued the 97-block community, which opened the door to criminal activity, despair and hopelessness.

Since the organization's establishment in 2005, the Johnsons have been integral in building LifeBUILDERS from a "mom and pop" shop to one that serves hundreds of community residents annually.

“Our key goals for the one-square mile area of their activity is not to simply improve the physical environment, but to encourage home ownership through affordable living options and empower its youth,” said Johnson.

Their approach to the Regent Park community has produced significant and measurable results.


They have been responsible for managing and implementing projects which include the rehabilitation of nearly 70 housing units, renovation of a city park and the acquisition and rehabilitation of a former school into a $1.2 million, state-of-the-art, early childhood education center and leading a major neighborhood-based community planning effort.

“This new education facility is not just about learning opportunities for young children, but it is an added beacon of hope for this community that tells families, ‘You can thrive here’ or to some, ‘You can move here,’” added Johnson.


LifeBUILDERS also helps coordinate thousands of volunteer hours annually in cleaning up and removing blight throughout Regent Park, and work to engage youth and children in its weekly programs, summer day camps, employment opportunities, and community sports, fine arts and mentoring activities.

Both Larry and Marilyn play a pivotal role in establishing, expanding and enhancing relationships with community members, as well as seeking out and collaborating with public and private partners to provide solutions to Regent Park and assist with LifeBUILDERS' vision to transform a one square mile section of Detroit as a means of being a catalyst to help spur transformation throughout the city.

Together with LifeBUILDERS neighbors in Regent Park, everyone from its youth to its senior citizens alike, has restored hope and dignity to community life.

LifeBUILDERS’ headquarters is located at 20141 Kelly Rd. in Detroit. More information can be found by visiting or calling 313-401-LIFE.




Nicholas Kristock

Nicholas Kristock is the founder and executive director of Fleece & Thank You, a Farmington Hills, Michigan-based nonprofit organization founded in 2014 that specializes in making fleece blankets with encouraging video messages for children who have been hospitalized.


Kristock earned his undergraduate and master’s degree in business administration from Oakland University, earning many awards in the process, including CSA Student Leader of the Year Award and the Human Relations Award given to an outstanding senior in community service.

Kristock played soccer in college and then afterward traveled overseas to play soccer in Australia for the Loganholme Lightning Football Club of the Trophy Superstore Premier League. He spent some of his time overseas working and volunteering for nonprofits like the Make a Wish Foundation, the Ronald McDonald House Charities and Camp Quality in Brisbane, Australia.

It was at Camp Quality, a camp for children and families with cancer, where he met four-year-old Sophie. Sophie had lived most of her life inside a hospital room. She had a pediatric cancer called neuroblastoma, which is an illness that creates tumors in nerve cells.

“It breaks my heart that children like Sophie have to spend most of their childhood in a cold, bland hospital room,” said Kristock. “Something as simple as a blanket can serve as a warm beacon of hope for children battling an illness in the hospital. That was my inspiration for finding Fleece & Thank You.”


Since roughly 30,000 children in Michigan per year face hospital inpatient treatments, Fleece & Thank You’s goal is to make sure every single one of those kids has a warm, colorful blanket and an inspirational video message.

Along with Fleece & Thank You, Kristock is also the CEO of Empathy 313, an organization that uses a software platform to send donors a personal video message connecting them directly to the impact of their gift, showing exactly where their dollar is spent. He also is an official TEDx speaker who can be hired to speak about grassroots non-profits, social impact business models, mentorship and social entrepreneurship.


Fleece & Thank You’s headquarters is located at 24715 Crestview Ct. in Farmington Hills. More information can be found at calling 313-451-3665.