Marnie And Kern Wildenthal Establish $100,000 Endowment Fund For VMLC

In each of the last four or five years, current and previous board members of the VMLC (Vickery Meadow Learning Center) have gotten together to catch up and trade ideas about the nonprofit’s work teaching English literacy skills to non-English-speaking adults and young children in diverse, low-income neighborhoods. And, this year was no exception.

On Friday, February 12, about 50 of them—including VMLC advisory board members like Ruben Esquivel— gathered for breakfast in The Library Bar at the Warwick Melrose Hotel. On the menu, besides the excellent bacon and eggs: an announcement that longtime volunteer Marnie Wildenthal and her husband, Dr. Kern Wildenthal, have established a $100,000 endowment fund for the VMLC.

To manage the new fund—to be called The Marnie Wildenthal Literacy Fund—the couple has selected the Dallas Foundation. It also was announced that, to further honor Marnie, the group’s Literacy Legacy Award will be presented biannually and will be renamed the Marnie Wildenthal Literacy Legacy Award.

Marnie, who’s been a VMLC teacher and volunteer since 2002, a board member, a president of the organization, and a 2014 recipient of the Literacy Legacy Award, was introduced to the group by Kern. He noted that, “next to our kids and grandkids,” VLMC is Marnie’s “passion.”

After thanking Kern (“When it comes to business and money matters, he’s the consultant”), Marnie said the VLMC plays a vital role in the community. “Fourteen years ago, [the clientele was] mostly Hispanic,” she said. “Now, the population reflects the terrible things that are going on in the world.” VLMC offers its clients “not just literacy instruction,” she went on, “but an opportunity to think about something other than what they’ve been through.” It’s important that the nonprofit’s board members and volunteers “be advocates for the immigrant community,” Marnie concluded.

Kern had been introduced by current VMLC board president Camille Owens, whose remarks followed a report to the group by Sarah Papert, VMLC’s executive director. Sarah noted that the group is now serving 1,200 adults and 330 children with 300 weekly volunteers. It operates at sites in the Vickery Meadow neighborhood, in West Dallas, and in East Dallas.

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

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

Diana and Ward Beaudry and Mary Jalonick*

Diana and Ward Beaudry and Mary Jalonick*

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

Susan Crites Price and Toni Garrett*

Susan Crites Price and Toni Garrett*

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

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

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

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

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

* Photos provided by The Dallas Foundation

WAIT LIST ALERT!: Media Panel For Nonprofits

Oh, dear! The Dallas Women’s Foundation reports that the media panel conversation is filled to capacity. Luckily that’s why “wait lists” were created. And because the Foundation is so tip-top, they’ll be sending out RSVP confirmations on Monday. If there are cancellations, then the wait list will be waiting no more come Wednesday. On Thursday they’ll provide parking instructions. How organized they are!

Dallas Women's Foundation*

Dallas Women’s Foundation*

In the meantime, photographer Kristina Bowman is doing jumping jacks, WFAA Daybreak co-anchor Ron Corning got a new haircut, PaperCity‘s Jane Rozelle is increasing her sparkle factor and MySweetCharity’s Jeanne Prejean is watching reruns of “Designing Women.”

So, if you haven’t signed up, don’t be discouraged. The waiting list waits for you!

* Graphic provided by the Dallas Women's Foundation

Callier Cares Letters Are Signed, Sealed And Being Delivered

The chilly temps and clouds almost seemed like a relief on Wednesday, January 6, compared to the December 26th tornado teardown.

Still, a warm household with wood floors, brick walls and fireplaces glowing through was the perfect place to be. And that spot was Callier Cares Chair Angie Kadesky’s home-sweet-home complete with “Kevin’s Pub” in the back of the house. Seems that when the Kadeskys were expanding their home, husband Kevin Kadesky talked with the builder and the two arranged to have the former kitchen transformed into a mini-pub.

Thomas Campbell and Angie Kadesky

Thomas Campbell and Angie Kadesky

While Angie and Callier Center for Communication Disorder Assistant Director of Development Jennifer Fowler were discussing deets of the upcoming lunch’s patron party, Callier Center Executive Director Dr. Thomas Campbell, Tricia George, Barbara Stuart, Page Henrion and Richard Neely were exercising their John Hancocks on letters to potential guests and sponsors.

Tricia George and Barbara Stuart

Tricia George and Barbara Stuart

Richard Neely

Richard Neely

Page Henrion

Page Henrion

When someone noted Barbara’s new car parked out front, she admitted that she had lost her “vehicular love” last July, thanks to a run-in on Beverly. Now, she was driving an Infiniti and still waiting for metal license plates.

As the humans around the dining room table did their handiwork, the Kadesky critters (Fred the Ragdoll and Chester the Cavalier) didn’t seem the least bit flustered. After all, with six munchkins in the Kadesky household, what’s a handful of adults.

Fred

Fred

Chester

Chester

The letters dropped in the mail this past Monday. Give the postal service a couple of days to get them to your mail box. If they don’t show up, let the Callier team know. After all, you don’t want to miss the patron party or the lunch on Tuesday, April 19, honoring Stuart Bumpas with the Ruth and Ken Altshuler Callier Care Award.

GROVEL ALERT!: Dallas Women’s Foundation Reports Media Panel For Nonprofits Is Nearing “Done Deal” Status

Uh, oh! Talk about a plan going so very wrong. Due to the short notice, the original thought for the media panel for nonprofits was that perhaps a couple dozen would sign up. So, the free Friday, January 22nd conversation hosted by the Dallas Women’s Foundation was announced last Wednesday.

Dallas Women's Foundation*

Dallas Women’s Foundation*

But, oh, no! The Foundation just sent word that registrations went way beyond the original guesstimate. Now, the event is within a hair’s breadth of being filled to capacity at Campbell Center II!

Thank heaven, the Foundation is as flexible as a Cirque du Soleil acrobat and is making room to accommodate more folks who do the juggling work between  charities and the media.

The conversation will be honest in the hopes that it will better help those working with nonprofits communicate with the media. And, who knows? Perhaps the panelists will learn a thing or two, too.

Warning: While the conversation will be informative and fun, there will be no “bleeping” talk. After all, Ricky Gervais ain’t gonna be part of the panel. Instead it will be Kristina Bowman wearing her latest leg wear, WFAA’s Ron Corning possibly doing his “Phil Donahue” Q&A with guests, PaperCity’s too-adorable-for-words Jane Rozelle and MySweetCharity’s Jeanne Prejean channeling Murphy Brown.

The message here: Sign up now.

* Graphic provided by the Dallas Women's Foundation

JUST IN: Dallas Women’s Foundation To Host A Free Media Panel For Nonprofit PR Folks With “The Four Hoarsemen”

Remember last August when four media folks provided insider tips on how to work with the press? Okay, so it wasn’t one of those prim-and-proper events. It was sorta a cross between Jimmy Kimmel and TMZ. Well, evidently it was such a hit or nobody could believe what was said, an encore performance has been demanded.

Coming to the rescue was the Dallas Women’s Foundation that will be hosting the second “chat” by the four “hoarsemen” (photographer Kristina Bowman, WFAA anchor Ron Corning, MySweetCharity’s Jeanne Prejean and PaperCity’s Dallas Social Editor Jane Rozelle). And this time there will more time for Q&A.

Dallas Women's Foundation*

Dallas Women’s Foundation*

Thanks to the generosity of the Foundation, the entire event will be held at Campbell Centre II and is absolutely free. Yup, you read that right — no charge! But it’s limited to only those who handle media relations for nonprofits.

Now, the downside. You just didn’t think you weren’t gonna get off scot-free? The conversation is going to take place from 9:30 to 11 a.m. on Friday, January 22. Whoa! That’s just days away. Translation: Do not dawdle. It’s a first-come, first-serve. And space is limited, so get your rezzies in pronto. Just sign up here!

Actually, the timing is sorta perfect. After the last question is answered, attendees can head across the pond to NorthPark for lunch or to shop. And it’s taking place just before the insanity of the spring season, leaving little time to laugh at the media.

BTW, if you attended the last one, you should sign up for this one. New tidbits will be revealed and perhaps some behind-the-scenes tales will be leaked. You just never know what’s going to happen when these four get together.

* Graphic provided by Dallas Women's Foundation

Social Media Is Helping Reunite Pets Displaced By Tornado With Owners

The Rowlett Animal Services is posting photos of pets on Facebook that have been turned in and/or are missing.

Rowlett victim looking for its family*

Rowlett victim looking for its family*

According to the staff, they’re okay when it comes to supplies. Well, they could use some bins to store some of the food that has come in. But in the days ahead, they know they’ll need help financially to house the homeless critters as they wait for their humans to find permanent, animal-friendly digs.

Another Facebook source for lost and found critters is Lost and Found North Texas Pets .

In the meantime, if you have a pet that isn’t microchipped, head to your vet and get it done pronto. There are a lot of folks, who wish they had done so last week.

* Photo courtesy of the Rowlett Animal Services

MySweetWishList: Callier Center For Communications Disorders

According to Callier Center for Communication Disorders Executive Director Dr. Thomas Campbell,

Thomas Campbell*

Thomas Campbell*

“I would like to share a story about Marie, who is one of our patients in the Communication Learning Program (CLP) at the Callier Center. CLP is a community-based program that provides speech and language therapy to adults who are faced with significant communication disabilities due to acquired neurological disorders such as stroke or traumatic brain injury.

“One Friday morning, Marie did not arrive at her job. Her sister asked Marie’s neighbor, who had a key, to check in on her. The neighbor found Marie on the floor and called 911.

“At age 51, Marie had suffered a hemorrhagic stroke that left her in the ICU in a medically induced coma. After 21 days in the ICU, seven days in the high dependency unit, and approximately seven weeks of rehab, Marie was released.

Kelly and Marie*

Kelly and Marie*

“Marie was still very weak. She had to learn to do everything over again: talk, walk, dress herself, eat and so much more. She could no longer live by herself, so she stayed with her sister. Before her family would let her move back home, Marie needed to be able to communicate.

“For three years, Marie has received extensive one-on-one and group speech and language therapy in CLP. CLP has helped Marie improve her communication skills, including using an iPad to help her speak. Because of CLP, Marie has moved back into her home and is living independently.

“The majority of CLP participants, like Marie, have either exhausted their insurance benefits or have no benefits at all, leaving them with no means to access continued treatment. Thanks to support from generous donors, we are able to care for these patients. Each patient is asked to pay a minimal fee of $250 per twelve-week period. For those unable to pay, the fee is reduced or waived.

“Unfortunately, we all know someone who has suffered from a stroke or a traumatic brain injury, whether it be a parent, grandparent or a friend. Please help someone’s loved one reclaim his or her life by supporting the CLP Program at the Callier Center for Communication Disorders.

“For more information, please contact Shanon Patrick at 214.905.3084 or visit utdallas.edu/calliercenter.

-By Dr. Thomas Campbell, Callier Center for Communication Disorders executive director

* Photos provided by Callier Center for Communication Disorders

Best-Selling Author Bruce Feiler Shares The Strategy For A Happy Family With Communities Foundation Of Texas Fund Holders

[Editor’s note: With the holiday season underway, this presentation by best-selling author Bruce Feiler was more than timely. Yes, the post is long, but it has nuggets that just might provide great food for thought.]

Let’s be honest. Oh, hum, what else is new? But did you know there is a strange family made up of Father Time, Man In the Moon and then there’s Ma Nature? Gee, what a diva! She and her kids — thunder, lightning, hail, sunshine, breeze, dewdrops and the rest of herd — can really make or break a fundraiser?

So, Wednesday, November 4, the old gal was hogging the evening newscasts with threatening conditions. Hmm, did she cut a deal with the local newscasters? After all, the local newscasts were in sweeps (October 29 –November 25). Was Mama Nature doing the drama queen presentation? WFAA’s Pete Delkus went into OMG mode doffing his jacket and looking like he was commandeering the Enterprise with Colleen Coyle at his side, Ashton Altieri doing social media and retired WFAA-er George Riba reporting from Texas Motor Speedway. No problem evidently as the 6:30 newscast seamlessly transitioned to Entertainment Tonight.

But the North Texas fundraisers carried on. Mary Anne McCree admitted that the weather was gonna be a challenge the next night for the Flora Awards benefiting the Texas Discovery Garden at Fair Park, but her kids would taking care of transportation and the table was going to be filled with her kids.

Still, the Communities Foundation of Texas team proved that they knew how to appreciate their supporters. They held the annual Fund Holder Appreciation Dinner with a memorable speaker and such guests as Kay Bailey Hutchison, John McStay, Becky Bright, Lottye Brodsky and Bobby Lyle.

Kay Bailey Hutchison

Kay Bailey Hutchison

John McStay

John McStay

Bobby Lyle

Bobby Lyle

Becky Bright

Becky Bright

And while the swells were chatting it up in the reception area, CFT President/CEO Brent Christopher, speaker/New York Times “This Life” columnist/best-selling author Bruce Feiler and CFT Communications Director Carol Goglia were prepping for Bruce’s talk. Somehow the conversation turned to such things as battling cancer. Patting his left leg, Bruce talked about his own battle with osteosarcoma that started in 2008. Actually, best-selling author Bruce not only beat the cancer, he ended up writing “The Council of Dads” in 2011. The book deals with his arranging for six men, who had been instrumental in his life, to “look out” for his three-year-old twin daughters if he didn’t survive.

Speaking of his family, he revealed while he was in North Texas for CFT, his wife/Endeavor CEO Linda Rottenberg was just a couple of days away from orchestrating an Endeavor fundraiser in New York City with Diane von Furstenberg.

When the doors opened, Brent welcomed the group and warned them that they wouldn’t be asked for anything. It was to thank them in making CFT so successful in providing funds for the area. He recalled how at a meeting in Miami, the Silicon Valley Community Foundation CEO reported it had raised $8M in the Bay area. Brent couldn’t help but add that the 2015 North Texas Giving Day brought in a record-breaking $33M thanks to the people in the room.

Bruce Feiler and Brent Christopher

Bruce Feiler and Brent Christopher

Bruce then took over the podium, opening with a story about how one of his twins, who were now 10 years old, had been in a play as a witch on trial in Salem earlier in the day. Alas, she was “convicted 4 to 3 and given the death penalty. So, there are a lot of blood-thirsty fifth graders in Brooklyn…We’ll miss her. So, my family has gotten smaller.” But he would still go on to talk about happy families.

Perhaps it was with the holidays approaching that his talk seemed so appropriate — the secrets of a happy family.

In his own family, the issue of estate planning has become a major topic with his father in his 80s and “deep into Parkinson’s.” Every year his family gathers for two weeks at Tybee Island near his hometown, Savannah.

[At his wife’s suggestion, Bruce advised his audience that for years he’s been writing about “happy families, not because I had one but I wanted one…We’re not writing from a position of strength but from one of weakness.”]

The various family members had different various issues. At the first night’s dinner, Bruce asked his adolescent nephew to stop his texting. Kaboom! His sister snapped at him for admonishing her son. His mother said none of the children had any manners. His brother said while the children were around they couldn’t have an adult conversation. His wife “went to the kitchen to get ice cream, which is exactly what her mother would have done.”

Later in the evening, his father told Bruce that the family was falling apart, but Bruce protested. The next morning Bruce asked Linda, “Who do we turn to, to make sure our family is going to work?”

The result was years of researching and two books to provide the information, “What do happy families do right? and “What can I learn from them?”

In setting out on this search, he promised his wife that he would only bring home actual things that happy family are doing. He promised himself not to talk to therapists and not to cram all he had learned into “one of those handy lists.”

However, he confessed he was going to present his lightning round of non-list list of ideas. He doubted anyone would agree with all, but if they tried just three of them, they would have a happier family.

  • Adapt all the time. A study of 1,000 children and their parents was conducted asking what would the children want of their parents. The parents said the kids would want more time with them. The kids said they wanted their parents to less tired and less stressed. One of his suggestions regarded the Sunday evening meeting of the family where three areas are addressed:
    • What went well in the family this week?
    • What didn’t go well?
    • A vote is taken by the family on which two items are going to be worked on.

This allows the children to be interactive in the family happiness by picking their own rewards and punishments.

  • Talk a lot about what it means to be part of a family
    • Create a family mission statement that will stimulate progress and preserve the core.
    • Have family dinners. The U.S. is #33 out of 35 countries where the family dinner is being held.
    • Talk about money. 80% of children go to college without having ever spoken to their parents about money. Some parents don’t want to “burden” their children with financial issues. However, it is more beneficial for a child to learn “when the stakes are low” than later in life.
    • Tell your family history. According to research, children who know more about their family, have a higher belief in controlling the world around them. It was the #1 predictor of a child’s emotional well-being. There are three types of family narratives: 1. Descending — Due to circumstance, we lost a lot;  2. Ascending — We came from nothing and are now successful and 3. Oscillating — Family who experienced ups and downs of life experiences. This group knows that they can overcome hardships.
  • Go out and play — Younger people have a different understanding of philanthropy, resulting in a tension between generations. All families have conflict. The goal is to reduce the conflict. Find some time to have fun with your family, whether it’s cooking, playing a game, etc.

Quoting the opening line of “Anna Karenina” — “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” — he concluded with “Happiness is not a matter of circumstance. It’s a matter of choice…The secret — try.”

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.

Get Those 2016 Events Submitted For MySweetCharity Calendar

MySweetCharity

MySweetCharity

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!

Women Of Distinction Luncheon Proved Girl Scouts Of Northeast Texas Ain’t Your Grandma’s Girl Scouts

Instead of serving up white wine or Arnold Palmers, perhaps event planners should have been offering Benadryl and Puffs. With the temperatures feeling quite at home in the 90s. Sniffles and red noses were bad enough thanks to the seasonal allergies. But the demands of Wednesday, October 14, forced the nonprofit supporters to leave their ills at home and raise funds.

It all started off with the immediately collision of the Center for BrainHealth team holding their Institute for Brain Performance groundbreaking at the same time as the reception for the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas’s Women of Distinction Luncheon at the Hilton Anatole’s Chantilly Ballroom for nearly a thousand.

Gene Jones, Jenna Hager and Laura Bush

Gene Jones, Jenna Hager and Laura Bush

The choices were definitely a challenge. But former First Lady Laura Bush and daughter Jenna Bush Hager opted for the Anatole event joining Gene Jones, Nancy Dedman and Ruth Altshuler tableside.

Just a couple of tables away, Luncheon Chair Katherine Coker joined Women of Distinction Awardee Jan Rees-Jones and her husband Trevor Rees-Jones and Young Women of Distinction Awardees Devin Bray and Sruthi Tummala.

Katherine Coker, Beth McHaney and Olivia Coker

Katherine Coker, Beth McHaney and Olivia Coker

Another highlight of the luncheon for Katherine was having both her mom Beth McHaney and 10-year-old daughter Olivia Coker on hand. BTW, Katherine is a third-generation Girl Scout and Olivia is already on board to make it a four-generation Girl Scout family.

Nearby were presenting sponsor AT&T’s Holly Reed, Erle Nye, Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas COO Carri Baker Wells, Garrett Boone,  and Sally Hoglund.

Holly Reed, Erle Nye and Carri Baker Wells

Holly Reed, Erle Nye and Carri Baker Wells

Line up of scouts

Line up of scouts

Garrett Boone and Jan Rees-Jones

Garrett Boone and Jan Rees-Jones

To get the program started, girls representing various stages of the scouts lined up on the stage and with mic in hand each told how Girl Scouts had impacted them. Then emcee Clarice Tinsley introduced Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas CEO Jennifer Bartkowski, who let the guests know that today’s scouts are still selling cookies and camping, but they are also charging into the high-tech STEM world. Proudly she spoke of the October 16th groundbreaking of the STEM Center of Excellence at Camp Whispering Cedars in South Dallas with renderings being shown on the mammoth screens on both sides of the stage. The $13M living laboratory will allow girls “in kindergarten through 12th grade to explore science, technology, engineering and math programs, activities and careers.”

Phase One of the Center including The Rees-Jones Foundation Welcome Center and The Hoglund Foundation Girl Program Center is scheduled to open in spring 2016.

Devin Bray

Devin Bray

Sruthi Tummala

Sruthi Tummala

Then it was time for the presentation of the awards by Jennifer and Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas Board of Directors Chair Kit Addleman. Both Devin and Sruthi gave incredibly articulate acceptance speeches that more than impressed Girl Scouts alumnae and the suits in the crowd.

Philanthropist Jan R-J was then presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award. While she admitted that she was “truly outside my comfort zone” being at the podium, she felt her message was important to tell. When she first visited Camp Whispering Cedars, she thought, “This place needs a makeover. We knew then that we wanted to get involved. It’s not so much about how it looks on the outside, as much as it is about what goes on inside.” She continued saying that the Girl Scout model of leadership and character had convinced the R-J family to invest in the project and “We have never looked back since.”

Kit Addleman, Anna Michele Bobadilla and Jennifer Bartkowski

Kit Addleman, Anna Michele Bobadilla and Jennifer Bartkowski

Greg Miller

Greg Miller

Next up was Anna Michele Bobadilla who received the Women of Distinction Award. Unfortunately, Anna’s co-recipient Tincy Miller was unable to attend the luncheon due to being under the weather. In her place was her son Greg Miller, who ended up being the only fella on the stage during the event.

Following the awards presentation, AT&T Services Inc. General Attorney Cynthia Malone introduced keynote speaker Reshma Saujani, founder/CEO of Girls Who Code and author of “Women Who Don’t Wait In Line.”

Her selection as speaker was right on target with the day’s theme of girls embracing the world of technology. In addition to giving a tip of the hat to Devin and Sruthi, Reshma provided fuel to the flame that gals cannot only study computer sciences, they can excel.

The 39-year-old Yale Law School grad admitted that she did not know how to code and she had lost two elections for public office. But she followed that up saying her failed runs for office had resulted in her developing and growing Girls Who Code “to inspire, educate, and equip girls with the computing skills to pursue 21st century opportunities.”

Since beginning in 2012, Girls Who Code has involved more than 3,860 girls in 29 states. Her goal is to raise that number to 1.15M by 2020.

Reshma Saujani

Reshma Saujani

According to Reshma, 37% of all computer science graduates were women back in 1984. Today that number is only 18% despite the fact that women in STEM jobs earn 33% more than non-STEM females.

Reshma told of two Girls Who Code [Andrea Gonzales and Sophie Houser], who created a game called Tampon Run. They wanted to create a game that took the stigma out of menstruation. Not just for themselves and their friends, but for young women throughout the world. In some cultures girls leave school when this natural development begins.

Reshma added that she doubted a boy would have come up with such an idea to fight the taboo.

So, how can people help girls succeed?

  • Build a sisterhood like Girls Scouts.
  • Expose girls to the opportunities available to them.
  • Provide access for role models.
  • Recognize that failure can make one more resilient.

In her efforts for “world domination” this year, she said that two keys things are required:

  • Pop culture — When the personal computer was introduced in the 80s, it was marketed almost exclusively to boys/men. Girls didn’t have that experience. A programmer myth started that only nerds were involved in high tech. As an example, she said that once “Ally McBeal,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “LA Law” appeared on TV, girls thought, “I want to do that.” So, the pop culture is necessary to attract a new generation of young women to science, technology engineering and medicine.
  • The country needs to wake up and incorporate coding in the educational system. Other countries required computer science to graduate. “Time is running out and if we as a national don’t wake up and understand how important it is to build a pipeline of talent, to build the next companies of tomorrow, to find a cure for cancer, we’re gonna miss out. Not only will our girls miss out, but we as Americans are going to miss out.

In conclusion, Reshma emphasized how very huge the STEM Center of Excellence will be for the development of girls.

Despite Uber Pressuring, 2015 Art Of Film Headliner Is Still Under Wraps

Lee Papert

Lee Papert

Ran into Dallas Film Society’s Lee Papert at the Obelisk Awards announcement last night. More about that later.

But despite best efforts, Lee still wasn’t fessing up on who would be headlining the 2015 Art of Film. Of course there was a lot of groveling and cajoling, but still Lee raised his chin and held fast. He would not share who it would be. Finally, with all the swell folks gathered in the Mayfair Sky Club, Lee bowed his head and insisted he couldn’t divulge the name until the ink is dried on the contract.

Ah, come on. Who uses a quill pen to sign deal nowadays?

Let’s just say that some changes are a foot.

Get your box of buttery popcorn out because Lee promises it’s gonna be a second generation legacy whoo-ha!

Drat! Where are the bamboo shoots to dig under Lee’s nails to get the deets?

Queenie Builds A Doghouse

MySweetCharity

MySweetCharity

The MySweetCharity morning shift of elves were hard at work when they heard pounding outside the MSC headquarters. Lo and behold, they discovered Queenie building a doghouse next to the MSC compost pile. On their chocolate milk and graham cracker break, they scurried outside to see the new puppy, but there was no dog. And they wondered why Queenie would put a puppy near the stinky heap.

A vote was taken and Ellery Elf was elected to ask Queenie if the pooch was on its way.

Without losing a beat in her pounding of nails, Queenie responded, “What makes you think we would be getting another dog?”

Ellery said it was the doghouse that she was constructing.

Queenie stopped her work and turned to look at Ellery. “Why would we ever put an animal outside and away from us?”

Ellery then asked what the doghouse was for.

Queenie told all the elves to gather around for a story.

It seems that last week a nonprofit put a shout-out to the media to gather for an announcement about the organization’s future plans. Following the press conference, a release was distributed quoting the head of the nonprofit.

Only problem? The statements were made by a man, not the female head of the group. She was out of town.

When the person who issued the release was asked about the misidentification of the speaker, no response came.

In another case, there was a presentation by another major nonprofit. Following the big event that had a number of the area’s leaders presenting others with awards, the PR person distributed the release with the wrong information about those involved. Two media outlets ran the articles based on the release. Luckily, MySweetCharity was not one of them.

“Oh, sweet Queenie, how can this be?” Ellery said, as tears of guacamole started streaming down the faces of the elves. They had never heard of such a thing.

Feeling sorry for the elves for losing their innocence, Queenie explained, “Public relations people are hardworking folks, who try to be the go-between their client and the media. That is not an easy job at all. However, when they knowingly provide totally incorrect information, they are ill serving their clients and damaging their credibility with the media.”

Seeing the elves shaken by such news, Elder Elf asked, “Oh Most Benevolent Queenie, what does this dastardly dilemma have to do with the doghouse?”

As Queenie turned around to hammer the last of the nails in place, she was heard to say, “It’s for those who think misinformation is acceptable.”