2013 Crystal Charity Ball Check Presentation Topped $4.7M

So what’s a half million $? A heck of a lot of moolah to the non-profits. That was extremely evident to nine area children’s charities at Maggiano’s Monday, March 31.

The mega-giveaway was the check presentation by the 2013 Crystal Charity Ball committee. That’s the tricky deal in the world of fundraising. So many times you hear that this chi-chi group raise gagillion dollars, but what you really want to hear is how much of that made it to the hands of the non-profits.

Pete and Caren Kline

Pete and Caren Kline

With garlic wafting through the air and wine being toasted, CCB Chair Caren Kline with her proud husband Pete smiling on and Underwriting Chair Pam Perella handed out hefty checks.

How hefty? Try these on for size:

  • Educational First Steps (Four Steps to Excellence 2.0) — $430,000
  • Good Street Learning Center, Inc. (Operation Next Steps: Program & Facility Improvements) — $458,988
  • NETWORK of Community Ministries, Inc. (Children of Grandfamilies Initiative) — $508,989
  • New Friends New Life (Trafficking Prevention & Sexual Abuse Recovery Program) — $525,000
  • Parkland Foundation (Crystal Charity Ball Pediatric Burn Center & Playroom) — $1,252,316
  • Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas (Teens Can Survive Program) — $275,400
  • Texas Scottish Rite Hospital For Children (Specialized Prosthetics Program) — $500,000
  • YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas (Park South YMCA Capital Improvements: Urban Swim Project) — $789,722
Family Gateway

Family Gateway

In addition, Caren announced that Family Gateway had been designated as the 2013 Horizon Project and would be receiving funding to provide pre-K education access to the children they serve.

But before each check was handed over, the recipients briefly told about their organizations and appreciated the involvement with CCB.

New Friends New Life’s Katie Pedigo stressed how CCB had made such a “difference” in the Dallas non-profits. YMCA’s Gordon Echtenkamp acknowledged that in addition to the incredible funding to support their efforts to save children’s lives, the CCB seal of approval was priceless. Parkland Foundation’s George Engdahl subbed in for PF President David Krause, who was in Berlin discussing fundraising (in German). George also recognized that despite Parkland’s being above the fold in local news, CCB’s Caren and ladies had stood by Parkland throughout 2013.

Afterwards, the chit-chat of the evening included:

  • Newlywed Toni Pickens buying the George Strait package at the Park Cities Quail fundraiser.
  • Pam Perella discovering life-after-CCB underwriting. She’s been working on the Perella’s Montana get-away.
  • 2104 CCB Chair Robyn Conlon’s April agenda: 10 Best Dressed reveal and the CCB theme announcement on April 22. She promises that it’s a first, but refuses to talk. She hasn’t even revealed it to her kiddos.

But the evening was truly focused on how the funds would help children. It would save children’s lives by teaching them how to swim. It would support a service for youngsters considering suicidal crossroads. It would make a life-changing difference for young victims of sex trafficking and so much more.

The evening’s check presentation of $4.7M brought to a total of more than $117M that the CCB has provided along with its “seal of approval” to the children’s non-profits for the past 52 years.

There are children who will never know the 100 women and countless people and organization providing services and program for their betterment. But that’s what CCB is all about — helping children.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2013 Crystal Charity Ball Check Presentation

When you receive a check for nearly a half million dollars, it’s time to celebrate. And that’s what the 2013 Crystal Charity Ball recipients did at NorthPark’s Maggiano’s on Monday, March 31.

Parkland Foundation

Parkland Foundation

For your consideration, photos are posted of the happy, smiling folks who received checks that total more than $4.7M on MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Check back in a little while and you’ll see the breakdown of funds.

Smokey Robinson is ‘Hella Good’ at LaunchAbility Fundraiser

Smokey Robinson*

Smokey Robinson*

The annual fundraising concert put on by LaunchAbility has featured some pretty big names in its 13 years. Names like Tony Bennett, Ray Charles, Bonnie Raitt and Willie Nelson. But few performers or performances have topped Monday, March 31st’s “A Special Evening With Smokey Robinson hosted by Alliance Data, Benefiting LaunchAbility,” which starred R&B legend and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Smokey Robinson.

Mike and Piper Wyatt

Mike and Piper Wyatt*

Under the direction of event chairs Piper and Mike Wyatt, with Caroline Rose Hunt as honorary chair, the sold-out event attracted more than 1,800 people to the Meyerson Symphony Center in support of LaunchAbility, a nonprofit that helps people with developmental disabilities. Many of the guests enjoyed mingling during a pre-show reception in the Meyerson lobby, where the libations were flowing freely and the heavy hors d’oeuvres—grilled lamb chops, cheesy macaroni, tostadas—were first-rate.

Deborah Montonen, Jody Dean and Kathryn Parsons*

Deborah Montonen, Jody Dean and Kathryn Parsons*

Ebby Halliday and Cody Baker*

Ebby Halliday and Cody Baker*

Among the minglers were … Debra Nelson and John Baer, who’ve known each other since 1985 but only recently reconnected. (Debra, by the way, persuaded her pal Linda Gray to participate in one of the silent-auction packages.) … LaunchAbility CEO Kathryn Parsons, who was showing off a Jerry-Szor-made black-diamond necklace, one of the evening’s raffle prizes. … Blaine Nelson, who was chatting it up with Brad Beaird and Holly Reed of AT&T, whose company was slated to receive the evening’s Alliance Data Corporate Champion Award. … KLUV-FM personality Jody Dean, the event’s emcee, who revealed that he’d asked radio legend Ron Chapman to do something really, really big this coming September—and Ron had said, “Yes!”. … Meantime, Piper Wyatt—who disclosed that the event had sold out as of the day before—was showing off her mother Dixie, who’d come all the way over from Louisiana. … Others spotted at the reception included Ebby Halliday (looking spiffy in a sporty wheelchair), Matthew Simon, State Sen. Royce West (sitting at an AT&T table), Nancy Gopez and Shelle and Dr. Michael Sills.

Inside the main concert hall a little later, Jody welcomed everyone with the words, “I am the new starting pitcher for the Texas Rangers.” (The local nine had been battered a few hours earlier in the season opener.) And then: “Sometime in the next eight hours you’ll find yourself saying, ‘Ooo, baby, baby.’ Hopefully, you’ll be saying it to someone else.”

 Karen Wald, Sharon Herrin and Roy Pendergrass Jr.*

Karen Wald, Sharon Herrin and Roy Pendergrass*

After the presentation of LaunchAbility’s Milton P. Levy Jr. Outstanding Volunteer Award—for the first time it went to co-recipients, Sharon Herrin and Roy Pendergrass—Smokey Robinson took the stage with backup singers and a cooking, six-piece band. Resplendent in a white suit, the 74-year-old icon performed like a 44-year-old as he worked through many of the hits from his incredible career.

He started with one of his best, “Being With You,” from the early 1980s, then followed it with “I Second That Emotion,” “You Really Got a Hold on Me,” and “Quiet Storm.” He brought the house down with a super-soulful “Ooo Baby Baby,” then later nearly topped himself with a suggestive newer song called “That Place.” Also worked in were such classics as “My Girl,” “Tears of a Clown,” “Just to See You” and “Tracks of My Tears.”

And, the audience couldn’t get enough. After a thunderous ovation for his version of “Ooo Baby Baby,” Smokey cracked, “We should have played that first!” Out in the orchestra seats, audience member Rebekah Feather turned to a reporter and said, “I hope that you write that he’s hella good. He’s still got it!”

* Photo credit: Kristina Bowman

 

House Of DIFFA 2014 Masquerade Was DIFFA-nitely DIFFA-rent

Marie Antoinette's court characters (File photo)

Marie Antoinette’s court characters (File photo)

Sometimes memories of past glories can create impossible expectations for future efforts. With the 2013 House of DIFFA extravaganza only growing in stature as the months passed, this year’s fundraiser benefiting HIV/AIDS services in North Texas had a mighty challenge.

While newbies and wishful optimists may have been awed by the Masquerade Gala at the Omni Dallas on Saturday, March 29, jaded vets grumbled that the 2013 P&C (pomp and circumstance) was MIA.

Reasons were handed out by Monday morning critics like samples at Sam’s on Saturdays. One longtime DIFFA guest sniffed, “If last year was a ten, this year was a four.” Another simply called the evening, “Pedestrian.” Why had last year’s home-run event only achieved a base hit this year? Perhaps

  • Expectations were too great?
  • It lacked the [Jan] Strimple touch of platinum at the helm?
  • Too many changes, like the move from the Anatole to the Omni, which was suffering from traffic issues?
  • There was no emcee to guide the 1,500 guests through the evening’s program?
  • Printed programs were sparse? According to DIFFA reps, “They put a limited amount of programs on the tables (3-4) because in years past, so many get left behind so they wanted to conserve printing costs. This is also why they had people handing them out.”

Whatever the reason, the saving grace was the theme — “Masquerade” — and the guests’ response. Not only did the guests get the message, they delivered with everything from couture-quality creations to last-minute glue-gun lookies.

While some like Holly Reed, Brad Beaird and Larry Friedman opted for the painted-on masks, many of the gals like Holly Davis went for the fragile, lace versions that looked like eye bras designed by La Perla. At the other extreme were the chaps at Marcos Guevara’s table. To a man, each donned a menacing ram’s horn dragon mask. However, the sinister looks were dashed due to the gents’ smiles and laughter. . . DIFFA Board Member Debra Nelson proudly showed off her “homemade” mask of turquoise and white featuring butterflies, peacock feathers and ostrich plumes. . . Andrew Wong followed the Venetian look of the long-nose mask. . .In the half-covered face category, Mark Breidenbach went the “Phantom of the Opera” route, while Keith Carlisle opted for a raspberry pink with gold design that stretched over the left of his hairline. . .Honorary Chair Simona Beal accessorized her dramatic gold mask from Gallerie Noir with an equally eye-catching gold “snake” wrapped around her neck. . . Anne Stodghill resurrected her magnificent emerald-and-gold feathered mask that she had worn to the Carnival of Venice’s Doge Ball 10 years ago. Talked about a versatile mask! She could either wear it covering her face or, when it came time to dine, she simply slipped it to the top of her red-haired head and it transitioned into an elegant hat. . . Another guest whose mask proved to be convertible was Joseph Steffen. His white mask was covered with faux flowers and a draping of pink fringe. When Joseph slid the mask on top of his head, the curtain took on the appearance of bangs in need to a trim.

Kyle Erwin

Kyle Erwin

Veronika Nicholson

Veronika Nicholson

Some guests decided to extend their creativity to their entire look. Kyle Erwin plucked some poor peacock naked, incorporating the eyeful feathers to her mask, as well as to her gown’s tail-feathered back and train. According to Kyle, “I made everything but the dress. I think it’s Jovani.” . . . Veronika Nicholson in red corseted bustier and feathered skirt topped it off with a black-and-red mask and chapeau that her sister Franziska Nicholson designed.

Christopher Wright

Christopher Wright

Shane Walker, Gregg Asher and Steve Kemble

Shane Walker, Gregg Asher and Steve Kemble

Christopher Wright silently made his way through the crowd with few, if any, friends recognizing him. He had done his research of the Venetian masquerade and costumed himself in bauta mask, black tabarro and tricorne. . .  On the other hand, Steve Kemble didn’t even make it through the Omni lobby. His outrageously sassy pink-and-black-and-glittering mask and cloak proved to be a magnet for the Mary Kay gals staying at the hotel. They just had to have their photos taken with him. Steve had gotten the mask from Thailand and applied his own “subtle” touches to it. Only problem was it weighed more than a bloated contestant on the “Biggest Loser.” How did he hold it up? There was a rod strapped along Steve’s back to hold the headpiece in place. As for the future of his mask, Steve believes in recycling for nonprofits. The mask is headed to the auction bloc for the annual “Art From the Heart” fundraiser. . . Perhaps inspired by his muse, Cher, Shane Walker showed up with a black-and-jeweled mask that covered part of this face and a gargantuan black-feathered Indian headdress. Naturally, Shane’s black-and-jeweled bolero jacket and jewelry only added to the “Oomph!” factor. As Shane summed it up, “There’s not a feather or a stone left in Dallas after Steve and I went shopping!”. . Designer Michael Faircloth was all smiles. He had applied his fashions designing skills to the masks of friends, with spectacular results. Why, his tri-faced mask for Paul Divis had Paul mystifying longtime friends, who didn’t recognize him.

Holly Davis and Paul Divis

Holly Davis and Paul Divis

However, in this day and age of enhancements and embellishments, the problem of ultra-long eyelash extensions posed a problem for some. For those wearing snug masks, they had to place the masks on just so for the lashes to freely flutter through the eye holes. For those who opted for the handholding masks, they couldn’t hold them too close to their faces for fear of having a collision of masks and lashes. Oh, the woes of masked beauty.

The party could have stopped right there and then in the lobby, as guests checked each other out as well as the one-of-a-kind outfits featured in the silent auction.

Cloaked characters

Cloaked characters

But when the doors to the Dallas Ballroom opened, the festivities continued with a stage that appeared to have been lifted from St. Mark’s Square including a red gondola, two-dimensional columns, a two-story-tall faux-stone bridge where a DJ played and two runways extending from the stage into the audience. As guests slowly made their way to their tables, pairs of somber, pale-faced, hooded and cloaked couples appeared on the runways over a five minute period. They just stood there staring into space. Was this a sign that Eyes Wide Shut was about to commence?

Adriana Lomysh

Adriana Lomysh

Jordan Frescher

Jordan Frescher

Nope. With box fans blowing mist throughout the room, opera singer Adriana Lomysh and rapper Jordan Frescher took their places on stage and proved that classic and modern music can mix it up beautifully. Unfortunately, the first few seconds of Adriana’s performance were only heard by those close to the stage. Evidently her mic hadn’t been turned on, but that was quickly remedied. Just as Jordan was starting to ramp up his performance, the cloaked druids performed dance routines to the rapper’s beat.

Cloaked character dancing

Cloaked character dancing

Brittanie Buchanan Oleniczak

Brittanie Buchanan Oleniczak

It was then time for the DIFFA leadership to be introduced with DIFFA Executive Board Chair Brittanie Buchanan Oleniczak welcoming the guests to the sold-out event and thanking the sponsors. She was followed by Event Chair Jim DiMarino and Honorary Chair Simona and DIFFA Chair Emeritus Greg Haynes Johnson.  Before dinner was served, the parade of 2014 Style Council Ambassadors (Sami Abboud, David Biggar, Angela Choquette, Leslie Concors, Jennifer M. Kolstad, Lisa Lowery, John Pfifer Marrs, Matthew Minnick, Joseph Minton, Autumn Rich, Marcus Spears, Steve “Stodgie” Stodghill, Shannon Sturdivant and Clarice Tinsley) took place, with Batman-mask wearing Stodgie in white tie and tails not only earning a standing ovation from tables at the end of one of the runways, but also having KTVT’s Brendan Higgins stuff a $20 bill into Steve’s waistband.

Dinner was then served. With a lack of programs, it became a guessing game of what was on the plates. It was chicken with balsamic dressing and “a mystery something.” One person guessed a mashed potato cake. Another supposed a corn casserole. A third just said he didn’t want to know. Whatever it was, the something became a conversation piece bringing strangers together.

At 7:45 a violinist performed as two male dancers in white tank tops and black trousers with bowler hats danced on stage. They were immediately followed by a fashion show of the designer items up for bid in the silent auction. The timing of the show was just off enough that the music ended while the final model — a blond with braids in black lace gown — was still yards away from center stage.

Almost immediately afterwards a game of heads or tails took place, with the main participants being those seated at tables between the runways.

Then the live auction got underway. Unfortunately, because of the lack of an emcee or a program, some guests started heading for the door, not realizing there was going to be a Part Two fashion show. Some were just weary like Claire and Dwight Emanuelson, who had just flown in from Virginia. Others, who had been trapped in the two-block-long traffic jam arriving at the Omni, decided to bail before the masses hit the valet. Still others, who had taken a pass on the chicken and “mystery something,” were hungry and headed to the Mansion, Bob’s or Whataburger.

One person waiting for his car grumbled, “It just wasn’t the same without some drag queens on the runway.” Across the way, another muttered, “It was too gay.”

All of which goes to prove — you can’t please everybody, especially those with long memories.

Ronald McDonald House of Dallas’ Young Friends Found Casablanca At Union Station

This report from the field came in about the younger set of the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas partying and raising funds for RMHD:

Medley Turner, Meghan Looney and Bradley Means*

Medley Turner, Meghan Looney and Bradley Means*

 

The Ronald McDonald House of Dallas Young Friends  group held its  annual Young Friends Party at Union Station  on Friday, March 28.  Co-chairmen Bradley Agather Means, Meghan Looney and Medley Turner planned the spectacular “An Evening in Casablanca” enjoyed by a crowd of 400 revelers. Guests had fun bidding for outstanding items in the Silent Auction chaired by Sarah Kate Jones and Bailey Lloyd. The competition was fierce and items such as an autumn trophy hunt at historic Newell Ranch, a trip to Napa, a Marfa gallery weekend, 50 yard line front row seats to a Cowboys game and exclusive home décor and jewelry caused many guests to stay in the auction room until it closed at 10:45 am. By the way, every item sold.

Bailey Lloyd and Sarah Kate Jones*

Bailey Lloyd and Sarah Kate Jones*

Everyone else was in the ballroom enjoying scrumptious food by Wolfgang Puck which included truffle mac n’ cheese, gourmet pizza, mini sliders, pigs in a blanket, black bean quesadillas and other culinary delights. Decorations Chairs Katie Crow and Lizzie Duplantis outdid themselves with the help of Jackson Durham and Perch, the décor could not have been more transformative of Union Station to old Morocco and included potted palms, Casablanca lilies, hundreds of votives and the film “Casablanca” running in silence above the main stage where DJ Lucy Wrubel spun her dance tracks for the crowd dancing the night away on a “fortiesesque” black and white tile dance floor.

Caroline Barron, Lizzie Duplantis and Katie Crow*

Caroline Barron, Lizzie Duplantis and Katie Crow*

Jill Cumnock, CEO of Ronald McDonald House of Dallas, said, “We appreciate and thank Bradley, Meghan and Medley for their extraordinary work as well as their talented committee and generous sponsors.

Sponsors included:

  • Diamond: Peregrine Group, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater North Texas, Sewell Automotive Group, Anonymous
  • Platinum: James Carroll, Freeman Auto Group, Jackie and Jon Means, Petro-Hunt LLC, Anonymous
  • Gold: Benchmark Bank and Benchmark Title, Carroll Mansions, Lauren Chapman, Denise and Jeffrey Cutler, Elizabeth Toon Charities, Spring Creek Barbeque, Anonymous
Photo credit: Jeremy Brown

 

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: House Of DIFFA

House of DIFFA guests

House of DIFFA guests

The House of DIFFA once again oozed and celebrated creativity. Only this time it appeared that the guests were giving the runway a run for its money. While the post is being prepared, check out some of the fundraiser’s highlights at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

House of DIFFA guest

House of DIFFA guest

Recognize the people in these photos?

For your convenience, we’ve ID’ed all the photos in the gallery because it was hard to tell even the most familiar faces under those amazing masks.

Grovel Alert: New Friends New Life’s Wings Luncheon

Sally Field*

Sally Field*

If you were thinking you’d like to attend Friday’s Wings Luncheon with award-winning actress Sally Field, stop thinking and start ordering your ticket. Only a handful of spots are left for the New Friends New Life fundraiser.

Pat McEvoy and Angela Nash are co-chairing the event at the Anatole with honorary co-chairs Lee Ann White and her son Michael Fowler.

* Photo provided by 
New Friends New Life

Round Robin March 27: Dallas Opera Spring Gala, Recess And A Legendary Evening Patron Parties And JLD Scholarship Presentation

The floodgates of Dallas fundraising were wide open on Thursday, March 27. Perhaps it was to make up for the spring break week, where it seemed like the wheels came to barely moving. Or, perhaps it was due to the approaching tsunami of activities on the April calendar starting with the Final Four and Dallas International Film Festival. Whatever the reason, this Thursday evening tested the well-heeled in racing all over town.

Dallas Opera Spring Gala Patron Party

Anne Stodghill

Anne Stodghill

Over at Anne and Steve Stodghill’s mansion, it was a true celebration for the patrons of the Dallas Opera Spring Gala. While waiting for DO General Director/President Keith Cerny to arrive, Gala Co-Chairs Betty and Steve Suellentrop handled the welcome duties and pianist Jason Smith played in the background.

And at one point it appeared like the real action was taking place in the entry hall.

Meg and Jay Hunter Morris

Meg and Jay Hunter Morris

One cute couple, who seemed to glow as they arrived, were Meg and Jay Hunter Morris. As the door opened, the operatic crowd looked thrilled and the Morrises seemed so cool. That is, until the valet tapped Jay on the shoulder and whispered something about keys for the car. Oops, seems the operatic tenor had left the car but taken the keys. Now, most folks would have looked embarrassed at the faux pas, but the Morrises aren’t most folks. With a laugh and apology, Jay handed over the keys and joined the guests.

But then what would you expect from a fella from Paris, Texas? It was in Dallas that Jay, as a youngster, first experienced opera years ago. On Friday, April 5, he was to perform a private recital for the Dallas Opera Spring gala.

Vacheron Constantin timepieces

Vacheron Constantin timepieces

Patsy Donosky and Richard Eiseman

Patsy Donosky and Richard Eiseman

At the party presented by Eiseman Jewels and Vacheron Constantin, it was no surprise to see jeweler Richard Eiseman immediately open the front door as Patsy Donosky arrived and drop to one knee for her. The man knows how to stage a welcome. And speaking of staging, it was pretty nifty to see the precious Vacheron timepieces safely in a couple of cases around the entry hall. And, of course, these little gems had their own “security” standing nearby.

Richard has been very busy as Eiseman prepares to celebrate its 50 anniversary. While the salon is undergoing a massive redesign and expansion to 3,200 square feet, the operation has moved to temporary digs at NorthPark, where Kate Spade had been. How convenient! It’s just next door to “Eiseman’s recently opened dedicated Rolex space.” According to Richard, the renovation is due to be completed by June.

The Stodghill library

The Stodghill library

Across the entry hall, Bank of Texas’ The Private bank Executive VP Bob White was directed to the Stodghill library, where a crowd was gathering to check out the memorabilia including the infamous “bat cave.” One guest noted the small size of the Doc Holiday ulster overcoat. Steve followed that comment with the fact that they had to have a special form created because of the small size — smaller than a woman and larger than a child.

Carol and Don Glendenning

Carol and Don Glendenning

Once Keith arrived, he welcomed the guests and thanked them for their support of the DO especially Bank of Texas, which is the 2014 Spring Gala presenting sponsor at the Winspear on April 4th.

As typical of most parties at Stodghill manor, the party extended beyond the slated closing hour with guests like Carol and Don Glendenning, John Cody, Nick Even, Marnie and Kern Wildenthanl, Betsy Eiseman and Jennifer Cerny receiving a gift bag that included “two beautiful books by Vacheron Constantin, “The Collection 2013-2014” and “Collectors’ Island: passion art excellence, Vol. 1”, as well as a complimentary valet pass for NorthPark Center.”

Women Leader Scholarship Presentation

The presentation by the Junior League of Dallas and Mary Kay Inc. at Emmett J. Conrad High School was laudable. . . in more ways than one. As part of the new JLD Women LEAD (Learn, Excel, Achieve, Dream), an oratory competition was held among eight high school students. The winning four would receive scholarships amounting to a total of $25,000.

Given three to five minutes, each of the young women presented speeches on “How My Female Role Model Overcame Obstacles to Achieve Her Goals and How It Inspires Me.”

The selection of the following winners was based on the “merit of their scholarship applications and speech presentations:

Crayton Webb, Maria Monjaras, Deyanira Zapata-Martinez, Sumayah Al Haddad, Lauren Jackson, Shannon Powell Hart and Laura Johnson

Crayton Webb, Maria Monjaras, Deyanira Zapata-Martinez, Sumayah Al Haddad, Lauren Jackson, Shannon Powell Hart and Laura Johnson*

  • First place ($10,000) — Deyanira Zapata-Martinez, who is deciding between the University of Texas and Texas A&M to continue her education. With a passion for math and science, she plans to major in electrical engineering and neuroscience.
  • Second place ($5,000) — Lauren Jackson plans to attend Louisiana State University and major in nursing. It is her way of helping people and staying directly involved in the community.
  • Third place ($5,000) — Sumayah Al Haddad will attend community college before enrolling in the University of Arlington. She has decided to pursue a career in bio-medical engineering, as she always dreamed of being in the medical field.
  • Fourth place ($5,000) — Maria Monjaras is deciding between the University of Arlington and the University of Dallas and will pursue a degree in business administration. She aspires to be a successful entrepreneur.

According to JLD President Laura Johnson, “We are honored to award our first Women LEAD scholarships in collaboration with Mary Kay. It is our wish to empower these four women and help them achieve their dreams. We look forward to seeing the impact it will have on their lives and their future.”

Recess Patron Party

Amy Turner and Aimee Sheahan

Amy Turner and Aimee Sheahan

Patrons of the April 25th Recess fundraiser for Dallas Afterschool were in for a surprise from Amy Turner. Not only did she open her Park Cities residence for the party, she also arranged for an OMG  Recess prize — a trip to Turtle Island Resort in the Fiji Islands. The gasps that arose in the living room when the announcement was made by Dallas Afterschool CEO Tanya McDonald could be heard around the Park Cities. Ah, so that was why a flat screen near the fireplace had a slideshow of the luxury resort. Someone thought it was just a collection of Amy’s latest trip.

Anne and Terry Conner

Anne and Terry Conner

While the mood in the room rose, so did a sly smile on Amy. Talk about looking like a cat that ate the canary! She knew she had hit a home run.

To get guests like Anne and Terry Conner, Christie Carter and Aimee Sheahan in the mood for fun and games, a magician ambled through the room performing little tricks of the trade.

Recess Co-Chairs Meredith Camp and Christina Norris have arranged to have the adult-sandbox playtime and game-playing event return to the Faye Briggs estate.

Ah, but there was more good news. Well, sorta. The individual tickets have sold out. That’s good news for those who didn’t wait to buy their tickets. That’s not so good if you waited. However, Meredith and Christina have a waitlist already for you. So, don’t wait and sign up on the wait list.

A Legendary Evening Patron Party

This report from the field came in about A Legendary Evening Patron Party:

Kristine Schwope and Heather Walther**

Kristine Schwope and Heather Walther**

“Antèks Home Furnishings in the Dallas Design District was the site for a cocktail reception on Thursday, March 27 honoring patrons of A Legendary Evening, benefiting Family Compass.  Chairs Kristine Schwope and Heather Walther welcomed over fifty guests including honorary co-chair Marty Turco, who stopped by the event before meeting wife and fellow honorary chair, Kelly at their child’s band concert. Before Mr. Turco had to leave, board chair Adam Connatser quieted the group to thank Marty and Kelly for their support again this year of A Legendary Evening and for their commitment to Family Compass and its mission of building healthy families and a strong Dallas community by preventing child abuse and neglect.

Jessica Trudeau and Marty Turco**

Jessica Trudeau and Marty Turco**

“Guests mingled over wine and signature cocktails and a beautiful display of appetizers from Wendy Krispin Caterer while perusing the amazing selection of sophisticated rustic furniture, art and accessories. Anyone who made a purchase received a 10% discount with 10% of sale benefiting Family Compass. This generous offer from Antèks proprietor and designer Jason Lennox, is good through next Saturday, April 5.

“Later in the evening, executive director Jessica Trudeau recognized the chairs, host committee and many sponsors of “A Legendary Evening,” which is scheduled for Saturday, April 12 and recognized Spirit of Compassion award recipients Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones, who were not able to attend but were represented by Terese Stevenson from their foundation. The Spirit of Compassion award is given to individuals who view the prevention of child abuse as a community responsibility and whose support exemplifies that belief.”

* Photo credit: Dana Driensky
** Photo credit: Lisa Stewart

Mad Hatter’s Live Auction Items Just Revealed

Mad Hatter's Tea 2014*

Mad Hatter’s Tea 2014*

The Mad Hatters are putting the finishing touches on their chapeaus. Or, in some cases, their hat designers are for Thursday’s Mad Hatter’s Tea at the Arboretum. One of the items on the day’s agenda is the live auction. Thanks to Jacque Kennedy, the following over-the-top packages will be up for paddle waving:

Item 1: My Fair Lady Package — Enjoy a day of beauty for you and three friends.  Begin the day by spoiling yourselves with hair and makeup done by The Hair Bar. Head on over to True Foods in Preston Center for lunch with your guests and conclude your day with four tickets to the Arboretum Concert Series.

Hostess will receive:

  • Pink Python Clutch by Laura Ginsburg
  • Black and gold Escada watch
  • Earrings from Szor’s

Item 2: Ladies Who Lunch Package — You and your four closest friends are invited to a private luncheon with MacKenzie Child’s designer, Rebecca Proctor, at Neiman Marcus.

For each guest, the luncheon includes:

  • Private Meet & Greet before the luncheon
  • A signed gift from Rebecca Proctor
  • A makeover in the cosmetics department at Neiman Marcus NorthPark prior to the luncheon!

Hostess will receive:

  • Diamond earrings from Rare Gems India
  • Elaine Turner handbag from Tootsies
  • Portrait session and an 11×14 Family Portrait by Robin Jackson Photography

Item 3: A Spot of Tea Package — Enjoy an exclusive opportunity with a Mother/Daughter Tea Party for 8 hosted at the Dallas Arboretum. Afterwards, enjoy a memorable tour of the Children’s Garden with your guests, and the hostess will receive a head and shoulders pastel portrait of her daughter by Nancy Curran. Conclude the day with dinner for eight in your home catered by Gil’s Elegant Catering.

Item 4: C’est la Bonne Vie! Package — Escape for the morning to the French-inspired Rush Patisserie for coffee and croissants with 8-12 of your closest lady friends. Each guest will receive exquisite French Affaires greeting cards by Elizabeth New Seitz.  End the day with a $1,000 gift certificate for dinner at Nick & Sam’s in Preston Center.

Hostess will receive:

  • $500 Bachendorf’s gift certificate
  • Portrait session and a 16×20 Family Portrait by Robin Jackson Photography

Item 5: Run for the Roses Package — Enjoy a private garden consultation at your home with Michael Shoup of Antique Rose Emporium.

Package includes:

  • Three beautiful rose bushes
  • Signed copies of Michael Shoup’s books Empress of the Garden and Guide to Antique Roses
  • Select gardening tools for handling the roses
  • Five different holiday gift box sets delivered throughout the year from Stacy’s Elegantly Chocolate

Item 6: Picture Perfect Party Package — Enjoy an afternoon tea party with 8-12 of your friends, sampling French delicacies at the French-inspired Rush Patisserie. Capture the special occasion with a Custom Portrait Package and an 8×10 lustre coated professional portrait by Tiffany Hankla Photography.

Hostess will receive a 10-inch Waterford Crystal Cassidy Vase

* Graphic courtesy of Mad Hatter's Tea 2014

Spirit Of Contact Celebrates And Honors Dallas First Responders, Sandy Hook’s Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis And The Power Of “Hope”

The Spirit of Contact luncheon patron party was held behind closed curtains. That is, the gathering commenced behind the stage in the Anatole’s Khmer Pavilion. Thanks to a mammoth curtain, very few knew a VIP reception was taking place. It included the Spirit of Contact honorees — keynote note speaker/Sandy Hooks teacher Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis and Dallas’ First Responders including Dallas Police Chief David Brown and Fire Chief Louis Bright III. Despite being honored for their work, it was a rough celebration for those First Responders. Just the day before, Dallas police Senior Cpl. David Myers had died in a motorcycle accident. Chief Brown admitted that it was a tough day. . . a very tough day.

Jan Hegi and Marla Boone

Jan Hegi and Marla Boone

But just beyond the group of First Responders were folks posing for photos with Kaitlin. 2012 Spirit awardee Jan Hegi was with Honorary Co-Chair Marla Boone. Gail and Gerald Turner were being congratulated on SMU’s advancing the night before in the NIT at Moody Coliseum.

David Brown, Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis and Louis Bright III

David Brown, Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis and Louis Bright III

Then the crowd quietly moved to their seats at the tables filling the room. It was show time for the Contact fundraiser.

On cue the First Responders were introduced and created a gauntlet of honor for Kaitlin to be escorted by Brown and Bright to a standing ovation.

Benaye Rogers

Benaye Rogers

Everything was going as planned. Or, at least that’s what Contact President Benaye Rogers thought as she sat at her table and watched Contact Board of Directors Chair-Elect Dave Monaco kick off the program. Ah, but then Dave went off script and not only recognized Benaye for her contributions over the years to Contact, but he had her come up to the stage to accept the praise and a SO. As she returned to her seat, Benaye caught her breath and wiped the tears away with her napkin.

KDFW’s Calvert Collins then took over the emcee duties. The new mom, who had been on maternity leave, was subbing in for her co-worker Heather Hayes, who had to attend her daughter’s special event. BTW, when asked how Calvert had returned to her pre-pregnancy figure, the adorable blonde smiled and answered with one word, “Spanx.”

Leigh Anne Haugh

Leigh Anne Haugh

Mike Boone

Mike Boone

Luncheon Chair/2011 Spirit Awardee Leigh Anne Haugh then introduced Honorary Co-Chairs Marla and Mike Boone, who briefly extolled the importance of Contact.

Then the production crew created an “Ah, shoot!” moment. In introducing Kaitlin to accept her award, the ABC interview of Kaitlin with Diane Sawyer suddenly appeared on the two screens on either side of the stage. Despite very obvious hand gestures by Benaye (index finger crossing her throat two, three or four times), the video continued.

But, hey, this is a group that goes with the flow when it comes to the unexpected. On stage Kaitlin and Benaye realized the video was not going to be stopped and just smiled at each other and shook their heads.

In accepting the award, she stressed that everything that she has done in the past 16 months has been for the “26 angels who I know are looking down on us right now. Thank you for honoring me, so I can continue to honor them.”

Gerald Turner

Gerald Turner

Following her gracious acceptance speech, Kaitlin and Benaye were joined by Gerald Turner on stage in three chairs for a conversation of hope. The conversation varied between what Kaitlin had experienced and what Contact does. Highlights included the following:

  • Kaitlin had wanted to be a teacher since the age of four. When she was five, she asked her father if she could babysit the two-year-old boy next door. From the age of ten to college, she held “every job imaginable working with children.”
  • Kaitlin and the First Responders were selected because they encapsulated the Spirit of Contact. Kaitlin was a perfect example of what Contact tries to get across to its callers — hope and to keep on trying.
  • Until the day of the shooting on December 14, 2012, Kaitlin had never been in the 3’ by 4’ bathroom because it was too uncomfortable for an adult.
  • (There was a pause as an Anatole staffer presented her with a Diet Coke. The blonde broke with the talk, gasped and said, “Somebody brought me a Diet Coke.” The audience laughed and Gerald without missing a beat said, “Speaking of angels. . .” more laughter.)
  • Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis

    Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis

    She told the children to be quiet. Her first graders followed her orders because of the gunshots in the hallway.

  • When asked what prepared her for that day, she believed it was the angels. Then she added that she wanted her children and herself to survive, so those were the choices that had to be made. At that moment those children were her children.
  • Benaye agreed that her volunteers are put in the same situation in dealing with clients in crisis.
  • When people approach Kaitlin and tell her how they have been diagnosed with cancer or lost a loved one, they say, “but it’s nothing like yours.” Her response is, “Loss is loss. Hard times are hard times. What you’re doing, you can choose to have hope. You can focus on the positive.”
  • It took five months to work through the immediate shock. . . “zombie-like state.” She kept asking herself, “Why her school? Why the loss of life?” Then one day she realized that she couldn’t answer those questions and decided to focus on the questions that she could answer. First, “How do I not let this tragedy define myself?” Second, “How do I make sure that we get our control back?” It took three weeks to work through it.
  • When Kaitlin and her students returned to school in January 2013, they were inundated with gifts from around the country. One morning a box of recess toys arrived at her classroom and it triggered a thought — “We’ve been getting and now we’re going to give.” After lunch, she asked her students why someone had sent the toys. Their answer was because they wanted to do something nice. . . . they wanted to be kind. She told them they were absolutely right and “in life when somebody does for you, it is your responsibility to do for someone else. And that is what we’re going to do. We’re going to find a class and find out what they need and we’re going to make them feel like we feel right now — happy.” It was the turning point. They students were thrilled at the idea of giving freely. Thus, it was the creation of Class For Class.
  • In August 2013, Kaitlin undertook a year-long sabbatical.
  • Benaye told that many of the Contact volunteers have shared the same feeling of helping and paying it forward.
  • Regarding the kids, Benaye told how Contact assists in helping children in crisis situations, whether they’re in a household in turmoil or experiencing their own personal crisis.

Kaitlin closed the chat by telling the educators in the room, “You are the difference makers. Teachers are the common denominator in our world. Every single person starts in school. Everyone sitting here — athletes, doctors, presidents — we all start in school. And it’s teachers who enable them to reach their dream.”