JUST IN: LaunchAbility Announces Dana Carvey Will Replace Bill Cosby For “A Special Evening”

It was just a week ago Thursday that the LaunchAbility team announced that comedian Bill Cosby would be the headliner for its fundraising A Special Evening. Since then, Cosby has been slammed in the media with accusations of rape by women.

While the 77-year-old comedian has refrained from comment and has never been charged with a crime, he has been the center of controversy resulting in the cancellation of an NBC series and the postponement of a NetFlix special.

Due to the situation, LaunchAbility’s CEO Kathryn Parson was contacted about Cosby’s April 2nd appearance. The following statement was just received from Kathryn:

LaunchAbility® announced today that Emmy-award winning comedian, Dana Carvey will be performing at the organization’s annual fundraiser, A Special Evening, scheduled for April 2, 2015. The agency is excited to have an entertainer of Carvey’s caliber to perform in place of Bill Cosby who was previously scheduled.

Carvey was a regular on “Saturday Night Live” for seven seasons and well-known for his characters, The Church Lady, Hans (from the duo Hans and Franz), and the Grumpy Old Man. He is also known as Garth, the ‘most excellent’ co-host to Mike Meyers immensely popular Wayne’s World. His uncanny comedic impersonations of political figures such as George and George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, H. Ross Perot, Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama, as well as Johnny Carson, Andy Rooney, and Regis Philbin continue to add to his comedic legend.

“We are delighted that Dana Carvey is available to share his humorous personality as our entertainer for LaunchAbility’s 14th annual Special Evening Event on Thursday, April 2, 2015,” Kathryn Parsons, CEO of LaunchAbility® said. “We look forward to welcoming him as our host this year.”

Over the past 14 years, A Special Evening has garnered approximately 2,000 sponsors and raised more than $2 million. All of the proceeds from A Special Evening directly benefit LaunchAbility® and have allowed LaunchAbility® to continually expand its programs and grow each year.

Past entertainers of A Special Evening include the following: Tony Bennett, Ray Charles, k.d. Lang, Tom Jones, The Doobie Brothers, Dionne Warwick, Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons, Bonnie Raitt, The Pointer Sisters, Willie Nelson, Kenny Loggins, Vince Gill and Smokey Robinson.

The 2015 A Special Evening Event Co-Chairs are Regina Montoya and Paul Coggins, and this year’s Honorary Event Co-Chairs are Ambassador Kathryn and Craig Hall. Past honorary chairs are Margot & Ross Perot, Ruth & Kenneth Altshuler, Linda & Bill Custard, Caren Prothro, Georgia & Doug Smith with Jessica Smith, Anne & Steve Stodghill, Sara & Glen Agritelley, Marinelle & Kip Sowden, Ebby Halliday, Laura & Ellison Hurt, Stacey & Nicholas McCord, Brill & Jason Garrett, Marianne & Roger Staubach, Beth & Steve McGaw, and Caroline Rose Hunt.

Past event chairs include Anne & Steve Stodghill, Kate Rose Murphy Marquez, Laura & Ellison Hurt, Stacey & Nicholas McCord, Jenny Wolf & Jay Fox, Kristi & Jody Bare, Nicole Kapioltas & Angie Hubach, Leigh Anne Haugh & Kristen Johnston, Diana Hamilton & Lauren Maggard, Elizabeth & Eric Gambrell, Laura Johnson & Wendy Messmann, Susan & George Kelly, Cecily & Scott Gooch, and Piper & Mike Wyatt.

Sponsorships for A Special Evening with Dana Carvey hosted by Alliance Data, begin at $750 for individual sponsorships and $2,500 for corporate sponsorships.  For more information, please contact Karen Cooper at (972) 991-6777 ext. 7120 or [email protected], or please visit www.LaunchAbility.org.


For more than 50 years, LaunchAbility® has been expanding worlds for people with disabilities by providing services to help them reach their maximum potential. LaunchAbility is dedicated to helping employers build diverse cultures through disability hiring while supporting our clients, who are adults with diverse abilities, in leading independent lives. To do this, LaunchAbility’s team helps adults find and maintain meaningful employment, supporting employers throughout the employment relationship. Our services range from career development/coaching, resume/interview preparation, job identification, and on-the-job coaching for clients, to disability etiquette training and consulting for employers. Please visit our website at www.LaunchAbility.org to learn more.

Bill Cosby: Dr. Huxtable And Mr. Hyde

Bill Cosby (File photo)

Bill Cosby (File photo)

Bill Cosby is not a nice person. No, we’re not talking about the recent allegations of his raping women in the past. There is another issue about “Cos.” It is his Dr. Huxtable/Mr. Hyde personalities.

Having witnessed two episodes more than 10 years apart, it’s perplexing to see him bring an audience to their feet with his jokes, while there are others behind the scenes in tears from his demeaning behavior off-stage.

Such accusations need first-hand accounts.

In January 2011, it was pathetic to see the lovable Dr. Huxtable greeting and charming VIP guests at the Catholic Charities’ Bishop’s Ball at the Anatole. On one side of the room, he was such a doll that the patrons didn’t notice the Catholic Charities staffers on the side looking like puppies who had been beaten with a stick. For those who had witnessed his exchanges with the staff, he was a cruel bully who seemed to take delight in exercising his ability to abuse. His amazing skill with words and delivery that had made people laugh for decades was just as masterful at verbally berating low-paid staffers who indeed looked punch drunk.

The other episode was back in 1996, at a benefit for the St. Paul Foundation. In this case, a volunteer assistant made the mistake of opening the VIP lounge at the Meyerson and having the guests head to Cosby’s open-doored dressing room for the meet-and-greet. As the paid staff scrambled to corral the patrons back to the lounge for the grip-and-grin with Cosby, the comedian verbally dressed down the female staffer in front of the guests and volunteers. Despite her apologizing again and again and trying to explain that it was an innocent accident by a volunteer, he continued to berate and humiliate the staffer to a point where she would have welcomed a slap in the face instead.

Is Bill Cosby a nice person? No. He’s not even funny, when you know the back story.

Change Of Plans: City Lights Is Rescheduled To Sunday Evening

The City Lights switch on for Saturday night has been postponed until Sunday due to Mother Nature’s potentially throwing a temper tantrum Saturday. Everything else remains the same — loads of holiday activities, concessions, etc. And, yes, it’s still gonna be held from 3 to 8 p.m. at Main Street Garden and Pegasus Plaza.

Round Robin November 5: Too Many To Mention But Dang It If NorthPark Isn’t Part Of All Of ‘Em

According to six degrees of separation, everyone/everything is just six or fewer steps away from another person in the world. On Wednesday, November 5, NorthPark was less than two steps away from all the fundraising activities in the area.

Nexus Annual Appeal Campaign Kick-Off Party

Billie Leigh Rippey*

Billie Leigh Rippey*

The Nexus Annual Appeal Campaign Kick-Off Party was taking place at CH Carolina Herrera at NorthPark. According to plans, “The annual appeal kick-off event, chaired by Faye Briggs, will be hosted at CH Carolina Herrera in NorthPark Center. Guests of the chic occasion including society fixtures, fashion savvy personalities, media and Nexus patrons and leaders— will savor champagne, wine and heavy hors d’ oeuvres. In addition, partygoers will have the chance to win a donated CH Carolina Herrera tote. Mid event Nexus Executive Director, Becca Crowell, will express her gratitude to Faye Briggs and CH Carolina Herrera for their support. She will also highlight the annual appeal campaign which begins on November 7th with a mail drop of 9,000 appeal letters to supporters, associates, friends and family of Nexus and of Faye Briggs. Furthermore Carolina Herrera CH will announce that 15% of purchases made at the event will be donated to Nexus Recovery Center as well as any purchases made through November 9th, 2014 with a mention of Nexus Recovery Center.”

Everything went according to plan except Faye wasn’t there. A Nexus representative reported, Faye “had two events booked and wasn’t able to be in two places at once unfortunately. She was trying as far as my understanding to make both.

“The event however, despite her absence was a success.”

So, where was Faye? Check the next item.

TACA’s Founders Circle Dinner

Faye Briggs

Faye Briggs

Alas, poor Faye Briggs was in a quandary. She had just recently been named the honorary chair for Nexus Annual Appeal Campaign and they were having their kick-off party at CH Carolina Hererra in NorthPark. But she was also slated to be at Barbara and Don Daseke’s place for a seated dinner honoring the TACA Founders Circle. (The Founders Circle included people who’ve made multi-year commitments of at least $5K per year.) Since cloning was not available, Faye could only attend one and it was the Daseke dinner catered by The Joule Hotel with Chef Jaco Smith orchestrating in the kitchen.

Barbara Daseke and Nelda Cain Pickens

Barbara Daseke and Nelda Cain Pickens

Sure, it may have been dark, rainy and chilly outside, but inside the Daseke’s teak mansion, it was glowing with TACA art lovers. Despite the fact it was less than 24 hours after the area elections, the world “politics” never was heard. For this crowd of 20+ (Linda and Steve Ivy, Jennifer and Coley Clark, Nelda Cain Pickens, Karol Omlor, Addison Mayor Pro Tem Blake Clemens, Caroline Kohl and Holly and Tom Mayer) had art on the brain.

Caroline Kohl

Caroline Kohl

Karol Omlor

Karol Omlor

Linda Ivy

Linda Ivy

As guests gathered in the two-story living room overlooking the wooded grounds, Diane Brierley welcomed the group and TACA President Becky Young reported how TACA had grown over the past 30 years. She added that the Founders Circle’s commitments represented $2.5M to TACA through 2018.

Then it was time for a little art talk. That’s when Dallas composer Margaret Barrett, who is one of the TACA grant recipients, took over. She told about the “Universal Language” performed by The Obscure Dignitaries and inspired by the DMA exhibit “Concentrations 57: Slav and Tartars” taking place on Saturday, November 22. Free to the public, it will be performed in the DMA Horchow Auditorium.

Diane Brierley and Tom and Holly Mayer

Diane Brierley and Tom and Holly Mayer

While Barbara, Becky and Diane were single wives for the night, others enjoyed a fabulous dinner of scallops, lamb chops and killer lemon tart. And the talk of the performing arts continued to be the table topic.

Fall Into Fashion

Over at Neiman Marcus, the United Way was literally “falling into fashion. Here’s a report:

United Way of Metropolitan Dallas hosted a sold-out crowd for its fabulous ‘Fall into Fashion’ runway show and fundraiser on the third level of Neiman Marcus NorthPark.  More than 300 guests (Robin Bray, Debra SoRelle, Allison Shelton, Emily Hatcher, Brenna Pontarelli, Meryl Olsen, Laura Downing, Donna Epps, Lori Mc Williams, Susan Hutcheson, Debbie Stewart, Jessica Lee, Scarlett Landry, Pamela Osborne, Kristy Faus, Jan Strimple, Lauren Hendershot, Caroline Vu, Deborah Arango, Debra von Storch, Donna Sweatman, Ashley Wathen, Stacy Gibson, Margie Elkins, Cecelia Hodges, Arden Ellis, Jamie Sowa and Katie Anderson) sipped on champagne and cranberry cocktails as they enjoyed watching models display the latest fall must-haves.

Cecelia Hodges, Arden Ellis, Susan Hutcheson, Jamie Sowa, Katie Anderson and Debbie Stewart**

Cecelia Hodges, Arden Ellis, Susan Hutcheson, Jamie Sowa, Katie Anderson and Debbie Stewart**

Ginger Allen and Jan Strimple**

Ginger Allen and Jan Strimple**

“United Way supporters, many of them Women of Tocqueville members, mixed and mingled, nibbling on heavy hors d’oeuvres and listening to beats, courtesy of DJ Blake Ward.  Attendees were entered into a drawing to win a Gucci handbag, and all left with swag bags featuring the best in fall beauty.

“CBS 11/KTVT senior reporter Ginger Allen graciously served as the evening’s emcee.  Guests were generous in bringing their gently used career clothes, accessories, and shoes to donate to United Way programs supporting victims of domestic violence.  For more information about United Way programs, please visit www.unitedwaydallas.org.”

Trains At NorthPark Sponsor Party

And while the Ronald McDonald House’s Trains at NorthPark Sponsor Party didn’t take place at the shopping center, it was certainly center of conversation. Here’s a report from the field:

Tia Wynne, Len Critcher and Jamie Singer***

Tia Wynne, Len Critcher and Jamie Singer***

“Before The Trains at NorthPark, Dallas’ favorite holiday miniature trains exhibit, rolls through Dallas for its 27th year, there’s plenty of fundraising, building in the new trains space, and thanking the sponsors for their incredible support. At the November 5th Trains sponsor party, hosted in the home of Len Critcher, there was plenty to celebrate, but apparently the House is nearing capacity.

“The House referenced isn’t Critcher’s that could be in the pages of Traditional Home, but the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas, the organizer of The Trains at NorthPark—its largest fundraiser.

Jill Cumnock, CEO of Ronald McDonald House of Dallas, welcomed about 100 supporters. ‘Thank you for your support. The House is at 93% capacity tonight, and The Trains raises nearly a third of our operating budget. Our Trains co-chairs, Jamie Singer and Tia Wynne, have done a tremendous job of fundraising, and we can’t wait to see all of you at the opening on November 22.’

Courtney Westerburg and Claire Raggio***

Courtney Westerburg and Claire Raggio***

“Jamie Singer, who has volunteered for the Ronald McDonald House since she was in high school, thanked Claire Raggio and Courtney Westerburg, last year’s Trains co-chairs who organized the sponsor party. ‘I’m also pleased to announce next year’s Trains co-chairs Jennifer Tobin and April Cook to fill our shoes.’

“Tia Wynne, who has taken her children to the attraction for seven years, added, ‘Thank you for Bank of Texas for helping make the Trains roll as our presenting sponsor for the sixth year.’

“Bank of Texas’ Bob White added, ‘What Ronald McDonald House of Dallas does is important work, and it’s a pleasure for us to be a part of this community.’

“Dr. Jeffrey Fearon and his wife, Regen Fearon, serve as this year’s Honorary Co-chairs. (Regen was just named the Junior League of Dallas’ Sustainer of the Year on November 6 at a luncheon where Laura Bush spoke.)

Bob White, Diane Fullingim, Regen and Jeffrey Fearon and Jill Cumnock***

Bob White, Diane Fullingim, Regen and Jeffrey Fearon and Jill Cumnock***

“He told a personal story from his childhood about how his mother had taken his sister to Boston Children’s when she was very ill, and there wasn’t a Ronald McDonald House for his mother. She stayed in a hotel by herself and apart from the family. Fast forward years later, and he worked at the same hospital.

“Through his practice as a craniofacial surgeon, he sees plenty of patients, many of whom stay at the House. He finally decided as a family that he and Regen needed to take their twins and visit this place. ‘I was taken by the humanity of the people feeding families at the House.’ He was referring to the fact that volunteers serve families three homemade meals a day, the caring staff that supports the families, and the comfortable accommodations each family receives. ‘The amount of stress that the House reduces is enormous.’”

* Photo provided by Nexus Recovery Center 
** Photo provided by United Way of Metropolitan Dallas 
*** Photo credit: Rhi Lee

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Alice Starr, Tammy Simon and Shelley F. Conroy*

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Community Partners of Dallas Toy Drive*

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The view from "The Dump Top"

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Bob and Brenda White and Ellen and Clayton Kershaw

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Lucy Wrubel on stage

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Group swellfie

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Women In Film Dallas To Honor Dennis Bishop, Ruth Buzzi And Allison Tolman With Topaz…

Ruth Buzzi (File photo)

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Stephanie and John Roberts*

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