Sold-Out Alert!: VNA’s Celebrity Chef Lunch And Dinner

In the past VNA has limited its annual Celebrity Chef Luncheon to a noontime fundraiser. This year they decided to expand to have a dinner as well on Tuesday, February 28. The hope was “to double the funds raised to serve Meals on Wheels clients and patients in need of charitable hospice care.”

The results? They both sold out!

Nancy Silverton*

No wonder, since the celebrity chef will be Chef Nancy Silverton, who “is the only chef to be awarded both the Outstanding Chef and Outstanding Pastry chef awards from the James Beard Foundation. Nancy is co-owner at Osteria Mozza, Pizzeria Mozza, Chi Spacca, and Mozza2Go in Los Angeles, Singapore, and Newport Beach.”

It’s interesting to also note that VNA’s team has adjusted their marketing strategy. They’ve done away with their Legends And Leaders luncheon and created the VNA Chairman’s Society, which is a giving society with a minimum annual donation of $15,000, and every dollars going to the programs.” So far, the Society has been a big hit. According to VNA Director of Community Engagement Cara Mendelsohn, “the Chairman’s Society has completely replaced the income from Legends & Leaders and has the potential to be an important source of funding for Meals on Wheels and charitable hospice care in the future.”

Sponsors for the Celebrity Chef include the following:

  • Presenting — Valley Services Inc.
  • Platinum — Lyda Hill
  • Gold — Sara Fraser Crisman and Peggy Dear
  • Silver — Linda and Jay Barlow, Jill Bee, Ben E. Keith Company, Becky and Mike Casey, Energy Transfer Partners, Katherine Krause and Warren Zahler and Nichole and Chris Culak, Astrid Merriman and Bob and Janet Ryan Stegall
  • Bronze — Lydia and Bill Addy, Susie and Steve Anderson, Bank of America/U.S. Trust, Suzanne and Enrico Bartolucci, Mary Frances and Timothy Bellman, Della and Bob Best, Kathy and Gene Bishop, Jan Hart Black and Rena Pederson, Angie and Marshall Brackbill, Neva and Don Cochran, Bess and Ted Enloe, Fanchon and Howard Hallam, Jan and Al McClendon, Kate McClendon and Brooke and Jason Villalba, Susan and Bill Montgomery, Meaders and Robert Ozarow, Katherine and Bob Penn, Property Advisors Realty, Vin and Caren Prothro Foundation, Texas Instruments Incorporated, Cathy and Ike Vanden Eykel and Paula and Charles Wills.
* Photo courtesy of VNA

Despite Topsy-Turvy Temps, Dallas Blooms Will Be Abounding With “Peace, Love And Flower Power” Through April 9

Yesterday the temperatures were in the upper 80s. Tonight the mercury will drop to the 30s. This winter has been a roller coaster with wardrobes going from shorts to quilted jackets and back to sandals within hours.

If you think you’ve been dizzy from the changes, take pity on the plants. One minute they’re poking their heads up to spring-like conditions and just as quickly they’re been threatened with frost.

Daryl Kirkham, Mark Clayton and Mark Wolf*

And you just know the Dallas Arboretum folks have had their hands full in preparation for Dallas Blooms that had its Iberiabank sponsor Dallas Market President Daryl Kirkham, Dallas City Councilperson Mark Clayton and Dallas Arboretum Board Chair Mark Wolf on hand for the preview of this year’s theme “Peace, Love and Flower Power.”

This year’s petal extravaganza will “showcase an explosion of color with vintage VW floral topiaries and more than 500,000 spring-blooming blossoms” until Sunday, April 9.

Dallas Arboretum’s Dallas Blooms*

According to Dallas Arboretum President/CEO Mary Brinegar, “Dallas Blooms is the largest display of tulips in a public garden anywhere west of Holland. Later in the festival thousands of azaleas and hundreds of Japanese cherry trees blossom, leaving breathtaking color at every turn. Guests are sure to have an unforgettable experience this spring in our world-class garden.”

During the run of Dallas Blooms through Sunday, April 9, different activities celebrating the 1960’s theme will take place. From an Ed Sullivan Show-Celebrity Weekend, a music festival throughout the gardens to guests getting henna tattoos and 1960s fashion on display in the DeGolyer House, it’ll make you dig out your bell bottoms and Nehru jackets.

And as if the Dallas Blooms isn’t enough, the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden will be back in action Saturday after going through its annual winter refreshing.

* Photos provided by Dallas Arboretum

Junior Leaguers Of Dallas Held Their Annual Community Volunteer Fair After Handing Out More Than $770,000 Checks To 39 Nonprofits

Just before NorthPark Center merchants officially opened for business on Saturday, February 4, the Junior Leaguers of Dallas were making 39 non-profit organizations very happy at Green House Market. In addition to supporting the organizations with more than a thousand volunteer hours by its membership, they also handed over checks thanks to funds raised throughout the year. But, alas, the JLD-ers couldn’t stay too long to accept thank yous. They had to head to NorthPark’s NorthCourt for the JLD’s annual Community Volunteer Fair. Here’s a report from the field about the grant presentation:

The Junior League of Dallas held its 2017-2018 Community Grant Presentation at Green House Market in NorthPark Center the morning of Saturday, February 4. The presentation kicked off with a welcome by Junior League of Dallas President Bonner Allen, who was joined by sponsor, Bank of Texas’ Dallas Market Executive Bob White, and WFAA Channel 8 Morning Anchor Alexa Conomos, who served as emcee. Representatives from the 39 partner agencies, which were carefully chosen by the JLD Research and Development Committee, were in attendance to receive grants for the 2017-2018 year.

The Community Grant Program represents more than $770,000 in funding and 1,165 trained volunteer placements within these partner agencies. The League will also provide additional funds and volunteers to the community through its Signature Projects: Grants for Innovative Teaching, Women LEAD, Kids in the Kitchen, the Community Assistance Fund, and its Provisional and Transfer Projects. In total, the JLD will give more than $1 million and more than 1,200 volunteers to the Dallas community in 2017-2018.

Jennifer Tobin, Brandy Patrick, Bonner Allen, Bob White, Alexa Conomos and Elizabeth Allen*

Members of the Research and Development Committee, led by R&D Chair Brandy Patrick and Community Vice President Elizabeth Allen, spent countless hours deliberating between agencies in order to determine those that not only share the same vision for a better Dallas, but that focus on the six issue areas the Junior League of Dallas supports. These issue areas include: violence intervention, poverty intervention, health, family preservation, education, and arts and cultural enrichment.

The Junior League of Dallas is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving the community through effective action and leadership of trained volunteers.

“Our agencies often tell us that the partnership with the Junior League of Dallas is invaluable; that the gift of our time and resources helps them bridge the gap between their capacity and our shared vision for a better Dallas,” said Bonner. “It is that shared vision that inspires our work, motivates us through the years and is what brings us here today.”

Alexa added: “Every day at WFAA we share stories that impact our community.  Stories that touch issues such as violence, poverty, health, family, education and arts.  We are grateful for organizations like the Junior League of Dallas who are partners with our community agencies in the mission to make Dallas the community of choice and a place of opportunity for all.”

Kathleen LaValle and Angela Nash*

Guests included: JLD President-Elect Jennifer Tobin, JLD Communications Vice President Jennifer Scripps, JLD Financial Vice President Melissa Wickham, JLD Sustainer President Kittye Peeler, Melissa Sherrill Martin of The Family Place, Amy Hatfield of Ronald McDonald House, Judy Wright of Promise House, Jan Langbein of Genesis Women’s Shelter, Kelly Cruse of New Friends New Life, Carolyn Jordan and Desiree Jacobson of Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas, Benaye Rogers of St. Philips School and Community Center, Jennifer Doggett of Community Partners of Dallas, Lili Kellogg of Equest, Angela Nash of Methodist Health System Foundation, Stephanie Brigger of Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, Caroline Law of Parkland Foundation; Ester Harrison of Interfaith Family Services, Kathleen LaValle of Dallas CASA, Shannon Fisher of Texas Health Resources Foundation and many more.

* Photo credit: Tamytha Cameron Smith

 

Dallas County Medical Society Alliance And The Aldredge House To Hold Double Centennial Celebrations With Historic Marker And Luncheon

Margaret McDermott (File photo)

What were you doing 100 years ago? Probably the only one who could answer that is Margaret McDermott, who just celebrated her 105th birthday on February 18. It was when she was a five-year old living in Dallas that two totally different undertakings launched.

First, a stately mansion joined the other grand residences along Swiss Avenue. Taking two years to build by Dallasite Willie (Newberry) and her West Texas rancher husband William J. Lewis, the English Georgian/French Renaissance residence was designed by architects Hal Thomson and Marion Fooshee. Four years later the home was purchased by Rena (Munger) and her husband/banker George N. Aldredge, resulting in the residence being called “The Aldredge House.”

The Aldredge House*

Remember, at this time the population of Dallas was less than 158,000. The Park Cities was just a development in progress and considered by many to be a suburb of Dallas. The Highland Park Village wouldn’t open for 14 more years. Since there was no such thing as air conditioning, these showplaces that fronted Swiss had large windows that would allow the air to flow and fireplaces to warm the rooms with their tall ceilings. Word has it that Swiss Avenue was one of the first to be paved.

The Aldredge House*

Ironically, the same year that the Lewises moved into their home, the Woman’s Auxiliary to the Dallas County Medical Society was established. What most folks don’t know is that it “was the very first permanent woman’s county medical auxiliary in the nation, organized by a group of Dallas doctor’s wives. Mrs. John McReynolds was elected president and the group voted to support Red Cross work.”

Other auxiliaries sprung up throughout the country using the Dallas organization as the model. Over the years, the Dallas auxiliary grew both in membership and mission of supporting the Dallas County medical community. Eventually the name was changed to Dallas County Medical Society Alliance Foundation (DCMSAF).

Rena Munger Aldredge*

Lindalyn Adams (File photo)

It was in the early 1970s that Rena and the Foundation found each other. The 80ish widow of George Aldredge had decided to give her mansion to a nonprofit to “preserve her home and to maintain it as a welcoming part of the Dallas community.” It just so happened that DCMSAF President/historical preservationist Lindalyn Adams was seeking a permanent home for the Auxiliary at the same time. The match was made!

The grand lady on Swiss entered a new phase of life. In addition to serving as home base for the Foundation, it was also the Kappa Alpha Theta show house and provided interior scenes for the TV show “Dallas,” as well as serving as a meeting place for the Auxiliary. In 1982, the House was recognized as a Record Texas Historic Landmark.

But over the years, the old gal needed updating and upkeep and that required funding. So after various efforts, the Auxiliary realized that they had a perfect opportunity to fund-raise coming up — the Double Centennial Celebrations of the Auxiliary and the House!

Such a momentous celebration deserved more than just one event to raise monies and awareness.

According to Foundation President Barenda Hino, “The DCMSA Foundation is seeking community support, so they can continue to preserve the rich heritage of this magnificent house.”

To kick the double centennial activities off, the official Texas Historical Marker will be dedicated at Aldredge House on Wednesday, April 5, with city, county and Medical Society leaders taking part.

The second event will be a luncheon taking place on Tuesday, May 16, at the Dallas County Club.

Barenda has arranged for Sharon and Mike McCullough to serve as co-chairs of the luncheon’s Advisory Host Committee “because of their belief in historic preservation, its importance in an ever-changing society and their great respect for the outstanding preservation of the Aldredge House by the Medical Alliance.”

Mike and Sharon McCullough (File photo)

Ruth Altshuler (File photo)

Lindalyn, who arranged for the Foundation’s acquisition of Aldredge House, and noted author/White House historian Dr. William Seale will be co-chairing the luncheon. Serving as honor co-chairs will be Ruth Altshuler and Margaret McDermott.

Tickets to the luncheon are available by calling 214.521.4108. If you can’t make it to the fundraiser, you can still donate to The Aldredge House Preservation Fund.  

* Photo courtesy of Dallas County Medical Society Auxiliary Foundation

Go Red For Women Luncheon Speaker Alison Levine Inspired Guests To Conquer All Challenges Including Heart Disease By Being Relentless

As loads of folks especially ladies attended the health screenings, cooking demonstration and CPR demonstration starting at 10 a.m. at Omni Dallas for Go Red for Women on Friday, February 4, the car cha-cha at the front door grew to bumper-to-bumper around 11:30 for those attending just the luncheon.

Amy Simmons Crafton, Melissa Cameron and Anne Stodghill

In the meantime, the invitation-only VIP reception scheduled for 10:30 was aglow in red thanks to guests in their American Heart Association best like Amy Simmons Crafton and Anne Stodghill, who was in a full-length red coat complete with glitter.

Miller Gill, Rebecca Gill, Mary Parker, Suzanne Humphreys and Joe Parker

Nancy Gopez and Alison Levine

Alas, speaker-of-honor Alison Levine was late in arriving, but once there she was non-stop howdy-doing. Waiting their turn with Alison, Sandi Haddock Community Impact Awardee Mary Parker and her family (son Miller Gill, daughter Rebecca Gill, mother Suzanne Humphreys and husband Joe Parker) posed for a quick cellphoto taken by Open Your Heart Chair and Survivor Nancy Gopez.

By noon the reception area in front of the Dallas Ballroom looked like a poppy field thanks to guests like Sandi Haddock, Kay Hammond, Kit Sawers, Roz Colombo, Gina Betts, Debbie Oates, Christie Carter, Mary Martha Pickens, Lisa Cooley, Ciara Cooley, Tracy Lange, Becky Bowen, Vicki Howland, Ramona Jones and fellas like Ron Haddock and Stan Levenson.

Kit Sawers, Gina Betts and Roz Colombo

Mary Martha Pickens, Ciara Cooley and Lisa Cooley

Thank heaven the chimes rang, the ballroom doors opened and the crowd filled the place.

Stan Levenson

Pat Malambri

Luncheon Chair Michelle Vopni introduced Amy Simmons Crafton for the invocation and Macy’s Dallas Fort Worth District VP Pat Malambri, who told of the longtime association of the retailer with the battle against heart disease in women. He also added that he hoped that many of the guests’ red outfits had come from Macy’s.

Following a brief rest for lunch, American Heart Association Dallas/Fort Worth Executive Director Melissa Cameron presented the Sandi Haddock Community Impact Award to Mary Parker, who graciously accepted the award and scored points with Pat saying, “My dress came from Macy’s.”

Then Melissa presented Open Your Heart Chair/Survivor Nancy Gopez, who asked her pal Mary to return to the podium to share the occasion. It was Mary’s advocacy about heart disease that alerted Nancy to the sign of her heart attack last year.

Mary told the audience that Amy and her AmazingGrace.Life had provided a $25,000 match for any $1,000 contributors.

Beck Weathers

As the ladies left the stage, local mountain climber Dr. Beck Weathers, who barely survived the 1996 Mt. Everest disaster, introduced Alison, who gave a polished talk. Somehow, she intertwined her twice quest to conquer Mt. Everest with every day challenges by taking one step at a time and the importance of being relentless. The first attempt in 2002 had been daunting with weeks of climbing back and forth between camps on the mountain to acclimate her body for the climb to the 29,002-foot peak. Toward the final phase, one has to take five to ten breaths for each step. To make it through this part of the climb, she focused on a nearby rock. Once there, she would focus on another rock. The message was to take one step at a time in order to achieve the final goal.

In the end, she and her team had come within 200 feet of the summit only to have to turn back because they were running low on oxygen and supplies.

Alison Levine

As a result of the miss, she learned that failure wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. After all, she and her team survived. If they had made it to summit, they might not have survived the journey down. Still, she had no plans of attempting another run for the summit.

It was her good friend/collegiate All-American soccer player Meg Berté Owen who urged her to try again. It was Meg’s resilience that turned Alison’s decision. It seems that despite her lungs being damaged due to having Hodgkin’s disease, Meg had become an avid cyclist and raised funds to fight cancer. Her death in 2009 as a result of the flu provided the impetus for Alison to take on Everest again. This time she engraved Meg’s name on her ice-ax and took on the challenge one more time. This time as she neared the summit, a storm approached. But Alison just knew she could make it to the top and return safely. Yes, she made it to the top of the world long enough to hold up a T-shirt reading “Team Meg.”

It was a talk that lasted just long enough and yet was both inspirational and refreshing.

Then it was a scamper to the cars, but it ran right on time with a finish time of 1:10.

MySweetCharity Photo Alert: 2017 Go Red For Women Luncheon

Nancy Gopez and Alison Levine

For tackling the climb to conquering heart disease, the 2017 Go Red For Women gals donned the color of the month — red — and filled the Omni Dallas Hotel on Friday, February 3, to hear best-selling author/sportswoman/explorer Alison Levine tell of her challenges in reaching the summit of Mt. Everest.

As big a draw as Alison was, there was a large number on hand to support Sandi Haddock Impact Awardee Mary Parker and Open Your Heart Chair Nancy Gopez.

Miller Gill, Rebecca Gill, Mary Parker, Suzanne Humphreys and Joe Parker

While the post is being prepped, the ladies in red and friends supporting the American Heart Association Dallas Division can be found at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

JUST IN: Big Thought’s Gigi Antoni Is Heading To The Big Apple As Director Of Learning And Enrichment For The Wallace Foundation

Gigi Antoni (File photo)

Boxes of Puffs are being passed around over at Big Thought. The reason is the staff was just notified that after 20 years with the nonprofit, Big Thought President/CEO Gigi Antoni will be leaving the education organization in April. The reason is that she is moving to New York City to join The Wallace Foundation as the director of learning and enrichment.  

The Foundation’s mission “is to foster improvements in learning and enrichment for disadvantaged children and the vitality of the arts for everyone.”

Will Miller (File photo)

It was back in December 2015 that a presentation was made to a small group of area leaders addressing the problem of the Dallas education system going dormant during the summer. The research was culminated by The Wallace Foundation, the Urban Institute Policy Group and Big Thought. According to The Wallace Foundation President Will Miller, this type of situation was the reason the Foundation had spent $23M in the past decade to address such issues.

For a full release on the news, follow the jump. [Read more…]

American Heart Association Dallas/Fort Worth Area’s Go Red For Women Patron Party Had A Bigger-Than-Planned Turnout

Tim Wallace and Mary Parker

The valets had been warned to expect 50 to 70 for the Go Red for Women patron party at Lisa and Clay Cooley’s estate on Thursday, February 2. Instead it was more like 150. Itty-bitty Nancy Gopez showed up a half hour into the event, but if it hadn’t been for her buddy Mary Parker, she wouldn’t have been there or anywhere at all.

It was blonde beauty/heart survivor Mary’s advocating to friend and stranger alike about the warning signs of heart disease that had sent Nancy to the ER, when she was visiting her folks last fall. That resulted in not only Nancy’s recovery from a true life-threatening condition, but it also landed her on the American Heart Association Dallas/Fort Worth Area’s Go Red For Women’s slate as Open Your Heart chair with her buddy Mary, and receiving the Sandi Haddock Impact Award at the Go Red for Women Luncheon at the Omni Dallas on Friday, February 3.

Kay Hammond

Jeff Canose

Ron and Sandi Haddock

Despite the chill of the night, the patrons found the Cooley mansion just to their liking with Sandi and Ron Haddock greeting folks like Texas Health Resources COO Dr. Jeff CanoseKay Hammond, Trinity Industries CEO Tim Wallace, Anne Davidson and Mark Porter at the entry hall. Ron looked pretty darn spiffy in his black leather jacket that they picked up in Florence.

Across the room, Crystal Charity Ball members Cara French and Lisa Cooley were recovering from a marathon day of CCB beneficiary selection. The day had started around 8 a.m. and had just finished up at 5:20 p.m.

Cara French and Lisa Cooley

Michelle Vopni and Melissa Cameron

But it was an early night for the Go Red crowd. Plans called for an early morning start thanks to American Heart Association Dallas/Fort Worth Area Executive Director Melissa Cameron‘s and Go Red for Women Luncheon Chair/Ernst and Young Dallas Managing Partner Michelle Vopni‘s plans for a full day of heart-healthy activities.

As Cookie Sales Wind Down, Girl Scouts Of Northeast Texas Announce Astronaut Dr. Mae Jemison To Keynote Women Of Distinction Luncheon

There is absolutely no truth to the rumors that the Girl Scouts are running low on cookies. Not only are there plenty of stashes of Samoas, Thin Mints, Tagalongs and other cookies still available, but there is additional news.

Inside word has just arrived that Women of Distinction Luncheon Co-chairs Laura Downing and Susan Glassmoyer have arranged for Dr. Mae Jemison (aka the first African American woman in space) to be the keynote speaker for the Friday, November 3rd Girl Scouts fundraiser at the Omni Dallas’ Dallas Ballroom.

Mae Jemison*

According to Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas Chief Executive Officer Jennifer Bartkowski, “We are honored to welcome Dr. Jemison as our keynote speaker at the Women of Distinction Luncheon. Dr. Jemison, a former Girl Scout herself, is a representation of who we want our girls to be – a female not afraid to take risks, someone who has the courage to enter a field where she may be in the minority, and a woman with the boldness to advocate for her ideas. We all look forward to hearing Dr. Jemison’s inspiring story.”

As for the recipients of the “outstanding women leaders” awards in Life Achievement, Women of Distinction, Young Women of Distinction and Man Enough, that news is yet to come. Be patient. It’s slated to be announced this spring.

BTW, deadline for nominations is Thursday, February 23. Ah, shoot! That’s just around the corner.

As for the cookies, they’ll be available in this neck of the woods until Sunday, February 26. But don’t wait til the last minute.

And as you’re munching away on your cookies, why not nominate that special person for an award and  lock down your place at the Women of Distinction Luncheon now? Mae’s talk should be out of this world.

* Photo provided by Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas

2017 Cattle Baron’s Ball Reveal Party Turned Out To Be A Gangbuster For Theme And Entertainment Announcements

On the afternoon of Wednesday, February 1, 2017 Cattle Baron’s Ball Chair Anne Stodghill sent out an email blast to the 100 committee members. It dealt with the attendance for the evening’s attendance for the 2017 CBB Reveal at the Stodghill home. The message was simple — Take Uber. The event that was originally guest-imated for 150 had exploded to 400.

Evidently, the sisterhood got the message. Still, the Jack Boles troops had luxury vehicles parked a block away within 20 minutes of the party’s opening.

Steve Stodghill and Callan Harrison

Upon arrival it was pretty darn obvious that the legend of the Stodg-villa had gotten around. Those-in-the-know directed newbies when asked, “Where’s the Bat Cave?” Steve Stodghill provided firsthand tours through the library to the cave where the masked man held up.

In the crowd were Katy Bock, Nikki and Crayton Webb, Cindy Stager, Joanna Clarke, Callan Harrison, Vodi Cook, Michael Royal, Olivia and Jeff Kearney, Phil Romano, Deborah Westergaard, Holly and Stubbs Davis, Amy Green, Lisa Haddow Shirley, Paige Westhoff, Larry Hackett, Bela Pjetrovic with fiancée Chase Cooley and future-mom-in-law Lisa Cooley. Made sense, since the Cooleys were underwriting the reveal event.

Jeff and Olivia Kearney

Nikki and Crayton Webb

Chase Cooley, Bela Pjetrovic, Anne Stodghill, Sunie Solomon and Lisa Cooley

Junior League of Dallas Ball Chair Isabell Novakov in suede and leather blouse reported that she had her sites sets on breaking a record for the JLD fundraiser… Brooke Hortenstine reported that her mother Peggy Davis was on the mend and headed home… Steve Solomon quickly cleaned up his red wine that had spilled in the entry hall… Nancy Gopez was receiving congrats on not just surviving last year’s heart attack, but for taking up the banner in the war against heart disease.

2017 Cattle Baron’s Ball Reveal guests

Just past 7:30, Sunie and Anne took their places on the Stodghill winding staircase with the entry hall jammed with guests. With mic in hand, Anne told of the personal commitment to turn all cancer patients into cancer survivors.

Sunie Solomon and Anne Stodghill

As the two revealed the theme — Shooting for the Stars — and the mainstage performers — Brooks & Dunn — for the 44th American Cancer Society fundraiser on Saturday, October 21, at Gilley’s Dallas, the co-chairs found themselves being upstaged. It seems that tousled-haired Stodghill offspring Dash Stodghill in cowboy attire decided the time was right to arrange his stuffed animals on the stairway. At one point, Mama Stodghill smiled saying, “Someone has just lost his computer.” But the threat didn’t deter Dash and his critters. Parents in the crowd laughed. They obviously could relate to a progeny having a mind of his/her own.

And, one gal in the crowd was especially ecstatic to hear about Brooks & Dunn. Seems that Olivia had chaired the ball back in 2006 (with Jana Wood), and the superstar duo was also the entertainment that year at Southfork Ranch. Olivia recalled having seen the boys months before the ball at a concert in Fort Worth. She even caught their drumsticks when they threw them into the crowd and “rubbed them together for luck” week after week, vowing to sign the duo up for “her” Cattle Baron’s Ball. Olivia knew the deal was sealed when Kix (Brooks) confessed, “I love Cattle Baron’s. My mother died of cancer when I was 8.” 

Information about tickets and sponsorship packages is available now!

For additional pictures, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2017 Cattle Baron’s Ball Reveal Party

2017 Cattle Baron’s Ball Co-Chairs Sunie Solomon and Anne Stodghill had a bit of challenge on their hands for the “Reveal Party” on Thursday, February 2. It seemed everyone not only RSVP-ed, they wanted to bring all types of friends along to learn who would be on stage and what the theme would be.

Chase Cooley, Bela Pjetrovic, Anne Stodghill, Sunie Solomon and Lisa Cooley

Despite the shindig being held at the Stodghill villa and the night being picture perfect, it was still gonna be a bit of jam for all the expected cars. How did Sunie and Anne handle the situation?

2017 Cattle Baron’s Ball Reveal Party

Be patient. The answer will be in the write-up that is being prepared. In the meantime, check out the photos at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

The Family Place’s Legacy Campaign Is Within A Whisker Of Achieving Its $16.5M Goal And Needs Help To Close The Books

Paige Flink (File photo)

Was it really back on October 2015 that The Family Place’s Paige Flink announce The Family Place Legacy Campaign — Building For the Future — to build a 40,000-square foot Central Dallas Counseling Center? Her goal for the capital campaign was a whopping $13M. To get things rolling, The Moody Foundation kicked in $5M that resulted in the facility being named “Ann Moody Place.”

While the physical process of groundbreaking and building has been underway, so has the effort because the goal increased to $16.5M with good reason. According to Paige, the center is going to provide such services and offerings to “help us meet the burgeoning demand for our services. Every year there are approximately 15,000 incidents of family violence reported to the Dallas Police Department. The Family Place, which is the largest family violence shelter in our community and one of the largest service providers in Texas, shelters over 1,000 victims a year at our Safe Campus with 108 beds plus cribs. Our existing shelter is regularly full. The new facility will allow us to shelter an additional 45 women and children each night. It will also house our expanded Central Dallas counseling services for victims and their children, and a medical and dental clinic for clients.”

Ann Moody Place rendering*

To accommodate those needs, Paige and her crew recognized from experience some of the reasons people in need don’t seek help. For instance, “studies show that up to 65% of domestic violence victims are unable to escape their abusers because they are concerned about what will happen to their pets when they leave.”

Pets won’t be left behind

To ease those concerns, Ann Moody Place will have five dog kennels, five cat towers, a cuddle room where clients can visit their animals plus a dog run. Thanks to a partnership with the SPCA of Texas, a vet-tech will make sure all animals are vaccinated and care for.

But as the Monday, May 1st move-in date approaches, $220,000 is still needed to complete the fundraising. As a greater incentive to donate ASAP, Highland Capital Management has provided a $1M-challenge. For every dollar raised by Tuesday, April 4, Highland will provide 50 cents.

So, perhaps your budget can’t quite muster up a hundred thousand or two. Not to worry. There are other opportunities like

  • $500 for a 6” by 12” engraved brick
  • $1,000 for a donor to have his/her/their name(s) etched in a beautiful display in the breezeway connecting the two new buildings.
  • $7,500 for each of the two remaining outdoor seating areas in the healing garden

And wouldn’t you know that the dog kennels have all been underwritten, but the poor cats are playing second fiddle and are in need of $10,000-naming rights for each of the two remaining cat towers.

Of course, Paige has other underwriting opportunities. Why she just might arrange to have your name tattooed on her shoulder for the right price.  

* Graphic courtesy of The Family Place

Symphony Of Chefs Top Rollers Celebrated The Stellar Chefs Who Will Be Cooking Up A Storm Tableside For The KidLinks Fundraiser

The crowd that gathered on Tuesday, January 31, at the Renaissance Dallas Hotel had an agenda. They were there to not just celebrate the cast of chefs for the annual Symphony of Chefs fundraiser. They also had their sights set on selecting the chef who would be cooking up a storm for the Monday, February 27th KidLinks‘ fundraiser at Eddie Bernice Johnson Union Station. Here’s a report from the field:

When your chef talent includes a James Beard award winner, Bravo TV Top Chef Alumni, a guy who recently “Beat Bobby Flay” on the Food Network and three World Master Chefs, that calls for a celebration. On Tuesday, January 31, at the Renaissance Dallas Hotel’s new City View and City View Terrace, that’s exactly what the North Texas-based non-profit KidLinks did. Celebrating the upcoming Monday, February 27th Symphony of Chefs culinary dining experience at Union Station, sponsors and chefs were treated to a wine tasting by 4R Ranch Vineyards and Winery, cocktails featuring Hennessy V.S.O.P Privilège and fare provided by the culinary team of the Renaissance Dallas lead by Executive Chef Frank Quant and including participating Sous Chef Steven Torbron of Asador. 

But that wasn’t the only purpose for the party. Perhaps by circumstance or even with intention just in time for Super Bowl LI, guests were treated to a draft style pairing where they were able to select their seated dinner chef. The Symphony of Chefs features an array of notable culinary talent including a set of rising star chefs who will prepare hors d’oeuvres, 22 chefs who will cook a four-course cocktail and wine paired dinner table-side and another set of pastry chefs preparing a decadent dessert reception.

Marc and Bonnie Shea, Jeremy Lock and D’Andra Simmons Lock and Marc and Georgia Lyons*

As Honorary Chairs D’Andra Simmons-Lock and husband Jeremy Lock along with Event Co-Chairs Georgia and Marc Lyons and Bonnie and Nathan Shea greeted guests upon arrival, the room swelled with talks of each chefs’ menu available for preview. Chefs Uno Immanivong from Chino Chinatown, John Kleifgen from Nick and Sam’s Park Cities and Yutaka Yamato from Yutaka Sushi Bistro were in attendance. Even Gorji from Canary by Gorji was present, having sent an email earlier in the day stating that his Addison-based restaurant would be closed for the evening so that he could personally attend the party.

Sherry Gritch and Gorji**

As Jane McGarry took to the microphone and began with introductions and sponsor thank you’s, it was apparent that the crowd was anxiously awaiting their opportunity to select their favorite chef. The first set of sponsors to select their chefs were, of course, Presenting Sponsors Mason and Allen Custard, Emily and Bruce Robson and Kaari and James Wicklund. With a charming story about their 20+ year connection to Richard Chamberlain, Kaari and James Wicklund made the first pick of the evening, which was then followed by their second selection, Nick and Sam’s Steakhouse Executive Chef Robert James Clifford. The evening continued with Chef Tiffany Derry of The Cupboard by Tiffany Derry being selected by Cristi and Kevin Ryan, with Barbara and Jeffrey Adelglass then selecting Chef Francesco Farris of Zio Cecio.

James Wicklund, Robert James Clifford and Kaari Wicklund*

New Dallas transplant Josh Healy of Filament was scooped up by Tracy and Jeff Hull and long-time supporter and KidLinks board member JW Brown and wife Ann selected private celebrity chef Kevin Ashade (the chef who recently beat Bobby Flay). With over 22 chefs participating in the upcoming event, the evening wrapped with emcee Jane McGarry noting in her final comments that only 20 seats remained for this exclusive dinner.  

Kevin Ashade and Ann and JW Brown*

As guests departed with their Sewell gift bag in hand, you could hear the excitement as they left the building knowing that the chef they selected would make their evening at the Symphony of Chefs memorable. Now it was time to decide who they would invite to sit at their table, a much more daunting task for some.

For more information about KidLinks and the Symphony of Chefs evening of culinary composition visit www.thekidlinks.org./soc.html.

* Photo credit: Travis Lilley 
** Photo credit: Thomas Garza

A Gentle Reminder: Get Your Mailing And Banking Done Before Monday’s Presidents Day Holiday

If you were planning on doing some banking on Monday, rethink it because it’s a bank holiday thanks to President’s Day. But if you were expecting bills, you can rest easy because there ain’t gonna be any mail delivery either.

History lesson: President’s Day was originally held on February 22 to celebrate George Washington’s birthday. It was started in 1800 following Washington’s death in 1799. It wasn’t until the late 1870’s when it was declared an official federal holiday. But then in the late 1960s Congress got busy and created the Uniform Monday Holiday Act that “sought to shift the celebration of several federal holidays from specific dates to a series of predetermined Mondays. The proposed change was seen by many as a novel way to create more three-day weekends for the nation’s workers, and it was believed that ensuring holidays always fell on the same weekday would reduce employee absenteeism.”

For some folks, the three-day holiday has become a 3½-day holiday, since some folks took off for a very long lunch.

Barack Obama, Barbara and George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush (File photo)

If you see a U.S. President, give ‘em a kiss for the day off.

The Slipper Club Presents A Record-Breaking Check Of $116,621 To Rays Of Light Thanks To Its Beyond The Mask Gala

If the sound of something breaking was heard last night, it was the Slipper Club’s presenting a record-breaking check of $116,621 to the organization’s 2016-2017 beneficiary, Rays of Light.

Caroline Baliker, John Bonadelle, Billy Nayden, Chelsea Parish, Stephanie Tatum and Billy Machina*

The funds were the result of fundraising efforts throughout the year, especially the 21st Annual Gala and Silent Auction — “Beyond the Mask.” Held on Saturday, February 4, the black-tie gala at the Omni Dallas had more than 800 guests in attendance, including leadership of the various men’s social club (Idlewild, Calyx and Terpsichorean), past and present Idlewild debs and others like Caleb Powell, Stephanie Smartt, Jillian Mock, Abbey Mock, Maddie Beckham, Kelly Gillespie, Fallon Bock, Porter Fuqua, Walter Spradley, Travis Andres, Anna Alaback, Chloe Reed, Leslie Ingram, Lauren Metzel, Camille Sokolosky, Blaire Metcalfe, Heather Trumpfeller, Alex Bjornnes, Caroline Baliker, John Bonadelle, Billy Nayden, Chelsea Parish, Stephanie Tatum, Billy Machina, Elizabeth Metzger, Hartley Hobson, Carley Nelson, Mary Valuck, Caroline Hanson, Heather Trumpfeller, Trevor Cadigan, Houstoun Waring, Charlotte Barnett, Jake Winstel, Sam Fritsch, Alex Spinazzola, Patrick Harris, Courtney Quinn, Madeline Buckthal, Meredith Allen, Kamel Brakta, Mandy Morgan, Minette Morgan, Ali Morgan, Evan Weir, Julie Butkus, Lauren Sears, Lily Kramlich-Taylor, Peter Whaley, Lily Kramlich-Taylor, Meredith Allen and Slipper Club President Morgan Madison.

Caroline Estes and Morgan Madison Wade*

Meredith Allen and Meg Sokolosky*

According to Gala Chair Meg Sokolosky, “This year was really unbelievable, not only in terms of breaking the record for money raised for a beneficiary, but also getting to volunteer our Friday nights with the children of Rays of Light and seeing directly how we will impact these children and the organization.”

Dedicated to providing free, quality respite care for families with children with special needs, Rays of Light hosts Night Lights that “gives the parents the opportunity to have four free hours and the children get four hours of socialization and interaction.”

Congratulations to the ladies of Slipper Club and their masked friends for breaking a record.

* Photos provided by Slipper Club of Dallas

Award-Winning Director/Screenwriter Robert Benton To Receive The Dallas Star At The Art of Film In March

Back in 1934, North Texas was just a conglomeration of small towns. Dallas and Fort Worth were considered the big-time cities. But they weren’t really all that big. SMU was just 19 years old. There was no Fair Park. But there was a couple who had become folk heroes after running roughshod over the law. Their names were Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow.

Less than four months after Bonnie and Clyde’s deaths in May of that year, a baby boy was born in Waxahachie to Dorothy and Ellery Benton. They named him Robert Douglas Benton. As a boy, he had a rough time in school due to his dyslexia.

Robert Benton*

According to Robert, “I was dyslexic before anybody knew what dyslexia was. I was called ‘slow.’” It’s an awful feeling to think of yourself as ‘slow’—it’s horrible.”  

Thanks to hard work, Robert attended both the University of Texas, where he was a classmate of future columnist Liz Smith, and Columbia University and eventually became the art director at Esquire magazine in the early 1960s.

It was around this time that Robert recalled stories that his father had told him about Bonnie and Clyde. So he and his writing partner David Newman put their heads together and wrote the script for “Bonnie and Clyde” that made stars of Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, Gene Hackman and Estelle Parsons. The movie was also a game-changing film for the industry.

Not only did the film set Benton in a different direction of screenplay writing, he also was given the opportunity to direct films like “Bad Company” in 1972 and “The Late Show” in 1977. But in 1979 he hit the jackpot with the release of “Kramer vs. Kramer,” which swept the Oscars for the film, actors Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep and Benton’s direction and original screenplay.

Once again the film shook things up about the role of parenting. As Robert put it, “I’d like to know what law is that says that a woman is a better parent, simply by virtue of her sex.”

Over the years, Robert went on to direct Justin Henry, Jane Alexander, Sally Field, John Malkovich, Lindsay Crouse and Paul Newman in Oscar-nominated performances.

His success extended beyond filmmaking. He dated feminist Gloria Steinem in the 1960s, was a friend of many greats including the late Paul Newman and had Richard Russo dedicate his Pulitzer Prize-winning Empire Falls to him.

But just as Robert was turning 52, he returned to his roots in Waxahachie for the award-winning “Places In The Heart” that was set in 1935.

On Wednesday, March 29, Robert will once again return to North Texas for The Art of Film to receive the Dallas Star Award from the Dallas Film Society at sixfivehundred. Unlike years past, when The Art of Film has taken place in the fall, this year’s event will be held on Wednesday, March 29, leading up to the 2017 Dallas International Film Festival and introducing the festival’s focus on the films of 1967, like “Bonnie and Clyde.”

James Faust (File Photo)

According to DFS Artistic Director James Faust, “Robert Benton is both an award-winning director and writer as well as a Texas treasure, who has been responsible for some of the most beloved film classics of the past five decades both through his director’s vision and his words placed on the page. The fact that he co-wrote ‘Bonnie and Clyde,’ which was part of the hallowed film class of 1967, makes this a wonderful time to honor him with our Dallas Star Award.”

Regina Montoya and Paul Coggins (File photo)

Craig and Kathryn Hall (File photo)

Event co-chairs will be Regina Montoya and Paul Coggins with Kathryn and Craig Hall serving as honorary co-chairs. Host committee members include Courtney and Benton Bagot, Matt Bivona, Janis Burklund, Melina McKinnon and Michael Cain, Kelly and Jason Cleveland, Judy and Sam Coats, Hayley and Gary Cogill, Erin and Trey Cox, Pam and Mark Denesuk, Sheri Deterling and Geoff Hawkes, Joy and Billie Ellis, Jenn and James Faust, Rebecca Flores, Clare Freeman, Suzanne and Michael Grishman, Mary and Bradley Hatcher, Eric Hirschhorn, Alison and Harry Hunsicker, Lynn Lewis, Mary Blake and Chuck Meadows, Jan Miller and Jeff Rich, Sarah and Lee Papert, Anne and Steve Stodghill, Deborah and Don Stokes, Erin and Larry Waks and Ken and Maureen Womack.

Tickets and sponsorships for The Art of Film are available at the Dallas Film Society’s website and by calling 214.720.0555.

* Photo provided by Dallas Film Society

JUST IN: North Texas Food Bank To Hold Plano Groundbreaking And Announce $55M Mega Gameplan To Expand Services to 92M By 2025

Just when you think the North Texas Food Bank has provided food for everyone, they discover greater needs. Ah, shoot! Despite all the ovens baking and the stove tops cooking, there are greater needs on the horizon and they’re in your own backyard.

North Texas Food Bank*

Today next door to Atmos Energy at 3697 Mapleshade Lane, Plano, at 11 a.m., the NTFB will hold a groundbreaking for a 222,000-square-foot distribution center that “will accommodate a robust volunteer program and expanded operation to increase the number of nutritious meals distributed annually to 92M by 2025.”

The event will include a killer gameplan. Oh, geez! They’re undertaking a $55M capital campaign — Stop Hunger Build Hope —to expand operations to the area.

North Texas Food Bank (File photo)

So, before you have that poached egg or head to Starbucks for the zingo caffeine fix, think about those, both children and adults, who literally hunger for a meal. That is the mission of one of North Texas’ most incredible nonprofits.

So, why not pass on that lunch and help someone who is literally starving for a decent meal? In fact, why not break for an early lunch and head to the groundbreaking? You haven’t been in Plano in ages.

* Graphic provided by North Texas Food Bank

14th Annual New Friends New Life Luncheon Speaker Ashton Kutcher Testified On Human Trafficking And Blew A Kiss To Sen. John McCain

Ashton Kutcher*

New Friends New Life speaker Ashton Kutcher proved yesterday why he was the pick of the litter to be the keynote speaker for the 14th New Friend New Life Luncheon at the Omni Dallas Hotel on Wednesday, May 10.

The 39-year-old father of wee ones Wyatt Kutcher and Dimitri Kutcher gave an “emotional” presentation before a Congressional committee including Sen. John McCain about human trafficking.

In appreciation for Sen. McCain’s response, Ashton blew him a kiss.

The young actor/businessman/co-founder of Thorn is proving to be a force to be reckoned with on the subject matter by ramping up his public voice on this crime against the innocents.

At this time only sponsorships are available. If space permits, individual tickets will become available in late March. But why wait? Get your pals together and go for a sponsorship.

* Photo provided by New Friends New Life

James Frary To Chair American Cancer Society’s CEOs Against Cancer Chapter Of North Texas

James Frary was just announced as the head of the American Cancer Society’s CEOs Against Cancer Chapter of North Texas. As part of his responsibilities he will be focusing “on a variety of issues facing working professionals from diverse industries across the northern half of the state. He will direct the newly established North Texas chapter to address cancer’s impact on the workforce, including improving employee heath, workplace productivity and health care costs.”

James Frary*

For his day job, Frary is executive vice president of AmerisourceBergen, “a global leader in specialty pharmaceutical distribution and services.”

A graduate of Stanford University, James earned his MBA from Harvard Business School.

According to James, “Providing barrier free access to treatments for patients and the providers who are supporting their battle against cancer is a enormous focus for associates at AmerisourceBergen and a topic that I’m personally passionate about. To that end, I am excited and proud to work with the Society to empower the North Texas business community to be leaders in the fight against cancer.”

2017 Soup’s On! Had Union Station Filled To The Rafters With Chefs, Advocates For The Dallas Homeless, Parkies Types And Gloria Campos Who Isn’t Dead

Ray and Margie Francis

As the Barack Obama Male Leadership Academy Jazz Band set up downstairs for the 10th Annual Soup’s On! Luncheon at the Eddie Bernice Johnson Union Station on Tuesday, January 31, early arrivals like Honorary Co-Chairs Margie and Ray Francis had a great opportunity to check out the items in the silent auction in the Stationmaster’s Lounge.

Over in the main ballroom, it was a totally different setup from years past. Luncheon Chair Heather Sauber and Stewpot Alliance President Julie Marshall had changed the arrangements. The stage was facing the window with two large screens on either side. Due to the setup there were a couple of tables that were going to have to rely on 52” flatscreens to see the action on the stage. After all, the event was so very sold out. Even the main service line between the rows of tables seemed on the thin side. Hopefully, the serving team was all a size two.

The same tight situation was slated for the parking to fit 300 projected cars in 150 spaces.

But Heather was bound and determined to make this Stewpot Alliance fundraiser a moneymaker. She even managed to save on the speaker’s fee by having a panel of local leaders address the homeless situation that has been making headlines with the closure of tent cities.

Mike Rawlings and Robert Wilonsky

Keven Ann Willey

Jeff Tooker

Florencia Velasco Fortner

For the panel discussion, there would be no table and stiff-back chairs. Instead the panelists (Mayor Mike Rawlings, Dallas Morning News VP/Editorial Page Editor Keven Ann Willey, The Concilio President/CEO Florencia Velasco Fortner and Dallas Police Sgt. Jeff Tooker) and moderator DallasNews.com Managing Editor Robert Wilonsky would be in comfy brown easy chairs on stage.

From the left: (standing) Andrew Swanson, Scott Girling, Andrew Chen, Andrew Dilda, Omar Flores, Dennis Kelley and Jeramie Robison; (seated) Danyele McPherson, Abraham Salum, Brian Luscher, Janice Provost and Melody Bishop

With the sun shining and the temperature in the early 60s, it wasn’t one of those must-have-soup days. But it was a day when the Dallas homeless situation was the main course with soup and salads at the tables thanks Soup Chief Chef Brian Luscher and his team of area Souper Duper Chefs (Melody Bishop and Dennis Kelley of Lark on the Park, Andrew Chen of Monkey King Noodle  Co. and Monkey King Banana Stand, Andrew Dilda of Independent Bar and Kitchen, Omar Flores of Whistlebritches and Casa Rubia, Scott Girling of The Graph, Danyele McPeherson of 80/20 Hospitality, Janice Provost of Parigi, Jeramie Robison of Uchi Dallas, Abraham Salum of Salum and Andrew Swanson of Wolfgang Puck).

Mike and Micki Rawlings

Robin Bagwell

David Nichols and Mike Allen

Allison Salas and Kelly Donohue

As Brian reviewed the final preparations and presentation of the soups and chefs in the kitchen, the activity out front was heaping. It was one of Micki Rawlings’ first outings since having back surgery on Friday, January 13. In four days, she and husband Mike Rawlings would be heading to Mexico for son Gunnar Rawlings’ wedding to Gabby GutierrezRobin Bagwell reported that husband Norm Bagwell had given her the best Christmas gift ever, despite agreeing not to do Christmas gifts. He created a charitable trust for her!…Jennifer Clifford had flown in from North Carolina for the lunch. Despite husband Joe Clifford’s taking his new role as head pastor at Myers Presbyterian Church in North Carolina back in August, Jennifer just completed her tenure with Communities Foundation of Texas in December… She also thanked Abraham Salum for making the Clifford son’s senior graduation dinner “so special”…Renowned for his Hermes ties, David Nichols was tieless. Since scaling back on his residential realty responsibilities, he was going for the more casual look…. Allison Salas and Kelly Donohue were receiving congrats on tackling the 2018 Soup’s On! as co-chairs.

As for the program, Rabbi Debra Robbins provided the invocation and was followed by emcee former WFAA anchor Gloria Campos who asked, “Remember me? I retired. I didn’t die.” The rest of the program was a bit overwhelming with a parade of speakers —Heather, Julie, Margie, Ray and Stewpot Executive Director Rev. Dr. Bruce Buchanan extolling their sincere commitment and admiration for The Stewpot.

Bruce admitted that one of the issues close to his heart is The Stewpot I.D. Program, which helps the homeless establish legal identities. The Stewpot provides “documentation assistance to more than 6,000 persons annually, which is essential for jobs and housing.”

They also recognized the founding board member of the Stewpot Alliance (Karen Ware, Jennifer Clifford, Catherine Bywaters, Marty Coleman, Margie Francis, Nancy Gillham, Jan Hegi, Kathy Jackson, Martha Lipscomb, Martha Martin, Joan Mason, Suzanne Palmlund, Micki Rawlings, Carolyn Walton and Trish Weigand). Thanks to these women launching the Alliance, $2,367,500 had been provided for The Stewpot’s mission of helping the homeless with meals, healthcare, counseling, case management and therapeutic and vocational activities.

Stewpot factoid: The Stewpot serves 364,792 meals a year.

The panel discussion eventually got underway, starting off with former Dallas Homeless Czar/Mayor Mike saying that he wanted to create an inter-governmental program that would be accountable for housing the homeless. In the coming weeks, he hoped that announcements would be made regarding such a government undertaking, but it had to go through the Dallas City Council and Commissioners Court. While he admitted that there are a lot of people working to solve the issue, “We don’t have an integrated strategy.” Having a City Council person, a County Commissioner, the head of Parkland and the head of the mental health provider network have a plan, instead of various plans, would be a major step forward.

Keven Ann shared her frustration about the situation, saying that the Commission on Homelessness came out with a report including “a variety of ideas…I’d kinda like to see two or three cases out of that report that could be accomplished in the next eight, ten months, so that we can begin to see tangible progress.”

Mike said that he would like to see the November bond election include a million dollars for housing. While he admitted that it would be a big step, he added that it would make a big difference.

(Editor’s note: While the call-out for support of the Dallas bond election was praised, it was interesting to note the number of Park Cities types who won’t be able to support the effort.)

Jeff admitted that putting the homeless in jail doesn’t help the problem in the long run. He told how officers drive around with clothes in their car to provide for the homeless, but he added that “We need to do more than just say, ‘Would you like a ride to The Bridge?’” He added that for the homeless, just making their way “through the system” on their own can be overwhelming. That’s why organizations like City Square can help provide the assistance and direction to get off the street. He also said that just placing them in an apartment was not always a solution. One homeless person told him that he felt safer on the streets than living in some apartment complex. He admitted that while the police need to enforce the law, “We could do better to create better relationships and a rapport with the homeless.”

However, Mike admonished the audience, recalling former Dallas Police Chief David Brown’s message that, “We ask too much of our police.”

Florencia said that The Concilio’s infrastructure was not made to serve the percentage of homeless Hispanics.

Mike told how the numbers reported by the Task Force on Poverty were “shocking.”

Kevin Ann returned to Mike’s bond election and asked what was needed. Mike responded that people needed to let their City Councilperson know that the homeless issue needed to be included in the bond election.

In conclusion, Robert asked for the panel’s wishes:

Florencia asked that people get more involved and to think of the homeless as real people.

Jeff said that you could have a bond proposal, but “there are so many people, so many of us that can make a difference. It’s not just about money…that’s a big part of it… it’s about service. There are a lot of great people who are homeless and we need to reach out to them.”

Keven Ann suggested leveraging current funds to hire more caseworkers, who really make the biggest difference and give people the services that they need. Also, to get landlords to be more receptive to programs that benefit the homeless.

Robert suggested people should get involved with the “Point In Time” Homeless Count next year.

For the closing remarks, International Human Rights Activist Peggy Callahan congratulated the number of folks who had been involved with The Stewpot for a couple of decades. She also made a case for financial support for The Stewpot and made the final request for donations for $100,000 that would help 25,000 people.

For more photos of the 2017 Soup’s On! champions, check out the MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2017 Soup’s On! Luncheon

This winter hasn’t exactly been a Sub-Zero experience, at least in North Texas. So the demand for soup may not have been the high priority of years past. But when it comes to The Stewpot Alliance’s Soup’s On! Luncheon, the liquid stuff is a draw thanks to Chief Chef Brian Luscher and his team of chefs and the topic du jour — the homeless situation in North Texas.

From the left: (standing) Andrew Swanson, Scott Girling, Andrew Chen, Andrew Dilda, Omar Flores and Dennis Kelley; (seated) Danyele McPherson, Abraham Salum, Brian Luscher, Janice Provost and Melody Bishop

In fact, this year’s sold-out fundraiser chaired by Heather Sauber on Tuesday, January 31, was so filled that there was hardly room for the servers at Eddie Bernice Johnson Union Station to squeeze through.

Mike Rawlings and Robert Wilonsky

Florencia Velasco Fortner

Keven Ann Willey

Jeff Tooker

While the post is being prepped, check out the chefs, the panelists and guests over at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.     

Crystal Charity Ball Newbies Were Brunched With Their New Best “Friends” At Robyn Conlon’s New Home-Sweet-Home

The last day of January could have easily been mistaken for a day in April. The sun was shining just right. The temperatures started off in the 60s and hit the high 70s. To start the day off, the Crystal Charity Ball new members (Meredith Beebe, Dianne Laroe, Kim Quinn, Lisa Singleton, Shannon Thompson, Dee Velvin and Candace Winslow) headed to Robyn Conlon’s new digs on Beverly for a get-to-know-you brunch with CCB Chair Pam Perella and her committee chiefs.

But before the newbies arrived, a photo opp of the committee was herded into the living room for a group photo. And not just any old photo.

From the left: (back row) Elizabeth Gambrell and Anne Besser; (front row) Cheryl Joiner, Leslie Diers, Kristina Whitcomb and Pam PErella

Backstory: In keeping with the CCB tradition, the year’s chair selected two themes — one for the December ball and an internal working theme. For Pam, the internal theme was favorite television programs. For Pam herself, it was “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” For the new members, it was “The CCB Bunch,” as in “The Brady Bunch.” And for her committee, it was “Friends.”

So, with “Friends” in mind, the committee was positioned on the couch like Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Joey, Chandler and Ross.

Tucker Enthoven,Claire Emanuelson, Lisa Longino, Susan Farris and Barbara Stuart

As soon as the final photo was snapped, the committee returned to the entry hall to greet the newbies and others like advisor Caren Kline (also on the Children’s Health Quality Board), frosh class advisors Tucker Enthoven and Susan Farris, Beneficiary Selection Chair Lisa Longino, Children’s Book Chair Elizabeth Gambrell, Silent Auction Co-Chairs Anne Besser (just selected Theta of the Year) and Cheryl Joiner, Decoration Chair Claire Emanuelson, Membership Chair Barbara Stuart, Contribution Ticket Co-Chairs Cara French and Mary Martha Pickens, Post Ball Arrangements Co-Chair Susan Glassmoyer and Public Relations Chair Pam McCallum, who had just gotten a new puppy.

From the left: (back row) Dee Velvin and Dianne Laroe; (front row) Lisa Singleton, Shannon Thompson, Kim Quinn, Candace Winslow and Meredith Beebe

As the new kids on the block arrived, they were ushered into the dining room for their individual photos to be taken by Melissa Macatee (aka Barbara Stuart’s daughter) and then directed to the staircase for a group picture or two or three. After having more photos than a college graduation, the ladies took their places for the program and brunch.

Then like sorority pledges, each of the new members was called up as their list of accomplishments was reeled off.  This was followed by the committee members taking their turns explaining their various roles.

For the vets, it was a familiar ritual and a great get-together. But as Pam recalled her frosh year 10 years ago, the get-to-know-you event could be overwhelming. On the other hand, it was just part of a great first year of making friends and raising funds for the area children’s charities.

For more photos of the ladies who brunched, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

SPCA Of Texas’ Paws Cause “Fetches” $115,000 To Benefit Mary Spencer Spay/Neuter And Wellness Clinic At Village Fair And The South Dallas Initiative

Perhaps more than ever, the need for spay and neuter has been moved to the top of the list of longtime solutions for the area glut of stray animals. With such city officials as Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, City Councilperson Monica Alonzo and Dallas City Attorney Faith Johnson in attendance to drive the point home, the SPCA Of Texas‘ Annual Paws Cause — “Pawsitively Dallas Strong” — at the Jan Rees-Jones Animal Care Center on Sunday, January 29, took on an added importance in fundraising for the Mary Spencer Spay/Neuter and Wellness Clinic at Village Fair and the South Dallas Pet Initiative. The result was netting $115,000 for the program. Here is a report from the field:

Monica R. Alonzo*

Faith Johnson*

On Sunday, January 29, the SPCA of Texas’ Paws Cause, “Pawsitively Dallas Strong,” at the SPCA of Texas’ Jan Rees-Jones Animal Care Center saw more than 300 animal lovers come together to benefit the Mary Spencer Spay/Neuter and Wellness Clinic at Village Fair and the South Dallas Pet Initiative. The event attendees were welcomed with a purple search light, a purple carpet, dancing dog and cat mascots and actual dogs and cats galore.

2017 Paws Cause’s “Pawsitively Dallas Strong”*

Inside, guests enjoyed gourmet food from some of Dallas’ finest chefs, imbibed luscious libations–including the “Pawsitive Delight” signature drink, danced the night away to musical entertainment by Goga, took part in the Bone Appetite restaurant drawing and had their pictures snapped at the Flipbook photo booth. A raffle of high-end items tempted attendees with fine art, photography packages, pet care products, designer purses, fine jewelry and more. A highly successful live auction and Pony Up for Paws fundraiser completed the night.

Haute cuisine stations from several of the Metroplex’s best restaurants, including Salum, Parigi, Pink Magnolia, Cane Rosso, Whistle Britches and 3015 at Trinity Groves tempted guests with everything from  sumptuous savories to decadent desserts.

Paws Cause 2017 was a tail-wagging success thanks to 2017 Paws Cause Honorary Chair  Andrea Alcorn, and the Steering Committee, which included: Jane Arrington, Steve Atkinson, Rebecca Belew, Diane Brierley, Andie Comini, Phyllis Comu, Giana DePaul, Gwen Echols, Kristen Greenberg, Whitney Keltch, Christina Miller, Pam Ragon, Abraham Salum, Gloria Snead, Karen Urie and Cathy Zigrossi

At the pinnacle of the party, Mayor Mike Rawlings first addressed the crowd saying, “The spay and neuter initiative that the SPCA is taking on is the lynchpin of the plan…to solve the situation in South Dallas that is hurting neighborhoods. We’ve got tens of thousands of dogs that need to have this operation and I believe that when we do that we will not only make the lives of those dogs better, but the lives of the neighbors and the strength of Dallas will come with it.”

Andrea Alcorn and Karen Urie*

Then, SPCA of Texas Senior Vice President Debra Burns, Karen Urie, Andrea Alcorn, SPCA of Texas President/CEO James Bias and SPCA of Texas Board Chair Katy Murray took turns thanking the guests and encouraging them to give. Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson spoke in support of the partnership between the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office’s Animal Cruelty Unit and the SPCA of Texas.

The event netted $115,000 for the Mary Spencer Spay/Neuter and Wellness Clinic at Village Fair and the SPCA of Texas’ South Dallas Pet Initiative.

All proceeds from the Paws Cause event benefit the Mary Spencer Spay/Neuter and Wellness Clinic at Village Fair and fund spay and neuter efforts in the Dallas community. This includes the SPCA of Texas’ programs that aim to support the pets and people of South Dallas to help address the serious stray animal, pet homelessness and pet overpopulation issues, also supporting the preservation of the bond between pets and people and keeping pets and the community healthy and safe.

Angela Thompson, Mary Spencer and Ann Marcus*

James Bias and Jan Rees-Jones*

Attendees also included Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Monica Alonzo, Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones, Bobbi Snyder, Stacey and Arnie Verbeek, Bob Minyard, Angela Thompson, Candace Rubin, Ann Marcus, Hal Brierley, Leldon Echols, Marsha Pendleton-Gray and Dr. Richard Gray, Mary and Skip Trimble, Stacey and Don Kivowitz, Mary Spencer, Betsy Orton and Sharon Fancher, Mike and Catherine Merritt and Claire and Kurt Schwarz.

Event sponsors included:

  • Diamond Sponsors: Andrea Alcorn, Friedman & Feiger LLP and Dr. Richard Gray and Marsha Pendleton Gray
  • Gold Sponsors: Diane and Hal Brierley, the Durham Family Foundation, Forty Five Ten, Gwen and Leldon Echols, In Memory of Guy T. Marcus, Trinity Industries Inc. and Patricia Villareal and Tom Leatherbury
  • Silver Sponsors: Ralph Lauren – Highland Park and Skip and Mary L. Trimble
  • Copper Sponsors: Sharon Devereux, Stacey and Don Kivowitz, Katy Murray, Ray and Patricia A. Smerge, Pam Ragon, Redfin Real Estate, Claire and Kurt Schwarz and Sandra Urie and Frank Herron
  • Bronze Sponsors: MaryLynn M. Black, Karen and Phil Drayer, Cassie Evans and Hattie Pearl Decker, Hillary Hurst and Mark Schwarz, Bobby Minyard, Carol Orr, Penny Rivenbark Patton, Lucilo A. Pena, Candace Rubin, Mary Spencer, Susie Swanson, Chad West and Mr. and Mrs. David Yost.
* Photo credit: Thomas Garza Photography

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery: 2017 Crystal Charity Ball New Members Brunch

From the left: (back row) Dee Velvin and Dianne Laroe; (front row) Lisa Singleton, Shannon Thompson, Kim Quinn, Candace Winslow and Meredith Beebe

The weather couldn’t have been more perfect on Tuesday, January 31, for brunching on Beverly Drive for the frosh class of Crystal Charity Ball. And, no, it wasn’t at the Dallas Country Club. Instead Robyn Conlon had 2017 CCB Chair Pam Perella, her committee and the new members (Meredith Beebe, Dianne Laroe, Kim Quinn, Lisa Singelton, Shannon Thompson, Dee Velvin and Candace Winslow) in for a get-to-know-ya brunch at tables throughout the rooms overlooking Beverly.

From the left: (back row) Elizabeth Gambrell and Anne Besser; (front row) Cheryl Joiner, Leslie Diers, Kristina Whitcomb and Pam Perella

Before the new-kids-on-the-block arrived, the Pam and her executive committee had a group photo taken ala “Friends.” What’s with the “Friends” and why were the newbies tagged as “The CCB Bunch? Just wait til the write-up is posted. Until then, check out the oldies and newbies at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.