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.

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.

Veteran Celebs And Babes In Arm Took The Runway At Tootsies For The 8th Annual Esteem Fashion Show

As the swallows return to Capistrano in March, so the season’s fashions were hitting the North Texas catwalks in September. On the heels of the 2017 Crystal Charity Ball Fashion Show with its dozens and dozens of professional models, The Elisa Project‘s 8th Annual Esteem Fashion Show also had fashions on the Tootsies runway on Saturday, September 16. But these models were volunteers ranging in age from infant to AARP. Here’s a report from the field:

Rhonda Marcus, Emmy Marcus and Whitney Kutch*

Event Chair Whitney Kutch, with Honorary C0-Chairs Rhonda Marcus and daughter Emmy, were joined by nearly 160 attendees for the 8th annual Esteem Fashion Show presented by Lisa Cooley, on Saturday, September 16, which benefited The Elisa Project (TEP).

Partygoers arrived at Tootsies and mingled while enjoying mimosas while perusing Tootsies collections. With 10% of all purchases benefiting TEP, patrons shopped the latest fall fashions, as DJ Blake Ward provided the vibe. Raffle tickets were available for sale featuring fabulous prizes including, a $100 gift card to Tootsies; an Elizabeth Showers Soleil station 18 karat gold chain in hand-carved white quartz over Kingman Mine turquoise; an Amanda Sterrett jewelry suite; hair and makeup services from The Makeup Zone; an original watercolor painting by Sherri Jones; and Chili’s restaurant gift cards.

Rhonda Sargent Chambers, Kim Stephens-Olusanya, Holly Davis and Landry Davis*

At 11:00 a.m., patrons gathered upstairs for the much-anticipated fashion show. Whitney took the podium and thanked everyone in attendance for their support of The Elisa Project and this year’s event. TEP’s board President Dr. Stephanie Setliff followed by adding her thanks and recognized Whitney for her hard work as event chair, as well as those in the room who had made the day possible including Executive Director Kimberly Martinez, TEP staff and board of directors, and Esteem founder, event coordinator, and board member, Rhonda Sargent Chambers. She then shared details about some of the work The Elisa Project is doing in the community through advocacy, education and support, which touches the lives of more than 31,000 individuals suffering from eating disorders each year.

2017 Esteem models

Emcee Courtney Kerr, founder and editor-in-chief of KERRently.com, took the podium and got right to the fashion show, which featured notable community members wearing the latest looks from Tootsies with children’s fashions provided by KidBiz/The Biz.

Jenny Anchondo and Brighton Valentina*

Courtney Kerr and Kellie Rasberry*

2017 models were: FOX4-TV’s Emmy-award winning news anchor Jenny Anchondo with 15-week old daughter Brighton Valentina; Carlotta Lennox, Kim Dawson model and entrepreneur; Landry Davis with friends Aubrey and Gracie O’Banion; community volunteer Yvonne Crum with granddaughter Samantha; designer and creator of BAHZ jewelry Britt Harless; host of nationally syndicated morning show, Eye Opener, blogger and fashion expert Hilary Kennedy; Jane McGarry, host of WFAA-TV’s “Good Morning Texas;” Sabrina Harrison, co-owner and interior designer Mint Dentistry and founder of Equipped by Faith Ministries, with children Christian and Camila; Emmy award-winning broadcast journalist Scott Murray; Melissa Rountree, owner of activewear brand Level 3 Active and board member of The Elisa Project; licensed professional counselor and CEO of Park Cities Counseling, Elizabeth Scrivner with daughter Katherine; Catherine Lowe, owner of local luxury stationary company LoweCo, with son Samuel; host of “Kidd Kraddick in the Morning,” Kellie Rasberry; honorary co-chairs Rhonda Marcus, and daughter Emmy; and event chair and TEP board member Whitney Kutch.

Carlotta Lenox and Courtney Kerr*

Melissa Rountree*

As the show came to a close, Kimberly Martinez announced the lucky winners of the raffle prizes before encouraging all in attendance to continue shopping in support of The Elisa Project. Before departing, patrons grabbed their swag bags which included goodies from Tootsies and stationary from LoweCo.

Esteem is a celebration of body image and self-Esteem. In its 8th year, Esteem helps increase awareness about eating disorders and the importance of positive body image, Esteem encourages people to love themselves while striving to be healthy. Proceeds support The Elisa Project (TEP) and the important programs dedicated to fighting eating disorder illnesses through awareness, education, support and advocacy.

* Photo credits: Bob Manzano and Thomas Garza

 

Dallas CASA’s Young Professional Added Their “Voices For A Cause” At The Rustic With Brandon Rhyder For Fundraising

While North Texas Giving Day had the phones ringing off the hook and the internet donations flowing on Thursday, September 14, the Dallas CASA Young Professionals held its second annual Voices for a Cause at The Rustic. While Signed Out and Brandon Rhyder filled the scene with music, Young Professionals President Jonathan Bassham couldn’t resist reminding guests that it wasn’t too late to donate to North Texas Giving Day for Dallas CASA. Here’s a report from the field:

Jonathan Bassham and Mark Hiduke*

Linda and Rob Swartz*

Nick Berman, Caitlin Dama, Erica Whitten and Michelle Stephenson*

Voices for a Cause at The Rustic was a blast! It was a beautiful night, with great bands and lots of young people and old friends like Robert Schleckser, Woody McMinn, Dana Swann, Reasha Hedke, Madeline Littrell, Linda and Rob Swartz, Kelsey Higginbotham, Nick Berman, Caitlin Dama, Erica Whitten, Michelle Stephenson, Nicki Sherry, Paul Stafford, Mark Hiduke and Cristina and Michael Swartz.

Nicki Sherry and Paul Stafford*

Cristina and Michael Swartz

Dana Swann, Reasha Hedke and Madeline Littrell*

Dallas CASA’s Voices of Hope concert Thursday, September 14, at The Rustic netted $6,640 for Dallas CASA and an evening of fun for attendees. With more than 250 tickets sold and a clear night under the stars, the event marked a second year of success for Dallas CASA’s Young Professionals.

Kelsey Higginbotham and Brandon Rhyder*

Dallas CASA board member Dave Kroencke’s band Signed Out was the opening act. The group played covers of crowd-popular standards like “Billie Jean,” “You Give Love a Bad Name” and “Are You Gonna Go My Way,” and the crow got into the act by singing along from their lawn chairs.

Headliner Texas country artist Brandon Rhyder, sang to an enthusiastic crowd as the sun set. Young Professionals President Jonathan Bassham gave a final plug for North Texas Giving Day.

Presenting sponsors was PCORE Exploration & Production II/Mark Hiduke. Other sponsors included Linda and Rob Swartz, Sewell Automotive, Accelerate Resources and Christine and Jonathan Bassham.

* Photo provided by Dallas CASA

Dallas CASA’s Parade Of Playhouses Closing Party Was Just Ducky At NorthPark’s Pirch

Within ten minutes of the opening of the Dallas CASA’s Parade of Playhouses’ closing party at Pirch on Thursday, July 20, at NorthPark, the parking lot was filled to the max.

The roughly 200 guests found themselves parking outside of Neiman Marcus and Nordstroms and strolling via the air-conditioned hallways to the luxury kitchen, bath and outdoor showroom.

Stephanie LaValle, Kathleen LaValle and Dunia Borge

Becca Haynes Leonard and Jim Thompson

Inside, they found Duni Borgia handing out treats. It was just three years ago that Duni was doling out gelato and Kathleen LaValle was named executive director and president of Dallas CASA. Honorary Chair Jim Thompson was impressed with the turnout. Since moving the closing party to Pirch, the event has become a major attraction for sponsors and builders, who have donated their time, efforts and materials for the fundraising stand-still parade.

Within Pirch, word was passed to head to the wine pull in the spa area, with its wall of multi-showerheads. The soak tub was transformed into a pond for rubber ducks with bottoms marked with numbers. For a $20 donation, guests got to select a duck and a wine with the corresponding number.

Rubber ducks

Wine pull

Robert Bobo

Pahlmeyer (2013)

Robert Bobo picked a plucky duck with the number 47 on its bottom. Robert admitted that, over the years, he had collected three ducks and relocated them to his office at Pioneer Natural Resources. This year’s quacker had earned Robert a Testarossa Pinot Noir (2014).

Still on the ledge waiting to be pulled was a sweet Pahlmeyer Proprietary Red (2013) valued at $168.97.

Lynn Brooks

Corey and Priscilla Anthony

Lynn Brooks arrived solo due to husband Jeff Kindig’s being delayed at the airport… Board member Corey Anthony and wife Priscilla Anthony were all smiles. They’re co-chairing the Champions for Children Dinner on Wednesday, November 16, with Laura and John Losinger and Honorary Chair Christie Carter. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the dinner at The Fairmont Dallas will honor the Junior League of Dallas

Mary Kay’s Annual Suits For Shelters Kick-Off Party Brought Out The Pink With A Surprise Reward For Attending Domestic Shelters

Barb Podbelsek may have looked like your typical shopper returning a purchase on Thursday, July 13. After parking her car across the way from Bachendorf’s, she carried a red jacket on a hangar to Tootsies. Oh, but rethink that one. Barb was taking her gently worn jacket to a private get-together at Tootsies. The jacket was to be part of the annual Suits for Shelters program that provides professional attire and accessories for women in area shelters.

Barb Podbelsek, Jana Jones and Theresa Powerski

As Barb handed over the jacket, domestic violence experts like Genesis Shelter’s Jan Langbein and Bianca Jackson, Attitudes and Attire’s Annabelle Baxter and The Family Place’s Melissa Sherrill, Mary Catherine Benavides and Shivangi Pokharel Perkins were on hand.

Mary Catherine Benavides, Shivangi Pokharel Perkins and Melissa Sherrill

Alas, this clothes collection kick-off was to be the last one for Shivangi. She was headed to Charlotte, North Carolina? The reason? Her husband’s job.

Speaking of The Family Place MIAs, CEO Paige Flink was nowhere in sight. Seems she was taking a break in West Virginia with husband Randy Flink.

Nikki and Crayton Webb

Cynthia Izaguirre and models

Mary Kay Inc. VP of Corporate Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility Crayton Webb scoured the crowd for his wife, Nikki Webb. Perfect timing. She was just walking in as the 100 guests like Jana Jones, Theresa Powerski, Jennifer and Aaron Tobin, Tracy and Abe Minkara, Teresa Flores, Anne Crews, Diana Franzetti, Nancy Thomason, Michaela and Trey Dyer, Ashley Montgomery Lyon, Nancy Gopez, Cindy and Brian Hanson, Amy and Chase Laws, Hadley and Travis Galt, Colleen Jamieson, Bill Bernstein, Genevieve Peterson and emcee Cynthia Izaguirre headed upstairs for the evening’s program hosted by the Tootsie’s crew including Nerissa von Helpenstill, Shelley Land and Dustin Holcomb.

Nerissa von Helpenstill, Shelley Lander and Dustin Holcomb

Crayton admitted that in the days ahead, he would be doing heavy-duty babysitting for the four little Webb-sters. The reason? Nikki is co-chairing the Junior League of Dallas’ Milestones Luncheon on Friday, November 17, at the Hilton Anatole with Co-Chair Jennifer Scripps. Decked out in white, Nikki reported that in addition to Linda Perryman Evans receiving the Sustainer of the Year award, the speaker will be Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer. That’s all Nikki could reveal as she and Clayton hustled upstairs for the evening’s program.

Ryan and Maleiah Rogers

As Mary Kay Ash grandson Ryan Rogers tried to juggle his microphone and a glass, wife Maleiah Rogers was the dutiful wife, walking over and relieving him of the glass. After Ryan told of his grandmother’s longtime concern and support of women in domestic violent situations, he asked all to toast the work of those in domestic-abuse efforts. But just as he realized he had nothing with which to toast, Maleiah was back on the spot returning his glass.

Speaking of Ryan and Maleiah, they looked rather flawless. When asked their secret, they chimed in — Mary Kay products! Maleiah reeled off the whole product line and finished it with Smooth-Action Cellulite Gel Cream. One woman upon hearing that last one nudged her gal pal and said, “Then I want a bath tub of the stuff. Just look at her.”

Ryan also reminded the guests that the next week would be the national gathering of Mary Kay associates.

According to Crayton, roughly 30,000 of them would be assembling in Dallas for the four-day convention, providing the city with “two to three times the economic impact of Texas-OU weekend.”

When it came to the evening’s highlight, there was a problem. The big draw of the night was the raffle item donated by the Rogerses — $5,000 to the domestic violence group chosen by the winning ticket holder. Alas, Piers Hurley was the lucky winner, but he just couldn’t pick just one. Leave it to Maleiah and Ryan to come up with the perfect solution: “All event program beneficiaries (Attitudes and Attire, Brighter Tomorrows, Genesis Women’s Shelter and Support, Hope’s Door New Beginning Center, Mosaic Family Services, The Salvation Army DFW and The Family Place) in attendance at the event would receive $5,000 donations to help support their work and help survivors of domestic violence!”

The Rustic Is Gonna Be Rocking In September For Voices For A Cause And The 5th Annual Concert For A Cure, But Not At The Same Time

September may be known as the start of Friday night lights, the kickoff of the State Fair and the first hints of fall in the air. But this year it’s gonna be full of singing for nonprofits. Two concerts are being held to raise funds and they’re both gonna be at The Rustic, but not at the same time!

Voices For A Cause*

First will be Dallas CASA’s Voices for A Cause with Signed Out getting things started and followed by country artist Brandon Rhyder as the evening’s headliner starting at 6 p.m. on Thursday, September 14. The benefit concert is being hosted by Dallas CASA Young Profession, whose “mission is to increase awareness for Dallas CASA while providing charitable and social opportunities for people ages 21 to 40.” Co-Chairs Kelcey Hamilton, Reasha Hedke and Dana Swann have arranged for the $25 ticket to include the concert, two drinks and appetizers.

2017 Concert For A Cure**

Two weeks later Leukemia Texas is holding its 5th Annual Concert for A Cure with Honorary Chair/former Dallas Cowboy Marco Rivera and Event Co-Chairs Jenny “New Mom” Anchondo and reality personality/marrow donor Stephanie Hollman. On the performing stage will be Grammy-Award winning Reckless Kelly. Individual tickets start at $75 and include a private VIP reception starting at 7 p.m., hors d’ oeuvres, two drink tickets, open seating and valet parking. But as you know, underwriting brings perks like additional seats with better views, recognition in signage and collateral materials and boasting rights.  

Can’t decide which one? No problemo. Attend both! The attire will be comfortable casual. The throngs of folks will be your type — generous and fun to be with. The causes are both life-changing.

MySweetCharity Opportunity: 2017 Esteem Fashion Show

Rhonda Sargent Chambers (File photo)

According to Esteem Fashion Show Founder and Show Coordinator Rhonda Sargent Chambers,

We hope you will join us for the 8th annual Esteem Fashion Show, sponsored by Lisa Cooley on Saturday, September 16, at 10:00 a.m. at Tootsies, 8300 Preston Center Plaza in Dallas.  

Chaired by Whitney Kutch, with Honorary Co-Chairs Rhonda Marcus and Emmy Marcus, Esteem is a celebration of body image and self-Esteem. By helping to increase awareness about eating disorders and the importance of positive body image, Esteem encourages people to love themselves while striving to be healthy.  Proceeds support The Elisa Project (TEP) and the important programs dedicated to fighting eating disorder illnesses through awareness, education, support and advocacy.

Whitney Kutch (File photo)

Rhonda Marcus (File photo)

This year, fashion sponsor Tootsies will highlight the hottest fall trends, including designs from featured brand Cinq a Sept, with local celebrities and notables walking the runway and former reality personality Courtney Kerr serving as emcee. Chosen for their support of The Elisa Project and for serving as mentors by giving back to the community and to those with eating disorders, this year’s models include: fitness instructor and model Melissa Rountree and daughter Morgan; community volunteer Yvonne Crum and granddaughter Samantha Crum; lifestyle expert Amy Vanderoef; award-winning broadcast journalist Scott Murray; Kellie Rasberry, co-host of Kidd Kraddick in the Morning and daughter Emma Kelly; jewelry designer Amanda Sterett Albritton; blogger and fashion expert Hilary Kennedy; host of WFAA-TV’s “Good Morning Texas” Jane McGarry; designer and creator of BAHZ jewelry Britt Harless; FOX4-TV’s Emmy-award winning news anchor Jenny AnchondoCatherine Lowe, mom, owner of local luxury stationary line LoweCoand founder of Hello Whitney blog and Esteem Chair Whitney Kutch.

2016 Esteem Fashion Show*

Esteem will begin at 10:00 a.m. with a Mimosas and Munchies reception featuring trunk shows for featured brand Cinq A Sept and jewelry designer Auden, including a personal appearance by the designer. Raffle tickets will be on sale with prizes such as designer Elizabeth Showers jewelry, a gift card from Tootsies and more. Raffle tickets are $10 each or 6 for $50. The celebrity fashion show will begin at 11:00 a.m.  

Tickets are $75 each for VIP seating or $20 each for student/standing and are on sale now. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.theelisaproject.com or dial 214.369.5222.

I cannot believe it has been eight years since we started this awareness fashion show and now it has turned into so much more! Our mission is to lead by example… teaching healthy lifestyles, supporting one another and encourage others to love themselves. We hope to see you on September 16!

* Photo provided by The Elisa Project

MySweetCharity Opportunity: Dallas CASA’s Champion Of Children Award Dinner

According to Dallas CASA’s Champion Of Children Award Dinner Co-Chair Priscilla Anthony,

Corey and Priscilla Anthony*

My husband Corey and I got involved with Dallas CASA when Corey joined the board of directors on behalf of AT&T in 2013. Once we learned about the organization, its mission and the tremendous benefit to children in our own community we were ready for more.

Corey went through 30 hours of training and became a volunteer court-appointed special advocate in 2015. I joined as a CASA volunteer advocate in 2017. Corey’s work on the board continues and he serves as vice president of community outreach.

Dallas CASA Champion of Children Award Dinner*

And now we’re honored to co-chair Dallas CASA’s Champion of Children Award Dinner Thursday, November 16, at The Fairmont Dallas.

Dallas CASA has truly become part of our daily lives and we hope you’ll join us for the dinner and feel the same connection to CASA that has enriched our lives. We are co-chairing the event with Laura and John Losinger. Laura also serves as a Dallas CASA board member and works for the Rees-Jones Center for Foster Care Excellence at Children’s Health.

John and Laura Losinger*

The event gives Dallas CASA a chance to honor and recognize the many tremendous people and organizations who dedicate their time and attention to the most vulnerable children in our community. This year’s Judge Barefoot Sanders Champion of Children Award will be presented to the Junior League of Dallas (JLD) for their 95 years of dedication to making our community one that supports and nurtures our children. The award is named for the late Judge Sanders, a revered federal district court judge, past award recipient and a steadfast supporter of Dallas CASA.

Christie Carter (File photo)

Our honorary chair for the evening is Christie Carter, who’s been an active member and supporter of both the Junior League and Dallas CASA for many years.

Our guest speaker is Jackie Davis, a former foster child whose Dallas CASA volunteer made such an impact on his life that he pursued a degree in social work and is right back at Dallas CASA serving as a volunteer supervisor. Jackie’s CASA volunteer was there for him through the termination of his parents’ rights at the age of five, a failed adoption, numerous foster homes and a permanent adoption at age 13.

Dallas CASA has been on a pattern of growth for several years as the organization moves closer towards its goal of serving every child in need. In 2016 for the first time, Dallas CASA had more than 1,000 volunteer advocates serving children. But Dallas CASA remains a nonprofit with a personal touch. Our volunteers know our children. They know the attorneys and judges, caseworkers, foster families and therapists assigned to the cases. They work closely with the professional staff at Dallas CASA. And the personal touch is what children like Jackie remember.

“Through it all I had my CASA volunteer. Caseworkers changed, homes changed, attorneys changed, but she was my CASA volunteer and stayed. She was always happy, always glad to see me, always ready with her arms flung wide and her hands flipped just so for a hug that somehow embraced my body and soul. She brought light into my darkest places.”

The Dallas CASA family has become part of our family and we hope you’ll join us and get to know and love Dallas CASA and the children we serve as much as we have.

* Graphic/photo provided by Dallas CASA

JUST IN: Crayton Webb Reveals His Last Day As Mary Kay Inc. VP, But Remains Tight-Lipped About Future Plans

Nikki and Crayton Webb (File photo)

In the North Texas nonprofit world, Mary Kay Inc. VP of Corporate Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility Crayton Webb has established quite a stellar reputation as a major champion in the war against domestic violence. Besides chairing HeROs, Genesis Women’s Shelter‘s men’s auxiliary, and co-chairing the recent Genesis Luncheon with wife Nikki Webb, he has served on the board of the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

An example of his blending his professional life with his personal advocacy has been his being front and center for the annual “Suits for Shelters” program, providing clothes for area domestic violence shelters.

What some folks don’t realize is that his involvement and leadership have not been limited to Mary Kay Inc. and domestic violence. Need proof? Since landing in North Texas in 1998, he has been part of a vast variety of organizations and programs, including the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas Board, the Communications Council for the Dallas Regional Chamber, the Executive Forum of the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship, Communications Studies at SMU, the Junior League of Dallas, Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity, Leadership Dallas Alumni Association and Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau to name a few.

Prior to joining Mary Kay Inc., he was an award-winning reporter for KTVT-TV (CBS) from 1998 to 2001, as well as chief of staff for former Dallas Mayor Laura Miller from 2002 to 2005.

In the past 19 years, he has received the 2015 Leadership Dallas Distinguished Alumni Award, was named to the Dallas Business Journal‘s class of “40 under Forty,” was named one of the “Five Outstanding Young Dallasites” by the Dallas Junior Chamber of Commerce and one of the “Five Outstanding Young Texans” by the Texas Junior Chamber of Commerce.

It was just learned that Crayton announced that he has given his notice to Mary Kay. Ironically, his final day with the Dallas-based mega-company will be on the 54th anniversary of the founding of Mary Kay Inc. — Wednesday, September 13.

What’s in his future? Crayton is tight-lipped on that question. However, the answer will be revealed in September. But never fear. He and Nikki are still staying true to North Texas and its nonprofit world.

Stay tuned.

MySweetCharity Opportunity: Spirit Of Generations Award Luncheon

According to The Senior Source’s 2017 Spirit of Generations Award Luncheon Chair
Carol Huckin,

Carol Huckin*

We have some big changes happening at this year’s Spirit of Generations Award Luncheon. First of all, we will be gathering at a different venue when we present this year’s award to Diane and John Scovell, whose civic engagement, entrepreneurial vision and outstanding leadership have helped transform the Dallas landscape. For those who may not know, John is the Co-Founder/Chairman of Woodbine Development Corporation. His first project, and the one that remains his pride and joy, was the Hyatt Regency with its landmark Reunion Tower. As such, the event will be held there. The luncheon will also be held earlier than in years’ past, so mark your calendars now for Tuesday, October 31, from 12 to 1:30 p.m., at the Hyatt Regency.

The Scovells’ contributions—in real estate, education, the nonprofit sector and more—have had a huge impact on our community and they will continue to benefit generations to come. We are thrilled to be honoring them.”

Diane and John Scovell**

But, don’t worry. Amidst these changes, some things will certainly stay the same, like the luncheon’s trademark humor and brevity.

The Spirit luncheon is The Senior Source’s biggest event of the year—bringing together 1,000 supporters to celebrate the honorees’ universal appeal and ageless spirit that transcend the generations. Monies raised at the event are critical to The Senior Source’s operation of programs and services which are provided to more than 30,000 older adults annually through community engagement, support, independence, advocacy, financial security and protection.

Individual patron tickets begin at $150, and tables start at $1500. For more information, please call 214. 823.5700 ext. 6120 or [email protected].”

About The Senior Source
Since 1961, The Senior Source has served greater Dallas as the go-to nonprofit for aging services.  The agency offers personalized assistance, protection, and connection support to all older adults in greater Dallas for these individuals to “Thrive.” A United Way service provider, The Senior Source offers comprehensive programs for those 50 years of age and older. For more information, contact The Senior Source at 214.823.5700 or visit www.theseniorsource.org. You can also find The Senior Source on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/theseniorsource or Twitter using the handle @theseniorsource. 

* Photo credit: Kristina Bowman 
** Photo provided by The Senior Source

MySweetCharity Opportunity: Hope For Humanity Dinner

Sarah Losinger (File photo)

According to Hope for Humanity Dinner Co-Chair Sarah Losinger,

Each year, the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance honors local Dallas/Fort Worth Holocaust survivors and pays tribute to an Upstander whose actions personify the Museum’s mission to teach the history of the Holocaust and to advance human rights to combat prejudice, hatred, and indifference. Net proceeds from this inspirational evening directly support the important work the Museum does throughout the year.

Both at home and across the world, our community has witnessed many acts of violence where hatred and prejudice prevailed. The Museum’s commitment to fighting hatred has never been more important than it is today.

Lauren Embrey (File photo)

Education is at the heart of the Museum’s mission. In 2016, the Museum shared the lessons of the Holocaust and other genocides along with the costs of hatred and fear of the differences between us with more than 83,500 visitors, almost half of whom were students. The Museum inspires students to become “Upstanders.” Upstanders speak out and stand up against acts of prejudice, hatred, and indifference.

On Tuesday, October 24, at the Fairmont Dallas, the Museum will honor Lauren Embry for her tireless and inspirational work in human rights. As one of the nation’s most influential philanthropists and advocates for gender and racial equity, Lauren reveals her heart by generously sharing her time, talent, and spirit with the city she has called home her entire life, Dallas. Lauren believes that every day provides a new opportunity to be the meaningful change we desire to see in the world.

2017 Hope For Humanity*

The dinner’s honorary co-chairs include Rebecca Bruder, Kelly Hoglund Compton, Rebecca Fletcher, Carol and Don Glendenning, Dr. Rick Halperin, Helen LaKelly Hunt and Harville Hendrix, Lynn and Allan McBee, Karol Omlor, Frank Risch, Barbara Glazer Rosenblatt and Joanne and Charles Teichman.

Please join my Co-Chair Trea C. Yip and me for a memorable and inspiring evening of hope.

* Graphic provided by Hope 
For Humanity Dinner


MySweetCharity Opportunity: Meal For The Minds Luncheon

According to Metrocare Services CEO Dr. John W. Burruss,

John W. Burruss*

Emmitt Smith*

NFL and Cowboy Hall-of-Famer Emmitt Smith will speak to the 2017 Meal for the Minds audience this year.  Mr. Smith is renowned and respected not only for his Super Bowl championships and NFL achievements, but also for his substantial success in business and his goodwill and generosity.  His extraordinary life provides him a unique platform to influence others about mental health care issues.  Mr. Smith encourages everyone to speak openly about the need to seek help while advocating for increased access to mental health care.

Metrocare Services celebrates our 50th anniversary this year! In 1967, no one spoke publicly about mental illness.  In 2017, the stigma of mental illness is lessened because of those with the courage to speak out and those with the means to support them.  Last year, as a result of this community’s willingness to battle the challenge of stigma, Metrocare helped over 57,000 adults and children with mental health needs and/or developmental disabilities, more than ever before!

The goal for Dallas must be complete elimination of this stigma.  It’s an honor to have Mr. Smith further that goal by speaking at Metrocare’s Meal for the Minds on how we can each play a role in “breaking the silence, fighting the stigma and changing minds.”

To amplify his and all of our voices, NBC 5 will be our media sponsor to assist us in promoting this year’s Meal for the Minds. Additionally, NBC 5 will continue to build awareness of Metrocare’s wide range of programs for those who need mental health care, services for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, primary care, housing, and supportive services.

The 2017 Meal for the Minds luncheon will be held Thursday, October 5, at the Hilton Anatole Hotel.  The silent auction begins at 11:00 a.m. and the lunch program begins at 11:45 a.m.  Individual tickets for the luncheon are $150 each and sponsorship opportunities begin at $1,500.  For tickets or sponsor information, please visit our website at www.metrocareservies.org/events.  For questions, contact Tameka Y. Cass at 214.743.1220 or email [email protected]

* Photo provided by Metrocare

Dallas Women’s Foundation Board To Be Chaired By Caren Lock And Adds New Board Members

Ellenore Knight Baker is finishing up her two-year term as board chair of the Dallas Women’s Foundation. During her tenure, she led the Foundation in the creation of the Unlocking Leadership Campaign to raise $50M to “improve the future of North Texas by investing in the economic security and leadership potential of women and girls.”

Ellenore Baker (File photo)

Caren Lock and Roslyn Dawson Thompson (File photo)

In her place will be newly named Board Chair Caren Lock, who has “served on the Foundation’s executive committee, and she had chaired the Advocacy Committee. She is also a founding member of The Orchid Giving Circle at Dallas Women’s Foundation, a group of Asian women pooling resources to provide community grants that support social change and services for North Texas Asians.”

According to DWF President CEO Roslyn Dawson Thompson, “We so appreciate Ellenore’s leadership as board chair.  She is a dedicated advocate for our mission, and her passion and enthusiasm are contagious. We’re grateful that Caren brings her formidable talents and deep commitment to continue moving us forward toward our ambitious goals. Under Caren’s leadership, we will be working hard to complete the campaign, and ask everyone who supports our mission to consider giving a gift to help achieve our goals of ensuring equity for women and girls. We are also very pleased to welcome our new board members, who bring a wealth of talents and experience that will contribute greatly to this exciting time in our history.”

Those new board members include Bonner Allen, Bonnie Clinton, Teresa Giltner, Keri Kaiser, Laura Nieto, Carrie Freeman Parsons, Elizabeth Carlock Phillips, Priya Bhola Rathod, Diane Reeves, Zeenat Sidi, Karen Simon and Shawna Wilson.

Houston Texans Rookie Quarterback Deshaun Watson Brings His Life-Changing Story To Dallas Habitat For Humanity’s Dream Builder’s Dinner

While there appears to be no doubt who will be the starting quarterbacks for the Dallas Cowboys this year, down in Houston it’s a different story. The decision is making headlines whether it will be first-round pick rookie Deshaun Watson or veteran Tom Savage. Houston Texans coach Bill O’Brien suggested that Savage has the edge after working with the team for the past three years. But perhaps O’Brien was too busy last year to notice what happened up I-45 when the Cinderella story took place in North Texas.

And while a showdown between Deshaun and Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott would be a ticket well worth the purchase, only time will tell if that ever happens.

Deshaun Watson*

Dale Hansen (File photo)

However, Deshaun will be in North Texas and he’ll be facing someone who intimidates even the hardiest athlete — WFAA’s Dale Hansen. The newbie NFL-er and the seasoned pro interviewer will get together at Belo Mansion on Thursday, October 19, for Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity’s first annual Dream Builder’s Dinner. But chances are they may talk about more than passes, touchdowns and predictions.

It’s because of something that happened just before Thanksgiving in 2006, when Deshaun was just 11 years old. For the first ten years of his life, he and his mother and siblings had lived in public housing. But his mother Deann Watson was bound and determined to get her family into their own home with a backyard. While holding two jobs, she put in hundreds of hours of volunteer work, made an application and received a brand new Habitat for Humanity house.

As Deshaun and his family approached the door of their new home, there was former NFL star running back Warrick Dunn with keys to hand over to the Watsons. Immediately, Deshaun headed straight to his new bedroom. That first night all was in place including furniture and food provided by Warrick.

According to Deshaun, “The home gave him a chance to get out of difficult surroundings and start moving toward the goal of being in the NFL.”

For Warrick, it was a pay-it-forward moment. He “knew from experience how important it was to give a helping hand, but not a handout, to single mothers and their children.” His own mother, who had been a police officer, had been murdered when she escorted a businesswoman to a bank to make a nighttime deposit. At the age of 18, Warrick became the head of the family. He would also be a leading force in NFL players supporting charities. When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, he “challenged all NFL players, except those who play for the New Orleans Saints, to donate at least $5,000 to the effort.” It resulted in more than $5M in contributions.

Over the years, Deshaun embraced the pay it forward. During his years at Clemson, he and his teammates were part of the Habitat for Humanity program.

Just this past October he was presented with the Lowe’s AFCA Good Works Team Award for his Habitat for Humanity efforts in college.

Now, as a professional football player, Deshaun’s using his “celebrity” to help families achieve their homes by supporting Habitat for Humanity.   

And that’s why Deshaun is making time during the football season to be at Belo Mansion to support Habitat for Humanity. It should be quite a night and quite a chat.

Diane and Mike Gruber (File photo)

Jennifer and Tom Karol (File photo)

Lynn and Allan McBee (File photo)

In addition to DeShaun and Dale, the evening will honor Phil Wise and the Carpenters for Christ of Highland Park United Methodist Church. Co-Chairing the event will be Diane and Mike Gruber, Jennifer and Tom Karol and Lynn and Allan McBee.

* Photo provided by Dallas Habitat for Humanity

 

MySweetCharity Summer Pitch: 2017 Parade Of Playhouses

According to Dallas CASA Board Chair John Gibson,

John Gibson*

Looking for a cool way to run off some of your children’s energy while also helping a good cause? Grab your kids and head to Dallas CASA’s Parade of Playhouses July 7 through 23 at NorthPark Center.

With 14 perfectly pint-sized playhouses decorating the halls of NorthPark, Parade of Playhouses is the perfect way to let your kids’ imaginations go wild while also learning about children in our community who need help.

For 22 years, NorthPark Center has played host to the playhouses, which are donated by local builders, designers and corporations and available to win through raffle at the end of the 17-day event. What child doesn’t want to imagine his or her own miniature house? This year’s designs include a house in the image of an owl, an activity house with a climbing wall and even a house shaped like a cuckoo clock. House designers and builders pour skill, creativity and love into these unusual creations.

The event benefits Dallas CASA, a nonprofit that provides volunteer advocates for abused and neglected children navigating the child welfare system. Walking the corridors and viewing the playhouses is a great way to start a conversation with your own kids about those in our community who are less fortunate. Children in the child welfare system don’t dare dream of a playhouse with all the bells and whistles. They dream of safe and permanent homes where they are loved.

2017 Parade of Playhouses*

Dallas CASA’s Parade of Playhouses is open until Sunday, July 23, during NorthPark’s hours. Viewing the playhouses is free and raffle tickets to win a playhouses are available for $5 each or five for $20.

All proceeds from the raffle ticket sales help Dallas CASA provide more children with advocates to serve them. For Dallas CASA, Parade of Playhouses has also become a key recruiting and community awareness event. Tables throughout NorthPark are staffed with volunteer advocates and other supporters who can tell you about becoming a volunteer advocate for abused children.

In fact, Parade of Playhouses might be the beginning of something for you to do after summer, too. A training class for volunteer advocates begins Sept. 6, right after the kids go back to school. The first step to becoming a volunteer advocate is attending an information session.

Maybe it’s your turn to dream not about a tiny house but about helping make the world a better place one child at a time.

* Graphic and photo provided by Dallas CASA

22nd Annual Parade Of Playhouses Is Polished Up And Rocking At NorthPark Center For Dallas CASA

Craig Beneke

It was just a couple of weeks ago in June that af architecture and fabrication’s Craig Beneke got a shout out from one of his 21-year-old twin daughters. It wasn’t for a new car. It wasn’t for a loan. It was for a house. No, not a 2,000-square-foot bungalow in the M Street hood. It was for a playhouse. She wasn’t reverting back to her childhood. Rather, she was hoping that her dad could provide a playhouse for Dallas CASA’s 22nd Annual Parade of Playhouses at NorthPark.

It seems one of the originally signed-up builders had bailed, and there was a need to fill a spot for the annual Dallas CASA fundraiser that would run from Saturday, July 8 through Sunday, July 23.

Playhouse Rock cowbell on a construction work belt

Playhouse Rock sound tubes

Playhouse Rock floor

Not only did Papa Craig answer the call-to-deliver, but he literally hit the nail on the head.  His Playhouse Rock was a musical marvel that would please anyone from Jaap to Jay-Z with a mini-xylophone built into the floor complete with mallets for playing and an assortment of others goodies — rain stick, triangle, sound tubes, etc. There were personal touches, too. For instance, the front door’s cowbell is suspended by his construction work belt.

But being a perfectionist, Craig was eyeballing the hand prints left from the move-in on Thursday, July 6. He was going to do some touch-up, so his Playhouse Rock would be perfect.

Whimsical Cottage

A few playhouses away, Doug Beaty of Beach Sheet Metal was sharing Craig’s dilemma about prints. It seems that the Whimsical Cottage’s copper roof was a fingerprint magnet. Last year, he arrived daily to polish the roof, so it was spotless. He expected to do the same this year. When someone offered to post a sign dissuading people from touching, he scoffed at the idea. He relished the idea that little ones and their parents couldn’t resist touching the shiny roof.   

Cuckoohaus

Paw Rescue

The White Owl’s Den

But those are just two of the 11 playhouses on display. Some have rock walls; some are so cozy; some have interior lighting; some are open and breezy. But they all will be raffled off at 4 p.m. on Sunday, July 23, in NorthPark’s North Court to support Dallas CASA’s mission “to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children, helping these children gain safe, permanent homes as quickly as possible.” If you’re unable to check out the houses, you can still buy your raffle ticket here. They’re going for $5 each or five for $20.

Also, the builders are all vying to claim the title of “Favorite Playhouse.” You can vote by texting dallascasa to 41444. BTW, each vote costs $5.

Check out the Parade of Playhouses at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 22nd Annual Parade Of Playhouses

Playhouse Rock

The White Owl’s Den

The 22nd Annual Parade of Playhouses started its march this past weekend through NorthPark Center to fund Dallas CASA, come rain or shine. One of the adorable mini-mansions didn’t even exist until a couple of weeks ago, and it came about thanks to a daughter’s call to a dad. And, boy, did pop come through!

Paw Rescue

Whimsical Cottage

Before heading over to NorthPark to see them up close and personally to examine the detail and craftmanship, check out the 11 houses at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery. But you’d better hustle, because they’ll be raffled off on Sunday, July 23.

Cowbell on a construction work belt

Cottage light

In the meantime, the post about the dad is being finalized. Stay tuned.

Kristen Sanger And Cindy Stager To Co-Chair The Family Place’s Texas Trailblazer Luncheon With Gretchen Carlson As Keynote Speaker

While all the recent headlines have been about The Family Place’s brick-and-mortar successes (the new Ann Moody Center and Texas’ first men’s shelter), behind the scenes work is continuing to raise funds for the organization’s various programs.

In addition to the Partners Card fall fundraiser celebrating its 25th anniversary from October 27-November 5, the annual Texas Trailblazer Luncheon has lined up a couple of tested fundraising co-chairs — Kristen Sanger and Cindy Stager.

Kristen Sanger (File photo)

Cindy Stager (File photo)

Between the two of ‘em, they’ve held various leadership roles for events benefiting Community Partners of Dallas, Housing Crisis Center, Heroes for Children, The Retina Foundation of the Southwest, Dallas Habitat for Humanity, American Heart Association, TACA and, of course, The Family Place, to name a few.

Interestingly, they both co-chaired the annual Cattle Baron’s Ball, but at different times. Kristen co-chaired the American Cancer Society fundraiser in 2012 and Cindy in 2014.

With all the expertise, it’s no surprise that the two ladies are co-chairing the 2017 Texas Trailblazer Luncheon on Friday, October 6, at the Hilton Anatole. For the keynote speaker, they’re having former FOX News Channel host Gretchen Carlson. In addition to being Miss America in 1989 and having recently made headlines about sexual harassment in the workplace, the 5’3” blonde used to work at KXAS-NBC from 1998-2000.

Also on the luncheon agenda will be the annual Trailblazer Awards that are presented to “those who create positive change and contribute to the quality of life in our community.” As for this year’s awardees, stay tuned.

PS — You might want to send Gretchen a birthday card on Wednesday.

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

Inspirational Talk by Oak Cliff Native, Award to Jewish Women’s Group Highlight Dallas CASA’s 10th Annual Cherish the Children Luncheon

The big event benefiting Dallas CASA, held August 5 at The Fairmont Dallas, was billed as the group’s 10th annual Cherish the Children Luncheon. But one of the groups honored at the event reinforced the message that Dallas CASA (short for Court Appointed Special Advocates) has been helping abused and neglected children a lot longer than that.

Joyce Rosenfield and Mark Berg*

The group, the Greater Dallas Section of the National Council of Jewish Women, received Dallas CASA’s newly named Caroline Rose Hunt Cherish the Children Award. That the award was presented to the group by Mark S. Berg, a past chair of the Dallas CASA board of directors, had a special significance. Mark’s late mother, Rose Marion Berg, was a member of the NCJW and one of the founders of Dallas CASA nearly 40 years ago.

Said Berg: “CASA is about a group of mothers who could not stand to see children mistreated. Dallas CASA is now within reach of achieving what was unthinkable a few years ago—serving every child in need. We’ve all stood on the shoulders of those dedicated mothers.”

Gail Cook, Bunny Williams, Caroline Rose Hunt, Pat McCall and Lynn Sheldon*

The 10th annual luncheon, a sold-out affair attended by about 430, was chaired by Shonn Brown. Guests included Ruth Altshuler, Cheryl Lee Shannon, Evelyn Henry Miller, Lisa Cooley, Harriet Miers, Lynn McBee, Paul Coggins, Tanya Foster, Tiffany Divis, Elba Garcia, Gail Cook, Bunny Williams, Caroline Rose Hunt, Pat McCall, Lynn Sheldon  and Sarah Losinger.

Cheryl Lee Shannon, Shonn Evans Brown, Elba Garcia, Kathleen LaValle and Evelyn Henry Miller*

Following an excellent lunch of tortilla soup and chicken salad and brief remarks by Kathleen LaValle, Dallas CASA’s executive director and president, attendees heard from guest speaker Casey Gerald. He’s a 30-year-old Oak Cliff native who’s achieved national prominence as a writer, business leader and motivational speaker.

A co-founder and CEO of a group called MBAs Across America, which aims to bring community support to entrepreneurs, Casey recalled being abandoned by his mother at age 12, while his father struggled with drug addiction. After the community intervened to help him, he said, he was able to make his way from South Oak Cliff to Yale University and later to Harvard Business School.

Casey Gerald*

Even so, Casey told the crowd, he should not be held up as a particular example of “triumph over adversity,” because it’s more important to address the root causes of child abuse and neglect. “No degree makes up for being unwanted,” he said. “No amount of money can make you fight hunger pangs. Meeting no president makes up for not having your mother. Not a single kid leaves behind those wounds of childhood.”

Casey wrapped up his talk by saying, about CASA, “This is an organization that’s dedicated to keeping kids alive. So I thank you! … [But,] how do we put ourselves out of business? What if we didn’t make the best CASA—but made a country where we don’t need CASA?”

With a target of raising $15,000 during the luncheon, which included a silent auction of children’s furniture, it was announced at 12:40 p.m. that $7,261 had been raised toward the goal so far. When all was said and done, Dallas CASA says, the 10th annual luncheon raised a total net amount of $170,000.

* Photo credit: Kristina Bowman

Dallas CASA’s Cherish The Children Patron Party Had Cars Lined Up In Linda And Rob Swartz’s Driveway And On The Street

Kathleen LaValle, Theresa Daniel and Linda Swartz

The Cherish the Children Patron Party proved to be a traffic jam on Tuesday, April 4. While the early-bird arrivals were nestled on the terrace of Linda and Rob Swartz’s home, others left their cars with engines running in the circular driveway and on the street.

Casey Gerald and Shonn Brown

Organizers admitted that the valets had a distance to park the cars. On the other hand, one valet claimed that the organizers had low-balled the estimate of guests. Perhaps it was the presence of keynote speaker Casey Gerald, who was surrounded by the likes of Luncheon Chair Shonn Brown, Dallas CASA Executive Director/President Kathleen and Michael LaValle, Theresa Daniel and Becca Haynes Leonard, Michelle Stephenson, Sharon Balaban, Karen Carney, Fran and Mark Berg, Caroline Rose Hunt, Bobbie Sue Williams, Billie Lee Rippey, Veree Hawkins Brown, Joyce Rosenfield, Greg and Hannah May and Isabel and Rob Calderin.

Regardless, the event came off perfectly and all headed home early for the Dallas CASA luncheon the next day at The Fairmont.

SOLD-OUT ALERT: A Chance To Soar

Simone Biles*

Yup, those ten seats that were still unfilled yesterday for Jonathan’s Place‘s A Chance To Soar Luncheon Tuesday are gone. Translation: Simone Biles will be facing a sold-out crowd at the Anatole.

* Photo provided by Jonathan's Place

EarthxGlobal Gala Patrons At Scott Ginsburg’s Mansion Included A Hairy Guest With Two Toes And Big, Brown Eyes

The evening of Saturday, March 25, could not have been more perfect for an outdoor gathering of earthlings. Perhaps it was due to insider arrangements by EarthxGlobal Gala Chair Emeritus Trammell S. Crow and Mother Nature.  

Didn’t matter who was responsible, Gala Honorary Chair Scott Ginsburg’s Highland Park estate was simply splendiferous, with a DJ on the elevated outdoor terrace overlooking the pool.

Susan and Steve O’Brien and Mary Kathryn Bass

Caroline Branch and Karl Chiao

Sloth and handler

While there was no lack of gorgeous-looking people like Susan and Steve O’Brien, Mary Kathryn Bass, Karl Chiao, Caroline Branch, and Michael Cain to check out, the guest drawing the most attention was a two-toed sloth, much to the delight of guests. The handler reported that despite the length of the sloth’s claws, her hugging was no problem.

However, when one guest reached out to touch the sloth, it was obviously startled and clutched her date, who provided her with reassurance and a couple of sweet potato strips.

Andrew Ward and Amanda Ward

Matt Myers

Over to the side, mom Amanda Ward told how her son, 14-year-old Andrew Ward, had been smitten with Earth Day. It seems that last year Andrew volunteered for the mega-event and got hooked. That introduction led the Lakehill student to think about tackling the problem of air pollution in China. Andrew decided to start off by aiming to reduce the air pollution emitted by Chinese factories. In discussing his plans with fellow Lakehill grad/Earth Day 2017 Event Director Matt Myers, Andrew discovered that Matt, who’d attended school at China’s “MIT” in Beijing, had also been aware of the pollution situation there and had thought about ways of solving the problem, too.

Trammell S. Crow

Arriving like a rock star, meantime, Trammell was ready to take on the world—literally—as he handed out small colorful “earth” marbles instead of calling cards. He was also very excited not only about the EarthxGlobal Gala, but about the upcoming Earth Day Texas event itself. Trammell said it would be including a number of prestigious universities, several national labs, 50 different NGOs (non-governmental organizations), and even a fracking conference. The organizers hope to best last year’s attendance of 130,000 by as many as 5,000—provided the weather holds up.

According to Laura Reeder, the EarthxGlobal Gala was originally scheduled to take place on Saturday, April 22. But when they realized that both the Art Ball and Cotes du Coeur were scheduled that night, they simply moved the EarthxGlobal Gala to Fair Park’s Discovery Gardens on Friday, April 21. It will be just one part of the activities planned for Earth Day Texas from Friday, April 21 thru Sunday, April 23, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.