JUST IN: Kohl Backs Children’s Medical Center Foundation’s 2016 “Play Well Stay Well Program” To The Tune of $330,817

Just ask any kiddo and they’ll probably know exactly how many hours and minutes until school’s out for the summer. That means there will be plenty of munchkins out and about. But not all of that free time is so great. Each year way too many youngsters end up overdoing and/or having accidents that result in everything from bandages to emergency room runs.

Christopher Durovich (File photo)

Christopher Durovich (File photo)

To cut down on those “oops”, Kohl has once again stepped with a donation to Children’s Medical Center Foundation for its “Play Well Stay Well Program.” This year’s contribution is a whopping $330,817 that brings its financial backing of the program since 2001 to a tidy $4.3M.

“The Play Well Stay Well Program” is designed to provide families with information on “how to lead a healthy, safe and active lifestyle.”

According to Children’s Health System of Texas President/CEO, Christopher Durovich, “We greatly appreciate Kohl’s for its continued generosity to Children’s. The company’s dedication and support of healthy recreation and wellness has been of great importance in advancing our mission of making life better for children.”

The funding is the result of the Kohl’s Cares cause merchandise program where Kohl sells $5 books and plush toys with 100% of the net profits benefit children’s health programs nationwide.

2016 Art Ball Patrons Partied Among “Couture Construction” At The Joule’s Terrace With Appetizers In Toolboxes, Designer Jeremy Scott And Beautiful Peeps

The collegiate basketball title was over. The politicos were taking a timeout for the night. So, it was perfect timing for the beautiful peeps to get together with fashions and art at The Joule Terrace on the evening of Wednesday, April 6.

To spotlight the poreless folks and artistic clothes, Mother Nature shone a perfect light with equally perfect temperatures. Unfortunately, Uncle Bag of Wind gusted through the open terrace occasionally.

But before the first guests even arrived, they knew something was up. The outdoor entrance to the private lift to the Terrace looked like a construction project with yellow tape and helmeted construction workers. Only on second look did they realize that instead of the tape warning against entering, it read “Couture Zone Ahead” and the hunky construction team was familiar gents from the runways.

Piper Wyatt, Brian Bolke and Claire Emanuelson

Piper Wyatt, Brian Bolke and Claire Emanuelson

So, the evening’s theme of “Construction” in connection with the Art Ball’s “Art and Architecture” was off and running. But then what would you expect from The Joule’s owner Tim Headington, who was also a major sponsor of the Art Ball and backer of the soon-to-open Forty Five Ten Downtown. Such a smart fella. He and Forty Five Ten czar Brian Bolke just knew that this event would be a feast for those who have taste, love fashion and have an eye for art like DMA Board President Catherine Rose, Elaine Agather, Shelle and Michael Sills, Faisal Halum, Capera Ryan, Gonzalo Bueno, Sharon Young, David Nichols with Ashley Tatum, Jim Showers, Yasaman Djunic, Claire Emanuelson, Piper Wyatt, Erin Mathews with Russ Davis, Diane and Stuart Bumpas, Piper Smith, Douglas Penick, Tina Craig, Suzanne Droese, Barbara Womble with Bob Minyard, Tierney Kaufman Hutchins, Kendall Kinsman, Anna Bres, Vodi Cook, Cathy Hodges, Christina Nortzon, Mackenzie Brittingham and Rachel Tice Osbur.

Walter Elcock

Walter Elcock

Gonzalo Bueno

Gonzalo Bueno

Shelle Sills

Shelle Sills

Faisal Halum

Faisal Halum

And Brian smartly combined the theme of the night with Moschino designer Jeremy Scott’s most recent “Dangerous Couture” collection that featured dresses and accessories. In town for the party, Jeremy felt right at home with his clientele and designs everywhere on the Terrace.

Jeremy Scott and Nancy Rogers

Jeremy Scott and Nancy Rogers

Appetizers in toolbox

Appetizers in toolbox

Construction buffet

Construction buffet

From the moment the elevator doors opened, The Terrace was spectacular with delicious appetizers being served in toolboxes and lunchboxes, mountains of shrimp, crab claws and oysters-on-the-half-shell in 100-quart coolers and DJ Lucy Wrubel surrounded by more directional and warning signage than Riverfront at Continental.

Surrounding a headless mannequin in an ice-blue party dress all puffed up thanks to  fluffy petticoat were upside-down orange cones serving as vases for huge balls of yellow flowers and waiters in helmets and orange vests with trays of Moet and Chandon with top cap-coupe adaptors. One guest giggled that sipping champagne via the mini-champagne resulted in bubbles in her nose.

David and Ann Sutherland and Rachel and Michael Osburn

David and Ann Sutherland and Rachel and Michael Osburn

Interim DMA Director Walter Elcock was in fine fettle greeting guests with wife Laura Elcock. When asked if there was any chances of his taking on the duties fulltime, he laughed that idea away… 2016 Art Ball Co-Chair Ann and David Sutherland were surrounded by well-wishers for the upcoming April 23 gala at the DMA…Nancy Rogers in shades and a marvelous Moschino coat arrived with hair artisan Michael Flores and ended up chatting with Jeremy, who had designed her gown for last year’s Two By Two fundraiser, and Moschino Director of Communications Pablo Olea in a black jacket and red-and-black pleated skirt/kilts…Architect David Droese reported that work on Forty Five Ten Downtown was moving along quickly for a fall opening…DMA Junior Associates Co-Chairs Rachel and Michael Osburn were explaining how Folly After the Ball was replacing its annual An Affair of Art… Moll Anderson in a standout Moschino coat…New homeowner Andy Beal brought along Olya Sinitsyna and his son Ryan Beal…The Joule’s Tim was turning a head or two. Yup, the blonde philanthropist has lost more than 30 pounds and looks healthier and slimmer than ever.

Ryan Beal, Piper Smith, Douglas Penick, Tina Craig, Olya Sinitsyna, Andy Beal and Anna Bres

Ryan Beal, Piper Smith, Douglas Penick, Tina Craig, Olya Sinitsyna, Andy Beal and Anna Bres

For more pictures of the event, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

A Passing: Jo Guerin

Jo Guerin (File photo)

Jo Guerin (File photo)

It was always easy to spot Jo Guerin in a crowd. With her blonde hair, teal-blue eyes and her never-ending smile, she was known for having an enormous collection of friends and being a tireless supporter of a wide variety of nonprofits.

Hailing from Arkansas, she found her way to SMU back in 1956, where time and time again she made her presence known thanks to her beauty (Rotunda Beauty, SMU Modeling Squad, etc.) and her talent (SMU Arden Club, President of the Neiman Marcus College Board, etc.).

Her appearing in SMU theatrical productions came as no surprise, since her older blonde sister/the late Martha Bumpas Gaylord was a favorite leading actress in Dallas theaters.

However, following college Jo married Dean Guerin in 1960 and shifted her focus to community involvement that included the Junior League of Dallas, Big Sisters, Children’s Medical Center, DAR, Dallas Museum of Fine Arts League, Crystal Charity Ball, Les Femmes du Monde, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League, Dallas Garden Club, Susan Komen Foundation, Dallas Heritage Society, Flora Awards, Dallas Civic Opera and Dallas Arboretum Women’s Council.

But Jo was also known for her style. Whether it was being selected to the Crystal Charity Ball’s Best Dressed and its Hall of Fame or living and entertaining with Dean in the only Texas home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, Jo was a standout.

We regret to report that Jo died Sunday, April 24. A memorial service will be held at Sparkman Hillcrest on Friday, April 29, at 2 p.m.

Our condolences are extended to Jo’s family, friends and those who benefited from her efforts.

The Animal Loving Crowd Shopped Jimmy Choos Heels In Preparation For The Annual Fur Ball

Nancy Rogers had her work cut out for her on Wednesday, April 6. She had a full evening of fundraising rounds to make and the very first stop was Highland Park Village’s Jimmy Choo to check out the footwear goodies benefiting the SPCA of Texas. Here’s a report from the field:

Jimmy Choo shoes*

Jimmy Choo shoes*

The gorgeous and well-heeled mingled with the latest pumps, platforms and peep-toes at the Jimmy Choo boutique at Highland Park Village in Dallas on Wednesday, April 6. And it was all to benefit the SPCA of Texas in partnership with this year’s Fur Ball Gala.

Brightly clad guests sparkled with springtime freshness as they browsed Jimmy Choo’s gorgeous Spring Summer collection while they nibbled delicate canapés thanks to KMG Events. Buoyant beverages refreshed attendees as the sun gently dipped into the horizon over the rococo roofline of Highland Park Village.

Jimmy Choo donated a portion of the proceeds from purchases at the event to the SPCA of Texas. Special thanks to Jimmy Choo and boutique manager Catherine Kemp for hosting the party.

Fur Ball 2016, Shedding Light on Their Future, will be held on Saturday, September 24, at the Omni Dallas Hotel from 6:30 p.m. to midnight. LeeAnne Locken will be M.C. for the evening. For more information, visit www.furballdallas.com.

Kristen Greenberg and Sandra Fite*

Kristen Greenberg and Sandra Fite*

Fur Ball Chair Phyllis Comu, Co-Chair Kristen Greenberg and Auction Chair Sandra Fite, along with the Fur Ball committee, will make this a gala to remember. The honorary co-chairs for Fur Ball 2016 are Faye Briggs, D’Andra Simmons and Jeremy Lock, Anne and Steve Stodghill and Drs. Wendy and John Vandermeer. The Fur Ball 2016 committee includes Lisa Kirtley Ledbetter (Marketing & Communications), Mary Lozano Buster, Giana DePaul, Diane Faison-Roe, Lisa Fox, Cameron Gummer, Alissa Kaiser, Stacey Kivowitz, Paula Leone, Cindy Lindsley, Nicole Sisneros, Kelly Thompson, Terry Wright Stimpson, Denise Wallace and Anja Woodson.

Nancy Rogers, Phyllis Comu and Nancy Rogers*

Nancy Rogers, Phyllis Comu and Nancy Rogers*

All money raised through Fur Ball will support the SPCA of Texas, as the organization rescues, heals and finds homes for more than 50,000 animals each year.

Attendees included Diane Brierley, Anne and Steve Stodghill, Phyllis and C.J. Comu, Katy Murray, Holly Forsythe, Nancy Rogers, Rhonda Sargent Chambers, Tricia Sims, Carmen Surgent, Kerry Sullivan, Dan Pritchett, Bob Manzano and Karen Urie.

* Photo credit: QC Cong/XO Photography

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery: 2016 Art Ball Patron Party

Appetizers in toolbox

Appetizers in toolbox

Appetizers being served up in toolboxes. Upside down warning cones serving as vases. Hunky construction workers serving as the welcome committee. Billionaires just hanging out. These were just a few of the elements that made the Dallas Museum of Art‘s 2016 Art Ball patron party at The Joule’s terrace a true memory maker.

Hunky construction workers

Hunky construction workers

Tim Headington, Ryan Beal and Andy Beal

Tim Headington, Ryan Beal and Andy Beal

And leave it to Forty Five Ten fashion wizard Brian Bolke to add that touch of couture with Moschino designer Jeremy Scott on the scene surrounded by gorgeous clients in his creations.

Piper Wyatt, Brian Bolke and Claire Emanuelson

Piper Wyatt, Brian Bolke and Claire Emanuelson

Jeremy Scott and Nancy Rogers

Jeremy Scott and Nancy Rogers

While the post is being finalized, get a gander of the party at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Junior Leaguers Preparing For A Big Celebratory Gala To Be Chaired By Isabell Novakov

Isabell Novakov (File photo)

Isabell Novakov (File photo)

The Junior Leaguers of Dallas are hunkering down to do a double celebration next year. Not only will they be hitting the 95-year mark for their organization, but they’ll be holding the 55th Junior League gala. That latter one has come a long way from the days when it was called the Junior League Follies and the membership would do all types of skits and such.

Chairing the 55th anniversary gala will be Isabell Novakov, whose mom Lydia Novakov was JLD president a decade or two ago, as well as ball chair.

While Isabell isn’t sharing details about the fundraiser until June, she did report that it would take place at the Hilton Anatole on Saturday, March 4.

This is gonna be a big, old hoopla to celebrate the Dallas JLD that has 5,000 members and provides (wo)manpower and money for area nonprofits. And just look around. You’ll see loads of Dallas leadership positions being filled by “grads” of the JLD.

Don’t bother going to the website to get tickets, because it’s not up yet. Stay tuned.

Dr. John Gabrieli Explains Why “Two Brains Aren’t The Same” At 3rd Annual Jean And Bill Booziotis Distinguished Lecture

Those folks who consider the brain to be the next frontier seem to be growing in numbers by the scores. A crowd of ’em were brought together by the Center for Vital Longevity at Communities Foundation of Texas on Wednesday, April 6, for the third annual Jean and Bill Booziotis Distinguished Lecture featuring Dr. John Gabrieli. It was a fascinating night for the guests and their gray matter. Here’s a report from the field:

Just like people, no two brains are the same.

That was the message that sank in at last night’s annual public lecture hosted by the Center for Vital Longevity, the neuroscience group at the University of Texas at Dallas dedicated to studying the aging mind.

Hobson Wildenthal, Michael Rugg, Denise Park and John Gabrieli*

Hobson Wildenthal, Michael Rugg, Denise Park and John Gabrieli*

The Center for Vital Longevity (CVL) held its third annual Jean and Bill Booziotis Distinguished Lecture at the Communities Foundation of Texas, welcoming Dr. John Gabrieli, the Director of the Athinoula A. Martinos Imaging Center at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, for a public talk on “neuroindividuality.”

In an evening lecture that was completely free to the public, thanks to the generosity of the late Mrs. Jean Booziotis and her husband, Bill Booziotis, Dr. Gabrieli highlighted what principles of brain organization are consistent across individuals, and how brains vary across people due to age, personality, and other dimensions of individuality.

Nearly 300 guests attended the talk at the Communities Foundation of Texas, whose architecture was conceived and designed by Mr. Booziotis.

Ginny and Richard Lombardi*

Ginny and Richard Lombardi*

Touching on personality types, gender and culture, and the way these differences influence how our brains interact with the world, Dr. Gabrieli described how such hard-to-quantify factors might be better understood through imaging. Dr. Gabrieli shared current research on just how varied individuals of different ages can be in their integration of feeling and memory.

While age is very important, it is just one factor, Dr. Gabrieli said.

The amygdala – an emotional center in the brain often associated with fear – tends to activate differently in extroverts and introverts, he said. Extraverts tend to have more active amygdalae in response to positive information, such as a happy face, while introverts’ amydalae appear to be more active when processing negative information, such as an angry face.

Whether a person perceives situations from a “glass half-full or half-empty” perspective also depends on familial upbringing and any history of depression, he said. Ultimately, accounting for people’s individuality, with the help of imaging, is crucial in determining the best path for treatments that might have the fastest impact, he added.

Several generations attended, including students and staff from The Hockaday and Greenhill schools, and Williams Prep.

“Dr. Gabrieli’s lecture was enlightening and offered all in the audience insight into how complex and varied people’s brains are, reflecting factors such as personality type and cultural background,” said CVL Director Dr. Michael Rugg. “We were delighted to bring this lecture to the community at-large. We are very grateful to Dr. Gabrieli for visiting Dallas to share his research in such an accessible way.”

His talk was preceded by an evening reception of the CVL Director’s Research Circle, attended by among numerous others including Jannah Hodges, Chela Abdallah and retired CFO at the U.S. Department of Education and current chair of the Center’s advisory council Larry Warder.

The Center for Vital Longevity at UT Dallas was founded in 2010 by Dr. Denise Park and has grown to six labs in the last six years, becoming an international center for studying the aging mind. It is home to more than 50 staff members, researchers and faculty.

* Photos provided by the Center for Vital Longevity

JUST IN: LaunchAbility CEO Kathryn Parsons Turns In Her Resignation

It was just three weeks ago that LaunchAbility had its annual fundraiser, “A Special Evening With …” at the Meyerson with comedian Martin Short on stage to the delight of hundreds. Now word arrives that LaunchAbility CEO Kathryn Parsons has turned in her resignation that will become effective on Tuesday, May 31.

Having joined LaunchAbility in 2010, she led the organization’s “Supported Employment Services and launch[ed] the innovative Academy program.” It was in 2013 that she was made CEO.

Kathryn Parsons (File photo)

Kathryn Parsons (File photo)

According to LaunchAbility Board President Karen Wald, “Kathryn’s decision to leave reflects her personal wishes to pursue new professional endeavors. She left the agency through the evolution that focused on expanding services to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Board sincerely thanks Kathryn for her hard work and tireless dedication in serving clients and other valuable stakeholders of LaunchAbility. We wish her the very best.”

In the past two years under Kathryn’s leadership, the organization has

  • Increased the number of adults placed in jobs. Each adult placed in full-time employment saves taxpayers $47,000 annually in reduced social services and contribution back to the community.
  • Grown the Academy program as employers like Novitex, Aramark and Office Depot see the advantage of onsite training, suited specifically to their workforce needs. Since inception the program has helped double the number of successful annual hires. Additionally the program has grown to partner with local school districts to prepare youth ages 18-22 in special education in high school to transition into the workforce.
  • Initiated programs to expand opportunities for people with Autism in technology (IT) careers. In March, LaunchAbility led “The 5000: a Global Summit on Autism in IT” and announced a pilot program with AT&T to train people with autism in software testing. Modeled after our highly successful Academy, the pilot will include best practices and experience gained by our specialty in Autism. The model is one that can successfully be replicated in other companies and other cities across the nation.

It was also during her tenure that the Bill Cosby “situation” blew up just days after announcing that the comedian would be the headliner at the annual gala. Kathryn orchestrated the cancellation of the Cosby appearance and replaced him with Dana Carvey.

Dr. Bill Behrendt has undertaken the search for Kathryn’s replacement.

Scary Weather Due Tonight

The weather guessers aren’t finished rolling up their sleeves and furrowing their brows. Sure, the wind has picked up and the sky is still pretty blue with fluffy clouds floating above. But an extremely line of storms is predicted to hit around 6 p.m.

There’s talk of hail, booming thunderstorms, straight-line winds and possible tornadoes. It sure does sound like an end-of-the-world situation. The locust and plague must be on standby.

And don’t go thinking, “Ah, come on. That kind of weather hits other neighborhoods, not mine.” Rethink that thought. Was it just two years ago in May that the trees along Turtle Creek were felled by straight line winds?

May 8 storm damage (File photo)

May 8 storm damage (File photo)

So, play it safe.

  • Think where you would head if all things start flying every which way.
  • Why not park your cars in the garage or let them spend the night at a public, covered garage like a shopping center?
  • Check out some software programs that will alert you if you’re in the path of danger.
  • Charge your cellphones, tablets, etc. Wouldn’t want to run out of juice when it’s needed.
  • Make sure that your computer(s) have surge protectors in place.
  • If you don’t have to go out tonight, why not stay in and just chill?

Stay safe and don’t worry about those locust and the plague. We were just kidding.

Dallas CASA’s Cherish The Children Was Highlighted By Children’s Chairs, Author Laura McBride And Call-To-Arms For Volunteers

Christie Carter was event juggling on Tuesday, April 5. At 11 a.m. She was part of the 2016 Celebrating Women Luncheon announcement at Neiman Marcus Downtown. But before the right official reveal was made, Christie was headed over to the Omni for the Dallas CASA Cherish the Children luncheon.

Dallas CASA chair

Dallas CASA chair

Dallas CASA chair

Dallas CASA chair

Whew! That gal must have broken some record. She got there in time to check out the Deborah Gaspar Jewelry and the adorable kids’ chairs in the silent auction along with Lydia Novakov, Sarah Losinger, Connie O’Neill, Joyce Lacerte and Lyda Hill, before the doors opened to the Trinity Ballroom just before 11:30.

Lydia Novokov, Sarah Losinger and Connie ONeill

Lydia Novokov, Sarah Losinger and Connie ONeill

Charlene Howell and Caroline Rose Hunt

Charlene Howell and Caroline Rose Hunt

Honorary Chair Caroline Rose Hunt was already at her front row table chatting with Charlene Howell, Barbara Womble and Lynne Sheldon, who was still amazed that on this day husband Roy Sheldon was playing tennis after suffering a life-threatening illness just a couple of years before.

Across the way was a table of SMU Kappa Alpha Theta alumna (Jenni Scoggins, Barbara Cervin, Maury Cunningham, Sara Lytle, Francie Johnsen, Lynn Van Amburgh, Amy Dugan, Taylor Teague, Cori Bray and Anne Besser), who have been so supportive of Dallas CASA over the year. When asked about the construction status of the sorority’s new digs, all were delighted to claim that it would be the best one on the campus.

From the left: (Back row) Jenni Scoggins, Barbara Cervin, Maury Cunningham, Sara Lytle, Francie Johnsen and Lynn Van Amburgh; (Front row) Amy Dugan, Taylor Teague, Cori Bray and Anne Besser

From the left: (Back row) Jenni Scoggins, Barbara Cervin, Maury Cunningham, Sara Lytle, Francie Johnsen and Lynn Van Amburgh; (Front row) Amy Dugan, Taylor Teague, Cori Bray and Anne Besser

Luncheon Chair Erin Pope welcomed the group pointing out the dignitaries in the crowd and introduced Dallas CASA Children’s Council President Jenny Reynolds, who told of two of her CASA encounters. One had been Desi, who had be rescued from a neglectful and abusive situation, only to find herself trapped in the foster care maze. Yes, she loved her mother, but it was not a healthy relationship. Thanks to Jenny’s efforts and those social workers, Desi’s mother allowed her daughter to be adopted by her foster family. Jenny still keeps up with Desi’s progress which is flourishing.

Erin Pope and Jenny Reynolds

Erin Pope and Jenny Reynolds

With tears welling up in her eyes, she described “J,” her current foster child, who reflected years of neglect. Now, 13-years old, she ended up in foster care because her mother is in prison for harming a child — “J.” Her grandmother died months ago and her grandfather dropped “J” off on the doorstep of CPS because she was too difficult. Bouncing from foster home to foster home in the past six months, she had more than reflects wrong choices, she was charging into a life of self-destructive decisions — selling and using drugs, sex tapes, etc. A turning point recently took place when “J” was moved to a residential treatment center in Houston. Jenny drove to Houston the previous Friday to deliver a suitcase of “J’s” belongings. There at the front door was “J” waiting for Jenny. “She looked at me and said, ‘Jenny, you actually came. Jenny, I miss you.”

Kathleen LaValle

Kathleen LaValle

Dallas CASA Executive Director/President Kathleen LaValle recognized Honoree Caroline with former Dallas CASA Executive Director/President Beverly Levy at her side and then told of the organization’s goal to make Dallas the first city in the nation to have a CASA for each child in protective care. Of course, there is a need for funding to provide support for the advocates, but the need for volunteers is just as great. Without these adults volunteering their time, minds and hearts, there would be hundreds of vulnerable youngsters.

Erin then introduced guest speaker/author Laura McBride. Living in Las Vegas, she told about a time when her daughter was young and played soccer on a field across the highway from strip clubs and bordellos. Remember Laura and her family live in Las Vegas. In one of her classes, her 13-year-old daughter was asked to write her motto for living. She told her parents that her motto was a neon sign she had seen so often that had inspired her to live life fully and boldly. When Laura asked what her motto was, she replied, “Live Nude.”

Laura McBride

Laura McBride

Laura recalled that she had wanted to live in a college town or a place that was safe. Instead she lived in a city filled with people so very different from herself. It was a boomtown of all types of people and has established an automatic acceptance of newbies. The city’s economy is also one based on service, where people are nice and watch what others might need.

All of this helped prepared her daughter in 2012 to head to the East Coast for college and to open to accepting differences. This development changed Laura’s view of how things might go. She said that instead of turning inward which is typical of humans, she realized that it was wrong. “Perhaps we are progressing by not joining groups that are necessarily like us.”

As a former advocate, she championed the idea that people need “a little more love, a little more care, a little less hate, a little less fear.”

Before adjourning Dallas CASA Board of Directors Chair John Gibson reinforced the message that had been provided earlier — the need for volunteers and, of course, funds.

Suggestion: You do not need a law degree to be a Dallas CASA. You just have to have compassion, determination and time. If you can spare those three things, you just might find a “J” on a front door waiting for you.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: The 87th Linz Award

Dallas heavy hitters and lifters were all over the place at the Omni on Wednesday, April 6, for the 87th Linz Award. The big draw was attorney/former Parkland Board Chair Debbie Branson’s being presented the award that is “considered Dallas’ oldest and most prestigious civic honor.”

Debbie Branson and Clay Jenkins

Debbie Branson and Clay Jenkins

While the post is being finalized, check out the crowd at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

JUST IN: Dallas Interior Designer/Author Jan Showers To Be Featured Speaker For Kappa Kappa Gamma’s 2016 Tablescapes

Each year the Kappa Tablescapes is a festival of fabulously creative table settings that take up most of the Dallas Country Club to benefit area nonprofits. Held just before everyone goes in overdrive for holiday feasting, the table settings range from the whimsical to the most elegant look this side of Marie Antoinette. And it sounds like this year’s version is going to keep the reputation nicely in place on Sunday, October 17, and Monday, October 18, at the DCC.

Jan Showers (File photo)

Jan Showers (File photo)

But there is gonna be a wee bit of a change this year from recent Tablescapes. Instead of flying in an author or lifestyle guru like James Farmer or Alex Hitz, 2016 Tablescapes Co-Chairs Amy Burgher and Brittany Gaskill are tapping a local design expert — Jan Showers.

According to Brittany, “Kappa Tablescapes is thrilled to features one of Dallas’ top designer talents for our 2016 luncheon, who also happens to be an internationally-renowned interior design superstar. We are so fortunate to have such an inspiring designer, author, entrepreneur and style icon here in our city.”

The timing is just perfect. In addition to her numerous collection of accolades and awards, Jan “is launching a complete lifestyle collection for Kravet Couture, as well as lines for Michael Taylor Designs, Moattar, Inc., and Kyle Bunting. These lines will complement her longstanding signature furniture and lighting collection, available at showrooms around the country.”

Tri Delt Jan commented, “I am so honored and thrilled to be a part of Kappa Tablescapes 2016 because it is one of the most prestigious events of the fall season, and one so many look forward to year after year. We are also very excited to showcase furniture and accessories from my new lifestyle collection from Kravet couture, along with pieces from my own furniture collection, antiques and vintage from our showroom in the Dallas Design District.”

Tablescapes (File photo)

Tablescapes (File photo)

This year’s beneficiaries include ACT Advocates for Transformation, Austin Street Center, Connecting Point of Park Cities, For the Nations Refugee Outreach, Interfaith Family Services, Mercy Street, MD College and Career Pathways and Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation. Since the first Tablescapes in 1995, more than $2.2M has been distributed to more than 78 Dallas County beneficiaries.

Amy said, “Over the past 20 years, this group of women has worked diligently to raise over $2.5 million benefiting more than 70 local charities and organizations. We are extremely proud of the philanthropic role Kappa Tablescapes plays in our community.”

Now, it’s up to you to pick whether you’re gonna attend Monday’s Tablescapes by Candlelight or Tuesday’s Tablescapes Luncheon. But why choose? Why not attend both? Tickets are available now!

2016 Celebrating Women Plans Revealed Including Rita Wilson And Diane And Joel Allison Plus Sponsorship Opportunities

The couture salon of Neiman Marcus Downtown looked like a high-price trunk show collection on the morning of Tuesday, April 5, with loads of the fashionable fundraising types checking out the clothes. Actually, they were there for the announcement of the Baylor Health Care System Foundation’s 2016 Celebrating Women Luncheon.

Outside the flagship store, Baylor Health Care System Foundation’s Jen Huntsberry waited. It was such a beautiful day compared to a year ago when it was damp and rainy. But Jen wasn’t just taking in the rays. She was waiting for Baylor Scott And White Health COO John McWhorter. This was his first time to attend the annual reveal.

Robin Robinson, Gloria Eulich Martindale, Aileen Pratt and John McWhorter

Robin Robinson, Gloria Eulich Martindale, Aileen Pratt and John McWhorter

No sooner had John appeared on NM’s second floor than he was being photographed with 2016 Celebrating Women Chair Aileen Pratt, Underwriting Chair Gloria Eulich Martindale and Baylor Health Care System Foundation President Robin Robinson.

Barbara Stuart, Lindalyn Adams, Robin Robinson, Christie Carter, Nancy Carter, Margo Goodwin, Pam Perella, Carol Seay and Susan McSherry

Barbara Stuart, Lindalyn Adams, Robin Robinson, Christie Carter, Nancy Carter, Margo Goodwin, Pam Perella, Carol Seay and Susan McSherry

And then he watched as various photo setups took place including all the past luncheon chairs like Nancy Carter, Christie Carter, Barbara Stuart, Susan McSherry, Margo Goodwin, Carol Seay and Pam Perella and Celebrating Women Luncheon Queen Mother Lindalyn Adams.

Rita Wilson*

Rita Wilson*

As deviled eggs made the rounds, the gals and fellas found themselves herded into the Glass House to hear that Tom Hanks’ sweetheart, Rita Wilson, would be the featured speaker on Thursday, October 20, at the Hilton Anatole.

As for the honorary co-chairs, this year is gonna be a couple that has been part of the Baylor effort to treat and research breast cancer — Diane and Baylor Scott And White Health President/CEO Joel Allison, who is making his victory lap to his stepping down on February 1, 2017.

Tickets are on sale now, plus all types of sponsorship opportunities. The following sponsorships have already been snapped up: Presenting Sponsor — Tom Thumb, Patron Party — Comerica Bank, VIP Reception — PlainsCapital Bank, Luncheon Invitation — Sidley Austin LLP and Luncheon Program — Allie Beth Allman.

JUST IN: Jennifer Staubach Gates To Receive Mosaic Family Services’ Champion Of Human Rights Award

Jennifer Staubach Gates*

Jennifer Staubach Gates*

A Staubach is going to be honored at the Mosaic Family Services7th Annual Gala. No, it’s not Rog or Marianne. It’s their oldest daughter/Dallas City Councilmember Jennifer Staubach Gates, who has carried on the Staubach legacy of community involvement and leadership. Come Thursday, October 20, at The Empire Room, Jennifer will be presented the Champion of Human Rights Award at a dinner co-chaired by Melissa Green and Elizabeth Weathersby with Lana Byrne serving as honorary chair.

The honor is annually given to “individuals and/or groups who strive to ensure the protection of the basic human rights and fundamental freedoms to which all human beings are entitled.”

Jennifer’s efforts with the Domestic Violence Task Force and Public safety Committee have been just a part of her “dedication to making a difference in the lives of Dallas residents, particularly survivors of domestic violence.”

According to Melissa, “Councilmember Jennifer Staubach Gates has been at the forefront of leading efforts in Dallas to raise awareness about family violence. As she continues her work combating this all too prevalent issue, we are pleased to honor her as a Champion of Human Rights. Our work would not be possible without her.”

Melissa Green*

Melissa Green*

Elizabeth Weathersby*

Elizabeth Weathersby*

Lana Byrne*

Lana Byrne*

Jennifer will join a heady group of past recipients including director/filmmaker Libby Spears, fashion designer Abi Ferrin, Judge Robert Canas Jr., Genesis Women’s Shelter Executive Director Jan Langbein, The Family Place Executive Director Paige Flink, Ambassador-At-Large Luis CdeBaca and philanthropist Lauren Embrey.

Tickets are $150 and sponsorships start at $500 for the evening of cocktails, dinner by Stock & Barrel, silent auction, raffle, casino games and live entertainment.

* Photos provided by Mosaic Family Services

Wildenthal Gift, Cheryl Pollman’s Award And Sons Of Serendip Highlighted VMLC’s “Wings Of Spring” At The Perot

A lot of fellas probably would have made plans for Monday, April 4, to head home, get in some comfy clothes, and settle down in their fav chair with a brewski in one hand and a snack a reach away to watch the NBA finals.

But then they realized they had been scheduled to head to the Perot Museum for VMLC fundraiser Wings of Spring, A Celebration of Literacy. So, the coat and tie stayed put. The brewski and snack were replaced by white and red wines with a buffet supper among the Lyda Hill Gems and Minerals Hall. Instead of the well-worn chair and the basketball players on the tube, they were destined for the Hoglund Foundation Theater and the Sons of Serendip on the ground level.

Not exactly the Monday night they envisioned. But it actually turned out a heck of a lot better than even the most negative guy had expected.

Mike and Kathy Crow, DeeDee Lee, Piper Wyantt, Claire Emanuelson and Lee Papert

Mike and Kathy Crow, DeeDee Lee, Piper Wyatt, Claire Emanuelson and Lee Papert

From the moment guests like Underwriting Chair Kathy Crow and husband Mike Crow, DeeDee Lee, Claire Emanuelson and Piper Wyatt arrived on the third level for the buffet, the place was filled with smiling guests of all ages. After filling their plates at one of the really amazing buffet lines, they found tables throughout the area. One group lucked out and got a table next to the Land Dynamics in the Rees-Jones Foundation Dynamic Earth Hall, where guests tried out the feeling of an earthquake. Pity the gals in heels who shook, rattled and giggled.

Just seconds before 8 p.m., guests were advised to adjourn to the theater for the evening’s presentation. But, alas, once at the theater door, they were told things weren’t quite ready, and that they should check back in at 8:10.

As guests settled in the lobby and the Museum Café, some noticed an individual walking by with a guitar case. Then another fellow strolled through the Café wearing a hat; he was followed by a third and a fourth. Someone asked, “Were those the Sons?”

No answer came, but really, who cared. At 8:10 the doors opened and the guests took their assigned seats.

Muna

Muna

Event Co-Chairs Diane Brown welcomed the SRO crowd and introduced Rabbi Nancy Kasten, who in turn introduced VMLC grad Muna. Eloquently, the Iraqi native told how Cheryl Pollman had helped her learn English and helped her prepare for her U.S. citizenship test. Cheryl even came to Muna’s home to help her husband study for his test. Both passed on their first try.

Cheryl Pollman

Cheryl Pollman

VMLC Executive Director Sarah Papert then told the group that Marnie and Kern Wildenthal had made a substantial donation for VMLC programs. For this reason the annual literacy award was being renamed the Marnie Wildenthal Literacy Legacy Award in Marnie’s honor. Sarah then officially presented the first Marnie Wildenthal Literacy Legacy Award to Cheryl, who graciously accepted it.

Cheryl told of the number of students who had fled their native countries to start new lives in Dallas. But their transition had also meant their learning an entirely new language. And that’s where VMLC volunteers like Cheryl had come in.

Cordaro Rodriguez

Cordaro Rodriguez

Micah Christian

Micah Christian

Kendall Ramseur

Kendall Ramseur

Mason Morton

Mason Morton

Following Cheryl’s acceptance, cellist Kendall Ramseur wearing a hat entered the room taking his place on the stage. He was joined by pianist Cordaro Rodriguez, who sat behind a keyboard with a guitar nearby. Then towering Mason Morton slid in alongside a harp. The last to arrive on stage was singer Micah Christian. These were the Sons of Serendip, who had come in fourth place on TV’s “America’s Got Talent” show competition in 2014. The foursome had gotten together following their graduate studies at Boston University.

Micah Christian, Kendall Ramseur and Mason Morton

Micah Christian, Kendall Ramseur and Mason Morton

Micah warned the audience that a couple of the songs would require their involvement. Such a threat usually has people heading for the door or ducking pretty far down in their chairs. Not in this case. Whether it was singing along or clapping, the guests really got into it. The quartet’s singing and music impressed even the most diehard basketball fan.

In between the tunes, the audience learned:

  • Coming from Boston that was being hit with a late snowstorm, Micah told how impressed the group had been with Dallas. Not just the weather, but everyone being so friendly. In Boston he said motorists tend to drive over pedestrians, but here they actually stop to let the people walk by. And Dallasites actually smile back at you.
  • How the foursome had gotten together. Cordaro was actually a lawyer and Kendall, Mason  and Micah were teachers.
  • Kendall and Cordaro initially had needed to make money to pay off their education loans. So they tried playing traditional tunes in the Boston subway. At first it didn’t seem to be a good fit. But then they tried playing their own music, and it changed their lives.
  • When the foursome went to Madison Square Garden to try out for “America’s Got Talent,” it was also the scene of a basketball game. Despite Mason toting along his harp, security kept telling them to head to the location of the basketball event.

2016 Art Ball Auction Item #6: The Best Of Italy

Seriously, is there any spot in the world that oozes fashion, food and fabulous art more than Italy? Didn’t think so. That’s why this 2016 Art Ball package is a foodie-fashionista-fan of the arts’ dream of seven days in heaven. Drop the diet to prepare on the pasta. Here is the ultimate way to experience Italy like others only wish. Pinches on the cheeks not included.

The Best Of Italy (Value: $25,050)

Ulysses wandered the Mediterranean searching for his home. The winner of this 2016 Art Ball package will find the food, fashion and the fabulous places that Ulysses only wishes he could have found.

The Best of Italy*

The Best of Italy*

  • Florence and Fiesole — For starters there’s the former monastery located in Fiesole just outside of Florence. With its fabulous grounds and terraces, it stands today as the marvelous boutique hotel Belmond “Villa San Michele.” So typical of the region, this retreat is surrounded with breathtaking art, natural beauty and cuisine and wines that are right at home in Ital. To help the winners of this package feel right at home, there is a six-hour tour of the area’s highlights like the Accademia Gallery, Uffizi Gallery and Il Duomo di Firenze.
  • Solomeo — After a couple of nights in Florence, it’s on to Solomeo where Stanley Korshak’s Crawford Brock and his cashmere loving designer Brunello Cucinelli, whose schedule allows will tell about the history of the village. If Brunello isn’t available, one of his trusted associates will take the helm. If the stars in alignment (May 24 and 25), Crawford will host a private dinner party with Brunello.
  • Rome — Despite being located in the hub of Rome’s active scene, the winner will enjoy the serenity and luxury of Rome Cavalieri Waldorf Astoria Hotel located within a 15-acre parkland. In addition to a full day tour of Tome including the Vatican’s Museum and the Sistine Chapel, the Colosseum and the Roman Forum.
  • Naples Kiton Factory Tour — Just down the road there will be a private tour of Naples’ Kiton Factory, where tailors and craftsmen create world-class creations. On this occasion, the package winner will take home a custom-made sports coat and trousers plus a woman’s jacket. Just send that thank-you note to Crawford Brock.
  • Amalfi Coast — The final stop on the Italian adventure will be the Amalfi Coast’s Monastero Santa Rosa Hotel & Spa perched on a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean. Formerly a 17th century monastery, the hotel has been meticulously “restored into an exclusive 20-room boutique hotel.” Its fabulous spa is perfectly situated against a natural showcase of beauty and enhanced by 21st century advancements in luxurious pampering.

Compliments of Strong Travel Services, Cindy Nesti Black, Villa San Michele and the Belmond Group of London, Crawford Brock of Stanley Korshak, Walks Inside Rome, Rome Cavalieri Waldorf Astoria Hotel, Kiton and Monastero Santa Rosa Hotel & Spa

* Photo courtesy of the Dallas Museum of Art

NorthPark’s Arhaus Had Munchkin Furniture On View For Cherish The Children Luncheon’s Patron Party

In preparation for the Tuesday, April 5, Dallas CASA’s Cherish the Children Luncheon with speaker/author Laura McBride at the Omni, Event Chair Erin Pope arranged for a patron party at NorthPark’s Arhaus. Here is a report from the field:

Kathleen LaValle and Erin Pope*

Kathleen LaValle and Erin Pope*

Dallas CASA’s Cherish the Children patron party was the evening of Sunday, April 3, at NorthPark Center’s Arhaus. The lovely evening featured food and drinks for more than 70 attendees including luncheon sponsors and designers of the children’s furnishings like Board Chair John Gibson and designers Casey and Phil Green, Emily Robinson and  Alex McCreight. The charity luncheon supports Dallas CASA’s mission to provide advocates for abused and neglected children.

Barbara Womble and Caroline Rose Hunt*

Barbara Womble and Caroline Rose Hunt*

This year’s luncheon honoree is Dallas’ own Caroline Rose Hunt, who told the patron party guests that Dallas CASA is her favorite charity. Arhaus donated a $500 gift certificate for the evening, and the lucky winner of the random drawing just happened to be Caroline Rose Hunt’s guest Barbara Womble.

Phil and Casey Green*

Phil and Casey Green*

Emily Robinson and Alex McCreight*

Emily Robinson and Alex McCreight*

As lovely as the evening and event were, the highlight was the 14 beautiful children’s chairs to be auctioned at the fundraising luncheon. Attendees got a preview of the chairs and furnishings which come in every creative shape and size, including painted chairs, upholstered chairs and detailed stools perfect for little ones. One item is shaped like a boat, with the seat opening to make a toy box. Another pair of chairs feature a beautiful, hand-laid geometric pattern of wooded blocks.

* Photos provided by Dallas CASA

Les Dames d’Escoffier Filled The Shed With Lavender, Fabulous Food, Wines And Bidding For “A Dame Good Celebration”

Things always seem to happen when women and wine get together. And when the gals are Les Dames d’Escoffier of Dallas, it’s gonna be a fundraiser with loads of fun. That’s exactly what happened on the evening of Sunday, April 3, at the Dallas Farmers Market’s The Shed. Here’s a report from the field:

As the sun was setting on Sunday, April 3, Les Dames d’Escoffier (LDEI-Dallas) had about 400 to dine and wine at The Shed at the Dallas Farmers Market. The occasion was their annual Raiser Grazer event presented by Capital Distributing and Thermador.

Chair Dame Chef Tara Anderson of Half Pint Palates, assisted by Dallas Les Dames 2015-2016 President Chef Joanne Bondy of Stock and Bondy arranged to have “A Dame Good Celebration as this year’s theme with a French feel. Thanks to Dame Wendy Timson of WBT Consulting, the Shed was transformed into springtime in Provence with lavender plants, lots of bistro lights and a setting like the French countryside. Even the band, Le Pompe was French!

Paula Lambert*

Paula Lambert*

And, of course, with foodie experts, the dishes were spectacular thanks to 23 of the Dallas Dames including Joanne Bondy, Janice Provost of Parigi, Courtney Luscher of The Grape, Sharon Hage of The Gaylord Texan, Tiffany Derry, Kersten Rettig of PDQ Chicken, Paula Lambert of Mozzarella Company, Anita Hirsch of Neiman Marcus, Jill Bates of Fearing’s, Dunia Borga of La Duni, who raffled off a $1200 special occasion cake!

Hayley Hamilton Cogill*

Hayley Hamilton Cogill*

Dame Hayley Hamilton Cogill was in charge of the beverages that included 25 different wines were poured, all from France, generously donated by Glazer’s including the Brad and Angelina Rose from Provence, Miraval. Adding to the liquid refreshments were Komali’s Dame Leann Berry’s stellar cocktail, Truffle Bloody Marys from Dame Julia Fuqua and her Duckworth Distillery Truffle Vodka and local beers from Lakewood Brewery and Rahr & Sons.

Robin Skinner, Gary Cogill and Ashlee Kleinert*

Robin Skinner, Gary Cogill and Ashlee Kleinert*

 

Filling The Shed to capacity were At the tables were Dallas Dames (Dotty Griffin, Janet Cobb, Renie Steves, Anita Cook-Motard), Wendy and Michael Jenkins, Jill and Carter Malouf, Monica Greene, Judy Snyder and Royal Carson III, Blair Black, Ashlee Kleinert with best pal Robin Skinner (husband Chris Kleinert was tied up in meetings) and Ellen Winspear with Tiffany Divis (husband Don Winspear wasn’t available).

Jill and Carter Malouf, Noeha Coutry and Jeff Venters*

Jill and Carter Malouf, Noeha Coutry and Jeff Venters*

 

Emcee Gary Cogill was joined by Dame Janet Cobb’s husband Phil Cobb for the auction. Both men step into the role of Dames Hubby very well. Just about $25K just from the live auction packages that included one of a kind experiences with some of the Dallas Dames.

Gary Cogill and Phil Cobb*

Gary Cogill and Phil Cobb*

Royal Carson III took home the Perini Ranch package that included an overnight stay at the famed cattle ranch in Buffalo Gap and dinner with Dame Lisa and Tom Perini. Royal was thrilled as he said he has driven by the ranch for years and always wanted to stop in.

Ellen Winspear and Tiffany Divis*

Ellen Winspear and Tiffany Divis*

Ashlee Kleinert and Ellen Winspear got into a bit of a bidding war on for a package that included a dinner in the winner’s home for six from the local team from Wolfgang Puck, led by Chef Drew Swanson and Chef Brent Anderson (Dame Tara Anderson’s hubby) with wine pairings by Dame Hayley, film talk from Gary, breakfast from Dame Tara Anderson and a Studio Movie Grill film pass. Ellen eventually had the high bid to give to Don for his birthday which was Saturday, April 9.

The Capital Distributing team took honors for the highest bid item — dinner and pairings for six guests every month of the year, including dinners at Fearing’s, Abacus, The Grape, The Mansion and more.

Les Dames d’Escoffier is an invitation-only organization of women who have achieved distinction in the fields of food, fine beverage and hospitality. Through events like the Raiser Grazer, the members raise funds to help other women advance their education in these industries through endowments and scholarships. Started in 1984, the Dallas Chapter today includes 97 women.

* Photo credit: Frankey Dey

2016 Art Ball Auction Item #5: African Safari

2016 Art Ball Live Auction Chair Trisha Wilson practically considers South Africa a suburb of Dallas. Having discovered the wonders and beauty of the land and its people ages ago, the international designer invested her time, talents and ca-ching there by creating Izingwe Lodge. So, naturally Trisha wanted to include her home-away-from-home for the Dallas Museum of Art fundraiser.

Trisha Wilson*

Trisha Wilson*

2016 Art Ball Auction Item #5: African Safari (Value: Priceless)

Located within the 82,000-acrea Welgevonden Private Game Reserve, the incredible Izingwe Lodge has been created with luxury in mind and exploration all around. Three hours north of Johannesburg, the Reserve is where elephants, lions, leopards, giraffes, rhinos, zebras and Cape buffalo are free to live.

Izingwe Lodge*

Izingwe Lodge*

For the winner of this package, the open-air Lodge’s two king villas and one double/double villa will be theirs for six days and five nights plus the Boma, “where guests will dine al fresco before a welcoming fire” in the evening. And while the lodge is surrounded by nature’s beauty, the facilities epitomize the ultimate in pampering blended with African art and artifacts. From exquisite linens on the beds to thatched roofs, Trisha knows how to spoil guests beyond expectations.

Izingwe Lodge*

Izingwe Lodge*

Izingwe Lodge*

Izingwe Lodge*

As for the wildlife, she has provided ample opportunities to observe them in their natural habitat.

Izingwe Lodge*

Izingwe Lodge*

Izingwe Lodge*

Izingwe Lodge*

In addition to the “Hide, a prime location for viewing animals gathered at the nearby watering hole,” the guests will daily have a morning and late-afternoon game drive around the Reserve with an experience game ranger to point out the various species of animals. Don’t forget to bring your camera because your friends aren’t going to believe the sights you’ve seen.

In between tours of the grounds, the guests can either settle back on a private sala (outdoor lounge area), workout in the gym and lounge by the pool.

Izingwe Lodge*

Izingwe Lodge*

Compliments of Trisha Wilson

Restrictions: No children under 15. Transportation to Izingwe not included. Dates may be arranged through the donor. Strong Travel Services will provide complimentary trip planning.

* Photos provided by Trisha Wilson and the Dallas Museum of Art

Ronald McDonald’s “Under The Moonlight” Had A Tail Wagging And A Tale To Hear With A Surprise Ending

At this year’s Ronald McDonald of Dallas‘ Under The Moonlight gala on Saturday, April 2, at sixty five hundred had a backstory that raised funds and spirits. Here is a report from the field:

Pat Hyland, Blake Hyland and Cindy Hyland*

Pat Hyland, Blake Hyland and Cindy Hyland*

Two years ago, the Hyland family from Waco, Texas, had plans to go to Hawaii. It was a place they had always dreamed about going, but in one night this trip and their lives were put on hold.  At his weekly gymnastics practice, fourteen year-old Blake Hyland, suffered a traumatic head injury that had him fighting for his life. The doctors didn’t know if he would survive, let alone walk again. He was moved to Cooks Children’s Hospital to undergo surgery, and after two months, he and his family moved into the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas. They needed a place to stay whilst he underwent extensive rehabilitation in Dallas. For over a year, Blake and his mother Cindy [Hyland] stayed at the Ronald McDonald House Dallas with visits from his father Pat [Hyland] every weekend.  The impossible turned possible and with support from family, friends, staff, volunteers and an entire community, Blake turned his fight into inspiration.

Drew and Natalie Dossett and Nancy and Mike Kerr*

Drew and Natalie Dossett and Nancy and Mike Kerr*

It was this story that was shared at the Ronald McDonald House Dallas annual gala, Under the Moonlight, on Saturday, April 2. Held at sixty five hundred, chairs Lindy Berkley and Hadley Galt and Honorary Chairs Natalie and Drew Dossett and Nancy and Mike Kerr drew a young, vibrant crowd to shine a light on the trials and triumphs of the “house that love built.”

Hadley Galt and Lindy Berkeley*

Hadley Galt and Lindy Berkley*

Blake Hyland and Shiloh*

Blake Hyland and Shiloh*

Board Chair Doug Smellage, Pat and Cindy Hyland and long-time volunteer Mark Adelstein all spoke passionately about the impact of the Ronald McDonald House Dallas on families from across the world. But, it was 16-year old Blake Hyland who stole the show. Decked out in a sharp suit and bow tie, he had a peaceful moment with Chief Cheer Officer, Shiloh, he had the crowd laughing with his mic checks, and he strutted his moves on the dance floor to DJ Chicken George.

Mack and Stacy Hicks and Melissa and Travis Hodges*

Mack and Stacy Hicks and Melissa and Travis Hodges*

As he kicked off the live auction, all the guests, including Mack and Stacey Hicks, Melissa and Travis Hodges, Bert and Hayley Crouch, James Carroll, Holland Burian, Cate Biggs, Kathleen and Keith Cargill, Cate and Jeremy Ford, Lauren and Stephen Swann, Katie and Nathan Walters, Amy and Chase Laws, Dr. Nathan and Katie Walters, Cecilie and Ronnie Holman, Melinda and David Emmons, Dr. John and Radha Michels, Bunny and Harold Ginsburg and Anne and Kathy Musgrave gave him a standing ovation.

Noelle Petty, Christina Gray, Courtney Barrow and Kelly Slaw*

Noelle Petty, Christina Gray, Courtney Barrow and Kelly Slaw*

Not only did the evening raise crucial funds for deserving families to have comfort, shelter and support in their time of need, it also created one more gift. As the dancing was in full swing, CEO Jill Cumnock pulled the Hylands to one side, and gave them some surprise news. The donor who had purchased the trip to Hawaii in the evening’s live auction had gifted it back to the Hylands.

The family will get their trip to Hawaii after all.

* Photo credit: Rhi Lee

Rainbow Days’ Aimee Griffiths Heads To Cafe Momentum As COO

Good news and not-so-good news resulted from last Friday’s Pot of Gold luncheon benefiting Rainbow Days. First the good news. According to Director of Development Aimee Griffiths, “the luncheon broke all prior attendance and revenue records!”

Aimee Griffiths (File photo)

Aimee Griffiths (File photo)

Now the not-so-good news. It was also Aimee’s last day at Rainbow Days. Monday she started worked as COO for Café Momentum. Makes sense. After all Aimee brings her background as Junior League of Dallas president, working in the non-profit sector and having run GattiTown with her husband. Aimee explained, “My past experiences are coming together in a way I never expected! I am so excited and can’t wait to work with Chef Chad Houser as he grows this amazing concept. He has lots of support from Crystal Charity, United Way, Communities Foundation.”

Another newbie at Café Momentum is former Bush Center senior director of corporation and foundation relations Margaret Reid Windham, who is coming on board as chief development officer. There’s been a lot of changes in Margaret’s life of late. In addition to having a new job, she married Chad Windham this past February 13.

There’s a feeling afoot that Café Momentum is in for “some big things in the coming year!”

NBC Today’s Hoda Kotb Became Everyone’s Ultimate BFF At The First Interfaith Auxiliary Luncheon

Let’s be brutally honest. The very sound of Interfaith Auxiliary Luncheon creates images of sitting up straight and being rather solemn. Start to rethink that idea. On Tuesday, April 1, Interfaith Housing Coalition somehow managed to launch its first ever Interfaith Auxiliary Luncheon fundraiser without a hint of huffiness or starch. The result was standing ovations (no surprise) and a vast majority of LWL (Ladies Who Lunch) critiquing the event as, “This was the best one ever!”

Darn it. They may have been right.

However, it didn’t exactly appear to be any different than most lunches initially. The reception started with a chill in the air because of the late season drop in temps and the energetic A/C in the Dallas Country Club lobby and ballroom. For once, the lobby fireplace looked like mittens on a snow day.

Kevin and Marybeth Conlon, Robyn and Don Conlon, Megan and Keith Conlon and Jennifer and Joe Clifford

Kevin and Marybeth Conlon, Robyn and Don Conlon, Megan and Keith Conlon and Jennifer and Joe Clifford

And some folks admitted that they didn’t spot many of the usuals. But that changed with the arrival of Honorary Chair Robyn Conlon and her clan (husband Don Conlon, son Keith Conlon and his bride Megan Conlon and son Kevin Conlon and his wife Marybeth Conlon) and Co-Chairs Amy Hegi and Libby Hegi and their crew (parent-in-laws Jan and Fred Hegi and Amy’s husband/Interfaith Board Member Peter Hegi and Libby’s husband/Interfaith Board of Directors Chair Brian Hegi).

Sure, in the crowded lobby, the predictable “oops” of trays of wineglasses on the floor created a cozier condition, but that was relieved by the ballroom doors opening for the sold-out event.

Beth Thoele and Caren Kline

Beth Thoele and Caren Kline

Cara French

Cara French

Still it took time to settle the guests like Nancy Carter, Linda Secrest, Claire Manigold, Beth Thoele, Caren Kline, Cara French, Connie O’Neill, Jennifer and Joe Clifford, Patti Flowers, Libby Hunt, Louise Backa, Alicia Wood and Tiffany Divis in their seats, and there was “no Hoda” in sight. The “Hoda” was Emmy-award-winning NBC Today’s Co-Host Hoda Kotb, who was to be the keynote speaker. Gee, did she miss her flight that morning from NYC to DFW? Nope! She finally appeared all in white and briefly took her place next to KXAS’s Meredith Land, who was the day’s emcee.

Kimberly Williams, Jan and Fred Hegi and Louise Backa

Kimberly Williams, Jan and Fred Hegi and Louise Backa

Hoda had hardly put her napkin in her lap than she was working the room like a presidential candidate while others ate. It was easy to note her latest table visit by the whoops and hollers arising around the room. As if the stop-and-chat wasn’t enough, she earned major points by posing for group photos at the tables. Even the most proper types dropped their forks, jumped up from their chairs and gathered around the Hoda for a group photo.

One of the chaps in the crowd looked mystified by this excitement. But he also admitted that he usually was at the office when Hoda and her co-host Kathie Lee Gifford were exchanging news of the day. But he soon learned the reason for this gal-pal rally.

Meredith Land

Meredith Land

Even when Meredith came to the podium to get things goings, Hoda continued her “table service.” As Meredith introduced the Hegi co-chairs, a cheer erupted from the back of the room as Hoda hit another table.

Amy and Libby thanked all for attending and pointed to Robyn especially for her support. Then Amy told of her first encounter with Interfaith and homelessness. It was Christmas when she was a youngster and her mom bundled the kids up and delivered a Christmas tree to help settle a family in their new home. When Amy asked why the family hadn’t brought their own tree from their old home, her mother explained there had been no old home.

Interfaith CEO Kimberly Williams explained the mission and announced that they had tweaked the organization’s name just slightly. From this day on, it would be known as Interfaith Family Services. But its mission to “empower families in crisis to break the cycle of poverty” would remain the same.

Shemika Hopson

Shemika Hopson

To provide a firsthand report on how Interfaith had made a life-changing difference, Kimberly had Shemika Hopson come to the podium and tell her story.  The diminutive mother perfectly blended humor, confidence, gratitude and a don’t-say-no spirit that hadn’t been heard in a while. She had been living in a car with her two kids, but thanks to the guidance and support by Interfaith, she had grown emotionally and financially resulting in her buying her own home and landing a job and promotions.

In addition to a standing O, Shemika hardly returned to her chair before Hoda was there with her arms around the young mother. Her talk could have easily ended the program and it would have been the kiss of success for the first-time fundraiser.

Hoda was up next and admitted that it was gonna be tough to follow Shemika, but she shouldn’t have been concerned. If anything, Shemika and Hoda were the perfect pairing.

Hoda Kotb

Hoda Kotb

Immediately Hoda took a panoramic photo of the sold-out crowd. Then she explained that Kathie Lee had been on vacation for the past week. Hoda then recorded the guests saying with big smiles, “Welcome back, Kathie Lee.”

After putting her smartphone down, Hoda told how she got her start as a TV reporter. Blending a perfect balance of self-deprecating humor and stellar storytelling, she took the audience through her countless rejections, embarrassments and OMG success of her life. In landing her first job, she borrowed her mother’s car and told how she was going to Richmond, Virginia, for a job interview knowing that it was hers. When she arrived at the station, she looked around and decided where she would sit and which fella she would date. The news director looked at her tape for less than a couple of minutes and told her that she wasn’t ready for his station, but he did know a news director in Roanoke who might have an opening. A bit surprised but determined, she set off to Roanoke to meet the news director with the same results — not quite ready. Her thought was “Who in the hell is not ready for Roanoke?” But he told her about still another news director in Memphis who might hire her, but he was flying out the next day, so she had to hurry over to Memphis to catch him. Same thing happened there. This happened more than 22 times as she drove from station to station and city to city feeling more defeated each time. Somehow, the way Hoda told the story, everyone in the audience identified with the feeling of rejection but laughed with her in recalling the journey.

Really discouraged and tired after ten days of rejection, she found herself lost in Mississippi and spied a sign promoting the local CBS station — “Greenville, our eye is on you.” She took it as a sign, walked into the station and presented her muchly rejected tape to WXVT TV News Director Stan Sandroni, who admitted that just the day before he had been the sports director. He told “Hilda” to come on in. As he watched the tape, Hoda was shocked to see him “watch the whole, terrible, horrible tape to the end.” He told her, “Hilda, I like what I see.” She was shocked and said, “You do?” He hired her, giving her the first chance in her TV reporting career. “This guy, Stan Sandroni, changed the course of my life.”

Hoda Kotb

Hoda Kotb

Later in her days at the station, Stan came into the newsroom and asked, “Who has a blazer?” Hoda volunteered that she did. He said, “Oh, good, you need to anchor the news because Anne [the female anchor] was sick.” She had never anchored, but she knew there was a teleprompter and it was a one-anchor newscast. She looked at the teleprompter that read, “Good evening, I’m Hoda Kotb. Anne Martin is out sick.” The red light went on. The guy cued her. She said, “Good evening, I’m Anne Martin.” The rest of the show was downhill — “When I mess up, I keep on messing up. I can’t stop it. It was like I was riding the toboggan down the mountain screaming.”

She knew she was going to be fired the next day, so she headed to the grocery in search of comfort food. Instead in the ice cream aisle, “A woman comes over and she looks crazy. Her hair was all crazy and she had one or two teeth and she goes ‘Oh, my God, I just seen you TV and I am so sorry for you.’”

The next day Stan said he had seen what she did and it was pretty horrible, but “Anne’s sick again,” so he gave a second chance.

Years later after winning awards and climbing the TV news ladder, the folks at 30 Rock asked the on-air talent to bring someone to Studio One A who changed the course of their lives. Hoda’s pick was Stan. He walked in and said, “Oh, my God, Al Roker! Matt Lauer!”

Hoda’s message to the audience: It only takes one person to change your life.

Editor’s note: What Hoda didn’t tell the audience was Stan died less than 18 months ago at the age of 64 from a heart attack.

She then told of a state trooper who dropped everything during the Katrina evacuation to locate a child who had been placed on a bus without his mother. They were reunited in Houston.

It was also during Katrina that she was in a car sweating through her clothes and her producer told her to change her shirt to do a stand up. She took her shirt off and “was sitting there in her soaking wet bra talking to myself, talking to God. And just at that exact same moment, a bus pulls up right next to me. I looked up and there are these guys on the bus and they started banging on the windows and saying, ‘Hey, news lady, we see your titties.’ I so needed that.”

And then there was the meeting with the intern when a phone call came in from her doctor telling her that she had breast cancer. It was obvious the news was not good. Not knowing what the doctor had told Hoda, the intern asked if she wanted to be alone. Hoda said yes. But before the intern left, she asked for a favor. Hoda agreed, thinking it was to exchange numbers or take a picture. The intern asked if she could hug Hoda. “I remember looking at this kid, who knew nothing about me. But that was exactly what I needed right there and right then. This kid just wrapped her arms around me and I was like crying into this intern’s arms and she left probably wondering, ‘Who’s the crazy?’”

Following her breast surgery, Matt Lauer called her with an assignment to go to Ireland. It was pretty soon after the surgery, but her doctor gave her permission. She admitted that she felt very vulnerable and on the way home she wasn’t feeling very well and was having second thoughts on whether it had been a good idea to have taken the trip. Next to her on the plane was a man, who asked, “How are you doing?” Despite Hoda’s obviously wanting to left alone, he continued trying to strike up a conversation with her. Eventually he got his way and they started talking. He asked, “What is that on your arm?” She explained that it was compression sleeve due to a procedure. He persisted asking her what kind of procedure. She finally fessed up that she’d had breast cancer and hoped that he wouldn’t get off of the plane telling people that he’d sat next to a girl who had had breast cancer. To that he asked, “What is wrong with you? Breast cancer is just a part of you. It is like going to college, getting married or working at NBC. Let me give you some advice and you can go to sleep.” He then gave her some advice “that I never forgot, ever. He said, ‘Don’t hog your journey. It’s not just for you.’ Right, Shemika?”

Linda Secrest and Claire Manigold

Linda Secrest and Claire Manigold

All eyes in the ballroom went straight to Shemika.

“He said, “Think how many people you can help right now. His name is Ken Duane.” That conversation put her on the road to promoting breast cancer awareness and taught her three things:

  1. Life has margins. There is a beginning and end, so she stopped wasting time. “I hold so tightly to the things I love and got rid of the things that I didn’t love. So, now I’m divorced.”
  2. If you survive anything big and you’re still standing at the end, then you get four words: “You can’t scare me.”
  3. The way you spend your days is the way you spend your life.

In closing, Hoda told of a random act of kindness. She got in the elevator at her apartment building and there was “this girl who looks kind of weird with an Oscar the Grouch hat pulled down.” She also had a box of cupcakes that Hoda asked about. The girl told her they were salted caramel. Hoda remarked that they smelled great and the girl told her that they had come from the bakery in Brooklyn, “30 or 40 minutes away.” The girl departed and that was it, or so Hoda thought. The next day the door man handed over a box that someone had left with a note that read, “Hi, I was the girl wearing the Oscar the Grouch hat and I met you in the elevator. You were admiring my cupcakes, but they were both spoken for. I had a little extra time, so I went to Brooklyn and got you two more.”

Hoda said, “Can you believe she did that? That’s a random act of kindness that can change your life. Now, that girl in the Oscar the Grouch hat doesn’t know that I told her story at a great speech in Dallas.”

Despite the clock in the ballroom ticking, no one wanted her to stop. Hoda was their new, absolutely BFF. And what does an audience give their BFF speaker? A standing O.

Amy Hegi, Hoda Kotb and Libby Hegi

Amy Hegi, Hoda Kotb and Libby Hegi

Later at a meet-and-greet that took place just before 2 p.m. in the Founders’ Room, Hoda hadn’t changed one iota. When she spotted the Louboutin fringed stilettos on Megan Conlon, she couldn’t contain herself. It was discovered that the shoes had been a V-day gift to Megan from her husband Keith. Upon seeing the national TV celebrity’s excitement about the footwear, Conlon brother Kevin told Keith that he was getting the other Conlon men in trouble — “I just got Marybeth flowers.”

Hoda Kotb, Don Conlon and Megan Conlon

Hoda Kotb, Don Conlon and Megan Conlon

PS — Hoda was schedule to be the commencement speaker at Tulane University Saturday, May 14, but some students circulated a petition saying, “Given the amount of money, work and passion we have poured into our educational careers at Tulane, we think we deserve better than this. Hoda Kotb is hardly an inspirational figure, and despite the fact that she has had a successful career in journalism, we feel that we deserve a more recognizable and more prominent figure than her.”

Days later the petition was replaced by one supporting the choice. So, Hoda is still on for the event and who knows? Perhaps if those naysayers open their ears and minds they just might discover that Hoda is that person of change in their lives.

SOLD-OUT ALERT!: Mad Hatter’s Tea

Mad Hatter's Tea (File photo)

Mad Hatter’s Tea (File photo)

Weathering all types of storms and such, the Mad Hatter’s Tea on Thursday is sold out. If the clouds cry on the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum fundraiser, not to worry. There will still be plenty of chapeau room and champagne laden flutes.

If you didn’t luck out on a ticket to the reception, fashion show of Tootsies merchandise and luncheon, you can still wander the gardens and you won’t even need a hat.

 

2106 Art Ball Auction Item #4: Rebecca Warren, “Totem (e.) 2008

What would be an Art Ball without a conversation-making piece of artwork on the bloc? And for the Dallas Museum of Art fundraiser this Saturday, the selection is one that is bound to amaze and initiate all types of interpretation.

2016 Art Ball Auction Item #4: Rebecca Warren, Totem (e.) 2008 (Value: approx. $40,600)

Rebecca Warren's "Totem (e.) 2008*

Rebecca Warren’s “Totem (e.) 2008*

British sculptor Rebecca Warren currently has a solo exhibition at the Dallas Museum of Art “Rebecca Warren: The Main Feeling” through Sunday, July 17. Known for her “restless, sometimes contradictory art reworks varying modes of sculpture in order to sustain a distinct path within the existing histories and languages of art,” her hand-painted clay Totem (e.) 2008 cast in bronze is a perfect representation.

With the pastel pink, blue and yellow paints, the suspended figural seems to convey the emotions of inner strength and turmoil highlighted by the beauty of hope. Perhaps not. But that’s what’s so intriguing about this artwork. It fuels the mind for consideration.

Standing 24 3/8” by 11” by 7 1/8”, experts claim the vertical stature “straddles the line between disparate and seemingly contradictory ideas, holding itself tentatively between figuration and abstraction, assembly and breakdown, seriousness and humor.”

The biggest challenge in addition to winning the bidding is where it should be placed. In your home? In your corporate headquarters? In your private museum?

Compliments of Rebecca Warren, courtesy of Matthew Marks Gallery

* Photo provided by the Dallas Museum of Art