The Harvey Weinsteins Aren’t Limited To Hollywood

MySweetCharity

Allow me to tell you a story: There was a young woman who had been doing PR for a high-profile local company back in the late 1980s. As part of her responsibilities, she was to accompany the executives and personalities to special events and introduce them to the right people. 

It was at one large charity fundraiser that her “#Me too” took place. As the crowd gathered to hear the headliner, she stood next to the region’s top executive. Without warning he grabbed her hand and clutched it to his crotch. While there wasn’t much there, she still knew what had happened. Shocked, she looked at him and saw a smile, not of enjoyment but of conquest. Immediately she retrieved her hand and headed to the company’s table and told the second-in-command’s wife. She blew it off, saying, “Oh, yeah, he does that.”

On the way home, the young woman told her friends that she was in shock. She hadn’t had a drop to drink and never had any relationship with the man, who was married. Her friends comforted her, but felt helpless because one of them worked for “Handy Man.”

The following Monday the victim had a meeting with the company’s marketing director, telling her that she had to resign due to the episode. The marketing director was sympathetic but could do nothing because she, too, worked for the Handy Man. The young woman called a lawyer friend, telling him what had happened, and that she wanted to put a stop to this man’s abuse before it went any farther with other women. The lawyer bravely took the case on, despite the fact it wasn’t his forte.

Fast-track forward: After the suit was filed, she heard through the grapevine that the mother company had held interviews with management and staffers. Supposedly only one manager had claimed that the young woman was a troublemaker.

A mediation took place one day with the young woman making only four requests:

  • That the man not be in the room during the mediation.
  • That the company would provide a letter saying that her work with the company had been professional.
  • That the man not be fired. She wanted the company to keep an eye on him and prevent him from scourging others.
  • That the remaining months of her contract be fulfilled financially.

The first request was agreed to. He would not be present at any point. What a relief. One down and three to go.

For eight hours, the lawyer and the young woman waited it out in one of the mediator’s office. They talked  about their families. Occasionally, they were brought in to discuss developments with the company’s legal team and the man’s own lawyers, and yet nothing seemed to transpire.

By the end of the day, they were sent home with a wait-and-see comment.

The following Monday, the lawyer called with good news and not-so-good news.

Yes, they would fulfill the contract financially.

Now, for the not-so-good news:

They wouldn’t issue a letter.

But then the real blow hit: The company had cut ties with Handy Man. That one was a knife to the heart. He would inevitably move on to a new company and be allowed to stalk and abuse others.

Shocked, the young woman told her lawyer that the offer wasn’t acceptable. She couldn’t un-fire the man, but she wanted that letter. Her lawyer/friend said it wasn’t going to happen, and that she should accept the offer. She told him that she realized he was working with her on a contingency arrangement and she would compensate him, but, no. She either got the letter, or she would pursue the legal journey. He told her that they wouldn’t budge. She told him that she understood, but she had to proceed. They hung up. 

With that hangup, she felt as if she was in a vacuum. She had done nothing wrong, yet still she felt she was being victimized again. This time it wasn’t a man’s groping hand. It was a company’s denial of a piece of paper validating her.  

What kept her going was defiance. She had lost her demand for the company to keep him from spreading his problem to other unknowing organizations. It was obvious that the powers-that-be wanted to wash their hands of him. But she was not going to allow the company to have their way with her now. Their inquiries and interviews with staff members had already triggered rumors about her own reputation and her own disassociation with the company. She was not going to be victimized again .

Four hours later, she got a call from her lawyer friend. He sounded almost amazed in revealing that the company had agreed to the letter. Would she agree? Hell, yes.

In the days afterward, she received a call from a 20-something woman who had worked for the company. She had been stalked and received voicemails from the man intimidating her. She was grateful that he was out of her life for good.

The perpetrator went on his industry, got an executive job in another part of the country, and stayed married to his wife. The young woman moved on with her life, knowing that she had immediately taken a stand and legally tried to prevent his wanton ways.

So when people like Academy Award winners, political leaders and others write “#Me too,” one can’t help but think, “What did you do about it—and when?”

Texas Trailblazer Keynote Speaker Gretchen Carlson Connects The Dots Between Domestic Violence And Sexual Harassment In The Workplace

Since being a little girl in Minnesota with a love of playing the violin, Gretchen Carlson has made the rounds. From being embarrassed … no, make that humiliated … when a sales clerk announced, “We need the biggest little girl bra for the chubby girl,” to taking on one of the country’s mega-media powerhouses, she’s not only rounded the track, she’s landed in the winner’s circle.

That was the feel for the Texas Trailblazer Awards Luncheon crowd on Friday, October 6, at the Anatole.

But first, the backstory. Gretchen, who had landed in Dallas back in the late 1990s as a reporter and anchor at KXAS, was the keynote speaker for The Family Place‘s annual fundraising luncheon that celebrated Elizabeth Grandell and Lamisa Mustafa as the 2017 Verizon Scholarship Recipients, TexProtects as Advocacy Awardee, and Lynn McBee as Trailblazer of the Year, who received a standing ovation.

Initially the day was sort low-key with the VIP meet-and-greet in the Peacock Terrace. Unlike last year’s line around the room for the grip-and-grin with Ronan Farrow, this year started off a bit slow. One guest, who arrived 10 minutes into the by-invitation event, had a touch of a shock in his/her voice, “Where are all the people?” This answer was, they were chatting it up in the opposite side of the room.

Cindy Stager, Lynn McBee, Gretchen Carlson and KJ Sanger

But Co-Chairs Kristen “KJ” Sanger and Cindy Stager and Lynn McBee as well as Nancy Gopez were on hand as well as Jan Miller in a new haircut and a touch of tear in her eye. It seems that the legendary Miller-Rich household beagle Schumacher had suffered a stroke a couple of weeks before and crossed the Rainbow Bridge.

Jan Miller and Gretchen Carlson

In the meantime, the Chantilly Ballroom was being set up with an open feeling. As one person pointed out, there were generous aisles between the tables. Still, the count of 680 was down from the jam-packed TFP luncheon of 2016 with Ronan. On the screen were names of sponsors including Trammel (sic) S. Crow. That second “l” in Trammell is a tricky one.

At 11:46 a.m., a big voice announced that the program was going to start. He was a man of his word. The lights dimmed and a video was shown followed by Co-Chairs KJ and Cindy welcoming the group and Rev. Susan Robb providing the invocation.

Before Gretchen talked to the crowd including Connie O’Neill, Claire Emanuelson, Joanna Clarke, Paige Flink, Jill Tananbaum, Travis Hollman, Carol Seay, The Family Place CEO Paige Flink told of “Naomi,” who just the day before had met with her for a one-on-one. It seems that Naomi’s abusive situation had driven her to the breaking point. Her suicide note was written; she was going to take her five kids to the fire station and then she was going to a bridge from which to jump. After talking with Paige and understanding that the newly opened Ann Moody Place would provide shelter for her family, Naomi and Paige finished their chat, tearing up the suicide note.   

Paige added that had it not been for Ann Moody Place, Naomi might have become part of the statistics like the 194,000 violent acts and 158 murdered last year. That latter number was an increase over the year before. On a light noted she announced that the facility had received its first dog, Buddy, with his family. She finished her report on a positive note, saying that thanks to The Family Place, more than one-half million people had been saved thanks to the community’s support.

In addition to Paige’s celebrating her 26th anniversary with The Family Place, she had another 26-year Family Place vet, Betty Regard, join her on stage. Betty issued a $25,000 match challenge at 11:58 a.m. By 12:20 p.m., the challenge had already hauled in $15,948.

At 12:38 p.m., Gretchen arrived at the podium and showed her Stanford education smarts by telling the group of her days at KXAS back in 1998 when she did a 30-part series on domestic violence. While she admitted that a lot has changed, it hasn’t been enough.

Seamlessly, she transitioned into the eye-opening connection between domestic violence and sexual harassment in the workplace that she knew all too well from her 20s, when a man accosted her, to her headline-making split with the Fox News network. Both domestic violence and sexual harassment continue due to fear, embarrassment, and a lack of support, she said.

Highlights of her talk included:

  • Her mother suggested that she enter the Miss America pageant. Gretchen told her mother there was no way she would win because she was short, played a violin and “Minnesota is not a pageant state.” She entered anyway and won, despite pageant judge William Goldman’s describing her as Miss Piggy and admitting that he hated the violin.
  • After winning Miss America, she was interviewed by a reporter [Editor’s note: New York reporter Penny Crone], who quizzed her with such questions as which presidents were on the $5 and $20 bills. Ten years later, Gretchen spotted the reporter and asked if she recalled her when she was Miss America. Then Gretchen gave it to her, saying, “When I was Miss American, you tried to take me down. I just want you to know I’m a correspondent for CBS and you’re not.”
  • She was stalked for four years.
  • Her first encounter with sexual harassment was when she was in her 20s, when a TV cameraman asked her if she liked it when he put her mic on her breast.
  • 70% of women never report sexual harassment.
  • Misconceptions about sexual harassment include: women can just leave; women bring it on themselves; women make it up; women who do report it are after money or fame.
  • She has become an advocate about sexual harassment because of her children — “It’s all about the next generation.”
  • All proceeds from her book — “Be Fierce: Stop Harassment and Take Your Power Back,” which was coming out the following week, will go her “Gift of Courage” effort.
  • She pointed out three things that were needed to end such treatment:
    • Bystander support
    • Education
    • Government legislation

In closing, Gretchen made a surprise announcement: she was giving $10,000 to The Family Place.

But Gretchen isn’t gone. Come November, she’ll return to the area as part of the across-the-nation launch of workshops to empower women.

BTW, Gretchen didn’t talk about her headline-making situation with the late Roger Ailes. But just a few days later, women in the entertainment industry started following Gretchen’s lead, according to an article by Ronan about Harvey Weinstein‘s sexual harassment. They, like Gretchen, were not going to be silenced.

JUST IN: 2017 ReuNight Honorary Chairs Include Such Dallas Icons As Andersons, Joneses, Kirks, Nasher-Haemiseggers And A Pickens

The 2017 ReuNight Co-Couple Chairs Jennifer and Richard Dix and Kristi and Ron Hoyl are taking full advantage of having The Family Place’s high-roller fundraiser at the legendary Statler on Wednesday, November 8. After all, the former hotel had been the site of some of Dallas’ most memorable galas way back when. Ah, memories! For instance, that October 20 night in 1973 when oil baron Ed Cox threw a little soiree for his daughter Chan Cox. The grand ballroom was turned into an undersea grotto with aquariums placed in the walls and Skitch Henderson and his orchestra performing in a pirate ship. Just around 10 p.m. the Jackson Five performed on stage to the delight of the thousand heavy hitters.

But over the years, the hotel was upstaged by newcomers like the Hilton Anatole, the Hyatt Regency, the Ritz Carlton and the Omni Dallas Hotel. The Statler fell upon hard times. But thanks to a recent gazillion-buckaroo renovation, she was rejuvenated into a multi-use, luxury high-rise complex with residences, hotel rooms, offices and restaurants.

Charlotte and Shy Anderson (File photo)

Gene and Jerry Jones (File photo)

While the Dixes and Hoyls had already scheduled “unofficial Statler mascot” Llinda Llee Llama … no, not the original, but one of her great, great grandllamas… to be available for photo opps with the 200 guests in the Statler Courtyard Garden, they weren’t satisfied. They wanted something to “pay homage to Dallas icons.” So, they set their sites on some local heavy-hitting headliners to serve as honorary chairs. Boy, did they land ’em — Charlotte and Shy Anderson, Gene and Jerry Jones, Ron Kirk and Matrice Ellis Kirk, Nancy Nasher and David Haemisegger and T. Boone Pickens.

Ron Kirk and Matrice Ellis Kirk (File photo)

David Haemisegger and Nancy Nasher (File photo)

T. Boone Pickens (File photo)

Goodness! Talk about having folks who represent everything from sports and politics to retailing and energy. Makes perfect sense, since these are the elements that have made Dallas the powerhouse of Texas kingdoms.

The three-course dinner with wine pairings in the Grand Ballroom will be followed by a “curated live auction of luxury goods and trip packages.” Then it will be dancing on the original Statler dance floor and/or having a nightcap or two at Waterproof, the pool-deck bar.

Want to join the llama and other mamas and papas to support The Family Place? Here‘s where you can get your place at the dinner table.

Flamenco Dancers Kicked Up Their Heels To Benefit Children At Risk’s “A Night In Barcelona” At Hotel Zaza

Evidently Calvert Collins-Bratton and Vince Bratton have some pull with Mother Nature because the evening of Saturday, September 23, was just made for their “A Night in Barcelona” at Hotel Zaza. Benefiting Children at Risk, the festivities started off with a reception around the pool complete with flamenco dancers and then moved indoors for a delicious dinner. Here’s a report from the field:

Becky Hollands and Alex Abraham*

The evening began with a VIP poolside reception at the always fabulous Hotel Zaza. Chairs Calvert Collins-Bratton and Vince Bratton visited with guests who included Eric and Kate Sudol, former Dallas Cowboy Timmy Newsome, Stratton and Debbie Horres, Richard Collins, Steve Love, Susannah and Chris Watt, Ron Taylor, Michael Zangoei, Shara McClure and couture designer Becky Hollands.

Flamenco dancers*

Carole and Scott Murray*

Guests enjoyed the picturesque views of the Uptown Dallas Skyline before moving to the ballroom where they were swept into “A Night in Barcelona.” Guests were dazzled by flamenco dancers, bright colors and tropical breezes. Hosted by Children at Risk, this annual fall soiree benefits the children and families of North Texas.

Bob Sanborn*

Once in the ballroom, guests were welcomed by emcee Scott Murray who kept the event lively throughout the evening. As guests dined on grilled hanger steak, shellfish and vegetable paella with baby zucchini, and corn pudding, Children at Risk President and CEO, Dr. Bob Sanborn, and North Texas Managing Director, Dr. Charlotte Carlisle, shared highlights of how the nonprofit works tirelessly to ensure Texas children and families have access to healthy food, quality public education, evidence-based parenting programs and a safe environment free of traffickers.

Charlotte Carlisle*

After a delicious dessert of cinnamon-dusted churro with chocolate dipper and salted caramel pastry cream-filled profiterole and coffee, the Live Auction heated up. The exciting 2018 All-Star Game Package, including tickets to the Slam Dunk and 3-Point Shooting Competitions, and the NBA Legends Brunch, was won by Kyle Jennings; and a Romantic Stay in historic Jefferson, Texas, at the House of the Seasons, one of the Great Homes in Texas, plus dinner at Stillwater Inn and 2 pairs of hand-made slippers from Hadleigh’s, went to Dr. Martin Koonsman. Another big hit was the Aruba Vacation Package which included 5 nights in a beautiful five-bedroom, three-bathroom beachfront home on Malmok, just yards away from one of the most acclaimed snorkeling beaches on the island, and a pair of airline tickets. Pam Humphrey was the lucky winner.

Tom Lewis, Susan Sanders, Calvert and Vince Bratton*

Tom Lewis won the raffle, a 5-day trip to Barcelona, including airfare for two and five nights at the luxurious 5-star Monument Hotel located in the heart of Barcelona on the famed Paseo de Gracia.

The night ended with Dr. Sanborn and Dr. Carlisle thanking the 200 plus stylish guests, and wonderful sponsors and donors for their generosity to Texas children, before inviting everyone to kick up their heals with the Flamenco dancers.

Calvert Collins-Bratton And Vince Bratton Announced Plans For Children At Risk North Texas Chapter’s “A Night In Barcelona” Fundraiser

Dick Collins sat in his den checking his cellphone with his longtime friend Dale Robinowitz, as the entry of his Bluffview mansion filled to capacity with guests on Thursday, June 22. Just proved that everyone hadn’t evacuated the North Texas heat.

Vince Bratton, Calvert Collins Bratton and Stratton Horres

But then, what would you expect when Dick’s blonde daughter Calvert Collins-Bratton and her husband Vince Bratton put out the shout for the Children at Risk North Texas Chapter‘s kick-off party for A Night in Barcelona, which is slated for Saturday, September 23, at Hotel ZaZa?

Standing on the winding stairway, Children at Risk North Texas Managing Director Dr. Charlotte Carlisle welcomed the crowd, including Calvert’s mom Susan Collins, Children at Risk North Texas Chairman of the Board Stratton Horres and his wife Debbie Horres, Maddy Kulkarni, Lee Papert, Angela Nash, Ron Taylor and Timmy Newsome.

Angela Nash and Lee Papert

Timmy Newsome

Children at Risk COO Dr. Katie McConnell told of her days working in the public school system when she encountered children like Umberto, who was facing challenges each day while his mom worked three jobs. It was organizations like Children at Risk that offered programs to assist Umberto.

Charlotte Carlisle

Katie McConnell

Charlotte then told about two major problems that Children at Risk deal with:

  1. Food deserts where there are areas in which children don’t have access to food beyond junk food
  2. Human trafficking — “85-90% of reported child-sex trafficking cases occur to children, who were born in the United States”

After Charlotte handed the program over to Calvert, who described the evening’s festivities, including a raffle for a five-night stay at 5-star Monument Hotel In Barcelona with air fare for two, flamenco dancers, a sangria bar and tapas and a live auction that will include a package to the NBA All-Star game in Los Angeles. VIP ticketholders will attend a pre-party poolside before joining the rest of the guests in the Uptown Ballroom.

A Night In Barcelona

After that buildup, who could resist “a night in Barcelona”?

Among the sponsors that have already signed up are

  • Las Ramblas ($15,000) — Istation
  • Arc de Triomf ($5,000) — Energy Transfer, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Methodist Dallas, Wilson Elser, Debbie and Stratton Horres, Shara McClure and Deborah and David Roylance
  • Museum Picasso ($2,500) — UMB, Steve Love, Kate and Eric Sudol and Jan and Ron Taylor

JUST IN: Dallas Market Center CEO/President Cindy Morris To Receive Attitudes And Attire’s Kim Dawson Attitude Award

Attitudes and Attire Founder/Executive Director Lyn Berman has just revealed that Dallas Market Center CEO/President Cindy Morris will be the recipient of the 2018 Kim Dawson Attitude Award on Friday, February 23, in the Dallas Trade Mart’s Grand Pavilion.

Cindy Morris*

According to Lyn, “Cindy is a successful role model for all women, and we are thrilled to introduce her as our 2018 Kim Dawson Attitude Award recipient. I am grateful to Cindy and Dallas Market Center for their continued support of Attitudes and Attire over the past 21 years.”

Established in 1998 to “honor individuals whose standout personality and accomplishments exemplify the potential of all women. Named after the iconic Kim Dawson, the award recognizes individuals who are confident and committed with a high degree of integrity.”

Past award recipients have included Karen Farris, Caroline Rose Hunt, Sarah Losinger and the late Ebby Halliday.

Serving as honorary co-chairs for the 22nd Annual Luncheon and Fashion Show will be Susannah Denney and Jeff Hensley of Equest’s Hooves for Heroes Veterans Program.  

Since its founding in 1996, Attitudes and Attire has helped more than 21,000 women have their confidence restored through three programs

  • Core Program (Job Readiness and Self-Esteem Workshops),
  • Hopeful Smiles Restorative Dental Program and
  • Boots to Heels Women Veterans Program.
* Photo provided by Attitudes and Attire

Our Friends Place’s 14th Annual Gala – Auction And Casino Night Celebrated With Awards, Partying And Alumnae Accomplishments

There was a heck of a lot of celebrating over at the Omni Dallas on Saturday, April 29, thanks to Our Friends Place‘s 14th Annual Gala. From handing out awards, playing casino games, dining, dancing and most importantly hearing success stories from OFP graduates, it was a night to remember. Here’s a report from the field:

Tonnette Easter, Barbara Milo and Leslie Simmons*

Our Friends Place (OFP) celebrated their 14th Annual Gala – Auction And Casino Night on Saturday, April 29, at the beautiful Omni Dallas Hotel.  Honorary co-chairs included LuAnn and George Damiris and Debbie and Jack Gibson. Gala – Auction and Casino Night co-chairs included Tonnette Easter, Leslie Simmons and Barbara Milo.

Despite the blustery and rainy forecast, the event was well attended with those eager to bid on auction packages, play casino games and get their dance feet moving. 

Suzan E. Fenner*

Sharyl Weber and Sharon Pope*

The night started off with the presentation of The 13th Annual Ebby Awards to Suzan E. Fenner and the Northwood Woman’s Club represented by NWC President Sheryl Weber and Board Member Sharon Pope. Each recipient was honored to be recognized for their significant contributions and achievements in the advancement of girls and/or women in North Texas. The award is named after Ebby Halliday Acers, who was a tireless and passionate advocate for women in the community, and she was the first recipient of this award in 2005.

Another heartfelt highlight occurred when a few OFP alumnae were recognized for their achievements and growth through the program. We introduced Morgan and Shabnam, recent alums who shared their story about being homeless through video to a completely silent room of over 450 people. The impact of the OFP program was evident when both young ladies came to the stage to share updates.

Morgan finished her Associates Degree at Richland College while at Our Friends Place and is now living in an apartment and going to school at Texas Women’s University in Denton.

Sue Hesseltine and Cindy Tonnessen*

Shabnam is continuing her Year Up program through El Centro College and will graduate in late summer. She also works with Dallas ISD as a Homeless Youth Advocate at a local high school.

“Thanks to everyone who made our 14th Annual Gala – Auction and Casino Night such a success,” said Our Friends Place Executive Director Sue Thiers Hesseltine. “With the record number of guests, we were able to increase awareness of Our Friends Place, while having a great time raising funds to help the young women who call Our Friends Place home.” 

Gala sponsors, whose contributions made the evening an even greater success, included:

  • Diamond ($15,000) – Ben E. Keith Co.
  • Ruby ($10,000) – Suzan and Peter Fenner and Debbie and Jack Gibson
  • Emerald ($5,000) – BDO, Ebby Halliday Realtors, HollyFrontier, Paladin Partners, PWC, Laura and Jerry Fonville, Jan Wilkes/Debbie and Clarence Woosley and The Lee Family Charitable Fund
  • Jade ($3,000) and Sapphire ($2,000) – EY, The Fab Four, 12 General Contracting Services, Heather Bennett/Angela Maverick/Micki Seager/Cindy Tonnessen, Diane and Curtis Hawkins, TDKrause Consulting and Peggy Busby, Leslie Simmons and Rick Johnson, The Ryan Foundation, Brenda and David Snitzer and Jill and Brad Svoboda 
  • Underwriters — Bradford Commercial Real Estate, Frost Bank, Sue and Jack Hesseltine, Hunton & Williams LLP, Angela Maverick and Sean Baxley, Leslie Simmons and Rick Johnson, Jackson-Shaw Foundation, and Sutton Frost Cary LLP
* Photo provided by Our Friends Place

The Family Place Crew Prepares 50,000-Square-Foot Ann Moody Place For Sunday’s Invitation-Only Open House

Paige Flink

It’s been years in the making, but The Family Place’s Ann Moody Place is in the final stages of preparation for its Sunday open house. Like Gen. Eisenhower preparing for D-Day, The Family Place CEO Paige Flink is managing every last minute detail for the by-invitation-only event. (You might not want to let your children see this photo because they might get the idea that it’s okay to stand on the couch.)

Thanks to women and men, companies and foundations and professionals and volunteers, this 50,000-square-foot facility is a work from the heart, mind and pocketbook .

Everything from the brilliant layout to the little touches like beds with pillows embroidered with “Dream Big” has been painstakingly created to help women and their families escaping domestic abuse and taking the journey to a safe and better life.

Perhaps it can all be summed up on a sign that welcomes clients (see last photo). 

Ann Moody Place sign

BTW, don’t get your cute nose out of joint because you didn’t score an invite to the opening. The reason for the “by-invitation-only” status is due to the need to keep the facility’s location “confidential” for the protection of its clients.

However, if you know someone in need of the services provided at The Family Place, please do not hesitate to have them contact the staff at its hotline: 214.941.1991.

33rd Annual Care Dallas Breakfast To Feature Actress/Author Mackenzie Phillips And Breathe Life Healing Center Founder Brad Lamm

Perhaps Mackenzie Phillips was the first one to spot Harrison Ford as a hunk in 1973 when she and Paul Le Mat drag raced with him back in “American Graffiti.” She was just 14 years old and already part of the celeb universe being the daughter of The Mamas and The PapasJohn Phillips. The hit movie had hardly made the rounds before Mackenzie was in the TV comedy “One Day at a Time.”

By the third season of the show, the 19-year-old Mackenzie was already in hot water that included arrests for disorderly conduct, drug and alcohol abuse, two near-fatal overdoses and various stints in rehab. Despite efforts to deal with her addictions, she relapsed time and time again even admitting to using cocaine when she was pregnant with her son Shane Barakan.

While she appeared to have cleaned up her act by 2010, she also made headlines in 2009 with her telling Oprah Winfrey that “she was raped by her father in a hotel room when she was 18 while passed out after a drug binge but continued to use drugs and have consensual sex with him for years.”

Since that time Mackenzie’s life has gained a sense of normalcy. In 2013 she became a Primary Substance Use Counselor and began working in the addiction field as a counselor. Just last year she joined the Breathe Life Healing Center’s staff.

Mackenzie Phillips*

Brad Lamm*

According to Breathe Life Healing Centers Founder Brad Lamm, “We are thrilled to have Mack join the Breathe family. Our clients will no doubt benefit from her expertise in the field and her personal journey to recovery. She has recovered so much – a life rich in value and substance and I cannot wait to collaborate with her. She is a brave warrior who has trudged a long road, and has built a true bridge back to life. Plus, she’s not a glum gal!”

33rd Annual CARE Dallas Breakfast Chair Mary Martin just reported that both Mackenzie and Brad will be the featured guests at the Care Dallas fundraiser at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, November 15, at the Dallas Country Club. Honorary Event Co-Chairs are Lindsay and George Billingsley.

In addition to the talk by Mackenzie and Brad, Charles Carneal will receive Margaret Sharpe Award and JDs Chippery will be presented the Community Partner Award.

While individual tickets are not available now, tables and sponsorships are. Check here to get your spot.

* Photo provided by Care Dallas

14th Annual New Friends New Life Luncheon Speaker Ashton Kutcher Testified On Human Trafficking And Blew A Kiss To Sen. John McCain

Ashton Kutcher*

New Friends New Life speaker Ashton Kutcher proved yesterday why he was the pick of the litter to be the keynote speaker for the 14th New Friend New Life Luncheon at the Omni Dallas Hotel on Wednesday, May 10.

The 39-year-old father of wee ones Wyatt Kutcher and Dimitri Kutcher gave an “emotional” presentation before a Congressional committee including Sen. John McCain about human trafficking.

In appreciation for Sen. McCain’s response, Ashton blew him a kiss.

The young actor/businessman/co-founder of Thorn is proving to be a force to be reckoned with on the subject matter by ramping up his public voice on this crime against the innocents.

At this time only sponsorships are available. If space permits, individual tickets will become available in late March. But why wait? Get your pals together and go for a sponsorship.

* Photo provided by New Friends New Life

MySweetWishList: New Friends New Life

According to New Friends New Life Executive Director Kelly Cruse,

Kelly Cruse*

“My wish is that Dallas will become a city free of human trafficking! The Dallas sex trade is a $99-million enterprise, and I wish for this to be fully eradicated.

“I wish for an end to the entrapment of our most vulnerable girls and women into this horrific crime. The average age of entry into the American sex trade is only 13 years old.

“I wish for the continued growth and success of New Friends New Life as this team bravely stands on the front lines each day to restore and empower formerly trafficked girls and sexually exploited women and their children.

“I wish for the increased sharing of the manKINDness curriculum in local schools to educate the next generation of young men on how to properly respect and value women and themselves, and to encourage them to become part of the solution.

“I wish for more companies to stand up and join the No Harm Network and publicly state that they will maintain efforts that protect teen girls and women from the harm of human trafficking and sexual exploitation.

“I wish for a sold out New Friends New Life luncheon on Wednesday, May 10, to ensure we have the necessary funds to deliver current and expanded services to survivors in our community.

“And I wish that anyone passionate about joining this important mission acts now by donating time or resources to stand with the team at New Friends New Life as we say ‘not our girls, not our city!’ www.newfriendsnewlife.org.”

-By Kelly Cruse, New Friends New Life executive director

* Photo provided by New Friends New Life

Genesis HeROs’ Gentlemen’s Night Had Cigar Rollings, Whiskey Tastings And Membership Sign-Ups At The Crow Library

The rain gods, “Drip” and “Sprinkle,” decided to hedge their appearance in North Texas on Wednesday, November 2. Perhaps it was because of the seventh World Series game, or the CMAs. Whatever.

Nearly 200 gents and their fav gals held forth at Kathy and Harlan Crow’s library, complete with shoes shines and cigar rolling on the covered side terrace and whiskey tastings in Harlan’s better-than-real-life Oval Office.  

Harlan Crow's Oval Office

Harlan Crow’s Oval Office

In the main room, a huge drop screen was on the stage where there is usually a piano. Instead guests could see live play-by-play of the Fall Classic.

And what was the uproarious occasion demanding stogies, drops screens, shoe shines and all those guy-like activities? Why, it was the inaugural Gentlemen’s Night created by Genesis Women’s Shelter’s Genesis HeROs program. “We wanted to do something that was fun for the guys,” said Jan Langbein, the Genesis Women’s Shelter CEO.

Chris and Nancy Mulder

Chris and Nancy Mulder

Morgan Meyer

Morgan Meyer

And what a gathering of eagles it was, including Texas State Rep. Morgan Meyer, Judge Nancy and Chris Mulder, Lisa and Marvin Singleton, Kristen Howell, Daniel Roby and Amber and Josh Ragsdale, the W.H. Adamson High School football coach who was the recipient of the 2015 HeRO Award for “taking a public stand against domestic violence by serving as a role model, mentor and change agent for W.H. Adamson High School football players and the greater Dallas community.”

Josh and Amber Ragsdale and Daniel Roby

Josh and Amber Ragsdale and Daniel Roby

For some, it was a return to one of country’s most outstanding private collections; for others, it was a first time at a wonderland of historic treasures. As one young woman pointed out Lincoln’s itty-bitty desk in Congress, Carolyn Miller in the adjacent alcove was focused on Lincoln’s death mask.

Carolyn Miller

Carolyn Miller

Crayton Webb and Jan Langbein

Crayton Webb and Jan Langbein

Dang, but it almost got embarrassing as CEO Jan and HeROs President Crayton Webb exchanged platitudes on stage with each other. Said Jan, of Crayton’s heartfelt speaking style: “I don’t know whether to vote for him, or to pass the collection plate. Ladies and gentlemen, the Rev. Crayton Webb!”

Crayton said, “I’m here to say, the good guys have got to do their part” against domestic abuse. He encouraged the multitude of men to join up and take a pledge to “create safe homes and a safe community for domestic violence survivors” and to commit to zero tolerance for domestic abuse in the community. Already on board are Jason Adams, Travis Armayor, Chris Ayres, Elias Bahar, David Camp, Chief (Ret.) Lowell Cannaday, David Carlock, Kendall Castello, Randy Golden, Taly Hafffar, Holt Haynsworth, Clint Hennen, Bill Howell, Heath Hyde, Chris Kolczun, Andrew Marcus, Tony McGuire, Prentis Murphy, Scott Murray, David Novak, Bryon Sanders, Lt. (Ret.) Miguel Sarmiento, Jim Savage and Rev. R. Casey Shobe.

Memberships range from the active members ($100 annually) to lifetime members (one-time payment of $1,000). Concluded Crayton: “We need your help.”

Dallas City Councilmember Jennifer Staubach Gates Receives Mosaic Family Services’ 2016 Champion of Human Rights Award

Accidents happen and the MySweetCharity elves with Queenie at the helm experienced one yesterday. Instead of posting coverage of the Mosaic Family Services 7th Annual Gala honoring Dallas City Counilmember Jennifer Staubach Gates, they reposted the September 20th patron party. Well, duh!

So, here is the report from the field about the Thursday, October 20, fundraiser at The Empire Room. Our apologies to all for MSC’s dying brain cells.

Elizabeth Weathersby and Melissa Green*

Elizabeth Weathersby and Melissa Green*

Co-chairs Melissa Green and Elizabeth Weathersby, along with honorary chair Lana Byrne welcomed over 330 attendees to Mosaic Family Services 7th Annual Gala on Thursday, October 20, from 7–11 p.m. at The Empire Room in the Dallas Design District.

Partygoers including Joe Byrne, Camilo Munar, Yujin Heo, Jo Mattison, Bert Smith, Ashley Anderson Smith, Jenny and Matt Ozee, Sue de Mille Minyard and Jim Minyard, Noosia and Scot Sookarow, Vicky and Doug Lattner, Beth Conner, Hannah and Adam Forbes, Sylvia Gutierrez, Le Ta and the Gates clan (JohnGates, Jordan Gates and Jessica and Will Whitsitt) arrived and mingled as they enjoyed cocktails and light bites courtesy of Stock & Barrel. Guests perused the silent auction, curated by auction chair Nusia Sookarow, and enjoyed the casino tables, while DJ Lamont Carlis provided the music.

John Gates and Jennifer Staubach Gates, Jordan Gates, Jessica and Will Whitsitt*

John Gates and Jennifer Staubach Gates, Jordan Gates, Jessica and Will Whitsitt*

As guests were seated for dinner, master of ceremonies Steve Kemble took the stage to welcome everyone. Stock & Barrel’s wood grilled romaine salad with Bartlett pear, Danish blue cheese, garlic croutons and toasted pecan vinaigrette was served family style as co-chairs Elizabeth Weathersby and Melissa Green thanked attendees for their support of the clients served by Mosaic Family Services.

Kemble then introduced Dallas Police Department’s Interim Chief David Pughes for the presentation of the 2016 Champion of Human Rights Award to councilmember Jennifer Staubach Gates. Chief Pughes shared his admiration for Gates and the tremendous work she has done on behalf of Dallas’ City Council as the Domestic Violence Taskforce Chair, helping to bridge communication between the Dallas Police Department, the District Attorney’s office, judges and community partners in an effort to end domestic violence in Dallas.

Interim Chief Pughes was followed by Gates’ mother, one of Dallas’ beloved philanthropist and community volunteers, Marianne Staubach. Staubach shared personal stories of Jennifer’s persuasiveness, persistence and compassion for others, which started as a young girl, laying the foundation for the successful woman she is today – wife, mom to two daughters, grandmother to two grandsons, passionate volunteer, registered nurse, Dallas City Councilmember and much more.

Jennifer Staubach Gates, David Pughes and Marianne Staubach*

Jennifer Staubach Gates, David Pughes and Marianne Staubach*

Pughes and Staubach then jointly presented Gates with the 2016 Champion of Human Rights Award. The Champion of Human Rights Award is presented each year to individuals and/or groups who strive to ensure the protection of the basic human rights and fundamental freedoms to which all human beings are entitled. Councilmember Gates has shown remarkable dedication to making a difference in the lives of Dallas residents, particularly survivors of domestic violence. Her extraordinary work with the Domestic Violence Task Force and Public Safety Committee continues to bring awareness to human rights abuses and empowers the clients we serve.
 

Past award recipients include director and filmmaker Libby Spears; fashion designer Abi Ferrin; Judge Roberto Canas, Jr., presiding judge of Dallas County Criminal Court No. 10; Genesis Women’s Shelter Executive Director Jan Langbein and The Family Place Executive Director Paige Flink; Ambassador-At-Large Luis CdeBaca; and local philanthropist/women’s and human rights activist Lauren Embrey.

Kimberly*

Kimberly*

Kimberly, a survivor of domestic violence and sex trafficking, followed with her personal story. After becoming pregnant by her trafficker, she knew that she wanted a better life for herself and her son. Through Mosaic Family Services, she was able to find counseling, find a place to live, help gaining employment and life-skills guidance. With her son seated nearby, Kimberly was given a standing ovation for her courage to share her story and in celebration of her success.

Stock & Barrel’s family-style dinner continued with harissa honey glazed chicken with Thai basil and mint and kalbi style grilled short rib steaks with watercress salad and crispy shallots, served with goat cheese dumplings with Brussel sprouts petals, grilled corn, green curry and coconut.  Dessert of warm toffee croissant bread pudding with butter caramel cream and salted English toffee followed.

After dinner partygoers hit the dance floor, tried their luck at the casino tables or placed last minute bids in the silent auction. As the evening came to a close, patrons received a take-home treat of a mini-bundt cake donated by Nothing Bundt Cakes, a gift certificate to Stock & Barrel and a gift card from SoulCycle for one free class.

* Photo credits: Bob Manzano and Wesley Holmes

Music And Stories Touch Guests At Dallas CASA Patron Party

The main special event, Dallas CASA’s annual Champion of Children Award dinner, was still more than a week away. But 120 guests at the nonprofit’s patron party on Tuesday, October 18, at Dallas CASA were excited to be privy to a special “mini-event” of their own. Here’s a report from the field:

The Dallas CASA Champion of Children patron party was full of special guests and friends of Dallas CASA. But the real treat came from three people you might not know—Ann Marie Hudson Brink, Angela Fuller Heyde and Nan Zhang.

Ann Marie Hudson Brink, Nan Zhang and Angela Fuller Heyde*

Ann Marie Hudson Brink, Nan Zhang and Angela Fuller Heyde*

The three are all members of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. In their free time, they’re also volunteer child advocates for CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates). Ann Marie told a story that moved some of the guests to tears:

“My viola is made of wood, and the best wood for making stringed instruments comes from an area in the Alps just north of Italy. The most prized trees grow right at the timberline on the north face of the mountains, where the air is thin and cold. There is very little sun and the soil is poor. Instrument makers will cut the tree when they are at their absolute weakest, when the sap has gone to the roots. They will even wait until the moon is the other side of the earth so that gravity has pulled as much sap away from the trunk as possible.  Isn’t it amazing that from the harshest conditions come the most treasured trees that are crafted into instruments that sing and last for generations to come?

“I have been an advocate for eight children during the past five years, and what has struck me about each of these children is their resiliency and strength. They have lived through the harshest conditions, surviving not only the unspeakable but sometimes even the unthinkable. And yet with each visit I get a smile and a hug. This is why I’ve continued as a CASA volunteer, because I have faith that the children I advocate for will grow into healthy and happy adults and that, like those trees high up in the Alps, their lives can be transformed.”

After the three musicians introduced themselves, they performed an extraordinary composition by Franz Schubert for the guests, who listened attentively.

Kathleen LaValle and Mike and Micki Rawlings*

Kathleen LaValle and Mike and Micki Rawlings*

Honorary hosts for the patron party, held at Dallas CASA’s two-year-old building in the Wilson Historic District, were Sally and Forrest Hoglund. VIPS in attendance included longtime Dallas CASA supporter Caroline Rose Hunt and Robert Brackbill, Dallas County Commissioner Theresa Daniel, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, and Champion of Children Award Dinner Honorary Co-Chairs Micki and Mayor Mike Rawlings.

Mike and Jan Brosin*

Mike and Jan Brosin*

This year’s Judge Barefoot Sanders Champion of Children Award recipient is NorthPark Center, for its commitment and dedication to bettering the lives of Dallas-area children, particularly those whose lives have been marked by abuse, neglect or adversity. For 21 years, NorthPark Center has served as host for Dallas CASA’s well-known Parade of Playhouses, the nonprofit’s signature awareness event.

Champion of Children presenting sponsor Crest Cadillac/Crest Infiniti’s Jana and Mike Brosin were on hand for the patron party. Other sponsors for the Wednesday, October 27, dinner at the Fairmont include:

Karen Carney and Kristy Hoglund*

Karen Carney and Kristy Hoglund*

  • Platinum sponsors — AT&T, Karen and Mark Carney and Kristy Hoglund Robinson with The Hoglund Foundation, Dycom, Exxon Mobil Corp., Aubrey and John Labanowski, Pioneer Natural Resources, Angela and Jim Thompson and Leslie and Geoff Wayne.
  • Crystal sponsors — Citi, Ericsson, Marion and Bennett Glazer and Barbara and Sheldon I. Stein with Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits.

Champion of Children Award Dinner co-chairs are Christine and Jonathan Bassham, Karen and Mark Carney, Jeanne and Joseph Manogue and Kristy Hoglund Robinson. Featured speaker will be Antwone Fisher, whose tragic story of a childhood in an abusive foster home became the subject for a 2002 movie starring Denzel Washington.

* Photo credit: Sylvia Elzafon

Area Fundraisers Rally To Provide More Shelter And Services For Domestic Abuse Victims

What if someone hollered, “Help!” and no one could respond? Or, if they did, they sadly admitted they couldn’t help? That’s what The Family Place and other shelters have had to admit. “No vacancy!” has been posted, separating those in abusive situations trying to escape.

As of Friday, The Family Place was filled to capacity with 127 clients in the shelter and hotels, of which 83 were children.

Mike Rawlings (File photo)

Mike Rawlings (File photo)

Jennifer Staubach Gates (File photo)

Jennifer Staubach Gates (File photo)

According to the report presented by Mayor Mike Rawlings and Councilperson Jennifer Staubach Gates Friday morning, the following ugly statistics were revealed:

  • 10,154 women, children and men were turned away in the past year from shelters due to lack of space
  • 29,905 calls were received by the Dallas Police Department that were determined to be related to domestic violence
  • 30 fatalities resulted in the past two years due to domestic violence. Sadly, none of the victims reported concerns about their well-being.

The good side of the report is that victims are rising above their abuse and reaching out for help. The very-not-good-side is that their cry for help cannot be satisfied due to lack of capabilities.

The hopeful news is that major entities like Dallas Women’s Foundation, Communities Foundation of Texas, Mary Kay and Verizon have come together to defeat the physical violence living in households. But these organizations, as powerful and influential as they are, can’t shoulder the responsibility alone.

To help these people — both men and women — funding is needed from other resources. In addition to The Family Place’s Partners’ Card underway and the Texas Trailblazer Luncheon, there is the upcoming ReuNight.

This mega-must-attend affair was slated to start with cocktails in the shiny, new Forty Five Ten. Then the stellar guests including designer Donna Karan were to mosey over to The Joule’s Terrace for din-din and the lively auction.

Faisal Halum and Brian Bolke (File photo)

Faisal Halum and Brian Bolke (File photo)

Michael and Shelle Sills (File photo)

Michael and Shelle Sills (File photo)

That was the plan, but plans do change and this one did a 180-degree turn. Due to the cozy digs at The Terrace and the demands by those on the wait list, Event Co-Chairs Brian Bolke and Faisal Halum and Shelle and Michael Sills plus Honorary Chair Mary Clare Finney arranged to have the dinner/auction moved to the lawn in front of The Eyeball.

Mary Clare Finney (File photo)

Mary Clare Finney (File photo)

Todd Fiscus (File photo)

Todd Fiscus (File photo)

Paige Flink (File photo)

Paige Flink (File photo)

So the POA is that cocktails will be served in the brand, spanking new Forty Five Ten. Then guests will stroll next door to The Eye Of Dallas to sup in a tented dining room arranged by event planner extraordinaire Todd Fiscus. In addition to dessert, there will be the live auction. And, baby, this auction is going to have an extremely limited number of to-die-for packages. Stay tuned.

Thanks to the move, folks who were on the waiting list are now on the guest list. So, hustle, hustle because there just may room for you and your fav person.

But let’s get back to where the funds are going. According to The Family Place’s CEO Paige Flink, “This is why we are building a new Central Dallas Counseling Center and additional Emergency Shelter space at Ann Moody Place. You can contribute to the Legacy Campaign and help us build for the future so we don’t have to turn anyone away.

“You can buy a Partners Card now through November 6. The $70 for each card purchase goes directly to The Family Place and provides one night of safety for a woman and her child.”

Hopefully, big funding will take place at ReuNight because there are men, women and children depending upon each penny.

Texas Trailblazer Awards Luncheon Speaker Ronan Farrow Described Domestic Violence as A Form Of Terrorism Within The Home

Noontime on Tuesday, October 4, had something for everyone. But, alas, along with the plethora of choices, decisions had to be made. For more than a thousand, the answer was The Family Place’s 2016 Texas Trailblazer Awards Luncheon at the Hilton Anatole.

After all, Luncheon Co-Chairs Lisa and Marvin Singleton had arranged for an all-star lineup — honorees Antioch Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church, Dallas Cowboys First Daughter Charlotte Jones Anderson and Dallas Police Chief David Brown along with Honorary Co-Chairs Pat and Emmitt Smith and keynote speaker Ronan Farrow.

With that cast of headliners, it was understandable that some didn’t make it. They had very good excuses. Pat Smith was with her dad, who was undergoing surgery, and since it was his last day as Dallas police chief David Brown was back at headquarters spending his last few hours with his comrades.

But the MIAs were hardly noticed in the VIP meet-and-greet with loads of guests including Lynn and Allan McBee (he’s been rehearsing with the Dallas Opera), Ros Dawson, Underwriting Co-Chair Carol Seay and Phyllis Comu who reported that she relieved not to be waking up in the middle of night in preparation for last month’s Fur Ball.

At 11:10 the man-of-the-hour Ronan slipped and looked like any very cool 20-something. But among this stiletto and silk skirt crowd that type of fella couldn’t make it by totally unnoticed, so word quickly made the rounds the “he” was in the room.

Sure, he had famous genes, but on his own Ronan had accomplished so much in his 28 years. Having graduated from college at the age of 15 and was accepted by Yale Law School at when he was 16. He deferred attendance “to work as special adviser to former U.N. Ambassador Richard Holbrooke.” Ronan did earn his law degree before he was 24. Named a Rhodes Scholar in 2012, he was leaving after the luncheon for Oxford London to defend his dissertation on violence. And that was just a smidgen of his credentials.

Regarded by many within the national media as the spokesperson for the millennial generation, he was asked his opinion if the flood of aging baby boomers might overwhelm the millennials. Without hesitation, Ronan didn’t hesitate and responded, “We don’t have the problems that say China has. There are a lot of parts in the world where there’s going to be this massive imbalance of generations and it’s going to cause all sorts of social tension. I think we’re going to be okay in the United States.”

Marvin and Lisa Singleton, Ronan Farrow, Charlotte Jones Anderson and Emmitt Smith

Marvin and Lisa Singleton, Ronan Farrow, Charlotte Jones Anderson and Emmitt Smith

Ronan Farrow, Lisa and Marvin Singleton, Charlotte Jones Anderson and Emmitt Smith

Ronan Farrow, Lisa and Marvin Singleton, Charlotte Jones Anderson and Emmitt Smith

Then taking his place in front of The Family Place backdrop, Ronan looked a bit bewildered by the grip-and-grin setup. One photographer had the VIP type shot in front of the backdrop and a second one would have step to the far left to be shot in front of a curtain. The explanation was that a lot of the media didn’t want shots in front the sponsor board. Oh.

At times the meet-and-greet seemed a bit unorganized. Unlike other photo opps where one staffer/volunteer stood at the front of the line advising guests to place their purse on the table and move quickly, this one was a little more casual. While the lineup of guests waiting their turn for a photo with Ronan stretched the length of the room, some were a little surprised to see others standing nearby and hopping into additional photos “with friends.” Wonder if Emily Post had a section on cutting in line?

Nevertheless, Ronan showed his cool factor and good naturedly went with the flow. However, he did perk up like a kid when he saw Charlotte approach. They hugged and he congratulated her on the award. Then they posed for photos with Emmitt Smith adding to the cool factor.

Erin Young Garrett, Cindy North and Angela Batra

Erin Young Garrett, Cindy North and Angela Batra

As the photo session wound down, guests headed to the Chantilly Ballroom. Snapshots around the room: Cindy North was taking a break from being with her dad at UT Southwestern following a double lung transplant. She was lunching with her plan Erin Young Garrett and Angela Batra … 2017 Cattle Baron’s Ball Co-Chairs Sunie Solomon and Anne Stodghill reported that they were focusing on the next ten days of supporting 2016 CBB Co-Chairs Cara French and Andrea Weber’s American Cancer Society fundraising on Saturday, October 15, at Gilley’s… and others including Annette Simmons, Anita Arnold, Sandy Chapman, Kimber Hartmann, Kelli and Jerry Ford, Joyce Fox, Sally Hoglund and Distinguished Co-Chair Julie Turner.

Kelli and Jerry Ford

Kelli and Jerry Ford

Annette Simmons and Anita Arnold

Annette Simmons and Anita Arnold

Sune Solomon and Anne Stodghill

Sunie Solomon and Anne Stodghill

Joyce Fox

Joyce Fox

The guests settled down because they had a full agenda starting off with Lisa and Marvin welcoming the guests, Rev. Abe Cooper Jr. of Antioch Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church providing the invocation and a video address by Mayor Mike Rawlings “officially welcoming” and thanking attendees for supporting The Family Place and recognizing the honorees and his hero The Family Place CEO Paige Flink.

Following the video, Paige provided a state of the union for the organization that has been on the forefront of providing assistance for victims of domestic abuse. Among the developments is the new 40,000-square-foot Ann Moody Place that is currently under construction. It has been specifically designed for victims of family violence. Among the many offerings that Paige listed, it was interesting to note that the facility’s ability to accept family pets received applause from the audience. It seems, according to Paige that there are families that will not seek help if it means leaving their pet behind.

Paige Flink, James Dondero and Sally Hoglund

Paige Flink, James Dondero and Sally Hoglund

She then reported that they were in the final $2.8M stretch of their capital campaign’s goal of $16.5M. This news was a perfect lead in for the introduction of Highland Capital Management Co-Founder/President Jim Dondero, who announced “the firm has awarded a $1-million challenge grant to help The Family Place raise the final $2.8 million for its Legacy Campaign in the next six months.”

In other words as Paige explained, Highland Capital Management was offering $1M, if The Family Place could raise $2M. Immediately, Paige told all to pull out their phones and instructed on how to submit their donation. The place looked like a Pokemon Go convention.

After lunch, Paige was back at the podium with ugly statistics about domestic abuse including 158 women killed in the state of Texas. That was an increase of almost 20% over 2015. On the screen were the names of 16 women, who were murdered in Dallas and Collin counties. None of these women had services at The Family Place.

Recent developments by The Family Place have been the opening of a counseling facility in McKinney and on Sunday, October 30, the state’s first shelter for men will be opened. In the past, The Family Place has had to put these male victims of domestic abuse in hotels which was not therapeutic nor cost effective.

In recognition of those making a difference, the awards were presented with Major Alfred Diorio of the Domestic Violence Unit standing in for Chief Brown.

Marvin Singleton, Alfred Diorio and Lisa Singleton

Marvin Singleton, Alfred Diorio and Lisa Singleton

In accepting her award as Texas Trailblazer of the Year, Charlotte eloquently told how the Cowboys and the NFL were taking the situation of domestic abuse to heart. As part of their effort, she has had Paige involved in working with the Dallas Cowboys to “face this issue together.”

It was then time for Ronan to speak to the group and that he did. He started of saying, “I am very, very nerdy.” Highlights of his talk were:

Ronan Farrow

Ronan Farrow

  • His visiting The Family Place that morning and talking with a hotline operator by the name of Maria. She told him that it is sometimes so hard to get callers to openly speak about their abusive situation. “They say they’re only being yelled at, when in fact what’s happening is brutal abuse.”
  • He came to the lunch in two respects: “As a reporter who has tried in earnest to cover this issue and also, of course, I come to you as a sibling and as a son, whose life has been profoundly shaped by family abuse. In both respects I’ve seen two things. One, how far we have come and how the conversation around this issue is changing. And, two, how much farther we still have to go.”
  • Charlotte Jones Anderson: “It is fitting that The Family Place is honoring Charlotte Jones Anderson here today. She has been at the center of the firestorm over the league [NFL]. But she has also been in the transformation of how they approach this issue. I was talking with her about it yesterday and saying that I was going to mention some of my reporting on this. And she told me that, ‘You know the media often exclusively focuses on the negative and not progress being made. I work at basic cable. This is not news to me. She’s right. There is progress.”
  • His own family experiences: “It was also two years ago in that same time frame (during the Ray Rice episode) that my sister Dylan Farrow wrote about her own experiences with domestic abuse alleging that our father Woody Allen had groomed her as a young girl with inappropriate touching and had eventually sexually assaulted her when she was seven years old. It’s a story not unlike experienced by women at the shelter I was at today. Whether you are famous or live a completely private life, whether you are rich or poor, I learned firsthand that this can happen in any family.”
  • The media’s treatment of Dylan’s story: “At the time, many newspapers refused to run my sister’s story. She tried to speak out, but the issue was just too hot and editors told me privately the alleged perpetrator was just too powerful for them to touch it. Nicholas Kristof, the Pulitzer Prize winning reporter and a longtime advocate for victim’s rights, put it on his blog. Soon afterwards The Times gave her alleged attacker twice the space and a prime position in the print version of their paper. It laid bare just how differently we treat vulnerable accusers, particularly women, as opposed powerful men who stand accused. After she went public, too, my sister faced a campaign of shaming, of character assassination orchestrated by our father’s powerful PR firm. Those around her, my mother, me were tarred as well though we weren’t involved…just easy targets. This is one reason why so many families stay silent for so long. And why so many abuse survivors find themselves left all alone. At the time… I hate to admit it, but I even hesitated and kept as quiet as long outside of a single brief statement of support for my sister. And my sister had to look on as the press quickly swept her story under the rug. She was retraumatized by every lifetime achievement award, every golden profile. But in Hollywood as well something began to change. Just a few days after my sister’s story ran, Gawker used that story as their lead in reviving another set of allegations against another beloved comedy icon, Bill Cosby. What followed were two years of painful cultural re-examination about how we talk about this issue, about how we confront abuse when the alleged perpetrator is powerful. So much so that when the Hollywood Reporter ran the latest of those glowing profiles this year, people were actually angry. The tone changed. Women especially, but increasingly as often men, too. And when the Hollywood Reporter approached me asking for a follow-up assessing the issue as a reporter and as a member of that family, I finally made the tough choice to embrace speaking out about this as well.
  • Current situation: “My sister and my mother still face public shaming. My own Twitter feed is still razed by daily death threats from angry fans. But there is also an outpouring of support by thousands of people saying, ‘I have been there, too. My family has been there, too.’”
  • The future: “There is more to be done, but how far we have come. Domestic abuse is not an NFL problem. It is not a Hollywood problem. It is an American problem. It is a global problem. And it is an urgent one. As all of us in this country lived out the shock and the horror of The Pulse nightclub shootings this past summer, we learned that the murderer had beaten his wife, as had the gunman behind the fatal hostage crisis in Sydney two years ago. In fact 16% of perpetrators in mass shootings between 2009 and 2015 had previously been charged with some kind of domestic violence.
  • Terrorism: “These acts are a form of terrorism. They are the embodiment of the worst and most destructive human impotence to control others through fear and violence. And with other forms of terrorism, allowing this one to fester hurts and threatens all of us. It threatens our cultural integrity, our ability to insure all of our freedom. That’s why I felt I had that obligation to speak here today in support of my own family and to try to keep the conversation going whatever small way I can through my reporting.” But speaking is not enough. We all know that.”
  • The Family Place website: “It is so inclusive. Inclusive of the many LGBTQ youth who face abuse. Of the men who face abuse.”
  • His family: “Rewind for a moment to my childhood. I’m about 12 years old, sitting down for dinner at the family dinner table. To my left are Quincy and Isaiah, African American, both born to drug-addicted mothers in American inner cities. Across from me are Tam and Minh, both blind and adopted from Viet Nam and a teenager in mine, who has been with this family most of her life. She was adopted as a young girl. We are all having a heated debate as is usual the case at the Farrow family dinner table.  And Quincy goes, ‘Well, as a black woman…’ And Minh stops her and says, ‘Whoa, whoa, wait. Quincy is black?’ … Every night was like that. We were a mini-United Nations or, at least, a United Color. Fourteen siblings adopted from around the world and reflecting the world’s worst problems. Siblings with cerebral palsy, with polio, blind, paraplegic, learning disabled. The people I loved most in the world were the people the world left behind. Many had faced years of abuse before I ever met them or they became a part of my family. The kind of abuse that leaves scars physical and emotional that you can never outrun sometimes.”

In closing he told how Maria admitted that hardest things she has to tell a caller, “Sorry, but we’re full.” With that Ronan made one last plea for guests to support The Family Place in providing shelter. “When my mother started adopting kids in the 70s, people called her crazy. When she faced her most vicious attacks after my sister’s allegations more recently, they called our family a commune, a shelter, not a home. But my family was both a home and a shelter. And I am so deeply proud of that. I have been so grateful to have seen the value of giving someone shelter when they need it most. I cannot think of anything more powerful and precious to give someone.

7th Annual Mosaic Family Services Gala Patrons Shop, Sip And Celebrate At Abi Ferrin And Kendra Scott

With the kickoff of fall fundraising, the 7th Annual Mosaic Family Services Gala patrons partied at more than just one spot in West Village on Tuesday, September 20. Both Abi Ferrin and Kendra Scott provided a shop-and-sip-around at their digs. Here’s a report from the field:

Mosaic Family Services honored sponsors, committee members and supporters of the 7th Annual Gala at a cocktail reception on Tuesday, September 20, from 5 – 9 p.m. at Abi Ferrin and Kendra Scott in West Village.

Steve Kemble, Abi Ferrin and Chad Collom*

Steve Kemble, Abi Ferrin and Chad Collom*

More than 75 partygoers arrived at Abi Ferrin in West Village and sipped cool drinks while shopping Abi’s eponymous collection. DJ Lamont Carlis kept the vibe going, as guests enjoyed savory fare donated by Cru, including artisan cheese and charcuterie with house made fig jam and fresh Turkish honeycomb, mini meatballs with tomato sugo and shaved Manchego, smoked salmon rillettes and arancini with roasted pepper tomato sauce.

With the nearby Kendra Scott boutique sharing the hosting duties for the evening, patrons mingled in both stores, while they shopped knowing a percentage of proceeds would benefit Mosaic Family Services.

Ashley Anderson and Jo Mattison*

Ashley Anderson and Jo Mattison*

Shannon Mukundan and Nusia Sookarow*

Shannon Mukundan and Nusia Sookarow*

Tam Tran, Tina Witkoff, Marta Knutson and Leanne Moye*

Tam Tran, Tina Witkoff, Marta Knutson and Leanne Moye*

As the evening came to an end, posh patrons like Ashley Anderson, Jo Mattison, Mirjana Omeragic, McKenzie Hoopfer, Catherine Langlois, Tam Tran, Marta Knutson, Leanne Moye, Shannon Mukundan, Nusia Sookarow, Kristin Paul, Meagan McLauchlin and Tina Ingram were treated to homemade cake balls by Tina Witkoff and a gift bag of Mary Kay’s Satin Hands signature products.

Jennifer Staubach Gates and Lana Byrne*

Jennifer Staubach Gates and Lana Byrne*

The upcoming 7th Annual Mosaic Family Services Gala will be held on Thursday, October 20, 2016, from 7 – 11 p.m. at The Empire Room in the Dallas Design District. Chaired by Melissa Green and Elizabeth Weathersby with honorary chair Lana Byrne, the gala will include cocktails, dinner by Stock & Barrel, master of ceremonies Steve Kemble, silent auction curated by Auction Chair Nusia Sookarow, raffle, casino, and music by DJ Lamont Carlis. A highlight of the evening will be the presentation of the 2016 Champion of Human Rights Award to Councilmember Jennifer Staubach Gates.

Tickets and sponsorships are still available; tickets are $150 each; sponsorships begin at $500. For sponsorship and ticket information, visit classy.org/mosaicgala or contact Le Ta, 214.821.5393 x263 or [email protected]

* Photo credit: Bob Manzano

North Texas Giving Day Booster: OurCalling

“Nonprofits fighting poverty in North Texas are facing an uphill battle. With one of the highest poverty rates in the country and a rapidly growing population, this recipe yields a growing mass of people struggling to survive. On top of that, nonprofits are strapped for resources to meet these growing challenges.

“It’s in this desert of resources that the North Texas Giving Day provides an oasis to replenish and restore hope to our city. They allow us to raise our flag to encourage every-day citizens to be a part our team, support our cause, and join the mission.

OurCalling*

OurCalling*

“And what does a small nonprofit like OurCalling do with money from local donors? We work on projects like our mobile app to help the homeless (ourcalling.org/app). The Dallas Morning News, The New York Post and countless other media outlets throughout the country have written about our app. It’s unlike any other app on your phone. It enables every cell phone user in Dallas to assist the homeless by pointing to shelters, rehabs, domestic violence centers, food resources and more. The app uses your GPS location to show you the closest resources to where you are standing. It also uses your location to allow you to report a homeless encampment so our qualified teams can respond, visit that location and help the people living on the streets.

OurCalling*

OurCalling*

“There is no other app like this on the App Store and this is another example of Dallas leading in the fight to help the homeless. Nonprofits from the East coast, West Coast and throughout the country have contacted us about how to develop similar apps. We also produce a printed booklet listing the top 50 most accessible service providers in Dallas County (ourcalling.org/directory). This provides a handy and healthy alternative to give to someone on the streets. These projects and more are funded by local Dallas donors to help local Dallas needs.

“We also use funds from Giving Day to feed hungry people, support addiction recovery classes, provide daily Bible studies, life skills classes, and support mentoring programs to help rebuild and transform homeless individuals.

“Giving Day is a beautiful day for nonprofits like OurCalling. We serve 8,500 homeless individuals living in 1,200 encampments throughout the city of Dallas. We couldn’t do this without community-wide support driven by the North Texas Giving Day. This year, one of our great donors has provided a matching grant to be a catalyst for even more giving. What an exciting opportunity!”

-By Pastor Wayne Walker, OurCalling Executive Director

* Graphics provided by OurCalling

______

In seven years, North Texas Giving Day has pumped more than $119 million into the North Texas community. In 2015, $33 million was raised through more than 118,000 gifts benefiting over 2,000 nonprofits.

On Thursday, September 22, support OurCalling by linking here and spreading the word. #NTxGivingDay

MySweetCharity Opportunity: Dallas CASA Champion Of Children Award Dinner

According to Dallas CASA Champion of Children Award Dinner Co-Chairs Karen Carney and Kristy Hoglund Robinson,

Karen Carney and Kristy Hoglund Robinson*

Karen Carney and Kristy Hoglund Robinson*

“Just before Christmas last year, Child Protective Services received a report about four young teenagers living with their mother, who was dealing drugs out of the house.

“What CPS found when they arrived was worse. There was no food in the pantry, refrigerator or freezer. The utilities to the home had been cut off. One of the teenagers had been using drugs and was suicidal. Two were still trying to go to school. Another had sought refuge with a friend’s family.

“We had just completed training to become Dallas CASA volunteers, and this was the case we were assigned. The months we’ve spent advocating for these children have shown us in person what a critical difference having a volunteer advocate can make for children removed from unsafe homes.

“This fall, we are two of the event co-chairs for Dallas CASA’s Champion of Children Award dinner Thursday, October 27, at The Fairmont Dallas. The dinner honors North Texans who are making a difference in the lives of children like the four teenagers we work with.

Mike and Micki Rawlings (File photo)

Mike and Micki Rawlings (File photo)

“The dinner will feature Honorary Co-Chairs Mike and Micki Rawlings and will honor NorthPark Center with the prestigious Judge Barefoot Sanders Champion of Children Award for its decades of service to Dallas’ children. The award is given annually to individuals or organizations who significantly improve the lives of children in our community, particularly those whose young lives have been marked by abuse, neglect or other adversity.

“The highlight of the night will be our guest speaker, Antwone Fisher, film producer, director, screenwriter and author. Fisher was working as a security guard at Sony Pictures in Los Angeles when he took a free screenwriting course. The story he ended up writing was his own. Born in an Ohio prison to a teenage mother, Antwone grew up in an abusive foster home, escaping at age 14 only to become homeless on the streets of Cleveland. Ultimately, his life was saved when he joined the United States Navy, proudly serving for 11 years. Even in his darkest times, Antwone clung to a vision that he was worth something. He clung to that vision ‘not because I needed to be famous but because I needed a world that made me feel uninvited to be wrong. I imagined myself free, I imagine myself loved, I imagined myself as somebody.’

“The book, ‘Finding Fish,’ was made into a movie, ‘Antwone Fisher,’ starring Denzel Washington.

Champion Of Children Award Dinner*

Champion Of Children Award Dinner*

“Please join us and our dinner Co-Chairs Christine and Jonathan Bassham, Mark Carney and Jeanne and Joseph Manogue at Dallas CASA’s Champion of Children dinner on October 27 at The Fairmont Dallas. Together, we can make a difference for children like our four CASA youth. All four children are now in loving, safe homes, and we have high hopes for their futures. Like Antwone, we stubbornly cling to a vision for these kids that they can grow up safe, protected and loved.

For more information, visit Champion Of Children Award Dinner.

Presenting sponsor is Crest Cadillac/Crest Infiniti, and platinum sponsors are Angela and Jim Thompson.

* Graphic and photo provided by Dallas CASA

Hope’s Door And New Beginning Center To Officially Merge On Thursday, September 1

The news was just official, but word had been making the rounds that Hope’s Door and New Beginning Center were combining their efforts. The first obvious clue was the “Save The Date” postcard that arrived in the mail mid-July. It was for Friday, September 16 fashion show featuring Abi Ferrin clothes at the Hilton Dallas/Plano Granite Park.

Abi Ferrin (File photo)

Abi Ferrin (File photo)

Florence Shapiro (File photo)

Florence Shapiro (File photo)

As impressive as it was that Luncheon Chair Janet Dorsett had arranged for Florence Shapiro to be the honorary chair, it was curious that both Hope’s Door’s and New Beginning Center’s logo were on the card as beneficiaries.

Evidently the rumors proved to be true with the announcement of the pending merger of the two organizations that have been helping those in domestic abuse situations since the 1980s. It all becomes official on Thursday, September 1.

According to Hope’s Door CEO Jim Malatich, “This unification will allow us to gain financial efficiencies in our administration allowing us to shift those resources to serve our clients more effectively. Hope’s Door will be able to offer an increased capacity for emergency shelter, additional services including counseling programs and intervention and prevention classes at seven locations in both Dallas and Collin counties.”

Hope's Door and New Beginning Center*

Hope’s Door and New Beginning Center*

While combining the two staffs and boards, it is interesting to note that both organizations will keep their names.

For the official word, follow the jump for the press release. [Read more…]

JUST IN: Big Plans Revealed For Fourth Annual ReuNight Including Donna Karan And The New Forty Five Ten For The Family Place

Donna Karan*

Donna Karan*

Since stepping down as head of her very fashionable company last June, Donna Karan has not retired to her home in Turks and Caicos Islands and watched the waves. Just last month she was presented the prestigious Founder’s Award at the Council of Fashion Designers of America Awards dinner by her designing buddy Calvin Klein. Despite having been in the rag business more than 40 years, she still manages to get younger and be more vibrant over the years.

Faisal Halum and Brian Bolke (File photo)

Faisal Halum and Brian Bolke (File photo)

Michael and Shelle Sills (File photo)

Michael and Shelle Sills (File photo)

And she’ll be bringing that zest to Big Old D on Thursday, November 10, for The Family’s Place’s Fourth Annual ReuNight thanks to Event Co-Chairs Brian Bolke and Faisal Halum and Shelle and Michael Sills and Honorary Chair Mary Clare Finney.

Mary Clare Finney (File photo)

Mary Clare Finney (File photo)

And to do it up right, the evening will start with cocktails at the spanking new, can’t-wait-to-see-it Forty Five Ten in downtown Dallas. For dinner the guests will “be escorted” across the street for dinner at The Joule Terrace.

Topping off the evening will be a “small luxury live auction.” And the emphasis is on “small” as in limited and “luxury” like rarefied finds.

The fundraiser is the rebirth of the legendary Palm Night that raised millions of dollars from 1994 to 2008. After going into hibernation, it rose with a new name, ReuNight, and longtime supporters. In fact this host committee is made up of a lot of those vets including Moll and Charlie Anderson, Gonzalo Bueno and Michael McCray, Nancy and Clint Carlson, Brenda and Clay Cockerell, Tina and David Craig, Leah and John Davis, Suzanne and David Droese, Claire and Dwight Emanuelson, Heather and Billy Esping, Todd Fiscus and Ceron, Meg and Doug Florence, Joyce Goss, Kenny Goss, Sue and Jim Gragg, Karen and Stephen Jones, Olivia and Jeff Kearney, Liz and Scott Kimple, Jenny and John Kirtland, DeeDee and Jim Lee, Muffin and John Lemak, Lynn and Allan McBee, Jan Miller and Jeff Rich, Niven Morgan and Shelby Wagner, Allane O’Neil, Rajan Patel, Pam and Vin Perella, Michal and Loyd Powell, Cindy and Howard Rachofsky, Katherine and Eric Reeves, Nancy and Richard Rogers, Kayla and Brian Roughton, Connie and Mark Sigel, Laurie-Jo ad Steve Straty, Leisa Street, Joanne and Charles Teichman, Debbie and John Tolleson, Ben and Max Trowbridge, Robert Weatherly, Kim and Justin Whitman, Kathy and Rodney Woods, Lucy and Steve Wrubel, Piper and Mike Wyatt and Sharon and Michael Young.

Sponsorships and tickets are available here! So, dig through your wardrobe and find that Karan bodysuit. Now’s the time to diet for a reunight with that classic Karan design.

JUST IN: Lisa Cooley And Tanya Foster To Co-Chair New Friends New Life Luncheon

The flood of news continues! Initial plans for the annual New Friends New Life Luncheon are already underway. It will be held on Wednesday, May 10, at the Omni Dallas Hotel. Heading up the New Friends New Life benefit will be gal pals Lisa Cooley and Tanya Foster.

Tanya Foster and Lisa Cooley (File photo)

Tanya Foster and Lisa Cooley (File photo)

Despite all types of cajoling and downright begging, neither of the ladies is letting on who the speaker will be. Hmm, in the past the luncheon has had Nicolas Sparks, Barbara Pierce Bush, Sally Fields, Kevin Costner and Amal Clooney on stage. The mind boggles trying to figure out what name will be revealed in the weeks ahead.

Stay tuned. Oh, and don’t bother signing up for a ticket. They ain’t available right now, but sponsorships are. Feel free to ask about ’em.

BTW, it’s no longer called the Wings Luncheon. Guess too many peeps thought it was a fundraiser for retired flight attendants.

A Mother’s Day Tribute To Maxine By Her Son

Twas the Friday before Mother’s Day and more than 1,500 gathered in the Hilton Anatole’s Chantilly Ballroom to learn about Maxine Perry at the Genesis Annual Luncheon.

Her 46-year-old son towered on stage recalling how at the age of 17, she had married a man who had built their relationship on lies. The Cadillac he had when visiting her family on the weekends “from his ranch” was a loaner. And there was no ranch. She didn’t discover the truth until the newlyweds were in New Orleans.

Tyler Perry

Tyler Perry

The man-boy told of years of love for his mother, his witnessing her being the recipient of abuse and her children’s suffering emotional and physical cruelty.

There were the beatings by this “husband” upon his wife, the sexual abuse of the boy’s pre-teen girlfriend and his own abuse by the “man of the family.” Maxine had tried to escape, but was helpless and returned to a lifetime of domestic violence.

Tyler Perry

Tyler Perry

As much as he reflected on the love for his mother, the young man never mentioned the name of the abuser. In fact, at the age of 16, the young man, whose birth name was the abuser’s with “Junior” tacked on, had legally changed his name to Tyler Perry.

But Tyler did not follow either of his parents’ footsteps. He was not to be a victim nor a tormentor. The billionaire entrepreneur told how he had emerged from the years of degradation thanks to his own will and a discussion on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” in which it was suggested that the act of writing was cathartic. He did just that with the result being a musical that had a less-than-great reception. However, he persisted and developed a following that turned into an entertainment empire.

Guests comforting each other

Guests comforting each other

Men and women in the audience were truly moved hearing of the childhood that Tyler had suffered, as they wiped away tears, comforted each other by holding hands and were amazed at the delivery and story. Maxine would have loved this ode. But Maxine died on December 8, 2009, at the age of 64.

Following Tyler’s testimonial and a standing ovation, he was joined on stage by WFAA’s Ron Corning for a conversation.

Ron had the tricky job of transitioning from Tyler’s very moving talk to an informal chat. He did that by asking, “Let’s lighten the mood for a moment. Can we talk about how much money you have?” That brought a smile to Tyler and laughter from the group.

The two then talked about how Tyler’s original goal of taking care of Maxine had been expanded to motivating and inspiring others. He told how his first theatrical production with only 30 people in attendance had cost him his life savings ($12,000). Still, there were people who told him that they understood and related to the performance. In considering the two-decade journey from that first effort to his present situation, he described it as “staggering, staggering.”

Tyler Perry and Ron Corning

Tyler Perry and Ron Corning

Ron asked about Tyler’s 18-month-old son, Aman Tyler Perry, whom Tyler described as his “hero.” He told how when he looked at Aman, he saw himself as a child and “an opportunity to give all the love that I ever had to myself.” Instead of beatings, he shares butterfly kisses with his less-than-two-year-old son.

Ron then raised the question of how Tyler would raise Aman to appreciate having a life with little wants, unlike Tyler’s. Tyler’s response: “Well, he [Aman] was born broke.” That brought laughter from the ballroom of guests. After the laughter died down, Tyler went on to say, “I will not give him everything… I will be there to support him to win his goals, but he has to earn.”

Then Tyler told how Aman’s mother, model/activist Gelila Bekele, is the coach of the family. He gave an example: At Christmas he gave her a yellow diamond earrings. Upon receiving the jewelry, she said they were beautiful, but Tyler sensed something was up and asked if there was a problem. She said while they were beautiful, could they be returned and the money used to help others? A bit dumbstruck, Tyler said, “It doesn’t have to be a choice. We can do both.”

Ron shifted gears and asked about Tyler’s relationship with Oprah on their project “The Haves and The Have Nots” on her OWN network. When she first received his script, she said, “This is too much.” Then she went on to say, “I brought you here to do what you do, so I wanted you to know what I feel.” He stayed the course and the ratings went through the roof.

Returning to the subject of inspiring others, Ron brought up John Schneider, who had starred in the 1980s’ TV series “The Dukes of Hazzard.” Both Tyler and Ron had talked backstage about watching “The Dukes” on Friday nights as young men. Fast-forward to the present day. Tyler not only had cast John in “The Haves and The Have Nots,” but the Louisiana native’s Atlanta-based film production company had inspired former Atlanta-resident John to build his own studio in Louisiana.

Tyler Perry

Tyler Perry

Touching on a recent death, Ron asked Tyler about his relationship with Prince, who attended one of Tyler’s performances in 2004 at the Kodak Theater. On his way to the theater, Tyler got a call from Prince, who said, “I hear you’re doing a bit of ‘Purple Rain’ in your show. Do it again and I’m going to sue you… and I need 10 tickets and I’ll be there tonight.” Looking out in the audience that night, Tyler spotted Prince, who was enjoying the show. Struck by a brainstorm, Tyler had a mic taken to Prince, who started singing “Purple Rain.” As Tyler put it, “Worst mistake I ever made. He started singing ‘Purple Rain’ in the middle of MY show. I couldn’t get the audience back. He taught me a royal lesson — never give your microphone to a superstar.”

In closing, Ron asked about Tyler’s future plans. His response was embracing his fears or stepping out of his comfort zone. His next frontier is a recently purchased former Army base [Fort McPherson] in Atlanta. The 33 acres will be the site of the new Tyler Perry Studios with more people being employed. Ron wondered whether the responsibility for so many people was worrisome. Tyler told how “on a prayer table outside one of my rooms are photos of all the children whose parents work for me. Some are newborns, some are in college. So every day when I walk past that table I am reminded that you can’t be selfish at this moment… It is important to me that all those people and all those faces are supported in their dreams … Given this responsibility and given this level of success, there comes this tremendous sense of responsibility that I didn’t necessarily ask for, but that for some reason I’ve been chosen to carry, and what I won’t do is [carry it] selfishly.”

With that, Tyler was whisked out the room. But his inspiration of supporting abused women in search of their dreams remained. Maxine would have been proud.

For photos of the meet-and-greet and luncheon, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Brené Brown Brings The Courage Of Vulnerability To Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center’s Appetite For Advocacy Luncheon

With way more than 1,000…okay, it was nearly 2,000…in attendance, there was no doubt that at the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center’s Appetite for Advocacy Luncheon at the Sheraton Dallas on Tuesday, April 26, something was up. Perhaps it was the speaker/best-selling author Brené Brown? Perhaps it was the occasion of DCAC’s 25th anniversary? Perhaps it was the recent and dramatic incidents of child abuse? It didn’t matter why the place was filled; it was just the fact that people were coming in droves to support DCAC’s efforts to help abused children and “provide them with an opportunity to heal.”

Long before the clock ticked down, the Sheraton parking lot was already filled as a fire truck and an ambulance took care of needs across the street at the main hotel.

Ruth Altshuler and Susan Sharp

Ruth Altshuler and Susan Sharp

Andy Stern and Irving Groves

Andy Stern and Irving Groves

IMG_4391 Isabell Novakov

Katy Blakey, Randall and Kara Goss

Katy Blakey, Randall and Kara Goss

Unlike years past, when the event took place on the Sheraton’s ground level, this year’s sell-out fundraiser was on the hotel’s second floor with folks like Janie McGarr, Isabell Novakov, Susan Sharp, Mary Blake, Randall and Kara Goss, Andy Stern, Irving Groves and Jen and Brad Adams.

As guests spent their time in the lobby, keynote speaker/TED wunderkind Brené Brown tested her mic in the ballroom. No problem. Everything was running right on schedule.

Another “instead of” situation was the meet-and-greet.” In years past, the speaker du jour would pose for photos and get to know the VIP types in a reception prior to the main event. But this year it was a reversal. Brené was gonna meet with them after the luncheon and then hit the airport to head home. Why the need to change things around? Well, Brené had made a promise to her family that she would only stay one night a month away from home. Since Dallas is just a quickie flight away from Brené’s hometown of Houston, she had to make it home in time for dinner. And then there were those weather threats that had been pounding the kiss-cuzzin cities of Dallas and Houston.

 

Susan Nichol, Ruth Altshuler, Bill Walsh and Irish Burch

Susan Nichol, Ruth Altshuler, Bill Walsh and Irish Burch

The only frowny situation was that, when DCAC grand dame Ruth Altshuler and grand papa Bill Walsh presented the Ruth Sharp Altshuler Award and Lt. Bill Walsh Award to Capitals for Kids and Irish Burch, respectively, Brené was still nowhere in sight. As organizers smiled and said that she was being fitted for her mic, there was a chair at the numero uno table going empty.

DCAC President/CEO Lynn Davis got things rolling by telling the crowd that despite the recent deaths of Leiliana Wright and Gabe Flores and criticism of the Children’s Protection Services department, it was important to remember, “We are all in this together.”

Lynn Davis, Paula Richmond and Megan Steinbach

Lynn Davis, Paula Richmond and Megan Steinbach

Joining Lynn on stage were Luncheon Co-Chairs Paula Richmond and Megan Steinbach, who said that if everyone at the event donated $100, then each table would provide therapy for a child. They asked that people fill the envelopes at their tables and hold them up to be collected. As the music played, hands raised with envelopes.

Then NBC5 anchor/reporter/emcee Katy Blakey introduced Brené, whose 2010 Tedx Houston Talk went crazy viral. In preparing for the Talk, she’d told her husband, Steve, that she was going to try an experiment at the Talk. She decided to be vulnerable and talk about “The Power of Vulnerability.” She revealed how one variable that both men and women share is to be vulnerable. Brené didn’t realize her Talk was being taped. But when TED curator Chris Anderson called to say they wanted to post it online, she thought perhaps a handful of friends and associates would see it. However, the Talk was so successful that it scored more than 24M views. It was then that Steve and her therapist recommended that she not read the comments online. She read all of them.

As a result, she decided “the only people who don’t experience shame are those who have no capacity for empathy and compassion.” Brené went on to say that she had “engineered her life to be small.” In other words, she had always wanted to stay under the radar, and now she was out there being vulnerable to commenters writing “Less research, more Botox;” “She should shed ten pounds before she talks about worthiness;” “So sorry for her husband and kids;” “It’s people like that that are ruining America;” etc.

In those comments were “everything I head feared all my life…As a trained social worker, I knew how to handle this — peanut butter and eight hours of ‘Downton Abbey’.” At the conclusion of her ‘Downton’ viewing, she got caught up with the era and Googled Theodore Roosevelt, who had been the U.S. president at the time. One of the first items to appear was Roosevelt’s “The Man in the Arena,” from his “Citizenship in a Republic” speech that he gave in 1910 at the Sorbonne.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

That inspired her to

  • be in the arena. She was making a choice between courage and comfort “because you can’t choose both. There is nothing comfortable about courage.”
  • realize that “vulnerability is not weakness. Vulnerability is actually our most accurate measure of courage — to have the willingness to show up when you cannot control the outcome.”
  • not accept all feedback. “If you’re not in the arena getting your ass kicked on occasion, then I’m not open or interested in your feedback. The personal attacks, the name calling…There are a million cheap seats in the world today filled with people who will never enter the arena and take a chance with their thoughts. They will spend their entire lives hanging back and hurling judgment and criticism. And if you’re taking it and if you’re open to it, it will get in the way with your being brave and your life.”

She then gave an assignment to the audience — “Take a one-inch by one-inch piece of paper and write down the names of the people who really matter. There are the people whose opinions matter…I have seven. I had eight but one fell off…We need feedback. There is no mastery without it…But you’ve got to be careful whom we take it from.”

Brené Brown*

Brené Brown*

Brené then recalled the young man who told her how his parents had sent her TED talk to him and encouraged him to tell the girl he’d been dating that he loved her. When he did, the girl’s response was, “I think you’re awesome…and I think we should date other people.” On the way home, all the young man could think was, “Screw Brené Brown. Screw Brené Brown.” When he got back to his apartment and told his roommates what had happened, one roomie said, “Girls only like you when you’re running in the other direction. If you want them, you’ve got to run away.” The young man said he didn’t want to be that man. He wanted to be brave. His roommates burst out: “Right on!”

But that situation led to another question for Brené: How do you get up after a fall [in the arena of life]? She researched two years for the answers, with her results being “The Reckoning, The Rumble, The Revolution” that she described in her latest book, “Rising Strong.”

She told of how last year she had decided to write and launch a new book, start a company and train 1,000 people. That idea came to her in February with it all taking place by the fall. But by August everything was “falling apart.” She hadn’t slept soundly in weeks, her team was being pushed to the end and she was being overwhelmed. It all came to a head when Steve came home and opened the refrigerator. As she worked at her dining room table with papers and plans, she heard him say, “We don’t have lunch meat.” That comment was met with Brené suggesting he could go to the grocery. The conversation was not going well when she finally said that she knew everything was falling apart, that she was a terrible mother, etc., but she didn’t need him to “announce it so I know you know.”

This exchange resulted in her “story telling.” Brené was at that moment telling herself a story of failure. After calming down and talking it over, she sought his advice: Why had he said they had no lunch meat? Was he judging her? Steve’s answer: “I’m so hungry.”

The upshot was that our brains are wired for stories. If something difficult happens, our brains immediately search for a story to explain what’s happening. “If we give our brain a story, we are chemically rewarded for that story. The problem is that we have rewarded the story regardless of the accuracy of the story. The stories we make up and the one our brains love the most and give us the most reward for are stories of good guys, bad guys, safe people, unsafe people. The brain does not like uncertainty, ambiguity. My brain was saying, ‘Steve is a jerk. The last 30 years have been a lie’.”

Tying it back to DCAC’s work with children living in abusive and neglectful situations, Brené explained that the “greatest casualty of trauma is vulnerability. Because someone didn’t love us, we are unlovable.”

DCAC’s mission is to provide the services for traumatized children to heal and learn that they are loved and can embrace vulnerability.

* Photo credit: Kristina Bowman