TACA Lexus Party On The Green Felt Right At Home In Its New Sammons Park Setting With Performers, Ice Carvings And Chefs Galore

Like a family realizing that perhaps they need to expand their residence, TACA organizers had determined that, as part of its year-long, 50th anniversary celebration, the annual  TACA Lexus Party On The Green needed a change. So, after years at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, they moved the outdoor fundraiser to Sammons Park in the AT&T Performing Arts District on Friday, May 12. It was nothing against the Mansion. After all, they were going to have the 50th Anniversary Gala at the Mansion on Friday, September 8.

With both the Artscape Award and Auction Dinner at the Arboretum and the Party On The Green taking place outdoors on the same night, Mother Nature was in a kindly state of mind and provided spectacular weather.

Tia Wynne, Dean Fearing and Wanda Gierhart

Katherine Wynne

POG Co-Chairs Katherine Wynne and Tia Wynne had orchestrated a beautiful setting with a backdrop of the very green grass shaded by grown-up trees. Giant lit white balloons hovered over each of the tented chef’s stations. Tabletops were gowned in TACA green and chairs wrapped with pashminas (some salmon-colored, others turquoise, still others emerald-green). An artist with a power saw sprayed ice chips as he carved “50” into two massive blocks of ice on a mini-stage. A ginormous lit balloon with Lexus TACA Party On the Green floated on the reflecting pool. Adirondack chairs were perfectly positioned on the lawn, with flawless views of the action in the pool.  

2017 Lexus TACA Party On the Green

Ice carver

Dawn Spalding

Dancers in reflecting pool

Of course, like any move to new surroundings, there were the expected “oops.” For instance, the PA seemed at times loud enough to be heard in Deep Ellum. Pleasant conversations required ramping up the vocal chords to compete with the myriad of announcements and actors and musicians.

At times, there seemed to be an overly aggressive push for the performing arts. While the dance in the pond was indeed captivating, the theatrical production on stage with Booker T. Washington as a backdrop was a smash … for those within eyesight. For those grazing near the Meyerson, it was a jumble of verbal clutter, just as it was at the last Silver Cup Luncheon.

Michael and Amy Meadows and Charmaine and George Tang

Hal and Diane Brierley

Chris Heinbaugh and Nannette and Tracy Fitz

Alex Laurenzi and Elizabeth Tripplehorn-Laurenzi, David Tripplehorn-Cash and Merrick and Stuart Huckin

Even those little snafus couldn’t hold back the 700 or so art-loving guests, like Amy and Michael Meadows, Charmaine and George Tang, TACA President/Executive Director Wolford McCue with wife Cheryl McCue, Diane and Hal Brierley, Ron Corning, Chris Heinbaugh, Nannette and Tracy Fitz, Simona Beal with her posse (Ed and Henny Wright, Bob Gibbs and Matthew Wilson), WaterTower’s Greg Patterson and Joanie Schultz, Lisa and Bill Ogle, Doris and Jack Jacobs, Dawn Spalding, Dean Driver, Holly Reed, Susan Arledge, Marsha Getto-Aikens, Rachel and John Michell, Elizabeth Tripplehorn-Laurenzi and Alex Laurenzi, David Tripplehorn-Cash, Merrick and Stuart Huckin, Paige McDaniel with Joe B Clark and Leslie Crozier

Ed and Henny Wright, Bob Gibbs, Simona Beal and Matthew Wilson

Greg Patterson and Joanie Schultz

Paige McDaniel and Joe B Clark

Lisa and Bill Ogle

Susan Arledge and Marsha Getto-Aikens

Snapshots of the scene included Mark Edgar giving a thumb’s-up for Chelsea Corner Chef Sara Griffin’s Road House Burger with truffle fries, which was getting a major top rating from many. Sara’s secret? She uses three types of meat… Rosewood Mansion’s Chef Nicolas Blouin‘s chocolate bar was a confectionary feast for the eyes and taste buds. Earlier in the day, Nicolas had been the one bright spot in a not-so-favorable review of the Mansion by the Dallas Morning News foodie Leslie Brenner…. Parigi Chef Janice Provost on her first outing at the POG decked out her tent with roses and cups set in faux grass filled with savory basil panna cotta with baby tomatoes and pesto… Sissy’s Chef Lisa Garza-Selcer was a bit frazzled during the VIP party, due to her late arrival. When asked how her baby was doing, the brunette replied, “I don’t know.” … Salum Chef Sader Matheis was subbing in for Chef Abraham Salum, who was in Lebanon with his father… Knife Chef John Tesar was all smiles over the sales of his new book, “Knife: Texas Steakhouse Meals at Home.” A recent signing at the Highland Dallas Hotel had drawn 200, John explained, and he was excited about expanding his Knife empire to Plano, San Francisco, and Denver…. Equally happy was Chef Dean Fearing with fiancée Wanda Gierhart, who is chairing TACA’s 50th anniversary, year-long celebration…  Laura Elcock reported that, earlier in the day, she’d had lunch with an old artist friend, who presented her with a portrait of Laura’s and husband Walter’s daughter… Michelle de Metz turned heads as she strolled past the tents with her leashed pooch.  

Nicolas Blouin

Nicolas Blouin dish

Lisa Garza-Selcer

John Tesar

Janice Provost

Janice Provost dish

Laura and Walter Elcock

Michelle de Metz

For more photos of the faces and food, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: Lexus TACA Party On The Green

Tia Wynne, Dean Fearing and Wanda Gierhardt

Katherine Wynne

Michael and Amy Meadows and Charmaine and George Tang

In celebrating its 50 years of supporting the performing arts, TACA has been undergoing some changes like expanding its fundraising efforts to include the visual arts. Another big change was its annual Lexus TACA Party On The Green that for ages has taken place at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek.

Lisa Garza-Selcer

John Tesar

Janice Provost

Nicolas Blouin

But on Friday, May 12, the whole kit and caboodle was relocated to Sammons Park in the Arts District. Made perfect sense and resulted in success, with loads of the pretty peeps grazing from food station to food station and dancers, singers, actors and musicians performing throughout the night.

Dancers

While the post is being written, the photos are ready for you to check out at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery now!

Black-Tie Types Celebrate Craig Hall’s Receiving Artscape’s “Great Contributor To Art” Award At Dallas Arboretum

While the casual chic set partied at Lexus TACA Party On The Green over at Sammons Park, the black-tie folks were toasting and bidding at the inaugural “Great Contributor to Art Award” dinner and auction at the Dallas Arboretum on Friday, May 12. It was the final piece of the Artscape Reimagined pie that had been cooked up by fundraiser Kaki Hopkins. Being toasted was the “great contributor of art,” Craig Hall. Thank heaven, Mother Nature cooperated, gifting guests with a perfect evening. Here’s a report from the field:

On the heels of a successful Artscape Reimagined at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, Artscape Chairwoman Kaki Hopkins, along with her stellar committee, hosted the “Great Contributor to Art Award” and Invitational Fine Art Auction on Friday, May 12. The black tie event began with a cocktail reception and hors d’oeuvres, giving attendees like Patricia Meadows, Donna Guerra, Cynthia Salzman Mondell, Tammy and Martin Cohen, Michelle O’Michael, Carolyn Brown, Steve Daly, Patricia Crocker, James Surls, Nancy Dedman, Brad Kelly, Barbara and Bob Sypult, Betty and Steve Suellentrop, Donna and Herb Weitzman, Myrna and Bob Schlegel, Margo Keyes, Marnie Wildenthal and Lucy and Henry Billingsley time to peruse the live and silent auction items, which were generously donated by dozens of acclaimed artists and local Dallas notables, such as Mayor Mike Rawlings, Dr. Kern Wildenthal and Jim Keyes.  The springtime weather served as the perfect backdrop for the first time event.

Kern and Marnie Wildenthal and Tammy and Martin Cohen*

Mark Wolf, Dallas Arboretum chairman of the board, welcomed guests. After dinner, he called up Artscape Award Chair Gloria Snead to join him. Wolf said, “It is my pleasure to introduce the ‘Great Contributor to Art Award.’ This aptly named prize was designed and contributed by Gary Lee Price, whose Great Contributors exhibition at the Arboretum in 2016 was the inspiration for the award’s name. Receiving this inaugural award tonight is someone we know and admire deeply, Craig Hall. Craig, who is an entrepreneur, businessman, New York Times bestselling author and philanthropist, is also a lifelong art collector. He believes that art nourishes the human spirit and can make a profound difference in people’s lives. His company, Hall Group, displays an extensive contemporary art collection at their properties. Craig truly embodies this award, so we are pleased to welcome and honor Craig Hall tonight as the inaugural awardee of the ‘Great Contributor to Art Award.’”

David and Beth Dike and Gloria Snead*

“It is an honor to receive the Artscape Great Contributor to Public Art award, and being able to share our art collection with the public has been a great joy of mine,” said Craig. “However, tonight’s award is really a tribute to the talented artists who make all of this possible. It is because of their hard work and creativity that we are able to contribute art for our communities to enjoy.”

Mark Wolf, Kaki Hopkins and Craig Hall*

Hopkins added, “It was a great pleasure to have Craig Hall as our inaugural awardee. He has done so much to make art available for the public to enjoy by investing in many artists’ works and displaying them so they can be seen by all. He is a terrific citizen of our city, and we are fortunate that he calls the Dallas Arts District his home.”

The live auction generated plenty of spirited bidding, especially Pamela Nelson’s “Mother Plant,” which graced the invitation cover, program cover and notecards given to patrons. Hopkins added, “I was overwhelmed by the artists’ and galleries’ generosity and pleased that our audience showed them the appreciation we all felt by participating in a spirited and fun auction.”

The Artscape Selection Committee and Heritage Auctions chose the following for the live auction, with the criteria to create a group diverse in style. Each artist graciously donated his/her piece to benefit the Dallas Arboretum, with many nature-inspired:

Arienne Lepretre, Mary Vernon, Donna Guerra and Cynthia Salzman Mondell*

Steve Daly, Patricia Crocker, James Surls and George Tobolowsky*

  • Carly Allen-Martin – “Exhale Doubt 2/50”
  • Carolyn Brown – “White Rose” and “Orange Ruffled Rose”
  • Marianne Gargour – “Visions Revisited”
  • Beth Hickman – “Moonlight Gardening”
  • Arienne Lepretre – “Arboretum Day”
  • Christopher H. Martin – “Cassini Disc II”
  • Pamela Nelson – “Mother Plant”
  • Brad Oldham – “Traveling Man”
  • Jessie Palmer (Am. 1882-1956) – “Still Life with Roses”
  • Steinunn Thórarinsdóttir – “Source II”
  • George Tobolowsky – “Looking for Light”
  • Mary Tomás – “Bloom”
  • Mary Vernon – “Raccoon”

* Photo credit: Steve Foxall

JUST IN: First-Day Sales Of Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala Single Ticket Sales Astounded Even DSO President/CEO Jonathan Martin

Jonathan Martin (File photo)

Despite Dallas Symphony Orchestra President/CEO Jonathan Martin disappointing many with his recent announcement of leaving North Texas for Cincinnati, he also shared some good news about the upcoming DSO Gala. It seems that the day that the single tickets for the DSO Gala went on sale, they really blew the DSO circuits.

When asked the cause for this DSO history-making situation, Jonathan said that it was three-fold: the amazing leadership (Co-Chairs Lisa and Clay Cooley and Honorary Chair Margaret McDermott), featured cellist Yo-Yo Ma and the final gala concert under the direction of DSO Music Director Jaap van Zweden.

Make sure that your reservation is in for the Saturday, September 16, black tie fundraiser at the Meyerson.

Genesis Annual Luncheon VIP Sponsors Celebrated The Jane Doe And HeRO Awards At Amanda And Brint Ryan’s Home-Sweet-Home

Amanda and Brint Ryan

When Amanda and Brint Ryan waved goodbye to the last of the 75 guests at the Genesis Annual Luncheon VIP Sponsors Party on Thursday, May 11, hopefully they checked all the nooks and crannies of their palatial digs. The reason? The main house and grounds were so absolutely perfect, it was good money that someone would hide out just to spend the night.

Ryan main house

Ryan doghouse

Even the Ryan’s doghouse was a mini-version of the main house. The two Ryan pooches had to watch the festivities from their fenced-in mini-estate, while the party was going on.

But the night wasn’t just for critters and palace gazing. It was to thank the Genesis major donors and to present some awards in advance of the annual luncheon on May 15.

Gerald Turner

Chuck Thoele and David Miller

When a classical string group stopped playing and the pool’s fountains closed down, it signaled that the evening’s program was getting under way, with guests in attendance like Nancy Best, Gail and Gerald Turner, Carolyn and David Miller, Beth and Chuck Thoele, Bob Mong and Steve Langbein.

First to speak was Genesis Annual Luncheon Co-Chair Nikki Webb, who thanked the Ryans for their hospitality. “I find your house so incredibly warm, and I’m sure it’s a reflection of y’all,” she said. Then, Nikki revealed for the first time that a fella that she’d dated in college had proved to be a very wrong person for a relationship. She admitted that while she feared him, her friends claimed that he was really a great guy. Luckily, Nikki rose above and out of that situation and eventually married her husband/Genesis Annual Luncheon Co-Chair Crayton Webb.  

Crayton and Nikki Webb

Next Crayton took the mic and announced that this year’s HeRO Award, which honors men who take a public stand against domestic violence, would be going to former Dallas Police Chief David Brown. The ex-chief, Crayton said, “was involved in preventing domestic violence long before” the tragic police shootings on July 7, 2016. Brown would accept the award, it was explained, at the May 15 luncheon at the Hilton Anatole.

With that, Genesis Women’s Shelter CEO Jan Langbein took over, explaining that the 2017 Jane Doe Award—which honors groups or individuals who stand strongly in support of domestic-abuse victims—would be going to the Junior League of Dallas. Jan, who was initially exposed to Genesis as a JLD volunteer and later won its highest honor, the Mary Harriman Community Leadership Award, explained that Genesis currently enjoys the services “of the most JLD volunteers of any nonprofit in Dallas.”

Nancy Best and Jan Langbein

Bonner Allen

Accepting the Jane Doe award was Bonner Allen, the league’s 2016-2017 president. While 2017-2018 President Jennifer Tobin looked on, Bonner proudly said, “I can’t tell you how much this award means to us. I couldn’t think of a better partner [for the league] than Genesis.”  

JUST IN: JPMorgan Chase Exec Michelle Thomas To Chair TACA Board Starting January 1, 2018

It’s just been announced that JPMorgan Chase VP of Corporate Responsibility and Community Relations Michelle Thomas will become TACA’s board chair. She will succeed current chair Donna Wilhelm on January 1, 2018, and will hold the position until December 31, 2019.

Michelle Thomas*

According to Donna, “We are thrilled that Michelle will chair the board of directors, and I know TACA will be in excellent hands with her at the helm. Michelle has a rare combination of leadership abilities, strategic insight and skills that will help elevate TACA and its mission of providing financial support and resources to the arts.”

Michelle is well-acquainted with both TACA and the importance of North Texas fundraising, having been “responsible for managing a multi-million dollar corporate giving budget for the Dallas-Fort Worth and Oklahoma regions. She is also responsible for implementing the firm’s strategic approach to philanthropy, which is multifaceted and aims to address community needs in the local market.”

Having served on TACA’s board, Michelle has chaired the TACA Silver Cup Luncheon.

Michelle commented, “I am honored to lead TACA, which has focused on transforming lives through the arts for 50 years. With TACA expanding its grants to include the visual arts, as well as creating a social impact fund, it’s an exciting time to work with the other board members to help lead the organization to even greater heights.”

Her volunteer efforts have included serving on the Advisory Board of the Center for Nonprofit Management, Junior League of Dallas and the Kipp DFW Council, Board of Directors for the Methodist Health Foundation and the UT Southwestern Medical Foundation. 

The Dallas native’s collection of accolades include 2014 Minority Business Leader in the Dallas Business Journal and being the recipient of the 2015 Business and Civic Leader award from the Dallas Black Dance Theater, the 2015 Income Award from United Way of Metropolitan Dallas and the 2017 Heritage Award from the African American Museum.  Under her leadership, JPMorgan Chase was named Outstanding Corporation of the Year by the Association of Fundraising Professionals in 2015.

* Photo credit: James Edward

Under Perfect Skies Artscape Reimagined Patrons Toured The Remarkable Art Collection At Hall Arts

The weather couldn’t have been more perfect for an outdoor affair. While the Dallas Women’s Foundation was over at the Omni on Tuesday, May 9, the art loving/environmental fans were sipping wine and taking tours of Kathryn and Craig Hall’s art at Hall Arts.

Patricia Meadows, Jane and Chick Pierce and Kaki Hopkins

Charles and Cindy Feld

Sarah Hoffman and Kymberley Scalia

The occasion was the Dallas Arboretum’s Artscape Reimagined patron party. While Artscape Honoree Craig Hall was juggling appearances with another Hall-sponsored event upstairs, Artscape Chair Kaki Hopkins was charmingly advising people like Cindy and Charles Feld, Jane and Chick Pierce, Sarah Hoffman, Kymberley Scalia, George Tobolowsky and Shelton Hopkins to follow petite art curator Patricia Meadows on a tour of the property art collection.

Hall Arts

Donna Arp Weitzman and Herb Weitzman

Donna Arp Weitzman revealed that a script was being prepared based on her book “Cinderella Has Cellulite: And Other Musings From A Last Wife.” Her two caveats:

  1. It can’t be based on a dumb woman.
  2. And it can’t be a Dallas woman.

As one guest eyed the naked men assembled on the exterior of the elevator, he pointed to the nameplate and admitted, “I thought it was a piece of art, too.”

Steinynn Thorarinsdottir’s “Paths”

The event was all in preparation for the formal presentation of the Artscape Award and auction dinner at the Dallas Arboretum on Friday, May 12.

Fifth Annual Can Do! Luncheon Brought Out Stories From All Walks Of Life For The Wilkinson Center Fundraiser

The Fifth Annual Can Do! Luncheon not only ran on time, it sliced off ten minutes with guests scurrying on their way to the valet ten minutes earlier than planned at the Dallas County Club on Tuesday, May 9.

It was a sell-out crowd for The Wilkinson Center fundraiser and it was a heady crowd, thanks to Co-Honorees Ashlee and Chris Kleinert, The Real Estate Council and Wilkinson Center supporters.

Regina Montoya

Craig Innes

Sara Martineau and Nelda Cain Pickens

In the crowd filling the DCC ballroom were Nancy Ann Hunt, Carolyn and David Miller, Ros Dawson Thompson, Gail and Gerald Turner, Angie Kadesky, Marsha and Craig Innes, Kristi Francis, Ellen McStay, Pam Perella, Tucker Enthoven, Stacey Walker, Cheryl Joyner, Suzy Gekiere, Leslie Diers and Sara Albert with their mom Cynthia Melnick, Jan Langbein, Sara Martineau, Nelda Cain Pickens, Regina Montoya, Jeanne Marie Clossey and Jennifer Swift.

Ros Dawson Thompson and Nancy Ann Hunt

Jennifer Swift

Marsha Innes

In keeping with other fundraisers, there was emphasis placed on text messaging donations. Whether it was Event Chair Beth Thoele or stand-up signage on tables, the message was strong to text. The problem with the text donating is that while the younger members of the audience know how to donate via their cellphones, the older crowd and the ones with the most ka-ching shied away from the idea.

Luckily, the Wilkinson message was delivered thanks to The Wilkinson Center Executive Director Anne Reeder with testimony from Bank of America’s Maria Padilla, who told of her coming to the U.S. when she was 9 years old with her mother and siblings. The purpose was to get an education. She recalled the days when she had to translate for her mother and go to McDonald’s and eat while her mother didn’t, because there just wasn’t enough money. Today her brother is an architect, her sister is a teacher and Maria has not only graduated from college but has earned a saster’s degree from SMU.

Robin Minick and Kelcey Hamilton

Following a video, the first award of the day was presented to The Real Estate Council. In accepted the award, TREC VP and Foundation Director Robin Minick spoke briefly about the similarities between The Wilkinson Center and TREC, which share a mission “to improve the lives of the people of Dallas.”

Next up were the Kleinerts. Chris started off admitting that he had been impressed by the Can Do containers with flowers on the table near the stage and had told their son to grab one after the lunch, so they could give it to Ashlee for upcoming Mother’s Day. Oops! He hadn’t realized that the containers were the awards.

Then he pointed out that the spirit of the Can Do Luncheon is about encouraging entrepreneurship and used as an example a recent news story about a youngster in Rockwall. It seems 7-year-old Kaden Newton had recognized the fact that many food pantries were in short supply when it came to healthy and kid-friendly food. So he created a program for Mac and Cheese and Pancakes to meet that need. Within the first two weeks, he had raised more than 10,000 items.

Ashlee and Chris Kleinert, Beth Thoele, Anne Reeder and Monique Weber

The Wilkinson Center’s Monique Weber also received a standing ovation for her story of surviving heart-rending challenges. She told how she had lost her son to a murder in Chicago and moved to Dallas, only to find herself homeless. She turned to Wilkinson Center’s Food Pantry, where she found a family of support in its staff. They not only provided food but also helped her earn her diploma and receive a scholarship to attend a community college, where she is training to become a surgical technician.

Under A Bright Sun, The Star Shone With Great Taste, Cowboys, Chefs And North Texas Food Bank Fans

After the ups and downs of weather days combining cashmere shawls with Daisy Dukes, Sunday, May 7, was bright, shiny and in the 80s. It was especially shiny at the Dallas Cowboys’ Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, where the North Texas Food Bank’s fundraiser, Taste of the Cowboys, was preparing for 1,000 guests. Presenting sponsor for the event was Caliber Collision.

There had been changes from the past. It was no longer called Taste of the NFL. It was no longer at AT&T Stadium. It was no longer led by he-who-used-to-be-known-as Kent Rathbun, although there was a chap non-cooking on the premises with his family (wife/restaurateur Tracy Rathbun, son Max Rathbun and daughter Garrett Rathbun).

Garrett Rathbun,, Max Rathbun and Kent and Tracy Rathbun

While the Star’s mini-Jerry World is still a project in progress, there was some confusion about where to park and check in. VIPs like Susan and John Farris, Larry James of  CitySquare, current Dallas Cowboys center Travis Frederick, and former Cowboys star Preston Pearson were to enter for a 5 p.m. start, but evidently some general-admission early birds nestled in a line before their 6 p.m. official get in.

John and Susan Farris

Preston Pearson and Larry James

As signage directed all to general parking a block or so away, smart VIP-ers headed around the corner to the valet check-in. Once on foot, though, the confusion continued. Folks lined up 10 deep to check in, only to finally learn: “Oh, you’re supposed to go outside and the lady there will direct you.” Alas, there was no woman there, so humbled VIP-ers wandered down the walkway like children lost at the State Fair. Soon they discovered an outdoor mini-stadium field surrounded by food stations and topped with a stage with bands performing (the headliner set for 8:30 p.m. was to be Reckless Kelly).

Taste of the Cowboys stage

The good news was that, despite the lack of signage directions, the in-the-flesh NTFB staffers were more than willing to help get things straightened out.

Once inside the air-conditioned lobby between the indoor and outdoor playing fields, there were a Mirmir Photo Booth, a Kendra Scott set-up, and a number of silent auction items.

Dunia Borgia

Aaron Hardwick and Tina Um

Chris Memme

Outside, there sure wasn’t any A/C. But there were a heck of a lot of local chefs cooking up a storm. Dunia Borgia of La Duni Baking Studio had replaced her frozen treats (at last year’s event) with sweet empanadas; Tina Um and Aaron Hardwick were showing off their General Tsao’s Chicken from Howard Wang’s China Grill; and BIRD Bakery proprietor Elizabeth Chambers Hammer, famed for her cookies, cupcakes, and mini-cupcakes, was enjoying the afternoon with Julie Bowsher and Mary Welch. Other eateries represented included Mi Cocina, Seasons 52, Off the Bone Barbeque, and The Common Table. 

Jamie Poper, Jill Bailey, Taylor Wencis and Ben Austin

Blythe Beck

Craig Walter

Julie Bowsher and Mary Welch

Kristen Sanger And Cindy Stager To Co-Chair The Family Place’s Texas Trailblazer Luncheon With Gretchen Carlson As Keynote Speaker

While all the recent headlines have been about The Family Place’s brick-and-mortar successes (the new Ann Moody Center and Texas’ first men’s shelter), behind the scenes work is continuing to raise funds for the organization’s various programs.

In addition to the Partners Card fall fundraiser celebrating its 25th anniversary from October 27-November 5, the annual Texas Trailblazer Luncheon has lined up a couple of tested fundraising co-chairs — Kristen Sanger and Cindy Stager.

Kristen Sanger (File photo)

Cindy Stager (File photo)

Between the two of ‘em, they’ve held various leadership roles for events benefiting Community Partners of Dallas, Housing Crisis Center, Heroes for Children, The Retina Foundation of the Southwest, Dallas Habitat for Humanity, American Heart Association, TACA and, of course, The Family Place, to name a few.

Interestingly, they both co-chaired the annual Cattle Baron’s Ball, but at different times. Kristen co-chaired the American Cancer Society fundraiser in 2012 and Cindy in 2014.

With all the expertise, it’s no surprise that the two ladies are co-chairing the 2017 Texas Trailblazer Luncheon on Friday, October 6, at the Hilton Anatole. For the keynote speaker, they’re having former FOX News Channel host Gretchen Carlson. In addition to being Miss America in 1989 and having recently made headlines about sexual harassment in the workplace, the 5’3” blonde used to work at KXAS-NBC from 1998-2000.

Also on the luncheon agenda will be the annual Trailblazer Awards that are presented to “those who create positive change and contribute to the quality of life in our community.” As for this year’s awardees, stay tuned.

PS — You might want to send Gretchen a birthday card on Wednesday.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: Taste Of The Cowboys

With the sun shining bright overhead, The Star was filled to the brim with food and football lovers like former Dallas Cowboy Preston Pearson and current Dallas Cowboy Travis Frederick on Sunday, May 7 for the Taste Of The Cowboys benefiting the North Texas Food Bank.

Preston Pearson and Larry James

Travis Frederick

While the stations surrounding the field served up everything from from Chef Chris Memme‘s tuna tostadas to Dunia Borgia‘s empanadas, Reckless Kelly was on stage.

Chris Memme

Dunia Borgia

The post is almost complete. But the MySweetCharity Photo Gallery is already served up!

Canine Companions For Independence Graduation At Kinkeade Campus Changed Lives For Both Humans And Their New BFF

Linda and Terrence Marler

May is filled with graduations and that applies to pooches as well as youngsters. On Friday, May 5, Canine Companions for Independence held a graduation ceremony at its Canine Companions for Independence Kinkeade Campus at the Baylor Scott and White Health facilities in Irving. It was overflowing with humans like Jan Rees-Jones with Susan McSherry, Baylor Animal Assisted Therapy Coordinator Linda Marler and her husband Terrence Marler as well as four-legged types.

Before the graduation took place, U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade, who had been the driving force for Texas’ only CCI, teased new Baylor Scott and White CEO Jim Hinton, who had just recently arrived in North Texas from New Mexico: “When Jim first got here, he asked me what are those green objects. I told him, ‘Jim, I know you’re from New Mexico, but those are trees. We have a lot of those here.’ ”

Jim and Kristen Hinton and Ed Kinkeade

Following Ed, Jim told the crowd, “I love my wife first, I love my dogs second and I love my kids third and I’m completely unapologetic about that.”

Despite the Hinton dogs still living for the time being in New Mexico, Jim confessed that he does Facetime with them. “The good news is that they recognize my voice and I’m still a little bit of a wag. I miss those dogs terribly. To me this effort is a convergence of two things that I am passionate about: one is dogs and the other one is healthcare, taking care of people. We all owe a huge debt of gratitude to Judge Ed Kinkeade. It is his vision; it is his passion; it is his unique way that has caused this to exist.”

Jim recalled his attending the previous graduation and “I asked the question that all first-time guests ask, ‘Why are all these Kleenex boxes sitting around?’ And so for the past several months, I’ve been building up this moment with my wife [Kristen] and she is with me today. I’ve noticed that she’s already getting a little teary and we haven’t even started the darn program yet. So, she’s going to be a mess before this thing is over. ”

Luckily, there were boxes of tissues placed throughout the room. Sure, it was Cinco de Mayo to the rest of the world, but it was a parting of relationships for some in the room and for others it was the coming together for a lifelong journey.

Canine Companion for Independence puppy in training

Canine Companion for Independence puppy graduate Dutch II

One group consisted of young Labradors that for two years had been raised through the “awkward years,” thanks to volunteer puppy raisers. These dogs had been loved, hugged and been exposed to the world. Now, they were leaving the comfort of their homes and stepping up to a new level of education that would take place at the facility for months by skilled trainers. Their goal was to become the “companions” for those in need.  

Judy Schumpert and #18

A word about the puppy raisers; they range from all types. Some are families; some are prisoners; and then there was Judy Schumpert, who was turning in her 18th dog and already training her 19th : “I’m either on a mission for God or a glutton for punishment. I’ve got to keep doing it until I can do it no more.”

It’s hard to imagine anyone living, loving and working with a puppy for two years and then giving them up. New puppy raisers Mary Catherine Lombardi and Erica Hotvedt admitted, “When we got started, I think we knew what we were getting into. But I think the final goodbyes are harder than we expected.”  They recognized that their puppy Yoshi III, however, was destined for a truly remarkable role.

That purpose became so apparent when the graduation of the new teams took place. For the past two weeks, the seven humans had arrived and lived at the facility to be matched and trained with their new best friends.

Edgar

Chosen as class spokesperson for the graduating teams, Edgar, with Chase V at his side, eloquently told of the importance of this program for the graduating humans. One was an autistic child, whose outbursts would “calm down immediately” when her pooch, Tess VI, “came to the rescue.” Thomas, whose weakened motor skills caused by cerebral palsy resulted in his dropping things to the floor, had been helped by  Atlas IV retrieving them for him. Wheel-chair-bound youngster Lauren‘s arm was subject to bouts of spasticity and limited control, but when Egan II lay down at her side, it was still and under control. Edgar himself admitted that there were times when he would fall out of his wheelchair and Chase’s bark command would sound the alert for assistance. Thanks to Dutch II, wheelchair-bound Lauren was looking forward to getting out on her own and not being “a burden on my parents.” Sara, who works with first responders in dealing with PTSD, would be assisted in the future by Aiken II, who would be “the non-judging entity in the room that helps the patients relax.” 

From the left: (seated) CCI graduate team Lauren and Egan; (standing) Puppy raisers Andrew, Ella, Mark, Angela and Lauren’s mother

Edgar continued, “These stories are a mere excerpt of what has happened in the past 10 days. Can you imagine what is going to happen in the next 10 years? All of us graduates would like to say thank you for being here today, whether you’re a donor, a puppy raiser, a volunteer. Even if this is your first time with Canine Companions, that’s how it starts. That how you get the ball rolling.”

Summing up the two weeks of team training, he addressed his fellow graduates: “We arrived as seven families, but today we graduate as one. And here we stand on the brink of a 10-year-journey. It won’t always be easy, but I promise it will be worth it. All the troubles that we deal with daily will soon be alleviated by an incredible new resource, my new best friend that is unconditionally at our side just waiting to help anyway they can. Thank you.”

As the new teams headed home for a new life of independence, the new recruits were taken to their CCI spotless digs for the next step in their education to be a life-changing partner for someone in need.   

Lauren and her mother

And that’s why the boxes of Kleenex were throughout the hall.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery: Canine Companions For Independence Graduation

Canine Companions for Independence South Central Training Center

Unlike many May graduates who have diplomas but are in need of jobs, the Canine Companions for Independence graduates left the stage for a lifelong career with their human partners on Friday, May 5. Also as part of the ceremony at the Kinkeade Campus at Baylor Scott and White Health facilities in Irving were the puppies that have been raised by volunteers for nearly two years. They were turned over by their puppy raisers to CCI trainers to see if they, too, would make the grade.

As the class spokesperson said, “We arrived as seven families, but today we graduate as one.” Needless to say, there was plenty of Kleenex put to use for the standing-room-only crowd.

Lauren and her mother

As the post is being completed, check out the pooches and people at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

JUST IN: Lisa Cooley And Janelle Walker To Co-Chair 2018 Go Red For Women Luncheon

Janelle Walker and Lisa Cooley*

More news just arrived about 2018 fundraising. The Dallas Go Red For Women Luncheon not only has two blondes co-chairing the event, they’ve already locked down some nice funding. The ladies are Lisa Cooley and Janelle Walker.

To kick things off, Janelle has already gotten a $125,000 commitment from her bosses at BB&T and from Texas Health.

While they’re keeping their lips sealed about who will be the featured speaker, they did reveal that the fundraising for the American Heart Association of Dallas will take place on Friday, February 23, at the Omni.

* Photo credit: Goldenlight Creative

JUST IN: 2017 Zoo To Do Co-Chairs Barbara And Don Daseke Reveal Fundraiser’s Plans

While the two-legged critters wore shades as the sun set slowly over the Dallas Zoo’s Highland Hippo Hut, the two showstoppers chilled in the Simmons Hippo Outpost lagoon last night. The twosome were Adhama and Boipelo that almost stole the show from the reveal of plans for the 2017 Zoo To Do.

Dallas Zoo’s “hip” kids

But more about that at a later date.

In the meantime, here are the deets: Zoo To Do Co-Chairs Barbara and Don Daseke have arranged to have Diane and Hal Brierley in charge of the live auction; Barb and Steve Durham as host committee co-chairs; Cindy Gummer handling decorations; Kate and Lane Britain as underwriting co-chairs; Anatole Brett Krafft as wrangler and ZaZa Chef Dan Landsberg as head chef.

The date is set for Saturday, November 4. It’s going to be a great one with the Dasekes, the committee heads, the chefs cooking all over the place and the multitude of newborns that are cropping up all over the zoo.

Grovel Alert: 31st Attorneys Serving The Community Luncheon

It’s getting down to the bare nitty gritty. The 31st Attorneys Serving The Community Luncheon on Friday, June 23, at the Anatole is just a hair’s breadth from being filled to capacity. With “Hamilton’s” Christopher Jackson as the featured speaker for the event benefiting Junior Players, it’s no wonder.

Christopher Jackson*

According to Junior Players’ Executive Director Rosaura Cruz-Webb, “Junior Players is celebrating its nearly sold out status with a Luncheon Ticket Lottery in the spirit of Hamilton: An American Musical and Junior Players’ mission to provide free arts education programs. Through the Luncheon Ticket Lottery, people who are passionate about the arts can be ‘in the room where it happens’ to hear a star of Hamilton. This, of course, was inspired by the fabled Hamilton Ticket Lottery on Broadway, in which theater fans can enter the lottery for a chance to get a pair of front row tickets to Hamilton for $10 a person. A Hamilton for Hamilton.”

The ASC Luncheon Ticket Lottery will take place on Thursday, June 15, at V-Eats Modern Vegan at Trinity Groves. Lottery entrees will start at 6 p.m. with the drawings taking place at 7:30. Here’s the trick — if your ticket is pulled, then you “will be able to receive the ticket for an optional donation of $10.” Adding to the pluses of winning, two of the ticket winners will have the opportunity to meet Christopher.

The lottery event is open to the public with V-Eats providing food and drink specials with 15% of orders benefiting Junior Players. For entertainment, there will be performances by the Junior Players, of course.

But if you’re not feeling all that lucky, then go ahead and get one of the few remaining seats here.

* Photo provided by Junior Players

JUST IN: Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s Jonathan Martin Is Headed to Cincinnati

Jonathan Martin (File photo)

Our buddy Mike Granberry at The Dallas Morning News is reporting that Dallas Symphony Orchestra CEO/President  Jonathan Martin announced this morning that he’ll be joining the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in September.

Taking over his duties immediately will be Michelle Miller Burns. Jonathan will serve as an advisor to the board chair and Michelle until he leaves at the end of August.

David Weinreb’s Breathtaking Estate Was Just Made For Cattle Baron’s Trailblazers To Party The Night Away

Sunie Solomon, David Weinreb and Anne Stodghill*

Up north on Thursday, May 4, while others were celebrating Cinco de Mayo eve, the Cattle Baron’s Ball Co-Chairs Sunie Solomon and Anne Stodghill  and their committee members were honoring their early bird underwriters with a Traiblazers party at David Weinreb‘s estate. You know who he is, of course. Whisper in your ear — he’s the fella who heads up The Howard Hughes Corporation.

David Weinreb estate*

Regardless, David opened his home … no, make that palace and grounds with a swimming pool longer than Beverly Drive and a cabana that would make Hearst Castle’s Neptune Pool seem like an ornate kiddie pool. Checking out the digs, one guest proclaimed, “This place is big enough to hold Cattle Baron’s Ball here!”

Annika Cail, Samantha Wortley and Megan Flanagan*

Isabell Novakov and Jamie Jo Boulogne*

Underwritten by PlainsCapital and PrimeLending, the partying was so typical of Cattle Baron’s with flirty fashions  being worn by Lauren Chapman, Elizabeth Tripplehorn-Laurenzi, Merrick Huckin, Jamie Jo Boulogne and Evening Co-Chairs Annika Cail, Elizabeth Fischer, Megan Flanagan, Samantha Wortley.

As for the munchables, the food being ladled out was barbecue thanks to Spice of Life.

Brian and Cammie Heflin and Danielle and Brent Raindl*

Ana Laspetkovski, David Weinreb, Olya Sinitsyna and Andy Beal*

Katy Bock and Jonika Nix*

Gathered poolside as the sun was setting were PlainsCapital’s Isabel Novakov, Danielle and Brent Raindl, Camy and Brian Heflin, as well as CBB Founding Co-Chair Jacque WynneJoanna Clarke, Nancy Gopez, Mary and Robert Black, Steve Stodghill, Steve Solomon, Lawrence Bock, Olivia and Jeff  Kearney, Ana Laspetkovski and Andy Beal with Olya Sinitsyna, who were on hand despite their baby being due at any moment. (UPDATE: Andy’s and Olya’s little Austin Beal arrived a week later. All three are doing just fine.)

The big news of the night was the announcement that blondes Katy Bock and Jonika Nix will be the 2018 Cattle Baron’s co-chairs.

* Photo credit: Holt Haynsworth

 

Celebrate Old Glory At Flag Pole Hill Park Wednesday Evening

Wednesday is Flag Day. It’s not a holiday. The banks will be open. Courts will be in session. The mail will be delivered. It’s really not a big deal. That is, unless you’ve ever suffered traumatic loss representing the flag. Then it’s a really big personal deal.

Old Glories

So, if you’re already in the stage of summer doldrums or would just like to be part of a patriotic gathering of red, white and blue, head over to Flag Pole Hill Park from 5:30 to 7 p.m. for Flag Day Ceremony 2017.

In addition to firetrucks, police squad cars, a Carry The Load Tent, a lemonade stand and cookies, there will be a program including speakers, the national anthem, a flag ceremony and other festivities.

Sponsored by White Rock Lake Foundation, Safer Dallas, Dallas Fire-Rescue, Carry The Load, Northeast Police Division, Council Member Adam McGough, White Rock Partnership, Boy Scouts of America and City of Dallas Parks and Recreation, the event is free and all are invited.

However, by making a minimal donation of $5, you’ll honor your police, fire/rescue or military hero by having a small American flag placed along the road at Flag Pole Hill.

2017 Crystal Charity Ball Theme – “Evening In The Alps” – Announced At Jan And Trevor Rees-Jones’ Frank Lloyd Wright-Inspired Estate

The Crystal Charity Ball theme announcement party generally attracts 60-75 guests. But on Thursday, May 4, the headcount was just shy of 200.

Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones

Well, yeah! After years of designing and construction, Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones had made their 15,000-square-foot home the site of the 2017 CCB theme announcement, and even the most stay-at-home types weren’t going to miss this one. And it was one that was not to be missed.

Channeling Frank Lloyd Wright into the 21st century, this baby overlooking the Dallas Country Club was brilliant, to say the very least.

Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones home

The Rees-Jones’ connecting home offices showcased the couple’s different styles. His wood shelves and drawers with hardbound books had a perfect view of the golf course. Her gloriously sleek and gleaming office, with shelves filled with framed photos of family and friends, was surrounded by the creek and the towering trees. Connecting the two offices was an open doorway and a see-through fireplace.

As guests entered the home, they were greeted by 2017 CCB Chair Pam Perella and a couple of snow bunnies lending a feel for what would be announced. Then it was decision time: go outdoors on the terrace, or wander through the house with its mammoth windows and wonderful art collections. (Jan’s is modern, while Trevor’s is western, by the likes of such legends as C.M. Russell and Frederic Remington.)

Janie Condon, Margaret Hancock and Angie Kadesky

Cynthia Beaird and Tiffany Divis

Before the announcement took place, the guests were enjoying hors d’oeuvres by Cassandra and revealing their stories of the day. Janie Condon was preparing to Southwest it to Kentucky to greet her first granddaughter… Cynthia Beaird had had a rough day. Forget her being stuck on the tollway for nearly an hour; she had dropped her purse and broken an ornament on it. Then, arriving at the CCB reception, she was more than an hour late and still was on her way to husband Brice Beaird’s performance… Lisa Singleton was late arriving. She had been way north on the tollway for the 2017 Cattle Baron’s Trailblazer party at another mega-estate belonging to Howard Hughes Corporation CEO David Weinreb.

Crystal Charity Ball theme announcement guests

Bob White and Pam Perella

Quietly, the bunnies disappeared from view and guests were herded onto the terrace. Pam, standing next to a covered easel, thanked Jan and Trevor and the evening’s sponsor Bank of Texas, who was represented by Bob White. Bob, an old hand at these occasions, made his comments brief, thanking the CCB for what they do so well—raise money “in buckets.” While Pam recognized key people in the crowd like event producer Tom Addis, the bunnies were seen just below the terrace inching their way up the steps along with Bernie the St. Bernard, which had arrived earlier in the day from New Jersey. Just in time, they joined Pam on the other side of the easel as it was uncovered and Pam announced the 2017 theme would be “Evening In The Alps.”

Snow bunnies, Bernie the St. Bernard and Pam Perella

However, it should be noted that word evidently had slipped out to some of the CCBers, since a few wore snow-white outfits and others’ ensembles were highlighted by sparkling designs.

It will be interesting to see how the 1,000+ guests interpret the theme on Saturday, December 2, at the Hilton Anatole to benefit area children’s nonprofits.    

For more photos of the party, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2017 Crystal Charity Ball Theme Announcement Reception

Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones

Leave it to the Crystal Charity Ball ladies to land one of the most talked about estates-in-the-making in the Park Cities for the theme announcement of the 2017 children’s nonprofit fundraiser. The home-sweet-home a la Frank Lloyd Wright belonging to Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones drew nearly three times the usual number for such an occasion on Thursday, May 4.

Snow bunnies, Bernie the St. Bernard and Pam Perella

With the night air being spectacular and the terrace overlooking the Dallas Country Club golf course and Turtle Creek, 2017 Crystal Charity Ball Chair Pam Perella with a couple of snow bunnies and Bernie the stuffed St. Bernard at her side revealed the theme would be “Evening In The Alps.”

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

JUST IN: Multi-Award Winner Jennifer Hudson To Headline CitySquare’s 2017 A Night To Remember On September 9 At The Winspear

Leave it to the CitySquare fundraisers. They always manage to come up with a performer who guarantees a sell-out. Last year’s Jerry Seinfeld was nearly a done deal before the ink on the contract was dry. Others who have been filled the Winspear Opera House for CitySquare have been Gladys Knight, Vince Gill, LeAnn Rimes, Clint Black, Steve Martin, Kirk Franklin, Jay Leno, Lyle Lovett, Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin and Hall and Oates.

Jennifer Hudson (File photo)

And the stellar talent roll-call keeps coming in, with the reveal that the headliner for A Night To Remember 2017 will be all-around winner (Academy Award, Grammy Award, Golden Globe Award, Screen Actors Guild Award) Jennifer Hudson.

Her voice is incredible and her presence on stage is memorable.

Co-chairing the event for the Saturday, September 9th fundraiser will be Wendy and Boyd Messmann,Tiffany Touchstone-Hawkins and Brandon Hawkins and Sherel Riley.

Tickets and sponsorships are available now. Proceeds from the event will support CitySquare’s “17 social service programs that address hunger, health, housing and hope with more than 50,000 human touches annually.”

So, while you’re chilling on your vacation, make plans now for a cool evening with Jennifer. Keep your fingers crossed that she might sing “Hallelujah.”

With A Vintage Cadillac Out Front, Cosmopolitans On Trays And The Clutch Poolside, Genesis Luncheon Sponsors Got In The Swing Of Things

Eddie Ortega and Greg Nieberding with Dixie Belle

It was a night of whiskey sours and cosmopolitans. There was even a vintage turquoise blue Cadillac displaying in the circular driveway. The night was Wednesday, May 3 (aka the Genesis Women’s Shelter Luncheon sponsor party).

Nikki and Crayton Webb

The location was Greg Nieberding’s and Eddie Ortega’s and their Schnauzer daughter Dixie Belle’s home. Actually, the 60-year-old mid-century residence’s rich history was the source of the Mad Men’s evening theme. During the years when singer Margaret and fashion designer Ed Cupaioli owned the home that they built, it was a gathering place for the likes of Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Doris Day and countless others. Over the years, the Cupaiolis had lovingly taken care of the home. Upon Margaret’s death at the age of 96, the family decided to sell it. Luckily, Greg and Eddie bought it. But if asked, Greg and Eddie insist, “We’re really just caretakers.” Yes, they’ve updated things like the windows and the roof, but they have maintained the feel and design by architect Jack Wood.

To complement the occasion, Genesis Luncheon Co-Chair Nikki Webb surprised all, except husband/Luncheon Co-Chair Crayton Webb, with her finding and wearing a suit created by Ed.

The Clutch

Despite breezes provided by Mother Nature causing the lineup of towering trees to sway like back-up singers, the presentation took place with The Clutch quartet crooning in front of the swimming pool.

Jan Langbein and Gail Davis

Abi Perpall and Bianca Jackson

Rachel Michell

Bob White

Nancy Best

That smart move got the guests including Raffle Chair Rachel Michell and husband John Michell, Luncheon Underwriting Co-Chairs Abi and Fred Perpall, Bob White, Gail Davis, Genesis Board of Trustees Chair Nancy Best and Jessica and Drew Spaniol out on the patio for presentations by Genesis CEO Jan Langbein, Nikki and Crayton, Greg and Genesis Senior Director of Fund and Community Development Bianca Jackson about the upcoming luncheon featuring Arianna Huffington at the Hilton Anatole on Monday, May 15.

Dallas Film Society President/CEO Lee Papert To Exit The Popcorn World

Sarah and Lee Papert (File photo)

Dallas Film Society President/CEO Lee Papert is leaving the dark theaters of the film world and looking to a brighter future. As soon as the official word on his departure is received, it will be posted.

In talking with Lee, he admitted that six years ago he started a whole new world, both personally and professionally. Just the week before being named to head up the DFS, he married Sarah Papert, who is executive director of the Vickery Meadows Learning Center.

Lee will still be at DFS through June. After that, he’ll probably have to go through popcorn-withdrawal treatments.