Kent Rathbun Is Making The 2015 Masters Tournament Available Tonight At Signature Chefs Auction

Leave it to Chef Kent Rathbun to come up with multi-course feasts to set taste buds swirling. But this time he’s taken the word “course” in a totally different direction for tonight’s Signature Chefs Auction at the Omni.

Kent Rathbun (File photo)

Kent Rathbun (File photo)

It’s called Master The Experience and includes the following:

“Six guests will be chauffeured to a DFW airport by My Private Driver for a first-class trip to the Peach State. You’ll spend a night in Atlanta, where Kent will arrange a private dinner for your party at one of his brother’s (Kevin Rathbun) fine restaurants.

“Then, the next day you’re headed to The Masters! Enjoy accommodations at the Jamison Suites Hotel, located just 3 miles from one of the greatest sports venues in the world. During your stay your party is invited to dine at the illustrious 1018 Club, including one private VIP dinner – all meals are prepared by guest chef Kent Rathbun.
“Tee off the weekend with a round of golf at the award-winning Jones Creek or taking in the Par 3 Contest.  You’ll even have the opportunity to follow the PGA’s elite competitors on the historic greens of Augusta National Golf Club during the championship round. It’s all up to you – this package is customizable.”

The value of this very sweet deal is $60,000 with a starting bid of $12,000.

If you haven’t gotten your tickets for the March of Dimes fundraiser, stop reading and get ‘em and loosen up that belt because you’re in for a feast!

Round Robin October 14: Dallas Opera Patron Party, TexProtects Gala And BBVA Compass Foundation Check Presentation

The week before, Wynonna Judd was in town for the Habitat for Humanity gala. On Tuesday, October 14, her stepsister Ashley Judd was at the Perot for TexProtects. At the same time, over at The Joule, the opera -oving types were warming up for the October 23 and 24 splashy kick-off, First Sight First Night, of the Dallas Opera season. And then there was the handing over of bucks by BBVA Compass Foundation at the Meadows Museum. Whew! What a night! Here are the deets:

Dallas Opera Patron Party is a Real Joule

Lynn McBee and Nick Even*

Lynn McBee and Nick Even*

At the Joule Hotel, about 120 people turned up for the Dallas Opera’s First Sight/First Night patron party. Keith Cerny, the opera’s general director and CEO, welcomed the crowd with an upbeat report about plans for the Oct. 23 Fashion Show and Luncheon, as well as the Linda and Mitch Hart Season Opening Night pre-performance dinner and production (Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro) on the 24th.

But most exciting to Lynn McBee, who’s co-chairing both events with Nick Even, was Keith’s revelation that the DO had balanced its budget for the second year in a row. Lynn said she expected 200 to attend the luncheon and 400 to show up for the opening-night gala.

Ellen and Don Winspear and Tiffany Divis*

Ellen and Don Winspear and Tiffany Divis*

While guests including Tiffany Divis, Caroline Rose Hunt and Robert Brackbill, and Sara and David Martineau enjoyed hors d’oeuvres and desserts provided by the Joule, DO soprano Angela Mannino performed several selections (from Puccini to “I Could Have Danced All Night”) accompanied by pianist Laurie Rogers. Attendees (including Fashion Show gown designers Elizabeth Anyaa and Nicholas Villalba) also sipped wines provided by St. Michelle Wine Estates and spirits from Pernod Ricard USA.

Bryan Johnson, Summer Nilsson and Nicolas Villalba*

Bryan Johnson, Summer Nilsson and Nicolas Villalba*

TexProtects Celebrates Its 10th Anniversary

Jane Nelson**

Jane Nelson**

Meantime, actress Ashley Judd was a major attraction at the 10th anniversary celebration for TexProtects—the Texas Association for the Protection of Children—with a keynote speech about her childhood trauma as an abuse victim. But the real stars at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science fundraiser were the Texans who’ve helped the nonprofit achieve its mission of reducing child abuse and neglect. Chief among them: the Hon. Florence Shapiro, who chairs the TexProtects advisory board; and state Sen. Jane Nelson, who received the group’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Florence Shapiro, Madeline McClure and Donna Campbell**

Florence Shapiro, Madeline McClure and Donna Campbell**

“Ashley’s personal story and her humanitarian work on behalf of abuse victims exemplifies the far-reaching effects of child maltreatment, but also the promise of healing from invisible wounds and most importantly, committing to investing in prevention,” said TexProtects Founder/Executive Director Madeleine McClure.

Mary Jalonick, Ashley Judd, Margaret Keliher and Maurine Dickey**

Mary Jalonick, Ashley Judd, Margaret Keliher and Maurine Dickey**

Others in the high-powered crowd of more than 340 included Mary Jalonick, state Sen. Royce West, Lee Jackson, Sarah Losinger, state Rep. Donna Campbell, the Hon. Maurine Dickey, Brent Christopher, Don Glendenning, and Margaret Keliher (husband Lester had “the night off,” Margaret explained, because she’d been invited by Shapiro to sit at a “girls’ table”).

John and Pat Harloe**

John and Pat Harloe**

Pat Harloe served as event chair and Lisa Simmons was honorary chair for the dinner event, which netted over $315,000 on total revenue of more than $438,000 for the group.

BBVA Compass Foundation Check Hand Over

Whoever thought bankers just sat in august institutions with calculators? They evidently had met up with the BBVA Compass types, who were at the Meadows Museum. Thanks to the BBVA Compass Foundation, the museum received a $30,000 grant “to extend its Compass Classroom Scholarship Program. The program serves Dallas Independent School District visual arts teachers who educate and inspire their students to study art.”

Mark Zacheis, Darrell Lafitte, Jay Tweed, Key Coker, Mark Roglán and Sam Holland*

Mark Zacheis, Darrell Lafitte, Jay Tweed, Key Coker, Mark Roglán and Sam Holland***

“This generous grant from the BBVA Compass Foundation allows the Museum to greatly expand its reach into DISD art instruction. It connects students more deeply to art and opens them to seeing the world in a new way,” said Dr. Carmen Smith, the Meadows Museum’s Director of Education.

Since the program’s launch, the foundation has donated $120,000. This year alone, “approximately 2,500 middle- and high-school students” would benefit with “nearly 1,000 of those students will visit the museum, be introduced to the SMU campus and, more pointedly, to college education and careers in the arts.”

But the students aren’t the only ones benefiting from the program. There are 16 teachers, who will “receive professional development training through a series of workshops held at the Museum. During the workshops, they learn about the collection and special exhibitions at the Museum and are trained in art instruction methodology.”

“We are grateful to the BBVA Compass Foundation for helping Dallas teachers to inspire so many children to experience the power of art and learn the importance of creativity,” said Dr. Mark Roglán, the Linda P. and William A. Custard Director of the Meadows Museum and Centennial Chair, Meadows School of the Arts, SMU.

Among the happy bankers, educators and museum folks were BBVA’s Mark Zacheis, Darrell Lafitte, Jay Tweed, Key Coker and Meadows’ Sam Holland.

* Photo credit: Celeste Hart
** Photos provided by TexProtects
*** Photo credit: Tamytha Cameron

Community Partners Of Dallas’ “Change Is Good” Was Plenty Good For Kids Of All Ages

Bruised clouds hovered in the distance Sunday, September 28. And that’s where they stayed as parents, grand(est)parents and kids partied at Brook Hollow Golf Club for Community Partners of Dallas’ annual “Change Is Good.”

Welcome at Brook Hollow Golf Club

Welcome at Brook Hollow Golf Club

More than 600 filled the nearly 100-year-old club, turning it into a wonderland of games, food, face painting, hat making and rollicking.

Sydney Bonfield and Lola Bonfield

Sydney Bonfield and Lola Bonfield

As kids lined up to decorate hats and cookies, parents queued up at the bar as a DJ played music, palms were read and faces were whimsically transformed. Inside even the most sophisticated types, like sisters 6-year-old Sydney Bonfield and 3-year-old Lola Bonfield, couldn’t help but pose between the giant “B” and “G” in the ballroom.

Outside Honorary Co-Chair Lauryn Gayle White was presiding over two generations of Whites including son Allen with wife Christina and their children Caroline and Alexander.

Nolan Methvin

Nolan Methvin

Fire department #47 parked its full-blown truck with a perfect view of the pool and golf course. The firemen even let kids like 3-year-old Nolan Methvin try on some of their equipment.

Just a few feet away, 8-year-old Sophia Sowler and Popek 9-year-old-brothers Baye and Reese competed in shooting baskets.

Over to the side, the Euro Bungee was in full operation with a lineup that would have made someone think they were giving iPhone 6’s away.

Lee Munniger held 15-month old Julia Munniger near the outdoor popcorn stand, while inside Dawn Spalding was introducing her “boys” son Dylan Spalding and Chilean exchange student Alonso Caviedes Aguirre to Juliette Coulter.

And the dads were very much present and hands on. As dad Thomas Roop was taking a photo of 2-year-old (and three months) James on a popcorn break, Patrick Walker was taking a time out with his seven-year-old daughter Meredith Walker, who was stylishly wearing a pink boa and leg cast as a result of a soccer accident.

Euro bungee

Euro bungee

Community Partners of Dallas’ Paige McDaniel and Joanna Clarke had their timing down perfectly. The fun all ended just in time for the families to scoot home to watch the Dallas Cowboys play New Orleans.

For more photos, check MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Round Robin September 27: Bingo Luncheon, Mission Ole And Pegasus Ball

Following Friday night’s TACA RBC Wealth Management Custom Auction and the James Beard Foundation’s Taste America: Dallas, people hardly had time to grab a couple of hours of sleep. Then they had to rise and shine, have a steaming cup of latte and head off to Saturday, September 27’s demands.

DCAC League’s Bingo Luncheon

For those who were suffering from cabin fever due to power outages, there was the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center’s League 13th Annual Bingo Luncheon at Belo Mansion. Proceed from the event help “fund the Family Advocacy, Forensic Interview, Therapy and Education programs at DCAC, as well as the Clothes Closet.”

Mission Ole

Later in the evening the beautiful peeps heard the call of the Trinity River Mission’s Mission Ole. In contrast to years before, when the event took place in private homes like Laurie Sands Harrison’s, Co-Chairs LeeAnne Locken and D’Andra Simmons Lock decided to shift the party venue to One Arts Plaza. Thanks to a spectacular night with stars and strings of lights overhead, it was a perfect time to party out in the driveway.

Pegasus Ball

Barry Corbin

Barry Corbin

Over at the Fairmont, it was Stetsons and bona fide boots for the gents like Barry Corbin and rhinestones and flowing gowns for the gals like Honorary Chair Yvonne Crum and Carolyn Tillery.

Yvonne Crum, Bryant and Carolyn Tillery

Yvonne Crum, Bryant and Carolyn Tillery

The occasion was the Pegasus Ball benefiting the Autism Treatment Center with a record amount of money being raised. The black-tie gala was the final event of the three-day Roundup for Autism that started Thursday in Fort Worth. As Roundup Founder Bobby Norris explained, “Each day, there are more and more families seeking answer, searching for experienced and dedicated therapists to provide early-intervention services and life-long programs that will be there for years to come.”

Founded in 1976, “ATC just purchased its 22nd community-based group home and is currently expanding its Dallas Therapy Clinic. As a parent of an adult daughter with autism and as a board member of ATC, I am proud of our many accomplishments.”

Chocolate Labrador puppy

Chocolate Labrador puppy

But there was an “Oops!” that came to light at the reception. A cute chocolate Labrador puppy was on a leash being walked around the area and being introduced to guests. When contacted, organizers swore that neither the pup nor a quarter horse corralled outside the Regency Ballroom was being auctioned off. However, they did admit that the Lab had been given a “very good home” in exchange for a donation. That was the “Oops!” — that sticky Dallas ordinance that prohibits the use of animals for any form of nonprofit fundraising.

Upon learning of the ordinance, Autism Treatment Center’s Development Director Neil Massey responded, “This has been a good teaching moment for us — to do more due diligence and make sure that what we’re doing isn’t just because we’ve seen others do it, but to make sure we comply with ordinances.” He then added that they would make a donation to a rescue organization.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: Change Is Good

Before the Dallas Cowboys were rather unsaintly toward the New Orleans football team on Sunday, September 29, Community Partners of Dallas hosted its annual Change Is Good at Brook Hollow. With change pouring in, kids turned the club into a posh playground with sweets galore, face painting and bungee jumping.

Sophia Sowler, Baye Popek and Reese Popek

Sophia Sowler, Baye Popek and Reese Popek

While some parents sought refuge at tables inside, others like Honorary Co-Chair Lauryn Gayle White sampled the popcorn and joined two generations of Whites outside.

Allen White, Caroline White, Christina White, Alexander White and Lauryn Gayle White

Allen White, Caroline White, Christina White, Alexander White and Lauryn Gayle White

For a quick look at the festivities, check MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Leave Our Children Alone

Dallas, especially the northeast neighborhood, has become the focus of the national media and even the international crowd. Helicopters have hovered overhead. Media trucks are more prevalent than ice cream trucks. Reporters are standing on sidewalks to interview worried parents and their children as they leave schools.

And that’s the rub.

While we appreciate their need to communicate information, the idea of media representatives interviewing grade schoolers about the Ebola virus is ludicrous, if not offensive.

Our governmental officials and healthcare professionals are on the frontline in handling the disease and the confusion and fear that travel with it. They will rely on technology, experience and education. They will be the responsible sources of information.

But school-age children are not spokespersons. They’re just kids. They should not be assaulted by reporters with cameras and microphones. The inquiries are way beyond their knowledge or experience. Respect their youth and their innocence.

Round Robin Sept. 18: Too Many To List

Every now and then, there are “go-figure moments” in fundraising scheduling. Thursday, September 18, was such a day. Here it was the tsunami of nonprofits emailing, calling and tapping sources to donate to the North Texas Giving Day. Last year most groups went dark to allow the big day to take place uninterrupted. This year the pendulum swung in the opposite direction with receptions, parties and announcements taking place all over the place. The AT&T Chairman’s dinner was being held at the Winspear and Dallas Opera’s First Sight was filling Roberto Cavalli with beautiful people including First Sight/First Night Co-Chairs Nick Even and Lynn McBee.

Nick Even, Cristiano Mancini and Lynn McBee*

Nick Even, Cristiano Mancini and Lynn McBee*

Here are just a smattering of the multitude of things that were going on from field reports:

Art For Advocacy Kick-Off Party

Greg Lauren and Brian Bolke*

Greg Lauren and Brian Bolke**

“Art and fashion enthusiasts gathered at Forty Five Ten for a special event to kick off the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center’s upcoming fundraiser, Art for Advocacy. Special guest and fashion designer, Greg Lauren, showcased his newest collection while guests sipped on Austin Cocktails. DJ Lucy Wrubel kept the party going with beats that pulsed throughout the store. In support of the event, Forty Five Ten’s Brian Bolke offered 10% of the evening’s proceeds to benefit DCAC and will extend 10% of sales from the Greg Lauren collection to the agency through Nov. 1.

“Art for Advocacy celebrates the transformative power of art therapy in helping children process trauma and heal emotional scars as a result of abuse. Proceeds support DCAC’s work in improving the lives of abused children in Dallas County and providing national leadership on child abuse issues. The event draws community and business leaders, young professionals, local arts organizations, artists and gallerists, art collectors, and art patrons.

Lynn M. Davis, Chad and Judee Barrett, Randall and Kara Goss, Stephanie and John Roberts*

Lynn M. Davis, Chad and Judee Barrett, Randall and Kara Goss, Stephanie and John Roberts**

“Guests included DCAC CEO Lynn Davis, Underwriting Co-Chairs Judee and Chad Barrett, Honorary Co-Chairs Kara and Randall Goss, Event Co-Chairs Stephanie and John Roberts, Helena and Doug Wall, Lee McGuire, Allyson Cooke, Leisa Street, Cile McCorlek, Joyce Goss, Kenny Goss, Muffin Lemak, Shelby Wagner, Jamie and Jeremy Saylor, Christine and Mark Danuser, Susan and David Brown, Camille McMakin and Kelly Moser.

Mark and Christine Danuser and Susan and David Brown*

Mark and Christine Danuser and Susan and David Brown**

“This year’s Art for Advocacy event will feature 100 local and regional artists in a silent and live art auction. The 8th annual event makes a departure to a Saturday night featuring tequila, Texas tapas, and desert vacation packages guaranteed to inspire wanderlust. The Art for Advocacy auction party will take place at 7 p.m. on November 1, at F.I.G. to raise funds to aid the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center (DCAC) in its mission to improve the lives of abused children in Dallas County. An Art Preview will be held at 6 p.m. for $2500+ sponsors offering the first opportunity to buy-it-now. DCAC coordinates the investigation and prosecution of the most severe cases of child abuse in the community and provides national leadership on child abuse issues. For more information email [email protected].”

Capital for Kids Anniversary Party

Ann and Lee Hobson***

Ann and Lee Hobson***

Capital for Kids kicked off its 10th anniversary celebration last night in the Highland Park home of Ann and Lee Hobson. Celebrating 10 years of changing lives in North Texas, the invitation-only sponsor party featured a special presentation by children from the Trinity River Mission of West Dallas – a Capital for Kids grant recipient.

Scott and Amy Houdek***

Scott and Amy Houdek***

“Among the guests were Rob Hayes, Reid Walker, Amy and Capital for Kids 2014 Co-Chair Scott Houdek, Katy and Lawrence Bock (who donated an emerald-cut 10-carat aquamarine surrounded by 66 dimaonds to celebrate CFK’s 10th anniversary), Carroll Watson, Reed Carroll, Rachel and Brad Stephens, Allison Carlisle, Susan Nichol, Dawn Blankenship Hennessey, Michael Watson, Michael Massad, Jason Hill, Lucas Legera, David Smith and Gentry Beach.

Lawrence and Katy Bock***

Lawrence and Katy Bock***

“Capital for Kids is a network of individuals in the asset management community dedicated to making a difference in the lives of children in need. Through the partnership of our sponsors and grant recipients over the last 10 years, Capital for Kids has supported organizations that educate, protect and encourage at-risk children. They provide financial support to organizations that help break the cycle of child abuse, poverty and neglect through education, advocacy and emergency resources.

“Since inception, Capital for Kids has donated $8.7 million to more than 50 different charitable organizations in North Texas. They have a goal to give $10 million in 10 years to North Texas children’s charities. 100% of sponsorship and donation dollars go directly to the charities they support. Capital for Kids will be hosting its main event on Thursday, November 20, at the FIG. Tickets can be purchased at www.capitalforkids.org.

KidneyTexas Patron Party

Linda Dodd, Ola Fojtasek and Lissie Donosky****

Linda Dodd, Ola Fojtasek and Lissie Donosky****

KidneyTexas, Inc. patrons of The Runway Report Luncheon and Style Show gathered at the Highland Park home of Ola and Randall Fojtasek and had much to celebrate!

“As the evening began, the verandah was bathed in soft lighting opening into the expansive courtyard. Guests enjoyed wines donated by Barbara and David Farmer as M3Trio serenaded them into the evening, under the stars. Sumptuous hors d’oeuvres donated and catered by Angela Gordon of Angela’s Catering filled the formal dining table and were passed inside and out. Valet parking was generously donated by Gold Crown Parking.

Anna Bland Aston and Scott Aston****

Anna Bland Aston and Scott Aston****

“Guests included patron party chair Anna Bland Aston, her husband Scott and daughter, Annalee; Jolie Humphrey, president of KidneyTexas, Inc. and her husband, Bart, and Lezlie and Bill Noble, who donated a strand of South Sea pearls valued at $32,000 to the live auction.

“The buzz was about the upcoming The Runway Report luncheon and fashion show at the Brook Hollow Golf Club, which presents Faye C. Briggs as honorary chair and honors Janelle Friedman with the Goodnight Service Award. The Goodnight award is named in honor of Sue Goodnight, a founding KidneyTexas, Inc. member and longtime volunteer and supporter of the organization, who attended with her sister, Faye Wheeler.

Janelle Friedman and Sue Goodnight****

Janelle Friedman and Sue Goodnight****

“Tooties fashions will rule the runway in a fashion show produced by Jan Strimple and also feature fashions from KidBiz and Pockets.

“The live auction also features a Santa Fe, New Mexico vacation package valued at $10,000 which includes a 5-bedroom house and other delights! It is all topped off with a delicious luncheon.

“The luncheon, chaired by Karen Settle, benefits KidneyTexas, Inc. beneficiaries: Baylor Health Care System Foundation, Children’s Medical Center, National Kidney Foundation – Camp Reynal, UT Southwestern Medical Center.

VNA Kick-Off Party

“The VNA Celebrity Chef Luncheon Committee held a kick-off celebration Thursday that brought together sponsors, board members and VNA executives. Some 30 guests joined the event at Molto Formaggio in Highland Park Village to sample fine wines and cheeses. Michael Perlmeter and Christy Martinez, the owners of Molto Formaggio, hosted the event and are donating a portion of all proceeds to VNA.

Katherine Krause, Lori Whitlow and Ryan Stegall*****

Katherine Krause, Lori Whitlow and Ryan Stegall*****

“The 5th Annual VNA Celebrity Chef Luncheon will be held on October 15 at VNA’s Haggerty Center in Dallas, benefiting VNA’s Meals on Wheels program. This year’s Celebrity Chef is Uchi Chef and Owner Tyson Cole.

Francie Mancillas and Katie Johnson*****

Francie Mancillas and Katie Johnson*****

“Among those attending the kick-off celebration were: 2014 Celebrity Chef Luncheon Co-Chairs Katie Johnson and Francie Mancillas, VNA Board Development Chair Lori Whitlow, VNA President and CEO Katherine Krause, VNA Board Chair Sara Fraser Crismon, VNA Board Vice-Chair Janet Ryan Stegall, VNA Board Members Jay Oppenheimer, Catherine Sweet, John Sears and Cathy Vanden Eykel. Many of those attending are sponsors for the Celebrity Chef Luncheon, including Sara Fraser Crismon, Ike Vanden Eykel, Lynn Sears, Mike Sweet and Janet Ryan Stegall.

Ike and Cathy Vanden Eykel*****

Ike and Cathy Vanden Eykel*****

For more information about VNA’s 5th Annual Celebrity Chef Luncheon and how it will benefit VNA Meals on Wheels, please contact VNA’s Annual Giving and Special Events Manager Laura Muñiz at [email protected] or 214.689.3484.

Slipper Club Announcement

Over at Trinity Groves, the Slipper Club gals gathered for the announcement of the 2015 gala plans. According to Slipper Club President Susan Deasy and Gala Chair Erika Burton, the annual party will benefit Camp John Marc. It will take place at Belo Mansion on Friday, February 27.

Junior League Announcement

The Junior Leaguers and their fans assembled at the Galleria’s Belk to hear deets about the 53rd annual fundraising ball. Ball Chair Beverly Cahill revealed the theme will be “The Magnolia Ball.” Why, oh, why does one suspect that magnolias will be abundant that night?

Beverly explained the thinking behind the theme, “This year’s theme will embrace the elegant heritage of our great city of Dallas with a classic, yet stylish twist,” said Cahill. “The Magnolia Ball will be the Southern Chic dinner and dancing event of the season!”

Then she added another twist to the annual gala. Instead of an entertainer, she’s arranged to have two — jazz singer/songwriter Gabbie McGee to set the mood for the evening and Emerald City for post-dinner dancing and gyrating. Okay, so maybe one doesn’t necessarily gyrate in formal wear, but a whole lot shaking and dancing usually takes place when Emerald City is on stage.

The black-tie fundraiser will take place in the Chantilly Ballroom of the Hilton Anatole on Saturday, February 21.

Lynn McBee will serve as honorary chair. At the rate Lynn is going, she’ll probably end up chairing the AT&T Byron Nelson Championship.

* Photo provided by First Sight/First Night 
** Photos provided by Dallas Children's Advocacy Center
*** Photos provided by Capital for Kids
**** Photo credit: Daniel Driensky
***** Photos provided by VNA

Kershaw’s Challenge’s Dallas Deets Revealed For November 6 “Live Benefit Concert”

In this time when sports lovers shudder at new “problems” for professional athletes, it’s nice to know that Dallas has produced one whose only problem is that there’s just not enough of him to go around. The chap is former Parkie/present L.A. Dodger pitcher Clayton Kershaw.

Jan Osborn, Ellen and Clayton Kershaw, Sarah Oliai and JoAnn Ryan (File photo)

Jan Osborn, Ellen and Clayton Kershaw, Sarah Oliai and JoAnn Ryan (File photo)

He and his high school sweetheart/wife Ellen must have been made by Mattel. They’re just too good to be true. In addition to being professional baseball darlings, they established Kershaw’s Challenge in 2010 to help “impoverished children.”

Since then the twosome have had a very hands-on involvement working with organizations and pulled together more than $900,000 for programs.

For the past three years, they’ve held fundraising events in Los Angeles. Well, shoot! That’s where Clayton works. But now it’s time to raise fun as well as funds in the Kershaws’ hometown.

As reported earlier, they’re gonna have a party and not just any old party — LIVE Benefit Concert! It will take place at The Rustic on Thursday, November 6, and will benefit Dallas’ Mercy Street’s effort to build a Little League “Field of Dreams,” as well as CURE International and Arise Africa.

Mercy Street welcome committee (File photo)

Mercy Street welcome committee (File photo)

Oh, you want to know who will be on stage. Emerald Blue will be the opening act and Clay Walker will be the main act.

General admission tickets will be going for $60, but you might want to check the VIP ones because there will be a VIP reception and you just know the Kershaws will be easier to congratulate there.

After you get your ticket, reward yourself by shopping for something casual and adorable.

For ticket info and sponsorship opportunities, you’ll need to sweet talk Anna Staples.

Texas Trailblazer Awardee Harold C. Simmons Is Honored With Joe Torre Going To Bat For The Family Place

The Texas Trailblazer Award Luncheon VIP reception in the Anatole’s Carpenter Ballroom was filled with those who love baseball and hate abuse. While featured speaker Joe Torre stood his ground with a big smile posing for photos with guests, others had a cup of coffee and a chat to catch up before the luncheon benefiting The Family Place. One of the big topics was Saturday September 27.

Annette Simmons, Amy Simmons and Joe Crafton

Annette Simmons, Amy Simmons and Joe Crafton

Pegasus Ball Honorary Chair Yvonne Crum was talking about the Autism Treatment Centers of Texas fundraiser taking place at the Fairmont, while Mission Ole Co-Chair LeeAnne Locken was promoting the Trinity River Mission funder that will be underway at the same time at One Arts Plaza…Carolyn Tillery, who departed Beverly Drive before it departed newsstands, has been busy writing a book. She was a happy camper about some recent news and has already started working on her second one…WFAA’s Dale Hansen briefly appeared and quickly disappeared…On the other hand, Annette Simmons and Amy Simmons stayed for the entire reception with Joe Crafton…Foodies Bo Pilgrim and Connie Yates were catching up.

Bo Pilgrim and Connie Yates

Bo Pilgrim and Connie Yates

At 11:25 the reception broke up and the herd of guests headed to the Imperial Ballroom on the third level. For many it was their first time to venture into the former Khmer Ballroom that had spent the summer getting a new look. Like a socialite with a recent “well-done refreshening,” the difference was pleasantly noticeable. First thing was the smell of new in the air. It was as if the carpenters, painters and other craftsmen had just left the place. The hallway leading to the ballroom was a bit on the dramatic side with new carpeting and lighting that spotlighted the art along the way. The reception area and ballroom were basically the same space, but the new paint, carpeting and lighting had turned the old girl into a more polished lady.

In the back of the room near the production platform, emcee Gloria Campos was being fitted with her mic. Her hair is a bit longer and she’s loving “retirement.” Her version of retiring is another person’s idea of a second career.

Lana and Barry Andrews

Lana and Barry Andrews

As she headed to her place up front, the nearly 1,000 guests kept arriving. Michal Powell on crutches arrived with Aileen PrattMary Brinegar was keeping her fingers crossed that the weather would hold out for the Rory Meyer’s First Anniversary dinner scheduled the following Sunday…At front row tables were Kelli Ford, Sydney Huffines, Lana and Barry Andrews and Sharon McCutchin…Co-Chairs Stephanie and Travis Hollman, Carol Seay and Stephanie Seay were receiving congratulations for the record-busting luncheon.

Travis and Stephanie Hollman

Travis and Stephanie Hollman

Stephanie Seay

Stephanie Seay

At 11:42, the Booker T. Washington Jazz Combo 1 played “Proud To Be An American” with the female singer not quite sounding like Lee Greenwood. Hey, it’s not an easy song to sing, but the meaning is easy to understand. You just try singing it in front of 900 strangers.

Almost immediately the program was underway with Gloria welcoming the group. She also accidentally described Dale as “a domestic violence advocate.” Hey, it’s easy to do. No, he doesn’t advocate domestic violence, but “an advocate against domestic violence” sounds pretty convoluted. Anyhow, everybody in the room understood what she meant and many got a chuckle out of it.

Before he led the group in the invocation, Fellowship Pastor Gary Brandenburg reminded the guests that the late Harold Simmons, who was being honored at the luncheon, always ended his prayers by saying “…and, Lord, let us never forget how very blessed we are.”

Lunch was served with the menu “inspired by Harold.” Later Dale Hansen would tell the group how he got into it with his table’s server — “I’m gonna need another plate.” But she wouldn’t give it to him. So, he confessed, “I’ll look for a McDonald’s on the way out.”

Paige Fink and Carol Seay

Paige Fink and Carol Seay

As a surprise, The Family Place’s Paige Flink announced the presentation of a video on Harold would be shown. The touching tribute with scenes from his childhood, with family and even walking with his dogs emphasized Harold’s being “loyal, faithful and loving.”

Following the video, Paige revealed another surprise. The Family Place’s child development center at its Safe Campus was being renamed the Harold C. Simmons Child Development Center.

She also acknowledged those present who had been instrumental in helping combat family violence, including the late Dr. Ron Anderson, whose memorial service would take place later in the day.

Then baseball-loving Gloria introduced Joe, reminding the group that he had just been inducted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. Then she attempted to introduce Dale by calling him “the other big white guy in my life” in reference to the first one, her husband. But before she could finish with Dale’s intro, he walked on stage, grabbed her by the shoulders and said, “Okay, that’s all.”

Dale being Dale described Mayor Mike Rawlings and his domestic violence initiatives: “I think Mayor Rawlings is one helluva visionary and one helluva mayor of Dallas. I can’t say that, though!”

He then reeled out the ugly statistics compiled by the Dallas Police Department on the number of domestic violence calls received each year — 13K! Looking out at the audience, Dale stated: “Real men, gentlemen, don’t hit women.”

Dale Hansen and Joe Torre

Dale Hansen and Joe Torre

Then the conversation between the sports anchor and the baseball legend commenced. It surprised a couple or three folks, who had thought it would cover Joe’s career, as well as his childhood in a family in which his father abused his mother.

Instead the focus stayed pretty straight on domestic violence and on Joe’s taking up the cause against it. Dale told how Joe had been instrumental in getting the Violence Against Women Act passed in 1994, and established the Safe at Home Foundation.

It all stemmed from his childhood. Joe was the youngest of five children. “My dad was a bully. He made his wife feel inferior.” His father threw his mother down the stairs when he discovered she was pregnant with Joe.

Dale Hansen and Joe Torre

Dale Hansen and Joe Torre

“I was a nervous kid” growing up, with a lack of confidence, because of his father’s violence, Joe said. When Joe saw his father’s car parked at home, Joe went elsewhere. Dale and Joe agreed that the “impact on children has been lost in conversation about domestic violence.”

Joe said, “If you save one child, that’s worth the effort.”

Joe said one of the biggest problems in the crusade against domestic abuse is lack of “awareness.” While the problem needs to be brought to the forefront, he also felt half the stories one sees in the media aren’t true, because of pressures of the Internet. Anybody can make accusations about anything, Joe said. They need to be thoroughly checked out.

Joe Torre

Joe Torre

When the subject of the recent NFL issues with domestic violence was brought up, Joe said, “We can all do more. Mixed message: go be violent on the field on Sunday, and then go on a date.”

But it wasn’t all domestic violence. Touching on baseball, Joe admitted, “I became smarter when I had better players.” He recalled being fired by three teams. Regarding his work with New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, he related advice provided by friend Joe Garagiola: “You take somebody’s money, you gotta take their crap, too.”

About the Texas Rangers, Joe said, “They can’t come any closer [to a world championship] than they did.” Just before Game 7 of the 2011 World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, Joe told Ron Washington, “I’m pulling for you, because I pull for good people.” Joe then added, “Ron seemed to care about the players.”

And, of course, humor found its way into the discussion when Joe reported that male brains don’t fully develop until they’re 25. Dale followed up with, “Or 66.”

Despite The Death Of His Brother, Joe Torre Made It To The Texas Trailblazer Award Patron Party To Support The Family Place

Joe Torre

Joe Torre

Despite the death of his big brother, Frank, the previous Saturday, and the funeral Monday, Joe Torre was on hand to meet and greet the Texas Trailblazer Awards Luncheon patrons on Tuesday, September 16.

Benefiting The Family Place, the cause was one that was very near and dear to both Joe and Frank  — domestic abuse.

The Terrace Ballroom at Le Méridien Dallas, The Stoneleigh was jammed with folks. So much so, that if you didn’t know your baseball, you would have sworn that Joe was just another guest. He melted into the crowd that included Amy Simmons, Lee Ann and Alan White, Brill Garrett, Jill Smith, Marnie and Kern Wildenthal, Maggie Kipp, Amanda Ward, Dawn Spalding and Ramona Jones.

Faye Briggs

Faye Briggs

Diminutive philanthropist Faye Briggs taking time out from preparationfs for Saturday’s celebration of her daughter Pebble McKenzie‘s marriage to Mike McGehee. The wedding was a family affair literally. Mike is Ralph Gorman‘s nephew. In turn, Ralph is Faye’s longtime “boyfriend.” You may need a chart to figure out the relationships.

Back to the patron party.

Luncheon organizers were whispering that the Wednesday luncheon was going to be a record breaker for the annual event “honoring those who create significant positive change in our North Texas community.”

Annette Simmons and Carol Seay

Annette Simmons and Carol Seay

This year’s event honoring the legacy of the late Harold C.  Simmons was a first for two reason: First, it was the first time that a man had been named a Texas Trailblazer. Second, it was the first time it was being given to someone posthumously.

Stephanie Seay and Stephanie and Travis Hollman

Stephanie Seay and Stephanie and Travis Hollman

After The Family Place’s Paige Flink welcomed the crowd and recognized key people like Harold’s widow Annette Simmons and daughter Amy, Mayor Mike Rawlings and Luncheon Co-Chairs Stephanie and Travis Hollman, Carol Seay and her daughter-in-law Stephanie Seay, the guests lined up to have their photos taken with Joe.

Tracy And Kent Rathbun Literally Open Their Home-Sweet-Home For Signature Chef Patron Party

After years of living in the clouds at the high rise across “the pond” from NorthPark, Kent and Tracy Rathbun’s dream house was in place and operation.

It was well worth the wait.

Rathbun kitchen

Rathbun kitchen

Guests at the Signature Chefs Auction patron party discovered the brilliance of the home Thursday night. But what would one expect when two foodies put their noggins together.

Matt McCallister and Kent Rathbun

Matt McCallister and Kent Rathbun

As Kent and FT33 Chef Matt McCallister chatted at the covered terrace area with a barbecue that would thrilled the best grill master, Kent admitted that the predicted storms hadn’t occurred. Instead the humidity had calmed down and the “cold front” had dropped temperatures just enough to have the huge wall of sliding glass doors open, expanding the free-flowing partying into the backyard with its marvy pool and Jacuzzi.

Rathbun backyard

Rathbun backyard

Inside Linda and Steve Ivy were telling Katherine and Chris Lalonde about their summer — a couple of months in California and one in Colorado.

Steve and Linda Ivy and Katherine and Chris LaLonde

Steve and Linda Ivy and Katherine and Chris LaLonde

MIA were Stacy and Dallas March of Dimes Ambassador Bryon Sanders’s wife, Celeste. Tracy was still at Shinsei and teacher Celeste was working with her students’ parents.

However, all will be present at the Signature Chef Dinner in the Omni on Thursday, October 30.

Partners Card South Kick-Off Brings Out The Softies Like Alan Stein

Remember when you were in grade school and it was current events day? Wednesday the Partners Card South Kick-Off Party at NorthPark’s Pinto Ranch was such an occasion. And the topic du jour besides the glamorama rhinestone cowboy duds was the Ray Rice alleged battery of this former girlfriend/current wife.

Rhinestone cowboy hat

Rhinestone cowboy hat

As unpleasant as the topic was, it was an on-the-target subject matter for The Family Place crowd.

Luckily, for every Ray Rice, there are men like Alan Stein. Each month the former TFP board member/Pricewaterhouser takes pillows to TFP’s safe campus for the residents.

In recalling his first visit to the campus, Alan admitted that he had been prepared to see women and battered women at that. Instead was taken back by the 40-50 children, who were seeking sanctuary along with their mothers. That’s how domestic abuse impacts far more than the immediate victim. And that’s why TFP is a place for safety and recovery.

Melissa Sherrill, Alan Stein and Diana Hamilton

Melissa Sherrill, Alan Stein and Diana Hamilton

BTW, at last week’s Partners Card North Kick Off at IBB Design, TFP’s Melissa Sherrill admitted a pleasant surprise at the number of guests who showed up — 100+. It seems TFP’s reach is far beyond main Dallas, both for clients and supporters.

Carol Seay, Shelle Sills, Claire Emanuelson and Deb Goldstein

Carol Seay, Shelle Sills, Claire Emanuelson and Deb Goldstein

The same number including Sherry Williams, Yvonne Crum, Nancy Gopez, JB Hayes, Claire Emanuelson, 2014 Partners Card Honorary Chair Shelle Sills and Texas Trailblazer Awards Luncheon Co-Chair Carol Seay, who reported that nearly 1000 tickets had been sold for the September 17 luncheon honoring the legacy of Harold Simmons at the Anatole’s Imperial Ballroom.

North Texas Giving Day Booster: The Birthday Party Project

“The magic of a birthday party is undeniable. Even for children whose toy chests overflow, a day of frosting-laden cake, balloons, and rowdy party games is monumental. And when the festivities are celebrating the day they were born, confirming that they are valued and special, well, game over. So imagine the impact that a simple birthday party can have on a child who literally has nothing.

Gabby Princess*

Gabby Princess*

“In 2012, Paige Chenault, a 33-year-old event planner and self-proclaimed birthday enthusiast, was touring the Dallas Life homeless shelter when she walked into a room housing a father, a little girl and two young boys. A peek into the family’s closet revealed a single party dress hanging on the rod. For Paige, the dress was a revelation, confirming the idea that when a person is at their lowest, feeling celebrated and valued is more essential than ever.

The Birthday Party Project*

The Birthday Party Project*

“Not long after, The Birthday Party Project (TBPP) was born.

“The two-year-old non-profit’s goal is for each homeless child in Dallas to experience a birthday party and have the opportunity on their special day to feel celebrated and ‘normal;’to swell with excitement and pride as friends and family gather around to watch them blow out candles and dream of more; to make birthday wishes come true.

The Birthday Party Project*

The Birthday Party Project*

“To that end, each month TBPP transforms shelters into festive spaces where kids and parents can celebrate in a just-like-home atmosphere.

“In its first year, the organization raised $35,000, attracted 200 volunteers, and taught dozens of children who’d never had birthday parties that at the end of “Happy Birthday,” they’re supposed to blow out candles.

“Today TBPP partners with 10 different agencies in North Texas (Dallas, Collin and Tarrant County) and hosts 120 parties a year. The monthly themed events overseen by a small team of dedicated volunteers feature festive decorations, cupcakes, activities, games, crafts, and party favors for the children staying at the shelter. A special individual birthday cake and gift is given to the children celebrating a birthday that month.

March Birthday Party*

March Birthday Party*

“The atmosphere is positively euphoric.

“Since the inception, The Birthday Party Project has celebrated over 600 birthdays with over 5,000 kids. These parties are not only a celebration of their special day –- but also a loud exclamation that these children matter. It’s just the kind of magic moment that allows a kid to have hope and to dream big. Check out a video of one of the parties here: http://vimeo.com/68316473.

“Help us continue to share these magical birthday moments by celebrating North Texas Giving Day on September 18 and donating to The Birthday Party Project at North Texas Giving Day.

-By Joslyn Taylor, The Birthday Party Project Board Member, Birthday Enthusiast

* Graphic and photos provided by The Birthday Party Project

September 4 Round Robin: Fur Ball Kick-Off Party, CCB Platinum Circle Dinner And The Warren Center’s Fantasy Football Draft Night

Ah, sugar! If Wednesday, September 3, seemed like an asteroid hit, Thursday was a universal smash. Yup, the Partners Card North launch was filling IBB Design in frisky Frisco. Other hits in the North Texas universe were taking place just a bit south of G. Bush and LBJ.

Fur Ball Kick-Off Party

SPCA Kissing Kid and Kelly Thompson

SPCA Kissing Kid and Kelly Thompson

Cool artist Chris Martin opened his Dragon Street Gallery for the kick-off of the 2014 Fur Ball Gala on Saturday, September 20, at the Omni. And while the two-legged pretties were checking out the walls of art, the evening’s real eye catchers were either on the floor in a playpen or snuggling up. They were the licking, wagging puppies who are not up for adoption … yet. They’re still in the foster stage of life. But that will be ending soon, so they’ll be interviewing prospective humans for a lifetime relationship.

And speaking of furry relationships, word was making the rounds that Jocelyn White, who is finishing up her term as SPCA of Texas board of directors chair, will be taking the reins of Equest in a couple of months.

Katy Murray  and James Bias

Katy Murray and James Bias

As for the black-tie Fur Ball benefiting the SPCA of Texas, Gala Co-Chairs Katy Murray and Kelly Thompson, Honorary Co-Chairs Rusty Dealey and Kit Moncrief, Underwriting Co-Chairs Cindy Lindsley and Claire Schwartz and Auction Co-Chair Nicole Rosenblum have arranged for Allison and Mike Modano to be Athlete for Animal Honorary Co-Chairs and Stacie and Chris Martin to be Artist for Animal Honorary Co-Chairs.

Travis and Morgan Souza

Travis and Morgan Souza

They’re expecting 1,000 animal lovers with proceeds of the evening benefiting the SPCA of Texas.

Crystal Charity Ball 10 Best Dressed Platinum Circle Dinner

One valet parker smiled when asked about the crowd gathering at the Dallas Country Club. He summed up the scene, “This is a high-roller group.”

The gent evidently graduated from the “School of Understatement.”

Sponsored by Comerica Bank, this year’s Platinum Circle Dinner for the patron of the Crystal Charity Ball’s 10 Best Dressed Luncheon had the very fashionable set filling the lobby for the cocktail reception, where the game of catch-up was nonstop. Summer casualties Claire Emanuelson and Erin Mathews had let their casts have the night off. When will Louboutin design a fashionable cast? Seems Claire had broken her ankle in Canada and Erin had been the victim of a puppy-gate topple…Emilynn Wilson revealed that she had accepted the job of chairing the 2015 Equest Luncheon…Speaking of Claire, she also had a fashion oops earlier in the day. Seems the lower back of her lacy cocktail dress had hit a snag, but thanks to a talented Korshak seamstress the tear was sewn up without Claire’s having to take the dress off… Newlyweds Ceron and Todd Fiscus were still receiving congratulations on their New Year’s nuptials.

Shelby Wagner, Piper Wyatt and Claire Emanuelson

Shelby Wagner, Piper Wyatt and Claire Emanuelson

Lisa Troutt

Lisa Troutt

When the doors opened to the ballroom, tables were filled with folks like David Blank, Shelby Wagner, Piper Wyatt, Kim and Greg Miller, Lisa and Kenny Troutt, Elaine and Neils Agather, Colleen Collins, Shelle Sills, Nancy Carter, Beth Layton, Vicky Lattner, Lauren Gayle White, Tiffany and Paul Divis, Barbara Daseke, Laree Hulshoff, the Downtown Neiman’s crowd (Jeff Byron, Neva Hall and Marjohn Henderson) and former CCB Chairs Caren Kline, Cynthia Mitchell and Aileen Pratt.

D'Andra and Jeremy Lock

D’Andra and Jeremy Lock

Jeri and David Kleiman

Jeri and David Kleiman

The game of catch-up continued tableside with Jeremy Lock showing photos from Burning Man and preparing for September 27th Mission Ole that wife D’Andra is co-chairing with LeeAnne LockenIain Day was telling David Kleiman and Macolm Reuben about his summer playing polo in South Africa…Alan White, who just thought he had done his time a couple of years ago as 10 Best Dressed husband-in-waiting, looked rather pleased to be back on the scene with table companions Nancy Dedman, Annette Simmons and Barbara BabbLee Bailey was back in town after doing the Bentley tour of California…To the relief of many fundraising vets, Comerica Bank’s Ralph Babb once again proved to be eloquent and brief in his remarks. The man knows how to win the hearts of hungry guests.

Jeff Byron and Barbara and Ralph Babb

Jeff Byron and Barbara and Ralph Babb

Unplanned entertainment at the tables proved to be the servers trying to coax the ranch and balsamic vinaigrette dressings out of their white serving bottles. The ranch proved to the more stubborn of the two as one server shook and shook to get it onto Dallas Country Club garden salad of lettuce du with carrots, tomatoes and cucumbers. Imagine trying to get the last part of ketchup out of its bottle.

Front row: Francie Moody -Dahlberg, DeeDee Lee, Mary Clare Finney, Lee Ann White, Heahter Esping and Ashley Hunt; Back row: Pat McEvoy, Christi Urschel, Ralph Babb, Patty Leyendecker, Lynn McBee and Robyn Conlon

Front row: Francie Moody -Dahlberg, DeeDee Lee, Mary Clare Finney, Lee Ann White, Heahter Esping and Ashley Hunt; Back row: Pat McEvoy, Christi Urschel, Ralph Babb, Patty Leyendecker, Lynn McBee and Robyn Conlon

When time came to have the 2014 10 Best Dressed and Hall of Famer class photo taken, two were missing — Nancy Carlson and Margaret Hancock. Not to worry; the others (Heather Esping, Mary Clare Finney, Ashley Hunt, DeeDee Lee, Patty Leyendecker, Lynn McBee, Francie Moody-Dahlberg, Christi Urschel and HoF-er Lee Ann White) made up for the missing with a little stand-in help from former Best Dressers 2014 CCB Chair Robyn Conlon and 10 Best Dressed Chair Pat McEvoy.

For more photos of the dinner, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

 

The Warren Center Fantasy Football Draft Night

DFW football fans were at AT&T Stadium for The Warren’s Center’s 21st Annual Fantasy Football Draft Night. Here’s a report from the field:

The Warren Center Fantasy Football Draft Committee*

The Warren Center Fantasy Football Draft Committee*

“With the blazing September heat, AT&T Stadium (or Gate 10) was hit with scorching rays and warm temperatures to begin the cocktail hour and silent auction preview. As the sun went down, former Cowboys player Randy White, with Emcee Scott Murray began the night with banter between the two men about what Randy has been up to. ‘Not working out as much and feeding my horses during the day and night,’ Randy says.

Beverly Warren, Todd and Michelle Steudtner, Randy White and Bill Warren*

Beverly Warren, Todd and Michelle Steudtner, Randy White and Bill Warren*

“With Chairmen Michelle and Todd Steudtner and hosts Beverly and Bill Warren, guests were treated to cocktail hour hosted by Forge, Mexican buffet dinner, silent auction featuring 15 Minutes of Fame with behind-the-scenes tour with Pete Delkus and a watch-a-live broadcast, live auction featuring an evening with Randy hosted by Carrie and Jim Benson, wine pull hosted by Fuzi Fine Wines, live surprises featuring $50 surprise boxes with two lucky winners receiving $500 Amazon Gift cards and Heads-or-Tails Game hosted by Randy. For $20, guests placed their hands on their head or tail with one lucky winner receiving $500 cash and saving the best for last — a photo opportunity with Randy and former Yankees and Texas Rangers player Goose Gossage who attended the event.

Goose Gossage, Scott Murray and Randy White*

Goose Gossage, Scott Murray and Randy White*

“With all the action, participants were given the final straw of the night by drafting their own Fantasy Football team. Each table or league will the opportunity to compete throughout the 2014-2015 NFL Season. The Super Bowl Champion of Fantasy Football XXI winner receives two season ticket packages to the 2015 Dallas Cowboys season. Winners of each league receive an autographed football signed by Randy.

“Seen in the crowd: Erin and Rusty Kotzur, Mike Austin, Mike Andereck, John Cain, Karen and Nick Adamson, Jeanne and Charlie Jones, Ann and Bill Danridge, Carrie and Jim Benson and Sharon and Steve Folsom.”

* Photo credit: Rudi Holt

LaunchAbility Exits Early Childhood Intervention Program Due To Costs and Restrictive Rules

LaunchAbility has been in business for more than 50 years. Formerly it was known as Special Care and Career Center, but went through a name change in 2010 resulting in LaunchAbility. Now, another change is taking place for the agency that “has been on the cutting edge of helping people with developmental disabilities.”

The board has “made the decision to exit from the Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) program that serves babies with developmental disabilities and delays. After considering all possibilities, the LaunchAbility Board made the decision in July due to increasing costs to administer health care programs, reduced state funding and restrictive rules mandated by the State.”

According to LaunchAbility CEO Kathryn Parsons, “We continue to see a growing demand from our clients for training and employment while at the same time there is a growing acceptance by employers to hire adults with cognitive disabilities. This is a bittersweet, but an exciting juncture that gives LaunchAbility the opportune to have a profound and significant impact on adults with diverse abilities in North Texas.”

Taking over the services for babies with developmental delays and disabilities will be LifePath, MHMR of Tarrant County and The Warren Center.

10th Anniversary Celebration Plans Revealed For Heroes For Children

With the 10th anniversary of Heroes for Children coming up, the core group decided to do something different from the annual Heroes And Handbags fundraising luncheon.

Thursday, September 4, at The Mercury, the plans were unveiled. Talk about a change of plans!

In the private dining room with former chairs, board members and HfC staffers assembled, 10th Celebration Co-Chairs Skye Brewer and Jennifer Dix revealed those plans.

Jenny Scott Dowen and Larissa Linton

Jenny Scott Dowen and Larissa Linton

Ah, before they did, they announced a surprise that caught many off guard ­– Co-founder Larissa Linton had been named executive director! First up to congratulate her was Co-founder Jenny Scott Dowen. Both of these women established Heroes For Children when they personally experienced the agony, pain and loss of children to cancer. Turning that grief into gratifying effort, they started the organization to “provide desperately needed financial support and administrative guidance for” families” with children battling cancer.

But back to the plans for the 10th anniversary. Instead of a lunch, it will be a seated dinner at the Hilton Anatole for 650 including cocktails, dancing to Downtown Fever and a “surprise entertainment, as featured on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.”

And what about its handbags. Shoot. There will be purses, and since the gents will be part of the guests, there will be “men’s items.”

The funds raised “will ensure that Heroes for Children continues to serve as an advocate for, and to provide social and financial assistance to, families with children battling cancer.”

North Texas Giving Day Booster: Out Hunger

“Sitting in a small, wooden chair in the principal’s office on a Monday morning shortly after the opening bell, Jake sat squirming as he tried to figure out how to answer the question. Growing impatient, the principal asked again, ‘Jake, please tell me why you stole your teacher’s lunch.’

Out Hunger*

Out Hunger*

“Another few moments of silence. Then, with as much courage and gumption as an 8-year-old, 3rd grader can muster, Jake said, ‘Well, I was hungry.’

“A bit exasperated, Principal Johnson said, ‘Yes, Jake, I’m a bit hungry myself as I only had a bowl of cereal this morning but that doesn’t mean I can take someone else’s lunch and eat it.’

“Another few moments of silence. ‘Sorry.’

“More silence. ‘But I was really hungry. You see, well, I, I did eat lunch at school on Friday. I, I was just so hungry.’

Boy eating*

Boy eating*

“’You haven’t eaten since Friday?’” Principal Johnson automatically blurted out.

“Embarrassed, Jake mumbles, ‘Yes ma’am.’

“The principal didn’t know what to do next. The teacher didn’t know what to do next. The school didn’t know what to do next.

“Situations like these exist in our North Texas schools and are what Out Hunger seeks to end. Out Hunger’s purpose is to increase the awareness of, raise money for, and encourage involvement in ending the cycle of hunger in our communities. We do this through single-day and multi-day events across Texas, the nation and a few other countries.

Rand Jenkins*

Rand Jenkins*

“Out Hunger started when I was out on a ride one day thinking of all the charity events I’d been a part of and thought, why not combine my passion for helping people eat with my passion for cycling. Well, it turns out those are widely shared passions. Bike Out Hunger, the flagship event of the organization has hosted five annual six-day rides across Texas and numerous single-day rides that have raised a couple hundred thousand dollars for the cause in just a few years.

“Through the efforts of North Texas Giving Day and a local single-day ride, in 2013 we were able to feed 650 kids every weekend through the school year as the money raised allowed Out Hunger to completely fund a new weekend backpack feeding program in the DFW area.

Out Hunger Riders*

Out Hunger Riders*

“Help us actively end hunger by donating to Out Hunger at North Texas Giving Day on September 18! Thank you to Communities Foundation of Texas, donors across North Texas and the cyclists for helping us out hunger in our communities.

“For more information on Out Hunger, its events and how we all work together to end the cycle of hunger, visit OutHunger.org.”

-By Rand Jenkins, Out Hunger Founder and Executive Director

* Graphic and photos provided by Out Hunger

North Texas Giving Day Booster: Agape Resource And Assistance Center

“Barely healed from a beating that put her in the hospital, Ann fled to Texas with her three young kids. Two months later in a homeless shelter, she discovered she was pregnant. The beating Ann endured put her in bed for the pregnancy, so her mom came to support them…until she got laid off. Homeless with shot credit, they struggled to find work and shelter. When they came to Agape a year later, the baby had only lived in shelters and hotels, which the 2-year-old called “home.”

Agape Resource and Assistance Center*

Agape Resource and Assistance Center*

“Since opening the first of four houses in November 2013 Agape Resource & Assistance Center, Inc., a 501 (c ) 3 housing and transformation ministry, has provided over 4,000 nights of safe, stable housing to over 25 souls, half of which are children. By providing unmet shelter and service needs Agape helps single women, moms and their children move from crisis to self-sustaining lives.

“The need is huge and unfortunately, growing. Each week Agape turns away on average four single women, half with children, in desperate need of shelter, jobs, childcare…and hope. Most are experiencing homelessness for the first time. Most have at least some college but no support system, no energy and no means to get back on their feet. Agape provides shelter, support — and more.

Agape volunteers*

Agape volunteers*

“In our debut with North Texas Giving Day, the Hope 4 Agape is to acquire property to double our housing capacity and provide education, counseling and office facilities so Agape can provide more Homes & Hope.

Jaxylyn*

Jaxylyn*

“Once with Agape Ann wrote, ’I’m so grateful you were there when my family needed you the most. You gave us something we lost long ago…hope.  A reminder of what a home felt like. A glimpse of what our future could look like.  And most of all…a special message that God had not forgotten us.’

“Hundreds of women just like Ann struggle daily to meet basic needs and keep their children safe.  Agape is committed to help, but we can’t do it alone.  It takes a village…an Agape Village in every sense of the word. On September 18, North Texas Giving Day, help provide Homes 4 Hope for more families like Ann’s by giving to Agape Resource & Assistance Center, Inc. Donations made through the North Texas Giving Day website will be partially matched and will directly benefit Agape and moms just like Ann.”

-By Rev. Janet Collinsworth, Founder, Agape Resource and Assistance Center

* Graphic and photos provided by Agape Resource and Assistance Center

Community Partners Of Dallas Kicks Off Change Is Good Preparations With Kids, Crayons And Announcements

Despite the rumors to the contrary, Community Partners of Dallas “backroom” is not Santa’s satellite workshop. However, on Saturday, August 23, it had all the appearances of being just that as Change for Good committee members including parent/children clans gathered to kick off arrangements for the Sunday, September 28th, event in which a lot of coins are hauled in to support CPD’s efforts to help children rescued by Dallas County Child Protective Services. Here is a field report on the kickoff:

Kim Quinn, Christina White and Jennifer Dix*

Kim Quinn, Christina White and Jennifer Dix*

“Change is Good chair families Jennifer and Richard with children Nate Dix and Gracie Dix; Kim and Terry Quinn with children Parker Quinn, David Quinn and Braden Quinn; and Christina and Allen White with children Alexander White and Caroline White were joined by 94 host committee family members for the Change is Good kick-off on Saturday, August 23.

“Held at the Community Partners of Dallas warehouse, the day began with the kids working on artwork for the annual Change is Good T-shirt. From the many creative submissions, one design will be chosen for the front of this year’s T-shirt, which is given as a party favor at the September 28 th event.

Andrea Fuquay, Brooks Fuquay and Kate Fuquay*

Andrea Fuquay, Brooks Fuquay and Kate Fuquay*

“After refreshments, Paige McDaniel, president and CEO of Community Partners of Dallas, thanked those in attendance and especially thanked the children for giving back to kids in need. To the group’s excitement, she announced that a generous CPD donor had just that morning donated two tickets to the One Direction concert the next evening.For any willing to head to Texas Stadium the night before school started there would be a drawing! Winning mom, Tessa Mosteller, was beyond thrilled that she and her daughter could attend!

“Then parents and kids alike rolled up their sleeves to help with CPD’s annual back to school drive. From bundling pencils to counting erasers, everyone pitched in to ensure the abused and neglected children served by CPD start school with a new set of supplies.

Gabrielle Hewes and Coco Hewes*

Gabrielle Hewes and Coco Hewes*

“While the kick-off has just taken place, 330 host committee kids have been hard at work over the summer in support of Change is Good by collecting pennies, nickels, quarters and bills in their change jars. The collection will culminate with a fun-filled, family-friendly event on Sunday, September 28, from 3 – 6 p.m. at Brook Hollow Golf Club.

“Children and teens in attendance can turn in their collected change in exchange for chances to win exciting prizes and the first 300 kids who turn in change will receive 2 movie tickets from LOOK Cinemas.

Sawyer Mosteller and Tate Hill*

Sawyer Mosteller and Tate Hill*

“The celebration of CPD’s 25thanniversary continues at Change is Good—this year’s anniversary has created a particular excitement about quarters! That said, the child who brings the most quarters to Change is Good will receive a special prize of 25 gift cards to destinations around Dallas! In addition, kids will receive a CPD birthday bonus chance ticket for each $25 they bring increasing their odds of winning one of the fun prizes!

“Activities for all ages will include a GameTruck, Lab at Lakewood, balloon artist, face painting, an inflatable obstacle course, PicFlips, bounce houses, cookie decorating, the Rad Hatter, a DJ dance party and the ever popular bungee-trampoline.

“Community Partners of Dallas anticipates another sold-out year. Sponsorships begin at $550; tickets are $75 per adult; $35 per child and are on sale now through communitypartnersdallas.org.”

* Photos provided by Community Partners of Dallas

North Texas Giving Day Booster: Buckner International

“Each fall, parents descend upon malls, stocking up on essentials for their children as they head back to school: backpacks, school supplies, clothing, shoes.

Buckner International*

Buckner International*

“But what if you couldn’t provide your children with those basic necessities? What if you couldn’t even provide them with a simple pair of shoes that would keep their feet protected and safe?

Za-Kiya Payne, a mother of four, knows how it feels to be unable to provide even the most basic of necessities to her children. After gathering the courage to flee an abusive relationship, she had nowhere to go. But then, she found Buckner.

Za-Kiya Payne and her four children*

Za-Kiya Payne and her four children*

“Through Buckner Family Pathways in Dallas, Za-Kiya found affordable housing, job preparation courses, counseling, afterschool programs and necessities for her children to succeed – including new shoes.

“’For the first one to two years in the program, I never had to buy shoes for my kids,’ Za-Kiya says. ‘I felt so lucky because I always got blessed with brand new shoes for them.’

“The simple gift of a new pair of shoes gives hope to a child in need. That’s why we’ve decided that this year, all funds given to Buckner on North Texas Giving Day (September 18) will be used to support Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls® and provide new shoes for children in Dallas – including the children we serve through foster care, after-school and family transition programs.

A child is thrilled to receive new shoes from Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls®*

A child is thrilled to receive new shoes from Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls®*

“While many in our community are aware Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls serves vulnerable children around the world, some don’t realize we also provide for those in need right in our own backyard. Last year, we provided thousands of shoes to children in North Texas in addition to our life-giving community programs, and this year, we look forward to being able to provide health, hope and new shoes to even more children in the Dallas area thanks to North Texas Giving Day when every donation of $25 or more will be amplified.

“’Buckner is a family for me,’ Za-Kiya says. ‘When my mama died a lot of people turned their backs on me and my kids, and it really hurt. But Buckner staff helps me grow stronger. Buckner has been a tremendous blessing for me and my children.’

“For more than 135 years Buckner has been transforming the lives of vulnerable children and families in Dallas. Our North Texas programs include:

  • “Buckner Foster Care and Adoption, which provides families for abused or neglected children;
  • “Buckner Family Pathways, a self-sufficiency program for single parents;
  • “North Texas Client Assistance, which gives temporary aid to families in trauma; and
  • “Buckner Center for Humanitarian Aid, the central processing center for Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls®.”

-By David M. Slover, Buckner Foundation President and Buckner International Executive Vice President

* Graphic and photos provided by Buckner International

Ashley Judd To Be Keynote Speaker At TexProtects’ 10th Anniversary Celebration At The Perot Museum

Ashley Judd (File photo)

Ashley Judd (File photo)

Those Judd sisters are coming to Dallas in October, but not together. As mentioned before songbird Wynonna is performing on Thursday, October 9, for Habitat for Humanity’s Building Hope Celebration Dinner. The following week on Tuesday, October 14, her kid half-sister Ashley Judd will be the keynote speaker at TexProtects10th Anniversary Celebration dinner at the Perot Museum.

The actress, who recounted her own childhood trauma in her memoir, “All that is Bitter and Sweet,” can truly relate to TexProtects’ mission to protect children from abuse and neglect.

According to TexProtect’s Founder/Executive Director Madeline McClure, “Ashley Judd’s personal story and her humanitarian work on behalf of abuse victims exemplifies the far-reaching effects of child maltreatment, but also the promise of healing from invisible wounds and most importantly, committing to investing in prevention. We are thrilled to present Ashley Judd as we celebrate 10 years of successful work to reduce and prevent child abuse in Texas.”

In addition to Ashley, Texas Senator Jane Nelson of Flower Mound will be presented the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award. She is being recognized for “her work to increase Texas’ investment in prevention programs, such as the Nurse-Family Partnership, which sends nurses on home visit to help vulnerable, low-income mothers as well as her hard work to reform CPS (Child Protective Services).”

Event Chair Pat Albritton Harloe has arranged for Lisa K. Simmons to be the honorary chair, as well as having the lead sponsors and the board of directors attend a meet and greet with Ashley.

Seating is limited, so don’t dawdle.

MySweetCharity Opportunity: Pegasus Ball

According to Pegasus Ball Co-Chair Dawn Neufeld,

Ryan and Dawn Neufeld*

Ryan and Dawn Neufeld*

“As parents of a child with autism, Ryan and I are pleased to lend our passion and energy to the Pegasus Ball to benefit the Autism Treatment Center. Ryan and I have been attending this event for several years, even chairing the Ball in 2012. We invite you to join us at the Pegasus Ball on Saturday, September 27, at The Fairmont Dallas for an evening of fun and entertainment – and raising much needed funds for a wonderful cause.

“Autism is the nation’s leading developmental disorder now affecting 1 in 68 children. Funds raised at the event will support ATC’s programs, including: diagnostic, educational services, adult services, therapy, and residential services. For over 38 years, the Autism Treatment Center has provided life-changing services to families seeking their expertise and experience.

Yvonne Crum (File photo)

Yvonne Crum (File photo)

“The Roundup was founded in 1988 by Bobby Norris, a parent with an adult daughter with autism. This wonderful event has raised over $3 million to provide autism-specific programs and services for children and adults in our community.

“This year’s Event Honorary Chair, Yvonne Crum, is one of Dallas’ most recognizable names. Yvonne has spent many years and innumerable hours dedicated to various charitable causes raising awareness of teenage suicide to children’s theater. Anybody who knows Yvonne knows that when she finds a worthy cause to support, her energy and passion are contagious. Ryan and I are grateful for Yvonne’s friendship and support of a cause dear to our hearts.

“The Pegasus Ball will include a Live and Silent Auction, seated dinner, and live entertainment provided by the band Tenacity are sure to please all attendees. We hope to see you there

“Individual tickets for the Pegasus Ball are $225 or $2,250 for a table of ten. Contact Neil Massey at 972.644.2076 x 104 to make your reservations to join us. For more information, please visit www.roundupforautism.org.”

* Photo provided by Round Up For Autism

North Texas Giving Day Booster: Children’s Craniofacial Association

Children’s Craniofacial Association (CCA) is excited to be taking part again on September 18 for this year’s North Texas Giving Day.

“CCA is celebrating our 25th Anniversary of ’empowering and giving hope to individuals and families affected by facial differences.’ We envision a world where all people are accepted for who they are, not how they look. Founded in 1989 here in Dallas, Children’s Craniofacial Association is the premier national organization addressing the medical, financial, emotional, psychosocial and educational issues related to craniofacial conditions.

Children's Craniofacial Association*

Children’s Craniofacial Association*

“There are well over 1,000 families in North Texas who are affected by facial differences and CCA stands ready to help with programs and services for the entire family and regardless of whether an affected individual is a child or adult. (Our name sprang from the fact that most conditions are present at birth and must be addressed during childhood).

“CCA children will average 25-40 surgeries before they reach adulthood. While CCA offers their families a multitude of services including financial assistance, a list of qualified medical care providers, education materials and much more, one of our less medicinal and wonderful events that Giving Day funds go to is our holiday party which we hold in conjunction with area hospitals and craniofacial team physicians. Last year over 500 families joined us out at South Fork Ranch in Parker, Texas, for crafts, cookies, an early stocking stuffer from Santa and the all-important photo on Santa’s lap.

Santa with Dominika and Jessica*

Santa with Dominika and Jessica*

“But, this isn’t just any kind of party. While some would think it’s an irritating task to have to stand in line at the mall for a photo on Santa’s lap, parents of children with facial differences, it’s also painful to watch the staring endured by their children if they try waiting in the mall lines. This is why the big ‘private’ party is such a welcome tradition instead for these families and over the years it has become extremely popular!

“We welcome newcomers to “Get Up and Give” this September 18th and to everyone who does, ‘Thank you!’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sk8V2VzrxqM

-By Charlene Smith, Children’s Craniofacial Association Executive Director

* Graphic and photo provided by Children's Craniofacial Association

Wells Fargo Presents A Check To Support Ability Connection Texas’s Aquatic Program At YMCA Park Cities

Summer and swimming are as closely connected as Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. However, along with the time of year and the activity comes the increase of drownings. Even healthy, strapping people will sheepishly admit they don’t know how to swim. It’s a real problem. For instance, this past year the Crystal Charity Ball committee provided funding for the Park South YMCA swimming program to teach DSID students how to swim. That was wonderful. But what about munchkins who are not so able bodied? For this group, aquatic activities not only are fun and lifesaving, they’re therapeutic. The good folks at Ability Connection Texas along with Wells Fargo proved that point on Tuesday, August 19, at the Park Cities Family YMCA. For a full report, check out the following:

Pete Session*

Pete Session*

“Congressman Pete Sessions, an advocate for individuals with disabilities, declared that ‘every child matters’ at a reception Tuesday at the Park Cities Family YMCA. The event recognized the adaptive aquatics program of Ability Connection Texas (ACT). The program, sponsored by Wells Fargo, was held at the YMCA pool.

“The activities began with an opportunity to view the swimming lessons in progress. The aquatics program includes instruction on how to float independently and with a device, how to control breathing, kicking, basic paddling, front crawl, back stroke and jumping or diving into the pool.

“Children enrolled in ACT’s Early Childhood Development and Education Pre-School participate twice weekly in the Park Cities YMCA’s swimming program which was launched three years ago through the financial support of Wells Fargo.

YMCA swim instructor Megan Callaghan with Joshua*

YMCA swim instructor Megan Callaghan with Joshua*

“Andrea Petro, executive vice president and division leader of Wells Fargo Capital Finance, announced the continuing funding of the adaptive aquatics program. She presented both ACT and the Park Cities Family YMCA with $5,000 checks.

John Reniger, Wells Fargo Capital Finance senior vice president and a YMCA board member, served as the emcee of the program. He emphasized the collaborative relationships that exist between the YMCA and three other organizations serving the special needs community of Dallas, the Rise School of Dallas, the Highland Park Independent School District and Connecting Point of Park Cities, in addition to ACT. Reniger and his wife, Christie, are co-chairs of Vine & Dine, a gala event held each November benefiting ACT.

Barbara Cravey, director of ACT children’s programs, described the many physical and psychological benefits of adaptive aquatics. She related the story of one youngster who recently took his first steps due in part to the muscle strength and flexibility gained through the program.

Ella Peace*

Ella Peace*

Vanessa Peace gave a parent’s perspective on the swimming experience, saying ‘it takes a village to enable a child with special needs to thrive’. Her four-year-old daughter, Ella, was diagnosed with the neurological disorder RETT syndrome and attends the ACT pre-school. Vanessa calls Ella a ‘ferocious kicker’ and continues to be amazed at Ella’s increased strength. She believes that she will walk one day soon.

“Congressman Sessions is a co-sponsor of the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2013 or the ABLE act. The act would amend the Internal Revenue Code to establish exempt ABLE accounts to assist an individual with a disability in building an account for qualified disability expenses. These expenses could include education, housing, transportation, obtaining and maintaining employment, health and wellness and personal expenses.

“The mission of ACT is to provide a full range of services for people with physical and intellectual disabilities as they strive to reach their highest level of independence. ACT values and supports the right of all persons with disabilities to be treated with respect and dignity and to have autonomy over their lives.”

* Photos provided by Ability Connection Texas