The 5th Annual Reading Partners Celebrity Spelling Bee Had City Performance Hall Buzzing With Boldfacers Competing

For some, auto-spell check has relieved some of the angst of getting words spelled correctly. But a group of area hotshots, they found themselves relying on their own gray matter to compete in the Reading Partners Spelling Bee on Wednesday, March 1, at City Performance Hall benefiting Reading Partners North Texas. Here’s a report from the field: 

What do Don Quixote, Pharrell Williams and Hermione Granger all have in common? Their names were each spelled (not necessarily correctly) by local celebrities at the 5th Annual Reading Partners Celebrity Spelling Bee on Wednesday, March 1, at City Performance Hall. Following a cocktail reception, Co-Chairs Jenny and Loren Koziol kicked off the evening with powerful statistics about the current state of child literacy in North Texas before introducing emcees Katy Blakey and Kristi Nelson of NBC 5. Byron Sanders, Vice President of U.S. Trust, assumed his position as Official Spelling Bee Judge on stage shortly after. Then, one by one, the five teams entered the stage with hopes of being crowned spelling champions by the end of the competition. Each sponsored by a company or individual, the teams were divided as follows:

  • Team Neiman Marcus — Brandon Carr of the Dallas Cowboys; Tyrone Crawford of the Dallas Cowboys; and Jennifer Lassiter, Vice President of Internal Corporate Communications at Neiman Marcus
  • Team EY — Ryan Burke, partner at Ernst And Young; Lesley McCaslin, Fox Sports reporter; and Dr. Kent Scribner, Superintendent of Fort Worth ISD
  • Team U.S. Trust — Tiffany Bias of the Dallas Wings; DJ Poizon Ivy, DJ for Dallas Mavericks and Dallas Wings; and Janet Ryan, Managing Director and Private Client Advisor at U.S. Trust
  • Team Mike And Mary Terry — Bill DeOre, former editorial cartoonist at The Dallas Morning News; Michelle Staubach Grimes, children’s author; and Mary Terry, co-founder of The Mike And Mary Terry Family Foundation
  • Team Vinson And Elkins — John Coleman, Executive Chef and Owner of Savor and Relish; Jim Meyer, partner at Vinson And Elkins; and Cary Pierce of Jackopierce.

From the left: (back row) John Coleman, Jim Meyer, Kent Scribner, Ryan Burke, Kristi Nelson, Mary Terry, Bill DeOre, Brandon Carr and his children; (middle row) Byron Sanders, Cary Pierce, Lesley McCaslin, Jennifer Lassiter, Tiffany Bias, Janet Ryan, DJ Poizon Ivy and her daughter; (front row) Katy Blakey, Jenny Koziol, Michelle Staubach Grimes, Tyrone Crawford, Byron Jones*

Just before the competition kicked off, Dallas Cowboy Byron Jones joined Team Neiman Marcus from the crowd as a surprise last-minute addition. The spelling bee then began with one practice round, but not before each team purchased passes for $1,000 each to be used in case they got stumped. Words were pulled from one of multiple categories, such as pop culture, literature or geography. After six or seven rounds—and all passes used on difficult words—a winning team rose to the top. When Team U.S. Trust misspelled the word ‘bourgeoisie,’ Team EY became the 2017 Reading Partners Celebrity Spelling Bee Champions. After posing for a photo with their trophies, the winning team joined their defeated opponents to mingle with guests across the street at Jorge’s during the after party.

Team EY may have taken home trophies, but Reading Partners was the real winner of the evening. The Celebrity Spelling Bee raised $155,000, which supports Reading Partners’ proven child literacy intervention program. In addition to each team sponsor, the event was made possible by Holly Energy Partners, AZZ Inc., Topgolf, Make It Count Family Foundation, Bandera Ventures, Downtown Dallas Inc., ExxonMobil, Frost Bank, Industrial Valuation Services, The Hoglund Foundation, Oncor, Price Waterhouse Cooper and TIER REIT.

* Photo provided by Reading Partners North Texas

Sold-Out Alert!: 2017 Recess

Another state of “Sold Out” has been revealed. Friday night’s Recess at the Dallas Arboretum is a done deal. 

As for those predictions of stormy weather, they won’t be a problem because the NorthPark-sponsored Sandbox, games, spiked juice box and music provided by Prophets and Outlaws will all be safe and sound inside Rosine Hall.

Recess*

And no need to wear stuffy, grown-up attire. It will be strictly “schoolyard chic” (aka casual chic).

Benefiting and celebrating the 10th anniversary of Dallas AfterSchool, Event Co-Chairs Regina Merson and Robyn Siegel and Honorary Co-Chairs Tanya McDonald and Janet Mockovciak have arranged for the following sponsors:

  • Capture the Flag ($25,000) – The Baldridge Foundation
  • Simon Says ($10,000) – Lydia and William Addy, Baird, Strategic Wealth Partners/Colleen and Peter Bowler and Janet and John Mockovciak
  • Red Rover ($5,000) – Anne and Terry Conner, Christina K. Hanger and Tanya and Ken McDonald
  • Duck Duck Goose ($2,500) – Philip Theodore Bee Charitable Trust, Kristi and Brian Erickson, Cherri and Jack Musser, Cindy and Howard Rachofsky, Ernst and Young and Tenet Healthcare
  • Four Square ($1,000) – Christy Bednar, Sheela and Marc Birnbaum, Kathi and Chris Child, Serena Simmons Connelly, Maria and Douglas Cramer, The Donachie Foundation, Laurie and Craig Dunn, Angela and Mark Frederiksen, Abby and Michael Gregory, Sarah Losinger, Christina and Tim Norris, Tricia and Eric Stammberger, Social Venture Partners Dallas, Stacy and Mack Hicks and The Fijolek Family
  • Special Thanks and In-Kind Donors – Aimbridge Hospitality, BANCO, Cindy Ferris, Dallas Arboretum, Kent Rathbun Catering, LeForce Entertainment, Live Nation, McShan Florist, Microsoft, NorthPark Center, Paper City, Pop Parties, Topgolf, Yellow Rose Distilling and Housed Real Estate
* Graphic courtesy of Dallas AfterSchool

JUST IN: Zac Posen To Present His Collection At The Crystal Charity Ball 2017 Ten Best Dressed Women Of Dallas Fashion Show and Luncheon

One of Dallas’ favorite designers will have his collection on the runway for  The Crystal Charity Ball’s 2017 Ten Best Dressed Women of Dallas Fashion Show and Luncheon on Friday, September 15. It will none other than that cutie pie Zac Posen!

Zac Posen*

Christi Urschel (File photo)

According to Fashion Show Chair Christi Urschel, “Everyone is thrilled to have Zac Posen’s collection featured at this year’s event. We are honored that he will be joining us for this very special day.”

And what a special day it will be. Instead of pitching the mega-tent in the adjacent parking lot, Neiman Marcus Downtown GM/VP Jeff Byron is going to have the CCB fundraiser back in the NM flagship. The Fashion Show will take place on the second floor followed by a seated luncheon on the store’s fourth floor.

Jeff Byron (File photo)

Pam Perella (File photo)

2017 Crystal Charity Ball Chair Pam Perella commented, “The generous support of Neiman Marcus allows all proceeds from the event to support children served by the 2017 beneficiaries. We are most grateful to Neiman Marcus for planning such an exciting fashion show and luncheon.”

In addition to the Fashion Show, the annual presentation of the Ten Best Dressed and Hall of Fame honoree will take place. And just who will make up the 10 BD and the Hall of Famer? That reveal will be made at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, April 12, “at a reception and preview of the Zac Posen Resort 2017 Collection at the downtown store.”

Before you start writing that check or calling to reserve your spot, stop! Tickets and sponsorships won’t be available until late April.

However, it would be wise to save your coins now for a sweet sponsorship, since there are some delicious perks that go with ‘em. For instance, Comerica will host a seated dinner at the Dallas County Club on Tuesday, September 5, for Platinum Level Patrons. And for Fashion Show Patrons, there will be a cocktail buffet sponsored by JP Morgan the night before the Fashion Show at Shirley and Bill McIntyre’s fabulous Bluffview estate with Zac in attendance.

Thanks to the Fashion Show and The 2017 Crystal Charity Ball on Saturday, December 2, at the Hilton Anatole, the following children’s nonprofits will benefit: Autism Treatment Center Inc., Big Brothers and 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.

* Photo provided by The Crystal Charity Ball

2017 CancerBlows Committee Tackles Everything From Coordinating World-Class Musicians’ Scheduling To Busing Kids In

Putting on a one-day-only event is tough. Managing all the logistics is like juggling cactus. But a multi-day venture ramps all those headaches to migraine status. So, the CancerBlows team has been orchestrating all the arrangements of bringing in world-class trumpet players for its May 8th-May 10th fundraising activities for The Ryan Anthony Foundation.

But it’s all underway, thanks to CancerBlows Co-Founders Niki and Ryan Anthony and Co-Chairs D’Andra Simmons-Lock and Jeremy Lock and Anne and Steve Stodghill and the legion of volunteers, committee members and sponsors raising funds to battle multiple myeloma.

How about an example? On Tuesday, May 9, there will be a series of free Education Events including

  • Chamber Music Master Class — CancerBlows artists affiliated with chamber music groups such as Canadian Brass, Boston brass, Rhythm and Brass and more work with collegiate brass quintets.
  • Panel Discussion with CancerBlows Artists — Public Q&A session with CancerBlows artists. Topics include warm-up techniques, making a living as a freelancer and professionalism in the workplace.
  • CancerBlows Jazz Master Class — CancerBlows artists work with pre-selected high school and collegiate trumpet players with emphasis on jazz.
  • Cancer Blows Classical Master Class — Cancer Blows artists work with pre-selected high school and collegiate trumpet players with a classical emphasis.
  • CancerBlows Big Band/Jazz Artist rehearsal — Select local high school and college students are invited to watch the first half of the CancerBlows Big Band and Jazz Artist rehearsal.
  • Lessons With the Legends* — Select CancerBlows Legends will make lesson times available to individuals.

Ryan Anthony

Niki Anthony

Tim Andersen

David Cowling

That all sounds like it covers all the bases, but then how do you transport the students to the events? That was one of the  questions addressed at a meeting of volunteers on Monday, February 27, at Jones Day including Niki, Ryan, David Cowling, Todd Ranta and Tim Andersen.

The answer seemed simple — just use school buses. Not so fast. It was to take place on a school day, and the school buses’ priority was busing students home. And you just thought carpool was a challenge! But not to worry. The team handled the challenge, so the kids wouldn’t miss out.

BTW, if you want to be part of the committee putting this mega-fundraiser together to fight multiple myeloma, you’ll be hanging out with Jenna Alexander, Larry Alexander, Diane and Joel Allison, Niki and Ryan Anthony, Deidre and Chris Bacala, Jamie Jo Boulogne, Laura and Bob Beard, Diane and Hal Brierley, Christen Casenave, Jennifer and Coley Clark, Rozalyn and Robert Colombo, Phyllis and CJ Comu, Megan and Michael Considine, John Conn, Lisa and Clay Cooley, Amy Youngquist and David Cowling, Serena and Tom Connelly, Roberta Corbett, Barbara and Don Daseke, Pam and Mark Denesuk, Cary and Mark Deuber, Heidi and Bill Dillon, Dean Dimmitt, Noelle and David Dunavan, Claire and Dwight Emanuelson, Ashley Berges and Greg Fasullo, Lora Farris, Michelle and Kevin Finamore, Holly Forsythe, Emily and Darryl Freeling, Don Gaiser, Hadley and Travis Galt, Shay and Brian Geyer, Sally and Mark Helm, Julie and Ken Hersh, Stephanie and Travis Hollman, Peggy and Tim Horner, Kristi and Ron Hoyl, Colleen O’Conner and Joe Hubach, Laree Hulshoff and Ben Fischer, Linda and Steve Ivy, Lindsay and Chuck Jacaman, Wendy and Michael Jenkins, Kathie and Randy King, Maggie Kipp, Jeri and David Kleiman, Richard Stanley and Matthew Kline, Allan Knight and Cearan Henley, Tracy and Ben Lange, Julian Leaver, Susan and Dean McSherry, Alison and Mike Malone, Rhonda and Fraser Marcus, Amy and Jonathan Martin, Sarah Catherine Norris, Delia Parman and Robert Kyle, Leah and Jim Pasant, Cyndi Phelps, Terri and Brad Phillips, Mary Martha and John Pickens, Brian Ratner, Stacey and John Relton, Melody and Rick Rogers, Carla Ferrer and Joe Russo, Susan Post Sanford, Lisa Simmons, Lisa and Marvin Singleton, Linda and Thomas Smith, Hamilton A. Sneed, Cindy Stager, Tara and Harvey Stotland, Aneeta and Sandy Sule, Elisa and Stephen Summers, Patti Flowers and Tom Swiley, Ellen and Larry Talley, Jill Tananbaum, Rachel and Christopher Trowbridge, Ashley Tatum and New Walker, Nikki and Crayton Webb, Kameron and Court Westcott and Piper and Mike Wyatt.

Contact Niki for information on how to sign up.

* There is a fee for the lesson and available times are very limited.

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

The 2017 Crystal Charity Ball Bus Tour Of The Eight Beneficiaries Resulted In Flowers, Tears And Inspiration For The $5.8M Goal

Like many nonprofits, there comes a once-a-year decision of how the raised funds will be distributed. For 65 years, Crystal Charity Ball has had that come-to moment for the Dallas area children’s nonprofits. To think. There are grown-ups who have survived devastating diseases and overcome miserable home lives and then have had amazing lives, thanks to the committee of 100 women.  

On Thursday, February 16, CCB Chair Pam Perella, CCB Underwriting Chair Leslie Diers and a busload of ladies undertook a day of visiting the eight beneficiaries thanks to Briggs Freeman | Sotheby’s International Realty’s Layne Pitzer‘s and Joan Eleazer‘s underwriting the tour. It was at one of those stops where the membership saw firsthand how one child and his mother represented the thousands of faceless and nameless other kids who were in need. More about that later.

Before the tour got underway with Andre in the driver’s seat, though, tour director Fredye Factor reminded the group that this year’s “working theme” was TV shows. Since the tour had been tagged as “All My Children,” they had arranged for Susan Lucci‘s cousin Pucci Lucci to address the ladies. Pucci turned out to be CCB member Pam McCallum, whose Pucci was more Blanche Devereaux than Erica Kane.

Big Brothers Big Sister Lone Star — $500,000

Bill Chinn

But it was time to get down to work and things started off with two representative making presentations on board the bus. First up was Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lone Star President Bill Chinn, who told how the July 7th shooting in downtown Dallas had spurred them on with a project — Bigs in Blue, which would connect first responders like policeman, fire fighters and city personnel as mentors for at-risk children to “establish strong and enduring one-to-one relationships.”  

Rainbow Days — $500,000

Tiffany Beaudine

Next up was Rainbow Days Director of Development Tiffany Beaudine, who reported that the CCB’s contribution would span three years to purchase a new van for transporting supplies to children living in motels, as well as adding “one new full-time program manager and a portion of four staff members who will assist in implementing programs, and partial salary for the program director.” Rainbow Day’s Project Hope program would also “deliver food weekly including snacks, school clothing and hygiene products as well as an opportunity for homeless children to attend summer day camps and holiday celebrations.”

The children whom they serve often suffer from fear. Too often their lives are filled with gunfire at night and the fear of playing outdoors.  

The Autism Treatment Center — $582,020

Neil Massey

Then the ladies were driven to the Autism Treatment Center to learn firsthand about its Early Intervention Therapy and Educational Capital Campaign. Thanks to the contribution, 101,100 square feet of the present facility will be “reconfigured and remodeled to increase the number of educational classrooms, therapy rooms, counseling offices and other important spaces.” The additional space will allow the Autism Treatment Center to quadruple the number of students who will receive help.

In showing the outdoor playground with its misting umbrella for hot days and the growing garden that provides both education and accomplishment, Development Director Neil Massey looked at the open lot next door. Having outgrown their current facilities, he said that they had tried to buy it from the present owner but had had no luck.

Autism Treatment Center

But it was the classrooms where the ladies learned that patience was a key to working with autistic boys and girls. Structure and patience were not just paramount for the children’s learning to adjust to their special conditions. But those lessons were important to being included in the family life. One lesson was that when an autistic children got frustrated and got physically upset, it was important for them to be ignored until they realized that their actions would not produce results. One CCB-er, upon hearing the comment said, “That probably proves true in all our lives.”

Presbyterian Communities & Services Foundation — $541,098

Presbyterian Communities and Services Foundation board member Mary Ann Hyde

Next on the itinerary was the T. Boone Pickens Center. The timing of the visit was perfectly planned. It just so happened that the Center’s board was meeting that day with Board Trustee Mary Ann Hyde backed by the board members to greet the ladies in front of the magnificent facility.

So, it may have initially seemed curious to have CCB that benefits children to be providing funds for a hospice facility, but there was a very important aspect of the Pickens Center that affected children — the Faith Presbyterian Hospice Child and Family Bereavement Program.

Breaking into groups, the membership was shown the facilities that would assist not just those completing their lives, but would also help family, especially children, to be part of the final farewell and adjust to the loss. The 36-bed facility featured suites especially designed to comfort the patients with breathtaking views of the lake, doors that could accommodate the patient’s bed being moved to the room’s patio, and the out-of-sight medical equipment.

Presbyterian T. Boone Pickens Center guest suite

But the main point of the tour was how the Faith Presbyterian Hospice Child and Family Bereavement Program would help children through the process of grieving the loss “in a healthy and healing way.” There were the Marnie and Kern Wildenthal Education Center and the Harold Simmons Foundation Inpatient Care Center that provided both areas of play and adjustment to loss.  

Faith Presbyterian Hospice Child and Family Bereavement Program play room

In one room was a playhouse with super heroes on the walls. While in other rooms were materials for kids to vent their feelings regardless of their ages to social workers, counselors, music therapists and art therapists, who “will encourage healthy emotional growth, and bring unique comfort to children who have lost a sibling, parent or grandparents.”  

Dallas Holocaust Museum and Center for Education and Tolerance — $527,770

The next stop was the Dallas Holocaust Museum and Center for Education and Tolerance in the West End. While it was perfectly planned to coincide with a group of students, it reinforced the need for the Holocaust’s need to expand to a larger facility. CCB and high schoolers found themselves on top of each other learning about the horrors of World War II and the demonstrations of remembrance.

Dallas Holocaust Museum and Center for Education and Tolerance’s Paul Lake

One such example was the placement of stones representing the persons who were victims of the Holocaust. One teenager’s attempt to place a stone found their effort falling on the floor, resounding throughout the room. Ironically, the sound of the stone hitting the hard stone floor seemed to draw attention to the solemnity that had filled the room.

Dallas Holocaust Museum and Center for Education and Tolerance

For a three-year period, the CCB contribution will allow “thousands of Title 1 and economically disadvantaged students to the Museum, free of charge, and will provide their teachers necessary curriculum support.”

Children’s Medical Center Foundation — $1,111,735

Just blocks away from Children’s Medical Center, the CCB-ers donned hard hats and safety glasses to tour Children’s Health’s Comprehensive Gait and Mobility Program that was under construction. Planned to officially open with full services in May, it allows youngsters with movement challenges resulting from injuries or chronic illnesses to access all the treatments in one facility. The rooms would provide everything from aquatic treatments to padded rock climbing.

Comprehensive Gait and Mobility Program aquatic facility under construction

Thanks to CCB’s contribution, it would be possible to purchase “five pieces of state-of-the-art robotic gait and mobility training equipment: The ErigoPro early mobilization tilt-table, the LokomatPro robotic based partial-weight-bearing treadmill system, the Andago body weight supported mobile robotic gait system, the Natus balance and gait assessment system and the HydroWorx therapy pool. Training for staff and robotic software upgrades are included with the purchase of this equipment.”

Thanks to this “centralized accessibility, thousands of Dallas County children will be able to seek services designed for patients from two to 18 years of age.

As the committee gathered in the main room, they were told of a surprise. It was indeed a surprise. Britt Cupp, who had suffered a trauma to his brain due to a skateboard accident years ago, arrived with yellow roses and a personal note for each of the women. As his mother, Angela Cupp, looked on, Britt handed out the flowers. Unfortunately, when Britt had his accident, he and his family were forced to seek assistance at different facilities throughout the country. Many of the CCB-ers who had children Britt’s age looked on in amazement at the mother and son who had been through so much and were spearheading the creation of such a facility.

Pam Perella, Angela Cupp, Britt Cupp and Brent Christopher

After a massive group pic with Britt, the CCB-ers with flowers in hand gathered outside for the traditional group picture. Inside Angela had one request — a photo of Britt with 2017 CCB President Pam Perella and Children’s Medical Center Foundation President Brent Christopher. Little did she know that Brent had made a similar request, saying, “Britt is my hero.”

Hunger Busters — $1,192,500

The CCB bus now headed to West Dallas for the Hunger Busters operation behind a tall wrought-iron fence topped with razor wire. On the side of the small building, the air condition units were padlocked.

Iron fences topped with razor wire at Hunger Busters

New father/Hunger Busters Executive Director Trey Hoobler explained, “We’re in a turf war here caught between two groups.”

But despite the Spartan and tight conditions, Production/Volunteer Manager Gumaro Castillo in the kitchen’s prep area explained how Ford would be proud of the assembly line of volunteers prepping the meals for DISD schools and after-school programs. Having been there eight years, Gumaro pointed with pride as volunteers put together sandwiches.

Hunger Busters volunteers

Thanks to the CCB contribution that would be used over a three-year period, the Feed the Need program would be expanded, “representing a 150% increase in the number of children served, from 2,000 to 5,000 daily. An additional new delivery van and staff support will allow Hunger Busters to serve children and schools on their waiting list for a total of 300,000 additional meals each year.”

Santa Clara of Assisi Catholic Academy — $850,000  

Sandra Helton

The final stop of the day was Santa Clara of Assisi Catholic Academy, where Sister Sandra Helton pointed to an open lot adjacent to the school where a cafeteria would be built. She then showed why the new facility would be needed, as she led the group to the present room where children eat. If the current lunchroom was needed for another event, the tables and chairs had to be removed and then replaced afterwards. If a funeral was to take place in the nearby sanctuary, meals would have to delayed.  The kitchen was barely larger than a jet liner’s kitchen.

Santa Clara of Assisi Catholic Academy

While the tour was going on, some youngsters took naps on the classroom floors, some practiced in the music room under Brandon McDannald‘s direction and others were hard at work at desks in classrooms.

Thanks to the CCB commitment, a 12,500-square-fooot cafeteria and fine arts center will be built that will be “available weekends for 1,300 children who attend religious education classes and also for Science Fairs, Band and Choir concerts, fundraisers like their Fall Festival and Grandparent’s Day. Funds will also be used for a dedicated fine arts center, giving Santa Clara students many more options in band, music, choir and art with designated classrooms where they can safely secure their instruments and supplies. Additionally, funds will provide a parish office and conference room, allowing for more students in the existing school.”

It was then homeward bound and ten months of fundraising to provide $5.8M for the children of Dallas.

For more photos from the 2017 Crystal Charity Ball bus tour, check MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

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.

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

Six New Teams Of Humans And Dogs Graduated For Brighter Futures Thanks To Canine Companions For Independence

Canine Companions for Independence at Baylor, Scott And White Health Kinkeade Campus*

Since opening in November 2015, Texas’ only Canine Companions for Independence has been graduating teams of dogs and humans for life-changing futures. It has also been the site of where puppy trainers give up their puppies for a final training period that will prepare them for their possible careers in helping humans in need.

While it takes a unique dog to be able take on such responsibilities, it has largely been found that Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers and crosses of the two breeds are best suited as

  • service dogs — assist adults with physical disabilities by performing daily tasks.
  • hearing dogs — alert the deaf and hard of hearing to important sounds.
  • facility dogs — work with a professional in a visitation, education or healthcare setting.
  • skilled companions — enhance independence for children and adults with physical, cognitive and development disabilities.

On Friday, February 10, six teams were presented to friends, families and supporters of the people and their best friends forever at the Kinkeade Campus at Baylor Scott And White Health in Irving. In addition to being the only CCI center in Texas, it is also the only CCI in partnership with a healthcare system thanks to U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade, who spearheaded the creation of such a facility.

With the permission of CCI, here are their stories for your consideration:

From the left: (back row) Sharon, Pam Megan, David, Stormi, Misty, Olivia, Ross, Becky and Nanette; (front row) Epic III, Kinsey II, Carlita II, Kit IV, Ranger V and Sandy VII*

  • Sharan, Pam, Megan and Skilled Companion Epic III – Megan fell in love with Epic the moment she met him. The day she found out he had been matched with her and would be her new best friend, the room filled with tears of joy. Megan is 14 years old and was born with intellectual and physical disabilities. This leads to anxiety, frustration, trouble with comprehension and lack of focus. Epic will help Megan by helping her focus, providing deep pressure and attention for her anxiety, but most of all by being a best friend. In a very touching moment, Megan exclaimed, “Mom, I’m not lonely anymore!” Megan’s family believes Epic will be the key to Megan reaching her full potential.
  • David and Service Dog Kinsey II – In September 1998, David was in a car accident that led to the loss of both his legs. He has double prosthetics that allow him to walk, however, he does have some mobility issues. He also sustained a TBI that now can cause him to become overstimulated in loud environments, as well as some short term memory trouble. Kinsey helps David by retrieving dropped items, opening doors and so much more, providing increased independence. David’s favorite thing about Kinsey is that she looks to serve him. He is looking forward to the future and all the experiences that are to come with Kinsey by his side.
  • Stormi and Facility Dog Carlita II – Stormi works for the Regional Victim Crisis Center in Abilene, Texas, an organization who works with children who are victims of sexual abuse. Carlita will accompany these children in both therapy sessions and the courtroom. Stormi says that there is only so much a human can do to help a child who no longer trusts adults. She hopes Carlita will bridge this gap and provide a calm, consistent and safe presence for these children who are in an otherwise scary situation. Stormi believes that Carlita is going to “heal a lot of hearts.”
  • Misty, Olivia and Skilled Companion Kit IV – Olivia is 13 years old and was born with a gene mutation that led to a rare skeletal disorder. Because of this, Olivia has limited fine motor and some gross motor skills and is developmentally delayed. She is also hard of hearing, which makes her very shy in public because she lacks confidence in what people are saying to her. Her mom, Misty, hopes her new dog Kit will help with some physical therapy, as well as allow Olivia to lose her fear of interacting with others and become the silly, outgoing person she is at home, when they are in public as well. Misty said that during their first two weeks with Kit, Olivia had already opened up and was communicating with adults more than ever in her life. There are great things in the future for this pair.
  • Ross, Becky and Facility Dog Ranger V – Ross and Becky work for Waskom ISD in East Texas. Ranger will now work alongside them in a special needs classroom as a facility dog. Ross and Becky believe that Ranger will be able to unlock the students’ potential for success. Ross explained that a lot of times school can become a negative place for students with special needs who struggle in the classroom. He hopes having Ranger around will turn school back into a positive, fun place for them. Ranger will work with students grades K-8. Ross and Becky hope he will improve children’s conversation with the faculty, keep them calm and focused, and provide structure and routine. They believe Ranger will truly change these kids’ lives.
  • Nanette and Service Dog Sandy VII – Nanette was diagnosed with a rare form of muscular dystrophy at age 20. This is a progressive disease, so Nanette eventually lost her ability to walk and now has limited use of her arms and fingers. Sandy will help Nanette by retrieving dropped items, opening doors, turning on and off lights, pulling her laundry basket, and much more. Above all, Sandy gives Nanette a sense of security. Knowing that her dog can help her in so many situations makes her feel safe, and Nanette feels she can now do things without her husband around all the time. Sandy can also speak on command, alerting neighbors or other people nearby that something is wrong, or retrieve her phone if she gets into a tough spot. This is the beginning of increased independence for Nanette.

If you would like to attend a graduation, they are scheduled to be held from noon to 1:30 p.m. on May 5, August 4 and November 3. But if you can’t wait to see this remarkable campus, tours are held on the first Thursday of the month at 1:30 p.m. And if you are interested in volunteering, orientation meetings at scheduled to be held from 10:30 a.m. to noon on April 8, June 10 and September 9.

* Photo provided by Canine Companions for Independence Lone Star Chapter

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

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…]

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

Symphony Of Chefs Top Rollers Celebrated The Stellar Chefs Who Will Be Cooking Up A Storm Tableside For The KidLinks Fundraiser

The crowd that gathered on Tuesday, January 31, at the Renaissance Dallas Hotel had an agenda. They were there to not just celebrate the cast of chefs for the annual Symphony of Chefs fundraiser. They also had their sights set on selecting the chef who would be cooking up a storm for the Monday, February 27th KidLinks‘ fundraiser at Eddie Bernice Johnson Union Station. Here’s a report from the field:

When your chef talent includes a James Beard award winner, Bravo TV Top Chef Alumni, a guy who recently “Beat Bobby Flay” on the Food Network and three World Master Chefs, that calls for a celebration. On Tuesday, January 31, at the Renaissance Dallas Hotel’s new City View and City View Terrace, that’s exactly what the North Texas-based non-profit KidLinks did. Celebrating the upcoming Monday, February 27th Symphony of Chefs culinary dining experience at Union Station, sponsors and chefs were treated to a wine tasting by 4R Ranch Vineyards and Winery, cocktails featuring Hennessy V.S.O.P Privilège and fare provided by the culinary team of the Renaissance Dallas lead by Executive Chef Frank Quant and including participating Sous Chef Steven Torbron of Asador. 

But that wasn’t the only purpose for the party. Perhaps by circumstance or even with intention just in time for Super Bowl LI, guests were treated to a draft style pairing where they were able to select their seated dinner chef. The Symphony of Chefs features an array of notable culinary talent including a set of rising star chefs who will prepare hors d’oeuvres, 22 chefs who will cook a four-course cocktail and wine paired dinner table-side and another set of pastry chefs preparing a decadent dessert reception.

Marc and Bonnie Shea, Jeremy Lock and D’Andra Simmons Lock and Marc and Georgia Lyons*

As Honorary Chairs D’Andra Simmons-Lock and husband Jeremy Lock along with Event Co-Chairs Georgia and Marc Lyons and Bonnie and Nathan Shea greeted guests upon arrival, the room swelled with talks of each chefs’ menu available for preview. Chefs Uno Immanivong from Chino Chinatown, John Kleifgen from Nick and Sam’s Park Cities and Yutaka Yamato from Yutaka Sushi Bistro were in attendance. Even Gorji from Canary by Gorji was present, having sent an email earlier in the day stating that his Addison-based restaurant would be closed for the evening so that he could personally attend the party.

Sherry Gritch and Gorji**

As Jane McGarry took to the microphone and began with introductions and sponsor thank you’s, it was apparent that the crowd was anxiously awaiting their opportunity to select their favorite chef. The first set of sponsors to select their chefs were, of course, Presenting Sponsors Mason and Allen Custard, Emily and Bruce Robson and Kaari and James Wicklund. With a charming story about their 20+ year connection to Richard Chamberlain, Kaari and James Wicklund made the first pick of the evening, which was then followed by their second selection, Nick and Sam’s Steakhouse Executive Chef Robert James Clifford. The evening continued with Chef Tiffany Derry of The Cupboard by Tiffany Derry being selected by Cristi and Kevin Ryan, with Barbara and Jeffrey Adelglass then selecting Chef Francesco Farris of Zio Cecio.

James Wicklund, Robert James Clifford and Kaari Wicklund*

New Dallas transplant Josh Healy of Filament was scooped up by Tracy and Jeff Hull and long-time supporter and KidLinks board member JW Brown and wife Ann selected private celebrity chef Kevin Ashade (the chef who recently beat Bobby Flay). With over 22 chefs participating in the upcoming event, the evening wrapped with emcee Jane McGarry noting in her final comments that only 20 seats remained for this exclusive dinner.  

Kevin Ashade and Ann and JW Brown*

As guests departed with their Sewell gift bag in hand, you could hear the excitement as they left the building knowing that the chef they selected would make their evening at the Symphony of Chefs memorable. Now it was time to decide who they would invite to sit at their table, a much more daunting task for some.

For more information about KidLinks and the Symphony of Chefs evening of culinary composition visit www.thekidlinks.org./soc.html.

* Photo credit: Travis Lilley 
** Photo credit: Thomas Garza

JUST IN: Vogel Alcove’s 26th Annual Arts Performance Event To Have Cocktails On The Lawn With Loggins Inside

Leave it to Vogel Alcove to be combine a longtime favorite with something totally different and new. That’s what Co-Chairs Ricki and Andy Rabin and Lisa and Scott Wilson have arranged for Vogel Alcove’s 26th Annual Arts Performance Event on Thursday, May 11.  

Kenny Loggins*

The “longtime favorite” is Grammy-winning Kenny Loggins, who has been making beautiful music for dancing and listening for four decades. While some folks can’t help but start dancing when they hear his “Footloose,” others cruise his current tunes with country trio Blue Sky Riders. And Kenny is even reaching out to an audience that’s not old enough to drive a car with his “Children’s book called ‘Footloose,’ based on his mega-hit song for the eponymous film.”

And to provide the music for the after-party dancing, it will be none other than the Emerald City Band, which Mayor Mike Rawlings has tapped as “The House Band of Dallas.”

Now, for the “something totally different and new,” the Rabins and Wilsons are going to have the whole shindig at the Omni Dallas Hotel. So, what’s so new about the Omni? Well, the cocktail reception is not going to take place in the Trinity nor Dallas lobbies. It’s going “to be held for the first time on the Pegasus Lawn.” Then guests will amble across the driveway into the hotel for an elegant meal presented by McKool Smith and the entertainment.

If it rains…well, guess the whole kit and kaboodle will be indoors.

Tickets for the reception, dinner, performance and after-party start at $750. And, of course, sponsorships are available.

Suggestion: Leave the tuxedo and the frou-frou gown at home. Go shopping for something that goes well with spring lawn parties and dancing.  

* Photo credit: Stephen Morales

2017 Great Adventure Hunt Provided Brainbusting Puzzles Throughout The Perot From Mother Goose To Fencing For ChildCareGroup

While the black-tie-optional Catholic Charities group was filling the Omni’s Dallas Ballroom on Saturday, January 28, nearly 320 more casual types were on the other side of downtown Dallas at the Perot Museum.

Tori Mannes and Bart Showalter

Joe Mannes and Michael Newman

The occasion was the Great Adventure Hunt benefiting ChidCareGroup and chaired by Erin Nealy Cox and Trey Cox and Nicole and Justin Small and presented by
Data Alliance
. According to CCG President/CEO Tori Mannes, last year’s GAH wizard-behind-the-scenes/journalist Tom Shroder had begged off  this year, due to his writing two books. To seek a replacement puzzle strategist, Tori killed two birds with one stone. She asked past champ team members John Harris, Joe Mannes, Tom Nynas, Kemp Sawers and Elizabeth and Bart Showalter to create the puzzles for the night. Not only did she come up with some real insiders creating the evening’s challenges, she also allowed for a new team to score the top prize.

Wendy Moore Oglesby,, Peggy Allison, Edward Oglesby Gladys Kolenovsky and Lyda Hill

Rena Pederson

One of those vying for the trophy was the infamous Lyda Hill team (Peggy Allison, Gladys Kolenovsky, Wendy Moore Oglesby, Edward Oglesby and Rena Pederson), whose captain, Lyda, has played in every GAH except the very first one. In preparation for the evening, Lyda reported her team had met twice to strategize and to allow each of their strengths to shine. Lyda recalled that her team had won the competition “several times in a row, but not recently. We have to let others win!” she joked.

When asked about her upcoming Linz Award, Lyda admitted that she was truly taken by surprise. She was told about the honor over the phone while she was driving, and was caught totally speechless.

Doug Murray

On another subject, Lyda was asked why time and time again people think her middle name is “Hunt.” While her brother (Al Galatyn Hill Jr.) and sister (Alinda Hunt Hill Wikert) both have middle names, Lyda doesn’t. But she recalled that years ago, everyone was into monogramming. Since a great monogram had three letters, young Lyda gave herself a temporary “H” to fill the bill.

While the cocktail reception carried on in the Lyda Hill Gems and Minerals Hall on the third level, production coordinator Doug Murray was preparing the acoustics for the dinner on the first level. Some guests didn’t recognize Doug. The reason? He’s lost 50 pounds—going from a 17 1/2 shirt-neck size to a 15 1/2—by exercising and eliminating soft drinks and breads from his diet. However, he admitted that on Sundays he may cheat and have a pizza. His goal is to lose 15 more pounds.

Fencing*

As for the competition, the puzzlemasters proved their worth.The very first challenge took place at the dinner tables with a round of Bingo, Then they were off and running with “puzzles featuring unique items such as edible clues, Mother Goose, a fencing match, ‘The Hokey Pokey’ and Twister. Some team solved the puzzles with ease, and other chose to receive extra hints.”

Tori Mannes, John Matthews, Kat Kunze, Suzanne Smith, Ben Mackey, Melanie Ferguson and Evgeniy Gentchev*

After the final team “crossed the finish line” and made it back to their tables for dessert and the results, it was team Matthews Southwest (John Matthews, Kat Kunze, Suzanne Smith, Ben Mackey, Melanie Ferguson and Evgeniy Gentchev) that not only took home the prize but also proved to have the distance in their effort. Boss John Matthews had flown in from Canada just to participate in the Hunt.

Other winners included the following:

From the left: (back row) Kathy Touchstone, Jenny Murphey and Jason Arneson; (front row) Kathryn Treece, Alyson Trout and Andrea English*

  • Second place — Kick-Off Party Sponsor Pegasus Bank and Bright and Bright LLP (Kathy Touchstone, Jenny Murphey, Jason Arneson, Kathryn Treece, Alyson Trout and Andrea English.
  • Third place — Meredith and Scott Wallace team
  • Rookie team — Meredith and Scott Wallace team
  • Best Team Name — Valet sponsor Roach Howard Smith and Barton for “Can’7 5OLV3 TH15”
* Photo provided by ChildCareGroup

 

Dallas CASA’s 10th Annual Cherish The Children Luncheon To Have Casey Gerald As Keynote Speaker And The Inaugural Caroline Rose Hunt Award

Sometimes the best things can be found in your own backyard. That’s exactly what Dallas CASA’s 10th Annual Cherish The Children Luncheon Chair Shonn Brown discovered for the Wednesday, April 5th luncheon at the Fairmont Hotel.

Cherish the Children Luncheon*

For its keynote speaker, Shonn announced it will be Dallas native Casey Gerald, who overcame a “harrowing childhood in Oak Cliff to receive degrees from Yale University and Harvard Business School.”

Casey Gerald**

Like many success stories, his accomplishments were due to his parents. But they weren’t the role models that other folks serve in their children’s lives, unless it was what not to become. His mother, who suffered from mental illness, disappeared from Casey’s life when he was 12. As for his dad, he was a drug addict. What helped Casey take a different fork in the road was “his community, who surrounded him with support.”

Thanks to excelling at high school football and that community support, he earned a BA in political science from Yale and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

But what launched him to internet fame was his 2014 Harvard commencement speech that went viral.

Just two years later, his TED talk “There be no miracles here” once again catapulted him into internet fame with more than 1M views.

Caroline Rose Hunt (File photo)

According to columnist Anand Giriharadas, “Casey has lived the breathtaking fullness of America. He is a real-life Forrest Gump — oh, and he’s not yet 30. His sonorous voice, on the page and the stage, will be a bugle call for his generation, and for the rest of us.”

Also on the “Cherish the Children” program will be the inaugural Caroline Rose Hunt Cherish the Children Award, which will be presented to the National Council of Jewish Women, Great Dallas Section. Named after longtime philanthropist and Dallas CASA Children’s Council member Caroline Rose Hunt, the award was established to recognize “an individual or organization for outstanding contributions helping children who have been removed from home for abuse or severe neglect.”

Tickets are now available starting at $175, but those tickets are limited.

* Graphic provided by Dallas CASA 
** Photo credit: Joao Canziani

How About A Whopper Of A Valentine’s Day Floral Arrangement?

Tuesday is Valentine’s Day and it’s to florists what the Super Bowl is to pizza shops. And like pizza, the usual dozen long stem, red roses will be history all too soon. Still, it’s the thought that counts.

But how about a gift of flowers that lasts all year round for the recipient? And the price is less than $100.

Dallas Arboretum (File photo)

It’s an individual membership at the Dallas Arboretum. Not only does it allow the lucky recipient free access to the more-than-60 acres of grounds overlooking White Rock Lake, it also provides a guest to come along free and free parking for one vehicle plus four total reservations to the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden.

And if you want to look like a really big spender, you might want to check out the other levels of membership.

While you’re being such a sweetheart, why not share your love with a child you don’t know but who sure could use that special feeling? You don’t even need a stamp to lick…just a finger to click here!

JUST IN: Jonathan’s Place Adds Tiffany And Mark, Dirk And Jan And Trevor To “A Chance To Soar Luncheon” Namedropping Lineup

Simone Biles*

Boy, talk about name dropping! As if the Jonathan’s Place’s “A Chance To Soar” luncheon on Tuesday, April 25, at the Hilton Anatole wasn’t gangbusters enough with Olympian Simone Biles as the featured speaker, an impressive array of nationally known locals have been added to the lineup.

According to Jonathan’s Place CEO Allicia Graham Frye, “We are so grateful to Tiffany and Mark Cuban for their continued support of Jonathan’s Place and are very proud to have them serve as honorary chairs for the luncheon this year.”  

In addition to Simone chatting it up with NBC 5’s Meredith Land, the following distinguished Jonathan’s Place supporters will be recognized:

  • Award of Compassion: Dirk Nowitzki (Dirk Nowitzki Foundation)
  • Award of Service: Dillard’s
  • Award of Excellence: Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones (Trevor Rees-Jones Foundation)

Trevor and Jan Rees-Jones (File photo)

While sponsorships are still available, folks who purchase tables at $2,500 will also receive tickets to a VIP reception and photo opp with Simone.

At this date the following sponsors have already signed up:

  • Champion Sponsor: Insperity and Mohr Partners
  • Hero Sponsor: Al G. Hill Jr.
  • Guardian Sponsors: Julie and Scott Bagley, Allison and John Carlisle, Tracy and Ben Lange, Macy’s, Larissa and Mitchell Milby, Kay Sim, Rachel and Brad Stephens, Strategic Dealer Services and Stacey and Reid Walker
  • Defender Sponsors: At Home, Dana and Brad Ayres, Barbie and Bill Borlaug, Keri Brookshire and Susan Mattox, Kimberly and Christopher Cocotos, ConnectThree, Serena Simmons Connelly, Suzie and Bunker Curnes, Mary and Ted Fredericks, Icon Partners, Amy Mahoney and Nikki Wolff, Jenny and Jason Lichty, Alexandra Lovitt, Beth Maultsby and Goranson Bain PLLC, Jennifer and Bradley Norris, Josephine C. Olson, Kerry and Don Peterson, Stephanie and Todd Phillips, Marcellene Malouf and Royal Furgeson, Julie and Eliot Raffkind, Katherine and Eric Reeves, Cordelia and David Rendall, Republic National Distribution Co., Randa and Doug Roach, Southern Enterprises LLC, Verner Brumley Mueller Parker PC, April and John Willingham and Linda and Ken Wimberly

JUST IN: NFL Star/America’s Got Talent’s Jon Dorenbos To Keynote DCAC’s 10th Annual Appetite For Advocacy

Jon Dorenbos has scored fame on two entirely different fronts. He’s a two-time NFL Pro Bowler, having just completed his 11th year with the Philadelphia Eagles as a long snapper. And just this past year, his talents in magic placed him third “with his mind-blowing magic performances on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.”

Jon Dorenbos*

But that is today. Back in October 1992, he was a 12-year-old boy who should have been outdoors playing sports. After all, he and his family were the picture-perfect version of “Father Knows Best” living in Woodinville, Washington. Instead he was in a courtroom with his brother, Randy Dorenbos, and sister, Krissy Dorenbos, watching their father, Alan Dorenbos, on trial for the second-degree murder of their mother, Kathy Dorenbos. The reason the former Little League president gave police for beating his wife to death with a grinding tool: He “lost it.”

During the trial the children sat in the courtroom listening to the testimony and testifying.

As a relative told The Seattle Times, “The children have lost a father and mother. This is really very difficult for everyone.”

After their father was sentenced to less than 14 years in prison, Randy stayed in Woodinville to finish high school, while Jon and Krissy “moved in with an aunt and uncle in Garden Grove, California.”

Jon Dorenbos*

For some this tragedy and turning point would have been an opportunity to find escape in drugs and crime, but Jon went down a different road. And that story will be provided for those attending the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center’s 10th Annual Appetite for Advocacy Luncheon on Wednesday, April 19, at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel.

Appetite for Advocacy*

Chairing the event will be the father-daughter team of Dick Collins and Genevieve Collins.

Warning: This one is going to be a sellout, so don’t go slo-mo in locking down those tickets.  

* Graphic and photos provided by Dallas Children's Advocacy Center

 

Rachael And Bob Dedman Have Drs. James Baker And Drew Bird Provide Updates For Children’s Food Allergy Center Supporters

For many parents, the sight of a scape on the knee or full blow hit at a soccer game may seem devastating. For other folks, those childhood nicks and bumps would almost seem like a cheek kiss. Those are parents whose children suffer from life-threatening food allergies.

For some, it can be just a simple peanut that can send their child to the grave. And the threat is very democratic. It knows no difference in race, creed, color or financial standing.

Bob and Rachel Dedman, Nancy Dedman and Brent Christopher

Alicia and Scott Wood

This lesson was well known to Rachael and Bob Dedman, Bob’s mom Nancy Dedman and Alicia and Scott Wood, who spearheaded the Food Allergy Center at Children’s Health. It was when Rachael’s and Bob’s daughter, “Little Nancy Dedman, had her first allergic reaction that snapped the Dedmans’ attention to the amazingly unappreciated medical condition. The result was their gathering up friends and funds to create the Food Allergy Center at Children’s and having Dr. Drew Bird head up the department.

Brett and Cindy Govett

Kern and Marnie Wildenthal

On Tuesday, January 24, the Dedmans opened up their palatial home in Preston Hollow to re-energize the program, complete with Pat and Charles McEvoy, Baxter Brinkman, Cindy and Brett Govett, Dr. Becky Gruchalla, Katy Miller, past Children’s Medical Center Foundation President Kern Wildenthal and his wife Marnie Wildenthal and Christina Durovich.

Chris Durovich and Brent Christopher

Greeting the 50 or so guests at the entry hall was Children’s Health CEO Chris Durovich and Children’s Medical Center Foundation President Brent Christopher. The pair but especially Chris were remarkably relaxed greeting the attendees, with Chris referring to himself and Brent as “Ping and Pong.” Chris also recalled how, when he was a young man, Ben and Jerry would hand out free ice cream in his Vermont hometown.

Speaking of food, the micro-doubled-baked potatoes placed on silver trays of beans were such a hit that even the most diet-conscious types couldn’t resist ‘em.

Bob Dedman desk

Bust in hallway

Pat and Claude Presidge, like others, wandered back to Bob’s office and discovered the most marvelous desk. In addition to the inlaid leather desktop, there was a fabulous elevated building that extended the full length of the desk that had secret compartments. No surprise. After all, guests had been greeted on either side of the entry hall by TK-foot tall busts of the Dedman daughters (“Little Nancy Dedman and Catherine Dedman).

When the living room was filled to capacity, Rachael introduced Fare (Food Allergy Research and Education) CEO/Chief Medical Officer Dr. James Baker, who told how his organization’s purpose was to fight for the rights of those suffering from food allergies. Just days before, Fare had filed a federal complaint against American Airlines about “the airline’s not allowing passengers with severe nut allergies to pre-board its planes along with other passengers with disabilities.” The reason for the pre-boarding is to allow the passengers “to wipe down their seats and tray tables,” according to Jim.  

Becky Gruchalla and Jim Baker

(Editor’s note: It should be noted that while American does not serve nuts on board, it does serve other nut products and other passengers are allowed to bring nuts on board.)

When the subject of the EpiPen price hike was mentioned, grumbling and not-happy-faces were noted in the crowd.

Drew Bird

  • Brent talked next very briefly, noting that Dallas County has one of the highest populations of children with food allergies in the country. Then Dr. Drew Bird spoke to the group, including his wife Brenda Bird, and introduced his new associate Dr. Christopher Parrish before announcing the opening of a food allergy center branch in Plano.

Points of interests about food allergies from Children’s Health included:

  • Eggs, milk and peanuts are the most common causes of food allergies in children, with wheat, soy and tree nuts also included.
  • Peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish commonly cause the most severe reactions.
  • Nearly 5% of children under the age of 5 have food allergies.
  • One in every 13 children in the U.S. — or about two in every classroom in America — has a food allergy.
  • Dallas County has one of the highest rates of food-allergic children in the country.
  • Food-induced allergic reactions send some to the emergency room every three minutes.

Currently, the Food Allergy Center is working with UT Southwestern on such clinical trials as:

  • Miles — The milk patch study is a two-year desensitization study in which patients are randomized to one to three doses or a placebo and wear a small patch between their should blades.
  • Palisade Phase 3 — The peanut oral immunotherapy study is a one-year desensitization trial in which patients are randomized to either an active or placebo group. They being with 3 mg. of peanut protein that is gradually increased over 20 weeks to 300 mg.
  • Pepites Phase 3 — The peanut patch epicutaneous immunotherapy study randomizes patients to one to three doses or a placebo delivered via a small patch worn between the shoulder blades.
  • Slit — In this three-year peanut desensitization study, patients are randomized to either an active or placebo group. Patients takes very small doses of peanut protein under the tongue daily, gradually increasing the dose to a maintenance level.

Children’s Donor Reception Was Prepared For A Cowboys-Packers Showdown With A Flatscreen In The Dallas Country Club Ballroom

Sundays are usually sorta ho-hum. There are church services and brunches, but otherwise it’s rather calm. And on Sunday, January 15, it should have been especially so, since it was the Martin Luther King Jr. three-day weekend.

That’s why “the Christophers” (Children’s Health President/CEO Chris Durovich and Children’s Medical Center Foundation President Brent Christopher) figured it would be ideal for the 2nd Annual Thank You Donors reception at the Dallas Country Club.

What wasn’t predicted was Cowboys wunderkind rookies Dak Prescott and Zeke Elliott. Thanks to the Cowboys making it to the NFL playoff and the game being played at AT&T Stadium starting at 4 p.m., the snoozy Sunday was no longer so sleepy.

Then there was the Liener Temerlin’s memorial service at Temple Emanu-El’s Stern Chapel at 3 p.m.

Chris and Christina Durovich

This Sunday was truly going into uber drive.

But then, of course, Mother Nature had to add her two cents with rain.

Luckily, Chris and Brent were prepared for the situation. As Brent chatted in the lobby area, Chris and Christina Durovich officially welcomed guests and let them know that a TV was broadcasting the Cowboys-Packers game at the back of the ballroom just past all the tables filled with goodies.

Randy Muck, Carol Bieler and Brent Christopher

When one guest asked Brent, Carol Bieler and Randy Muck about the Cowboys game, Randy quickly corrected the guest saying it was a “Packers game.” Bow-tied Brent smiled, “Randy’s a Packer’s fan.”

Among the early arrivals were new Communities Foundation of Texas President/CEO David Scullin with his wife Susan Scullin, Fran and Bill Carter and Caroline Rose Hunt with Bob Brackbill. Katy and Ken Menges arrived reporting the latest score as they checked in. Katy will be having hip surgery and is glad to have it over with. Annette Leslie sans 25 pounds reported that the Carson Leslie Foundation had ramped up with greater structure.

David and Susan Scullin and Fran and Bill Carter

Katy and Ken Menges

Bob Brackhill and Caroline Rose Hunt

Magda and Dr. Halim Hennes told former Children’s Medical Center Foundation President Kern Wildenthal that the Children’s ER was on its way to being open. 

Kern Wildenthal and Magda and Halim Hennes

Kern had been an honorary pallbearer at Liener’s services, which were simply flawless with three generations of Temerlins recalling “Papa.” Despite the eloquence of daughter Lisa Temerlin Gottesman and grandson Blake Gottesman, it was great-granddaughter Avery Johl’s telling the story of “The Invisible String” with Rabbi David Stern that was the true memory maker.

In attendance at the service were Gail and Gerald Turner, Marnie Wildenthal, Martha Tiller (sans husband David Tiller, who was preparing for back surgery), Nancy Dedman, Nancy Halbreich, Barbara and Stan Levenson, Melina McKinnon and Michael Cain and Wick Allison.

But back to the Children’s reception. As the party closed down with a hair-pulling end to the Cowboys-Packers game, Ma Nature took over the spotlight with tornado warnings and severe thunderstorms. While disappointed Cowboy fans found themselves holed up at AT&T stadium, the Children’s guests were safe at home.

JUST IN: 2017 Crystal Charity Ball Beneficiaries Announced

Alas, there was nary a Crystal Charity Ball gal in sight on Thursday, February 2. The ladies had hunkered down at Communities Foundation of Texas for the presentation of the 2017 beneficiary finalists.

Pam Perella (File photo)

Lisa Longino (File photo)

Leslie Diers (File photo)

According to 2017 CCB Chair Pam Perella, Charity Selection Chair Lisa Longino and Underwriting Chair Leslie Diers, the recipients of the 2017 fundraising efforts will be:

  • Autism Treatment Center Inc. — $582,020
  • Big Brothers and Big Sisters Lone Star — $500,000
  • Children’s Medical Center Foundation — $1,111,735
  • Dallas Holocaust Museum — $526,770.35
  • Hunger Busters — $1,192,500
  • Presbyterian Communities and Services Foundation — $541,098
  • Rainbow Days — $500,000
  • Santa Clara of Assisi Catholic Academy $850,000

That means the CCB 100 gals have a goal for $5,804,123.35 to haul in for the eight children’s nonprofits. Thanks to the fall CCB Fashion Show, the CCB Ball on Saturday, December 2, and a heck of a lot of elbow grease, that goal will be met for the children of Dallas.

Let Your Party Dresses Pay It Forward For The Third Annual Prom Dress Drive

It’s Super Bowl weekend, but who cares? It’s just not the priority it was when there was a chance of Dak, Zeke, Jason, Dez and the Cowboys heading to Houston. Why, word has it that since the ‘Boys were eliminated, ticket sales drooped like a beehive hairdo in the rain.

Adding to the weekend dreary wearies, the lovely temperatures of the past days have been replaced by chilly, humid conditions.

But don’t get all down and out. Instead, head to that closet and edit. And while you’re picking dresses, accessories and goodies that don’t fit in your future, don’t forget those party pretties. Come on. Bite the bullet and admit it — you may have had a love affair with that pink organza or that bare-shoulder white silk, but you’ve moved on.

Now, what to do with your gowns, purses and heels? Have we got an answer for you and you’re gonna feel like a Super Bowl champ!

Comerica Prom Dress Drive*

For the third year Comerica is holding its Prom Dress Drive during the month of February. No, the dresses are not going to be given to Comerica staffers, but you knew that. Instead, the formal attire will be offered to youngsters from Dallas CASA and Boys And Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas just in time for spring proms.

According to Dallas CASA’s Rosanne Lewis, “It is a wonderful thing to give girls in foster care a chance to experience the fun of prom in a fancy dress, feeling beautiful. Once all the dresses and accessories are here and organized, we will have two prom dress boutique-shopping days for the girls we work with. Shoes, bags, lots of bling, plus help with makeup and hair make it a great day for the girls.”

All you have to do is gather up your collection and take it to one of the following Comerica Banking Centers:

  • NorthPark — 8850 Boedeker Street (Dallas)
  • Forest-Inwood — 5200 Forest Lane (Dallas)
  • Cole-Fitzhugh — 3202 North Fitzhugh (Dallas)
  • Preston Center — 8225 Preston Road (Dallas)
  • Chapel Hill-Tollway — 2560 Dallas Parkway (Plano)

After you drop the items off, head to your favorite store and treat yourself to some new clothes. After all, there is a now some empty space in your closet.

* Graphic courtesy of Comerica

Nancy Carlson To Serve As Honorary Chair For Communities In Schools Dallas Region’s 2017 Campaign For Kids

While plans for the Great Create were taking place at Forty Five Ten, on the other side of I-35, the Communities in Schools of the Dallas Region was kicking off its Campaign for Kids at Samuel Lynne Galleries on Thursday, January 12.

Bill Guess, Blake Lewis III and Paul Stephens

Michelle Healy

John Runyon

For the 50 guests including John Runyon, Sabene Stener, Lynn McBee, Michelle Healy and CISDR Board Members Bill Guess and Paul Stephens, it was a marvelous opportunity to check out the art and the goodies provided by Bird Bakery.

But the guests were there for more than taking in the art and munching. According CISDR President/CEO Dr. Judith Allen, Nancy Carlson would serve as the honorary chair for the nine-month campaign to raise $300,000 to support CISDR’s to “address the needs of high-risk children as they struggle to make it thru the school year.”

Judith Allen

Sabene Stener and Nancy Carlson

As part of the campaign, three events are on the schedule to keep the momentum moving. In March there will be a luncheon at Thomas Jefferson High School to “hear more about the effects of poverty, mental illness and fragmented families on the children of our area.”

While school may be out in June, the second event  Campaign for Kids Re-Cycle Drive will provide an opportunity to collect “un/gently used school supplies, school uniforms, etc. for Fall use.”

The final event will take place in September at the Campaign For Kids 6th Annual Golf Tournament.