Blake D. Lewis III Named Communities In Schools Dallas Region Chairman Of The Board

Caroline Rose Hunt (File photo)

Caroline Rose Hunt (File photo)

Just in time for the Communities in Schools Dallas Region’s Dream Achievers luncheon Thursday honoring Caroline Rose Hunt, it has been announced that Blake D. Lewis III has been named Chairman of the Board. This is big news since this changing-of-the-guard is historic for CSDR. Former ExxonMobil assistant general tax counsel Karl Schmalz has held that position since 2001 and was named Board Member of the Year by the Communities in School Texas in 2007. But don’t go worrying about retiree Karl taking to the couch. He’ll still be an active CISDR board member.

Blake brings “more than 35 years of experience in strategic planning, creative development and media relations in corporate, agency and nonprofit settings.” His Lewis Public Relations has provided “high-level strategy and counsel to a range of organizations, including Alon USA Energy, Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, Texas Farm Bureau and Winzer.”

Blake Lewis III and CISDR student*

Blake Lewis III and CISDR student*

According to CISDR President/CEO Dr. Judith Allen-Bazemore, “Blake has been an integral member of our board. He has strong ties to the local educational community and truly understands the necessity of consistent, evidence-based student services.”

If you haven’t gotten your ticket for the luncheon at the Dallas Arboretum, now is the time to buy. Understand that State Sen. Don Huffines already has his spot at the festivities.

* Photo provided by Communities in Schools Dallas Region

Teaching The Next Generation About Philanthropy Was Made Easy Thanks To The Dallas Foundation’s Family Philanthropy Institute

For some parents, just trying to teach their munchkin how to tie a shoelace or an older kiddo what the word “curfew” means can be harder than getting a hummingbird take a nap. Still another life lesson that seems boggling is getting across the importance of philanthropy to the younger generation and easing them into the process. Luckily, The Dallas Foundation President/CEO Mary Jalonick recognized the quandary and provided just the right venue to help parents and grandparents handle the situation. Here is a report from the field:

Diana and Ward Beaudry and Mary Jalonick*

Diana and Ward Beaudry and Mary Jalonick*

The Dallas Foundation received a gold star from those who attended its annual Family Philanthropy Institute event at Old Parkland last Wednesday, January 20. Nationally-recognized family expert Susan Crites Prites, who has also appeared on NBC’s “Today Show” and “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” shared her expertise in multi-generational philanthropy with attendees.

Susan Crites Price and Toni Garrett*

Susan Crites Price and Toni Garrett*

Susan discussed important facts and valuable advice about how donors can pass on their values and assets to children and grandchildren. She also discussed tips on how to help the next generation of philanthropists spread generosity in the evolving world of both digital and traditional philanthropy.

Susan’s remarks were lively and thought-provoking. “What happens when a kid wants to do a lemonade stand to raise money?” she asked. “They Google it.”

“They have the world in their pocket” in the form of a smartphone, she said. So the goal is for parents or grandparents to be “generosity coaches” to younger members of the family. She offered four tips to make giving a family affair:

  1. Make sure kids mix virtual charity – online research or giving – with real-life experiences. Volunteer together.
  2. Let younger generations teach us how they learn and what the world looks like to them.
  3. If possible, start the conversation about giving when children are young, and keep it going throughout adulthood – but know that it’s never too late to start.
  4. Support your kids’ charitable choices – offer to match their gifts, or give them a sum to donate as they choose.

The Dallas Foundation President and CEO Mary M. Jalonick also spoke at the event, briefly discussing the background of the foundation, including its management of more than 500 separate funds and its almost $300 million in assets. She also noted its leadership in the effort to improve early childhood education in Dallas County and to promote animal welfare in Dallas.

* Photos provided by The Dallas Foundation

JUST IN: 2016 Crystal Charity Beneficiaries Announced

There are tears and cheers being experienced through the area this evening. After a marathon meeting of the Crystal Charity Ball membership with presentations by hopeful nonprofits, the 2016 CCB beneficiaries have just been announced to share in a goal of $5,650,258.

Christie Carter and Claire Emanuelson (File photo)

Christie Carter and Claire Emanuelson (File photo)

The months of coordinating the monumental process of charity selection was supervised by Helen Holman.

The funds will result from the year-long fundraising efforts of the 100 CCB committee members under the leadership of Ball Chair Christie Carter and Underwriting Chair Claire Emanuelson. The 2016 CCB will take place on Saturday, December 3, at the Hilton Anatole.

JUST IN: Dallas Women’s Foundation Maura Women Helping Women And Young Leader Awardees Announced

Word has just been received that the Dallas Women’s Foundation has finalized its plans for its annual Leadership Forum and Awards Dinner, where the 2016 Maura Women Helping Women Award and Young Leader Award are presented.

Presented by AT&T, the dinner will be held on Thursday, April 21, in the Trinity Ballroom at the Omni Dallas Hotel.

Event Co-Chairs Margaret Jordan and Debbie Taylor have arranged for New America President/CEO Anne-Marie Slaughter to be the keynote speaker. Anne-Marie has just had her “Unfinished Business: Women, Men, Work, Family” published “outlining a new vision of work-life balance, and an action plan for achieving true equality between men and women.”

According to Foundation President/CEO Roslyn Dawson Thompson, “The Leadership Forum recognizes outstanding leaders who blazed the trail for women in their industries and communities. These leaders have faced great challenges in their lives and careers, and yet dedicated themselves to creating more opportunities for women and girls to achieve and succeed. It takes courage and a commitment to advance change for women to get in and stay in the leadership pipeline. We are proud to elevate the striking examples our award winners represent, along with the critical insights Anne-Marie’s Slaughter offers, to illuminate ways to broaden pathways to opportunity and build new work cultures that strengthen women, families and communities.”

And now for the news about the awardees. Receiving the 37th annual Maura Women Helping Women Award will be

  • Diana C. Dutton
  • Rabbi Nancy Kasten
  • Vicki Meek
  • Katie Pedigo
  • Billie Bryant Schultz

Presented by Capital One, The Young Leader Awards are presented to women under the age of 40 who have “achieved success in a field, initiative or sector, and are creating a path of opportunity for other women to follow.” This year’s recipients are:

  • Brittany K. Byrd
  • Lacy L. Durham, Esq.

If you’re wondering what makes these ladies so outstanding, grab a cup of coffee, settle back and follow the jump. [Read more…]

Soup’s On! Returns To Union Station With Shows Of Appreciation, News And “The Blind Side’s” Collins Tuohy

The Grape’s Brian Luscher has a very special place in his heart for The Stewpot Alliance. In fact he’s sort of in awe of the organization. He admits that his Greenville Avenue restaurant daily serves 200 guests, while The Stewpot feeds 1,700 a day.

Brian Luscher and Bruce Buchanan

Brian Luscher and Bruce Buchanan

Thanks to Brian’s understanding of the importance of feeding those in need, he has spearheaded the annual Soup’s On! fundraiser for eight years by having the area’s fav chefs serve up bowls of soup.

On Tuesday, January 19, the 2016 group of chefs (Melody Bishop and Dennis Kelley of Lark On the Park, Omar Flores of Casa Rubia, Danyelle McPherson of Remedy, Misti Norris of Small Brewpub, Suki Otsuki of Mudhen, Janice Provost of Parigi, Abraham Salum of Salum and Komali, Sarah Snow of The Grape, Drew Swanson of Wolfgang Puck Catering and Brian Zenner of On Premise) were cooking up hundreds of bowls of soup in the kitchen at Union Station. It was sorta like going home for the chefs like Brian, Omar, Danyelle, Janice and Abraham. Prior to holding the event at the Omni Dallas Hotel the past three years, the event had been at Union Station. And while the Omni had been fine and dandy, Union Station’s charm and history just seemed a fit for the event.

Christi Nicolas, Charlotte Legg and Kristine Schwope

Christi Nicolas, Charlotte Legg and Kristine Schwope

But the sold-out luncheon had added touches that only enchanted the soups served up. For instance, The Stewpot Alliance Board President Kristine Schwope and Luncheon Co-Chairs Charlotte Legg and Christi Nicholas were so very proud of the centerpieces that Terry McCullough and Billye Turner had assembled with produce from the Stewpot Community Gardens.

And then there was the recognition of husband/wife creative team Christy Coltrin and Brad Oldham. Each year Brad has created a unique spoon that is presented to the luncheon chefs. This year the spoon featured the Coltrin-Oldham pooch, Pete. To celebrate the moment Christy and Brad brought along daughter Annabelle Oldham.

Brad Oldham, Annabelle Oldham and Christy Coltrin

Brad Oldham, Annabelle Oldham and Christy Coltrin

Still another star in the crown of the event was having Micki and Mike Rawlings serve as honorary co-chairs. Was it really five years ago when then-Mayor Tom Leppert clasped hands with rumored mayoral candidate Mike at Soup’s On! leading many to think that rumors were more than suspicions?

Harville Hendrix

Harville Hendrix

Helen LaKelly Hunt

Helen LaKelly Hunt

John Phifer Marrs and Lauren Thomasson

John Phifer Marrs and Lauren Thomasson

In the crowd supporting The Stewpot and the co-chairs were Helen LaKelly Hunt and husband Harville Hendrix, who will be orchestrating citywide Safe Conversations on Saturday, February 13… Realtor David Nichols receiving congratulations for being part of the team that closed on the Hicks estate to Andy BealJohn Phifer Marrs and Lauren Thomasson checking the silent auction items… Former Soup’s On! Co-Chair Gail Davis reporting that former Soup’s On! speaker Liz Murray would be back in town at the National Council of Jewish Women luncheon.

As the crowd moved from the reception area to their tables in the ballroom, Brian and his chefs were making last minute checks on their soups.

Suki Otsuki

Suki Otsuki

Cailey Ginn

Cailey Ginn

Bigger-than-life Robert Wilonsky kicked off the program introducing Rev. Joe Clifford to provide the invocation, and Charlotte and Christi told how the soup bowl favors at each guest’s place had been created by a volunteer. This year Shelton student Cailey Ginn was recognized for having painted 100 bowls. At a table in the back of the room, Cailey looked a little surprised at the recognition.

Speaking of surprises, the co-chairs then announced that longtime Alliance supporter Susie Simon had provided $250,000 for an art program at The Stewpot Alliance.

Next up was Honorary Co-Chair Mike (Micki decided to stay at their table and let Mike do the speaking for both of them), who had spent five years working with The Alliance’s Rev. Bruce Buchanan in dealing with “this nemesis.” But despite all the work, he added, “We have a long way to go.” He went on to say that the power of The Alliance “is about not just numbers. It’s about transforming lives.”

Following Christy and Brad being presented on stage for their years of creating the unique spoons presented each year to the chefs and supporting The Stewpot, the chefs were called individually to the stage. Unlike years past, when they had emerged from the center of the back of the room via an open aisle, this year they entered from a side of the back of the room and made their way to the stage through the cluster of tables as servers were delivering the soups. It might have been wiser to have had them simply make a clean entrance of the front side, thereby avoiding the obstacle course of tables.

As the chefs’ names were called out, each was greeted with applause until the end, when Chef Drew was called to take care of a situation. When Drew’s name was called, there was a moment’s hesitation and next-in-line Chef Brian made his way to the stage. But not to worry. Drew returned moments later to take his walk with some guests a little confused as to which one was Drew and which one was Brian. Simple solution — their photos were in the program.

From the left: (back row) Drew Swanson, Suki Otsuki, Brian Zenner, Brian Luscher, Omar Flores, Abraham Salum and Danyele McPherson; (front row) Dennis Kelley, Melody Bishop, Sarah Snow, Janice Provost and Misti Norris

From the left: (back row) Drew Swanson, Suki Otsuki, Brian Zenner, Brian Luscher, Omar Flores, Abraham Salum and Danyele McPherson; (front row) Dennis Kelley, Melody Bishop, Sarah Snow, Janice Provost and Misti Norris

The chefs took their bows and then gathered for the annual group photo. However, this time Brian was a little ginger about his usual “laydown” pose. Perhaps it was that ankle that would soon be meeting up with a doctor’s instruments?

From the left: (back row) Drew Swanson, Suki Otsuki, Brian Zenner, Omar Flores, Abraham Salum and Danyele McPherson; (front row) Dennis Kelley, Melody Bishop, Sarah Snow, Janice Provost and Misti Norris; (horizontal) Brian Luscher

From the left: (back row) Drew Swanson, Suki Otsuki, Brian Zenner, Omar Flores, Abraham Salum and Danyele McPherson; (front row) Dennis Kelley, Melody Bishop, Sarah Snow, Janice Provost and Misti Norris; (horizontal) Brian Luscher

As the meal was winding down, Big Bob returned to the podium to introduce keynote speaker Collins Tuohy. Following a video briefly describing her part in “The Blind Side” life of her family, Collins arrived on stage complete with her southern accent and an impressive engagement ring (she’s getting hitched on April 22 to Cannon Smith, son of FedEx Founder/CEO Fred Smith).

Unlike speakers of the past who talked about the challenges of facing homelessness, Collins told about the other side. The side in which a family takes it upon itself to make a home for a homeless person. She told of little incidents in which big, hulking African-American Michael Oher became part of the white middle-class Tuohy family that provided laughter and understanding. The way she spoke of her “little brother” was no different than the way she talked about the rest of her family. There was humor; there was love; there was a relationship that was blind to his being 290 pounds, black, and coming from a neglected childhood. She was Michael’s big sister and she was dang proud of it.

Regarding the actuality of the movie in which Sandra Bullock won the Academy Award for her portrayal of Tuohy matriarch Leigh Anne Tuohy and Collins was portrayed in the movie by Lily Collins. Collins admitted that she not only didn’t know Lily was the daughter of Phil Collins, upon meeting him she asked, “What group do you play with?”

The movie, according to Collins, “was unbelievably accurate.” One of the few inaccuracies dealt with Collins playing volleyball in the movie. The problem? Collins didn’t play volleyball. She was a pole vaulter and cheerleader. It seems that one day after shooting, Collins spotted Lily with a bruised knee. When she asked how it had happened, Lily said she’d fallen shooting the volleyball scene. Collins reply, “Volleyball?” It was apparent to Lily that Collins was not a volleyball-kind-of gal.

And while the movie and book were dazzling, Collins’ true message of the years that the Tuohys and Michael grew together into a solid family was that, “Someone like Michael could have so easily been overlooked. He is a bashful, bashful person. He could have so easily slipped through the cracks.”

Little did Collins know that she would soon be headed to California to deliver her Whimsy Cookie Co. brother Michael’s Panthers as they play at Super Bowl 50 on Sunday, February 7.

BTW, Leigh Anne will be in town for the Rainbow Days’ Pot of Gold luncheon on Friday, April 15, at Omni Dallas Hotel.

MLK Symposium Carries On Martin Luther King Jr.’s Legacy Through Conversation, Song And Keynote Speaker Teju Cole

Martin Luther King Jr. Day didn’t end with the parade on Monday, January 18. No, The Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture settled down at the City Performance Hall for The MLK Symposium “to honor Dr. King’s achievement and legacy, to extend the conversation on civil rights and to promote change and progress in our city.” Here’s a report from the field:

Why do black lives matter? Because they are imperiled, according to Teju Cole, photography editor for The New York Times Magazine, who offered the keynote at The Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture’s 11th Annual MLK Symposium on Monday evening.

Teju Cole and Tiana Johnston*

Teju Cole and Tiana Johnston*

“It’s like when someone says the rainforests are in trouble,” explained Cole. “That doesn’t mean I hate all other forests, it simply means that this particular forest needs a bit of special attention because it is imperiled. That is what black lives matter means.”

Cole’s remarks addressed the event’s theme, “From Birmingham to Charleston: Martin Luther King Jr., and Civil Rights in America”, focusing on America’s progress in ensuring equality under the law and civil rights for all citizens.

The diminutive Cole is at the forefront of a rising chorus of young African-American voices, and has been praised by Salman Rushdie as one of the most gifted writers of his generation. Born in the U.S. in 1975 to Nigerian parents, Cole was raised in Nigeria and is a writer, art historian and photographer, who has also authored two widely acclaimed books, including ‘Every Day is for the Thief, and Open City.’

Shawn Williams, T.J. Vaughn and Larry Allums*

Shawn Williams, T.J. Vaughn and Larry Allums*

Matrice Ellis-Kirk*

Matrice Ellis-Kirk*

The North Dallas Community Bible Fellowship Men in Worship Ensemble opened the event at the City Performance Hall with the Black National Anthem. Dr. Larry Allums, Executive Director of The Dallas Institute, then thanked Matrice Ellis-Kirk, who served as honorary chair, and introduced Mayor Mike Rawlings, to offer welcome remarks.

Cole followed Mayor Rawlings with his thoughtful consideration of the history behind the adversarial relationship between law enforcement and black communities with his “outsider’s” perspective. In this, he discussed the subtleties of American racism with regard to looking “into the beyond” as we progress forward together as humans.

Liz Mikel*

Liz Mikel*

Cole’s speech was followed by a performance of a segment from Dallas Theater Center’s The Mountaintop, performed by Tiana K. Johnston and Sam Henderson. Liz Mikel then led a stirring performance of the song “Glory” from the movie Selma that included Booker T. Washington High School students Rachel Webb, Jada Thomas and Lucki Peterson, with original arrangement by Nathan De’Shon Myers. Both performances were curated by Public City.

The Symposium concluded with a panel discussion, moderated by Dr. Allums that included Cole, Talmadge “T.J.” Vaughns Jr., a W. W. Samuell High School graduate studying entrepreneurship at the University of North Texas, Tiana Johnston and the Dallas Police Department’s manager of community engagement, Shawn Williams, who penned an article in this week’s Dallas Morning News called “Black lives matter. Blue lives matter. It’s not a zero sum.”

Afterward, at the book-signing, Mrs. Kirk and her husband, former Mayor Ron Kirk, rushed to buy the last three available books for Cole to sign as others in the line snapped selfies with the approachable Cole, who posed obligingly. He laughed in disbelief when Mrs. Kirk reported one of the daughters he was signing a book for has even seen him walking the streets of New York.

* Photo credit: John Strange

A Gentle Reminder: It’s Illegal For Cute Critters To Be Used For Fundraising In The City Of Dallas

Word has been making the rounds that a recent event had an adorable puppy on the scene. Only the pooch was not there to party. It was part of the money-making parts of the fundraiser.

Perhaps organizers didn’t realize or ignored the fact that in the city of Dallas, it’s illegal to use any live animal as part of a raffle, live/silent auction, prize, etc.

As Jonnie England wrote in 2009 for the Metroplex Animal Coalition, “Here’s what happens at so many charity events that have auctioned animals in the past: You’re at an event, feeling generous, supporting a cause you care about—maybe enjoying a drink or two. Suddenly you see the cutest puppy ever! Caught up in the emotion and cheered on by your friends, you make the high bid—after all, it’s for a good cause.

“You get home, reality sets in, and you have a living, breathing puppy to care for. What were you thinking?? The reasoning for the new ordinance is simple and makes perfect sense to animal-welfare organizations: Adopting a puppy or kitten should be a thoughtful, deliberate decision—not one that’s made at the spur of the moment or as an emotional response. It’s a lifetime commitment that requires a great deal of time and financial resources.

“While some nonprofits and schools may be upset to learn of this new law, it’s a good thing for the animals!”

With the 2016 fundraising season getting underway, those with the best of intentions might want to pin Dallas ordinance Sec. 7-7.6 on their bulletin board.

Appetite For Advocacy Adds A Park Place Motorcar Mercedes-Benz To The Annual Luncheon Featuring Brené Brown

Appetite for Advocacy is on a roll. Luncheon Co-Chairs Paula Richmond and Megan Steinbach have the ninth annual fundraiser for Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center hitting all the bases. For the Tuesday, April 26 event at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel, they’ve locked down University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work research professor Brené Brown. In addition to her 2010 TEDx Houston talk — The Power of Vulnerability — ranking as “one of the top five most viewed TED talks in the world,” she’s scored three New York Times #1 bestsellers (“Rising Strong”, “Daring Greatly” and “The Gifts of Imperfection”).

Mercedes-Benz GLC300W*

Mercedes-Benz GLC300W*

And then there is the raffle that Paula and Megan have arranged. It ain’t no toaster. It’s a Park Place Motorcars Dallas all-new Mercedes-Benz GLC300W. This nifty mid-size SUV is just perfect for carpool duty, transporting bikes and arriving at a swank, black-tie affair. The raffle tickets are going for $100 per with a limit of 1,500 being sold.

And now for the not-so-good news. Tickets for the luncheon are tight. According to DCAC’s Jana Parker,With regards to ticket prices, currently, due to the popularity of Brené, we have early release tickets available at $500 each. If space allows, we will open up general admission tickets at $175 closer to the event. Table sales start at $1750; so, a good option is to host a table and find 9 others to join.”

In other words, get your buds together, buy a table and grab a handful of raffle tickets.

* Graphic provided 
by Dallas Children's Advocacy Center

Soup’s On! Patron Party Guests Ranged From The Rawlings To Collins Tuohy With Surprise Gifts And News

Weather guessers were claiming that it wasn’t all that chilly. Easy for them to say, tucked in their heated studios. But combine the temps on Monday, January 18, with the breeze and it was definitely a gloves-on, snug-hats-on night.

One place where warmth was glowing was Margie and Ray Francis’ home-sweet-home along Turtle Creek.

Ray and Margie Francis and Micki and Mike Rawlings

Ray and Margie Francis and Micki and Mike Rawlings

The occasion for gathering was the Soup’s On! patron party. Okay, so Chef Chair Brian Luscher was unable to be present, but there was a good reason and it would be revealed the next day at the Soup’s On! fundraiser for The Stewpot Alliance.

Even Dallas First couple Micki and Mike Rawlings made it. After all, they were the Soup’s On! honorary co-chairs. Mike stayed as long as he could but it was also MLK Day, and he had to hustle to The MLK Symposium at City Performance Hall. Earlier in the day Big Mike had been floating down the streets for the MLK Day parade.

Kersten Rettig

Kersten Rettig

On the other hand, Micki was headed to a grandmother gathering for a baby shower of a friend. Speaking of kids, Micki reported that son Gunnar Rawlings had just flown in from a buddies ski trip to Japan.

Not so agile was Kersten Rettig, who was on crutches with a mobile cast in place on her right ankle. As the result of a very nasty fall in Arkansas four months ago, she had to resign her post as development director of Dallas CASA in December to focus on healing. Ever flexible, Kersten had opened her own PR operation with three clients to start, including the family project PDQ.

Jennifer and Joe Clifford and Susie Simon

Jennifer and Joe Clifford and Susie Simon

Rev. Joe Clifford was back from a week in Haiti to join wife Jennifer Clifford in congratulating Susie Simon for providing funding for The Susie Simon Art Endowment.

Another fly-in arrival was Soup’s On! Co-Honorees Christy Coltrin and husband Brad Oldham. Just back from the Atlanta International Gift Show, Christy seemed a little overwhelmed from the successful trip to Georgia. Seems that two monks there had bought her entire “Tiny Sparks” collection for their monastery gift shop.

Christy Coltrin and Brad Oldham

Christy Coltrin and Brad Oldham

Collins Tuohy

Collins Tuohy

Halfway through the reception, Stewpot Alliance Board President Kristine Schwope joined Luncheon Co-Chairs Charlotte Legg and Christi Nicolas in welcoming the 50 guests and helped serve up the niceties that included presenting keynote speaker Collins Tuohy with a Brad Oldham-sculpted spoon and Micki and Mike with a painting of a view of The Stewpot Alliance in downtown Dallas.

2016 Soup's On! centerpiece

2016 Soup’s On! centerpiece

As a surprise, Kristine presented the luncheon co-chairs with Brad Oldham pieces of art to thank them for all their work.

In turn Charlotte and Christi then surprised the crowd by revealing the luncheon centerpieces/tablescapes were not only edible but from The Stewpot Community Gardens thanks to Terry McCullough and Billye Turner.

New Crystal Charity Ball Advisory Board Members Announced

Linda Perryman Evans (File photo)

Linda Perryman Evans (File photo)

Richard Holt (File photo)

Richard Holt (File photo)

Crystal Charity Ball Chair Christie Carter just announced the new members of the CCB Advisory Board. The newbies include Ruth Altshuler, Keith Cargill, Jason Downing, James Dunn, Linda Perryman Evans, Paul Harris, Sally Hoglund, Richard Holt, Gene Jones, David Miller and Lisa Troutt.

Gene Jones (File photo)

Gene Jones (File photo)

Lisa Troutt (File photo)

Lisa Troutt (File photo)

They will be joining current Advisory Board members Elaine Agather, Barry Andrews, Ralph Babb, Brent Christopher, Kent Eastman, Lauren Embrey, Paul Fields, Jacqueline Fojtasek, Fred Hegi, Norma Hunt, Jerry Meyer, Ray Nixon, Caren Prothro, David Rosenberg, Carl Sewell, Annette Simmons, Audrey Spangenberg, Randall Stephenson, Debbie Taylor, Jim Turner, Courtney Wang, Alan White and Sharon Worrell.

BTW, if you see a nonprofit type with crossed fingers this week, there’s a reason. The 2016 beneficiaries will be selected this Thursday.

Wait-List Alert!: First Cause-Minded Conversation Featuring Equal Justice Advocate Bryan Stevenson

The first 2016 Cause-Minded Conversation series was barely announced before the registration line was jammed. The series is the result of Communities Foundation of Texas partnering up with the Rainwater Charitable Foundation.

Bryan Stevenson*

Bryan Stevenson*

Now, word arrives that the Thursday, February 18th “conversation featuring New York Times best-selling author Bryan Stevenson is filled to the max. But don’t make a frowny face. Luckily, Amelia Barber is taking names for the wait list.

No wonder. Bryan’s book “Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption” focuses on “both challenges in the American criminal justice system and his defense of some of the country’s most marginalized people.”

And Bryan is an authority thanks to his education (Harvard Law School and Harvard School of Government) and his founding the Equal Justice Initiative. All of that has earned awards galore and 16 honorary doctorate degrees.

But whether you were lucky enough to get a seat or not, you can still check out Bryan’s book.

* Photo courtesy of Communities Foundation of Texas

A Passing: Roy Orr

Former Dallas County Commissioner and DeSoto Mayor Roy Orr was a big name in Dallas politics and community involvement back in the ’60s , ’70s and ’80s. He worked with business gurus and political types like Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. And like most politicians, he had his fans and critics like fellow Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price, who described him as “a snake since the day he was born.”

While Roy’s resume boasted politico highlights, he was on the executive committee of the Board of the Circle Ten Boy Scout Council and a member of the DeSoto Chamber of Commerce, Texas Research League, Oak Cliff Lions Club, Dallas Alliance, Dallas Assembly, DeSoto City Charter Commission, Advisory Board of Abilene Christian University and the board of the Medina Children’s Home.

His hometown of DeSoto even had the Roy Orr Trail named after him, while Grand Prairie branded a major street with Roy Orr Boulevard.

As his family put it, “He was a remarkable man who could and would do all that was possible for his fellow man. He was loved, he was admired, and all who knew him respected him. He was always there for his friends and his family. One could have no better friend or mentor than Roy Orr!”

In 1952 Roy married Janice Gallagher Orr, who died this past November. Both Janice and Roy were lifelong DeSoto residents. The two went to the same high school but didn’t start dating until after graduation. As Roy told Red Oak Now in 2011, “My class at Lancaster High School had six people in it. I tell everyone I was sixth in my class, and they think I’m a genius.”

At the age of 83, Roy joined Janice on Friday, January 29. Funeral services will take place at Brown Street Church of Christ in Waxahachie on Tuesday, February 2, at 1 p.m.

Our condolences to the entire Orr family and the countless folks who benefited from Roy’s life.

Children’s Health System Of Texas CEO Chris And Christina Durovich Know How To Show Their Appreciation

Some folks send thank you notes, but leave it to Children’s Health System of Texas CEO Chris Durovich to show real appreciation. After all the holidays and New Year’s hoopla, he took advantage of the “down time” to thank those who had supported the Children’s Health efforts to providing area children with excellence in healthcare like Carol Seay, Cynthia Beaird, Katy and Ken Menges, Cyndi Bassel and Marnie and Kern Wildenthal.

Chris Durovich and Katy and Ken Menges

Chris Durovich and Katy and Ken Menges

Despite NFL football competitions and a Democratic showdown, Chris and his wife Christina Durovich hosted a thank-you affair for about 200 at the Dallas Country Club on Sunday, January 17. It was one of those gatherings that was so user-friendly that everyone seemed to know everybody in the room and the hosts were chatting it up with one and all.

Cyndi Bassel and Marnie Wildenthal

Cyndi Bassel and Marnie Wildenthal

Peter Lutken and John Eagle

Peter Lutken and John Eagle

John Eagle was going solo. Wife Jennifer Eagle was MIA. She was helping Eagle patriarch, Bob Eagle, move to his new digs at Edgemere. In discussing the move, John voiced concern about the challenges of the AARP set when it comes to falling.

Craig and Annette Leslie and Kern Wildenthal

Craig and Annette Leslie and Kern Wildenthal

Upon hearing John’s concerns, Peter Lutken admitted that he had been surprised about the death of a friend, who just a couple of weeks before had fallen and then succumbed to his injuries.

On the other hand, Craig Leslie was reporting that Leslie’s son, who had been holed up in a spot near Telluride, just might be thinking about returning to the Dallas nest.

A Passing: Rusty Rose

Rusty Rose, who was known for everything from being a successful businessman, Texas Rangers co-owner, art collector and philanthropist to being “Lela’s and Will’s dad” and “Deedie’s husband,” died last night.

Rusty Rose (File photo)

Rusty Rose (File photo)

While the University of Texas at Austin and Harvard Business School graduate was at home with business titans and U.S. Presidents, he was just as comfortable watching the birds of the sky or others shine in the spotlight.

Deedie in accepting the 84th Linz Award in April 2013 thanked her husband saying, “After 48 ½ years of marriage he still doesn’t agree with me on everything, but has supported me in everything.” It was that partnership that helped establish the Deedie and Rusty Rose Foundation, create The Pump House and was part of the group that made “unprecedented gifts of their private collections” to the Dallas Museum of Art in 2005, among so many other contributions.

Most recently Deedie and Rusty presented a $1M gift to Trinity Park in September and served as honorary co-chairs for the Perot Museum’s annual fundraiser in November.

His death leaves a void in numerous lives, projects and organizations. Hopefully, the memories of his achievements and the twinkle in his eye will continue to inspire others to carry on in his stead.

Our most heart-felt condolences go to his family, universe of friends and those who have been touched by his generosity.

MySweet2016Goals: Michael Flores

According to The Michael Flores Salon at Neiman Marcus owner/2016 Saint Valentine’s Day Luncheon & Fashion Show Co-Chair Michael Flores,

Michael Flores (File photo)

Michael Flores (File photo)

“My goal, especially for the early part of this year, is to have the 32nd annual Saint Valentine’s Day Luncheon to be the most successful fundraising event ever for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society!

“My co-chairman, Gina Betts, and I want the luncheon to bring more awareness and more money for the cause than has ever been raised. We feel that we are on way to reaching that goal and we know it would not be possible without the dozens of volunteers, the dedicated staff and the incredibly generous donors.”

Dallas CASA Board To Be Headed By John Gibson And Joined By Mike Brosin And Cynthia Comparin

Word comes that Dallas CASA has new board leadership and members. Heading up the board will be Goldman Sachs Managing Director John Gibson. In addition to his new role of leadership, the Harvard graduate is also a Dallas CASA advocate and “currently working three open cases for kids who’ve been removed from their homes.”

John Gibson*

John Gibson*

Mike Brosin (File photo)

Mike Brosin (File photo)

Cynthia Comparin*

Cynthia Comparin*

Joining the board are Crest Cadillac/Crest Infiniti Managing Partner Mike Brosin and Animato CEO Cynthia Comparin.

Luckily for more than 2,000 abused and neglected children living in foster care in Dallas County, Dallas CASA volunteers are on the frontline “to advocate for the best interests of children under protective care of courts, so they will have safe, permanent homes where they can thrive.”

* Photo provided by Dallas CASA

MySweet2016Goals: Norma Nelson

According to Readers 2 Leaders Executive Director Norma Nelson,

This month, I have had the tremendous blessing (and honor!) of being named Readers 2 Leaders’ first Executive Director!

“Readers 2 Leaders is a non-profit organization founded in 2010, whose mission is to develop and grow the reading skills of children in West Dallas ages 3-10 so that they succeed in school, graduate and leave school prepared to live productive lives. We offer in-school reading tutoring, a community lending library, high quality after-school programs and parent education centered on early literacy.

“In serving R2L as its first employee as well as our first Program Director, it has been amazing to see the growth of our programs and the impact we have had on West Dallas children. This year we are serving 240 children at six program sites (including five DISD schools) and our staff has grown to 14 total. Last year, the average student accelerated their reading level by 150%!

“Additionally, R2L partners with over 100 community volunteers who help out by reading with a child just one day a week for 30 minutes.

“My goals for 2016 are simple: to never lose sight of our mission, to humbly serve the West Dallas community and to get the word out in our community about the children in West Dallas who need our help! I am excited to take on this new role and continue to bring early literacy programs to West Dallas.

“For more information on Readers 2 Leaders, please visit us on the web at: www.readers2leaders.org.”

MySweet2016Goals: Sherri Ansley

According to Housing Crisis Center Executive Director Sherri Ansley,

Sherri Ansley (File photo)

Sherri Ansley (File photo)

Housing Crisis Center has a lofty goal this year to review all our interactions with the community, including donors, clients, volunteers, board, etc. and evaluate their experience with Housing Crisis Center to improve our response to the community!”

Cattle Baron’s Reveal Of “Texas Proud” Theme And Toby Keith To Be On Stage Kicks Off 2016 Mega Fundraising Efforts

Well, holy cow! The Cattle Baron’s Ball reveal was a mini-version of the annual spectacular to squash cancer. It took place on Thursday, January 14, at eM the Venue with MarcEvents on Dragon Street in the Design District. Well, shoot! It still might be going on.

But just past 8, 2016 CBB Co-chairs brunette Cara French in spangles and blonde-in-black Andrea Weber called a pause in the party-healthy festivities.

Cara French and Andrea Weber

Cara French and Andrea Weber

After all, the gathering was to announce plans for the 43rd mega-fundraiser to shore up funding for research and development in conquering cancer.

Despite a video delay, it was worth the wait. The screen behind the Corvette revealed the theme would be Texas Proud and the talent would be Toby Keith.

Results? A whoop, a holler and a “let’s get ‘em” attitude to battle cancer.

eM the Venue entrance

eM the Venue entrance

That was the official news of the night, but as one person said, “It was a Clay Cooley night.” Yup! From the arrival at the party room on Dragon with Clay Cooley’s name blazing at the entrance, the trucks and cars parked inside to “Clay Cooley Auto Group” in lights on one entire wall, Cara and Andrea proudly announced that the Cooley operation was the first to step up to sponsor the event.

Lisa Cooley and Tracy Lange

Lisa Cooley and Tracy Lange

Ben Lange

Ben Lange

On hand were Lisa and Clay Cooley with Larry Hackett and John Moward, Tracy and Ben Lange, Evening Co-Chair Isabell Novakov, Shona Gilbert, Cary and Mark Deuber, Fasi Payervand, Kristi Bare, Vodi Cook, Tom Ellis, Laura Reeder and David McAdams…Late arrival Crayton Webb was eagle eyeing for wife Nikki WebbAnne Stodghill was just days away from a quick trip to St. Barths for a friend’s birthday. She’s undertaken a new project — assembling recipes from all generations of her family into a keepsake for the Stodghill clan…Kris Johnson reported that work on Nancy C. and Richard Rogers new digs were moving along perfectly.

Shona Gilbert, Cary Deuber and Fasi Payervand

Shona Gilbert, Cary Deuber and Fasi Payervand

David McAdams, Laura Reeder, Tom Ellis and Vodi Cook

David McAdams, Laura Reeder, Tom Ellis and Vodi Cook

Somebody mentioned that cancer touched everyone from newborn babies to legendary types like David Bowie and Alan Rickman, who had just died in recent days.

JUST IN: 35th Anniversary Equest Gala Date Change And Honorary Co-Chairs Announced

Word just arrived about some changes about the Equest gala this year. Not to worry. They’re all good changes! The date of the 35th Anniversary Equest Gala was originally scheduled for Saturday, April 30. Oh, please! As if April wasn’t already slammed with activities! Gala Co-Chairs Helena and Doug Wall have moved the event to Saturday, May 7, the day before Mother’s Day! What a great treat for pops and kids to give the matriarchs in their lives.

Chris Hansen (File photo)

Chris Hansen (File photo)

Another development is the naming of the honorary co-chairs. It’s those animal-loving HansensChris and husband Dale.

Dale Hansen (File photo)

Dale Hansen (File photo)

What stays absolutely the same are the location (Texas Horse Park) and the beneficiary (Equest Therapeutic Horsemanship).

MySweet2016Goals: Susan Jenevein

According to Cristo Rey Dallas College Prep Director of Development Susan Jenevein,

Susan Jenevein (File photo)

Susan Jenevein (File photo)

“My goal for 2016 is to provide each of our incoming students (100% of whom are at or below the federal poverty level) with a Google Chromebook – a goal of $40,000. Our students do all of their work on these Chromebooks at school, and since many do not have computers or even wireless access at home, these laptops would allow them to do their homework electronically. It is imperative that we are computer-based so we prepare our students for college and future employment.

“We are hoping to reach our goal with a GoFundMe campaign to raise $40,000 in February 2016, providing each of our 128 incoming freshmen with a Chromebook that they will use for all four years at Cristo Rey Dallas College Prep. To help us reach our goal, please visit https://www.gofundme.com/kgnwd6bh.”

MySweet2016Goals: Jan Osborn

According to community volunteer Jan Osborn,

Jan Osborn (File photo)

Jan Osborn (File photo)

“My 2014 My Sweet Charity goal was met in 2015 as Zachary’s House was completed and is home to 14 of Touch A Life Foundation’s newest and youngest girls.

“My goal for 2016 is to continue with the work I am passionate about doing in Ghana, West Africa, alongside the Touch A Life Foundation. Specifically, I’m excited to help launch the innovative vocational training programs we are working on for Touch A Life’s older girls. As the children become young adults and age out of the Care Center, our goal is to help these young ladies begin their careers in which they can become independent and self-sufficient.

“The Touch A Life Care Center in Kumasi, Ghana is home to 72 children who have been rescued from forced labor.”

JUST IN: Project Runway’s Tim Gunn To Headline 10th Annual Chick Lit Luncheon

Those Community Partners of Dallas have been sort quiet of late. There’s a reason. Their annual Chick Lit Luncheon is hitting the 10th anniversary marker and CPD President/CEO Paige McDaniel and Development Manager Joanna Clarke have been hunkered down plotting.

They had already paraded red wagons around The Wilson Historic District and had such adorable authors as Julia Reed, Allison Winn Scotch, Jen Lancaster, Emily Giffin, Gigi Levangie and Stacey Ballis at the podium teasing, chuckling and sharing secrets with guests.

But this time it had to be a smidge over the top. So, they just announced the details.

Tim Gunn*

Tim Gunn*

Hold on to your best-dressed dresses. The speaker will be Tim Gunn and the Friday, April 1st event will take place at the Hilton Anatole. Yup, the always-at-Brook-Hollow luncheon is headed to the Anatole due to the expectation that it’s gonna be a bigger-than-huge turnout.

BTW, love Tim. He’s funny, so adorable to look at and knows/loves style right down to his brown suede monk straps. He also has the gift of gab and speaks his mind. Just ask Anna Wintour. Wait! Better not ask Anna or she might make a frowny face.

And please don’t get him started on the Kardashians. No, wait! Do, because he’ll be overly glad to accommodate you!

Seriously, Tim had his personal bouts dealing with the problems of childhood. He even attempted suicide. But Tim’s honesty and recognition of situations facing children are inspiring and amazingly on target.

Luncheon Chair Kristi Hoyl will be joined by Cindy Stager and Jill Tananabaum, who will be underwriting co-chairs. She’s also been on target with the selection of the honorary chair. You guessed it — Forty Five Ten’s Brian Bolke!

For an added hurrah, Jill C. Bee will be presented with the Partners for Children Award and there will be a special salute to longtime (like nearly forever) presenting sponsors Lara and Dr. Robert Tafel, who will be awarded the special Tenth Anniversary Champions of Hope Award “for their unwavering commitment to Community Partners of Dallas.”

Tables are on sale now and individual tickets will go on sale in March. So, gather up your chickadees and get a table pronto. This baby is gonna go fast. Ah, but you already knew that.

It’s gonna be a great lunch even if the Brook Hollow pecan-crusted chicken ain’t gonna be on the platter.

* Photo credit: Scott McDermott

MySweet2016Goals: Louise Eiseman

According to community volunteer and philanthropist Louise Eiseman,

Louise Eiseman (File photo)

Louise Eiseman (File photo)

“My goals if you want them, are to catch up/visit with dear friends I haven’t seen in a while, learn to have a positive attitude about change, to learn how to really text and stay healthy for another year so I can keep reading your ‘Posts!’”