Thursdays do tend to test the fundraising gadabouts. While the Thrift Studio was in overdrive for Dwell with Dignity and Kiss by Angels was selling for Clayton Dabney at Museum Tower on April 18, other events were enjoying their success ranging from scotch tastings to ladies to being toasted:
Lee Park & Arlington Hall Conservancy
There was a bit of a nip in the air Thursday evening at Dallas’ Lee Park. But that didn’t seem to bother the estimated 100 to 150 people who turned out for the ninth annual A Spirited Tasting event at Lee Park’s Allie Beth and Pierce Allman Arbor Pavilion. Most of them, anyway.
Held to benefit the Lee Park & Arlington Hall Conservancy, the party brought together Lee Park neighbors from Turtle Creek, Uptown and the Park Cities to enjoy a variety of fine bourbons, scotch, tequila, vodka, wine and “exotic” beers.
According to Peter Dauterman, the event’s founder and chairman, Thursday’s Spirited Tasting was as much about “friend-raising” as fundraising, with a special focus on locally made spirits.
Among the several booths on the lawn near the Pavilion, for example, were ones for Texas-made Silver Star Spirit Whiskey and Witherspoon’s River Rum, which is distilled in Lewisville. Among other popular offerings that were going fast: Clyde May’s Whiskey and Coquerel wine from Napa Valley.
“I tried a little whiskey,” one partygoer was overheard saying. “I’m back on the wine now.”
Along with key sponsor David Shaffer of Wellington Realty, guests enjoying the convivial atmosphere included La Madeleine founder Patrick Esquerre and Stephen Shawler and Diane Gillis, both of the Essilor Vision Foundation.
Also attending were two “special guests” who make Lee Park look as beautiful as it does: Dwight Dykman and Reuben Naranjo of the Dallas Park and Recreation department. The maintenance specialists were seen huddling at one point with Gay Waltrip Donnell, president and CEO of the Lee Park & Arlington Hall Conservancy.
Gay was wearing lined cashmere gloves against the evening chill—gloves that had been borrowed from one gallant gentleman who sacrificed himself.
According to sources over at the Omni Dallas Hotel:
“The night kicked off with a reception that was like old home week for Maura Award recipients … there were more than 40 former honorees on hand. This included Nancy Ann Hunt, Laura Estrada, Gail Griswold, Sharon King, Dr. Catalina Garcia, Betty Regard, Virginia Whitehill and Dallas Women’s Foundation President/CEO Roslyn Dawson Thompson.
“The biggest standout in the crowd was 2013 honoree Clare Buie Chaney, who donned a Wonder Woman costume because, as she said, ‘Girls rock – they can do anything.’ Linda Alvarado – keynote speaker, head of a major commercial construction company and owner of the Colorado Rockies – later said that her son had once been sent to the principal for insisting repeatedly that his mom really was Wonder Woman. To Chaney she said, ‘But you look a whole lot better in the outfit.’
“As Roslyn kicked off the dinner saying, it was ‘an evening of firsts’ – the first time Dallas Women’s Foundation hosted the awards, the first time the Young Leader Award was presented, with the first female owner of a Major League Baseball team as keynote speaker. It was also the first time Dallas Women’s Foundation unveiled its new logo, which emphasizes the ripple effect that investing in women and girls has on them, their families and their world. The new tagline reads, ‘Strong Women. Better World.’
“Event chairs Cathy Coughlin and Maribess Miller then asked for a round of applause for two of the original Maura awardees from the class of 1978 who sat together front and center: award namesake Maura McNiel and her friend Vivian Castleberry, who presided as honorary chairs.
“Brenda Jackson, chair of the Leadership Awards Selection Committee and Sr. VP at Oncor, then presented the Maura Awards, saying, ‘These ladies don’t just make ripples … they make waves.’
“Leadership Awards Selection Committee chair Diana Dutton then presented the Young Leader Award to Veronica Torres, followed by the loudest hoots and hollers of the evening from her young and enthusiastic crowd of friends and family in attendance. As Veronica left the stage, Diana said, ‘I wish we could bottle that energy.’
“Veronica was definitely not the youngest in the room, though. Presenting sponsor AT&T had brought not only its own crew, but also invited and filled tables with attendees from the Girl Scouts and Big Brothers Big Sisters. The latter invited several ‘Bigs’ to bring their ‘Littles’ with them. During the break in the program, Holly Reed, Senior VP of External of Affairs, brought keynote speaker Linda Alvarado by their table. The pioneering leader graciously shared a few inspiring words and posed for pictures with them.
“Then it was time for Linda Alvarado to take the podium. The contractor and sports team owner looked around at the room full of women and peppered slightly with men and said, ‘I’m not used to being around so many women!’ She has spent her youth surrounded by brothers and her professional life surrounded by men. She quipped that while some women talk about designers and mean Prada or Gucci, she’s thinking architects, and while some women talk about foundation and mean Lancome, she’s thinking about a nice new high rise.
“Alvarado then detailed her experiences, from being raised in an adobe home with no running water, through her early years as a contractor and business owner when she was frequently mistaken for a secretary and into her role once again holding her own among the boys as a professional sports team owner. You’d think constantly breaking down barriers would be exhausting after a while, but it clearly doesn’t slow her down. She shared her mantra, ‘Don’t look for the reasons you’ll fail. Look for the ways to succeed.'”
* Photo credit: Glenn Hunter ** Photo credit: Kristina Bowman