JUST IN: 2017 Celebrating Women Luncheon Deets Revealed With More To Come

Recently Tucker Enthoven and Ola Fojtasek  have been hunkering down about some kind of project. After much prodding and pushing (okay, so the typical types of medieval tortures were not applied), they wouldn’t give up the info. Still they offered smiles, winks and what all.

Ola Fojtasek and Tucker Enthoven

Finally, after over-the-top pleading and first-born-promises, the duo revealed the date for the 2017 Celebrating Women Luncheon fundraiser for Baylor Health Care System Foundation. Tucker is gonna be chairing the event and Ola will be handling the underwriting efforts.

It will be held at the Hilton Anatole on Thursday, October 26.

As for the guest speaker, hold your breath. Nobody’s talking, but they’re all thrilled. Stay tuned for deets. Gee, whiz! It can’t possibly be who is rumored! But dadgummit, time will tell. Besides, if it helps prevent breast cancer, that’s what matters.

JUST IN: Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Dak Prescott To Be Keynote Speaker At After-School All-Stars’ 2nd Annual Rising Stars Luncheon

Dak Prescott (AP Photo)*

With all the rumbling about Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo‘s probably being released, there’s also news about the “presumed” (wink, wink)  starting quarterback Dak Prescott off the field. 

The too-good-to-be-true former rookie, who rallied the team and North Texas to Super Bowl dreams, is going to be the keynote speaker for the 2nd  Annual After-School All-Stars Rising Stars Luncheon on Wednesday, May 17.

Yup! Luncheon Chair Gina Betts knows all the ingredients for a sell-out event and she’s done it once again. In addition to have bowtie-wearing Dak at the podium, she’s arranged for Nancy C. and Richard R. Rogers to be the presenting sponsor.

The question is, “How quick will the luncheon at the Dallas Country Club sell out to benefit After-School All-Stars North Texas?”

BTW, this is one of those splurge events meaning splurging on a VIP-type ticket will have perks like a VIP reception before the luncheon. Tickets and sponsorships are available now!

* Photo courtesy of After-School All-Stars North Texas

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2017 Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Presentation Ball

2017 Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Presentation Ball debutantes and escorts

The Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Presentation Ball blends youth with tradition for the benefit of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. On Saturday, February 18, 35 young women in white ball gowns made their debuts to the approval of their families and the cheers of their friends at the Meyerson.

Stephen Jones and Caroline Jones

Of course, it helped to have loads of Honor Guard chaps in white tie and tails to escort them from the stage and on to the dance floor in the lobby.

Dancing debs and dads

While the post is being prepared, check out the 60+ pictures at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.  

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.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2017 Crystal Charity Ball Bus Tour

Just when you think you’re the source of all knowledge regarding North Texas area nonprofits, those Crystal Charity Ball gals bring you down to earth thanks to a bus tour. The annual bus tour provides firsthand knowledge of how the funds raised will be put to use and introduces new programs and organizations that in many cases have gone under the radar.

At some places there are children going through their daily routine. At others, work is in place for facilities that will help countless youngsters in need.

Neil Massey

Claire Emanuelson, Cheryl Joyner, Pam Perella, Leslie Diers, Tucker Enthoven, Trey Hoobler and Lisa Longino

This year’s tour included eight beneficiaries (Autism Treatment Center Inc., Big Brothers Big Sisters Lone Star, Children’s Medical Center Foundation, Dallas Holocaust Museum, Hunger Busters, Presbyterian Communities and Services Foundation, Rainbow Days and Santa Clara of Assisi Catholic Academy).

Pam Perella, Angela Cupp, Britt Cupp and Brent Christopher

While the post is being…. ah, shoot! You know the drill. Head on over to MySweetCharity Photo Gallery to see what was on the tour that brought tears, laughter and inspiration CCB Chair Pam Perella and her ladies.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2017 St. Valentine’s Day Luncheon And Fashion Show

On Tuesday, February 14, the Meyerson was filled with guests in reds and pink for the St. Valentine’s Day Luncheon and Fashion Show on Tuesday, February 14, for the Leukemia And Lymphoma Society of North Texas.

Lisa Singleton, Heather Randall and Jana Paul

Even on stage for the fashion presentation of Highland Park Village merchants, the color of red seemed to pop up.

St. John fashion

Carolina Herrera fashion

Etro fashion

While the posts is being prepared, check out the photos on two pages of the MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

JUST IN: Dr. Linda Abraham-Silver Named New Chief Executive Officer For Perot Museum

Perot dinosaurs (File photo)

Nearly a year after its previous permanent CEO resigned, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas has named a new chief executive officer. According to a letter sent to museum donors by Perot Board Chair Hernan J.F. Saenz III, “Dr. Linda Abraham-Silver will be joining the Perot Museum as our next Eugene McDermott Chief Executive Officer, effective July 1.”

According to the letter, Abraham-Silver will arrive at the museum this summer “from the Government of Abu Dhabi, where she has led science and technology promotion initiatives for the Technology Development Committee as associate director since 2011.” Earlier, Saenz went on, she spent eight years as president and CEO of the Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland, Ohio.

The board chair said the new CEO is “perfectly aligned” with the Perot’s strategic initiatives.

“Dr. Silver’s background is impressive in its own right, but it is particularly relevant at this stage in the Museum’s evolution,” Saenz told the donors. “We are all engaged in the challenging … effort to translate the Perot Museum’s initial momentum into an engine of sustainable innovation and community impact. This requires fresh, innovate programming and exhibits, renewed and deepened community engagement across North Texas, and enhancements to the overall guest experience.”

The Perot had been led by Interim CEO Dan Kohl, since the abrupt resignation last year of chief executive Colleen Walker after less than two years on the job. According to news accounts, Walker and the museum’s board had “differences.”

JUST IN: Life Lesson’s Nancy Kerrigan And A Chance To Soar’s Simone Biles Announced As 2017 “Dancing With The Stars” Cast Members

Bright and early this morning the 2017 celebrities were announced for the 2017 “Dancing With The Stars” lineup. A couple of them will be in town for fundraising lunches before competing for the mirrored ball.

Simone Biles*

Nancy Kerrigan**

And the announcement couldn’t be better timed for two area nonprofits. While award-winning gymnast Simone Biles‘ appearance at the Jonathan’s Place‘s  “A Chance To Soar” won’t take place until Tuesday, April 25, ice skating sweetheart Nancy Kerrigan will be at Belo Mansion Friday for the “Life Lessons Luncheon” benefiting The Elisa Project.

While there’s no telling who will be in the finals, good money is on Nancy and Simone. They’re both Olympian medalists, graceful, agile and pretty darn cute.

In the meantime, get your ticket for Friday’s lunch. Nancy’s life both on the rink and behind the scenes has been filled with highs and lows. 

* Photo provided by Jonathan's Place 
** Photo provided by The Elisa Project

Junior League Of Dallas To Receive Dallas CASA’s 2017 Judge Barefoot Sanders Champion of Children Award In November

The Junior Leaguers of Dallas are going to be busy raising money this coming week. First, there is the 55th Annual black-tie ball — Encore — on Saturday, March 4, at the Hilton Anatole. Then next Wednesday, March 8, they’re putting on the 88th Linz Award Luncheon honoring sister JLD-er Lyda Hill at the Omni Dallas.

Dallas CASA Champion of Children Award Dinner*

After all this work, they’re going to be the recipients of Dallas CASA’s “Judge Barefoot Sanders Champion of Children Award” at The Fairmont Hotel on Thursday, November 16, at CASA’s annual Champion of Children Award Dinner.

Since 1996, JLD and Dallas CASA have worked together “to serve more children in protective care, [a figure that] has grown year over year. In 2016, the JLD provided 38 volunteers who became sworn advocates for children. In addition, annual grants from the JLD directed toward recruiting allowed Dallas CASA to recruit many additional community members to serve as advocates, helping propel the agency toward its goal of serving every child in protective care.”

Junior Leaguers of Dallas*

Christie Carter (File photo)

According to JLD President Bonner Allen, “The Junior League of Dallas is both honored and humbled to be recognized by Dallas CASA. The work Dallas CASA volunteers do for the most vulnerable children in our community is exactly what the mission of the Junior Leagues is about — it is improving the community through effective action and leadership of trained volunteers.”

Appropriately the honorary chair for the event will Christie Carter, who in addition to being a longtime Dallas CASA supporter, is also past president of the JLD, served on various boards and chaired this past year’s Crystal Charity Ball. It should be noted that she also co-chaired the “recently concluded $37M Abused Children Can’t Wait — The Campaign for Dallas CASA, which saw Dallas CASA more than double it program capacity, dramatically grow the number of volunteer advocates and move into a much larger building to accommodate the rapid growth.”

Priscilla and Corey Anthony*

John and Laura Losinger*

Champion of Children co-chairs will be Priscilla and Corey Anthony and Laura and John Losinger.

* Graphic and photos provided by Dallas CASA

Sold-Out Alert!: VNA’s Celebrity Chef Lunch And Dinner

In the past VNA has limited its annual Celebrity Chef Luncheon to a noontime fundraiser. This year they decided to expand to have a dinner as well on Tuesday, February 28. The hope was “to double the funds raised to serve Meals on Wheels clients and patients in need of charitable hospice care.”

The results? They both sold out!

Nancy Silverton*

No wonder, since the celebrity chef will be Chef Nancy Silverton, who “is the only chef to be awarded both the Outstanding Chef and Outstanding Pastry chef awards from the James Beard Foundation. Nancy is co-owner at Osteria Mozza, Pizzeria Mozza, Chi Spacca, and Mozza2Go in Los Angeles, Singapore, and Newport Beach.”

It’s interesting to also note that VNA’s team has adjusted their marketing strategy. They’ve done away with their Legends And Leaders luncheon and created the VNA Chairman’s Society, which is a giving society “with a minimum annual donation of $15,000, and every dollar going to the programs.” So far, the Society has been a big hit. According to VNA Director of Community Engagement Cara Mendelsohn, “the Chairman’s Society has completely replaced the income from Legends & Leaders and has the potential to be an important source of funding for Meals on Wheels and charitable hospice care in the future.”

Sponsors for the Celebrity Chef include the following:

  • Presenting — Valley Services Inc.
  • Platinum — Lyda Hill
  • Gold — Sara Fraser Crisman and Peggy Dear
  • Silver — Linda and Jay Barlow, Jill Bee, Ben E. Keith Company, Becky and Mike Casey, Energy Transfer Partners, Katherine Krause and Warren Zahler and Nichole and Chris Culak, Astrid Merriman and Bob and Janet Ryan Stegall
  • Bronze — Lydia and Bill Addy, Susie and Steve Anderson, Bank of America/U.S. Trust, Suzanne and Enrico Bartolucci, Mary Frances and Timothy Bellman, Della and Bob Best, Kathy and Gene Bishop, Jan Hart Black and Rena Pederson, Angie and Marshall Brackbill, Neva and Don Cochran, Bess and Ted Enloe, Fanchon and Howard Hallam, Jan and Al McClendon, Kate McClendon and Brooke and Jason Villalba, Susan and Bill Montgomery, Meaders and Robert Ozarow, Katherine and Bob Penn, Property Advisors Realty, Vin and Caren Prothro Foundation, Texas Instruments Incorporated, Cathy and Ike Vanden Eykel and Paula and Charles Wills.
* Photo courtesy of VNA

Despite Topsy-Turvy Temps, Dallas Blooms Will Be Abounding With “Peace, Love And Flower Power” Through April 9

Yesterday the temperatures were in the upper 80s. Tonight the mercury will drop to the 30s. This winter has been a roller coaster with wardrobes going from shorts to quilted jackets and back to sandals within hours.

If you think you’ve been dizzy from the changes, take pity on the plants. One minute they’re poking their heads up to spring-like conditions and just as quickly they’re being threatened with frost.

Daryl Kirkham, Mark Clayton and Mark Wolf*

And you just know the Dallas Arboretum folks have had their hands full in preparation for Dallas Blooms that had its Iberiabank sponsor Dallas Market President Daryl Kirkham, Dallas City Councilperson Mark Clayton and Dallas Arboretum Board Chair Mark Wolf on hand for the preview of this year’s theme “Peace, Love and Flower Power.”

This year’s petal extravaganza will “showcase an explosion of color with vintage VW floral topiaries and more than 500,000 spring-blooming blossoms” until Sunday, April 9.

Dallas Arboretum’s Dallas Blooms*

According to Dallas Arboretum President/CEO Mary Brinegar, “Dallas Blooms is the largest display of tulips in a public garden anywhere west of Holland. Later in the festival thousands of azaleas and hundreds of Japanese cherry trees will blossom, leaving breathtaking color at every turn. Guests are sure to have an unforgettable experience this spring in our world-class garden.”

During the run of Dallas Blooms through Sunday, April 9, different activities celebrating the 1960’s theme will take place. From an Ed Sullivan Show-Celebrity Weekend, a music festival throughout the gardens to guests getting henna tattoos, and 1960s fashion on display in the DeGolyer House, it’ll make you dig out your bell bottoms and Nehru jackets.

And as if the Dallas Blooms isn’t enough, the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden will be back in action Saturday after going through its annual winter refreshing.

* Photos provided by Dallas Arboretum

MySweetCharity Photo Alert: 2017 Go Red For Women Luncheon

Nancy Gopez and Alison Levine

For tackling the climb to conquering heart disease, the 2017 Go Red For Women gals donned the color of the month — red — and filled the Omni Dallas Hotel on Friday, February 3, to hear best-selling author/sportswoman/explorer Alison Levine tell of her challenges in reaching the summit of Mt. Everest.

As big a draw as Alison was, there was a large number on hand to support Sandi Haddock Impact Awardee Mary Parker and Open Your Heart Chair Nancy Gopez.

Miller Gill, Rebecca Gill, Mary Parker, Suzanne Humphreys and Joe Parker

While the post is being prepped, the ladies in red and friends supporting the American Heart Association Dallas Division can be found at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

JUST IN: Big Thought’s Gigi Antoni Is Heading To The Big Apple As Director Of Learning And Enrichment For The Wallace Foundation

Gigi Antoni (File photo)

Boxes of Puffs are being passed around over at Big Thought. The reason is the staff was just notified that after 20 years with the nonprofit, Big Thought President/CEO Gigi Antoni will be leaving the education organization in April. The reason is that she is moving to New York City to join The Wallace Foundation as the director of learning and enrichment.  

The Foundation’s mission “is to foster improvements in learning and enrichment for disadvantaged children and the vitality of the arts for everyone.”

Will Miller (File photo)

It was back in December 2015 that a presentation was made to a small group of area leaders addressing the problem of the Dallas education system going dormant during the summer. The research was culminated by The Wallace Foundation, the Urban Institute Policy Group and Big Thought. According to The Wallace Foundation President Will Miller, this type of situation was the reason the Foundation had spent $23M in the past decade to address such issues.

For a full release on the news, follow the jump. [Read more…]

As Cookie Sales Wind Down, Girl Scouts Of Northeast Texas Announce Astronaut Dr. Mae Jemison To Keynote Women Of Distinction Luncheon

There is absolutely no truth to the rumors that the Girl Scouts are running low on cookies. Not only are there plenty of stashes of Samoas, Thin Mints, Tagalongs and other cookies still available, but there is additional news.

Inside word has just arrived that Women of Distinction Luncheon Co-chairs Laura Downing and Susan Glassmoyer have arranged for Dr. Mae Jemison (aka the first African American woman in space) to be the keynote speaker for the Friday, November 3rd Girl Scouts fundraiser at the Omni Dallas’ Dallas Ballroom.

Mae Jemison*

According to Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas Chief Executive Officer Jennifer Bartkowski, “We are honored to welcome Dr. Jemison as our keynote speaker at the Women of Distinction Luncheon. Dr. Jemison, a former Girl Scout herself, is a representation of who we want our girls to be – a female not afraid to take risks, someone who has the courage to enter a field where she may be in the minority, and a woman with the boldness to advocate for her ideas. We all look forward to hearing Dr. Jemison’s inspiring story.”

As for the recipients of the “outstanding women leaders” awards in Life Achievement, Women of Distinction, Young Women of Distinction and Man Enough, that news is yet to come. Be patient. It’s slated to be announced this spring.

BTW, deadline for nominations is Thursday, February 23. Ah, shoot! That’s just around the corner.

As for the cookies, they’ll be available in this neck of the woods until Sunday, February 26. But don’t wait til the last minute.

And as you’re munching away on your cookies, why not nominate that special person for an award and  lock down your place at the Women of Distinction Luncheon now? Mae’s talk should be out of this world.

* Photo provided by Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas

2017 Cattle Baron’s Ball Reveal Party Turned Out To Be A Gangbuster For Theme And Entertainment Announcements

On the afternoon of Wednesday, February 1, 2017 Cattle Baron’s Ball Chair Anne Stodghill sent out an email blast to the 100 committee members. It dealt with the attendance for the evening’s attendance for the 2017 CBB Reveal at the Stodghill home. The message was simple — Take Uber. The event that was originally guest-imated for 150 had exploded to 400.

Evidently, the sisterhood got the message. Still, the Jack Boles troops had luxury vehicles parked a block away within 20 minutes of the party’s opening.

Steve Stodghill and Callan Harrison

Upon arrival it was pretty darn obvious that the legend of the Stodg-villa had gotten around. Those-in-the-know directed newbies when asked, “Where’s the Bat Cave?” Steve Stodghill provided firsthand tours through the library to the cave where the masked man held up.

In the crowd were Katy Bock, Nikki and Crayton Webb, Cindy Stager, Joanna Clarke, Callan Harrison, Vodi Cook, Michael Royal, Olivia and Jeff Kearney, Phil Romano, Deborah Westergaard, Holly and Stubbs Davis, Amy Green, Lisa Haddow Shirley, Paige Westhoff, Larry Hackett, Bela Pjetrovic with fiancée Chase Cooley and future-mom-in-law Lisa Cooley. Made sense, since the Cooleys were underwriting the reveal event.

Jeff and Olivia Kearney

Nikki and Crayton Webb

Chase Cooley, Bela Pjetrovic, Anne Stodghill, Sunie Solomon and Lisa Cooley

Junior League of Dallas Ball Chair Isabell Novakov in suede and leather blouse reported that she had her sites sets on breaking a record for the JLD fundraiser… Brooke Hortenstine reported that her mother Peggy Davis was on the mend and headed home… Steve Solomon quickly cleaned up his red wine that had spilled in the entry hall… Nancy Gopez was receiving congrats on not just surviving last year’s heart attack, but for taking up the banner in the war against heart disease.

2017 Cattle Baron’s Ball Reveal guests

Just past 7:30, Sunie and Anne took their places on the Stodghill winding staircase with the entry hall jammed with guests. With mic in hand, Anne told of the personal commitment to turn all cancer patients into cancer survivors.

Sunie Solomon and Anne Stodghill

As the two revealed the theme — Shooting for the Stars — and the mainstage performers — Brooks & Dunn — for the 44th American Cancer Society fundraiser on Saturday, October 21, at Gilley’s Dallas, the co-chairs found themselves being upstaged. It seems that tousled-haired Stodghill offspring Dash Stodghill in cowboy attire decided the time was right to arrange his stuffed animals on the stairway. At one point, Mama Stodghill smiled saying, “Someone has just lost his computer.” But the threat didn’t deter Dash and his critters. Parents in the crowd laughed. They obviously could relate to a progeny having a mind of his/her own.

And, one gal in the crowd was especially ecstatic to hear about Brooks & Dunn. Seems that Olivia had chaired the ball back in 2006 (with Jana Wood), and the superstar duo was also the entertainment that year at Southfork Ranch. Olivia recalled having seen the boys months before the ball at a concert in Fort Worth. She even caught their drumsticks when they threw them into the crowd and “rubbed them together for luck” week after week, vowing to sign the duo up for “her” Cattle Baron’s Ball. Olivia knew the deal was sealed when Kix (Brooks) confessed, “I love Cattle Baron’s. My mother died of cancer when I was 8.” 

Information about tickets and sponsorship packages is available now!

For additional pictures, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2017 Cattle Baron’s Ball Reveal Party

2017 Cattle Baron’s Ball Co-Chairs Sunie Solomon and Anne Stodghill had a bit of challenge on their hands for the “Reveal Party” on Thursday, February 2. It seemed everyone not only RSVP-ed, they wanted to bring all types of friends along to learn who would be on stage and what the theme would be.

Chase Cooley, Bela Pjetrovic, Anne Stodghill, Sunie Solomon and Lisa Cooley

Despite the shindig being held at the Stodghill villa and the night being picture perfect, it was still gonna be a bit of jam for all the expected cars. How did Sunie and Anne handle the situation?

2017 Cattle Baron’s Ball Reveal Party

Be patient. The answer will be in the write-up that is being prepared. In the meantime, check out the photos at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

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

A Gentle Reminder: Get Your Mailing And Banking Done Before Monday’s Presidents Day Holiday

If you were planning on doing some banking on Monday, rethink it because it’s a bank holiday thanks to President’s Day. But if you were expecting bills, you can rest easy because there ain’t gonna be any mail delivery either.

History lesson: President’s Day was originally held on February 22 to celebrate George Washington’s birthday. It was started in 1800 following Washington’s death in 1799. It wasn’t until the late 1870’s when it was declared an official federal holiday. But then in the late 1960s Congress got busy and created the Uniform Monday Holiday Act that “sought to shift the celebration of several federal holidays from specific dates to a series of predetermined Mondays. The proposed change was seen by many as a novel way to create more three-day weekends for the nation’s workers, and it was believed that ensuring holidays always fell on the same weekday would reduce employee absenteeism.”

For some folks, the three-day holiday has become a 3½-day holiday, since some folks took off for a very long lunch.

Barack Obama, Barbara and George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush (File photo)

If you see a U.S. President, give ‘em a kiss for the day off.

The Slipper Club Presents A Record-Breaking Check Of $116,621 To Rays Of Light Thanks To Its Beyond The Mask Gala

If the sound of something breaking was heard last night, it was the Slipper Club’s presenting a record-breaking check of $116,621 to the organization’s 2016-2017 beneficiary, Rays of Light.

Caroline Baliker, John Bonadelle, Billy Nayden, Chelsea Parish, Stephanie Tatum and Billy Machina*

The funds were the result of fundraising efforts throughout the year, especially the 21st Annual Gala and Silent Auction — “Beyond the Mask.” Held on Saturday, February 4, the black-tie gala at the Omni Dallas had more than 800 guests in attendance, including leadership of the various men’s social club (Idlewild, Calyx and Terpsichorean), past and present Idlewild debs and others like Caleb Powell, Stephanie Smartt, Jillian Mock, Abbey Mock, Maddie Beckham, Kelly Gillespie, Fallon Bock, Porter Fuqua, Walter Spradley, Travis Andres, Anna Alaback, Chloe Reed, Leslie Ingram, Lauren Metzel, Camille Sokolosky, Blaire Metcalfe, Heather Trumpfeller, Alex Bjornnes, Caroline Baliker, John Bonadelle, Billy Nayden, Chelsea Parish, Stephanie Tatum, Billy Machina, Elizabeth Metzger, Hartley Hobson, Carley Nelson, Mary Valuck, Caroline Hanson, Heather Trumpfeller, Trevor Cadigan, Houstoun Waring, Charlotte Barnett, Jake Winstel, Sam Fritsch, Alex Spinazzola, Patrick Harris, Courtney Quinn, Madeline Buckthal, Meredith Allen, Kamel Brakta, Mandy Morgan, Minette Morgan, Ali Morgan, Evan Weir, Julie Butkus, Lauren Sears, Lily Kramlich-Taylor, Peter Whaley, Lily Kramlich-Taylor, Meredith Allen and Slipper Club President Morgan Madison.

Caroline Estes and Morgan Madison Wade*

Meredith Allen and Meg Sokolosky*

According to Gala Chair Meg Sokolosky, “This year was really unbelievable, not only in terms of breaking the record for money raised for a beneficiary, but also getting to volunteer our Friday nights with the children of Rays of Light and seeing directly how we will impact these children and the organization.”

Dedicated to providing free, quality respite care for families with children with special needs, Rays of Light hosts Night Lights that “gives the parents the opportunity to have four free hours and the children get four hours of socialization and interaction.”

Congratulations to the ladies of Slipper Club and their masked friends for breaking a record.

* Photos provided by Slipper Club of Dallas

Award-Winning Director/Screenwriter Robert Benton To Receive The Dallas Star At The Art of Film In March

Back in 1934, North Texas was just a conglomeration of small towns. Dallas and Fort Worth were considered the big-time cities. But they weren’t really all that big. SMU was just 19 years old. There was no Fair Park. But there was a couple who had become folk heroes after running roughshod over the law. Their names were Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow.

Less than four months after Bonnie and Clyde’s deaths in May of that year, a baby boy was born in Waxahachie to Dorothy and Ellery Benton. They named him Robert Douglas Benton. As a boy, he had a rough time in school due to his dyslexia.

Robert Benton*

According to Robert, “I was dyslexic before anybody knew what dyslexia was. I was called ‘slow.’” It’s an awful feeling to think of yourself as ‘slow’—it’s horrible.”  

Thanks to hard work, Robert attended both the University of Texas, where he was a classmate of future columnist Liz Smith, and Columbia University and eventually became the art director at Esquire magazine in the early 1960s.

It was around this time that Robert recalled stories that his father had told him about Bonnie and Clyde. So he and his writing partner David Newman put their heads together and wrote the script for “Bonnie and Clyde” that made stars of Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, Gene Hackman and Estelle Parsons. The movie was also a game-changing film for the industry.

Not only did the film set Benton in a different direction of screenplay writing, he also was given the opportunity to direct films like “Bad Company” in 1972 and “The Late Show” in 1977. But in 1979 he hit the jackpot with the release of “Kramer vs. Kramer,” which swept the Oscars for the film, actors Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep and Benton’s direction and original screenplay.

Once again the film shook things up about the role of parenting. As Robert put it, “I’d like to know what law is that says that a woman is a better parent, simply by virtue of her sex.”

Over the years, Robert went on to direct Justin Henry, Jane Alexander, Sally Field, John Malkovich, Lindsay Crouse and Paul Newman in Oscar-nominated performances.

His success extended beyond filmmaking. He dated feminist Gloria Steinem in the 1960s, was a friend of many greats including the late Paul Newman and had Richard Russo dedicate his Pulitzer Prize-winning Empire Falls to him.

But just as Robert was turning 52, he returned to his roots in Waxahachie for the award-winning “Places In The Heart” that was set in 1935.

On Wednesday, March 29, Robert will once again return to North Texas for The Art of Film to receive the Dallas Star Award from the Dallas Film Society at sixfivehundred. Unlike years past, when The Art of Film has taken place in the fall, this year’s event will be held on Wednesday, March 29, leading up to the 2017 Dallas International Film Festival and introducing the festival’s focus on the films of 1967, like “Bonnie and Clyde.”

James Faust (File Photo)

According to DFS Artistic Director James Faust, “Robert Benton is both an award-winning director and writer as well as a Texas treasure, who has been responsible for some of the most beloved film classics of the past five decades both through his director’s vision and his words placed on the page. The fact that he co-wrote ‘Bonnie and Clyde,’ which was part of the hallowed film class of 1967, makes this a wonderful time to honor him with our Dallas Star Award.”

Regina Montoya and Paul Coggins (File photo)

Craig and Kathryn Hall (File photo)

Event co-chairs will be Regina Montoya and Paul Coggins with Kathryn and Craig Hall serving as honorary co-chairs. Host committee members include Courtney and Benton Bagot, Matt Bivona, Janis Burklund, Melina McKinnon and Michael Cain, Kelly and Jason Cleveland, Judy and Sam Coats, Hayley and Gary Cogill, Erin and Trey Cox, Pam and Mark Denesuk, Sheri Deterling and Geoff Hawkes, Joy and Billie Ellis, Jenn and James Faust, Rebecca Flores, Clare Freeman, Suzanne and Michael Grishman, Mary and Bradley Hatcher, Eric Hirschhorn, Alison and Harry Hunsicker, Lynn Lewis, Mary Blake and Chuck Meadows, Jan Miller and Jeff Rich, Sarah and Lee Papert, Anne and Steve Stodghill, Deborah and Don Stokes, Erin and Larry Waks and Ken and Maureen Womack.

Tickets and sponsorships for The Art of Film are available at the Dallas Film Society’s website and by calling 214.720.0555.

* Photo provided by Dallas Film Society

JUST IN: North Texas Food Bank To Hold Plano Groundbreaking And Announce $55M Mega Gameplan To Expand Services to 92M By 2025

Just when you think the North Texas Food Bank has provided food for everyone, they discover greater needs. Ah, shoot! Despite all the ovens baking and the stove tops cooking, there are greater needs on the horizon and they’re in your own backyard.

North Texas Food Bank*

Today next door to Atmos Energy at 3697 Mapleshade Lane, Plano, at 11 a.m., the NTFB will hold a groundbreaking for a 222,000-square-foot distribution center that “will accommodate a robust volunteer program and expanded operation to increase the number of nutritious meals distributed annually to 92M by 2025.”

The event will include a killer gameplan. Oh, geez! They’re undertaking a $55M capital campaign — Stop Hunger Build Hope —to expand operations to the area.

North Texas Food Bank (File photo)

So, before you have that poached egg or head to Starbucks for the zingo caffeine fix, think about those, both children and adults, who literally hunger for a meal. That is the mission of one of North Texas’ most incredible nonprofits.

So, why not pass on that lunch and help someone who is literally starving for a decent meal? In fact, why not break for an early lunch and head to the groundbreaking? You haven’t been in Plano in ages.

* Graphic provided by North Texas Food Bank

James Frary To Chair American Cancer Society’s CEOs Against Cancer Chapter Of North Texas

James Frary was just announced as the head of the American Cancer Society’s CEOs Against Cancer Chapter of North Texas. As part of his responsibilities he will be focusing “on a variety of issues facing working professionals from diverse industries across the northern half of the state. He will direct the newly established North Texas chapter to address cancer’s impact on the workforce, including improving employee heath, workplace productivity and health care costs.”

James Frary*

For his day job, Frary is executive vice president of AmerisourceBergen, “a global leader in specialty pharmaceutical distribution and services.”

A graduate of Stanford University, James earned his MBA from Harvard Business School.

According to James, “Providing barrier free access to treatments for patients and the providers who are supporting their battle against cancer is a enormous focus for associates at AmerisourceBergen and a topic that I’m personally passionate about. To that end, I am excited and proud to work with the Society to empower the North Texas business community to be leaders in the fight against cancer.”

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2017 Soup’s On! Luncheon

This winter hasn’t exactly been a Sub-Zero experience, at least in North Texas. So the demand for soup may not have been the high priority of years past. But when it comes to The Stewpot Alliance’s Soup’s On! Luncheon, the liquid stuff is a draw thanks to Chief Chef Brian Luscher and his team of chefs and the topic du jour — the homeless situation in North Texas.

From the left: (standing) Andrew Swanson, Scott Girling, Andrew Chen, Andrew Dilda, Omar Flores and Dennis Kelley; (seated) Danyele McPherson, Abraham Salum, Brian Luscher, Janice Provost and Melody Bishop

In fact, this year’s sold-out fundraiser chaired by Heather Sauber on Tuesday, January 31, was so filled that there was hardly room for the servers at Eddie Bernice Johnson Union Station to squeeze through.

Mike Rawlings and Robert Wilonsky

Florencia Velasco Fortner

Keven Ann Willey

Jeff Tooker

While the post is being prepped, check out the chefs, the panelists and guests over at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.     

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery: 2017 Crystal Charity Ball New Members Brunch

From the left: (back row) Dee Velvin and Dianne Laroe; (front row) Lisa Singleton, Shannon Thompson, Kim Quinn, Candace Winslow and Meredith Beebe

The weather couldn’t have been more perfect on Tuesday, January 31, for brunching on Beverly Drive for the frosh class of Crystal Charity Ball. And, no, it wasn’t at the Dallas Country Club. Instead Robyn Conlon had 2017 CCB Chair Pam Perella, her committee and the new members (Meredith Beebe, Dianne Laroe, Kim Quinn, Lisa Singelton, Shannon Thompson, Dee Velvin and Candace Winslow) in for a get-to-know-ya brunch at tables throughout the rooms overlooking Beverly.

From the left: (back row) Elizabeth Gambrell and Anne Besser; (front row) Cheryl Joiner, Leslie Diers, Kristina Whitcomb and Pam Perella

Before the new-kids-on-the-block arrived, the Pam and her executive committee had a group photo taken ala “Friends.” What’s with the “Friends” and why were the newbies tagged as “The CCB Bunch? Just wait til the write-up is posted. Until then, check out the oldies and newbies at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.