Dr. Lara Johnson Took Jonathan’s Place’s “A Chance To Soar” Luncheon To New Heights Of Awareness

On Tuesday, April 26, two leading organizations that are solely focused on protecting children had fundraising lunches in different parts of the city. While Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center gathered folks at the Sheraton Dallas, Jonathan’s Place’s “A Place to Soar” celebrated its 25th anniversary at the Dallas Country Club.  Priscilla Garcia filed this report from the DCC:

For 25 years Jonathan’s Place has been “protecting and caring for the previous children of North Texas, who have suffered from abuse, abandonment and neglect.” Just this past year they added to their services the Girls Transitional Living Program for young women ages 18-23 who have aged out of the foster system. Through the program these young women learn to be responsible and how to care for themselves.

On Tuesday, April 26, Jonathan’s Place celebrated its 25th anniversary at its annual “A Chance To Soar” luncheon at the Dallas Country Club. Luncheon Co-Chairs Allison Carlisle and Rachel Stephens arranged to have Caren and Peter Kline serve as honorary co-chairs and for NBC’s Meredith Land to have a sit-down conversation with Dr. Lara Johnson. Through her heartfelt story, Lara revealed that she had a very rough childhood. Her mother was a heroin addict. Her father was an alcoholic. Lara focused on school and was a very good student. Luckily, her Woodrow Wilson High School teacher, Pat Faherty, encouraged her to fill out college application forms even though it was passed the deadline. Pat saw something in Lara. Through Pat’s help, Lara was able to go to college.

Meredith Land, Allicia Graham Frye and Lara Johnson*

Meredith Land, Allicia Graham Frye and Lara Johnson*

As Pat sat in the audience, Lara told how their efforts paid off. Lara became a doctor. The reason? After going to various doctor appointments with her parents, she felt if she became a doctor, she might be able to help them in some way. Later in life her dad was diagnosed with HIV and passed away. Her mother recently died and wanted forgiveness before she passed. Lara said she had already forgiven her.

It was a very touching story, one that she wasn’t really planning on sharing because she is so private. But she changed her mind when an article was written about her in D Magazine after a chance conversation with a friend. Today she volunteers her medical services for the kids at JP and loves the organization. She is married with two children and likes for them to give back as well. Great Q&A!

Another highlight of the luncheon was the recognition of JP Board Chair Jennifer Norris and Meredith and Jason Cockburn, who have fostered over 50 kids through JP, and the presentation of the awards to the following:

Tonya Bailey, RAchel Stephens, Chad Dorman, Allicia Graham Frye, Beverly Childs, Al Sicard, Allison Carlisle, Mark Dehning and Mark Wilson*

Tonya Bailey, Rachel Stephens, Chad Dorman, Allicia Graham Frye, Beverly Childs, Al Sicard, Allison Carlisle, Mark Dehning and Mark Wilson*

  • Award of Compassion — Christina and Michael Benge
  • Award of Service — Nationwide Insurance
  • Award of Excellence — Dallas Association of Health Underwriters

CEO Allicia Graham Frye spoke about the children at the cottages and gave a very genuine speech about her experiences there and how the donors are helping daily at the facility. She was very appreciative of all the support the donors give. She had a picture on the screen showing the where the teenage girls spend their free time. This space had recently been renovated by donors and she wanted to share a piece of the facility with the crowd.  Currently, there are 77 children at the campus.

To celebrate this landmark year for Jonathan’s Place, the following sponsors were on board:

  • Presenting Hero Sponsor ($25,000) — ORIX Foundation
  • Platinum Champion Sponsor ($15,000) — Al G. Hill Jr.
  • Gold Protector Sponsors ($10,000) — Mohr Partners and Scopus Asset Management
  • Silver Guardian Sponsors ($5,000) — Macy’s, Allison and John Carlisle, Marianne and Roger Staubach, Rachel and Brad Stephens, Stacey and Reid Walker and Kay Sim
  • Bronze Defender SponsorsAkin Gump Strauss Hauer and Feld LLP, Beth Maultsby and Goranson Bain LLC, The Stacy and Tyler Burke Fund, Freeman Group LLC, Kline Family Foundation, The Rosewood Corporation, Wick Phillips Gould & Martin LLP, Mr. and Mrs. Scott Bagley, Barbie and Bill Borlaug, Kim Cocotos, Marcellene Malouf and the Honorable Royal Furgeson, Dr. Greta Kerwin-Kopp, Wes Lambard, Amy and Tom Mahoney, Jennifer and Bradley Norris, Mr. and Mrs. Todd Phillips, Julie and Eliot Raffkind, Katherine and Eric Reeves, Randa Roach, Nan S. White and April and John Willingham.
* Photos provided by Jonathan's Place

S.M. Wright Foundation Launches Beds For Kids Campaign This Saturday For Children To Get A Good Night’s Sleep

Each year around the holidays, the S.M. Wright Foundation makes headlines with its Christmas in the Park at Fair Park when it provides thousands of children with all types of wonderful gifts. Without the Foundation and its supporters, these children would have a pretty bleak Christmas.

But there are more than toys that are provided. For instance, Natalie and Mike McGuire’s daughter, Highland Park High School student Maddy McGuire, created the “Coats for Kids” program to provide warm coats for children in need. Just this past year 3,000 new coats were distributed at Christmas in the Park. To help her achieve this number, Maddy created the S.M. Wright Club at HPHS. Thanks to the volunteers, they were able to provide the coats plus a check for $19,240 to the Foundation.

Beds for Kids*

Beds for Kids*

What many folks don’t realize is that the Foundation’s efforts extend beyond the holiday gift-giving season. The Foundation discovered that children were in need of beds “to get a good night’s sleep,” so the Bed for Kids program was undertaken to provide twin- and full-size mattresses, box springs and frames for qualifying families.

This Saturday between 9 a.m. and noon, pre-approved families will pick up their beds. However, the need has far exceeded the demand.

S.M. Wright II (File photo)

S.M. Wright II (File photo)

According to S.M. Wright Foundation President/Co-Founder/CEO Rev. S.M. Wright II, “Beds for Kids began in 2010 and since then, we have distributed more than 6,360 bed sets to underprivileged kids in our community. Unfortunately, the demand far exceeds the Foundation’s ability to supply beds and there is still a long waiting list of more than 4,200 kids.”

To ramp up the effort, the Foundation is using Saturday to also launch the 1st Annual S.M. Wright Beds for Kids Campaign.

As S.M. Wright II revealed, “The good news is an anonymous donor has given a $40,000 matching pledge, so each $1.00 donated by the public will equal $2.00 in support of that goal. The campaign runs through September 30, 2016, so we encourage the public to visit our website  and donate today to help the children in our community.”

A $165 donation will provide a new twin bed set and a full-size bed can be provided for $200.

Beds for Kids*

Beds for Kids*

The vetting process of who gets a bed is strictly monitored — “To qualify, a family must complete an application, show proof of income and residency, provide a valid birth certificate for each child, and meet Texas Commodity Assistance Program income requirements. After the application has been processed, a foundation staff member or community service partner representative visits the family’s residence to verify the need for a bed. Upon approval, the family can pick up the bed from the foundation’s warehouse. Approximately one month after the bed is received, the foundation staff member visits again to make sure the bed is being put to good use and to inform the family about other foundation resources.”

So far the following organizations have supported the Beds for Kids program: A-Z Therapy, Child Protective Services – Dallas, Tarrant and Collin County, Children’s Medical Center, Dallas Healthy Start, Dallas Housing Authority, Dallas ISD, Desoto ISD, El Centro College/Adult Resource Center, Genesis Women Shelter, Head Start of Greater Dallas, Healing Heart Center, Home Sweet Home/The Salvation Army, Kipp Truth Elementary, Lancaster ISD, Lumin Bachman Lake Community School, Martin Luther King Jr. Family Clinic, Methodist Children’s Home Outreach, Metro Care, Parkland Outpatient Clinic, Psychological Social Services and Homeless Education  Program, Rosemont Mission Trail, St. Vincent De Paul Collin County, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, Texas Department of Health, UT Southwestern Medical Center and Well Care.

* Graphic and photo provided by S.M. Wright Foundation

2016 Signature Chefs Auction Is Headed To The Anatole To Cook Up A Storm For March Of Dimes Of Dallas

The March of Dimes Dallas’ annual Signature Chefs Auction is making a change this year. No, Chef Kent Rathbun is still going to be at the cooking helm with his culinary buds. This event is one of his favs and no matter how busy he is or how thin he gets, he’s gonna be there for the 19th year in a row.

Hallie Lamont, Amanda Shufeldt, Kent Rathbun Nancy Owen and Kameron Westcott*

Hallie Lamont, Amanda Shufeldt, Kent Rathbun Nancy Owen and Kameron Westcott*

Nope! The change is the place. This year’s Co-Chairs Hallie Lamont, Nancy Owen, Amanda Shufeldt and Kameron Westcott have revealed that the food will be doled out and the live auction of incredible packages will take place at the Hilton Anatole on Thursday, November 3.

As for which chefs will be serving more than 700 guests, stay tuned. That list is being compiled!

* Photo credit: Rhiannon Lee Photography

Children’s Cancer Fund’s “An Evening In Oz” Broke All Previous Records With Cancer-Fighting Kids And Celebrity Escorts

Giora Barker and Lisa Cooley

Giora Barker and Lisa Cooley

Unlike years past, this year’s Children’s Cancer Fund annual fundraiser for Children’s Health took on a different spin on Friday, April 22. Instead of a luncheon, Event Co-Chairs Giora Barker and Lisa Cooley moved it to nighttime with “An Evening In Oz” as the theme. And the only thing missing was the horse of a different color! And the decision to move it worked, because the evening’s net … oops, can’t reveal it because the board is keeping that number under wraps. Still word has it that it was a record breaker.

But from the beginning of the night, it was obvious that more than Dorothy’s red slippers had been clicking for wishes to come true. As the girl from Kansas and her pals welcomed more than 900 guests at the Anatole, the munchkin artists and models were hunkered down in the Wedgwood Room with makeup being applied, hair curled and partying. In the meantime, the older high-paying kids were in the Peacock Room for the VIP meet-and-greet with Honorary Co-Chairs Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach.

Cowardly Lion, Scarecrow, Dorothy and Tin Man

Cowardly Lion, Scarecrow, Dorothy and Tin Man

Over to the side, Marianne Staubach reported that they had just returned from Disneyland with daughter Amy Mentgen and her kids. She admitted that after making the rounds of the park with the grand-kids, the adults were worn out.

Bela Pjetrovic and Chase Cooley

Bela Pjetrovic and Chase Cooley

In another part of the room Bela Pjetrovic and mustachioed Chase Cooley were being congratulated on their recent engagement. Has a date been set? Nothing definite yet, but April 2017 is looking good. And speaking of mustaches, Cooley dad Clay recalled that when he and wife Lisa met, he also had a mustache and long hair.

Another dad in the crowd was Ben Lange, sans son/T-shirt entrepreneur Luke Lange, who was at Benihana for a birthday. The mention of Benihana set off a memory for Clay, who remembered how in the early days, Chase’s birthdays were celebrated there.

All too soon the VIPs adjourned to join the hundreds of others checking out the silent auction in the Chantilly Ballroom reception area just as the ballroom doors were opened.

Missy Chami and Anne Davidson

Missy Chami and Anne Davidson

Inside the ballroom, it appeared as if the Emerald City of Oz had indeed taken up residence, with a stage for the Emerald City band at one end and the presentation stage with runway at the other. All around were tables with folks like presenting sponsor Anne Davidson, Cindy Turner, Suzy Gekiere, Patti Flowers, Tanya and Pete Foster, Mary Meier, Betty Turner and Mary Poss.

Serving as background for the stage were mega scenes straight from “The Wizard of Oz,” including the yellow brick road leading through the field of poppies to the city of Oz.

First on stage were Roger and Troy, joined by Lisa with Emme Nees and Giora with son Jack Barker. The exchange between Rog (this was his 28th CCF appearance) and Troy (it was his 20th) proved their ongoing commitment to battling children’s cancer as well as their mutual respect and friendship for each other.

Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman

Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman

Following Lisa’s and Giora’s personal testimonials about each of their reasons for undertaking the fundraiser, Tom Gilchrist sang a capella the Lord’s Prayer. (Quipped Roger afterward: “I’d trade my Heisman for a voice like that.”)

Under the direction of special events producer Rhonda Sargent Chambers, not a moment was lost for the fashion show of Dillard’s kiddo clothes. As Rog, Troy et al left the stage, emcee Scott Murray arrived at the podium to introduce the Children’s Cancer Fund artists and their celebrity escorts including

  • 6-year-old Cooper Dorr with Roger
  • 10-year-old Hayden Ritchie with Troy
  • 12-year-old Mercedes Howdeshell with Tara Pavlock and Ashleigh Panelli
  • 9-year-old Myles Allison with Jason Garrett
  • 13-year-old Carsyn Sapp with Sunny Malouf
  • 7-year-old Corbin Glasscock with Terrance Williams
  • 5-year-old Kamryn Rakestraw with Jim Stroud
  • 11-year-old Maxwell Matlock with members of the Dallas SWAT
  • 5-year-old Reese Skelte with “Dorothy”
  • 11-year-old Keamus Bryant with Medieval Times Red Knight
  • 8-year-old Trip Rowley with Brandon Carr

Unfortunately, 5-year-old Flick Blevins was under the weather and couldn’t make the event. In his stead, Dallas Fire Department #19’s Jerry Hooker, Michael Wolfe, Derrick Brouhard and John Keeler walked the runway holding his photo.

At this point, Scott introduced KDFW’s Clarice Tinsley to introduce the other cancer-surviving children and their celebrity escorts, including:

  • 13-year-old Andrew Russell with Kaitlyn Wade
  • 16-year-old Sabeen Wazir with Jake Pavelka
  • 6-year-old Jackson Houser with Morris Claiborne
  • 6-year-old Rina Cantrell with Jane McGarry
  • 15-year-old Saket Ashar with Dr. Ted Laetsch
  • 9-year-old Laura Beth Rote with Brianna Kiesel
  • 10-year-old Brady Pampilonia with Kliff Kingsbury
  • 9-year-old Julissa Garcia with Jocelyn White
  • 11-year-old Juan Lopez with the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders and Rowdy
  • 7-year-old Jordan McDowell with Miss Texas America
  • 16-year-old Averi Moya with Mitch Gaylord
  • 10-year-old Julia Brown with Amy Vanderoef
  • 12-year-old Christian Arroyo with Byron Jones
  • 9-year-old Lynette Quintana with the Pink Heals Firefighters
Andrew Russell and Kaitlyn Wade

Andrew Russell and Kaitlyn Wade

As 18-year-old Kaitlyn Wade escorted child artist Andrew Russell, Marianne recalled how, years ago, Rog had escorted the pretty blonde on the runway when she was presented. Yes, she had conquered leukemia, but her story of challenges hadn’t end there. After winning the battle, she was the victim of a drunk driver. As the result of the horrendous car accident, 9-year-old Kaitlyn “spent two months in a coma and six months at Cook Children’s before she could return home.”

But on this evening, the emphasis was on the current crop of cancer-conquering kids as they mugged, twirled and charmed their way on the catwalk. Blonde Brill Garrett cheered each one like a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader. Okay, so maybe she had an extra whoop when husband Jason took his turn in the spotlight with Myles Allison.

All of this was building up to the live auction. Troy won the trip to the Masters and learned from Rog all the perks associated with the package. Jana and Mike Brosin won the artwork created by CCF Gala artists and Christopher Martin.

To the delight of many of the ladies in the audience, Jake “The Bachelor” Pavelka was doing double duty. In addition to walking the runway, he also was part of the “Dancing With The Stars” package. Shoot! They could have auctioned off pictures with Jake and won a passel of dough, as lady after lady wanted a quick cell-snap with the cutie. But it was Tracy and Ben Lange who won the package. So, watch for them during Season 23 that is scheduled to air this fall.

As soon as the live auction ended, the focus shifted to the other end of the ballroom, where Emerald City took over to get guests on their feet and dancing the night away.

For more pictures from “An Evening in Oz,” check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2016 Children’s Cancer Fund’s “An Evening In Oz”

Giora Barker and Lisa Cooley

Giora Barker and Lisa Cooley

Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman

Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman

The annual Children’s Cancer Fund’s super-duper fashion show with celebrities escorting cancer-surviving children on the runway in Dillard’s clothes took a turn on Friday, April 22. Co-Chairs Giora Barker and Lisa Cooley shifted the usual luncheon fundraiser to “An Evening In Oz” at the Hilton Anatole.

Cowardly Lion, Scarecrow, Dorothy and Tin Man

Cowardly Lion, Scarecrow, Dorothy and Tin Man

Joining Dorothy, Cowardly Lion, Scarecrow and Tin Man were Honorary Co-Chairs Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach and nearly 900 other pals.

While the post is being finalized, check out the scenes at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

The Perot Foundation Provides A Million-Dollar Gift For The Family Place Capital Campaign

Lynn McBee (File photo)

Lynn McBee (File photo)

Great news! Just as The Family Place is preparing for the groundbreaking of the 40,000-square-foot Ann Moody Place, a very nice gift arrived all wrapped up in dollar bills. According to The Family Place Foundation Board President Lynn McBee, the Perot Foundation has provided $1M to The Family Place’s capital campaign.

That sweetheart contribution brings the campaign to $13,594,000 with $3M still to go.

With domestic violence making headlines way too often, people and organizations are digging into their budgets and backing their support of those in need. There are still opportunities to be part of the team bringing The Family Place campaign to the finish line.

Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership Graduating Seniors Were Feted By Junior League Of Dallas Sustainers

With graduations blooming like flowers at the Arboretum, it’s time for the celebrations of graduating seniors to be celebrated. The Junior League of Dallas Sustainers decided to hold one of those for the Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School grads like Rosa Mendoza, Angela Chavez, Maria Mendoza and Angie Escorza  on Saturday April 16. Here is a report from the field:

Rosa Mendoza, Angela Chavez, Maria Mendoza and Angie Escorza*

Rosa Mendoza, Angela Chavez, Maria Mendoza and Angie Escorza*

Junior League of Dallas (JLD) Sustainers hosted a special luncheon for the graduating seniors at Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School, a member of Young Women’s Preparatory Network (YWPN), at JLD headquarters on Saturday, April 16. Those in attendance included students, family, Irma Rangel Principal Lisa Curry, College Bound Advisor Ann Marano, Community Liaison Katie Allbritton, Advisory Council Chair and JLD Sustainer Beth Brown and JLD Sustainers.

Beth Brown, Lisa Curry and Meredith Mosley*

Beth Brown, Lisa Curry and Meredith Mosley*

JLD President Meredith Mosley welcomed the students, the faculty and families and shared what JLD does. “The mission of the Junior League of Dallas is to develop women leaders who support the community. With more than 70% of our members working outside the home, we are in every part of this city working and volunteering for many worthy organizations.” She encouraged the seniors in their journey from high school to college, quoting from Ernest Hemingway: “It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”

JLD Sustainer president Sandy Ammons welcomed everyone and thanked Carin Moeller and Amy Hatfield, who co-chaired the luncheon. She told the students that volunteering is important and to consider joining JLD after they complete college.

Sandy Ammons, Amy Hatfield and Carin Moeller*

Sandy Ammons, Amy Hatfield and Carin Moeller*

Moeller incorporated the Irma Rangel creed into her thoughtful remarks and finished with the last line: “Girls Today, Women Tomorrow, Leaders Forever.”

Hatfield had all the seniors stand for the exercise portion of the program, where she gave out door prizes based on certain information such as where they were born, how many siblings are in their family, etc.

The most popular attraction at the luncheon was the photo booth where the young ladies took photos dressed in colorful costumes and props.

Hatfield added, “This is the fourth year that the JLD Sustainers have celebrated the senior class, and we took their theme, Dream Big, and added, Dream Big in Texas. We know that these young ladies are on the path to fulfill their dreams with high school and college diplomas.”

YWPN Chief Marketing Officer and JLD Sustainer Juliette Coulter added, “What a celebration that the JLD Sustainers hosted for the seniors, especially the special gifts they presented. Irma Lerma Rangel was the first all-girls school in Texas and first member in the Young Women’s Preparatory Network. Now there are seven schools just like this one throughout Texas.”

YWPN network schools currently serve students in grades 6 through 12 on seven campuses across the state of Texas. YWPN’s results are amazing—100 percent of the girls graduate from high school and 100 percent are accepted into college. Sixty-eight percent of all students come from economically disadvantaged homes, and 68 percent of the Class of 2015 are first generation college students.

* Photos provided by Young Women’s Preparatory Network

Reception Warmed Up The Crowd With Auction Items—And Leigh Anne Tuohy—For Rainbow Days Fundraiser

It was a chatty, optimistic crowd that gathered Thursday, April 14, at the offices of Thompson and Knight for the Pot of Gold Patron Reception. And, why not: ticket sales for the 19th Annual Pot of Gold Luncheon scheduled for the next day were at 630, and counting. The luncheon, which benefits the Rainbow Days nonprofit, had a new venue, the Omni Dallas Hotel, after being at the Hilton Anatole for 18 years. Bids for the luncheon auction items were being taken online for the first time, and already more than $19K worth had rolled in.

Catherine Rowsey, Leigh Anne Tuohy, Nicole Williams and Jon Langbert*

Catherine Rowsey, Leigh Anne Tuohy, Nicole Williams and Jon Langbert*

Perhaps best of all, the luncheon’s special guest speaker, Leigh Anne Tuohy, had shown up for the Thompson and Knight do—much to the delight of the 75 guests. Tuohy, the inspirational matriarch for the book and movie about her family titled “The Blind Side,” posed cheerfully in one corner for photos, even though her life was in overdrive (it seems her daughter Collins Tuohy, who was here in January for Soup’s On, was getting married the following weekend).

Cathey Brown*

Cathey Brown*

After Rainbow Days founder and CEO Cathey Brown welcomed patron reception guests like Lynn McBee , Juliette Coulter, Chris Kay, Don Krasen, Auction Co-Chair Jon Langbert, Rainbow Days Board President Greg Pascuzzi and Fred Rowsey —Cathy called the gathering “the party before the party”—Luncheon Chair Catherine Rowsey and Auction Co-chair Nicole Williams took over and thanked the event sponsors, including Jim McDonald from top sponsor Pacific Union Financial.

Greg Pascuzzi*

Greg Pascuzzi*

When the short program was over some of the guests returned to their sipping and chatting, while others made a beeline for the back room, where several of the auction items were on display. The auction, sponsored by Thompson and Knight, would feature items worth more than $70,000, including a golf trip to Pebble Beach, a stay and dinner at the Rosewood Crescent, tickets to the Mesquite Rodeo, and a custom dinner and wine for four at Sevy’s Grill.

* Photo credit: Rob 
Wythe/Gittings

2015 Crystal Charity Ball Committee Distributed Record-Breaking $6.5M To 11 Dallas Children’s Non-Profits

There are hundreds of children…no, make that thousands of children…who went to sleep on Tuesday, April 12, never having heard of a gal from Andrews, Texas, by the name of Michal Powell or an organization called Crystal Charity Ball.

That’s just peachy keen for the 2015 CCB Chair Michal and her gall-gal committee of 99. For a little over a year, they made calls, hand delivered contracts and championed the cases for Dallas children to net a record-breaking $6.5M.

Some of that money would go to healthcare, ranging from sexual abuse to hearing and sight challenges. Other funds would assist homeless and hungry kids and those working through the challenges of autism.

Pat McEvoy, Tucker Enthoven, Vinnie Reuben, Gregg Ballew, Michal Powell, Leslie Diers, Susan Farris and Mary Clare Finney

Pat McEvoy, Tucker Enthoven, Vinnie Reuben, Gregg Ballew, Michal Powell, Leslie Diers, Susan Farris and Mary Clare Finney

But on this evening, it was Christmas with Michal and her team including Underwriting chair Tucker Enthoven presenting the real-thing checks to the 11 recipients thanks to host Westwood Trust Senior VP Gregg Ballew. Among the crowd of more-than-smiley recipients and guests were Dave Woodyard, Ola Fojtasek, Robyn Flatt, Cara French, Sandra Session-Robertson, Bob Sweeney, Elizabeth Gambrell, Tom Turnage, Pam Busbee, Ona Foster, Daffan Nettle, Dr. Tom Campbell, Beth Thoele, Michael Craven, Margaret Hancock, Kimberly Williams, Anne Reeder, Doug Adkins, Tricia George, Tom Black, Mary Martha Pickens, Jan McAuley, Fredye Factor, Pat McEvoy, Vinnie Reuben, Leslie Diers, Mary Clare Finney, Susan Farris, Barbara Stuart and 2016 CCB Chair Christie Carter.

Here is a breakdown of how the checks were distributed:

  • Catholic Charities of Dallas — $575,000 for the School Readiness Program
  • Dallas Children’s Theater — $564,400 for Sensory-Friendly Performances and Classes
  • Dallas Life — $546,919 for the Kids Life Program
  • Dallas Services — $646,064 for the Vision for Children Program
  • Family Compass — $600,000 for the Healthy Families Program
  • Foundation for the Callier Center for Communication Disorders — $630,000 for The Pediatric Hearing Aid Project
  • H.I.S. BridgeBuilders — $539,450 for the Crossover Athletics Program
  • Interfaith Housing Coalition — $500,000 for the Childcare and Youth Services Center
  • Mary Crowley Cancer Research Centers —$500,000 for Ewing’s Sarcoma Pediatric Cancer Research Program
  • North Texas Food Bank — $750,000 for the Food 4 Kids Backpack Program
  • Texas Health Resources Foundation — $459,124 for the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program

Wanna bet what the first thing the 11 recipients did the next morning? Deliver the checks to their banks, of course. The second thing was to put that money to work.

JUST IN: 2016 Crystal Charity Ball’s Theme Announced

Jan Strimple demonstrates the season of spring

Jan Strimple demonstrates the season of spring

The news that will determine the gowns and gems that will scene steal at the 2016 Crystal Charity Ball was just announced a few minutes ago at Lisa and Clay Cooley’s breathtaking Bluffview estate. It’s the mega-fundraising gala’s theme!

With CCB Chair Christie Carter revealing the theme would be “To Everything There is a Season,” czarina model Jan Strimple read the verses of the theme after doing a jaw-dropping strolled down the Cooley stairway wearing an amazing floral headpiece and a killer gown especially created for the announcement.

With a goal of $5.6M to benefit Community Partners of Dallas, Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas, Hope Supply Co., Notre Dame School, Parkland Foundation, Teach for America and The Family Place, the black-tie gala will take place at the Hilton Anatole on Saturday, December 3. The fundraiser will be orchestrated by veteran event producer Tom Addis and supported by The Garden Gate’s Junior Villanueva and Lambert’s Landscape Design’s Paul Fields.

The announcement party was underwritten by Lisa and Clay and was sponsored by Bank of Texas.

Designers, get your creative juices going to come up with knock-out looks for the December ball.

More deets to follow, but gee-whiz. Let’s see. So many seasons to pick. Spring blossoms? Summer’s red-white-and-blue? Fall’s golden colors? Hmm. The wintry season glistening ice (aka diamonds)? Can’t wait to see the picks of the season in fashion.

Four Arts And Music Students Awarded $80,000 In Scholarships From The O’Donnell Foundation

Peter O'Donnell and Brent Christopher*

Peter O’Donnell and Brent Christopher*

Brent Christopher and his Communities Foundation of Texas were extra-busy at the Mabel Peters Caruth Center Thursday, April 7. First, there was a reception scheduled for the winners of the CFT-administered O’Donnell Foundation’s annual Excellence in AP Arts and Music Theory Award Scholarships. As soon as it was over, there would be an event for nonprofits participating in CFT’s Data-Driven Decision Making (or D3) Institute.

 

Nell Beck, Edith O'Donnell and Nancy Dedman*

Nell Beck, Edith O’Donnell and Nancy Dedman*

Bow-tie clad Brent, however, looked as unflappable as ever at the AP event with attendees including Nancy Dedman, David Corrigan, Nell Beck, Gay and Bill Solomon, Elizabeth Boeckman and Jim Bass. They’d all gathered to celebrate the four recipients of this year’s scholarships, awarded to outstanding high school seniors participating in the O’Donnell Foundation’s AP Arts and Music Theory Incentive Program. This year’s recipients—Jierui Fang of Plano West Senior High School, Emily Hua of Plano West, Wenjia Li of Plano West, and Ananya Rajesh of Coppell High School—each will be receiving $20,000 scholarships to help them attend and graduate from the colleges or universities of their choice.

After welcoming remarks by Serena Y. Ritch, the O’Donnell Foundation’s senior program analyst and director of arts programs, each winning student was introduced to the audience by a teacher at her school. Sarah Depetris of Plano West brought up Jierui, who disclosed that she wants to pursue a career in healthcare entrepreneurship.

Jierui Fang*

Jierui Fang*

Emily Hua*

Emily Hua*

Wenjia Li*

Wenjia Li*

Ananya Rajesh*

Ananya Rajesh*

Akiro Sato, also of Plano West, introduced both Emily and Wenjia. Emily explained how she’d been captivated by the paintings of Vincent Van Gogh (especially his “Wheat Field With Cypresses”), and feels “a connection to the artist’s time.” Akiro called Wenjia “a modern-day Renaissance woman”: while she had a musical composition performed by the Austin Symphony, she’s also a self-described “huge science nerd” intent on studying biochemistry at Harvard, Yale, or Rice.

Tamera Westervelt brought up Ananya, “the most gracious, humble, and poised student I’ve met in 24 years of teaching.” Ananya, who said art helped her find balance in her life, wants to attend UT Arlington, get an MBA and become a management consultant.ExcellenceInArts_148.sized Samuel Holland

Dr. Samuel Holland, dean of the Meadows School of the Arts at SMU, concluded the program by exhorting the scholarship students to “seek out [their] own ‘edge zone’ ” of transformation and unlimited possibility in order to achieve success. Seems like a pretty sure bet that they will.

* Photo credit: Steve Foxall

 

DCAC Guests Enjoy A Private Concert At The Home of Amy And Kelcy Warren

It’s not every day that guests get to visit the palatial home of Amy and Kelcy Warren in Preston Hollow, or enjoy an intimate concert there in the Warrens’ private music room. But that’s just what about 60 people did on Tuesday, April 5, when the Warrens hosted a thank-you event for generous supporters of the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center, which serves abused children in Dallas County.

Among the guests welcomed by Amy and Kelcy and Lynn Davis, DCAC’s president and CEO, were Barbara and Steve Durham, Imad Anbouba, and Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones. Imad and Trevor work in the same industry as Kelcy, the billionaire founder of pipeline powerhouse Energy Transfer. Imad is on the board of one of Kelcy’s companies, and Trevor—another energy billionaire—shares an office building with Warren. The Warrens and the Rees-Joneses also share membership in DCAC’s Circle of Hope for major givers.

The busy Warrens were just back from a trip to Washington D.C., where Sheila and Jody Grant helped them celebrate Kelcy’s induction into the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans. The evening’s hosts were also getting ready for their annual Cherokee Creek Music Festival on their ranch just outside Cherokee, Texas, northwest of Austin. One of the performers at the festival, David Barnes, was also the featured attraction for the DCAC supporters this evening.

After enjoying drinks and hors d’oeuvres on the first floor of the Warrens’ 8,000-square-foot mansion (it formerly belonged to software magnate Larry Lacerte and his wife, Joyce), the guests moved upstairs to the mini concert hall to listen to Barnes, whom Amy and Kelcy had not heard in person before. The Nashville-based, Grammy-nominated rock/country/Christian singer-songwriter has released eight albums, including his most recent, “Carry On, San Vicente.” In 2011 Blake Shelton recorded David’s song “God Gave Me You,” which became Blake’s fifth No. 1 country hit.

Dallas CASA’s Cherish The Children Was Highlighted By Children’s Chairs, Author Laura McBride And Call-To-Arms For Volunteers

Christie Carter was event juggling on Tuesday, April 5. At 11 a.m. She was part of the 2016 Celebrating Women Luncheon announcement at Neiman Marcus Downtown. But before the right official reveal was made, Christie was headed over to the Omni for the Dallas CASA Cherish the Children luncheon.

Dallas CASA chair

Dallas CASA chair

Dallas CASA chair

Dallas CASA chair

Whew! That gal must have broken some record. She got there in time to check out the Deborah Gaspar Jewelry and the adorable kids’ chairs in the silent auction along with Lydia Novakov, Sarah Losinger, Connie O’Neill, Joyce Lacerte and Lyda Hill, before the doors opened to the Trinity Ballroom just before 11:30.

Lydia Novokov, Sarah Losinger and Connie ONeill

Lydia Novokov, Sarah Losinger and Connie ONeill

Charlene Howell and Caroline Rose Hunt

Charlene Howell and Caroline Rose Hunt

Honorary Chair Caroline Rose Hunt was already at her front row table chatting with Charlene Howell, Barbara Womble and Lynne Sheldon, who was still amazed that on this day husband Roy Sheldon was playing tennis after suffering a life-threatening illness just a couple of years before.

Across the way was a table of SMU Kappa Alpha Theta alumna (Jenni Scoggins, Barbara Cervin, Maury Cunningham, Sara Lytle, Francie Johnsen, Lynn Van Amburgh, Amy Dugan, Taylor Teague, Cori Bray and Anne Besser), who have been so supportive of Dallas CASA over the year. When asked about the construction status of the sorority’s new digs, all were delighted to claim that it would be the best one on the campus.

From the left: (Back row) Jenni Scoggins, Barbara Cervin, Maury Cunningham, Sara Lytle, Francie Johnsen and Lynn Van Amburgh; (Front row) Amy Dugan, Taylor Teague, Cori Bray and Anne Besser

From the left: (Back row) Jenni Scoggins, Barbara Cervin, Maury Cunningham, Sara Lytle, Francie Johnsen and Lynn Van Amburgh; (Front row) Amy Dugan, Taylor Teague, Cori Bray and Anne Besser

Luncheon Chair Erin Pope welcomed the group pointing out the dignitaries in the crowd and introduced Dallas CASA Children’s Council President Jenny Reynolds, who told of two of her CASA encounters. One had been Desi, who had be rescued from a neglectful and abusive situation, only to find herself trapped in the foster care maze. Yes, she loved her mother, but it was not a healthy relationship. Thanks to Jenny’s efforts and those social workers, Desi’s mother allowed her daughter to be adopted by her foster family. Jenny still keeps up with Desi’s progress which is flourishing.

Erin Pope and Jenny Reynolds

Erin Pope and Jenny Reynolds

With tears welling up in her eyes, she described “J,” her current foster child, who reflected years of neglect. Now, 13-years old, she ended up in foster care because her mother is in prison for harming a child — “J.” Her grandmother died months ago and her grandfather dropped “J” off on the doorstep of CPS because she was too difficult. Bouncing from foster home to foster home in the past six months, she had more than reflects wrong choices, she was charging into a life of self-destructive decisions — selling and using drugs, sex tapes, etc. A turning point recently took place when “J” was moved to a residential treatment center in Houston. Jenny drove to Houston the previous Friday to deliver a suitcase of “J’s” belongings. There at the front door was “J” waiting for Jenny. “She looked at me and said, ‘Jenny, you actually came. Jenny, I miss you.”

Kathleen LaValle

Kathleen LaValle

Dallas CASA Executive Director/President Kathleen LaValle recognized Honoree Caroline with former Dallas CASA Executive Director/President Beverly Levy at her side and then told of the organization’s goal to make Dallas the first city in the nation to have a CASA for each child in protective care. Of course, there is a need for funding to provide support for the advocates, but the need for volunteers is just as great. Without these adults volunteering their time, minds and hearts, there would be hundreds of vulnerable youngsters.

Erin then introduced guest speaker/author Laura McBride. Living in Las Vegas, she told about a time when her daughter was young and played soccer on a field across the highway from strip clubs and bordellos. Remember Laura and her family live in Las Vegas. In one of her classes, her 13-year-old daughter was asked to write her motto for living. She told her parents that her motto was a neon sign she had seen so often that had inspired her to live life fully and boldly. When Laura asked what her motto was, she replied, “Live Nude.”

Laura McBride

Laura McBride

Laura recalled that she had wanted to live in a college town or a place that was safe. Instead she lived in a city filled with people so very different from herself. It was a boomtown of all types of people and has established an automatic acceptance of newbies. The city’s economy is also one based on service, where people are nice and watch what others might need.

All of this helped prepared her daughter in 2012 to head to the East Coast for college and to open to accepting differences. This development changed Laura’s view of how things might go. She said that instead of turning inward which is typical of humans, she realized that it was wrong. “Perhaps we are progressing by not joining groups that are necessarily like us.”

As a former advocate, she championed the idea that people need “a little more love, a little more care, a little less hate, a little less fear.”

Before adjourning Dallas CASA Board of Directors Chair John Gibson reinforced the message that had been provided earlier — the need for volunteers and, of course, funds.

Suggestion: You do not need a law degree to be a Dallas CASA. You just have to have compassion, determination and time. If you can spare those three things, you just might find a “J” on a front door waiting for you.

NorthPark’s Arhaus Had Munchkin Furniture On View For Cherish The Children Luncheon’s Patron Party

In preparation for the Tuesday, April 5, Dallas CASA’s Cherish the Children Luncheon with speaker/author Laura McBride at the Omni, Event Chair Erin Pope arranged for a patron party at NorthPark’s Arhaus. Here is a report from the field:

Kathleen LaValle and Erin Pope*

Kathleen LaValle and Erin Pope*

Dallas CASA’s Cherish the Children patron party was the evening of Sunday, April 3, at NorthPark Center’s Arhaus. The lovely evening featured food and drinks for more than 70 attendees including luncheon sponsors and designers of the children’s furnishings like Board Chair John Gibson and designers Casey and Phil Green, Emily Robinson and  Alex McCreight. The charity luncheon supports Dallas CASA’s mission to provide advocates for abused and neglected children.

Barbara Womble and Caroline Rose Hunt*

Barbara Womble and Caroline Rose Hunt*

This year’s luncheon honoree is Dallas’ own Caroline Rose Hunt, who told the patron party guests that Dallas CASA is her favorite charity. Arhaus donated a $500 gift certificate for the evening, and the lucky winner of the random drawing just happened to be Caroline Rose Hunt’s guest Barbara Womble.

Phil and Casey Green*

Phil and Casey Green*

Emily Robinson and Alex McCreight*

Emily Robinson and Alex McCreight*

As lovely as the evening and event were, the highlight was the 14 beautiful children’s chairs to be auctioned at the fundraising luncheon. Attendees got a preview of the chairs and furnishings which come in every creative shape and size, including painted chairs, upholstered chairs and detailed stools perfect for little ones. One item is shaped like a boat, with the seat opening to make a toy box. Another pair of chairs feature a beautiful, hand-laid geometric pattern of wooded blocks.

* Photos provided by Dallas CASA