Now Is The Time To Rise And Shine

For longer than anyone can remember, there’s seemed to be a competition between two of Texas’ siblings. The Gulf Coast boasted having one of the largest cities in the nation, the world’s most ginormous oil companies and a shoreline. North Texas laid claim to having more Super Bowl rings, a TV series called “Dallas” and the birthplace of Neiman Marcus. Both have proved to be the comeback kids. Houston rebounded from oil busts, and Dallas recovered from a presidential assassination and the Ebola virus.

In recent time when it came to weather, North Texas trumped the competition with the 2011 Super Bowl ice storm.

But be honest! Thanks to Hurricane Harvey, the Gulf Coast has won the weather woes category. This epic situation has totally redefined the word “devastation.”

(Above video courtesy of WFAA-TV)

People who have prided themselves on paying their bills have suddenly found themselves without homes. Their children, who were to start school this week, are now without even uniforms, let alone classrooms. The elderly and disabled, who have depended on others, have found themselves alone through no fault of their caretakers. Family pets that were so dependent upon their human companions are being turned in or sadly lost.

This situation has provided North Texas with a time to rise and shine. Over the years, North Texas has been known for philanthropy and generosity thanks to its residents. But now it has the chance to open its arms and provide for the hundreds thousands of evacuees seeking help, comfort and hope. Some will call North Texas home only temporarily; others will become our neighbors.

This morning when you wake up in the comfort of your snugly bed, have a warm shower and enjoy that drive to Starbucks for coffee with a blue sky above, consider those who have had to take an ax to the roof of their house to survive, who haven’t been dry in days, who have no idea if they’ll have anything to return to, and who have children asking unanswerable questions.

Luckily, this is Texas and its resilience is legendary with good reason. Thanks to Harvey, it will once again prove true.

If you’re stepping up and making a donation in any form, please make sure that the money will be used for North Texas efforts by a reputable group. Unfortunately, during these situations, there are some who just might take advantage of the kindness of others.

An Unfortunate MySweetCharity Opportunity: Hurricane Harvey

MySweetCharity

North Texans are certainly no strangers when it comes to Mother Nature throwing fizzy fits. Perhaps that’s why they are feeling the pain of those escaping Hurricane Harvey and seeking refuge here. Unfortunately, for some they will have little to return to. For others, they just might decide to stay put here.

To help these uprooted folks while they call North Texas home, it is the perfect opportunity to showcase the area’s spirit of generosity and compassion. Whether it’s schlepping pet supplies to the SPCA of Texas for newly arrived residents, providing funds for such groups as the Red Cross or rolling up silk sleeves to volunteer, now is the time to rise to the occasion. 

BTW, there are many North Texans who have families and second homes in the devastated area. Why not give them a call and see how they’re doing? 

And remember — hurricane season doesn’t officially end until October. But you just know Ma Nature doesn’t always plays by the rules.

The Inspiration Of A Girl’s Grandparents Lives At The Cotton Bowl To Support The Battle Against Alzheimer’s

It was nearly 20 years ago that a teenager faced a daunting problem — her beloved grandmother, Mimi Schendle, was changing and not for the better. Over the next decade, the teenager watched her family helplessly assist Mimi’s journey into the web of Alzheimer’s. Like most diseases, this one doesn’t just impact the patient alone. It hits each member of the family. In this case, the girl’s grandfather, JosephJoe-Joe” Schendle, compassionately and tirelessly cared for his wife, as their children and grandchildren supported the elderly couple.

When Mimi died in 2008, the now 20-something decided she was going to find a way to provide funding for research to battle the disease that had touched all ages of her family. Being in the marketing business, she decided to undertake a project that would involve others her age. But to do that it had to be something that was fun while also fundraising. She had heard about a powder-puff football game that had raised some money in Washington, D.C., for Alzheimer’s. That seemed like a good idea, but fundraising vets were skeptical of her plan.

Perhaps it was the fact that she hadn’t faced such a major task like that before that she charged ahead with only the goal in her mind. The reality of the logistics hadn’t really set in that first year. Her 14-year-old sister ran the scoreboard and her close buddy Greer Fulton was quarterback for one side. And, of course, the soaring August heat made more than mascara melt. But she was driven by the memory of the previous ten years, and she had friends. Those two ingredients resulted in the first Blondes vs. Brunettes football game in 2008.

Blondes enter the field (File photo)

Brunettes enter the field (File photo)

Over the next ten years, there were changes. The name was changed to BvB Dallas. The location of the game moved all over (Griggs Field, Highland Park High School’s Highlander Stadium, SMU’s Wescott Field, Bishop Lynch’s Roffino Stadium) and finally in 2014 to its present scene at the Cotton Bowl. Some years the Blondes won. Some years the Brunettes did. Through personal experiences, it was also learned that Alzheimer’s was not limited to the elderly.

Ebby Halliday and Dan Branch (File photo)

As some players aged out, others came on board to practice all summer. And the nets changed, too, resulting in the following:

  • 2008 — $65,000
  • 2009 — $151,000
  • 2010 — $207,000
  • 2011 — $260,000
  • 2012 — $340,000
  • 2013 — $351,000
  • 2014 — $441,000
  • 2015 — $491,000
  • 2016 — $564,000

But there were also constants, like the late Ebby Halliday and her real estate empire, Bud Light and The Ticket coming and staying on board. 

And there was the girl, who was now a 33-year-old married lady, who had a full-time job at the Dallas Mavericks as Corporate Communications and Events Director. But she hadn’t ended her involvement in the event that had handed over more than $2.8M for Alzheimer’s programs.

Greer Fulton, Jay Finegold and Erin Finegold (File photo)

On Saturday, August 12, plans call for the game to pass the $3M mark and provide this year’s funds to the Baylor AT&T Memory Center, the Center for BrainHealth, UT Southwestern Medical Center, and the Center for Vital Longevity. And once again, BvB Dallas Founder/Mimi’s and Joe-Joe’s granddaughter Erin Finegold White will be on the sidelines at the Cotton Bowl and on the frontline in the war against Alzheimer’s.

Update: Daisy Mae Has Less Legs To Stand On, But More Love To Support Her

It’s amazing that Daisy Mae, the white Labrador pup, managed to pull herself out of the gangbuster collision on Tuesday, July 11, and survived in a nearby ravine for days without water and comfort. Thanks to Mutts and Mayhem, she was found, rescued and taken to a vet.

Posted by Mutts & Mayhem Animal Rescue on Wednesday, July 19, 2017

But after checking with canine orthopedic specialists and her loving owner Erica Cruz, Daisy’s back left leg had to amputated due to the devastation.

She is now on pain killers, recovering and looking forward to a reunion with her family.

Nigel

According to four-year-old Nigel (a three-legged Pyrenees/poodle), “We tripods really get along quite well. Why there are even websites dedicated to our  ‘tripawd’ situation. In some way we feel so sorry for you humans with only two legs. Daisy is young and has a loving family. In no time she’ll quickly adapt to her new way of getting around.

“By the way, can you fix me up on a date with Daisy when she’s up and about?”

While Daisy and Erica are still recovering from the shock of the accident and their physical damage, their being together will help the mending.

But there’s still the funding for Daisy’s medical treatment.  Mutts and Mayhem is still trying to help ease the financial challenges that Daisy’s facing. It’s simple. Just go to this page and right under the amount of donation, click “Animal(s) you would like to sponsor.” That’s where you write “Daisy Mae.”

If you can help show your appreciation with ca-ching, wonderful. If the money just ain’t available, just send good thoughts.

* Video courtesy of Mutts and Mayhem

Don’t Let The Halfway Downers Get You Down

Okay, everybody stop. Did you stop? No, seriously, did you? The North Texas community is at the half-way point in the summer and the temperatures are starting to really hit home. Then there’s that problem of thinking about the rest of the year trying to raise funds. And, heaven forbid, 2018!

Summer doldrums

Whatever you’re doing, stop. Take a chill pill. What’s a chill pill? Some peeps call it a “time out.” Others just say, “Go to that friendly place.” Doesn’t matter if you go to Ninth Planet or snuggle under your yummy Charlotte Thomas sheets, just close those eyes … it may take a bit more effort for those with caterpillar eyelashes… and take deep breaths to fill those inner sanctums of your lungs that haven’t been filled since you could do a cartwheel. Try that five times and don’t forget to breath out!

Now, kick those flip-flops and stilettos off and spread your pedicured toes far apart and then back together. Now point them upward and then downward. Like breathing, try that five times.

Finally, remember that everything will work out, if you relax, put together your “gotta-do list” (must-do lists are so passé) and tackle them one by one. As you check them off, your anxiety will be knocked off bit by bit.

A Human’s Holiday Celebration Is A Pet’s Night Of Fear And Anxiety

This Fourth of July promises to have clear skies just perfect for firework displays throughout the North Texas area. Why you may not even have to leave your mansion to hear the ka-booms and see the flashes overhead.

Anxious pooch (File photo)

But while such a sight is breathtaking and all in the best spirit, the sounds and sights can be devastating for some… like pets.

According to Lost Dogs of America, more dogs “run away from home over the Fourth of July holiday than any other.” 

Here are some tips to prepare for that “just in case” situation:

  • Make sure your pet is microchipped and, most importantly, that its registration is current.
  • Do not take your pet to Fourth of July festivities.
  • Take your dog for a walk during the day. The cat doesn’t need to take a stroll.
  • If you’re set on taking the pooch to a parade, remember the pavement is going to be hot. So, walk and have them sit on a grassy spot and bring along some water. You may not get thirsty, but you’re not wearing a fur coat.
  • Secure them in an indoor crate with the TV and/or music playing, preferably in a room with window shades down.
  • The ASPCA has provided a free app to help you locate your pet, just in case the night results in their running away from home.
  • Ask your vet for advice specifically on how to deal with your animal companion’s anxiety.

BTW, have a current photo of your pet? Even if you don’t have a camera, you can take a cellphone picture. It will be vital if your pet does make a mad dash, so that you can immediately post on social media as well as distribute handouts.

Chi Omegas Gave More Than A Hoot To Area Nonprofits and Scholarship Funds

Just as the Crystal Charity Ball gals were doling out the dough a couple of weeks ago for its beneficiaries, so the Chi Omega Alumnae were recently handy with checks. The funds came from their 2016 Chi Omega Christmas Market that was held last fall at Fair Park.

2016 Market Co-Chairs Amy McAleavey and Mandy Escobedo admitted that their goal of providing $258,000 for the 2016 beneficiaries was a daunting one. But evidently it wasn’t as challenging as they thought, as they provided $320,000 to the following beneficiaries:

Mandy Escobedo and Amy McAleavey*

  • ChildCareGroup,
  • Genesis Women’s Shelter and Support,
  • Make-A-Wish Foundation of North Texas®,
  • New Friends New Life,
  • Promise House,
  • Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas,
  • Trinity River Mission,
  • VMLC (Vickery Meadow Learning Center) and
  • the Chi Omega Alumnae of Dallas Chi O Christmas Market Endowed Scholarship fund and collegiate scholarships.

According to Amy, “The total amount raised at the 2016 Market is a 24% increase from our set goal and allows us to fully fund our wonderful beneficiaries.”

Plans are already underway for next year’s Market with Alex Bjornnes serving as chair. The 2017 event will be the 40th anniversary of the Market and will return to Centennial Hall in Fair Park from Wednesday, November 15 thru Saturday, November 18.

* Photo credit: Tamytha Cameron

Start Working Out Because A Weekend Of Fundraising Gala Collisions Lies Ahead

Côtes du Coeur (File photo)

Well, yuck! North Texas is preparing to have one of those fundraising collision weekends. Drat!

On Saturday, April 22, two major, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious events are taking place. The wine-loving types will be at the Omni Dallas for the American Heart Association graze and gaze with a corral full of chefs and more wines than California could produce for Côtes du Coeur thanks to Co-Chairs Kelly and David Pfeil.

Art Ball 2016 (File photo)

Over at the Dallas Museum of Art, new kid-on-the-block (aka Eugene McDermott Director) Agustin Arteaga will be introduced to fundraising Dallas-style with the 2017 Art Ball. With Art Ball Co-Chairs Ann and Lee Hobson at the helm and the taste of romantic France via “All That Glistens,” it’s pretty darn obvious that it’s gonna be a night of killer fashions, food and fantastical auction items. The tent is already being erected next to the DMA.

Trammell S. Crow

2016 Children’s Cancer Fund (File photo)

And Friday is just as bad. Here, the EarthxGlobal Gala folks moved their big soiree from Saturday to Friday night to avoid the Art Ball/Côtes du Coeur traffic jam. Only problem: there’s still another mega fundraiser — Children’s Cancer Fund — taking place at the Hilton Anatole that night with kids and celebrities on the runway.

Oh, dear! What is one to do? Do two-a-night and then hit the after-soiree stop — Whataburger?

If either any of ‘em sounds to your liking instead of the same-old Friday and Saturday night sock-sorting and grilling steaks, there are still tickets available. Here’s the one for Côtes du Coeur and here’s the one for Art Ball. Either way you can win!

Horse racing (File photo)

BTW, if you think Sunday is gonna be any better, think again. The Retina Foundation‘s Racing for Sight at Lone Star Park is on a collision course with the Nasher Sculpture Center‘s Great Create.

The Great Create (File photo)

It just ain’t fair!

Klyde Warren Park’s 2017 Park And Palate To Coincide With Longhorns And Sooners Get Together

The folks at Klyde Warren Park have just revealed the dates for the third annual Park And Palate. It’s that two-day food fest at the downtown oasis featuring “top chefs from throughout Texas, a variety of wineries, breweries, distilleries and musical entertainment.”

Klyde Warren Park (File photo)

The Friday night is a VIP Down To The Roots, followed the next days with the Grand Taste all day.

Before getting that plastic out to buy a ticket, hold off because the Early Bird tickets won’t go on sale until April.

Longhorn (File photo)

What’s that? Oh, the dates? Now, that’s an interesting question. The organizers have picked Friday, October 13, and Saturday, October 14. Hmm, isn’t that Texas-OU weekend? There will be no excuse to complain about having nothing to do that weekend.

The Family Place’s Legacy Campaign Is Within A Whisker Of Achieving Its $16.5M Goal And Needs Help To Close The Books

Paige Flink (File photo)

Was it really back on October 2015 that The Family Place’s Paige Flink announce The Family Place Legacy Campaign — Building For the Future — to build a 40,000-square foot Central Dallas Counseling Center? Her goal for the capital campaign was a whopping $13M. To get things rolling, The Moody Foundation kicked in $5M that resulted in the facility being named “Ann Moody Place.”

While the physical process of groundbreaking and building has been underway, so has the effort because the goal increased to $16.5M with good reason. According to Paige, the center is going to provide such services and offerings to “help us meet the burgeoning demand for our services. Every year there are approximately 15,000 incidents of family violence reported to the Dallas Police Department. The Family Place, which is the largest family violence shelter in our community and one of the largest service providers in Texas, shelters over 1,000 victims a year at our Safe Campus with 108 beds plus cribs. Our existing shelter is regularly full. The new facility will allow us to shelter an additional 45 women and children each night. It will also house our expanded Central Dallas counseling services for victims and their children, and a medical and dental clinic for clients.”

Ann Moody Place rendering*

To accommodate those needs, Paige and her crew recognized from experience some of the reasons people in need don’t seek help. For instance, “studies show that up to 65% of domestic violence victims are unable to escape their abusers because they are concerned about what will happen to their pets when they leave.”

Pets won’t be left behind

To ease those concerns, Ann Moody Place will have five dog kennels, five cat towers, a cuddle room where clients can visit their animals plus a dog run. Thanks to a partnership with the SPCA of Texas, a vet-tech will make sure all animals are vaccinated and care for.

But as the Monday, May 1st move-in date approaches, $220,000 is still needed to complete the fundraising. As a greater incentive to donate ASAP, Highland Capital Management has provided a $1M-challenge. For every dollar raised by Tuesday, April 4, Highland will provide 50 cents.

So, perhaps your budget can’t quite muster up a hundred thousand or two. Not to worry. There are other opportunities like

  • $500 for a 6” by 12” engraved brick
  • $1,000 for a donor to have his/her/their name(s) etched in a beautiful display in the breezeway connecting the two new buildings.
  • $7,500 for each of the two remaining outdoor seating areas in the healing garden

And wouldn’t you know that the dog kennels have all been underwritten, but the poor cats are playing second fiddle and are in need of $10,000-naming rights for each of the two remaining cat towers.

Of course, Paige has other underwriting opportunities. Why she just might arrange to have your name tattooed on her shoulder for the right price.  

* Graphic courtesy of The Family Place

World Affairs Council Gets An Early Christmas Gift From Les Femmes But Still Needs More To Prevent Forecasted Shortfall

As mentioned in an earlier post, the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth brings in various speakers like Bob Woodward throughout the year to discuss issues facing today’s world. But that’s not done without funding.

So, World Affairs Council President/CEO Jim Falk sent a letter out recently appealing for a financial kick. According to the letter, “We need help closing a forecasted shortfall of approximately $65,000 by the end of our fiscal year (November 30).”

Jan Ward and Jim Falk

Jan Ward and Jim Falk

The good news is that last week, the Les Femmes du Monde President Jan Ward handed over to Jim a nice check for $38,500 earned through the ladies’ efforts during the past year. While it brought a big, old smile to Jim’s lips, he’s still in need of additional funding.

BTW, Les Femmes gals also presented Children’s with a similar check.

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.

Party Crashers That Need To Die

The chills are on their way with autumn leaves, woolly sweaters and all types of holiday going-ons. But that’s still to come. In the meantime, event planners are having all types of gatherings in the outdoors while the temps play in the 70s, 80s and even 90s.

Alas, there are deadly party crashers. They bypass the check in and have no need for the valet or even a nametag. They’re not even listed in any type of sponsorship group, but they are literally making a killing at the events. They are itty-bitty, nameless types that are hardly noticed and leave no calling card.

These unwanted guests are mosquitoes gladly sharing West Nile and Zika viruses. Or, as the locals have come to call them: “skeeters.”

North Texas outdoor events inviting unwanted guests

North Texas outdoor events inviting unwanted guests

Before the warm-weather events are replaced by chilly temps forcing folks indoors and skeeters seeking warmer digs, it might be nice to have hosts and party planners arrange for sprays and/or fans to let the flying disease carriers know they’re so unwanted.

A couple of guests recently swore they felt like the night’s special at Benihana’s. As one waited for her car at the valet, she was anxious to get home to “AfterBite.”

Downtown Dallas Is Gonna Be A Major Traffic Jam… Uh, Party Room On October 21 And 22

If you thought Dallas would be ground zero for revelries on the night of Friday, October 7, with Longhorns and Sooners partying and DIFFA’s Burgers and Burgundy taking place on the Ron Kirk Bridge, think again.

It’s just gonna be a warmup for Friday, October 21, and Saturday, October 22. On those two days, downtown Dallas has all the looks of being a slam-bang theater of activity.

So, what’s the big hoo-ha?

  • Klyde Warren Park (File photo)

    Klyde Warren Park (File photo)

    To start things off, the Klyde Warren Park’s biggy fundraiser Park and Palate will be having food, fun and music from 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday.

  • Across the road at the AT&T Performing Arts Center, freebie Prelude: A Preview of Aurora 2017s will feature “10 massive art installations of light, video and sound from around the world” on the AT&T Performing Arts Center campus from 8 til midnight. Plus there will be music in the Annette Strauss Square with the doors opening at 6:30. Suggestion: However, if you’ve got some ca-ching and want a sneak preview, come to the AT&T PAC fundraiser —Prelude Lights — the night before. It will include “an extraordinary evening of interactive art in varied mediums of light and sound, culinary delights, live entertainment by Neon Indian and much more.” The original $250+ ticket levels has had a $75 level offered. What a deal! Plus you won’t have to face the logjam of traffic on Friday and Saturday.
  • Over at the Omni Dallas Hotel the St. Jude’s crowd will be holding the 2016 St. Jude Evening Under The Star starting at 6 p.m. on Saturday.

Needless to say, traffic jamming will test the temperaments of both event participants and innocent commuters. So, if your GPS is set for downtown Dallas on either of these days, pack an extra helping of patience.

Let’s just hope that the weather is pristine. You really don’t want rain on such an occasion, don’t you know?

JUST IN: A Million-Dollar Challenge Was Just Served Up At The Family Place’s Texas Trailblazer Awards Luncheon

One of the ultimate great dishes served up at a fundraising luncheon is a big buckaroo challenge. And that’s what just happened at The Family Place’s 21st Texas Trailblazer Awards Luncheon in the Hilton Anatole’s Chantilly Ballroom.

Highland Capital Management’s Co-Founder/President James Dondero just announced that “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.”

Paige Flink, James Dondero and Sally Hoglund

Paige Flink, James Dondero and Sally Hoglund

The grant will match 50% of any funds raised for the capital campaign’s goal of $16.5M that The Family Place’s Paige Flink and her team have been working on.

Ah, now you know why Paige and Luncheon Co-Chairs Lisa and Marvin Singleton had such happy faces at last night’s patron party.

More about that party and today’s luncheon in the days ahead. But did want you to know of about the delicious challenge that was just served up.

Facing Dallas’ Dante Inferno, The Bridge Announces New Leadership To Help The Homeless And Support The Mayor’s Call For A United Effort

Say the word “homeless” and an array of feelings arise like guilt, apathy, helpless or not-my-problem. And those feelings have been in simmering for decades. For too long, well-intentioned people have driven over the highways oblivious that hundreds of people were living… no make that surviving… there in tents or makeshift shacks. After all, these taxpaying drivers had other concerns like paying bills, getting kids to school or making a meeting. Yeah, the homeless situation was unfortunate, but the thinking was if they wanted to get out, they could roll up their sleeves and get a job and work their way out of it. That’s what “normal” people would do.

But these aren’t your normal” people. They’re people who have fallen into a Dante’s Inferno of despair, drugs, isolation and fear.

For years the situation has only increased because, as one community leader said, “Nobody really cared about them.”

Mike Rawlings (File photo)

Mike Rawlings (File photo)

Yes, there have been loads of nonprofits that have struggled to help the North Texas homeless. But the situation got to an “out-of-the-closet” dilemma with the recent demolition of the area tent cities. The hope had been that the tent citizens would move from the streets and utilize the organizations and their programs. But that transition has not taken place. There are lots of reasons why — lack of funding, limited services, a lack of cohesiveness among the programs, etc.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings is all too aware of the homeless situation. Before becoming mayor, he was known as the Homeless Czar for his efforts to spearhead “The Bridge,” which opened in 2008. Over the weekend The Dallas Morning News reported that Mayor Mike is “calling for the creation of a cross-jurisdictional government agency — ‘like DART’ — that would focus solely on solving Dallas’ homeless crisis.”

Ironically, The Bridge was already ramping up its structure to meet this area-wide problem by announcing “new leadership positions on its board of directors.”

Community leader Lynn McBee, who has served as co-chair of the board, will assume the role as sole chair of The Bridge’s board of directors. She’ll continue in her capacity as CEO of Young Women’s Preparatory Network and as a member of the Dallas Commission on Homelessness.

Lynn McBee (File photo)

Lynn McBee (File photo)

According to Lynn, “I am honored to serve as chair of an organization that is leading the way in providing homeless recovery services to our community’s most impoverished citizens. The growing poverty in Dallas requires us to continue to be innovative in our approach to addressing this important part of our city’s health.”

Other changes will include Dorchester Minerals CEO Casey McManemin serving as the Administrative Committee’s chair; longtime supporter of The Bridge Jennifer Karol continuing as chair of the board’s Development Committee; and attorney Michael Peterson heading up the board’s Governance Committee.

Continuing on The Bridge’s executive staff will be President/CEO Jay Dunn, who has led The Bridge since its inception; COO Sam Merten, the former advisor to Mayor Mike before joining The Bridge staff two years ago; and Chief Development Officer Ashley Harris, who had previously been involved in the fundraising for Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity.

Brace Yourself — North Texas Giving Day To Dominate Thursday

If you’re emailbox has exploded with nonprofit reminders that Thursday is North Texas Giving Day, there’s good news and a warning.

North Texas Giving Day*

North Texas Giving Day*

First the good news: Within 36 hours the flood of activities and requests will turn into thank yous and there will be a year before the explosion reoccurs.

Now for the warning: Starting at 6 a.m. Thursday is going to busier than the day before a presidential election. But it will definitely be friendlier and more fun. There will be all types of events throughout North Texas and even more requests for donations.

It may seem like an overload, but please realize that more than 2,500 nonprofits are trying to accomplish two things:

  • Raise money that is dearly needed.
  • Raise awareness of their organizations and their missions. Believe it or not there are actually some nonprofits that even you might not have heard of (Darn! Hate ending that sentence with a preposition).
Joe and Jennifer Clifford (File photo)

Joe and Jennifer Clifford (File photo)

The Communities Foundation of Texas team has been working tirelessly for months to provide these nonprofits with a platform to achieve these two goals. Why even Jennifer Clifford has stayed just to help make it a record breaker! You did know that her husband First Presbyterian Church Dallas Rev. Joe Clifford has moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, to head up Myers Park Presbyterian Church, where Jennifer will soon be headed.

So, forgive the deluge of emails and hoopla, but it’s all being done for the betterment of North Texas.

BTW, if you want to get even with the NTGD organizers, overload the donation online site. The MySweetCharity elves still giggle about 2011 when you blew the circuits with your kindness.

While You’ve Been Away

For those who have been away on vacation, you may be wondering if Dallas is still functioning. Since 8:58 p.m. on Thursday, July 7, most locals have continued to show up for work. The shelves at grocery stores are still fully stocked. There has been no shortage of gasoline. Electricity continues to provide air conditioning. ATMs are still blowing out cash. Yes, life has gone on, but not as usual.

Television soap operas and game shows have been replaced with televised memorial services of fallen officers. Drivers have patiently accepted the traffic jams created by the mile-long funeral professions. People who haven’t been to church in years have found themselves there with bowed heads. There has been an influx of uniformed people from around the country. The sound of bagpipes has become all too familiar.

When you return, you’ll see the buildings, parks and neighborhoods are where you left them. But there is an air of change. Like a community swept by a tornado, we are looking at the devastation created by a horrific event. Yes, we are grieving, starting to heal, taking care of the victims and making plans to regroup to prevent such an occurrence from taking place again. But that can only happen if we are willing to come together armed with respect, compassion and courage.

There will be those who scoff that this pie-in-the-sky goal is impossible. They will say that the age-old wall of differences will always stand in the way. But that way of thinking has to be the first barrier to overcome. Dallas has the opportunity to become a role model for other cities in working together and standing united.

We look forward to your coming home and joining a remarkable mission to overcome the differences that have become a disease in this day and time.

A Morning Of Mourning

For baby boomers and other old-timers, the news of the sniper(s) in downtown Dallas killing people knee-jerked them back to the nightmare of November 22, 1963. They remembered the days and years of Dallas being damned as a “city of hate.” This time it was a victim of hatred.

It was hard to imagine that the spot where 800 had peacefully marched to protest shootings in Minnesota and Baton Rouge had become a war zone with police as the key targets. Despite the resulting chaos of civilians running for cover and an unknown number of assailants, city leaders immediately came together to resolve the situation.

For Mayor Mike Rawlings, it had been a rough week already. In addition to the torrential flooding that resulted in the loss of an off-duty officer on Tuesday, his mother-in-law, Willine Gunderson, who had lived with the Rawlings family, had died Monday. She had been more than an in-law for the mayor. At night after putting in a long day of running the city, he would go to her room and talk with her before joining the rest of the family. Just hours before the downtown ambush, he had attended her funeral in Canton. Now, just past midnight, he was mourning the loss of officers and consoling his city.

But he was also letting the world know that Dallas would not tolerate the assassinations. Backing him up was Dallas Police Chief David Brown, who was commandeering the fluid developments. Not only was the city under siege, the situation also provided a ripe opportunity for widespread vandalism. Luckily, the latter was stopped before it could take hold.

But even at this time when Dallas city and county leadership was rising to the occasion, there were some who evidently didn’t realize the gravity of the situation.

In the days ahead, there will be funerals and healing. In the weeks and months ahead, there will be revelations. In the years ahead, this nightmare will require patience, understanding and grit for Dallas and the rest of the country.

Inaugural Kidstruction Had Architectural, Construction And Engineerin Firms Providing $57,000 For Children’s

Architectural, construction and engineering types have made North Texas amazing. Need proof? Look around. Their talents and materials have had the brainiacs like Mark Lamster impressed and brain scratching.

But these folks have also put their dough where the future lies. And that future is the well-being of North Texas children. Of course, you need proof. So, Children’s Medical Center Foundation‘s Kidstruction is the perfect example.

It seems that architectural, engineering and construction industry leaders challenged their peers to “donate a portion of their paychecks to Children’s during the month of March, depending on their companies’ pay schedules.”

Thanks to more than a dozen companies, 129 staffers participated to the tune of $57,000 that “will support essential Family Support services such as social work, pastoral care and Child Life, which includes clown, art, art, music and pet therapies.”

Donor(D160621R): KIDstruction event with check presentations from participating architecture firms that raised funds for CHST.*

Kidstruction event with check presentations*

Why, some of these companies like McCarthy Building Co. and Schwob Building Co. even rose to the occasion by matching “their employees’ gifts, while others contributed direct donations and sponsorships.”

According to Children’s Medical Center Foundation President Kern Wildenthal, “Our inaugural Kidstruction Week campaign’s success was fueled by the support of a highly engaged steering committee representing some of the most respected construction, design and architectural firms in North Texas. The active participation and support of the companies’ executives and employees – in Kidstruction Week and through many other events – continues to help us expand our philanthropic footprint in the region.”

Originally, the effort was just a few key folks like Texo CEO Meloni McDaniel, who took the lead and got others on board like committee members Adam Panter, Mark Stewart, Whitney Bietendorf, Jason Hale, Wendy Hatchell, Joe Jouvenal, Shelby Adams, Kimberly Burke, Brent Archer, Nick Hasty, Whitney Teague, Hattie Peterson and Michael Beal.

They in turn got the following companies to participate: Skanska USA, McCarthy Building Co., Schwob Building Co., HDR, WHR Architects, Spring Valley Construction Co., TDIndustries, Datum Engineers, Walter P Moore, Chamberlin Roofing and Waterproofing, Alpha-Barnes Real Estate Services, PRDG and HKS.

For some who participated, the effort was more than a corporate project, it was a personal involvement like Spring Valley Construction Co. Marketing Manager Whitney Teague, whose daughter was treated for leukemia at Children’s and released in January.

According to Whitney, “I never thought my own daughter would be a patient at Children’s, but after what we have been through, I understand, like I never could have before, the value of this hospital and its place in the community.”

Plans call for meetings to begin in August to organize Kidstruction 2017 with a goal to double the number of participating companies and individuals. Interested? Children’s Medical Center Foundation’s Audra Cozart can help you get involved.

* Photo provided by Children's Medical Center Foundation

JUST IN: Nancy And Richard Rogers’ Million-Dollar Challenge For Genesis Women’s Shelter And Support Was Matched Today

While most folks would be crying their eyes out if they were a million dollars poorer today, ’tis not the case for Nancy and Richard Rogers. Sure, they’re out $1M, but they aren’t boo-hooing one bit.

The reason is that they challenged folks to raise money for Genesis Women’s Shelter and Support. The challenge was a million-buckaroo match for the Genesis Luncheon that Nancy was co-chairing with her legal eagle buddy Gina Betts today at the Hilton Anatole.

Nancy and Richard Rogers

Nancy and Richard Rogers

Ron Corning and Tyler Perry

Ron Corning and Tyler Perry

Last night at the underwriter party, Nancy was fretting a bit on whether the match was gonna happen.

Word just arrived that thanks to 1,500+ luncheon guests, sponsors, underwriters and friends, the challenge was indeed met. The Rogers are thrilled that they’ll be writing a million-dollar check to support Genesis’ battle against domestic violence.

BTW, Tyler Perry’s talk and conversation with WFAA’s Ron Corning on stage at the luncheon knocked it out of the park. But more about that later.

Hilton Anatole’s Towne Park Service Once Again Left A Yucky After-Taste For Fundraising Luncheoners Thursday

Tim Gunn’s talk for Community Partners of Dallas’ Chick Lit Luncheon on Friday, April 1, at the Hilton Anatole was a home run. Only strikeout was the valet parking. One guest waited an hour before the Anatole’s in-house valet staff admitted, “Sorry, but somebody moved it.” Luckily, the vehicle was found. But as the driver left he saw about 50 guests still waiting for their wheels.

Hey, what’s the problem? It was a big luncheon crowd of over 1,200 and “oop’s” do happen. But then it happened again yesterday at the Anatole. And this time it was on a much grander scale, resulting in an automotive tsunami and two major fundraisers having to delay their POA and having guests arrive late for the program.

It might have been excusable if the two events had been handled by two competing valet services, but the Anatole’s in-house parking service Towne Park was in charge. One would think that the in-house staff would be prepared with a game plan for such an undertaking and loads of parkers.

And what was the challenge? The New Friends New Life’s “Wings” luncheon with Amal Clooney as the featured speaker was scheduled for the Chantilly Ballroom, with a projected attendance of more than 1,500. The VNA’s “Legends and Leaders” luncheon with journalist Jim Lehrer in the Imperial Ballroom was scheduled to have more than 650.

Insider info: As anyone in the hospitality industry knows, evening events usually have two people per car, while lunches tend to have more single-driver cars.

Thus, these two groups converged upon the Anatole complex at the same time for the events starting at 11:30. Instead of having off-duty police directing traffic at the intersection of Wycliff and Stemmons frontage road, one lone uniformed man was at the hotel’s Wycliff entrance. Another policeman turned away cars approaching from Market Center Boulevard and large planters blocked other entrances. The result was hundreds and hundreds of cars trying to wedge into less than three entrances, and traffic backing up on both roads. Unfortunately, frustrated drivers trying to cross Wycliff ended up blocking the cross section with 18-wheelers and cement trucks playing “musical lanes” with Mercedeses and Priuses. At times it looked like a vehicular version of the La Brea Tar Pits of vehicles.

One guest who had left their office in the Turtle Creek area at 11 didn’t make it to the Wings luncheon until past noon due to the traffic jam.

A VNA organizer delayed the luncheon program  after hearing tales from arriving guests of 30-minute waits in traffic. That person said it wouldn’t be as bad afterwards, because the VNA had arranged to stagger their event to end after the Wings luncheon, thereby relieving the congestion.

Alas, the best laid plans of mice, men and event planners don’t always happen. One VNA guest who was one of the first to hand in their valet ticket waited 40 minutes for the car to be pulled up. Another woman in a wheelchair moved faster than the cars in the porte-cochere. While guests holding purchased centerpieces patiently searched the horizon for their cars, some Towne Park management types with bellies hanging over their belts were seen laughing at the situation. Or, perhaps they were just sharing a joke?

The luxury hotel’s in-house valet service continues to be its Achilles heel. It tends to be a recurring issue for money-conscious nonprofits. Why? It’s the money, honey. If the fundraiser uses an outside parking service, the hotel charges the organization a fee (usually $3) “per plate” for the use of its parking lot. That’s in addition to paying the outside valet service. In other words, if you’re expecting 500 cars, that’s $1,500 on top of the independent valet charges.

In capturing sponsors, many nonprofits offer valet parking sponsorships. And naturally, the cheaper the sponsorship, the more likely it’s going to be scooped up. But what sponsor wants to be known for providing frowny faces and tapping toes waiting for a car that’s “just over there”?

Suggestion to sponsors: If you’re approached about sponsoring valet parking at the Anatole, ask which service will be used. If it’s one of the independents like Jack Boles or Gold Crown, go for it. If it’s Towne Park, your name just might be taken in vain by potential customers.

April Is Going To Be Gangbusters, So Fasten Your Seat Belts

MySweetCharity

MySweetCharity

Having just emerged from her wrinkle-remover chamber, Queenie arrived at MySweetCharity headquarters to find not an elf in sight. This simply couldn’t be. After all, MSC elves have no life outside MSC. Clearing her throat, nothing happened. Hmm, that usually gets results.

She announced, “The last elf to appear will have lunch with me today.” With that, all elves popped up. No one wanted to be the last one.

Beckoning Elder Elf over, Queenie raised her perfectly engineered right eyebrow and asked, “So, what’s up?”

Trembling, Elder stammered trying to speak. Queenie harrumphed, “Enough with the theatrics. Just put a subject and verb together and tell me exactly what’s the problem. Was the croissant delivery late?”

Elder straightened up and said, “It’s April.”

Queenie wasn’t getting it. She replied, “So? It usually follows March.”

Elder explained that due to the area spring breaks taking place throughout March, nonprofits had moved their usual March events to April. Thus, April had become overloaded with fundraising activities.

From the gleeful look on her face, Queenie still didn’t get it. “Oh, just think of all the fun there’ll be had in April. Lunches, cocktail parties, dinners, lectures, patron parties, announcement receptions, check presentations! Loads and loads of opportunities to raise money for nonprofits. I simply can’t wait to see Tim, Hoda, Goldie, Martin, Amal, Tommy, Brene and the rest! I wonder if I’ll have time to get away for Elizabeth’s private birthday party?”

With all that name dropping, Elder realized that a reality check was necessary at this point. “Ma’am, you really need to look at the MySweetCharity Calendar. The Calendar elves are being treated for finger bruising from posting all the events. The other elves are hyperventilating at how all these activities are going to be handled.”

With that Queenie put on her reading glasses and pulled up the April calendar. With eyes bulging out, her head started spinning like a hula hoop. She returned to her wrinkle-remover chamber.

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

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

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

Dylan Smith*

Dylan Smith*

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

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

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

C.C. Torres and Will Biedenbach*

C.C. Torres and Will Biedenbach*

Bob Walker*

Bob Walker*

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