As The Chill Approaches, It’s Time To Part Company With Old Pals

Ralph Lauren sweater and shawl

Ralph Lauren sweater and shawl

The weather is going to dip to the chilly level this weekend and there are loads of bargains. Translation: Perfect time to go shopping for those items to stave off the cold. A Ralph Lauren turtleneck with shawl wouldn’t be bad. A fluffy duvet with a King Pheasant duvet cover would be peachy to snuggle under. And, of course, a new Paddington coat would be just perfect.

But, wait! Where to put these new must-haves? Simple answer. Edit that closet. There’s “stuff” in there that hasn’t seen the light of day in seasons.

Face it. They’re old friends that were spectacular in their day. And like an old friend, they shouldn’t be abandoned, nor should they grow old and stale in an old closet.

Aha, you know where this line of thinking is going. Why not put your mind in that gut-wrenching place, go through your closet and have a going-away party for those clothes and blankets that you no longer need. After wiping away the tears, take them to Goodwill, Attitudes and Attire, The Family Place Resale Shop, Genesis Benefit Thrift Store or your fav shelter.

Not only might you be providing warmth for a total stranger, but your “old friend” might just give that person a new lease on life and get them headed in a totally new and better direction.

JUST IN: Equest Luncheon And Fashion Show Check Presentation Had An Oopsie

Equest Luncheon and Fashion Show Chair Emilynn Wilson and her crew including 2016 Auxiliary President Di Johnston and Kristina Whitcomb were thrilled to present a check for $221,200 to 2015 Equest Women’s Auxiliary President Beth Layton. The plan called for Beth then to hand it over to Equest’s Interim CEO Lili Kellogg.

It was all set to take place today in the Highland Park Village offices, and HPV head honcho Ray Washburne even left a meeting to join the presentation. Made sense, since HPV provided the glamorama fashions for the fundraiser.

But when the big, showy check arrived, there was a problem. The amount was wrong. There weren’t any sad faces, though. Seems that an additional $1,000 had come in just after the check had been produced. That’s why so many smiley faces appeared.

Di Johnston, Beth Layton, Ray Washburne, Emilynn Wilson, Lili Kellogg and Kristina Whitcomb

Di Johnston, Beth Layton, Ray Washburne, Emilynn Wilson, Lili Kellogg and Kristina Whitcomb

And, rest easy. Yes, the for-real, bank-accepted check had the right amount.

Callier Cares Luncheon Leadership Gathers For Lunch At The Melrose To Discuss Lunch At Brook Hollow Golf Club

Angie Kadesky and Michal Powell

Angie Kadesky and Michal Powell

While the buses lined up in front of the Melrose Hotel’s back driveway that years ago fronted the pool instead of the parking lot, inside a small group of folks gathered inside The Landmark restaurant for lunch on Wednesday, November 4.

It was to discuss plans for the 2016 Callier Cares Luncheon. Callier Cares Chair Angie Kadesky revealed that the Callier Care Fund fundraiser will be held on Tuesday, April 19, at Brook Hollow Golf Club.

Included in the group was attorney Stuart Bumpas, who will be presented the Ruth and Ken Altshuler Callier Care Award for his 30 years of serving on the Foundation for the Callier Center board.

Stuart Bumpas

Stuart Bumpas

Thomas Campbell

Thomas Campbell

According to Callier Center for Communication Disorders Executive Director Thomas Campbell, Stuart’s “longstanding dedication has played an instrumental role in the growth of the Callier Center and in making lives better for patients with communication disorders.”

The award “is presented annually to an individual or group of individuals who has contributed significantly to the betterment of the community and to advancing the care of patients with communication disorders.”

Honorary Co-Chair Michal Powell managed to squeeze in the get-together in between her job of chairing the December 5th Crystal Charity Ball.

Individual tickets start at $150 and tables of 10 range from $1,500 to $25,000.

JUST IN: The Dallas Opera Board Extends Contracts Of Key Leaders Until 2022

Just as the season was transitioning into the uber-giving season, word arrived that The Dallas Opera has given a big couple of gifts to the artistic community of Dallas. The Dallas Opera Board extended the contracts of General Director/CEO Keith Cerny and Musical Director Emanuel Villaume to June 30, 2022.

Keith Cerny and Emmanuel Villaume*

Keith Cerny and Emmanuel Villaume*

According to Board Chair Steve Suellentrop, “Over the past five years, Keith Cerny has demonstrated exemplary leadership… Working closely with the Board, Keith has also played a major role in achieving three consecutive balanced budgets – the first time in fifteen years that The Dallas Opera has achieved this result.

“Music Director Emmanuel Villaume has accomplished a great deal in his first two years with the company.  In addition to conducting several outstanding productions, he has made Dallas his musical home; using his considerable intelligence and charm to forge extremely positive relationships with the community, our Board, and our supporters.”

Congrats to the Cerny and Villaume households and The Dallas Opera’s board for this “let’s keep the right team together.”

* Photo credit: Karen Almond, Dallas Opera

2016 Children’s Cancer Fund Will Be A Nighttime Soiree And Roger Staubach Wants “To Beat The Hell Out Of This Disease”

The calm before the storm. That was Wednesday, November 4. By evening WFAA’s Pete Delkus still had his jacket on. It would soon to be removed. But before all heck broke loose for another bout with Mother Nature’s rocky personality, lucky fundraisers took a deep breath and filled the day with activities. It started just after 7 a.m. and ended past 9 p.m. Face it — fundraising doesn’t know an eight-hour day.

The launch of the Children’s Cancer Fund Kick-Off breakfast at Lisa and Clay Cooley’s wasn’t supposed to start until 7:45 a.m. But folks were showing up at 7:15 a.m. and the Cooleys were ready.

Lisa had been up at 5 and the crew of caterers and valets were in place at 7 for the near 200 to hear about plans for the 2016 fundraiser.

Jack Barker and Chance Cooley

Jack Barker and Chance Cooley

One of the guests in the crowd was Jesuit student Jack Barker, who was also a former classmate of Chance Cooley. Sure, his mom Giora Barker was co-chairing the 2016 Children’s Cancer Fund event with Lisa, but there was more to his being there and that would be revealed later.

Speaking of Chance, he couldn’t stay for the presentation. Had to head off to school in an ultra-cool car. As he prepared to drive off, Clay advised his son to drive safely.

Another cute fella in the crowd was Luke Lange, who posed with his folks Tracy and Ben Lange and Children’s Cancer Fund Honorary Co-Chair Roger Staubach.

Clay Cooley, Luke Lange and Ben Lange

Clay Cooley, Luke Lange and Ben Lange

With guests having business commitments at 9, the program ran like an atomic clock.

Lisa thanked folks for coming and Roger recalled how 28 years ago, when they held the first Children’s Cancer Fund event, “It was beautiful women in lingerie. Boy, we used to have a great turnout for that luncheon…and they still have a great turnout.”

He admitted that over the years there have been some very sad stories, but there have also been some great stories as a result of the Children’s Cancer Fund’s efforts.

Stephen Skapek

Stephen Skapek

Roger then turned the program over to Dr. Stephen Skapek and Dr. Patrick Leavey, who provided updates on children’s cancer.

Despite the barrage of statistics and facts that have been reeled off in the past, the cold reality of Stephen’s voice when he said, “I’m sick of children dying of cancer.”

To put a face with the situation, Giora and Jack took their places in front of the fireplace in the living room that was packed with people. They told of Jack’s successful battle against cancer and how it was due to the funding of research and treatments. Jack, who was diagnosed with T-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at the age of 12, spent the next three years with Children’s Health healthcare professionals and his family to beat the cancer. In 2010 he was one of the Children’s Cancer Fund’s artisans, who had an army supporting him. Today the 18-year old is on the Jesuit crew team, loves to scuba dive and ski and is his mother’s inspiration. He quickly became an inspiration for the early-morning risers in the room that included Children’s Cancer Fund Board President Karen McClard, Children’s Cancer Fund Executive Director Brittney Bannon, Coley Clark, Scott Murray and Children’s Cancer Fund Co-Founder Fred Shapiro.

Karen McClard, Lisa Cooley, Roger Staubach, Giora Barker and Brittney Bannon

Karen McClard, Lisa Cooley, Roger Staubach, Giora Barker and Brittney Bannon

Patrick Leavey and Fred Shapiro

Patrick Leavey and Fred Shapiro

Unlike years past, The Children’s Cancer Fund Gala fundraiser will be a nighttime affair on Friday, April 22, at the Hilton Anatole. Lisa explained that by having it at night, it would allow more men to attend and there wouldn’t be the problem of having to leave for an afternoon meeting.

In addition to the fashion show and auction, there will be dinner and entertainment by Emerald City. Tickets start at $300 per person.

According to Roger, they’ll be raffling off “a Clay Cooley car — a 1952 Plymouth.” No, that was just Roger joshing about the Plymouth, but he was right about a Cooley care being raffled off.

But Roger was serious when he said, “We need to beat the hell out of this disease.”

True to their promise, the breakfast meeting was a done deal in time for peeps to be off to those 9 o’clock commitments.

Grovel Alert: The Art Of Film

Ran into Dallas Film Society grand poobah Lee Papert tonight and he alerted all within earshot that Friday’s The Art of Film with “almost-a-local” Isabella Rossellini is nearing the done deal status.

Well, wonder why? Isabella and Gary Cogill chatting it up? There will be so many different topics to hit that guests might as well bring their sleeping bags because the talk may go way into the night.

And the surroundings won’t be shabby with walls of Andy Warhols watching the guests. Perhaps Marilyn Monroe will be looking over a shoulder? Or Mao Tse-tung looking just over your head? (Hint: If you don’t know any of the boldfacers mentioned in this graph, call up your history teacher and tell them that they failed you. That is, unless you skipped that semester.)

Whatever! Get your tickets if you love movies, want the scoop from Isabella, meet her daughter Elettra Wiedemann (aka Ingrid Bergman‘s grand daughter) or just want a cool night with film lovers of all ages.

Question: Is Gary gonna ask about the making of “Blue Velvet”? He’d better.

Get Those 2016 Events Submitted For MySweetCharity Calendar



Before going totally into “holiday mode” where turkeys and Black Friday dominate brain cells, consider the longterm future. Are there any 2016 events that need to be posted on the MySweetCharity Calendar?

It’s easy. It’s even free unless you want to add bells and whistles to the listing. Just “submit” the info and let the world know that your event is scheduled. It gives fair warning to other event planners that they might want to rethink the timing of their fundraiser.

BTW, there’s already a problem on the 2016 horizon. It’s the month of March. Yipes! It seems the various school districts are taking their spring breaks at different times during the month. Here’s a brief rundown of the schedule spring breaks:

  • March 7-11: Highland Park, Jesuit, Richardson, Ursuline and SMU
  • March 14-18: Dallas Independence School District
  • March 21- 28: Hockaday and St. Mark’s School

Now if there are no munchkins in the household, it may not seem like a big deal. But for fundraisers, it could mean a major migraine, since many potential guests may be making plans to head out of town with the kiddos.

Alas, last year was so lovely when all the schools took the same week off.

This situation means that fundraising efforts will be crammed into February, April and May to make up for the March madness.

So, get those events and their dates in pronto!

Plans Announced To “Celebrate” WaterTower Theatre’s 20th Anniversary With A Change Of Venue

The folks at WaterTower Theatre never rest. They’ve hardly had time to recover from the world premiere of “Creep,” and now they’re putting plans together for the theatre’s 20th anniversary.

According to WaterTower Theatre Producing Artistic Director Terry Martin, the anniversary will be the focus of the annual Spotlight Gala’s “Celebrate” on Saturday, April 9.

Barbara Daseke and Laree Hulshoff (File photo)

Barbara Daseke and Laree Hulshoff (File photo)

Buds Barbara Daseke and Laree Hulshoff, who are spearheading the Aging Minds Foundation tribute to Bob Miller, are busily at work with Deborah Staggs planning for the event. They’ve divvied up the responsibilities. Barbara will be the chair and Laree and Deborah will be co-chairs. For honorary co-chairs, the trio has already gotten Barbara and Bob Bigham on board.

But change is afoot. Instead of holding the event at WaterTower Theatre, the gala will take place in the Grand Ballroom of the Marriott Quorum Hotel.

Tickets will start at $250 for the evening of cocktails, dining, dancing, auction and a raffle.

That raffle of three packages includes:

  • New York Theatre Trip for Two. Includes tickets to two fabulous New York theatre companies.
  • Luxury staycation. An overnight stay for two at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Addison including complimentary breakfast. Prize also includes dinner for two at Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House and tickets to a WaterTower Theatre production.
  • Theatre Tickets. In honor of our 20th Anniversary Season, you will receive 20 tickets to WaterTower Theatre. They can be used all for one show or spread out across the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 Seasons.

BTW, the raffle tickets ($10 for one and $25 for three) are a twofer. In addition to entering the purchaser into the raffle, it also is “a $15 coupon to Kenny’s Wood Fired Grill or Kenny’s Italian Kitchen.” So, even if you don’t win the raffle, you can still get a good deal on dinner at your leisure.

These value-added raffle tickets might make great Christmas gifts.

Barbershop Quartet Welcomes The Trains At NorthPark Patrons At Kacy And Carter Tolleson’s Home

Just a few blocks away from Melissa and Trevor Fetter‘s party for the Silver Supper Announcement party on Tuesday, November 3, Kacy and Carter Tolleson opened their home for The Trains At NorthPark patron party benefiting the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas. Here’s a report from the field:

Kacy and Carter Tolleson

Kacy and Carter Tolleson

Before The Trains at NorthPark opens on Saturday, November 21, the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas feted the supporters of this holiday tradition at Kacy and Carter Tolleson’s home. As guests arrived, Smooth Brew, a barbershop quartet, surprised and delighted the 100 guests.

The most elaborate miniature toy trains exhibit in Texas, The Trains at NorthPark includes locomotives rolling across multiple tracks on a journey across America marked by memorable landmarks. New this year will be Mount Rushmore that features Thomas the Train and his friends. Also new is the location, which will be on Level Two next to Nordstrom.

Smooth Brew

Smooth Brew

Thousands of visitors enjoy The Trains at NorthPark each season, which is one of Dallas’ most cherished family holiday traditions. Since 1987, the event has raised nearly a third of the operating budget for the children and families served by the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas.

Carolyn and Karl Rathjen

Carolyn and Karl Rathjen

Ronald McDonald House of Dallas CEO Jill Cumnock welcomed guests. “Thank you, Kacy and Carter, for hosting us in your beautiful home. We also want to thank Carolyn and Dr. Karl Rathjen as our honorary co-chairs. Dr. Rathjen is assistant chief of staff, director of pediatric orthopedic services, Children’s Health℠, and president of the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children Foundation. He’s treated many children who have stayed at the House.”

Cumnock introduced April Cook and Jennifer Tobin. April has been involved with the House for 15 years as a Young Friend and as Trains railcar chair. She’s taken her young sons to the exhibit and has amassed a collection of railcars for them. Tobin has been involved with the nonprofit through the Junior League of Dallas and has taken her young daughter to the exhibit while starting a family collection of railcars.

April said, “Thank you for all the committee members and Co-Chairs-Elect Annika Cail and Sarah Friedman. Thank you to Sponsor Party Co-Chairs Lindy Berkley and Kacy Tolleson for planning tonight’s beautiful event.”

Jennifer added, “We’re thankful for NorthPark hosting The Trains for the past 17 years. Thank you Bank of Texas, for all you do for Ronald McDonald House of Dallas. There are several people here tonight with Bank of Texas including Pat Brockette, who is senior vice president, manager Commercial Banking. We also have Jacquie Donovan, Rex Lofland, Nathan Jacks and Margaret Thomann. We truly could not put on this event without Bank of Texas’ help, and we hope that you’ll continue your support next year.”

Pat spoke next. “Bank of Texas has been the presenting sponsor of The Trains at NorthPark, for the past seven years, and we’re involved because we believe in the important work that the House does caring for families during a difficult time in their lives. Our bank’s holiday party at The Trains for our employees and families is by far the largest with nearly 500 people.”

Karl added his thoughts about the House. “There’s not a day that goes by when I don’t see someone who’s staying at the House. The House does a good job of providing a place to stay, three meals, but most importantly, the healing that happens. It’s transformational what the House does, and we’re thankful to be a part of it.”

After these remarks, people continued sipping adult beverages and sampling the hors d’oeuvres created by Eating Royally/Darren McGrady, including: chicken fried quail with chili buttermilk dressing; lobster Mac and cheese balls; blue corn pancakes with smoked, pulled pork, jalapeño cream cheese and peach jelly; Stilton and walnut shortbread with goat cheese and grilled pears; and Chimichuri flank steak tostados with black beans and sour cream.

Ways to support The Trains at NorthPark:

  • Sponsorship: — The Trains at NorthPark offers sponsorship opportunities to individuals, businesses, community organizations and schools. For those interested, contact Chief Development Officer Diane Fullingim.

Hand-painted railcars are available to purchase, and they can be personalized. A standard railcar is $175, a caboose is $225, a limited edition RMHD rail car is $275 and an engine is $325. Visit to place an online order.

Sponsors are able to attend The Trains at NorthPark Sneak Peek party on Saturday, November 21, 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Held before the exhibit opens to the public, this event is a favorite for sponsors and their children who get to be the first to see the trains roll into Dallas.

  • Volunteer — More than 2,000 volunteers are needed to run the trains. For those interested in volunteering as individuals or as a group to work three-hour shifts, visit Volunteers must be at least 15 years old without a parent, or 12-14 years old and accompanied by a parent.

Communities Foundation Of Texas’ 2016 GiveWisely Applications Are Due In One Month

There’s just a month left to submit applications for the 2016 GiveWisely program sponsored by Communities Foundation of Texas. No, it’s not a study on the three wise men. The five-class series provides information for “a relatively small group of donors to sharpen their goals and strategies toward giving.”

The following schedule calls for the classes to run from 7 to 9 p.m.:

  • Session #1 (Wednesday, January 20): Identifying Your Values — What are your core values? How do they show up in your giving- or do they? Discussing values, personal giving statements and charitable budgets.
  • Session #2 (Wednesday, February 17): Pinpointing Your — This session will guide you through further identifying your philanthropic values, goals and legacy- and effectively communicating your giving philosophy with family, friends and the nonprofit community.
  • Session #3 (Wednesday, March 23): Evaluating Effectiveness— Understanding community needs and assessing nonprofits to bring your personal perspective to bear on solving community problems. This session is complemented by the special off-site session, “How to Conduct a Site Visit” on Saturday, April 9.
  • Session #4 (Wednesday, April 13): Philanthropist Panel — Hear from a panel of philanthropists and discuss the challenges, successes and impact of giving.
  • Session #5 (Wednesday, April 29): Beyond the Class: Keeping Focus and Impact in Your Giving — Finalize your personal giving statements and your charitable budget for the year ahead in this workshop session.

According to last year’s GiveWisely participant Christine Allen, “I high recommend this class to anyone who has a heart to make the world a better place, but isn’t sure about the best way to make a personal impact. It’s an exceptional class, extremely well-organized, and every topic leads to valuable discussion. GiveWisely truly helps people hone in on their passions and apply their resources.”

While the series is free, “each member (or participating couple) will make a tax deductible $500 gift to Communities Foundation of Texas, to be directed to the nonprofit of their choosing at the end of the class.”

The deadline for applications is Friday, December 18.