JUST IN: Ellen Magnis Named Executive Director For Family Gateway

Family Gateway is gonna start the month of July with new leadership. Word has just arrived that after months of vetting, they’ve managed to get Ellen Magnis to return to Big Old D from the Big Apple as their executive director.

Ellen Magnis*

Ellen Magnis*

According to Family Gateway’s Board of Directors Chair Anne Johnson, “We could not be more thrilled to welcome Ellen to Family Gateway. Not only is Ellen a respected, accomplished and innovative leader, her passion for helping children in need makes her a perfect fit for Family Gateway. Addressing the rising homeless population in Dallas will require strong leadership from both the public and the private sector. We are extremely fortunate to have someone with Ellen’s extraordinary track record leading Family Gateway in the fight to end child homelessness in Dallas.”

If her name sounds familiar, it should be. For ages she was Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center’s Chief of External Affairs, where she was responsible for “fundraising, education, legislative affairs and public relations. She launched and scaled the agency’s education program and led the dramatic growth of national corporate partnerships and federal agency relationships for an internationally attended annual conference for more than 3,900 professionals. During her tenure, she also supported a capital campaign and launched a major gifts strategy while aligning fundraising events to the organization’s mission. Known within the agency as a mentoring supervisor, she also spearheaded cross-agency improvements in performance management and led the development and execution of an aggressive strategic plan.”

Before that she held various vice president positions with the American Heart Association for nearly seven years, including VP of American Stroke Association.

Most recently Ellen was in New York City serving as executive director of Minds Matter, “a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to transform he lives of accomplished high school students from low-income families by broadening their dreams and preparing them for college success.”

According to Ellen, ““I am so excited to help take Family Gateway to its next level of success. I am very drawn to the ‘Housing First’ philosophy of Family Gateway and look forward to finding ways to ensure that families stay together during the unimaginable challenges of homelessness. I am very honored to work in partnership with the staff, Board, elected officials and leaders from sister agencies to address this complex issue for our community. Every child should have a home; that’s something on which we can all agree.”

One of the first things on Ellen’s agenda, besides moving into her office, will be Family Gateway’s Gateway To Opportunity Luncheon featuring Jenna Bush Hager on Tuesday, September 27, at the Omni Dallas Hotel. It’s being chaired by Tracy Lange and Paula Miltenberger.

* Photo provided by Family Gateway

JUST IN: Lisa Cooley And Tanya Foster To Co-Chair New Friends New Life Luncheon

The flood of news continues! Initial plans for the annual New Friends New Life Luncheon are already underway. It will be held on Wednesday, May 10, at the Hilton Anatole. Heading up the New Friends New Life benefit will be gal pals Lisa Cooley and Tanya Foster.

Tanya Foster and Lisa Cooley (File photo)

Tanya Foster and Lisa Cooley (File photo)

Despite all types of cajoling and downright begging, neither of the ladies is letting on who the speaker will be. Hmm, in the past the luncheon has had Nicolas Sparks, Barbara Pierce Bush, Sally Fields, Kevin Costner and Amal Clooney on stage. The mind boggles trying to figure out what name will be revealed in the weeks ahead.

Stay tuned. Oh, and don’t bother signing up for a ticket. They ain’t available right now, but sponsorships are. Feel free to ask about ’em.

BTW, it’s no longer called the Wings Luncheon. Guess too many peeps thought it was a fundraiser for retired flight attendants.

JUST IN: Melissa Rountree And Morgan Moore To Co-Chair 7th Annual Esteem Fashion Show For The Elisa Project

The third Friday September is gonna kick off 24 hours of fashionable whoop-de-dos. On Friday, September 16, Crystal Charity will hold its “already-sold-out” Ten Best Dressed Luncheon and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala will officially launch the 2016 fall black-tie season that night.

The next morning the 7th annual Esteem Fashion Show benefiting The Elisa Project will take place at 10 a.m. at Tootsie’s. Chairing the event will be Melissa Rountree and her daughter Morgan Moore.

Rhonda Sargent Chambers and Holly Pelham Davis (File photo)

Rhonda Sargent Chambers and Holly Pelham Davis (File photo)

Founded in 2009, Esteem was created by Rhonda Sargent Chamber “to increase awareness about eating disorders and the importance of positive body image.

According to Melissa, “It’s a thrill to host Esteem with my daughter Morgan, benefiting The Elisa Project. The event provide an opportunity to appreciate that beauty, health and strength come in all sizes and ages. We hope to spread a message that being generous and loving, can improve inner confidence and respect for oneself.”

Gloria Campos and Lynn McBee (File photo)

Gloria Campos and Lynn McBee (File photo)

Joining the effort are Honorary Chair Lynn McBee, Emcee Gloria Campos and models Amanda Sterett Albritton with daughters Anna Albritton and Olivia Sterett, Shelly Slater, Holly Pelham Davis with daughter Landry Davis, Jocelyn White, Scott Murray, Janet Dorsett, Dawn Mellon, Gina Miller, Jackson, Yvonne Crum with granddaughter Samantha Crum, Gary Walden, Dawn Neufeld with daughter Bryn Neufeld, Hilary Kennedy, Pam Skaggs Frank with daughter Bridget Frank and Kim Bannister with daughter Sawyer Bannister.

Scott Murray (File photo)

Scott Murray (File photo)

Kim Bannister (File photo)

Kim Bannister (File photo)

Tickets go on sale Friday, July 1. VIP seating will be $75 and student/standing will be a couple of sawbucks (aka $20).

JUST IN: Human Rights Activist Ronan Farrow To Be Keynote Speaker At 2016 Texas Trailblazer Luncheon

The floodgates have stayed wide open with news flowing through. First is news about the 2016 Texas Trailblazer Luncheon benefiting The Family Place. It was already reported that Lisa and Marvin Singleton were co-chairing the Tuesday, October 4th event at the Hilton Anatole with Charlotte Jones Anderson receiving the Texas Trailblazer Award.

Emmitt and Pat Smith (File photo)

Emmitt and Pat Smith (File photo)

Since that announcement, the Singletons have been very, very busy arranging for a passel of VIP types to join their efforts, like Pat and Emmitt Smith serving as honorary co-chairs. Lisa admitted, “We are also excited to announce that Pat and Emmitt Smith have joined this year’s luncheon as honorary co-chairs and we are extremely grateful to have their support. As author of ‘Second Chances: Finding Healing for Your Pain, Regaining Your Strength, Celebrating Your New Life’ and founder of her non-profit, Treasure You, which inspires women to pursue their second chance in life despite of circumstances or setbacks, Pat brings her own past experiences and passions to the luncheon to help draw attention to a cause that plagues over 30 percent of Texas women.”

Carol Seay (File photo)

Carol Seay (File photo)

Kristi Hoyl (File photo)

Kristi Hoyl (File photo)

Other additions to the Singletons’ team are former Trailblazer Luncheon Co-Chair Carol Seay and former Cattle Baron’s Ball Chair Kristi Hoyl, who will handle the underwriting duties.

Making Carol’s and Kristi’s jobs a heck of a lot easier is the big news of the keynote speaker — Ronan Farrow.

Ronan Farrow*

Ronan Farrow*

Yes, you know the People fodder about Ronan being Mia Farrow’s son and the question of whom his father is. But what you might not know is that the 28-year-old is “an influential voice in government and media, helping traditional institutions address the frustrations — and tap the promise of a new generation.” The Yale Law School graduate has been named “Activist of the Year” by New York Magazine and twice named as one of the “30 Under 30” by Forbes Magazine.

One topic that is especially a priority for the Rhodes Scholar is human rights.

According to Lisa, “As a celebrated human rights activist and vocal advocate for changing the conversation around domestic violence, Mr. Farrow is a perfect fit as speaker for this year’s luncheon. The perspective he brings to the domestic violence discussion is paramount to continuing the important and ongoing dialogue about ending domestic violence. We are thrilled to have him join us in North Texas to share his thoughts.”

Sponsorships and tickets are available now.

* Photo provided by The Family Place

10th Annual Change Is Good Is Going To Have Piggy Banks Busting For Community Partners Of Dallas

One of the favorite, extremely family-friendly events is Community Partners of DallasChange Is Good, where kids can be kids and so can their parents. Every year organizers have to coordinate the fundraiser at Brook Hollow with the Dallas Cowboys’ schedule. For those years when The Boys play an afternoon game, TVs are set up throughout the club with dads keeping one eye on the screens and the other on their munchkins, who will be having their faces painted, bungee jumping, playing giant Jenga and Twister, playing in the bounce house and getting major sugar highs on all the goodies.

Bounce house (File photo)

Bounce house (File photo)

Caroline Ballotta, Lindsay and Ray Ballotta and William Ballotta*

Caroline Ballotta, Lindsay and Ray Ballotta and William Ballotta*

This year there will be no need for the split-eyed pops. The 10th annual Change Is Good will take place on Sunday, September 25, from 3 to 6 p.m. and the Cowboys won’t be facing the Bears until 7:30 p.m. Whew!

As for the co-chairs, those duties will be handled by Lindsay and Ray Ballotta and their kids Caroline Ballotta and William Ballotta.

One of the greatest aspects of the event is the opportunity it provides youngsters to learn about fundraising. Young guests are not only encouraged but can compete by “collecting change over the summer by emptying their own piggy banks, going door-to-door, setting up lemonade stands or starting their own online campaigns.” At the event the change is turned in to earn chances to win prizes.

Tickets will go on sale starting Friday, August 26, but sponsorship starting at $550 are available now!

* Photo provided by 
Community Partners of Dallas

 

VNA To Launch “Society 34” At Top Knot For Young Professionals

Summer may be officially firing up, but fundraising news hasn’t chilled one bit. Instead of events taking place hourly, news is pouring in nonstop.

The VNA is the latest to report an undertaking. It’s the launch of a “young professionals group to carry on Dallas’ strong tradition of community service caring for seniors.”

The new group will be officially called Society ’34. Interesting name, but what does it mean? Well, membership will be open to anyone between the ages of 24 and 44 and 34 is smack, dab in the middle of that range. Now you know!

The organization will provide an opportunity for members “to learn, serve and enjoy leadership and networking opportunities” that include volunteering and social activities. There will also be  benefits like

  • Invitations to educational and networking events
  • Participation in volunteer activities
  • Discounts to special VNA events

To build its membership, a kick-off event will be held at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, June 28, at Top Knot, where “charter memberships will be offered at a discounted rate of only $34.”

According to VNA President/CEO Katherine Krause, the plan calls for “Society ’34 to engage today’s young professionals who will be the leaders and caregivers of tomorrow.”

Lee Park Junior Conservancy Creatively Revealed The “Goosebump-Making” 2016 Day At The Races Net

There are ways of announcing the results of fundraisers. There’s the good, old familiar check presentation. But then there is the more creative type, like the way the Lee Park Junior Conservancy did in reporting the results of their annual “Day At The Races.”

Teffy Jacobs, Kirsten Williams, Doris Jacobs and Whitney Brune*

Teffy Jacobs, Kirsten Williams, Doris Jacobs and Whitney Brune*

Since Co-Chair Wendy Messmann was unable to attend, Co-Chair Kirsten Williams drafted Honorary Chair Doris Jacobs to help in the presentation at the Trunk Club. Each was “given large cards with numbers on them to post in the right order. While the theme song from ‘The Price Is Right’ played, they made several attempts to the delight of the crowd, finally arriving at $81,460, double the previous year’s net income. Junior Conservancy President Whitney Brune Carroll said that she “got chills and goosebumps” when the number was announced.

And that amazing total couldn’t have come at a better time. According to Lee Park and Arlington Conservancy President/CEO Gay Donnell, “Lee Park has lost several trees that the Conservancy is looking to replace. Arlington Hall is also facing replacement of equipment that has aged since the Hall was restored 14 years ago.”

Thea Van Loggerenberg, Dean Driver and Sara Jones*

Thea Van Loggerenberg, Dean Driver and Sara Jones*

The sponsors of the winning fundraiser included Exxir Group/Nazerian Family —Thea Van Loggerenberg, Doris Jacobs, Four Roses Bourbon — Kent Grindinger, TRUNK CLUB, Consilium Lifestyle Collections—Dean Driver, The Barre Code Design District—Lori Lesneiwski, US Trust/Bank of America Private Wealth Management, Bailey Banks & Biddle/Longines, NorthPark, Whole Foods, Prashe/Flora & Eventi, Allie Beth and Pierce Allman and Sue Krider Dallas Real Estate.

* Photos provided by the Lee Park Junior Conservancy

Boys And Girls Clubs Of Greater Dallas’ 2016 Billiard Ball To Honor Helen And Clint Murchison III

It’s hard to imagine that the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas has been around for 51 years. Why, when it was started a young comedienne name Joan Rivers made her debut on the “Tonight Show,” the Dallas Cowboys were playing football in the Cotton Bowl and Dallas-based Braniff introduced a new ad campaign called “End of the Plain Plane,” complete with Emilio Pucci-designed uniforms for the flight crews.

Today Joan is doing her shtick for the angels, professional football is no longer played on the Cotton Bowl turf and Braniff’s herd of unplain planes flew their last flights ages ago. Still, the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Dallas is thriving with more than 7,500 Club members at 31 sites through the Metroplex.

Ruth Altshuler (File photo)

Ruth Altshuler (File photo)

Lee Ann and Alan White (File photo)

Lee Ann and Alan White (File photo)

Bill and Gay Solomon (File photo)

Bill and Gay Solomon (File photo)

Linda Custard (File photo)

Linda Custard (File photo)

But to support the programs “to enable all young people, especially those who need the most help, to reach their full potential as productive, caring and responsible citizens,” funding is required. In addition to donations and grants, one vital source has been the Billiard Ball. In more than a decade the gala has provided more than $2.5M by honoring area leaders like Ruth Altshuler, Norman Brinker, Linda Pitts Custard, Caren Prothro, Dee and Charles Wyly, Henry S. Miller Jr., Gay and Bill Solomon, Bobby Lyle, Barbara and Steven Durham and Lee Ann and Alan White.

Clint Murchison III, Laura Moon, Helen Murchison and Dennis Moon*

Clint Murchison III, Laura Moon, Helen Murchison and Dennis Moon*

This year’s event on Saturday, November 12, at the Hilton Anatole will honor Helen and Clint Murchison thanks to Billiard Ball Co-Chairs Laura and Dennis Moon. There will be dinner, dancing, auctions and, of course, billiards. And the theme is “Solids And Stripes!”

While table sponsorships starting at $3,000 are available, individual tickets will be limited. However, if you get to it, you might be one of the lucky ones.

* Photo provided by Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas

JUST IN: Ann Hobson To Chair 2017 Art Ball

Ann Hobson (File photo)

Ann Hobson (File photo)

If Dallas had an All-American poster gal, Ann Hobson would be a finalist if not the winner. In addition to the killer smile, the great cheekbones and the twinkling eyes, the blonde actually has even more going for her. There’s her fabulous taste (example: the Hobsons’ home-sweet-home), her smarts (Duke grad, don’t you know) and her cutie-pie Ivy Leaguer husband Lee Hobson and three kiddos. And then there’s her involvement in the community that has ranged from VNA, Episcopal School of Dallas, TACA to the Dallas Museum of Art.

That last one is going to take full advantage of Ann’s time and talents in the year ahead, since she’s just been named to chair the 2017 Art Ball. But don’t worry about Ann. She’s an old hand at throwing soirees at the DMA. Just back in 2013, she co-chaired the Museum’s polished Silver Supper with present DMA Chairman of the Board Melissa Fetter.

While details are still being worked out, there will still be the auction, seated dinner and dancing. So, put Saturday, April 22, on your “must-attend” list. If it follows Ann’s usual POA, the gala will be smart, elegant and fun.

Annual Equest Women’s Auxiliary Committee Luncheon Enjoyed The Fashion And Foodie Perks Of Neiman Marcus Downtown

Unlike the Crystal Charity Ball newbie luncheon in the Neiman Marcus Downtown’s Zodiac Room on Wednesday, May 11, the Equest Women’s Auxiliary committee on Wednesday, May 11, was a tale of a different story.  A model made the rounds in furs and even a crocodile coat ($1,500+). And then there were the popovers, plus the chick broth opener. Well, gee whiz, can life get any better?

After a personal greeting from NM DT GM Jeff Byron, who got hooked on Equest when he took over the flagship store three years ago, and a welcome by Equest Women’s Auxiliary President Di Johnston and Equest Executive Director Lili Kellogg, it was time to sip the broth and dine.

Di Johnston

Di Johnston

Nancy Carter and Michaela Dyer

Nancy Carter and Michaela Dyer

Kim Miller and Angie Kadesky

Kim Miller and Angie Kadesky

So, what was the table talk? At one end of the rectangular table was Nancy Carter, incoming Equest Auxiliary President Angie Kadesky, Tiffany Divis and Melissa Macatee commiserating over the past season. Nancy was talking about the progress of her company’s latest hotel projects in North Texas, Austin and Houston… Angie was wearing a vintage Emilio Puccini dress… Tiffany was glowing about daughter Monet Ball’s returning to Dallas with husband George Ball and the arrival of their baby in August.

And, yes, there was talk about the Auxiliary’s fall fundraiser that will take place on Tuesday, October 4, at Brook Hollow Golf Club. Event Chair Kara Axley has not only arranged for Highland Park Village to provide the fashions on the runway, but to have Lezlie and Bill Noble as the honorary co-chairs and for the 2016 Equest Award for Community Service award to be presented to Lindalyn Adams.

North Texas Prepares To Battle Buzzing Terrorists

Recently Christie Carter told how someone had wondered why Noah didn’t swat the two mosquitoes as they boarded his ark. After all, would anyone miss the little bloodsuckers? They make a Great White Shark seem downright friendly. Perhaps instead of The Discovery Channel’s producing “Shark Week,” it should try “Skeeter Week.”

But seriously, this disease-carrying “little fly” has once again made headlines with its spreading the Zika virus, as well as West Nile. Luckily, the reported Zika cases reported in North Texas have resulted from people traveling to other countries.

But with the recent rains and heat providing a nirvana for skeeters to flourish, it’s time to take precautions. Here are some suggestions on how to reduce the chances of mosquitoes creating havoc:

Abandoned flower pots

Abandoned flower pots

  • Get rid of standing water — Take you kids around your yard and play the game of spotting stagnant water. It could be anything from a birdbath, an abandoned flower pot, a blocked drain or a dog bowl.
  • Screens — Make sure that the screens on your doors and windows are not torn. That slit of an opening makes your home an open house for the critters.
  • DEET — As much as you love your perfume, the scent of the season is DEET.
  • Outdoor entertaining — If you’re having folks over for a backyard picnic or just chilling in the heat, consider outdoor mosquito prevention like foggers before the guests arrive. Also, electric fans will not only create a pleasant breeze, they also keep the air stirred up and skeeters don’t care for turbulence.
  • Swimming pools — Maintain yours and report abandoned ones to the Dallas County Health Department.
  • Garden pools — If you have a water garden, add a mosquitofish (Gambusia) to it.
  • Clothes — You’re really gonna hate this one, but long-sleeved shirts and long pants are like armor against the flying-disease carriers. On the other hand, they hate light colored clothing.
  • Times of day — Instead of those lovely walks at dawn and dusk around the neighborhood, head to an enclosed shopping center. Skeeters’ fav time of day is just as the sun is rising and setting. Hey, they may be small, but they’re not dumb. They don’t like the brutal heat of the day.
  • Outdoor lighting — While they’re not repellents, the yellow bug lights attract fewer mosquitoes than traditional white lights.
  • Baby protection — Provide baby carriers and beds with netting.
  • Area sprayings schedules — Check when your neighborhood is going to have the trucks spraying and keep the kids and pets indoors at that time.

Too bad Noah didn’t take some precautions. Perhaps those two skeeters would have missed the boat.

2016 Former Crystal Charity Ball Chairmen Dinner Was Held In Area’s Most Elegant Storm-Worthy Shelter

By Tuesday, May 10, tornado warnings seemed to have become routine. Still, with clouds looking like street gangs ready to rumble, locals were still heeding the words of weather guessers that North Texas should be prepared for another round of flooding, hail, wind and locusts. Okay, so maybe not the locusts, but everything else.

John and Mary Martha Pickens, Christie Carter and Hudson Weischel

John and Mary Martha Pickens, Christie Carter and Hudson Weischel

Luckily for the annual Crystal Charity Ball Former Chairmen dinner, 2016 CCB Chair Christie Carter and her team had picked the perfect spot for the seated supper underwritten by Bank of America, U. S. Trust Private Wealth Management, Merrill Lynch: Joyce and Larry Lacerte’s estate.IMG_5859 Joyce Lacerte, Tucker Enthoven, Angie Kadesky and Caren Kline

When one guest inquired about possible tornadoes, hostess Joyce promptly replied, “We have a full basement and can just move the party downstairs.”

Karen Shuford

Karen Shuford

Randi Halsell

Randi Halsell

Jill Smith, Gloria Martindale and Vicki Chapman

Jill Smith, Gloria Martindale and Vicki Chapman

In addition to having the most palatial “storm shelter” in these surroundings, if guests like Barbara Varel (1970), Joyce Mitchell (1988), Sally Berry (1990), Sara Martineau (1993), Barbara Stuart (1994), Randi Halsell (1996), Tincy Miller (1997), Becky Bright (1999), Karen Shuford (2000), Nancy Chapman (2001), Lydia Novakov (2002), Margo Goodwin (2004), Jill Smith (2005), Debbie Snell (2006), Vicki Chapman (2007), Gloria Martindale (2008), Debbie Oates (2009), Cynthia Mitchell (2010), Aileen Pratt (2012),   Robyn Conlon (2014), Caren Kline (2013) and Michal Powell (2015) and and their husbands/dates were forced to hunker downstairs, Cassandra Fine Catering team plus Lacerte house manager Roxann Vyazmensky could easily have moved the feast from the elegant tables set up in the Lacerte’s great room on the ground level downstairs. Talk about glorious MREs — baby greens salad, pan seared beef tenderloin with lobster risotto and orange custard for dessert.

From the left: (front row) Barbara Varel, Gloria Martindale, Aileen Pratt, Nancy Chapman, Christie Carter, Cynthia Mitchell, Barbara Stuart, Karen Shuford and Tincy Miller; (back row) Margo Goodwin, Robyn Conlon, Debbie Oates, Randi Halsell, Joyce Mitchell, Lydia Novakov, Michal Powell, Debbie Snell, Jill Smith, Sally Berry, Becky Bright, Caren Kline, Vicki Chapman and Sara Martineau

From the left: (front row) Barbara Varel, Gloria Martindale, Aileen Pratt, Nancy Chapman, Cynthia Mitchell, Barbara Stuart, Karen Shuford and Tincy Miller; (back row) Margo Goodwin, Robyn Conlon, Debbie Oates, Randi Halsell, Joyce Mitchell, Lydia Novakov, Michal Powell, Debbie Snell, Jill Smith, Sally Berry, Becky Bright, Caren Kline, Vicki Chapman and Sara Martineau

2016 Former Crystal Charity Ball Dinner table setting

2016 Former Crystal Charity Ball Dinner table setting

Kathy and Richard Holt

Kathy and Richard Holt

But luckily the need to “seek shelter” didn’t take place and all went according to plan with Bank of America Dallas Market President Richard Holt and his blonde wife Kathy Holt greeting the 22 former chairs, who have helped lead the 64-year-old organization to provide more than $123M for Dallas area children’s charities.

For more photos from the dinner, please check MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Bruce Wood Dance Project And Dallas Black Dance Theatre Awarded TACA Donna Wilhelm Family New Works Funds

For the fifth year philanthropist Donna Wilhelm has stepped up to provide support for the performing arts. Through the TACA Donna Wilhelm Family New Works Fund, Donna has annually awarded $100,000 in grants “to support the development and performance of innovative new works of music, dance and theater in Dallas County.”

Donna Wilhelm (File photo)

Donna Wilhelm (File photo)

The 2016 recipients are the Bruce Wood Dance Project and Dallas Black Dance Theatre. Thanks to Donna’s funding, the two dance groups will be able to produce the following programs:

  • “Bruce Wood Dance Project will enlist the creative talents of award-winning music theater composer, arranger, and conductor Joseph Thalken and BWDP Artistic Associate and SMU Meadows School of the Arts alumnus Albert Drake. Their collaborative work will explore the refugee experience across cultures through conversations, music, and dance. The work is scheduled to premiere June 2017 at the Dallas City Performance Hall.
  • “Dallas Black Dance Theatre will mount a new work by choreographer, dancer and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater rehearsal director Matthew Rushing, set to a score developed by world-renowned jazz pianist and composer Ted Rosenthal. The tribute-themed ballet will pay homage to legendary African American dancers and choreographers over the past century, including Talley Beatty, Alvin Ailey, and Donald McKayle. The multi-disciplinary work, utilizing video and live music, is slated to premiere in November.”

Past recipients of the TACA Donna Wilhelm Family New Works Fund have included

  • 2012 — African American Report, Cara Mia Theatre Company and Dallas Theater Center
  • 2013 — Second Thought Theatre, Undermain Theatre and Voices of Change
  • 2014 — Dallas Bach Society, Dallas Children’s Theater, Fine Arts Chamber Players and The Dallas Opera
  • 2015 — Dallas Theater Center and Kitchen Dog Theater

The selection of the recipients is made from submitted application that are “reviewed each year by a national panel of distinguished artists and arts managers.” This year’s jurors included

  • Matt Albert (Chair, Department of Chamber Music, University of Michigan)
  • Laura Barbee (Adjunct Faculty Member, The School for Classical & Contemporary Dance, TCU)
  • Stephen Brown-Fried (Theatre Director)
  • Roger Brunyate (Director Emeritus, The Peabody Conservatory, Johns Hopkins University)
  • Kenneth Foster (Director of Arts Leadership, Thornton School of Music, USC)
  • Greg Fulkerson (Professor of Violin, Oberlin College and Conservatory)
  • Dean Gladden (Managing Director, The Alley Theatre)
  • Andy Grotelueschen (Company Member, Fiasco Theater)
  • Emily Hunter (Dance Teacher, Booker T. Washington High School Greg Hustis: Professor of Horn, Meadows School of the Arts, SMU Baba Israel: Artist, Producer, Educator, and Consultant)
  • Parisa Khobdeh (Dancer, Paul Taylor Dance Company)
  • Emily Lyon (Literary Manager, BEDLAM)
  • Patricia McGregor (Theatre Director, Writer, and Playwright)
  • Jonathan Moscone (Chief of Civic Engagement, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts)
  • Jonathan Norton (Playwright)
  • Brian Perry (Bassist, Dallas Symphony Orchestra)
  • Roche Schulfer (Executive Director, Goodman Theatre)

For more information about applications and requirements, contact Greg Oertel at 214.520.3930.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery: Crystal Charity Ball Former Chairmen Dinner

From the left: (front row) Barbara Varel, Gloria Martindale, Aileen Pratt, Nancy Chapman, Christie Carter, Cynthia Mitchell, Barbara Stuart, Karen Shuford and Tincy Miller; (back row) Margo Goodwin, Robyn Conlon, Debbie Oates, Randi Halsell, Joyce Mitchell, Lydia Novakov, Michal Powell, Debbie Snell, Jill Smith, Sally Berry, Becky Bright, Caren Kline, Vicki Chapman and Sara Martineau

From the left: (front row) Barbara Varel, Gloria Martindale, Aileen Pratt, Nancy Chapman, Christie Carter, Cynthia Mitchell, Barbara Stuart, Karen Shuford and Tincy Miller; (back row) Margo Goodwin, Robyn Conlon, Debbie Oates, Randi Halsell, Joyce Mitchell, Lydia Novakov, Michal Powell, Debbie Snell, Jill Smith, Sally Berry, Becky Bright, Caren Kline, Vicki Chapman and Sara Martineau

Despite all types of threatening weather, the veteran Crystal Charity Ball chairmen got together for their annual dinner on Tuesday, May 10. Luckily, it was at Joyce and Larry Lacerte’s home and if a tornado was to hit, there would be no better place to be.

Tables setting

Tables setting

While the post is underway, the photos are on display now at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Trinity River Mission’s 17th Annual Mission Ole’s Letters Are Signed, Sealed And By Now Delivered

Mission Ole letter signing with Cindy Turner, Anne Schooler, Leslie Chambless and Margaret Spelling

Mission Ole letter signing with Cindy Turner, Ann Schooler, Lesley Chambless and Margaret Spellings

As Lesley Chambless’ dining room table was covered with sheets of letterheads, envelopes and pens on the morning of Tuesday, June 14, a group of gals settled down to personalize letters announcing plans for the Trinity River Mission fundraiser 17th Annual Mission Olé on Thursday, October 27.

Ann Schooler

Ann Schooler

Lesley Chambless

Lesley Chambless

As pens hit paper, a question was raised, “So, why did you all get involved with Trinity River Mission?” All fingers point to interior designer Ann Schooler in a killer white blouse that Ann fessed up came from Tootsie’s.

Without losing a beat, Anne continued applying her “Johan Hancock” to the letters and told how seeing the kids’ education program had been the driving force.

Cindy Turner laughed that it was a partnership of Ann and her husband Matt: “Ann makes the call to come to dinner and Matt makes the close.”

Cindy Turner

Cindy Turner

Margaret Spelling

Margaret Spellings

After last year’s “Dia de los Muertos” (Day of the Dead)” theme success, the decision was made by Co-Chairs Lesley, Ann and Margaret Spellings to keep it going and bring on board Gail Fischer as the honorary chair.

But the group decided to move the evening of auction items, loads of food, unique face painting and Trinity River Mission students dancing in period costumes with Day of the Dead painted faces. Speaking of made-up-faces, Anne pulled out her tablet revealing that invitations were being created that could double as masks just in case guests didn’t have time to have one designed or to buy one.

This year it will be held at Chicken Scratch. The reason? In addition to its being a great venue, the co-chairs felt its West Dallas location brought greater support and awareness of the TRM neighborhood. A volunteer-based community learning center, TRM is “dedicated to supporting the development of education success in the children, youth and families of West Dallas.”

If you haven’t gotten your letter in the snail mailbox, gee. Call 214.744.6774 and they’ll make it happen pronto!

A Passing: Mickey Rosmarin

Dallasites have clucked for ages about bringing fashion to the Southwest. And who’s to question Carrie Marcus Neiman, Herbert Marcus, Stanley Marcus and the rest of the tasteful Marcus clan’s establishing the forefront of the smart set in the world of couture?

Why, sure, there were the Sakowitz folks in Houston with W’s Johnny Fairchild’s ever darling Lynn Sakowitz Wyatt. Does that woman ever age? But still the Marcus crew ruled for decades.

Then, in the 1970’s, a young upstart in Houston by the name of Mickey Rosmarin opened up a T-shirt shop — Honest Threads — in Houston’s  Montrose neighborhood. His interpretation of cutting-edge fashion was such a hit that he opened up a boutique in 1975.

In the 1980s he moved the operation to Houston’s Highland Village along Westheimer with avant-garde dressing. Then in 2011 Mickey “relocated from its Highland Village digs to a [35,000-square-foot] luxurious fashion palace in West Ave.”

That Mickey center-of the-world fashion was called Tootsies, and it delighted the very fashionable set. Think of it as a Lou Lattimore, Gazebo or Forty Five Ten of the 70s, 80s, 90s, etc.

Mickey saw gold in the them-thar-hills of Dallas and opened a salon in the digs that once were Neiman Marcus in Preston Center. Over the years…decades… the boutique smartly tied in with charity offerings with fashions for fundraising opportunities like Mary Kay’s Suits for Shelter.

Today we regret to share that the Houston Chronicle is reporting that Mickey, at the age of 63, died of a heart attack. Luckily, his sister, artist Susie Rosmarin, reports that, “He seemed fine. He loved life. He was full of energy.”

According to Houston’s Kristi Schiller, “Mickey Rosmarin was the consummate gentleman of haute couture. The world has lost one of the most extraordinary people I have ever known. If I could say one last thing to him that summarizes over 25 years of admiration and friendship I would say, ‘Thank you for helping me become the woman I am today and for always inspiring me to make a statement without saying a word.’ Mickey always stuck to his conviction about how women should look – elegant, joyful, feminine – no matter how much fashion changed, but his taste never wavered.”

The Tootsies team put it simply, “Today we lost our amazing founder, Mickey Rosmarin. He loved Tootsies, and has left us with a legacy of style and generosity. We will miss his smiling face every day.”

To the Houston home base of Tootsies and its Dallas cousin, we extend our sincere condolences and our thanks for sharing your generosity and fashion sense with North Texas.

Cattle Baronesses Gather At Bistro 31 To Kick Off Fundraising For Naming Of Hope Lodge Suite

As storms were cooking up down in Stephenville on Tuesday, May 10, the Cattle Baronesses were gathering at Bistro 31 to kick off their newest project — to raise $100,000 for Cattle Baron’s Ball’s naming of a Hope Lodge Suite.

Cara French and Andrea Weber

Cara French and Andrea Weber

Co-Chairs Cara French and Andrea Weber reported that if 200 present and/or past committee members would contribute at least $500, they’d meet their goal.

FYI: Hope Lodge is the American Cancer Society facility being built at the Baylor University Medical Center campus that will provide residence for those seeking treatment for cancer in the North Texas area and their families. It is a godsend for people who should not have to worry about where they can stay while trying to save their lives.

Amy Turner and Katherine Wynne

Amy Turner and Katherine Wynne

But all the talk on this evening was not limited to the need for Hope Lodge. Andrea surprised some of the guests with news that she was not just pregnant. Nope. She’s due to deliver a son just days before the Saturday, October 15, fundraiser at Gilley’s.

In the meantime, Cara was recalling the night before when she and more than a dozen gals attended the Beyonce concert at AT&T Stadium. Review: It was spectacular. One wished Queen B had done some of her old tunes.

2005 CBB Chair Amy Turner in shorts with Chanel purse chatted with 2009 CBB Chair Katherine Wynne, who was on her way to the Zoo To Do kick-off party at the Dallas Zoo.

JUST IN: Aware Dallas’ Celebrate The Moments Plans And Beneficiaries Announced

Venise Stuart (File photo)

Venise Stuart (File photo)

After packing the younger elves off for summer camp and checking elder-type elves in for surgical enhancements, MySweetCharity headquarters continues being hit with all types of news. Forget all those rumors that things were calming down for the summer.

Aware Dallas President Venise Stuart just sent word that plans are already in place for the fundraising Aware Affair gala, “Celebrate the Moments,” on Saturday, April 8, at the Hilton Anatole. Co-chairing the evening of auctions, three-course dinning and dancing to Georgia Bridgewater Orchestra tunes will be Angela Fontana and Andrew Szuwalski and Penny Reid and Thomas Nolan.

Proceeds from the annual soiree will benefit the following programs dealing with Alzheimer’s:

  • Center for BrainHealth: Support for research aimed at slowing the rate of cognitive decline in patients with Early Mild Cognitive Impairment;
  • Juliette Fowler Homes, Inc.: Support for an expansion in the Art Therapy Program for residents who live with various stages of Alzheimer’s and related dementias;
  • NorthPark Presbyterian Church: Support for the Casa de Vida program offering affordable respite care for caregivers of individuals diagnosed with beginning-to-middle stage dementia being cared for at home;
  • Presbyterian Communities and Services Foundation: Support for the Grace Caring Fund which provides a safety net for Alzheimer’s and dementia residents experiencing financial hardship ensuring that they can continue living at Grace;
  • The Senior Source: Support for Senior Companions (volunteers) to provide independent living services to adults with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias;
  • Texas Winds Musical Outreach: Support for Musical Therapy Concerts for Seniors in Priority Facilities;
  • University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center: Support for the Clinical Neurology Fellowship Program.

The Party Animals Overcame Traffic Woes For Zoo To Do’s 25th Anniversary “Silver Safari” Kick-Off Party

Evidently no one told the internet map services that there had been some reconfiguring of I-35 leading from Dallas to the Dallas Zoo. During evening rush hour on Tuesday, May 10, it seems the old familiar lanes just weren’t headed in the right direction anymore. Some drivers looked like homeless puppies as they begged for others to allow them to swap lanes at the juncture of I-35 and I-30.

Linus the possum

Linus the possum

Owl ambassadpr

Owl ambassadpr

Despite the inconvenience, zoo-loving devotees found their way to the Zoo To Do kick-off party at the Zoo’s the Simmons Family Base Camp overlooking the Giants of the Savanna. As the two-legged humans sipped and sampled and got chummy with the resident owl and possum (okay, so when Tom Leppert got a wee bit too close to Linus the possum, the former Dallas mayor was advised that Linus might find Tom’s nose tasty), the elephants had their own happy hour themselves and could have cared less about guests’ trekking. Of course, it didn’t hurt that thanks to the fundraisers’ gathering, the pachyderms’ happy hour had been extended. Instead of two-for-one drinks, it was extra trunk time at the gurgling water features, green grass and hanging out at hay towers. While it was the same-old, same-old for vets of the herd, it was OMG for newbie African arrivals that had just left the drought conditions of their native Africa.

Elephants hanging out at the hay tower

Elephants hanging out at the hay tower

When asked how to tell the new kids on the block from the old-timers, a Zoo staffer said the African newbies were the thinner ones.

Dallas Zoo VP of Guest Experiences Sean Greene, when asked about the complaints regarding the “bring over” of the elephants from Africa to the states, admitted that he appreciated the concerns, but that comparing the Giants of Savanna’s protected environment to the natural predators, poaches and lack of food in Africa, he couldn’t help but feel a sense of comfort as he watched the elephants chowing down in their new digs. Sean’s hope was that the Dallas Zoo would be a prototype of how to provide better conditions for animals that only knew suffering in their native Swaziland.

Sean Greene

Sean Greene

John Levy

John Levy

Tom Leppert and Diane and Hal Brierley

Tom Leppert and Diane and Hal Brierley

But the evening’s attention soon shifted from the heavyweight types to the heavy hitters like Zoo To Do Co-Chairs Hal Brierley, Don Glendenning and John Levy, who will be heading up the 25th Anniversary of Zoo To Do with “Silver Safari” on Saturday, October 1, at the Zoo (naturally) with Party Machine providing the music. Future plans like the names of the participating chefs and live auction packages will be revealed in the weeks ahead.

Amy and Michael Meadows

Amy and Michael Meadows

The host committee is made up of  Christy Berry, Committee Co-Chairs Christy Berry and Ruth O’Donnell Mutch, as well as Stacey and Dan Branch, Janet and Crawford Brock, Connie and Denny Carreker, Ana and Don Carty, Taylor Conway, Barbara and Don Daseke, Holly Bock, Monica and Jesus Delgado-Jenkins, Barbara and Steve Durham, Kara and Randall Goss, Kathryn and Craig Hall, Jan and Fred Hegi, Jennifer and Doug Houser, Margo and Jim Keyes, Matrice Ellis-Kirk and Ron Kirk, Ashlee and Chris Kleinert, Sarah and Alan Losinger, Amy and Michael Meadows, Deborah and David Michel, Caren Prothro, Nancy and Doug Rabe, Sylvia and Hernan Saenz, Patty and Dennis Stone and Lori and Chuck Whitten.

Everything is moving right head with tickets started at $750 and sponsors already lining up including

  • Anniversary Level ($100,000) — The Eugene McDermott Foundation
  • Platinum Level ($50,000) — Diane and Hal Brierley, Carol and Don Glendenning / Locke Lord LLP, Carol and John Levy, Ruth O’Donnell Mutch and Gayla and Jim Von Her
  • Silver Level ($25,000) — Serena & Tom Connelly, Jennifer and John Eagle, Melissa and Trevor Fetter / Tenet Healthcare Corporation and Kara and Randall Goss
  • White Gold Level ($15,000) — Barbara and Don Daseke, Cindy and Chuck Gummer, The Craig and Kathryn Hall Foundation, Al G. Hill Jr., Lyda Hill, Jennifer and Doug Houser, Overhead Door Corporation, Edgar A. Robinson Family, Lori and Chuck Whitten, Ellen and Don Winspear and Wendy and Gary Wojtaszek/CyrusOne
  • Sterling Level ($7,500) — Bank of America (Photo Opportunity Sponsor), Gilian and Steve Baron, Susie and Joel Carp, Hegi Family Foundation, Dana and David Kleiman, Vicki and Brian Miller, Elaine and Trevor Pearlman, Stephen Penrose, Caren Prothro, PwC, Dr. R. Lynn and Cynthia A. Rea and Friends, Texas Capital Bank, Turner Construction Company, Walne Family/Herb’s Paint and Body Shops, David R. Weinreb, Westwood Trust and Jane Williams.

Luckily, there are still some great sponsorship opportunities still available. But better hustle.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2016 Zoo To Do Kick-Off Party

Giants of Savanna

Giants of Savanna

Not even convoluted traffic hassles kept the animal-loving types from attending the 2016 Zoo To Do kick-off party at the Simmons Family Base Camp overlooking the Giants of Savanna at the Dallas Zoo on Tuesday, May 10.

Tom Leppert and Diane and Hal Brierley

Tom Leppert and Diane and Hal Brierley

Sean Greene

Sean Greene

In addition to having a look at the newest members of the elephant community, guests learned about plans for the 25th anniversary of the zoo fundraiser — Silver Safari — from ZTD Co-Chair Hal Brierley, Don Glendenning and John Levy.

Dallas Zoo ambassador

Dallas Zoo ambassador

Dallas Zoo ambassador

Dallas Zoo ambassador

While the post is being finalized, all types of critters can be found over at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Sold-Out 2016 Can Do! Luncheon Celebrated Food For Thought And Stories Of Success By Wilkinson Center Clients

Can Do! Luncheon

Can Do! Luncheon

Those Melnick sisters must have a great relationship with Mother Nature. Last year Leslie (Melnick) Diers chaired The Wilkinson Center’s Can Do! Luncheon under clear skies. This was a first for the annual Wilkinson Center fundraiser that had previously had all types of thunder-bumper creating issues. This year Leslie’s sister Sara (Melnick) Albert chaired the 2016 Can Do! Luncheon and despite endless days of rain and storms, Tuesday, May 10, was clear, at least at noontime at the Dallas Country Club.

Sara Melnick Albert

Sara Melnick Albert

And the crowd of nearly 250 validated the theory that good weather turns out loads of folks. Luckily, the Wilkinson team was prepared with a game plan that was designed to run like an atomic clock. It was to officially start at 11 .m. and close at 1 p.m. That’s one of the perks of the Can Do! Luncheon. It appreciates guests and their time commitments.

Cynthia Melnick

Cynthia Melnick

Ellen McStay and Craig Innes

Ellen McStay and Craig Innes

Even before the official registration table was to open, guests were already in the club’s reception area “registering and mingling.” Within a half hour, the place was jammed with the likes of Melnick parents (Cynthia and Lester), Ellen and John McStay, Linda Perryman Evans, Nancy Gopez, Marsha and Craig Innes, Brett Gray, Kristina Whitcomb, Christi Carter, Jill Smith, Helen LaKelly Hunt and Harville Hendrix, Susan Farris, Tori Mannes, Laura Reeder, Katherine Coker and Tucker Enthoven, who had hosted the patron party.

Regina Montoya and Brett Gray

Regina Montoya and Brett Gray

Linda Perryman Evans

Linda Perryman Evans

As if the guests knew the schedule, they took their places at tables in the ballroom. While officially a sell-out, the tables weren’t jammed together in the ballroom due to the fact that a couple of table sponsors donated their tables at the last minute.

Joe Acosta

Joe Acosta

Wilkinson Center Board of Directors President Joe Acosta welcomed the group and thanked Sara and the committee and introduced Hannah Buchanan, who provided the invocation. There was then a 20-minute break for lunch (cucumber soup, pan seared herb chicken with roasted fingerling mashed potatoes, baby carrots, broccolini and asparagus and apple pecan gastrique followed by salted caramel cheesecake topped with fudge sauce and whipped cream) to be served.

At noon Sara was at the podium thanking her committee, showing the inaugural issue of the Wilkinson newsletter and reminding folks that the centerpieces could be had for $20. She then turned to a key subject of the day — the Center’s food pantry. If everyone in the room texted “Pathways” to 24700 with a $75 donation, it would stock the Wilkinson’s pantry for the summer. Cellphones were seen being put to use.

Anne Reeder

Anne Reeder

Following a video on the Wilkinson Center, the Center’s Executive Director Anne Reeder introduced another video about the clients who are served by the Center that started off in 1983  as a neighborhood resource for food and clothing. Today it has expanded to include programs for family enhancement and work education like its newly established GED testing center.

Christina Parks

Christina Parks

Seamlessly, the first two awards of the day were presented to Wilkinson Center clients. First was Christina Parks, who had emerged from a childhood of neglect and abuse. Despite her rough start, she married “Joe,” had a daughter, Alexis, and “settled down to being a new life as a family.” But Christina, Joe and Alexis were “in a horrible accident,” resulting in the death of Alexis. Life became a “day by day” process. with no plans for the future. Years passed and eventually Christina and Joe had other children, and that’s what made her want to change her life. It was in September 2010 that Christina turned to the Wilkinson Center’s Food Pantry to help her feed her family. But she found more than food. Thanks to Wilkinson Center caseworker Sonja Wright, Christina learned about the possibility of earning her GED. The only problem was childcare. But thanks to the Center’s working with Workforce Solutions, “she was eligible for supportive services including childcare.” The results? Not only was she able to enroll in GED classes in September 2015, she moved quickly to the advance program.

It was noted that Wilkinson had 15 of its clients earn their GED this past December. This Saturday Christina would be one of 50 to earn their GED.

Next up was Marilu Rodriquez, who came with her parents from Chihuahua, Mexico, to the States in 1998 looking for a better life. But that also meant challenges, like learning English, earning her GED and becoming a citizen. Due to complications, she found herself being the sole support of her family. In tackling the language barrier, she was advised to go to the Wilkinson Center to learn interviewing skills. It was here that she met Wilkinson Center’s Veronica Tobias, who through the Career Works program, helped Marilu in taking the steps to reach her career path. Yes, her language skills were challenging, but Marilu saw it as an opportunity to improve. As for her advancing from working in a restaurant, she started volunteering at Children’s Health. “In less than a year she was able to turn that volunteer position into a full-time job with benefit as a Patient Care Technician” at Children’s.

Marilu Rodriguez and Veronica Tobias

Marilu Rodriguez and Veronica Tobias

The Wilkinson Center Food Pantry Manager Steve Thompson told how the North Texas Food Bank and the Center had worked side-by-side for more than 30 years. During that time he estimated that the NTFB has distributed more than 1,250 tons of food through the pantry in the past ten years. In addition to providing food, NTFB has also taught clients how to cook and prepare healthy meals for the Center’s clients.

Katherine Perot Reeves

Katherine Perot Reeves

Following a video, Anne told how the first person who took her to lunch when she became the Center’s executive director was NTFB’s Jan Pruitt. Representing Jan in accepting the Can Do! Award was NTFB Board Member Katherine Perot Reeves, who told how last year NTFB provided 63M meals. Yup, that’s right 63,000,000 meals! The plan calls for that number to rise to 92M by 2025.

Sara then introduced a video featuring County Commissioner Elba Garcia, Dallas City Manager A.C. Gonzalez, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and Dallas City Councilman Mark Clayton on the day’s final recipient Regina Montoya, who besides her many accomplishments is chairing the Mayor’s committee on Task Force on Poverty.

Regina Montoya

Regina Montoya

Upon accepting the award, she thanked a number of people and organizations. Then Regina told of a play she had seen that made quite an impression on her — “All The Way” — about LBJ. Early in his career he had been a schoolteacher in one of the poorest parts of Texas, where a lot of the students’ parents were migrant workers. During his presidency, he recalled that “he could see these kids coming to his classroom at the very beginning of the school year. But slowly, slowly, he would see the fire that had been in their eyes extinguish as the school year went on because of the struggle that they had to go through realizing that their parents were working as hard as they could to try to put food on their table.” That served as the impetus for Johnson to start the war on poverty.

Regina then told that in today’s Dallas,

  • 38% of kids live in poverty,
  • 90% of children are eligible for free lunches,
  • 70% of those that are poor are working and
  • 41% of the very poor have jobs.

She pointed out Carlin Morris, who was last year’s Can Do! recipient, had started the Center’s shoe drive.

In conclusion, Regina pointed out that her grandparents had come to this country with their children, who” probably had some of those days when they weren’t sure where the next meal was going to come from.” On this day Regina’s 92-year-old father and 85-year-old mother were seated at the front row table watching their Harvard Law School graduate daughter being recognized for their—and her—“can do” spirit.

For more photos from the Can Do! Luncheon, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

 

Children’s Medical Center Foundation Provides Stories About The Family Hero

Children's notice

Children’s notice*

At a time when heroes seem to be needed more than ever,  this upcoming Father’s Day couldn’t come at a better time.

Okay, let’s be very honest. Not all fathers represent the ideal paternal figure. Too often headlines report cases of abuse and neglect by men, who should be on the frontline for the children in their care.

That is why this Sunday is so important to give credit and a pat-on-the-back for the men who nurture and serve as positive role models for kids. Sure, at times these fellas seem to be preoccupied with work and they may spend a bit too much time on the golf course or the couch. But when it comes to their kids, their priorities are right in order.

There are many great stories about these guys. The folks over at Children’s Health have firsthand knowledge of them, having witnessed and worked with those dad-type heroes. As the countdown to Father’s Day is underway, Children’s Medical Center Foundation has provided stories about some of these men, who have been through gut-wrenching times with their kids.

Just look over to the right side of the MySweetCharity page and check the Children’s notice like the one pictured here. A different story will be provided there every other day until Sunday.

BTW, the stories, like the best things in life, are absolutely free for the reading.

* Graphic provided by Children's Medical 
Center Foundation

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery: 2016 Can Do! Luncheon

Can Do! Luncheon

Can Do! Luncheon

As the spring season of luncheon fundraisers was starting to calm down, one of the annual favorites took place on Tuesday, May 10, at the Dallas Country Club — Can Do! Luncheon. Is it because it is timed down to the second, so guests don’t feel like they should have brought their jammies? Is it because it recognizes people and organizations that have a “can-do” spirit? Is it because it benefits The Wilkinson Center and its “little-train-that-could” attitude? Is it because the food’s pretty darn good?

Cynthia Melnick

Cynthia Melnick

Regina Montoya and Brett Gray

Regina Montoya and Brett Gray

Perhaps it’s all those reasons why this relatively new event was once again a sell-out with multi-generations in attendance. While the post is being prepped, there are pics at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery with some familiar and new faces.

Helping Our Heroes Foundation Presents $25,000 Checks To Folds Of Honor And Semper Fi Plus Announces Future Plans

With Mother’s Day in the rear view mirror and graduations and weddings up ahead, there was a check presentation on Monday, May 9, for folks who have gone the extra mile in safeguarding the nation’s well-being. In addition, it was also an occasion to announced upcoming plans for more fundraising for the Helping Our Heroes Foundation. Here’s a report from the field:

On Monday, May 9, dozens of board members, donors and friends of Helping Our Heroes Foundation gathered on the patio at Ocean Prime Dallas to celebrate the 2015 beneficiaries and kick off the 2016 Dinner and Golf Tournament set for Sunday, September 11, and Monday, September 12.

Michael Marasco, Travis Wilson and Laura Castellvi*

Michael Marasco, Travis Wilson and Laura Castellvi*

The evening began with light bites and cocktails while Pippa, a bulldog and mascot of the United States Marine Corps, posed for pictures with attendees. The organization presented two checks for $25,000 to each of its 2015 beneficiaries: Folds of Honor, which provides annual educational scholarships to the families of those killed or disabled while in active duty, and Semper Fi Fund, which provides immediate financial assistance and lifetime support to critically ill and injured members of all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Steve Christensen, Gail Leonard, John Christensen, Mason Fill and Lauren Christensen*

Steve Christensen, Gail Leonard, John Christensen, Mason Fill and Lauren Christensen*

Following the presentation, the celebration continued as Captain Mason Dill presented a framed flag to John Christensen and his family. Lauren and Steve Christensen and John Christensen were honored for their generous donations and support of Helping Our Heroes over the years.

Christopher Griffo, Mason Dill and Carl Fite*

Christopher Griffo, Mason Dill and Carl Fite*

Barbara and Trip Bomar*

Barbara and Trip Bomar*

Co-Founder and Event Co-Chair Travis Wilson and Event Co-chair Michael Marasco announced that Folds of Honor and Semper Fi Fund would return as beneficiaries for 2016 event. This year’s fundraiser includes a dinner on September 11, at Frontiers of Flight Museum, which will mark the 15th anniversary of 9/11, followed by a golf tournament at Brookhaven Country Club on September 12. In the past five years, Helping Our Heroes has donated more than $735,000 to selected beneficiaries. In 2016, the hope is to raise more than $200,000 to make a positive difference in the lives of veterans and their families through Folds of Honor and Semper Fi Fund.

Guests included: Barbara and Helping Our Heroes Co-founder Trip Bomar, Master Sergeant Christopher Griffo, Captain Mason Dill, Gail Leonard, Auction Chair Matt Lowe, Carl Fite, Underwriting Chair Art Seals, Semper Fi Fund Senior Manager for Community Outreach and Events Laura Castellvi, Mary McAdams, Val Bergman, Mike Engles, Steve Pilipchuk, Veronica Owens and Folds of Honor Regional Development Officer Sarah White.

Helping Our Heroes Foundation is a local organization founded in 2011 with a vision to help those who serve so that we can continue to enjoy the freedoms of living in the greatest country on earth. To purchase tickets for the dinner or to participate in the golf tournament, visit http://www.helpingourheroes.us.

* Photo credit: Rhi Lee