Public Relations Workshop For Nonprofits To Be Announced Soon

If one of your responsibilities is to market your nonprofit, you’re expected to know everything from branding to working with the media. Betcha you’ve got war stories that would impress the Defense Department. How would you like some insider tips on how to make your marketing life a little easier?

Word is making the rounds that an event is going to be held that will provide all types of those tips. You’ll be able to hear firsthand the pros and cons of dealing with the press and promoting your nonprofit from experts from the PR community and actual media folks.

It will not be an all-day gathering, nor will it be a slug ‘em back cocktail party. It will be an informative come together.

Stay tuned. We’ll let you know all the deets.

Get Serious! Robert “Bob” Miller Is Just Taking A Break

Today an amazing era for nonprofit coverage ends. It is our former city editor, who has shone the light on so many nonprofits since 1985. Yes, Dallas Morning News columnist RobertBob” Miller is supposedly retiring. That’s really a joke. He’s simply staying home side, until his adorable, “giddy” bride of 51 years Shirley wearies of him sitting on the couch.

Bob Miller (File photo)

Bob Miller (File photo)

Shirley Miller (File photo)

Shirley Miller (File photo)

Monday night The Dallas Morning News held a farewell party for Bob. Actually it was a celebration of 91-year-old Bob. Before philanthropy was cool, he crafted a column that put the spotlight on nonprofits. According to SMU’s Gerald Turner, the university has benefited from a million dollars of “OMG” awareness from Bob’s column.

It provided an outlet to let readers know of the business community’s support of nonprofits that was valued and well read. His knowledge of Dallas’ history and the people involved was invaluable.

Tomorrow a person will be named who will carry on the DMN Business Section’s tip-of-the-hat to philanthropy. That person will not replace Bob. No one ever could. They will simply be filling in until Shirley kicks Bob out of the house and he returns to his messy desk.

Bob, thank you for setting a standard and example for the rest of us to learn from and try to measure up to. We will never surpass you, but we’ll have quite a ride trying to, and the nonprofits will love our shabby attempts.

See you later, Bob.

Callier Cares Saluted An Attorney And A Doctor Plus A Mom Helped By Callier Center For Communication Disorders And “Hope”

Being a parent doesn’t offer much if one looks at it as a career choice. The hours are a nightmare — 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for a lifetime. There are no raises, vacations or promotions. Working conditions are rugged. Rarely do you have time to yourself. You are likely to graduate from baby spit-ups to staying up all night waiting for your “child” to make it home safely from a date.

Still the longterm benefits are worth it all — grandchildren, hugs and the smiles that grow with the years. The good news is that over the years, the kids do “grow up” and act…well, like grown-ups.

But there are parents who may not look forward to such self-sufficiency and rewards since their children have autism and, depending upon the degree, may be dependent upon their parents all their lives.

Rhoni Golden

Rhoni Golden

That situation became very apparent at Brook Hollow on Thursday, April 30, as Callier Cares Luncheon speaker Rhoni Golden told of the life journey that she, her husband and three children have taken with 9-year-old son Gray, who was severely autistic. As a former physical therapist, Rhoni and her husband aggressively sought help in dealing with Gray’s situation. She told of countless attempts to discover, diagnose and make the best choices for Gray.

Time and again, their efforts were fruitless and frustrating.

One of their chief concerns was their ability to communicate with Gray in any form. It was Callier Center for Communication Disorders that helped the Golden family work through it. After experiencing healthcare providers and organizations that seemed to just go through the motions, she realized that they needed professionals who had both a passion to assist and a track record of success. She found that combination at Callier, so much so that she ended up joining the board and becoming an advocate.

Another turning point in the Golden family was the arrival of Hope, an autism service dog. Literally tethered together with Hope, Gray was able to “join the family on community outings so that everyone enjoyed themselves.”

In conclusion, Rhoni admitted that her family was not a happily-ever-after story. But with the pride of a warrior, she told that her family had dinner at a restaurant without a problem recently. In their world that was better than a straight A report card.

Sharon McCullough and Marilyn Augur

Sharon McCullough and Marilyn Augur

Libby Hunt

Libby Hunt

For those in the audience like Honorary Chair Marilyn Augur, Event Chair Tiffany Divis, Ruth and Ken Altshuler, Linda Custard, Sara Martineau, Tucean and David Webb, Leslie Diers, Christie Carter, Mary Clare Finney, Heather Furniss, Nancy Hunt and daughter Libby Allred, Elizabeth Fischer and mom Gail Fischer, Patricia Meadows, Jennifer and Coley Clark, Michal Powell, Wanda Farr and Bert Moore, Rhoni was a hero.

Another hero was attorney Mike McCullough, who graciously accepted the Ruth and Ken Altshuler Callier Care Award. Having been involved with Callier since its inception in 1963, Mike thanked the Altshulers for their countless contributions to the community, the Callier team, his firm and his family.

Ken and Ruth Altshuler and Mike McCullough

Ken and Ruth Altshuler and Mike McCullough

Tom Campbell and Laurence Leonard

Tom Campbell and Laurence Leonard

Another hero was Dr. Laurence Leonard of Purdue University, who received the 2015 Callier Prize for his work with children and was called a “leading scholar and prolific scientist in the study of children with specific language impairment, a language disorder that delays the mastery of language skills in children who have no hearing loss or significant delays in other developmental areas.”

For more photos, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

VMLC Expands Its Reach And Promptly Boosts Attendance At Its Annual “Wings of Spring” Literacy Fundraiser

At the “Wings of Spring: A Celebration of Literacy” fundraiser for VMLC—formerly called Vickery Meadow Learning Center—at Fashion Industry Gallery on Friday, March 20, English teacher Leti Bustamante was proudly talking up all the exciting things VMLC is doing at its new campus in East Dallas.

The campus is “new” because, earlier this year, the nonprofit dedicated to improving English literacy among non-English-speaking adults and children merged with Bustamante’s ELM (short for English Language Ministry Inc.) facility on East Dallas’ Peak Street. The acquisition gives VMLC three campuses now—in Vickery Meadow and West Dallas in addition to East Dallas—and the ability to reach more students.

“We’re currently teaching 85 adults and 40 children,” Bustamante said of the former ELM campus. “But now that we’ve merged with VMLC, we’ll be able to offer more classes—not just in the mornings, but in the evenings as well.”

Don and Cathey Humphreys, Sarah Papert, Susie Simon and Camille Owens*

Don and Cathey Humphreys, Sarah Papert, Susie Simon and Camille Owens*

The recent merger also was on the mind of VMLC Executive Director Sarah Papert when Papert addressed the crowd of 313—up from 200 at last year’s “Wings”—that had gathered for a cocktail reception and a performance by the Time for Three musical group.

With a current roster of more than 250 volunteer teachers, Papert said, VMLC entered in the ELM merger negotiations last fall, then “decided to get married” in January. The goal, she explained: “To be more efficient and more effective, and to serve more people.”

Patricia Massey, Ashley Coleman and Megan Nicholson*

Patricia Massey, Ashley Coleman and Megan Nicholson*

Following Papert’s talk—and a nicely done video about the nonprofit’s efforts—event Chair Ashley Coleman and Co-chair Patricia Massey announced that, this year, “Wings of Spring” had raised more than $307,000 for the group’s various programs. Among them: a Family Literacy Program, a Workforce Literacy Program, and an Early Childhood Education Program.

Zach De Pue, Ranaan Meyer and Nick Kendall*

Zach De Pue, Ranaan Meyer and Nick Kendall*

Then it was time for Time for Three, a high-energy trio that calls itself “the world’s first classically trained garage band.” Tf3 was back “by popular demand,” organizers said, after appearing at the “Wings” fundraiser last year. With members Zach DePue (violin), Nick Kendall (violin) and Ranaan Meyer (double bass), the talented group showed off its versatility, blending elements of classical, country-western, gypsy and jazz music.

When the performance was over, guests including Joyce and Harvey Mitchell and Marnie and Kern Wildenthal (Marnie’s a longtime VMLC volunteer teacher) showed their appreciation with a standing ovation. Others joining in the hearty applause included Honorary Chairs and presenting sponsors Cathey and Don Humphreys, presenting sponsors Joyce and Les Coleman, presenting sponsor Susie Simon, and VMLC Board President Camille Owens and her husband Patrick Owens.

* Photo credit: Holly Kuper

$25,000 In Scholarships Awarded At 2nd Annual Women LEAD Scholarship Speech Competition

The Junior League of Dallas and Mary Kay held the 2nd Annual Women LEAD Scholarship Speech Competition at Emmett J. Conrad High School on Thursday, March 26. Each of the ten finalists had to prepare a three-to-five minute speech addressing “their dream beyond college and how they could accomplish it with $5,000.” In addition to the importance of the dream for themselves, they had to include the impact that it would have on others.

According to Junior League President Julie Bagley, “It is an incredible honor to be able to award our second annual Women LEAD recipients in collaboration with Mary Kay. We hope these scholarships will allow these women to further their education and become one step closer to pursuing their dreams. Education is one of the League’s main areas of support, and we look forward to seeing the impact it will have on their lives and future. We are also excited to see how the program will grow each year with new recipients. This program directly reflects our mission to develop the potential of women and we are eager to see the influence it will have on our community.”

The prize? The first-place winner would receive “a one-time $10,000 scholarship.” The second-, third- and fourth-place winners would each receive “a one-time $5,000 scholarship.”

Crayton Webb, Emili Quintero, Emily House, Belem Soto, Sung Mawi and Julie Bagley*

Crayton Webb, Emili Quintero, Emily House, Belem Soto, Sung Mawi and Julie Bagley*

The results? Emili Quintero was the first place winner and plans to use her $10,000 scholarship to enter Texas A&M to major in business management. Second-place winner Emily House will use her $5,000 to major in physical therapy at the University of Houston. Third-place winner Sung Mawi’s $5,000 will be used for her accounting studies at the University of Texas at Austin. And fourth place-winner Belem Soto plans to also attend Texas A&M and use her $5,000 to major in wildlife conservation.

Mary Kay Inc. VP of Corporate Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility Crayton Webb added, “We are so proud to see Mary Kay Ash’s mission of enriching women’s lives around the world come to life with the Women LEAD Scholarship Program and are honored to partner with the Junior League of Dallas for another great year. It has been truly inspiring to see the seeds of success root through these scholarship recipients and we know great things lie ahead as we create opportunities to develop female leaders in our community.”

* Photo credit: Rhi Lee

SOLD OUT ALERT: Callier Cares Luncheon

There’s nothing better than hearing the words “Sold Out!” And that’s what Callier Cares Luncheon Chair Tiffany Divis was reporting this morning at Bachendorf’s in Preston Center East, when she picked up the 2015 Ruth and Ken Altshuler Callier Care Award from Lawrence Bock.

Tiffany Divis and Lawrence Bock

Tiffany Divis and Lawrence Bock

But don’t show the photo to awardee Mike McCullough. He doesn’t want to see the award until the lunch at Brook Hollow on Thursday, April 30.

If you want to get sentimental, you need to drop by Bachendorf’s within the next couple of weeks. Lawrence explained that the jewelry store is going to go through a major overhaul. Where the Baccarat and Waterford crystals now shimmer will be Rolexes galore. And, no, the crystals collectibles and gifts aren’t going away. They’re just moving a few feet away to their own neat nook. As for business, it will be as usual. The work will take place in phases, so Mother’s Day, wedding and graduation purchases will still be a snap.

As for the luncheon, there is a waiting list , so you can try and should because mom Rhoni Golden will talk about “her personal journey of navigating her [autistic] son’s treatment and acre towards the goal of a happy and fulfilling life” thank to Callier.

Proceeds from the luncheon will benefit patients in need through the Callier Care Fund.

2015 Celebrating Women Luncheon Website Is Up And Running

Joan Lunden*

Joan Lunden*

2015 Celebrating Women Luncheon Chair Nancy Carter along with her Underwriting Co-Chairs Vicky Lattner and Beth Layton have just revealed that the website for the Baylor Health Care Foundation’s fundraiser is up and ready for business.

The Thursday, October 15, luncheon at the Hilton Anatole will have journalist/author/mom/breast cancer survivor Joan Lunden as the keynote speaker.

The website has all the deets including ticket/sponsorship information.

* Photo provided 
by 2015 Celebrating 
Women Luncheon

Author Greg McKeown Advises ‘Saying No’ To Non-Essential Activities At Well-Attended Executives in Action Breakfast

Ashlee Kleinert

Ashlee Kleinert

London-born author and lecturer Greg McKeown, who’s written a best-selling book called “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less,” has talked to the employees of cutting-edge companies ranging from Google and Apple to Pixar and Facebook. So it’s fitting that McKeown was selected to keynote the annual Book & Breakfast event on Friday, February 13 for Ashlee and Chris Kleinert’s Executives in Action group, which dispatches senior executives to work pro bono with nonprofits.

Dallas Country Club ballroom fir Books and Breakfast

Dallas Country Club ballroom for Books and Breakfast

Shelly Slater and Clay Huffstutter

Shelly Slater and Clay Huffstutter

Among the 400 guests at the Dallas Country Club, after all, were some of this area’s most innovative and fascinating executive leaders. Among them: Brent Christopher of Communities Foundation of Texas, Clint McDonnough of EY, Colleen Affeldt of RGT Financial Advisors, independent movie producer Gary Cogill with wife Hayley Hamilton Cogill, Terry Flowers of St. Philip’s School,Katie Pedigo of New Friends New Life, WFAA Channel 8’s Shelly Slater with husband Clay Huffstutter and Minerva Consulting’s sisters Jesse Ihde and Ashley Elsey with Jan Osborn, Robin Bagwell.    Against the back wall was seated a host of folks social media posting on laptops.

Jesse Ihde, Robin Bagwell, Jan Osborn and Ashley Elsey

Jesse Ihde, Robin Bagwell, Jan Osborn and Ashley Elsey

Gary Cogill and Greg McKeown

Gary Cogill and Greg McKeown

Following an entertaining introduction by Cogill, McKeown jumped right into the morning’s topic, explaining and criticizing the “you-can-have-it-all,” “say-yes-to-everything” attitudes so many of us have at home and work. Instead, like a grown up version of Harry Potter, he advised, we need to “start saying no a lot,” in order to make the best and highest use of our time.

We can start doing that by stripping away all the “non-essentials,” McKeown said, and prioritizing the important things that are left. “If you don’t prioritize your life,” he added, “somebody else will.”

One “priority” we could do without, he said as an example, is receiving email on our smartphones. “It is not a productivity tool,” McKeown said of monitoring email 24/7. In fact it’s the opposite, he suggested–detracting from our ability to reflect and think deeply about what’s really important.

When it was over, one executive in the audience said he related to McKeown’s talk in a big way. “I think it’s a great message … and makes tons of sense,” said Stewart Slack of KDC. “He talked about not focusing on the right things, and I’m the king of that.”

After the dust settle, Executives in Action reported that they netted $43,564 “to impact services grants for EIA’s non-profit partners!” Love net results!

MySweet2015Goals: Lisa Longino

According to fundraiser Lisa Longino,

Lisa Longino (File photo)

Lisa Longino (File photo)

“My goals…serious, though actually really funny if you think about what I’m attempting to do!!!!!!!! (trying to keep this very old brain from drying up).

“I’m learning to fly…trying to get my pilots license (have 6 hours of dual training so far)…long way to go!

“And I’m continuing to learn how to speak Italian….can just see your eyes rolling around at the thought of my Eastern North Carolina Italian. Anyway, I HAVE spent five weeks in an immersion course in Montepulciano!

“Ciao e buona notte!”

Communities Foundation of Texas Hosted Cause-Minded Conversation with NextGen Nonprofit Leaders

Wouldn’t you just know that with all the comings and goings of the MySweetCharity staff, one event would slip out of the lineup. The elf responsible for the “oops!” is sitting in the time-out-of-it corner and asking if s/he can blame it on Ebola. Nope! Keep sitting. The following report from the field should have been posted last week:

Byron Sanders (File photo)

Byron Sanders (File photo)

“On October 15, Communities Foundation of Texas (CFT) hosted “Cause-Minded Conversation with NextGen Nonprofit Leaders,” a panel discussion on how the next generation can have a positive and lasting impact on Dallas and other cities. Byron Sanders, outgoing executive director, now board member of the Dallas Education Foundation, moderated the discussion with panelists Jayda Batchelder, founding executive director of Education Opens Doors; Chad Houser, founding executive director of Café Momentum and Reid Porter, president and founder of ACT (Advocates for Community Transformation).  The panelists discussed their unlikely paths to running their own nonprofits as well as their innovative, non-traditional approaches to solve social issues and empower philanthropists and change communities for the better.

“CFT’s president and CEO Brent Christopher opened the floor with new stats on millennials and a highlight of the Tichenor family who have empowered their son Willie’s brother and friends to help run their Quad W Foundation board. The CFT fund holders were profiled in a compelling video shown before the panel began. Then, the panelists, a group of nonprofit entrepreneurs, got started and discussed their inspirations and challenges.

Lisa Tichenor, Cynthia Boone and Claire Schwartz*

Lisa Tichenor, Cynthia Boone and Claire Schwartz*

“When moderator Sanders asked how they knew they should start their own nonprofits, Batchelder responded, “I didn’t know I could do it, but I knew I couldn’t NOT do it.” Houser and Porter shared the same passion and sense of mission to those they serve.

Debbie Oates*

Debbie Oates*

“Also in a unique twist, early investors in their concepts were called out from the audience to speak about why they chose to make a bet on each of the organizations. Debbie Oates of Crystal Charity Ball talked about the simplicity and power of Café Momentum. Cynthia Yung discussed how The Boone Family Foundation just couldn’t let Batchelder be enticed to take her model to Nebraska by funders there, and Jody Hawn shared how ACT matched his family foundation’s goals.

“The panel discussion arrived during a time of change in the world of nonprofit giving. The Chronicle of Philanthropy recently reported that nonprofits will have a difficult time finding new donors in the coming years unless they adapt to evolving technologies and the changing demands of younger donors.

“’The next generation of donors wants to develop its own unique approach to personal giving. But these donors still need guidance in thinking strategically so they can develop a clear, thoughtful plan around giving, whether as an individual, couple or family,’ said Elizabeth Liser, CFT’s director of donor services who gave the closing remarks at the panel discussion.

“The panel was part of CFT’s forward-thinking ‘Cause-Minded Conversations’ series, which will pick up again in early 2015. Watch CFT’s event page for details.”

* Photos provided by Communities Foundation of Texas

2014 Cattle Baron’s Ball Headed Indoors With Kenny Chesney, A Gas Monkey And Men-In-Black-Polo-Shirts

WARNING: Settle back with a jug of coffee or a carafe of wine because this post is going to be a long one. If words aren’t your thing, then just check out the pictures on MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

The sun was shining and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky on Saturday, October 18. Veteran Cattle Baron’s Ball-ers were feeling a bit off balance. They were used to years of hourly updates on the weather and dreading a drenching. After all, in the past 10 years of holding the American Cancer Society fundraiser at area ranches (The Farm, Travis Ranch, Star Brand Ranch) and Southfork, only three had been washouts, but those three had been legendary. After the 2009 “Mud Ball” at Star Brand Ranch, it was decided that the whole kit-and-caboodle would move to Southfork because of its convention center that could be used as a proposed weather backup. And that’s where it stayed until last year’s gulley washers. Evidently the convention center couldn’t accommodate the thousands of guests after all. That night 2014 CBB Co-Chairs Cindy Stager and Jill Tananbaum decided there was no debating the matter. The next fundraiser would be indoor come “hail” or high water. The major sponsors and donors once again returned to back the 100 ladies of Cattle Baron’s and their battle to conquer cancer.

Kenny Chesney

Kenny Chesney

But where would be a place big enough to accommodate such an event indoors? American Airlines Center was out of the question due to the Stars’ and Mavericks’ schedules. A similar problem existed for a move to AT&T Stadium with the Dallas Cowboys schedule. So, the gals decided on Gilley’s. As the year progressed they upped the excitement announcing that Kenny Chesney would be the headliner, despite an impressive price tag and his decision not to tour for the year. In order to accommodate the 3,200+ guests plus a Kenny Chesney concert, Gilley’s was going to have to undergo some adjustments.

First there was the tent. No, not just a tent. It was The Tent, a fabric structure that could accommodate a blimp. In this case, it was to cover the thousands of tables and chairs and the gargantuan Andrews Distributing Stage, come rain or shine. It was built on Gilley’s concrete parking lot, so there was no way mud was going to dirty up the party goers’ pristine boots.

The day before the event, Jill was still vexing about the lack of gutters — both elevated and along the ground. But on this night, it was high and dry, so the subject of gutters seemed like suggesting air conditioner units for igloos. Still, Jill said she wanted the 2015 Co-Chairs Mary Martha Pickens and Tia Wynne to know that gutters should be in place. That is, if they returned to Gilley’s.

Then there was the issue of the parking. Since the Gilley’s parking lot was now home of The Tent, where were people to park? With 3,000+ coming, taking care of their modes of transportation posed a challenge. But remote parking at two locations in downtown Dallas with shuttle buses was put into place for Baron VIP’s and General Admission. Those with Rockstar VIP status or using “commercial transportation” had the luxury of being dropped off at Gilley’s.

Gary Ferraro

Gary Ferraro

Since the event was in Dallas, the Dallas Police were the conductors of how traffic would flow. Anyone who thought a handshake and a wink at Jack Boles folks would work were soon to learn that Gary Ferraro and Kathy Weideman were at the mercy of Dallas’ finest, too. The Boles team was also juggling personal cars and the parade of “Ubers.” As one CBB traffic vet surmised, “Uber should be the presenting sponsor.”

Despite the hordes of black SUV’s and limos, the standout in the lineup was one son-of-an-18-wheeler, white vehicle that unloaded 18 pals of Jill’s.

Jill Tananbaum (center in black dress) with friends

Jill Tananbaum (center in black dress) with friends

To ease the arrival logistics, the 1,600 VIP party guests had a private entrance into the South Side Music Hall and a starting time of 6 p.m. with Sam Moore on stage. The general admission partiers were to arrive at Gilley’s front door starting at 7 p.m.

Another change was the need for tickets. In the past, guests just breezed on in. This time the ticket was required not to just get in Gilley’s proper but to gain entrance into The Tent.

D'Andra Simmons

D’Andra Simmons

As VIP-ers arrived, they were greeted by D’Andra Simmons, who was described by one onlooker as knowing everyone and being hugged by everyone.

Inside Gilley’s, the complex had been transformed into a CBB wonderland with signage and rooms for silent auctions and games. The centerpiece was the 23,000-square-foot South Side Ballroom with Mockingbird Sun and the live auction on the Bank of America/Merrill Lynch/U.S. Trust stage. To the side of the stage was parked the Gas Monkey Garage auction item — a custom, restored Chevy pickup. It plus a day’s venture to the garage and palling around with Richard R. Rawlings was valued at $200,000. Filling the dance floor were rows of chairs and setup of tables and chairs for high rollers. Just beyond the dance floor were elevated Country Rocker VIP Lounge for top-tier underwriters.

Adjacent to the building was the well-lit Deloitte Food Court tent where rows of buffet lines soon were busy with hungry barons and baronesses. For some it was a bit of a light shock coming from the dark, honky-tonk interior of Gilley’s to the brightly lit food court.

Lewis Carlson, Emily Koehler, Nancy and Clint Carlson

Lewis Carlson, Emily Koehler, Nancy and Clint Carlson

Nancy and Clint Carlson along with son Lewis Carlson and Emily Koehler had plates filled to the max… Janie Condon was doing double-duty filling plates for herself and husband David.

Just between the building and The Tent was the MetroPCS Ferris Wheel that seemed downright pint-sized compared to The Tent. Still the lineup seemed to never end for a spin in the clear evening air.

In the meantime, the VIP Lounge was buzzing with activity. The co-chairs greeted each person like an old friend. One person teased Cindy about her birthday the day before. She had postponed the official celebration until Monday. So, where did she eat din-din Friday night? Why, El Fenix on Northwest Highway.

Sam Moore

Sam Moore

Meanwhile, the VIP-ers kept the Truluck staff moving trying to meet the demands for food. Despite Sam Moore being a hit on stage, Steve Stodghill wasn’t paying attention. He was focused on the TV over the bar televising the Texas-Iowa State football game. Good thang. It was a close one.

But the lounge wasn’t as crowded as organizers had feared. Guests tended to get their drinks and enjoy the camaraderie, then head to explore the rest of the CBB wonderland including the Mercedes that was one of the raffle prizes and the treasures in the silent auction areas.

At 7:30 p.m. an elite number of guests quietly disappeared. They had headed to The Tent that had been cleared of all humans. Not even the wait staff was allowed in. Quietly the small group of special people were led on stage for a meet-and-greet with Kenny. As photos were taken, other guests tried to enter The Tent to sit at their assigned tables to chow down. After all, Jill had announced The Tent would be available for seating at a morning meeting. And besides, the Andrews Distributing Main Stage had always been open for folks to settle back and relax at past CBB’s.

But, no, not on this night. A lineup of men in black Polo shirts with serious faces waved the guests off, telling them it was off limits. Auctioneer Louis Murad tried to get in with a plate of food explaining that he just wanted to check the tent out. No go. It might have helped had there been some of the adorable Baronesses on hand to diplomatically explain the delayed opening of the tent.

Richard R. Rawlings and Suzanne Rawlings

Richard R. Rawlings and Suzanne Rawlings

One couple who was turned away was Richard “Gas Monkey” Rawlings and his ex-wife Suzanne. Despite their divorce, they were still friends and she was looking forward to the Chesney concert, plus the opportunity to meet Kenny. Thanks to the co-chairs that opportunity was possible. But that didn’t sway the boys in black.

Remember it was Richard who had donated that $200,000 auction package. Did he pull a “Do you know I am?” Nope. He and Suzanne were cool. They just ambled back to the ballroom, where The Discovery Channel crew taped him with his pickup.

Seems there was a “failure to communicate” between the rest of the world and the CBB’s backstage manager about who could attend the meet-and-greet and the availability of The Tent.

But back to Richard. He wasn’t through. Once the live auction started, he got in the swim of things and won an item. He was in good company with winning bidders like Nancy Rogers and Dallas Snadon.

For those just watching and wandering, the entertainment was chat and catch up. Traffic LA’s Matthew Simon revealed that he was headed to Atlanta because his partner Keith Schumann had been transferred…Pete Foster was trying out his new iPhone 6 camera with wife Tanya Foster and buddy Gina Betts as models…Eugene Jabbour reported that wife Melanie is expecting a daughter in April…To the horror of one CBB staffer, a man sauntered through the ballroom smoking a cigarette. So very wrong in so many ways at an American Cancer Society fundraiser!

Tracy Lange

Tracy Lange

Fashion-wise, black was the color du jour. Some took the bare shoulder route (Kris Johnson, Amy Green, Isabell Novakov, Mary Gill, Holly Deason), while others opted for leather (Diane Brierley, Tina Rich, Kelly Barnes, Nikki Webb, Stephanie Oakes ). But leave it to Tracy Lange to be the real showstopper with Chanel necklace and purse. Of course, there were the more daring ones who shunned the black for more colorful attire like Nancy Rogers in brighter-than-bright white, shirt, suede fringe skirt with boots (“They’re from the 80’s!”) and delicious turquoise-and-diamond jewelry, Anne Stodghill in orange sequins to match her hair, Olivia Kearney, Traci McGuiness, Dallas Snadon and Katie McDaniel in wedding cake white and Paige McDaniel in a Lone Star jacket from a past DIFFA auction.

Mixing color with a touch of the old west were American Airlines’ Sarah Fullhart in a purple and white checked country girl dress topped off with braids, Bernadette Schaeffler taking a German pioneer look and Nardos Imam in a steel-blue dress with billowing skirt that stopped just short of her cowgirl boots.

Naturally splashes of turquoise were everywhere — Leisa Street, Brooke Hortensine, Laura Jorgeson, Amy Van Cleave, Kristi Hoyl, Andrea Weber, Joanna Clarke, Barbara Daseke and Lisa Ogle to name a few.

 

Bell-ringing Cattle Baronesses

Cowbell-ringing Cattle Baronesses

With cowbells ringing and Baronesses like Marybeth Conlon, Kim Bannister, Julianna LeBlanc, Merry Wyatt and Dawn Grenier hollering, the live auction got underway. Roz Colombo admitted that she had been exercising to strengthen her arm for the lengthy ringing. As KXAS’s Deborah Ferguson and auctioneer Murad kept the pace going to get top bids for more than 25 items, Co-Chair Cindy sat on the front row saying, “The live auction always worries me.”

Cindy Stager

Cindy Stager

But there was no need to worry. It went well. One surprise was the Chefs’ Dinner. Traditionally, the chefs Richard Chamberlain, Dean Fearing, Kevin Garvin, David Holben, Kent Rathbun and Jim Severson appeared on stage to pony up the bidding. This year Dean wasn’t able to make it.

While all of that was going on, there were behind-the-scene rumblings that Kenny was a little anxious to get the show on. It had been scheduled for 10:10, but Kenny wanted to get going early. He had to wait for the auction to finish and the multitudes to fill The Tent.

No problem. As soon as the final bid was submitted, the thousands moved quite orderly to the never-ending rows of tables with barely room to squeeze by.

Kenny Chesney

Kenny Chesney

Before anyone knew it, Kenny and his No Shoes Tour exploded on stage with lights and sound equipment so loud that parts of South Dallas felt like they were part of the festivities. Some guests were literally blown out of their seats and headed home after the first couple of tunes. Evidently, it was a case of too much of a good thing.

Marena Gault and Sherwood Wagner

Marena Gault and Sherwood Wagner

Gonzalo Bueno, Brian Bolke and Faisal Halum

Gonzalo Bueno, Brian Bolke and Faisal Halum

In the pit nearest the main stage were Lana and Barry Andrews, Natalie and Mike McGuire, Brian Bolke and Faisal Hallum, Gonzalo Bueno, Marena Gault, Sherwood Wagner and other sky-high underwriters who got an up-close-and-personal view of Kenny in his baseball cap, jeans, T-shirt and boots.

At first it was a perfect view of the stage. But then guests just couldn’t resist standing along the front stage extension. As the crowd grew, it either blocked the view of people seated at tables or forced them to stand, too. No real problem. With Kenny rocking, it was hard to sit still. As for the crowd getting too rowdy or rushing the stage, not to worry one iota. The men in black Polo shirts with the serious faces were on the scene.

Dallas Children’s Theater’s “Knights And Princesses Dream Ball” Had A “Young” Co-Chair Help Exceed The Evening’s Goal

Inside the dimly lit theater at the Rosewood Center for Family Arts, children as well as adults dressed up as “knights” and “princesses” were scurrying around the room, laughing and chatting and waving swords around and having their photos taken onstage. Even Dallas Children’s Theater Executive Artistic Director Robyn Flatt and DTC board member Yvonne Crum had donned royal outfits. The occasion was the Dallas Theater Center’s Knights and Princesses Dream Ball, a fundraiser held in conjunction with the DTC’s current production, “Rapunzel! Rapunzel! A Very Hairy Fairy Tale“.

In addition to the photo opps, the unique, fairy-tale-themed fundraiser featured a “Royal Feast,” and then a dance (to Disney-type music) spun by DJ Sir Seth. About 160 adults and kids turned out for the event, which was the first of its kind and intended to raise money for the DTC’s “sensory-friendly shows” for children with developmental disabilities. Under Chair Karen Travis, and with former Texas Ranger Michael Young and his family serving as honorary chairs, the fundraiser exceeded its $25,000 goal. As a result, the DTC says it will be able to produce three more sensory-friendly shows in 2015. The October 11 performance of “Rapunzel!”, by the way, will be the DTC’s last sensory-friendly performance of this calendar year.

North Texas Giving Day Booster: Dallas Dinner Table

Dallas Dinner Table*

Dallas Dinner Table*

Dallas Dinner Table is an independent non-profit organization focused on improving race relations in the DFW Metroplex, ‘One Dinner at a Time.’

“We do this work by hosting dinners all over the Metroplex on a single evening – the MLK holiday – providing an opportunity to hear and share diverse perspectives about the impact of race on the daily lives of DFW residents.

“Our dinners are designed to:

  • Encourage communication about race relations and the impact of ethnicity on relationships.
  • Educate participants about perspectives held by others related to race relations
  • Empower citizens to develop relationships with people from a variety of racial/ethnic groups.

    Dallas Dinner Table*

    Dallas Dinner Table*

“Dallas Dinner Table 2015 will be held on Monday, January 19, 2015, to coincide with the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Holiday. Dinners are held in private homes, churches, businesses or restaurants and hosted by gracious citizens who provide an evening meal to participants from diverse backgrounds. Facilitators guide dialogue at each table towards cross-cultural communication with a focus on personal action and growth, and the advantages of cross-racial relationships.

Dallas Dinner Table*

Dallas Dinner Table*

“We were founded in 1999, but are just now beginning to fundraise as we are determined to take our dinners nationwide.

“Please consider supporting our efforts on North Texas Giving Day (tomorrow!) where all gifts of $25 or more will receive bonus funds. This will ensure that we are able to continue and expand to keep bringing race to the table in Dallas and beyond!

“And if you wish to be part of a dinner on January 19, 2015, please visit our website at http://www.dallasdinnertable.com – registration will be open soon.”

-By Patrick Harrison, Board Member – Finance Chair, Dallas Dinner Table

* Photos provided by Dallas Dinner Table