Fashion Guru Tim Gunn, Who’s In ‘Awe’ Of Dallas Women, Attracts Huge Crowd To CPD’s 10th Anniversary Chick Lit Luncheon

Anyone doubting the popularity in Dallas of “Project Runway” co-host/producer Tim Gunn should have checked out the scene at the Friday, April 1, Chick Lit Luncheon at the Hilton Anatole. The event benefiting Community Partners of Dallas and featuring the author and TV star drew a crowd of 1,100—up from the annual luncheon’s 650 or so that it’s usually drawn at its longtime venue, Brook Hollow Country Club.

This was Chick Lit’s 10th anniversary luncheon, but surely the huge crowd wasn’t due only to that? “I give credit to our chairs—and to Tim,” CPD President and CEO Paige McDaniel said before the luncheon at the VIP reception in the Anatole’s Stemmons Ballroom. “All girls like fashion, and he’s just … well, when Joanna [Clarke, CPD’s development VP] and I used to talk about guests at our fantasy dinner party, we each had two people in common: Tim Gunn and Jesus!

“So, it was easy this year,” McDaniel went on. “Everybody wanted to come.”

Tim Gunn, Lara and Robert Tafel*

Tim Gunn, Lara and Robert Tafel*

At that moment, the star of the day was demonstrating his charisma across the room at the step-and-repeat, where guests were lined up to meet Gunn and have their photos taken with him. Among them were Elizabeth Gambrell (she’s a CPD director), Anne Stodghill, Dee Simmons, D’Andra Simmons, and Lara Tafel, who was once again the luncheon’s presenting sponsor along with her husband, Dr. Robert Tafel.

Megan Flannagan, Fasi Boltchi, Roz Colombo and Samantha Wortley*

Megan Flannagan, Fasi Boltchi, Roz Colombo and Samantha Wortley*

Jennifer Evans Morris, Krissy Turner and Lauren Reed*

Jennifer Evans Morris, Krissy Turner and Lauren Reed*

Soon Dr. Bob joined his wife for a photo with Gunn, who promptly remarked on the doctor’s colorful pocket square. The TV star pulled the handkerchief out of Tafel’s suit coat, demonstrated another way to fold such an adornment, and then stuffed it back into Bob’s breast pocket—much to Bob and Lara’s delight.

Soon enough, the 1,100 guests including CPD Board Chair Krissy Turner, Jocelyn White, Lee Bailey, Lisa Cooley, Faisal Halum, Holly Davis, Lori Williams, Alissa Gearing, Jennifer Evans Morris, Lauren Reed, Megan Flanagan, Fasi Boltchi, Roz Colombo, Samantha Wortley, Katherine Coker and Simona Beal began making their way into the Imperial Ballroom upstairs.

Kristi Hoyl*

Kristi Hoyl*

Nancy Rogers and Brian Bolke*

Nancy Rogers and Brian Bolke*

Luncheon Chair Kristi Hoyl made the welcoming remarks, thanking the Tafels, Honorary Chair Brian Bolke, Underwriting Chairs Cindy Stager and Jill Tananbaum, and Paige and Joanna (“they are angels walking on the earth”). Then Kristi brought up Rev. Elizabeth Moseley from Highland Park United Methodist Church, who delivered the invocation. (Rev. Moseley, BTW, was introduced as a “minister of discipline,” rather than with her actual title, “minister of discipleship.” Hmmmm. Maybe Queenie needs to hire a minister of discipline for misbehaving elves.)

Paige McDaniel and Jill Bee*

Paige McDaniel and Jill Bee*

After lunch was served—a delicious Mediterranean chicken salad and a strawberry “Happy Birthday” cupcake—videos were played honoring Jill C. Bee with the 2016 Partners for Children Award and the Tafels, who were presented with the 10th Anniversary Champions of Hope Award. Then Paige took the stage, telling how all the guests had “agonized over our outfits” trying to impress Gunn, before launching into a tearful talk about children who’d been helped by CPD, like two toddlers nicknamed Princess and King. Paige gave way to Bolke, who introduced the featured speaker as one of two people who’ve had a profound recent influence on the fashion world (the other, he said, was Sarah Jessica Parker of TV’s “Sex and the City”).

Kimberly Schlegel Whitman and Tim Gunn*

Kimberly Schlegel Whitman and Tim Gunn*

With that, Gunn—a former chief creative officer at Liz Claiborne Inc. who’s written four books—mounted the stage along with Kimberly Schlegel Whitman, who would interview him. Kim began by asking the fashion guru what led him to write books (his latest is titled “The Natty Professor: A Master Class on Mentoring, Motivating, and Making It Work!”). Gunn, the son of an FBI agent, grew up with words and books, he replied, and developed an interest in fashion history as an academic at the Parsons School of Design. “Most of the books [about fashion] are giant snoozefests,” he said. He set out to take a livelier approach, crediting the success of such works as “Tim Gunn’s Fashion Bible and “Gunn’s Golden Rules in part to his editor and co-writer, Ava Calhoun.

Kim asked next what’s behind Gunn’s “kind but firm” approach to young designers on Lifetime’s “Project Runway,” now entering its 14th season. “I can’t want you to succeed more than you do,” Gunn said he tells the fledgling designers. In lieu of direct criticism he peppers them with questions about their design choices, hoping they’ll eventually see what he sees. What’s his favorite of Gunn’s “golden rules”? “The world owes you absolutely nothing!” he replied quickly. “Even though young people don’t like it. … We each have to make our own way and establish our value.” Gunn also explained his “TEACH” philosophy with students and mentees, using an explanation for each letter in the acronym: Truth-telling; Empathy; Asking lots of questions; Cheerleading; and Hoping for the best.

Tim Gunn*

Tim Gunn*

Prompted by his interviewer, Gunn said that when it comes to fashion, “I’d rather work with women than with men. Women are more open to experimentation, and men are so ridiculously intractable. I’ll tell them, ‘Good heavens, it’s a shirt. Put it on!’ ” He also complimented Dallas women on their fashion sense, adding, “I’m in awe of you! … I’d like to take you home with me!” Expanding on fashion in general, he said most people wear their clothes too big. (“Never use the phrase, ‘I only dress for comfort’ with me,” he said. “If you want to feel like you’re in your pajamas, don’t get out of bed.”) He also ripped the current “athleisure” trend including yoga pants, tights, and leggings worn as pants. “It’s an excuse to be a slob,” he said, calling leggings “a form of underwear.”

Wrapping up with a few questions from the audience, Gunn was asked his advice for budding designers. Since designers are barometric measures of our culture, he answered, they should watch TV and movies, read blogs and newspapers, and “assimilate it all” in order to “have a point of view and know who you are. [Knowledge of] construction is important, too,” Gunn said in conclusion, “as are perseverance and tenacity.”

The thunderous applause from the big crowd that followed was a testament to the fashion guru’s tremendous popularity, as mentioned by Paige at the VIP reception. But so, too, was the long wait for their cars that some in the huge crowd had to endure in the lengthy valet line. Although the luncheon wrapped up by about 1:15, some 50 guests were still standing outdoors in the cold breeze, scanning the horizon hopefully for their vehicles, nearly an hour later. There were just too darn many cars, it seems, for the valets to easily handle.

* Photos provided by Community Partners of Dallas

SOLD-OUT ALERT!: Appetite For Advocacy Luncheon

And the good news keeps rolling in on this Monday. Appetite for Advocacy Luncheon Co-Chairs Paula Richmond and Megan Steinbach just sent word that the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center fundraiser at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel on Tuesday, April 26, is sold out! What a simply wonderful way for the DCAC to celebrate its 25th anniversary with a sell-out!

Dallas Children's Advocacy Center*

Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center*

Suggestion: With more than 1,400 in attendance to hear author Brené Brown give an extended talk on Rising Strong, it would be wise to get there early. In other words, the luncheon starts at 11:20, so be an early bird, not a tardy type. And remember parking is going to limited. So, if you’re not taking DART, then carpool, Uber or borrow your kiddos’ bike.

Mercedes Benz mid-size SUV*

Mercedes Benz mid-size SUV*

And speaking of transportation, don’t forget the raffle of the Mercedes-Benz mid-size SUV. There are “a few remaining raffle tickets” left. Go ahead. Feel lucky and buy a ticket.

* Graphics courtesy of Dallas Children's Advocacy Center

Fashion Guru Tim Gunn Packed ‘Em In At Forty Five Ten’s T Room For Community Partners Of Dallas’ Chick Lit Patron Party

Tim Gunn

Tim Gunn

Not since Rob Lowe and Kevin Costner hit the North Texas area has a man been swarmed like New York Times best-selling author and overall fashion arbiter Tim Gunn was at the 10th Annual Chick Lit Luncheon Patron Party.

Laverne Nieberding and Greg Nieberding

Laverne Nieberding and Greg Nieberding

Yipes! Taking place at Chick Lit Honorary Chair Brian Bolke’s Forty Five Ten, the place should have been big enough for the guests, the fashions and Tim. But with Tim meeting-and-greeting guests like Luncheon Chair Kristi Hoyl, Melissa Sherrill, D’Andra Simmons, Anne Stodghill and Greg Nieberding with his mom Laverne Nieberding in the T Room, the place was as tight as a stamp on an envelope.

What made it more challenging was Tim somehow managed to locate himself against one of the bars. Goodness, bubbly and Tim together resulted in celebration and selfie-action as everyone wanted a flute of champagne and a photo with Tim.

One lovely evidently was new to celebrity get-togethers and decided that she was Tim’s one-and-only, resulting in more than her fair share of special time with him. But Tim proved as proper and charming as his attire, chatting it up with the gal until someone suggested that others might like some quality time with Tim, too.

Lara and Robert Tafel

Lara and Robert Tafel

Organizers were amazed at how generous Tim was. His contract limited his time at the patron party to 45 minutes, but he stayed way beyond the time limit.

Paige McDaniel and Juilette Coulter

Paige McDaniel and Juilette Coulter

Another couple of Chick Lit celebs were Lara and Bob Tafel, who have been on board in supporting the Community Partners of Dallas fundraiser since its inception. But their involvement is more than being the presenting sponsor of the annual get-together. In the midst of all the partying, Bob voiced genuine concern that recent legislative developments were increasing the need for CPD’s efforts.

And speaking of the 10th anniversary, CPD President/CEO Paige McDaniel proudly wore a new piece of jewelry, a necklace spelling out sparkly Chick Lit in its signature font. She told how she and CPD Director of Development Joanna Clarke had had the necklaces especially made for those like Lara, Juliette Coulter and Kristi Bare who have attended all 10 years of the CPD fundraiser.

And while the guests kept coming and coming, it was still an early night because the luncheon was the next day at the Hilton Anatole.

Ally’s Wish’s A Venetian Dream Was A Showcase Of Esé Azénabor Fashions At Tricia Sims’ Mansion

Those who love fashion were having a love fest on Tuesday, March 29, at the Ally’s Wish‘s A Venetian Dream with Esé Azénabor collection impressing guests. While far from western wear, it still served as a warm up for the upcoming Boots and Blessing Gala on Saturday, April 30, at Gilley’s. Here’s a report from the field:

The Ally’s Wish Boots and Blessings Gala host committee welcomed more than 125 guests on Tuesday, March 29, to the gorgeous home of honorary chair Tricia Sims for an evening of fashion and philanthropy. “A Venetian Dream,” the collaboration of Ally’s Wish and local designer, Esé Azénabor commenced the countdown to the Flower Mound-based organization’s second annual gala to be held at Gilley’s Dallas on Saturday, April 30, 2016.

Holly Reed, Missy Phipps, Honorary Chair Tricia Sims, Ese Azenabor and Melissa Cary*

Holly Reed, Missy Phipps, Tricia Sims, Ese Azenabor and Melissa Cary*

Inspired by the loss of their dear friend, Allyson Hendrickson, to ovarian cancer, Missy Phipps, Holly Reed, Melissa Cary and Heather Bryan founded Ally’s Wish to grant the last wishes of young mothers battling terminal illnesses. In just two years, the women have raised more than $100,000 and granted wishes like helicopter rides over the Grand Canyon and adventures swimming with dolphins to sixteen mothers.

Laura Downing*

Laura Downing*

LeeAnne Locken*

LeeAnne Locken*

After grazing the desert bar and sipping a cocktail, the glamorous Gina Ginsburg, Jennifer Gaydos-Hartman, Chuck Steelman, Melissa Roundtree, Dawn Mellon, and Amber LaFrance took their seats and all eyes turned to Mistress of Ceremonies and “Real Housewives of Dallas” cast member LeeAnne Locken. Her jovial opening question, “If you don’t know me, where have you been?” started off the night on the right note. She introduced gala chair Laura Downing who thanked sponsors before relinquishing the mic to Ally’s Wish President Missy Phipps.

“When dreaming up Ally’s Wish, I asked myself, what would want if I were dying? And the answer was obvious; memories and time with my children,” Phipps said. “Getting to know these strong moms is rewarding and bitter sweet.  We get to be in their lives long enough to grant their wish, and it’s a precious time that we don’t take for granted.”

Esé Azénabor's 2016 Collection*

Esé Azénabor’s 2016 Collection*

Carmen Surgent*

Carmen Surgent*

After Phipps’ heartfelt remarks, Locken announced the organization was only $40,000 away from reaching their goal of granting eight more wishes. After dozens more raffle tickets sold out in minutes, the house lights were dimmed and the models prepared to strut the runway. The young designer recently showcased her 2016 spring collection, Garden of Eden, at New York Fashion Week, but guests were in for a special treat as they got an exclusive preview of the Fall 2016 looks. Cheers ensued as the runway host, Carmen Surgent, sported an incredible gown that would turn heads at Chrystal [sic] Charity Ball. Azénabar’s designs were met with a standing ovation, and as she thanked friends and family, guests bid their farewells and headed to the valet line.

* Photo credit: Bob Manzano and Thomas Garza Photography

Caren And Pete Kline Welcome Dallas Children Advocacy Center Supporters With A White Mercedes Up For Grabs

Kody Followill had only been with Park Place Mercedes-Benz a few months, but as if he had Ken Schnitzer by his side, he cared for the gleaming white car at the entrance of Caren and Pete Kline’s residence on Wednesday, March 23.

Park Place Mercedes–Benz GLC300W

Park Place Mercedes–Benz GLC300W

With guests arriving, Kody made sure that the flawless white mid-size SUV with steel gray interior and all the 21st century gadgets stayed absolutely perfect. If so much as a leaf dared to land on the vehicle, Kody made sure the stay didn’t last more than a second. His one regret was that he hadn’t brought a cloth to keep polishing the Mercedes. Good thing, he didn’t because Kody would have probably rubbed the finish off.

The reason for Kody and his wheels being parked for guests to check out was this sweetheart of the Mercedes lineup will be the raffle prize at the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center luncheon on Tuesday, April 26.

Paula Richmond, Caren Kline and Megan Steinbach

Paula Richmond, Caren Kline and Megan Steinbach

Inside, Caren was greeting one and all after attending the J. Erik Jonsson Luncheon earlier in the day. It was a memorable lunch according to Caren, who recalled honoree Terry Flowers describing his daughters as “pieces of my heart that walk outside my body.”

Pete Kline and Lynn Davis

Pete Kline and Lynn Davis

But on this night the occasion was focused on thanking those who had been so supportive of DCAC and another luncheon — Appetite for Advocacy. In the living room, Pete talked with Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center’s Lynn Davis, who, when asked about the raffle, said he could cut a deal. Instead of the $100 per ticket, Lynn could sell 100 tickets for $1000. Well, yeah!

Event Co-Chairs Paula Richmond and Megan Steinbach have arranged for TED standout Brené Brown to be the speaker at the luncheon that has changed locations, sorta. It’s still at the Sheraton Dallas, but it will be take place on the upper level opposed to the ground floor.

Piece of trivia: Brené will be flying in that morning and heading out after the luncheon. The reason for the quick visit is a promise she made her family. She would only stay one night a month away from home. Now, that’s a lady who has her priorities in place.

In Accepting The J. Erik Jonsson Ethics Award, St. Philip’s School Headmaster Terry Flowers Thanked The Four “G’s” In His Life

The J. Erik Jonsson Ethics Award Luncheon presented by the Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Publicon Wednesday, March 23, at Belo Mansion was a bit of a surprising event. Filled to the max with friends, family and fans of honoree Terry Flowers, many just thought they knew the man, who as headmaster has led the development of one of South Dallas’ shining stars — St. Philips School and Community Center. They were in for a surprise.

Gerald Turner and Lyda Hill

Gerald Turner and Lyda Hill

Cary Maguire

Cary Maguire

Janie McGarr, Nancy Halbreich and Gail Turner

Janie McGarr, Nancy Halbreich and Gail Turner

But before that revelation took place, the crowd settled into the Pavilion catching up on the day’s news. Debra Fugit reported that she had been going through her things in preparation for a talk — “My Quest for the Best” — about her years working as the late Stanley Marcus’ assistant… While husband/SMU President Gerald Turner was talking with Cary Maguire, Gail Turner reported that come December the Turners would be celebrating their 48th wedding anniversary. Speaking of anniversaries, Lee Ann White was receiving congrats from Nancy Halbreich and Janie McGarr about her 14th anniversary with husband Alan White. She also revealed that they would be celebrating Alan’s April 3rd birthday in Cabos.

Brad Cheves

Brad Cheves

Bobby Lyle

Bobby Lyle

Just seconds after noon SMU VP Brad Cheves called the group to order and, like St. Philip’s students, they followed orders. On the stage behind Brad sat Luncheon Chair Bobby Lyle, who welcomed the group, and St. Paul United Methodist Church Senior Pastor Richie Butler, who provided the invocation.

While lunch was served, honoree Terry made the rounds of the tables that included Mike Boone, Ralph Babb, Caren Kline, Walter Humann, Ashlee and Chris Kleinert, Jack Lowe, Kern Wildenthal, Lyda Hill, Linda Custard, Gail Thomas and Carol Reed.

St. Philip's students

St. Philip’s students

At 12:41 Gerald started the program by having some of the St. Philip’s students on stage. With Dallas skyscrapers seen through the windows in the background, the youngsters recited the school creed. The results? A deserved standing ovation. It was apparent from some of the guests’ expressions that this presentation was the first time they had heard the creed.

Michael S. Rawlings

Michael S. Rawlings

Following remarks by Gerald and Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility Director Rita Kirk about SMU and the mission of the Center, Dr. Michael S. Rawlings was introduced. No, not the Dallas mayor. Rather a St. Philip’s alumnus, who started at the school in the 1990s as a kindergartener and went on to graduate from Morehouse College and earn his Ph. D. from Northwestern. He told the guests that he wondered back then, referring to Terry, “Does he ever smile?” Michael went on to describe the steel grip of Terry’s handshake and how he attended the school during the same time period as Terry’s three daughters. He recalled that having had two working parents, Michael was usually the first one at school in the morning and the last one there at close of day. He added that Terry was always there when he arrived and when he left. Asking himself “What is Terry Flowers to me?”, he answered, hard work, sacrifice and a strong handshake. Michael didn’t speak as a student about a mentor. Rather, it was as if he was a son describing his much beloved father. And it received a standing ovation.

At 12:57 Bobby returned to the podium admitting that it was a challenge to follow the St. Philip’s students and Michael. But he managed to do it by describing how for 33 years, Terry has made it his life’s work to provide the children from South Dallas with the tools to succeed.

Bobby Lyle, Rita Kirk, Terry Flowers, Gerald Turner and Michael S. Rawlings

Bobby Lyle, Rita Kirk, Terry Flowers, Gerald Turner and Michael S. Rawlings

It was then time for the man of the hour to accept his award. But the man who was known for his firm handshake and serious attitude shared a side that many had never witnessed. He opened by joking that from this day forward he would always follow Lyda Hill, who had been the 2015 Jonsson Awardee. He then asked for a moment of silence to remember a former St. Philip’s student and teacher Crystal Rose and St. Philip’s supporter Robert Eagle, who had recently passed away.

Terry Flowers

Terry Flowers

He then launched into describing the four G’s that have put “this turtle on top of the fence post.”

  • His wife “G”ernise Flowers — “She would say April 12 is her birthday.” To her it was 31 years ago that they married, but to him it will be “11,555 minutes or one billion seconds.”
  • His “g”irls — There was silence. Then with his voice just slightly breaking, he directed his comments to his daughters, “You are the part of my heart walking outside my body.”
  • “G”roup — The Episcopalians who started the church 75 years ago. When a child was hit by a car, the church group started a daycare center that evolved into St. Philip’s.
  • “G”od — “It’s okay to pray and make an A.”

The rest of his talk addressed the importance of choices and morals. Concluding his acceptance speech, he said, “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education.”

BTW, if you see Gernise or Terry Tuesday, wish them a happy anniversary.

Equest Mini-Ambassadors And Guests Headed To “The Walls” To Kick Off Plans For 35th Anniversary Gala Fundraiser

All those horseshoes at Equest are bringing luck to their fundraising efforts. On Wednesday, March 16, Equest Gala Co-Chairs Helena and Doug Wall really lucked out with the weather before the rains and chills arrived in the following days. The reason was their hosting the kick-off party for the 35th anniversary of the Equest fundraiser at their home. Here’s a report from the field:

Doug Wall and Lezlie and Bill Noble*

Doug Wall and Lezlie and Bill Noble*

“Two feet move our body. Four feet move our soul,” quoted William Noble. The quote summed the passion and support at the kick-off event for the Equest 35th Anniversary as it celebrates over 30 years of life-changing journeys that cherished Equest therapy horses have provided for children, adults and veterans to overcome unique challenges.

Lili Kellogg*

Lili Kellogg*

Hosted at the gorgeous home of Chairs Helena and Doug Wall, approximately 100 guests were greeted by three-feet-tall four-legged friends and mini ambassadors Cisco and Dare. Guests shopped for the upcoming gala at the Ocean Point Tack Shop pop-up featuring the equestrian chic collection of Kingsland Equestrian Apparel. Delectable bites from Farm to Market Catering, such as smoked chicken profiteroles, shrimp cocktail with blood orange cocktail sauce and horseradish panna cotta, and Beef Wellington were savored, and Milagro margarita toasts were shared.  As a departing gift, guests received mini blood orange pop-tarts from Pink Apron Pastry.

Paul Valdez, Michele Ritter and Andy Steingasser*

Paul Valdez, Michele Ritter and Andy Steingasser*

The energy and excitement for the gala were contagious among the ensemble including: Equest Interim CEO Lili Kellogg, Equest Chairman of the Board Andy Steingasser, Lezlie and Bill Noble, Kelly and Marty Turco, Allane O’Neil, Terri Sue and Jack Wensinger, Dina and Jason Arnott, Trish and Joe Judson, Carrie and Dodd Crutcher, Di Johnston, Frank Carter, Margaret and David Henry, Leslie and Hawkins Golden, Darla Ripley, Nancy Natinksy, Kelly Morrison, Lane Cates and Brad McClain, Meghan Nylin and Neiman folks like Jeff Byron, Kevin Hurst and Mimi Sterling among others.

Terri Sue Wensinger, Kristin Reed, Mary Hawkins, Helena Wall, Karen Smith and Lezlie Noble*

Terri Sue Wensinger, Kristin Reed, Mary Hawkins, Helena Wall, Karen Smith and Lezlie Noble*

Prepare to celebrate all things Equest at the 35th Anniversary Gala. The equestrian-chic fundraiser, hosted by Honorary Chairs Chris and Dale Hansen and Chairs Helena and Doug Wall, brings together gourmet southern cuisine, craft cocktails, live music by Cary Pierce­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­, prized live and silent auction items, and some fun horsing-around. Equest 35th Anniversary Gala will be held on Saturday, May 7, starting at 7:00 p.m. at Texas Horse Park (811 Pemberton Hill Road, Dallas, TX 75217). Sponsorships are available starting at $5,000. Tables (of 10) are available to purchase for $2,500 and individual tickets for $250 at www.equest.org/gala. For more information, visit www.equest.org or call 972.412.1099.

JUST IN: Communities Foundation Of Texas’ Brent Christopher To Replace Retiring Kern Wildenthal At Children’s

Don’t you just love a secret? Well, there’s one that has been so stealth that when it broke today, folks thought it was a belated April Fools’ joke. Actually, it was a win-win and a twofer situation!

First, Children’s Medical Center Foundation President Dr. Kern Wildenthal is retiring come June. Well, sock-erooni. It was just three years ago that Kern took over the reins of the Foundation after being skewered by The Dallas Morning News investigative team over expense reimbursements. Alas, the end results were that Kern owed something that amounted to a heavy lunch at Abacus and the reporters and editors are no longer with the News.

When asked what his plans for retirement were, Kern pulled a Stanley Marcus. He said that he would start consulting. For those who need the translation, when Mr. Stanley “retired” to consult, he admitted that he made more money and had oodles more fun as a consultant. That’s because he was tapped by international corporations for his experience, knowledge and connections.

Kern Wildenthal (File Photo)

Kern Wildenthal (File Photo)

Christopher Durovich (File photo)

Christopher Durovich (File photo)

Brent Christopher File photo

Brent Christopher (File photo)

The second part of the news is Kern’s replacement. Smart Children’s Chris Durovich when alerted to Kern’s decision to “retire” recalled a young whipsnapper, who had worked with him when Chris replaced George Farr. It was a fella by the name of Brent Christopher. But after leaving Children’s, Brent had headed up Communities Foundation of Texas and walloped the local nonprofit fundraising with his bowtie and North Texas Giving Day. But come on. Brent had done so much more behind the scenes than the obvious.

When approached about the transitions, all types of platitudes from Kern and Brent were exchanged. It was sorta like the Miss America winner of Miss Congeniality. But the reality was that come the end of CFT’s fiscal end, Brent would no longer be officing at CFT and Kern would be a treasure trove of advice.

Would that affect the killer North Texas Giving Day? Nope. According to Brent, no one would notice his MIA. After all, the staff was so in place and face it — he was just the pretty face with bowtie.

As for his replacement, a search committee was in place to find that person. Good luck.

If you want to have a pity party, have it at CFT for the time being. If you want to have a homecoming, have it at Children’s. If you want a brainiac consultant, contact Kern.

JUST IN: Equest Interim CEO Lili Kellogg Officially Named Equest CEO

Despite grumbly skies and a killer schedule of activities today, more news is coming in. Equest has a new executive director! The equine therapeutic program that helps everyone from kiddos to vets has been under the direction of Interim CEO Lili Kellogg, since Patrick Bricker departed back in October.

Lili Kellogg (File photo)

Lili Kellogg (File photo)

Horse-pert Lili has done such a fine job that they’ve removed the word “interim” from her title, so she is now officially Equest’s CEO.

And this ain’t her first rodeo, not by a long shot. Besides earning her Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science from Colorado State University, she’s also received her certification from the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International as a master instructor, site visitor and faculty/evaluator, as well as coaching equestrian teams at national and international events including the 196 Paralympics. In 2002 she was the recipient of the James Brady Professional Achievement Award that is “the highest honor in the therapeutic riding industry.”

Having worked with Equest as program director for years, she became director of ManeGait and the executive director for Houston’s SIRE. It was in January 2015 that Lili joined Equest as VP of Operations, much to the delight of staff and board members.

According to Equest Chairman of the Board Andy Steingasser, “Finding the right talent, experience and personality that embodies the Equest CEO position is of paramount importance. Lili Kellogg exceeds all of our criteria. She could write the book on Therapeutic Horsemanship, and we are thrilled to have her leading our team.”

But in addition to overseeing the clients, staff and horses that now includes both the facilities at Wylie and Texas Horse Park, Lili’s also preparing the 35th Annual Equest Gala on Saturday, May 7, at Texas Horse Park that’s being chaired by Helena and Doug Wall and co-chaired by Chris and Dale Hansen. Handling the music for the evening will be Cary Pierce.

Congrats to Lili and Equest.

Cotton Patch Cafe’s “March To A Million” Kicked Off The Annual Challenge To Raise Funds For Texas Scottish Rite Hospital For Children

From the moment one enters Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, the aroma of popcorn sets it far away from what is traditionally known for antiseptic smells. Adding to the “user-friendly” environment on Tuesday, March 1, was the kick-off festivities for Cotton Patch Cafe‘s March to a Million. Here’s a report from the field:

On Tuesday, March 1, Cotton Patch Cafe held a “March to a Million” event in partnership with Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children. This event kicked off Cotton Patch Cafe’s fundraising initiative for the month of March (also known as the “March to a Million” challenge) in which Cotton Patch is working to raise a cumulative one million dollars to complete their 10 years of partnership.

Dylan Smith*

Dylan Smith*

Patients were invited to come to the hospital’s atrium and spin a prize wheel to win Cotton Patch branded items (such as sunglasses, T-shirts, gift cards and coupons). One enthusiastic patient of Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, Dylan Smith, won a pair of red sunglasses and was all smiles when spinning the prize wheel. Cotton Patch also featured some of their classic menu items for tasting and a photo booth with props was on-site. Bianca Bouchelle, a patient of Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, enjoyed Cotton Patch’s chicken tenders, chips and queso as well as their notorious Dr Pepper Cake.

Patients and their families had a wonderful afternoon of fun and festivities.

Some patients even participated in a dessert-making contest in which patients created their own “dirt” dessert that contained crushed Oreos, chocolate pudding and gummy worms. Chef Eric Justice helped Katie Daniels, Jordan Anderson-Urune, C.C. Torres and Will Biedenbach create their sweet treats. Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children President Bob Walker even made an appearance and spent time talking with patients and Cotton Patch employees.

C.C. Torres and Will Biedenbach*

C.C. Torres and Will Biedenbach*

Bob Walker*

Bob Walker*

Cotton Patch has worked to raise money for Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children through matching customer donations with gift cards! For every $25 a customer donates, Cotton Patch will match with a $25 gift card. This year, Cotton Patch aims to raise $250,000 to reach one million cumulative dollars donated. As of March 21, they have raised over $116,000. All Cotton Patch locations are participating, and donations can also be made online at scottishritehospital.org/cottonpatch.

Grovel Alert: 10th Annual Chick Lit Luncheon With Tim Gunn

Joanna Clarke and Paige McDaniel (File photo)

Joanna Clarke and Paige McDaniel (File photo)

Community Partners of DallasPaige McDaniel and her sidekick Joanna Clarke just sent word that Friday’s 10th Annual Chick Lit Luncheon at the Anatole is within a feather of being sold out. Well, but with tastemeister Tim Gunn as the center attraction, what else would you expect?

So, the scant remaining tickets will be available until 5 p.m. Thursday. Yipes! That’s tomorrow!

Suggestion: get your ticket pronto and even if you have one, upgrade. Why? Because the patron types are gonna have a party Thursday night and you just know you would have a blast.

Educational First Steps Oversteps Its $5M Goal To Provide High-Quality Early Education For At-Risk Children

It’s routine to hear that a group is launching a campaign to raise a load of money. That announcement triggers an uphill challenge to meet a monumental goal that’s beyond six figures. What makes it especially trying is the fact that there are so many deserving nonprofits after the same dollars. But there is good news. And that is the fact that North Texas has the most incredibly generous philanthropist anywhere. Whether it’s the $10 variety or the billionaire type, people in these parts put their dollars where it help those friends and strangers in need.

All that said, here is a perfect example of a fundraising campaign that more than achieved its goal.

Less than two years ago, Education First Steps kicked off its “Step Up” program expansion campaign with a goal of $5M. With that money the Dallas-based nonprofits planned “to bring high-quality early education to 4,800 at-risk children in North Texas every year, setting them on a path to school and life success.”

Not only did they hit their goal, they surpassed it with a whopping $5.9M, thanks to donations from 730 individuals and foundations including the following:

  • $1 million+: Dallas Women’s Foundation and Harold Simmons Foundation
  • $100,000 – $200,000: Lydia and Bill Addy, Anonymous, Alice and Bill Barnett, Jennifer and Jon Mosle, The Moody Foundation, Charles Munson, Mona and David Mona Munson and The Rees-Jones Foundation
  • $50,000 – $99,999: Anonymous, Don and Ruth Buchholz, Katherine C. Carmody Charitable Trust, The Dallas Foundation, Exxon Mobil, Hillcrest Foundation, Hoblitzelle Foundation, The Hoglund Foundation, Carl B. & Florence E. King Foundation, Laurie Wyly Matthews Fund, North Texas Giving Day, Norma and Don Stone and United Way of Metropolitan Dallas
  • $25,000 – $49,999: Bonnie and Gary Beck, Fran and Mark Berg, Fossil Foundation, Barb and Dan Garton, Beth and Jim Gold, Megan and Casey McManemin, Dave Munson Jr., John Munson, Najim Family Foundation, Susan Simon, Margaret and Jaime Spellings and Octavia Spencer
  • $10,000 – $24,999: 7-Eleven, Ben E. Keith, Nancy and John Breitfeller, The Communities Foundation of Texas, Dallas CityScape, Kathy Crow, Sally and Bill Estes, Sandra and Henry Estess, Rachel Goldberger and Shawn Orme, Josephine Hughes, Dorothy Kennington, Brett and Lester Levy, Michelle and Bill Lockhart, Sarah Losinger, John Munson, Partners Real Estate Group, Betty and Gerald Regard, The Rosewood Foundation, Julie and Trem Smith, Sterling Foundation, Michele Valdez and Gary Kennedy, CiCi and Giffen Weinmann Foundation

According to Education First Steps Executive Director John Breitfeller, “Breaking the cycle of poverty and underachievement requires disruptive, system-wide solutions. With the extraordinary investment the community has made in our work, Education First Steps is accelerating the spread of quality early childhood education in high-need neighborhoods and introducing new programs to make sure the best childcare centers remain strong and accessible to economically disadvantaged families.”

One of the results of the campaign was the creation of the Child Care Bridge Fund, thanks to the gift from the Dallas Women’s Foundation. It will provide “short-term scholarships for parents on the state subsidy wait list, so they can connect immediately with high-quality care for their children.” This issue was brought to the attention of many attending the Dallas Women’s Foundation’s 30th Annual Luncheon, where DFW President/CEO Ros Dawson described the organization’s Bridge Project that is helping women with childcare.

But the total money raised was even more that the original, hoped-for amount. Tarrant County kicked in additional funding, bringing a final count of more than $7M, which will help support the expansion of the program in Tarrant County. Since 2014, Educational First Steps “has increased the number of children it reaches in Tarrant County by 50 percent.”  Those contributing to the Tarrant County efforts included the following:

  • $100,000 – $249,999: Sid W. Richardson Foundation
  • $50,000 – $99,999: The Morris Foundation, Rainwater Charitable Foundation, The Ryan Foundation
  • $25,000 – $49,999: Community Foundation of North Texas, Eddleman – McFarland Day Nursery Fund, Helen Irwin Littauer Educational Trust, The Lowe Foundation
  • $10,000 – $24,999: The Ninnie L. Baird Foundation, Mary Potishman Lard Trust, The Miles Foundation

Thanks to this campaign overachieving its efforts, 4,800 children in Dallas and Tarrant counties will have a stronger foundation for lifelong learning.

New Friends New Life’s 2016 ProtectHer Awardees Were Revealed At Wings Luncheon Kick-Off Reception

Dadgummit! The wind picked up as the temperatures and rain fell on Tuesday, February 23. Still Mother’s Nature’s pooh-poohs didn’t dissuade New Friends New Life backers like newlyweds Annette Simmons and Jerry Fronterhouse, Carol Seay, Jan Osborn, Ashlee and Chris Kleinert, Caren Prothro, Dallas Police Chief David Brown, Carolyn Miller, Ray Hunt, Wendy Messmann, Joyce and Linus Wright and Sue Bailey.

Annette Simmons and Jerry Fronterhouse

Annette Simmons and Jerry Fronterhouse

Jeanne Johnson Phillips and Carolyn Miller

Jeanne Johnson Phillips and Carolyn Miller

They all gathered at the Bush Center for the official kick off of the Wings Luncheon that’s being chaired by Jeanne Johnson Phillips and benefiting New Friends New Life (NFNL).

It wasn’t your usual kick off. Everyone already knew that the 13th Annual Wings Luncheon keynote speaker would be Amal Clooney on Thursday, April 14, at Hilton Anatole.

No, instead it was the announcement of the ProtectHer Awards that would be presented at the luncheon by the New Friends New Life’s Men’s Advocacy Group Board. Receiving the awards will be

  • Ted Poe and Chris Kleinert

    Ted Poe and Chris Kleinert

    ProtectHer Award (National) — U.S. Sen. (TX.) John Cornyn and U.S. Rep. (TX. 2nd Congressional Dist.) Ted Poe, who sponsored “’The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act,’ that was signed into law on May 29, 2015, to improve law enforcement’s ability to target traffickers and buyers and protect and expand the rights of trafficking victims. The act, which increases criminal fines on convicted traffickers and child predators, will create about $60 million in federal grants that state and local governments can use for more shelter space, specialized court programs and law enforcement programs targeting human trafficking.”

  • Tan Parker, Jeanne John Phillips and Morgan Meyer

    Tan Parker, Jeanne John Phillips and Morgan Meyer

    ProtectHer Award (State) — “The 2015 Texas Legislative Session” accepted by State Rep. (District 108) Morgan Meyer and State Rep. (District 63) Tan Parker, who both have daughters and took active roles in the passing of 20 bills that would move Texas closer to a “no tolerance zone” for those exploiting women and children.

  • Katie Pedigo and Libby Spears

    Katie Pedigo and Libby Spears

    ProtectHer Award (Local) — Playground Curriculum’s Libby Spears, who wrote and directed “Playground” (2009) dealing with the child sex trade and produced by George Clooney, Steven Soderbergh and Abigail Disney (granddaughter of the late The Walt Disney Company Co-Founder Roy Disney).

As NFNL CEO Katie Pedigo told the group, “Human trafficking is not in a vacuum.” And it’s not going to be in this city, this state, the country, if NFNL has its way.

Following the announcement and acceptance speeches by all including John Cornyn via video, Nancy Ann Hunt thanked all for joining the movement to end human trafficking. Afterward, Nancy Ann admitted frustration that the effort had taken so long. But realizing that the issue was an age-old problem, she acknowledged that NFNL’s work was indeed paying off.

Dunkin’ Donuts And Baskin-Robbins Community Foundation To Open Newest Location With A $20,000 Check For North Texas Food Bank

Love those checks, especially the ones with no strings attached to ‘em. And that’s why this morning’s announcement by Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins Community Foundation is right up there with a Classic Banana Split with a cup of Dunkin’ chaser.

It seems that, to celebrate the grand opening of its combo restaurant at 14841 Coit Road on Wednesday, March 23, the foundation will present a $20,000 check to the North Texas Food Bank.

The funds “will provide 400 children with 4,000 backpacks filled with wholesome food during the summer, the hungriest time of the year.”

According to NTFB’s Jan Pruitt, who is still recovering from the over-the-top Empty Bowls on Friday, March 11, “The North Texas Food Bank’s children feeding programs are critical to supporting the one-in-four kids in North Texas, who are struggling with hunger. With support from The Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins Community Foundation, we can ensure that more kids have access to the food needed to learn and thrive.”

But there still more. Dunkin’ Donuts will also deliver breakfast to the teachers and faculty at nearby Dover Elementary the morning of the opening.