Dallas CASA Has New Board Leadership And Members, As Well As Hosting Bronze Eagle Award Presentation To Texas Gov. Greg Abbott

Dallas CASA has been busy. This past Thursday afternoon at Dallas CASA, Gov. Greg Abbott was presented the Bronze Eagle Award for his work combating human trafficking at the North Texas Coalition Again Human Trafficking’s National Human Trafficking Awareness Event.

And then to add its news making, its board of directors has a new chairman and five new members. Taking over the reins of the board from Past Chair John Gibson is Exxon Mobil Corporation VP/Treasurer Robert “Bob” Schleckser. Having joined the CASA board and executive committee since 2010, he graduated from the University of Notre Dame, where he has served on the Notre Dame Engineering Advisory Council in addition to being on the Financial Executives International Committee on Corporate Treasury.

Bob Schleckser*

Terry Goods*

Hannah May*

Dallas CASA is also proud to welcome five new board members:

  • Terry Goods is the national director of diversity and inclusion for Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits. He’s also a member of the Diversity Advisory Board for Visit Dallas and the Plano Chamber’s Diversity Board.
  • Hannah May is the Dallas CASA Children’s Council representative on the board. An entrepreuneur with 20 years of experience, she’s been involved with Dallas CASA and the Children’s Council for many years.
  • Susan Rankin, a former family district court judge in Dallas, has practiced family law for 29 years, using her background in psychology to assist families and children as they navigate family issues in the courts.
  • Virginia Schaefer recently began a new position as a member of the Texas Instruments government relations team. Prior to that, she worked as senior vice president of public policy at the Dallas Regional Chamber.
  • Stephanie Stewart is vice president and chief information officer at Pioneer Natural Resources. She has more than 20 years of experience in information technology in the energy industry.

Susan Rankin*

Virginia Schaefer*

Stephanie Stewart*

In addition to Bob and John, they’ll be joining other board members including Chair-Elect Corey Anthony, VPs Ardo Fuentes, Cynt Marshall, Scott Orr, Janice Davis and David Young; and At-Large Members Mark Berg, Laura Losinger, Jim Lozier, Steve Penrose and Scooter Smith.

* Photo provided by Dallas CASA

Dallas Cowboys War Room At The Star Was The Scene Of Chef Tiffany Derry Serving Up KidLinks’ Symphony Of Chefs Draft

Jerry Jones‘ legendary War Room at Dallas Cowboys World Headquarters was the location for another big draft on Tuesday, January 23. It was the site of KidLinksSymphony of Chefs pick chefs for the annual fundraiser that will be held on Monday, February 26 at Sixty Five Hundred. Here’s a report from the field:

When your chef selection is set to be conducted draft style, what better location than the state-of-the-art War Room at the newly opened Dallas Cowboys World Headquarters, The Star, to conduct it in. And that’s exactly what happened on the evening of Tuesday, January 23, as VIP sponsors and patrons gathered for a private party to select their table chefs for the 8th Annual Symphony of Chefs benefiting KidLinks. 

Tiffany Derry*

Hosted by The Dallas Cowboys And Legends Hospitality, the 2018 VIP Patron And Chef Selection party paid homage to the upcoming draft that Jerry Jones and his team will soon be conducting for the fall football season. But this time Tiffany Derry from Bravo TV “Top Chef All-Stars and Top Chef Junior” fame led the charge in conducting a 23 table and chef selection event.

As guests including Ann and J.W. Brown, Aimee and Adam Hall, Mike Dollar and wife Karen and Founding Event Co-Chairs Bonnie and Nathan Shea began to gather in the stunning grand atrium of The Star for VIP guided tours, they were immediately enamored by the dancing LED sculpture by artist Leo Villareal taking selfies and Instagram videos for their social media followers to see. 

John Kleifgen and UnoImmanivong*

Following the early tour that lasted about 45 minutes and still didn’t cover all of the history, memorabilia and art in the building guests made their way to The Training Table event space for much needed cocktails featuring Tequila Sheela and J.R. Ewing Bourbon. They were greeted with passed appetizers by Executive Chef Orazio Lamana that even included two select Whole30 items for those guests partaking in the health-craze sweeping the nation. As more guests and chefs arrived including Fitzgerald Dodd, former The Cedar’s Social executive chef now turned private chef Justin Box, Anastacia Quiñones of Oddfellows and Nick And Sam’s Steakhouse newest executive chef John Kleifgen, you could tell everyone was anxious to be selected but eager to get the evening started.  A preview booklet of each chefs menu floated around the room from guest to guest and you could hear the chatter from table hosts about who they might select and which menus sounded the most enticing.

Diana Crawford*

Just before the program began, the queen of steaks as she’s called, Dee Lincoln and her executive chef T.J. Lengnick left a packed restaurant and walked over from her namesake Dee Lincoln Prime to join in the evening’s fun. Following a few words of welcome, a story about a recent KidLinks client family by CEO Diana Crawford, some praises given to the many sponsors in the room and recognition of the 29 participating chefs that give of their time and talents, it was now time for the draft! Yet sponsors had no clue what was about to happen.

Grand Atrium*

As they were guided through the building, up a set of marble stairs and down a short hallway, the sponsors soon found out that they were headed to the infamous War Room. A place where lives are changed forever when they get “the call”, the War Room was set-up for each sponsor representative to pick who would be cooking on Monday, February 26, at Sixty Five Hundred for their table of 10 guests. With chef pictures on one side and sponsor names on the other, the interactive video wall that covered the entire front wall was set-up for a selection experience that sponsors would soon not forget. The fun was just beginning. Meanwhile, a live video feed soon appeared on the screens where the remaining guests and chefs in the event space could see and hear everything going on in the room where it happens. 

Draft in the War Room*

Soon after explaining how the draft would be handled, a rousing banter among chefs, guests and sponsors commenced. There were even financial challenges and draft seats being given up raising an extra $5K+ on the spot for the charity. With the first draft pick being “purchased” by Honorary Chair Faye C. Briggs’ son, Mike Montgomery (who also happens to be serving as Event Chair with his wife Vinette Montgomery), the first chef selected was celebrity chef Ken Patrick best known for his appearance on Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen. The draft continued with selections including Tre Wilcox, Gorji from Canary by Gorji, Joanne Bondy from Stocks and Bondy plus 20 plus other featured dinner chefs until all chefs were selected.

Georgia and Marc Lyons and Vinette and Mike Montgomery*

As the evening came to an end, it was clear that Vinette and Mike along with their Co-Chairs Georgia and Marc Lyons had scored a touchdown with the VIP Patron party. Talks about how to top it next year were well under way, but until the 26th of February comes and goes the focus was on selling two more additional tables. So the event chairs work wasn’t done yet and table hosts had some work to do by figuring out whom they wouldn’t be inviting to dine with them in February.

For more information about KidLinks and the Symphony of Chefs evening of culinary composition event and the participating chefs visit www.thekidlinks.org./soc.html.

* Photo credit: Thomas Garza

Be The Special Valentine For A Child In Need Of Encouragement

The flowers are ordered. The champagne dinner reservations are locked down with a special bling-bling for dessert. The Kate Weiser chocolates are gift wrapped. You’re all set for Valentine’s Day 2018 and feeling pretty proud of yourself. Rightly so.

But there’s just one more thing that you could do to make it a home run — send a Valentine’s Day card to a stranger. It’s free. Why, it won’t even cost you the price of a stamp!

Children’s Health Valentine’s Day card*

Children’s Health Valentine’s Day card*

Children’s Health Valentine’s Day card*

Thanks to the folks at Children’s Medical Center Foundation, they’ve created three Valentine’s Day cards all ready to be delivered to their Children’s Health munchkin patients. All they need is you to pick which card and personalize it with “a note of encouragement.”

Here’s the link to your chance to be a love-bug hero/ine.

JUST IN: National Eye Institute Awards $2.7M+ For The Retina Foundation Of The Southwest’s Eileen Birch’s Work In Amblyopia

The Retina Foundation of the Southwest is probably being overloaded with notes of congratulations. Thanks to the efforts of Crystal Charity Ball Pediatric Vision Laboratory Scientific Director Eileen Birch, the National Eye Institute has awarded a five-year grant of $2,751,645 “for her cutting-edge research projects aimed at helping infants and children with lazy eye (amblyopia).”Eileen Birch*

Having earned her Ph.D. from the University of California in 1979, Eileen was granted a fellowship at Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1980-1982. Following her fellowship, Eileen was hired by the Foundation and has “dedicated her life to conducting sight-saving research at the Retina Foundation of the Southwest,” a nonprofit eye research institute dedicated to preventing vision loss and restoring sight through innovative research and treatment.

According to the Foundation, “Lazy eye is reduced vision in one eye, affecting one to two children in every classroom. It is one of the most serious and most common threats to a child’s vision.”

Texas Scottish Rite Hospital For Children’s Amputee Ski Trippers Geared Up At St. Bernard’s With Tony Herring Smiling And Ruthie Chilling On The Floor

For the usual Sunday Breadwinners brunch crowd in Inwood Village, the parking lot on Sunday, January 21, seemed a little more crowded than usual. The reason was that St. Bernard’s across the way had opened earlier than its usual Sunday noontime start.

The reason was the gathering of Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children’s patients who would be on the slopes of Winter Park at the National Sports Center for the Disabled in February for the 36th annual Amputee Ski Trip. They were at the ski-friendly store to get fitted for gear.

Crutches

Ruthie

The scene inside the store was like a pre-Christmas holiday party. Crutches were quickly stowed so kids could settle on the floor to cuddle with Ruthie, the laid-back St. Bernard mascot.

Across the way, a white-haired fella with a camera was capturing the activity. He could have easily been mistaken for one of the 14 youngsters’ grandfather. But actually he was TSRHC Chief of Staff Emeritus Dr. Tony Herring, the father of the annual ski trek. It was 37 years ago that Tony had started the TSRHC Amputee Ski Trip after hearing about a Denver program for youngsters with orthopedic challenges to head to the mountains for skiing and snowboarding.

Tony Herring

Over the years, Tony had sent off dozens and dozens of kids who had faced the loss of limbs to do more than just learn the art of skiing and snowboarding in Colorado. It was also an opportunity for the youngsters to be with others who have gone through surgeries, therapies and the emotional adjustment to being a bionic. To Tony’s delight the kids have returned with a sense of great self-esteem.

Cody McCasland and Tony Herring

But being ever the professional, he couldn’t help but check out the newest gear for the amputee patients like rock star Cody McCasland, who was born without shinbones due to Sacral Agenesis resulting in the amputation of both legs at the knee. He got his first set of prosthetic legs at 17 months and, over the years, he’s proved to be an extraordinary athlete, as well as scoring appearances on “Oprah” and “Ellen.”

Ryanne Carr

In fitting the kids with their gear, one staffer asked second-timer Ryanne Carr what size sock she would like. She smiled and said she didn’t need them. The staffer looked a little baffled. Then she pointed out that her prosthetic legs weren’t in need of socks. It seems that the 14-year-old had lost both of her legs and part of her right arm due to being born with amniotic band syndrome. A St. Bernard staffer quickly responded asking if she had a sister or brother. The answer was “Yes!” The sibling got a nifty pair of socks. Like Cody, Ryanne has earned quite a reputation in overcoming her physical challenges. The former Junior Race Director for the Dallas White Rock Marathon admitted seven years ago that, “I like to swim; I like to bike; I like to climb trees; I like to build Legos; I like to ride horses.” Now, she’s added snowboarding to that list.

This year’s junket takes place on Monday, February 12, with TSRHC pediatric orthopedic surgeon Dr. Henry Ellis on board, as well as TSRHC Director of Prosthetics/double amputee Don Cummings and other staffers to advise on the type of equipment that would be needed. As Tony pointed out, the trip also provides an opportunity for the staff to better understand the challenges that their patients encounter outside the hospital.

The trip is free for the kids, thanks to the Stephen M. Seay Foundation, American Airlines and St. Bernard.

Dallas CASA Young Professionals Weren’t Just Playing Around At 2018 CASAblanca To Raise Funds For Abused And Neglected Children

It was a pretty darn gorgeous and fun-loving crowd that hit the gaming tables on Saturday, January 20. No, it wasn’t in Vegas. It was at The Hall on Dragon. And the high rollers weren’t Ocean’s 11. They were Dallas CASA‘s Young Professionals for the Third Annual CASAblanca. Here’s a report from the field:

The glittering young were out in force for Dallas CASA’s third CASAblanca casino night, hosted by Dallas CASA’s vibrant and growing Young Professionals group to raise funds for and the abused and neglected children Dallas CASA volunteers serve.

Clad in gorgeous gowns and dapper tuxedos, the young people played casino games and danced the night away to ten-piece Special Edition Band. The event sold out the day before the event, held at The Hall on Dragon on Saturday, January 20.

2018 CASAblanc*

2018 CASAblanca games*

Guests munched on hearty appetizers, with passed macaroni and cheese balls coated in crispy panko and topped with truffled ranch being a main hit. The third annual event featured a silent auction for the first time, with a beautiful diamond and gold necklace from Susan Saffron Boutique and restaurant gift cards from Water Grill, Del Frisco’s Grill and Jalisco North drawing top bids.

But it wasn’t all fun, games and food – the “fund the need” board allowed guests to fund specific needs for kids living in foster care and raised nearly $2,500 for things like coats for cold weather and cribs for babies.

Kathleen LaValle, Emma and Mark Hiduke and Hannah and Greg May*

Bloggers Lexi and Kelsie Aziz of Pizza and Champagne were there, along with sponsors Emma and Mark Hiduke, Angela Yotides, Melissa Bednarz and Bela and Chase Cooley. Sponsors this year enjoyed a VIP area with their own blackjack and poker tables.

Kay Weir and Nick Barr*

Angela Yotides and Melissa Bednarz*

Carlos and Carla Zarazua*

Nick and Melissa Bednarz, Nate Bednarz and Alyssa and Chase Mayeux*

Also in attendance were Dallas CASA Executive Director/President Kathleen LaValle, Austin Fennema, Hannah and Greg May, Carla and Carlos Zarazua, Kay Weir, Nick Barr, Michele Morris and Tucker Robinson.

The Dallas CASA Young Professionals is a vibrant and growing group of professionals under 40 interested in supporting abused and neglected children living in foster care. Last year, more than 1,300 Dallas CASA community volunteers advocated for the best interests of these children in court.

Reasha Hedke, Kelcey Hamilton and Dana Swann*

The event was co-chaired by Kelcey Hamilton, Reasha Hedke and Dana Swann.

Sponsors included Presenting Sponsors Emma and Mark Hiduke, Christine and Jonathan Bassham, CultureMap, Angela and Chris Yotides, Bela and Chase Cooley, Kay and Bob Schleckser, Sewell Automotive Companies and an anonymous donor.

* Photo credit: Steve Bither

JUST IN: Jan Rees-Jones To Receive 2018 Partners For Children Award At Community Partners Of Dallas’ 12th Annual Chick Lit Luncheon

Chick Lit Chair Mersina Stubbs is adding to her all-star lineup for the Community Partners of Dallas 12th annual fundraising luncheon on Friday, April 13, at Hilton Anatole. In addition to having Katie Holmes on stage, Nancy Perot as honorary chair and Presenting Sponsors Lara and Bob Tafel, she just revealed that the 2018 Partners For Children Award recipient will be Jan Rees-Jones.

Mersina Stubbs (File photo)

Jan Rees-Jones (File photo)

According to CPD President/CEO Paige McDaniel, “We are truly honored to recognize Jan Rees-Jones with our Partners for Children Award this year. Through her work on behalf of The Rees-Jones Foundation, Jan has helped CPD and more importantly the children we serve, in countless ways. As longtime supporters of our emergency resource center for children entering protective care, the Rainbow Room, and as one of the lead donors in our capital campaign, The Rees-Jones Foundation has been with us for every step of our agency’s growth. There is no one more dedicated and committed to this sector of the social services community; The Rees-Jones Foundation is the leader and strongest voice in support of abused and neglected children in the Metroplex. No one is doing more for child protection.”

Having grown up in Richardson, Jan is well aware of the needs of North Texas and has been a driving force in The Rees-Jones Foundation with a focus on “helping children suffering from abuse and neglect and children and youth facing mental health challenges and other disabilities, providing young people with opportunities for enrichment and character development, and promoting the humane treatment of animals.”

The results have been major funding for the Rees-Jones Center for Foster Care Excellence at Children’s Health, the Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development at TCU, the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center’s Rees-Jones Center for Child Protection, and the Rees-Jones Behavioral Health Center at Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth.

A graduate of Texas Tech, she is currently serving as co-chair of the National Advisory Board for the Laura W. Bush Institute for women’s Health at the Texas Tech University Health Science Center, as well as an honorary member of the SPCA of Texas Board of Directors.

Presented annually to “an individual or an organization that has shown an ongoing commitment to the philanthropic needs of our community and whose years of service meet the needs of abused and neglected children,” past recipients have included The Bitzer and Needleman Families and Peacock Alley, Jill C. Bee, ORIX Foundation, Junior League of Dallas, Lynn McBee, The Container Store, Fidelity Investments, Cheers for Charity, Northwood Woman’s Club, Attorneys Serving the Community and Mersina herself.

Sponsorships and tables are available now, with individual tickets not being available until late March.

Children’s Medical Center Foundation Benefactors And Friends Are Shown Appreciation For Providing $44M In 2017

Christopher Durovich

Brent Christopher

While the Saints and the Vikings were battling for the NFL Division title in Minneapolis on the evening of Sunday, January 14, Children’s Health President/CEO Christopher Durovich and Children’s Medical Center Foundation’s Brent Christopher, John Mitchener and Bill Braem were thanking benefactors and friends at the Dallas Country Club for their support.

John Mitchener

Bill Braem

The fact that many had the next day off, thanks to Martin Luther King Jr. Day, allowed the 200 or so guests like Children’s First Lady Christina Durovich, Barbara and John Stuart, Carol Seay, Monica Egert Smith and Susan and Dave Scullins to leisurely enjoy the buffet in the grand ballroom.

Christina Durovich and Carol Seay

John and Barbara Stuart

As the Vikings battled en route to pulling off a last-second win, Foundation President Brent was looking very pleased for another reason. Having just completed his first full year in his position, he reported that $44M had been tallied, the third-highest amount in the Foundation’s history. That sweet number was only surpassed by a whopping $71M in 2015 and $55M in 2012.

Harper’s Bazaar‘s Avril Graham To Share Spring Fashion Trends At “2nd Annual Room To Grow” In NorthPark’s Neiman Marcus Courtyard

Kim Bannister (File photo)

Jamie Singer (File photo)

Andrea Weber (File photo0

Andrea Nayfa (File photo)

The lineup of nationally known types keeps growing for this spring’s fundraising. Room To Grow Co-Chairs Kim Bannister, Jamie Singer and Andrea Weber along with NorthPark Center Chair Andrea Nayfa have arranged to have Harper’s Bazaar Fashion And Beauty Editor Avril Graham to be on the agenda for the Dec My Room fundraiser.

Avril Graham*

Kimberly Schlegel Whitman (File photo)

Avril will be “presenting trending colors of spring fashion trends with NorthPark Ambassador Kim Schlegel Whitman at the luncheon on Wednesday, April 18. Following the seated luncheon and chat, guests will after-party it up on Neiman Marcus NorthPark’s Level Two.

Where is the luncheon going to take place? That’s what separates this lunch from the usual fare. The event will be held in the Neiman Marcus Courtyard, located between Neiman Marcus and the Eiseman Jewels entrance. Talk about a beautifully landscaped setting with its towering trees and artwork.

And speaking about the beauty of the environment, the timing couldn’t be better. It coincides with NorthPark’s Spring At The Park Home And Garden Show that runs from Friday, April 13 to Monday, April 23.

According to Dec My Room – Dallas Director Karen Michlewicz, “We are so grateful to NorthPark Center and to Neiman Marcus for partnering with us to host the second annual ‘Room to Grow’ luncheon and fashion presentation. We look forward to attendees enjoying the latest spring fashions in the beautiful courtyard setting at Neiman Marcus. Most importantly though, we are so appreciative of the community for not only supporting this event, but also recognizing the impact that it has on the children served by Dec My Room.”

If Dec My Room is new on your radar, it was actually established in 2007, when Houstonians Susan Plank and her daughter Kendall Plank learned that a friend’s son would be traveling from Austin to Texas Children’s Hospital for a bone marrow transplant. That was the good news. But the problem was the youngster’s stay would be three weeks away from family and friends. The mom-daughter wanted to do more than a nice floral arrangement or a visit, so their contacted the family to learn about his favorite things. After hitting Target, they had his hospital room “decked” out with University of Texas logo and other “stuff.” His reaction was amazement resulting in hugs for Susan and Kendall. That one act of kindness gave birth to “Dec My Room” for children staying in hospitals.

When “Dec My Room” arrived in Dallas a couple of year ago, the perfect spot for the “healing place for children who are being admitted into a hospital for a prolonged amount of time” was Children’s Medical Center. The very first year a half dozen rooms were decorated by volunteers.

It’s a great program to apply your creative juices, so why not volunteer? And don’t forget to get your tickets to the luncheon!

* Photo provided by Dec My Room - Dallas

 

JUST IN: 2018 Crystal Charity Ball Beneficiaries Announced

Last week was full of news and this week is looking like a repeat performance. This first one is worth more than $6M for the good of Dallas County children!

Claire Emanuelson (File photo)

Patty Leyendecker (File photo)

2018 Crystal Charity Ball Chair Claire Emanuelson and her committee finished the daunting selection of the 2018 CCB beneficiaries. After weeks of vetting, interviewing and presentations led  by Charity Selection Chair Patty Leyendecker, the eight nonprofits that will be the recipients of a hold-your-breath $6,501,105 will be:

  • After-School All-Stars North Texas — $592,140
  • Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts — $766,190
  • Boys And Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas — $600,591
  • Buckner Children And Family Services Inc. — $1,125,435
  • Friends of the Dallas Public Library — $752,454
  • Mosaic Family Services — $666,612
  • Nexus Recovery Center —$747,681
  • Ronald McDonald House of Dallas, Inc. — $1,250,000

Angie Kadesky (File photo)

Any organization that has gone through the selection process knows that being chosen as a CCB recipient is a two-fold blessing. Sure, there is the money, but as the late North Texas Food Bank’s Executive Director Jan Pruitt said, “The validation by CCB was priceless.”

The fundraising for the 2018 beneficiaries is underway with 2018 Underwriting Chair Angie Kadesky very available at 214.526.5868, Ext. 14, for underwriting and sponsorship opportunities to reach the mammoth goal.

Congratulations to the eight beneficiaries. 

Faith And Liberty Will Never Be Near “Daddy” Again … Thank Heaven

MySweetCharity

How did the last 16 years slip by so quickly? So much has happened. An African American/Caucasian was elected president of the U.S. Social media replaced the major means of communications. Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt were sparkly newlyweds. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt were sparkly newlyweds.

But two little sisters never knew any of this. They never attended high school. They never got the thrill of getting their driver’s license. They never had a date. Instead, they faced a horror that still rattles even the most scarred veterans.

Those little girls were Faith Battaglia and Liberty Battaglia. Faith was only 9 years old and Liberty was just 6. Like many kiddos, Faith and Liberty were going through a state of familial transition. There had been loud voices in their home that had led to their Mommy being hurt and Daddy packing up his stuff. But it wasn’t for a business trip or an overnight sleepover. Daddy had moved to a loft in Deep Ellum. It wasn’t like their home with their yard and neighbors. But it had to do with their parents working things out.

Part of the deal was for Faith and Liberty to live with Mom and visit with Daddy.

But on Wednesday, May 2, 2001, that “visit with Daddy” became an ordeal that turned stomachs of even the toughest types and to this day still haunts all who recall first hearing about the murders.

Daddy terrorized his wife by calling her up and torturing her, with little Liberty asking, “Why are you trying to put Daddy in jail?” Faith’s screams were heard in the background as she witnessed Daddy shooting obedient Liberty. Their mother helplessly heard Daddy aim and silence Faith’s screams of horror. What were the girls’ final thoughts? Confusion? Pain? Terror? Betrayal? All those and so much more.

Daddy then left his dead daughters and headed to a tattoo parlor to have a needle brand two roses on his arm in their memory.

Tonight Daddy had another needle inserted. He claimed that he would join Faith and Liberty. No, he will never join them. There is a very special place in hell for this Daddy.

JUST IN: Jeannette “The Glass Castle” Walls To Keynote Jonathan’s Place’s 7th Annual “A Chance To Soar Luncheon”

After last year’s gangbuster fundraiser featuring Olympian Simone Biles on stage and Dirk Nowitzki in the audience, Jonathan Place’s 7th Annual A Chance To Soar Luncheon organizers decided they needed bigger digs for the event on Tuesday, April 3.

According to Jonathan’s Place CEO Allicia Graham Frye, “We’ve already sold so many tables that we had to move to a larger venue (Hyatt Regency – Downtown Dallas).”

Allicia Graham Frye (File photo)

Jeannette Walls*

There are loads of reasons for the early sales success. First of all, author of best-seller “The Glass Castle”’s Jeannette Walls will be the keynote speaker. Just this past August, Jeannette’s story made it to the big screen starring Woody Harrelson, Naomi Watts and Brie Larson.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have Robyn Gould and Linda Wimberly chairing the fundraiser. They’ve even managed to have Shannon and Ted Skokos as honorary co-chairs as well as their foundation — The Ted and Shannon Skokos Foundation — as the presenting sponsor.

Other sponsors include:

  • Speaker Sponsor: Rachel and Brad Stephens
  • Hero Sponsors: American Airlines, Marianne and Roger Staubach, Jennifer and John Gates, Propac Agency, Hyatt Regency Dallas and Bob Mohr

Those sponsors and $2,500-table purchasers and above will not only be able to attend the pre-luncheon reception with Jeannette but also an invitation-only patron party on Tuesday, February 6.

Proceeds from the event will support Jonathan’s Place to provide “a safe place, loving home and promising future for abused and neglected children, teens and young adults.”

So, if you want to get the biggest bang for your buck, get your tickets now.

* Photo provided by Jonathan's Place

JUST IN: After-School All-Stars North Texas Hits A Home Run With 2017 World Series MVP Jose Altuve For Third Annual Rising Stars Luncheon

While this spring’s nonprofit events seemed to be ladies-only when it comes to celebrity draws (Kristin Chenoweth, Katie Holmes, Chrissy Metz, Hilary Swank, etc.), it’s not the case. The After-School All-Stars North TexasThird Annual Rising Stars Luncheon that was such a hit last year with Dak Prescott has scored another super-duper athlete — Jose Altuve!

Jose Altuve*

Please, oh, please, don’t let anyone know that you haven’t heard of him. That’s like saying you haven’t heard of Dak!

Just this past year Houston Astros second baseman Jose was named both the 2017 World Series Champion MVP, AP Male Athlete of the Year, the Hank Aaron Award and Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year.  

The shortest active player in the Major League Baseball standing at 5’6”, his journey to greatest almost didn’t happen. In 2007 when he was just 16, he tried out for the Houston Astros in his hometown of Maracay, the scouts initially decided to take a pass on his participation. Why? He was too short and lied about his age. But thanks to his father’s encouragement, he returned the next day with his birth certificate in hand. Eventually, he got his chance to show his stuff and it was so impressive, they signed him up as an undrafted free agent.

As for the rest of the story, Jose will share it at the ASAS luncheon on Wednesday, March 28, at Northwood Country Club.

Chairing the event will be a trio of father-son teams — David Bland with son Adam Bland, Brad Reeves with son Cole Reeves and Logan Stout with twin sons Miles Stout and Cooper Stout.

According to ASAS Board Chair Ben Lange, “We are incredibly excited to hear Jose Altuve’s personal story about how he overcame obstacles to achieve success today. We know this luncheon will help ASAS North Texas reach even more students with a safe place to go after school.”

This lunch will be a biggie. Like last year, don’t be surprised if parents get their kids out of school to attend, listen and be inspired by both Jose and the ASAS program.

Working with middle school students in Dallas, “they have grown to serve more than 650 students this year with a safe place to go during the ‘danger zone’ hours of 3-6 p.m. Every day, ASAS studenst receive a healthy snack, targeted tutoring or homework time, and enrichment clubs like robotics, basketball, fashion design, lacrosse and cooking.”

Don’t strike out and get your sponsorships/tickets now!

* Photo provided by After-School All-Stars

MySweet2018Goals: Mersina Stubbs

According to Chick Lit Luncheon 2018 Chair Mersina Stubbs,

Mersina Stubbs (File photo)

Lara and Robert Tafel (File photo)

“One of my goals for 2018 is to raise important funds for Community Partners of Dallas, and the abused and neglected children we serve, by having record-breaking support for the 12th annual Chick Lit Luncheon presented by Dr. Robert and Lara Tafel!

“I hope the community will join Honorary Chair Nancy Perot and me for this year’s luncheon, which will be held on Friday, April 13, at the Hilton Anatole. We are most excited that Katie Holmes, known for her work in films and television and on Broadway, will be our featured speaker.  

Nancy Perot (File photo)

Katie Holmes*

“The Chick Lit Luncheon will include a wine reception followed by a seated luncheon and remarks by Ms. Holmes. Tables begin at $2,500 and are on sale now; individual tickets will go on sale in early April if space permits. For more information, visit communitypartnersdallas.org

“We are expecting a sell-out event, so buy your table now!”

* Photo credit: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images