George Washington Will Be Subbing In For “Hamilton’s” Sister-In-Law At Attorneys Serving The Community Luncheon

There was a chance of kicking of the three-day Memorial Day weekend with some disappointing news. However, it turned out to be good news.

Let’s get the bad stuff over with first: The Attorneys Serving the Community Luncheon at the Hilton Anatole on Friday, June 23, was to have Renée Elise Goldsberry, who played Alexander Hamilton’s sis-in-law from “Hamilton.” Yup, you read it — “was.”

According to Luncheon Co-Chair Kara Altenbaumer-Price, “We learned yesterday that an unavoidable scheduling conflict had arisen for Ms. Goldsberry and she is no longer able to serve as the 2017 ASC Luncheon Speaker.”

Well, double darn it. But, wait! Here comes the good news.

Christopher Jackson*

Kara reports, “While a change at this late date is not what we would have wished for, we are excited to announce that Christopher Jackson, who originated the role of George Washington in the Broadway production of ‘Hamilton,’ has graciously agreed to step into the role of luncheon speaker on short notice. Mr. Jackson was awarded a Grammy and nominated for a Tony for his role in ‘Hamilton.’  He won a Drama Desk Award for his role in ‘Hamilton’-creator Lin-Manuel Miranda’s last show, In ‘The Heights,’ as Benny.”

How did they manage to land Christopher? Luncheon Co-Chair Beth Bedell reported, “Rather than simply cancelling when it became clear that her current project would not wrap on time, Renée took responsibility and personally secured Christopher as her replacement.”

In addition to appearing in “The Lion King,” “Memphis,” “After Midnight” and “Holler If Ya Hear Me,” Christopher has also been seen on “The Good Wife, Bull and Oz, as well as being “nominated for three Emmy Awards for composing music and lyrics for television and winning the ‘Outstanding Original Song’ Emmy Award in 2011 for his lyrics to “What I am, which he co-wrote for Sesame Street with Bill Sherman.”

So, keep Friday, June 23, inked in because instead of a sister, a father of this country is going to be speaking to benefit the Junior Players.

* Photo provided by Attorneys Serving the Community

JUST IN: Details Revealed About Upcoming 2017 Parade Of Playhouses At NorthPark Center For Dallas CASA

Who says that summer is the “quiet time” for North Texas fundraisers? Even before schools are out, Dallas CASA is already staking claim for more than two weeks of its annual Parade of Playhouses. The annual favorite fundraiser that transforms NorthPark Center into a showcase of mini-cottages is scheduled to officially be on site starting Friday, July 7.

Parade Of Playhouses*

Built and donated by local designers, architects and builders, the 16 pintsize palaces include an Australian airline-themed house, a Rubik’s cube and a space-theme house.

This year’s collection includes houses from the international playhouse design by Nicollo Abe of Ontario, Canada; Riaan Kotze of Massachusetts, USA; Christiaan Luijk  of Cape Town, South Africa; and Amrita Raja and Katharine Storr of London, United Kingdom.

2016 Parade of Playhouses (File photo)

According to Dallas CASA Executive Director/President Kathleen LaValle, ““The creativity, imagination and ingenuity that these playhouse builders and designers brings is simply astounding. The vulnerable children we serve need safe homes where they can heal from their physical and emotional injuries and begin dreaming of a future they could not dare to think about. We hope every builder, designer and organization donating a playhouse knows they are helping an abused child begin to build a new dream for themselves.”

On Sunday, July 23, the mini-mansions will be raffled off. Interested? Raffle tickets are going for $5 each or five for $20 and can be purchased at event ticket tables or online during the 17-day run.

The 22nd annual parade is the absolutely perfect event because it’s free for the viewing, inside the air-conditioned center and helps Dallas CASA “continue its growth trajectory to serve all children in need.”

Jim and Angela Thompson (File photo)

Thanks to the following people and organizations, Dallas CASA’s goal of providing all abused children with a Dallas CASA volunteer helping through the child welfare system:

  • Honorary Co-Chairs — Angela and Jim Thompson
  • Parade Host — NorthPark Center
  • Castle — Angela and Jim Thompson
    Estate — SketchUp
  • Mansion — Kappa Alpha Theta Dallas Alumni Chapter, Newton Thomas with Summit Funding Inc. and Pirch
  • Villa — Bernbaum/Magadini Architects and Jackson Walker LLP
  • Playhouse Architects and Builders — Austin Commercial, Beck Architecture LCC, Bob Borson, BufordHawthorne Homebuilders, Butscher Construction, Crest Cadillac/Crest Infiniti, Domiteaux and Baggett Architects, FP Construction, Guardian Exteriors Inc., Jay W. Grishby Jr., Harman, Holder Construction Company, LRO Residential, Omniplan Inc., Perk Homes, Redlee/SCS, Robert Hopson Construction Group, Schwob Building Company LTD., University of Oklahoma – College of Architecture and William P. Manning Company Inc.

The 22nd annual parade is the absolutely perfect event because it’s free for the viewing, inside the air-conditioned center and helps Dallas CASA “continue its growth trajectory to serve all children in need.”

* Graphic provided by Dallas CASA

Itty-Bitty Gold Medalist Simone Biles Scored A Perfect Ten For Jonathan’s Place’s “A Chance To Soar” Luncheon Guests Of All Ages

Dirk and Jessica Nowitzki

If Episcopal School of Dallas or The Hockaday School staffers noticed that their lunchroom were a bit scant of students on Tuesday, April 25, they were right. The lasses were at the Hilton Anatole’s Imperial Ballroom with their parents’ permission.

The occasion was Jonathan’s Place’s “A Chance To Soar Luncheon.” Now, normally it might be considered a grown-up event, but this one had two mega-athletes — Olympian God Medalist/former foster child Simone Biles on stage and Maverick main man Dirk Nowitzki as one of the day’s award recipient.

As mom Tracy Lange surmised, a couple of the moms hosted a table for their girl and others quickly followed suit filling the ballroom with 700.

Tracy Lange, Livia Lange, Amelia Schoellkopf, Olivia Hohmann, Mary Ellen Schoellkopf, Kate Eastin and Monica Eastin

Sydney Hoyl and Kristi Hoyl

While some might question pulling the young ladies out of school, others reasoned that in addition to seeing and/or seeing world-class role models, the girls had the opportunity to be part of a grownup fundraising experience.

Some of the young luncheoners like Livia Lange, Amelia Schoellkopf, Olivia Hohmann, Mary Ellen Schoellkopf, Kate Eastin and Caroline Bagley were dressed to the nines. Too bad they’re too young for 10 best Dressed. Others like Sydney Hoyl opted to stay in their school uniforms.

Simone Biles and Ron Biles

The photo opp for guests and Simone was a bit ramble scramble due to Simone’s late arrival. She had been delayed due to an interview in another area of the hotel with KXAS/emcee Meredith Land.

Walked to the front of the room with her father, Ron Biles, the Simone’s 4’9” size seemed even more so standing next to 7’0” Dirk. Still her smile was as big as ever despite having taken a flight from Los Angeles following her appearance on “Dancing With The Stars” the night before.

Even before folks like Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones, Jenny and Trevor Rees-Jones III, Stacey Walker, Jessica Nowitzki, Lydia Novakov, Tracy Rathbun, Monica Eastin and Pam Busbee, took their seats, the raffle tickets were sold out.

Pam Busbee

Tracy Rathbun

Stacey Walker and Bryan Dunagan

Following the welcome by Luncheon Co-Chairs Julie Bagley and Rachel Stephens, the invocation by Highland Park Presbyterian Church Senior Pastor Bryan Dunagan and a luncheon of pecan crusted chicken breast salad, the following awards were presented:

  • Award of Compassion to Dirk Nowitzki
  • Award of Excellence to Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones
  • Award of Service to Gary Borofsky representing Dillard’s

Jonathon’s Place’s CEO Allicia Graham Frye told the group that last year 277 children were handled by Jonathan’s Place. She finished her remarks saying, “My wish is that every child that comes across my path would feel loved.”

Allicia Graham Frye and Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones

It should be noted that unlike the Chick Lit Luncheon, the audience was silent during the award presentation and Allicia’s remarks.

It was then time for Simone to chat with Meredith Land on stage. The under current in the room seemed to race as if Santa had just popped down the chimney. For those close to the stage, they got a pretty good look at the twosome. However, the quality of the lighting and video created shadows making the on-screen presentation challenging.

Simone Biles

Still, Simone did not disappoint with such revelations:

  • “I was just a crazy kid.”
  • She started gymnastics at the age of six and loved it immediately.
  • Her routine was an hour and half of conditioning, going to school and returning to the gym for her real workout. Such a regime required more than dedication, it demanded sacrifice like, “I’ve never been to a prom. I cried a lot. Sasha (___, her DWTS partners) was the first guy that she had really danced with and “he was 20 years old.”
  • Regrets — “I shouldn’t say that I do because of all of the accomplishments that I have from it. It’s all worked very well.”
  • Bullying — “Rise above it and use it as a motivation to do anything that you want to do and to always prove them wrong.”
  • Confidence — “I have very down-to-earth parents. I have amazing friends. My brothers, as well, are supporting me. It’s kind of easy to do that. But at times it gets hard because I want to be a normal kid and do other things. At the end of the day it’s my goal that I want.”
  • Olympics — “I actually didn’t really want to go to the Olympics when I was younger. I said I did because every little girl wanted to, so I would say, ‘I want to go to the Olympics.’ At a time in my career I knew I could be the best and it scared me so much that I would sometime sabotage my gymnastics. I knew I had the potential, but I didn’t want all that attention on me. It scared me so much. So I would do things on purpose. But I got out of it…. In February 2016 I had a really big breakdown. I had been at the top for three years and I thought this is my really big year, but what if I get hurt. And I started thinking of all these things, so I was too scared to even tumble. I thought if I land wrong, there goes my Olympic game. I would go to the bar and start bawling. It happened for two weeks. I cried a lot. I would go to practice and my coach would be like, ‘Just go home.’ My Dad told me to call my sports psychologist and I said, ‘No, I just want to cry.’ And my dad called him. He came into my room and handed the phone to me and I usually don’t cry in front of him or really anybody, and I just started bawling my eyes out — ‘I don’t know what I’m going to do. I’m not going to make the team. Blah, blah, blah.’ He (the sports psychologist) said, ‘Simone, what was the first thing I said to you when you came into my office?’ We chatted about it.”
  • Sports Psychologist — “For three years your parents, your coaches, your mentors, it’s good to have someone that knows your sport but it helps that it’s not the same person over and over again.”
  • Whom did she not want to disappoint — “I didn’t want to let down America because they had such big goals for me. They expected me to get five gold medals and I only walked out with four, so I felt like I let them down a little bit.” Afterwards she was asked in an interview about how badly she felt getting a bronze instead of a gold, her response was, “I’m sorry if that was your goal. I’m sorry if you guys had to backspace on your typewriter. I’m pretty happy. This was my first Olympics and I’m 19 years old and ma walking out of here with five medals. My goal was to make the finals. Whatever happens happens. I came out with four golds and one bronze and pretty proud of myself. I’m sorry if I disappointed you because they already crowned me with five gold medals. I think they (the interviewer) was trying to put it on me, so that’s what hurt a little bit.”
  • On the podium — “You feel like you’re a princess up there. It never feels real. I would always look at my parents. They would be bawling and I would then start tearing up. I’m an ugly crier.”
  • Post Olympics — “I haven’t worked out since the Olympics. It is my year off, so that is why I chose ‘Dancing With The Stars.’ I’m going on a vacations with my family this summer.  One is Hawaii and the other is Belize… I eat ice cream every chance I get.”
  • 2020 — “I’m going to train for the 2020 Olympics.”
  • What makes Texas special — “It’s the people. I’m in LA right now and it’s very different. I think it’s the southerness.”
  • What she misses — “I miss my bed and my dogs. I cook for my dogs. They’re spoiled little things. They have monogrammed beds. They’re not little. They’re German Shepherds. We have three.”
  • First Date — “It was like low key. I had never been on a date before or had a boyfriend. So, it’s all new. We just went to get frozen yogurt. It was a little scary. I’ve trained all my life to go to the Olympics, not to go on a date.”
  • The future — “I think I want to do something with sports management.”
  • Foster care — “[Being a foster parent] really does change a child’s life. It does give them a home, love. A lot of them age out at the age of 18 and that makes me sad. I was very fortunate for my situation. It really does make difference in the kids’ eyes.”
  • She recalled that before being rescued from her birth mother, there were days when she ate her cereal with white.
  • She felt that she would not win “Dancing With The Stars.”

At the end of the conversation, Simone looked out into the audience with each member holding a card reading “10.”   

She was then off to Jonathan’s Place to visit with children waiting for a foster parent.

Bethenny “Skinnygirl” Frankel Served Up One Of The Season’s Most Talked-About Presentations At The Annual Chick Lit Luncheon

On Friday, April 21, the annual Chick Lit Luncheon became the scene of two social earthquakes that split the Anatole’s Grand Ballroom. But more about that later. First, let’s set the scene.

Cristal Champagne

To kick off the Community Partners of Dallas fundraiser, the VIP reception was held in the Plum Blossom Room and, thanks to hosts Nancy and Richard Rogers, guests celebrated with Cristal Champagne. At the opening there were grand silver punch bowls filled with the elite champagne bottles chilling in ice. By the time the chimes called the guests to the luncheon, only a trio of partially filled bottles remained.

Tricia George, Paige McDaniel, Gail Fischer and Mary Martha Pickens

Lara Tafel

Nancy Rogers and Bethenny Frankel

Alas, keynote speaker Bethenny Frankel didn’t enjoy the bubbly, thanks to a non-stop of step-and-repeat photo session with folks like Co-Chairs Tricia George and Mary Martha Pickens, Presenting Co-Sponsor Lara Tafel, Honorary Chair Gail Fischer and daughter Elizabeth Fischer, Lisa Cooley with daughter Ciara Cooley and soon-to-be daughter-in-law Bela Pjetrovic and her sister Sabina Pjetrovic, Dee Simmons and daughter D’Andra Simmons Lock, Elizabeth Gambrell, Margo Goodwin, Cheryl Joyner, Tiffany Divis, Claire Emanuelson, Christie Carter and Cindy Turner.

Tiffany Divis and Bela Pjetrovic

D’Andra Simmons Lock and Dee Simmons

Elizabeth Gambrell, Margo Goodwin and Cheryl Joyner

As the guests literally filled the grand ballroom, Bethenny was whisked off to a private spot for some quiet time. But little did anyone know that in the hour and a half to come, the grand ballroom would be the scene of two distinctly different attitudes.

Some claimed it was a generational separation. One guest snorted, “It’s those millennials!” Another declared the other side of the great divide to be behind the times. It was just that “the times they are a-changin‘” for the decade-old luncheon featuring authors.

The old days of the Chick Lit at Brook Hollow with pecan crusted chicken and G-rated speakers like Stacey Ballis, Julia Reed, Gigi Levangie, Allison Winn Scotch, Emily Giffin and Jen Lancaster were in the rear-view mirror.

Last year’s move to the Anatole with Tim Gunn charming one and all in an on-stage chat had shifted the program to a new level. It was like moving from grade school to high school, from Shirley Temples to Cosmopolitans or from Boy Scouts Camp to Quantico.

But when the announcement of Bethenny’s being the keynoter came, lovers of reality TV were ecstatic. For them, it was like having the Pope serve mass at the local parish. For those who only considered the word “Bravo” to be what was said after a stellar performance, Bethenny was a rather unknown commodity. Didn’t matter. The Chick Lit Luncheon had always been fun and a fundraiser for a good cause.

Still, there were warnings that Bethenny might raise some eyebrows and that the uneducated might need to be forewarned and study up on the Skinnygirl.

Despite warnings that Bethenny was not your same-old, same-old, CPD loyalists signed on. In the meantime, new world reality TV lovers bought in with hopes of a “tell-it-like-it-is” presentation.   

So, what happened? Well, the first “earthquake” took place before Bethenny ever arrived on stage.

Mary Martha Pickens, Mary Ella Bitzer and Tricia George

To kick things off, CPD President/CEO Paige McDaniel presented the 2017 Partners for Children Award to Mary Ella Bitzer representing The Bitzer and Needleman Families and Peacock Alley. Unfortunately, whether it was due to poor acoustics or to all the chatter in the room, the presentation seemed to take place without much fanfare.

Faith Johnson

When Dallas District Attorney Faith Johnson provided the invocation, she was heard throughout, thanks to the lack of talking. But the chitchat kicked back in once Paige returned to the podium, and the first of the divides created a Grand Canyon among the guests. Looking like unhappy emojis, some strained to hear Paige, while others held steroid conversation to such a point that even those frowny-faced guests close to the stage had to rely on lip reading to “hear” Paige talk about the importance of the organization’s annual Christmas toy drive and how Peacock Alley had supported it. Some tried to silence the chatterboxes by clanging their silverware on their glassware, but even that couldn’t be heard above the racket. Perhaps the talkative guests had never attended a fundraiser before?

What made it more obvious was how the room went into a vacuum state of silence after Community Partners of Dallas Board Member Greg Nieberding introduced Bethenny and she arrived on stage. How quiet? At one point in her talk, a cell phone in the room rang and Bethenny interrupted her talk saying, “Somebody need to take a call?”

The svelte brunette, who had risen to fame thanks to reality TV and her “Skinnygirl” business empire, was both charming and disarming. On one hand, she couldn’t have been more upbeat and complimentary about North Texas women and the CPD. She even did a shout-out to “my friend Fancy Nancy Rogers” at a front row table with pals Dallas Snadon, Leisa Street, Michael Flores, Cindy Rachofsky and Niven Morgan and Shelby Wagner.

Dallas Snadon

Lori Jones, Nancy Rogers and Cindy Rachofsky

Leisa Street and Michael Flores

Shelby Wagner and Niven Morgan

On the other, she raised even the most heavily Botoxed brows with comments about “guano” (she didn’t use that word) and describing rich Dallas women as having Texas tea flowing from a particular body part (she put it much more colorfully). If you don’t get it, ask one of the thousand-plus who were there. They’re bound to recall the exact words.  

Some of the highlights of Bethenny’s talk included:

Bethenny Frankel

  • After having a rough childhood, she focused on “breaking the chain” in raising her daughter. She was not going to be “chained” to what others thought or what she had experienced as a child.
  • Finding balance in her life being a mother and a businesswoman.
  • Everyone has a great idea, but it’s the execution that matters, she said. Too often they get bogged down with the business plan or other aspects. “I would have never gotten into the liquor business had I known.”
  • Stay focused on your goals and don’t “look at the other lanes… I do my own thing.”
  • “25 years ago I was a bartender and had no idea I’d end up being an alcoholic… just kidding… I would end up founding a liquor company.”
  • She has founded an organization called “B Strong” to help women in crisis. “As women, we make a lot of decisions out of fear.”
  • “You can’t be pretty, tan, have sex, rich and sleep…I’m not tan, I don’t have sex and I’m  rich, but not like Dallas rich…. What the hell was I talking about?”
  • The night before on “Real Housewives of New York,” Bethenny had been confronted by another housewife over how she was dealing with her 6-year-old daughter about the fact that Bethenny had done a nude scene 27 years ago. “I just sat there and just took it and just said, I have no shame in my game. This is who I am. This is my past and I was an actress and I needed the money and I’ve done so many things in my life that got me to where I am, so I think that’s part of my owning it.” She went on, saying how “crazy it was for women trying to tear each other down.”

    Bethenny Frankel

  • “The least favorite element [of being on a reality show] is you get mired in something that you don’t even care about…You can’t believe that people can be so nasty and malicious. I think it’s a comedy. I see it as a satire. You can’t believe how fake people are. It’s amazing. You look around and any five people. You believe they are totally normal. ‘She’s so down to earth; she’s  so normal.’ She’s ‘guano‘ crazy!”
  • “I want to give you one tip. It’s changed my life. At night before you go to bed, for like five to 15 minutes, put in as much hot water as you possibly can in your bathtub and just your feet—not your whole body—in Epsom salts. It’s like a drunk. I don’t know what happens. I used to take something to sleep, but this knocks you out. It’s like detoxing and it’s crazy and it’s the simplest and oldest thing and has changed my life.”
  • Being an entrepreneur “is really hard. You’ve got to be out there. But it’s good. It’s like the ocean. It keeps changing and moving all the time.”
  • “I’m really a homebody. I like being with my daughter.”
  • When asked what the one thing she keeps in her refrigerator to make a meal, Bethenny responded, “I’m a big fan of the freezer. I travel so much that when I get home there’s always a frozen organic broccoli.”
  • Kale — “You can’t walk on the street without being assaulted by kale. I want to meet the kale publicist. What’s so great?”
  • The future for Bethenny — “I’m focused on this charity [B Strong]. I’m able to help women. Now that I’m not struggling and white-knuckling it anymore, I want to inspire women.”

Bethenny lived up to her honest, no-holds barred comments about her life, both past and present. She was true to herself. Some loved her words; some were perturbed by her presentation. Hey, when you go to a Mexican food restaurant, you can’t expect meat loaf to be the featured item on the menu.

Not Even Traffic Hassles Could Discourage Chick Lit Patrons From Meet And Greeting Luncheon Keynoter Bethenny Frankel

Lara and Bob Tafel

Twas a perfect storm that valet parkers dread on Thursday, April 20, at Preston Center East. Construction had limited parking, and rush hour at the juncture of Preston and Northwest Highway had cars playing dosey-doe. And to add to the mayhem, Bachendorf’s was the site of the Community Partners of Dallas Chick Lit Patron Party.

Chick Lit Presenting Sponsors Lara and Bob Tafel moseyed up the sidewalk. They had opted to bypass the valet, park a block away and stroll. Bob’s outfit was highlighted by a colorful pocket square. Lara claimed it was the result of last year’s speaker Tim Gunn.

Lawrence Bock, Bethenny Frankel and Katy Bock

Mary Martha Pickens, Bethenny Frankel and Tricia George

So, a patron party in itself is a full load, but in this case the keynote speaker Bethenny Frankel was on hand. Looking at times like a swarm around a queen bee, the party was a bee hive of cellphone snaps. Nonchalance was not the order of the day.

Dan Houchard, Bethenny Frankel and Maura Houchard

Wendy and Boyd Messmann

Guests on hand included Bachendorf’s Katy and Lawrence Bock, Wendy and Boyd Messmann, Maura and Dan Houchard, Anne Stodghill, Chick Lit Co-Chairs Tricia George and Mary Martha with husband John Pickens and CPD energizer bunnies Paige McDaniel and Joanna Clarke.

But it was an early evening, because the main act — the Chick Lit Luncheon — was the next day at  the Hilton Anatole.

Grovel Alert: 2nd Annual Rising Stars Luncheon

Dak Prescott (AP Photo)

Ben Lange (File photo)

Unlike former Dallas Police Chief David Brown, Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Dak Prescott hasn’t exactly been making the speaking rounds.  Perhaps that’s why Wednesday’s “2nd Annual Rising Stars Luncheon” benefiting After-School All-Stars North Texas is nearing SRO status at the Dallas Country Club.

According to ASAS North Texas Board Chair Ben Lange, the fundraiser that will have Brad “Voice of the Dallas Cowboys” Sham interviewing the football wunderkind is within one or two tables of selling out.

Nancy Rogers and Gina Betts (File photo)

Chaired by Gina Betts, the fund raiser is being presented by Nancy C. and Richard Rogers.

One of the surprises for organizers has been the number of papa and mama bears who are bringing their kids to the luncheon. Seems that the recent show of munchkins attending The Jonathan’s Place’s “A Chance to Soar” with featured speaker Simone Biles has caught on. Makes sense. Such events provide an excellent opportunity to expose youngsters to role models.

Consider this news to be a “last call” shout-out, so get one of those last spots now by emailing  Liz Arrington or calling her at 469.330.4970.

Former Dallas Police Chief David Brown Wows The Crowd At Just Say Yes’ “Building Bridges” Fundraising Dinner

Building Bridges

Tony Romo autographed football

Honorary Chairs Candice and Tony Romo weren’t going to be able to make it. But that didn’t dampen the enthusiasm Wednesday, April 19, when around 350 people showed up for Just Say YesBuilding Bridges celebration dinner at Belo Mansion. The keynote speaker, after all, would be another high-wattage local celeb: former Dallas Police Chief David Brown. And the evening would be raising money for the Just Say Yes (short for Youth Equipped to Succeed) nonprofit, a good cause that aims to equip teens to succeed by educating them through classroom curriculum and inspirational student-assembly speakers.

While guests checked out the silent-auction items—including offerings from Al Biernat’s and Papa John’s Pizza, plus a Dallas Cowboys jersey and football signed by Tony—musician Emilio Mesa blasted out some cool sounds on his saxophone. Then everyone filed into the ballroom, where emcee Anna de Haro welcomed all and gave the podium over to Just Say Yes Development Director Marissa Leach. Marissa explained that “Building Bridges” would be the nonprofit’s theme this year, before presenting Just Say Yes Founder/President Dan Bailey with the “15-year award.”

Marissa Leach and Dan Bailey*

While attendees like Bill Noble and King Crow looked on, Dan reviewed the organization’s progress, citing its influence on students in 39 states, for example. It’s also reached more than 600,000 students in Dallas-Fort Worth since the early 2000s, he recalled, and is poised for still more growth in the coming months. Dan was followed by presentation of the annual Coach Avery Johnson Impact Award, which went this year to Paula and Darrell McCutcheon (though Darrell was absent due to “a root canal that didn’t go so well”).

Next came Veronica Lee, the nonprofit’s senior mentoring coordinator, who introduced a student “mentee” named Jasmine and Jasmine’s mother, Veronica. They agreed that Jasmine’s life, once troubled and unhappy, had been turned around thanks to the positive influence of Just Say Yes. “I first joined the program to get out of class,” Jasmine confessed to the crowd with a laugh. “But now we’re one big happy family!” 

Then came what everyone had been keenly anticipating: the keynote talk by Brown, who’s been working as a contributor lately to ABC News. Bespectacled as usual and dressed this evening in a dark business suit, the former Dallas police chief, who’s 56, said he wanted to focus his talk on the aftermath of the Dallas police shootings last July 7. Among the countless letters containing good wishes—and cash—that poured into the department then, Brown recalled, one letter in particular attracted his attention. It was from a fellow named Lance, whom Brown had befriended back during his days attending The University of Texas at Austin.

David Brown*

Receiving the letter set him to remembering how they’d met, when Brown—a poor African-American kid from Oak Cliff—climbed one day aboard a bus bound for Austin and UT and sat down next to the “white kid” from Missouri named Lance. Lance, Brown soon discovered, was also traveling to school at UT, and had also grown up poor. After learning as they approached Waco that Lance was hungry, Brown pulled out a bag of his great-grandmother’s fried chicken and offered some to his new pal.

In his letter to Brown last year, Lance remembered that bus trip and wrote, “My views of blacks changed because of how you treated me.” (Reading those words, Brown said, “I didn’t start crying, but my allergies started acting up.”) Then Lance wrote, “I always wondered why you sat down next to me.” That question was an interesting one, Brown said to the Just Say Yes crowd, so he would let them know why he’d done it.

David Brown*

It seems that a few years before the Austin trip, when he was just 11, the ex-chief was among the first group of local kids bused to a distant school as part of a court-ordered effort to desegregate Dallas’ schools. “No one wanted me there” at his new school, Brown said. “I didn’t want to be there. No one spoke to me for three months.”

Then, one day, Brown said, “a little white kid [named Mike] invited me home to dinner—at 3 p.m.!” Brown accepted Mike’s offer and walked with him to his home, where Mike’s mother quickly summoned her son into the kitchen and began whispering to him. “I felt like Sidney Poitier in the movie ‘Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,’ ” Brown said. But then, after a long while, Mike’s mother came out of the kitchen carrying a couple of pot pies. “Mike and I wound up talking until 7 p.m.,” Brown said. “And, eventually, our friendship led Mike to befriend other black kids.”

A little while ago, Brown said, he reconnected with Mike and asked him, “What were you whispering with your mom about in the kitchen that afternoon?” Mike, who’s Jewish, said he’d reminded his mother that day about their family members who’d survived the Holocaust, and how their advice had always been to be kind to strangers—especially those who were “different” from them.

All three pals—Brown, Lance, and Mike—wound up attending UT Austin at the same time. “So you wonder, is the moral of this story that all we need is fried chicken and pot pies to change the world?” Brown said to the Just Say Yes group. “No! But, you can transform lives with the way you interact with young people. The moral of this story is: we all have a responsibility to one another—one life at a time.

“People ask me, what’s the ‘secret’ reason you quit” the Dallas police department? Brown went on. “There wasn’t any secret reason. I was called to the job for a purpose, and I left for a purpose. I grew up poor, in a tough, high-crime neighborhood, and adults invested in me. That’s why I said yes to Just Say Yes. The Lord can call you to do things that you don’t want to do.

“The things you do for these kids’ lives means something,” Brown said, wrapping up his talk. “I’m proud to be in the same room as you all. Now my allergies are acting up again, so I’m going to stop.”

Of course, Dallas’s former top cop got a standing ovation.

* Photos provided by Just Say Yes

 

JUST IN: 2017 Children’s Cancer Fund Gala Net A Cool $800K

Children’s Cancer Fund Executive Director Jennifer Arthur is all smiles after getting word from her bean counters. It seems after adding up all the income from sponsorships, tickets, raffles, auctions and “stuff,” and then subtracting all the expenses, Children’s Cancer Fund Annual Gala Chair Pamela Moayedi‘s efforts raised $1M and cleared a cool $800K to help North Texas children battling cancer.

Roger Staubach, Troy Aikman, Jennifer Arthur and Dak Prescott*

The fashion show/dinner took place on Friday, April 21, at the Hilton Anatole with Honorary Co-Chairs Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach and local celebrities like Dak Prescott, Jason Garrett and Miss Texas Caroline Carothers on the runway with kids who have been battling cancer.

* Photo provided by Children's Cancer Fund

On Mother’s Day A Box Of Chocolates Is Nice, But A Piece Of Jewelry Would Be Sweeter For More Than Just Your Mum

Kendra Scott Gives Back Party*

Mother’s Day is up ahead. Of course, brunch is a must on Sunday, but what about a little “trinket” to commemorate the occasion? Jeweler designer Kendra Scott and Children’s Medical Center Foundation may just have the sparkle to add to the lady of the day.

On Wednesday, May 10, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., the six area Kendra Scotts will host a Kendra Gives Back Party with a three-fer. The three parts are you not only can purchase “a beautiful piece of jewelry,” but 20% of every sale will benefit Children’s Health and if your “purchase ads up to more than $100, you’ll be entered to win a piece from the new Summer Collection.

Seriously, wouldn’t a little bling be so much better than a box of chocolates or a toaster? Plus, your gift will benefit mothers with children at Children’s.

* Graphic courtesy of Children's Medical Center Foundation

2017 Crystal Charity Ball Committee Honored Its Advisory Board And Beneficiaries With A Reception At Jennifer And Richard Dix’s Digs

Jennifer Dix, Christie Carter and Mary-Elizabeth Carrell

The wine and the conversation flowed freely on Wednesday, April 5, when Crystal Charity Ball‘s friends and supporters gathered at the magnificent, Preston Hollow home of Jennifer and Richard Dix. And, why not? The event, after all, was being held to honor to group’s advisory board and the 2017 CCB beneficiaries.

Anna Hundley, Brent Christopher and Mary Pat Higgins

Guests such as Jan and Fred Hegi, Vinnie Reuben, SuSu Meyer, Michael Teeter, Tucker Enthoven, Leslie and Bryan Diers, Beth Thoele, Anna Hundley, Mary Pat Higgins, Mary-Elizabeth Carrell, Pam Busbee and Patti Flowers and Tom Swiley swarmed happily into the home’s kitchen area, where they found the likes of Christie Carter and Lisa and Clay Cooley. Christie, who’s a big supporter of Dallas CASA, was still talking about that group’s Cherish the Children luncheon held earlier in the day, where entrepreneur Casey Gerald had given an inspiring talk. Commented Christie: “It was a powerful luncheon.”

Nickey and Debbie Oates

Tom Swiley

Sandra Helton

Michael Teeter

On the business front, luxury home builder Nickey Oates and car dealer Clay Cooley both reported that their businesses were in overdrive… For Brent Christopher, it was a switch of roles. In the past as president/CEO of Communities Foundation of Texas, he had served on the advisory board. Having just taken over Children’s Medical Center Foundation this past year and its being selected as a 2017 CCB beneficiary, he was on the other side of the CCB spectrum.

Pam Perella

Finally, it was time for 2017 CCB Chair Pam Perella to address the group, and what better place was there to do it than in the crowded kitchen, where Cassandra Tomassetti‘s crew had been creating mini-feasts much to the delight of folks like Santa Clara of Assisi Catholic Academy Stephanie Matous and Sister Sandra Helton.

Standing on the stairway, Pam said, “I might be a little biased, but I’m really thrilled with our beneficiaries this year,” referring to the Autism Treatment Center, Big Brothers Big Sisters Lone Star, the Children’s Medical Center Foundation, the Dallas Holocaust Museum, Hunger Busters, the Presbyterian Communities and Services Foundation, Rainbow Days, and the Santa Clara of Assisi Catholic Academy.

Vin Perella, Beth Thoele, Tucker Enthoven, Leslie and Bryan Diers

“Our goal this year is to raise $5.83 million,” Pam went on. “We’re almost there, so no big deal!” With that, the crowd laughed heartily as Pam gave way to longtime CCB supporter/patron Chuck Thoele of RGT Wealth Advisors. “Crystal Charity Ball is really good at three things,” Chuck said, beginning to chuckle. “Picking their beneficiaries. Raising a lot of money. And throwing a good party!”

No one at the Dix home that night would argue with that.

For more photos from the party, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2017 Crystal Charity Ball Advisory Board Reception

Jennifer Dix, Christie Carter and Mary-Elizabeth Carrell

The Crystal Charity Ball committee annually takes one night off from fundraising to bring together two groups of people — the CCB Advisory Board and the year’s beneficiaries. This year’s gathering took place on Wednesday, April 5, at Jennifer and Richard Dix’s wonderful home-sweet-home with everybody showing up.

Anna Hundley, Brent Christopher and Mary Pat Higgins

In addition to a great opportunity to learn about each other, it was also marvelous eating thanks to Cassandra Tomassetti. While the post is in its final stages, check out the faces at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Sold-Out Alert: No More Room For Dec My Room’s Room To Grow Luncheon And Fashion Show

Dec My Room’s “Room To Grow”*

And the announcements keep pouring in. The first ever Dec My Room’s Room To Grow luncheon and fashion show at NorthPark’s Neiman Marcus on Tuesday is sold out. Co-chaired by Sue Fair, Diana Hamilton and Andrea Nayfa along with NorthPark’s Kristen Gibbins, the event will featured a presentation by NorthPark Ambassadors Kimberly Schlegel Whitman and Moll Anderson on Neiman Marcus’ Level Two.      

Dec My Room was established ten years ago and “helps to create a healing place” for children who are being admitted into a hospital for a prolonged amount of time. 

* Graphic provided by Dec My Room

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

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

Joyce Rosenfield and Mark Berg*

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Casey Gerald*

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

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

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

* Photo credit: Kristina Bowman

The Sun Shone On The Dedication Of The Texas Historical Marker For The Dallas County Medical Society Alliance Foundation

Lindalyn Adams and Pierce Allman

The skies were clear thanks to an overnight cold front, but the flags on The Aldredge House’s terrace on Wednesday, April 5, were literally blowing in the wind. Wearing sunglasses to fend off the afternoon sun, adults and kids gathered at The Aldredge House for a double celebration. In addition to the dedication of the Dallas County Medical Society Alliance Foundation’s Texas Historical Marker, it was also to celebrate The Alliance’s and The House’s 100th anniversary.

As a hundred guests arrived along Swiss Avenue, valet parkers waved guests off from parking on the curb. They were vigilante about avoiding past parking problems for nearby neighbors.

Lisa Loeb

With chairs set up on the terrace of the House and on the front law, guests like Calvert Collins, Pierce Allman, Lindalyn “Born on the 4th of July” Adams and Bobbie Sue and Phil Williams took their places. It was Lindalyn who had arranged for the Aldredge family to turn the House over to the Alliance Foundation

Serving as emcee, Lisa Loeb looked hardly old enough to drive a car, let alone have three kids and a singing career. With her folks, former Dallas County Medical Society Alliance and Foundation President Gail and Dr. Peter Loeb looking on, Lisa handled her duties perfectly, including the flutter of her skirt when the breezes picked up.

Elizabeth Gunby and Barenda Hino

With Summerlee Foundation CEO/Texas Historical Commission Vice Chair John Crain and Aldredge House Preservation Fund and Historical Records Chair Elizabeth Gunby keeping their remarks short about the history of the Alliance and its being recognized, the crowd moved down to the front of the lawn for Dallas Country Medical Society Alliance Foundation President Barenda Hino and Elizabeth to unveil the plaque. No sooner had they pulled back the draping than it became the centerpiece for everyone to have a selfie.

2016 Crystal Charity Ball Beneficiaries Celebrated Receiving Checks For More Than $5.5M

The skies were blue and the temperatures gave no sign of drizzle, let alone snow. Still, on Tuesday, April 4, it was Christmas time with 2016 Crystal Charity Ball Chair Christie Carter and her committee members handing out six-figure checks totaling $5.6M.

Anne Besser, Cordelia Boone, Kay Barry, Theresa Francis, Christie Carter and Claire Emanuelson

Hosted by Westwood Trust at Communities Foundation of Texas, the 2016 beneficiaries were downright giddy. Some, like Hope’s Supply President Barbara Johnson and Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas CEO Jennifer Bartkowski, admitted from the stage that the last time they had been there, they had been nervous in pitching their nonprofits for CCB consideration over a year ago.

Now, they were relieved that they had passed muster and were being handed checks to help them in their missions.

Drum roll. And the happy-faced beneficiaries included:

Susan Farris, Paige McDaniel and Margo Goodwin

David Krause

Cary Wright

 

  • Community Partners of Dallas for a “forever home for Community Partners of Dallas” — $1,359.236
  • Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas for “STEM Center of Excellence Girl Exploration Center” — $976,000
  • Hope Supply Co. for “hope for homeless children” — $600,000
  • Notre Dame School of Dallas for “Hearts and Hammers Campaign” — $676,020
  • Parkland Foundation on behalf of Parkland Health and Hospital System for “mobile medical clinic and pediatric screenings” — $789,002
  • Teach for America for “Elementary Education Initiative” — $500,000
  • The Family Place for “Children’s Counseling Center” —$750,000

Suzy Gekiere, Jennifer Bartkowski and Tricia George

Barbara Johnson

Gregg Ballew

Paige Flink and Eric White

Also, in attendance were Westwood Trust Senior VP Gregg Ballew, Eric White, Paige Flink, Melissa Sherrill, Pam Busbee, Lisa Singleton, Margo Goodwin, Pat and John Harloe, Ola Fojtasek, Suzy Gekiere, Tricia George, Candace Winslow, Rob Snyder, Cordelia Boone, Paige McDaniel, Joanna Clarke, Vinnie Reuben, Theresa Francis, Kay Barry, David Krause, Laura and Jason Downing, Cary Wright, Rea Foster, Tucker Enthoven, Piper Wyatt, Beth Thoele, Michael Meadows, Anne Besser, Susan Farris, Elizabeth Gambrell, Greg Nieberding, 2018 CCB Chair Claire Emanuelson with husband Dwight Emanuelson, and Vin Perella with his wife/2017 CCB Chair Pam Perella, who is already managing the haul of $5.8M for the 2017 beneficiaries.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: Crystal Charity Ball 2016 Check Presentation

Anne Besser, Cordelia Boone, Kay Barry, Theresa Francis, Christie Carter and Claire Emanuelson

If the sound of “Jingles Bells” was heard on Tuesday, April 4, it was coming from the Crystal Charity Ball 2016 Check Presentation at Communities Foundation of Texas. 2016 CCB Chair Christie Carter and her Underwriting Chair Claire Emanuelson handed out $5.6M worth of checks to the seven very happy 2016 beneficiaries including Community Partners of Dallas, Girls Scouts of Northeast Texas, Hope Supply Co., Notre Dame School of Dallas, Parkland Foundation, Teach for American and The Family Place.

Barbara Johnson

Jennifer Bartkowski

While the beneficiaries’ thank-you notes are already in the mail, the post is being prepared. But photos are available at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

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

Kathleen LaValle, Theresa Daniel and Linda Swartz

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

Casey Gerald and Shonn Brown

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

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

“Good Morning America’s” Robin Roberts Shared Her 3Ds At The Sold-Out 2nd Annual Interfaith Auxiliary Luncheon

There were those who swore on their iPads that the Interfaith Family Services could not possibly top last year’s inaugural Interfaith Auxiliary Luncheon with “Today Show’s” Hoda Kotb at the Dallas Country Club. But on Friday, March 31, the 2nd Annual Interfaith Auxiliary Luncheon returned to the DCC with “Good Morning America’s” Robin Roberts for another sold-out event and home run. Here’s a report from the field:

Anna Moss, Molly Thomas and Megan Filgo*

Interfaith Family Services held a successful and sold-out luncheon to fight family homelessness in Dallas. The 2nd Annual Interfaith Auxiliary Luncheon took place on Friday, March 31, at the Dallas Country Club with Megan Filgo, Anna Moss and Molly Thomas as the event co-chairs and Francie Moody-Dahlberg serving as the honorary chair. The luncheon was able to net $109,183.34 to help families and children escape the cycle of poverty.

Missy Leon, Francie Moody Dahlberg and Ashley Rupp*

Kimberly Williams and Whitney Tolliver*

The keynote speaker for the afternoon was Robin Roberts of ABC’s “Good Morning America.” Roberts took the podium after Whitney Tolliver, an Interfaith graduate who shared her testimonial. The entire room was teary-eyed as Tolliver told her story of becoming homeless with her 1-year-old son after she lost her home in the 2016 tornadoes, then lost her job the following month. On the day of the luncheon, Whitney was moving in to her own apartment, having graduated from Interfaith that week and ready to continue her journey towards self-sufficiency.

Robin Roberts*

As Roberts approached the stage, she thanked Whitney for her strength and courage to tell her story. She then began to lighten up the mood with words of encouragement. Roberts showed her humorous side when she opened her speech by sharing the 3 D’s she lives by: Discipline, Determination and “Da Lord.”

Roberts emphasized trusting God to lead you to the right path. She also spoke about how her initial dream of becoming a sports broadcaster took a detour and how she learned the importance of trusting her journey.

Roberts gave both a heartfelt and thought-provoking speech of the life lessons she continues to learn through her struggles with illness and adversity. When Roberts was diagnosed with breast cancer, she remembered what her mother told her: “Make your mess your message.” Roberts carried that motto throughout her recovery and decided to publicly share her story in order to save others.

By calling attention to dreaming big but focusing small, Roberts was able to leave the audience with the key message “Everybody’s Got Something.”

Proceeds from the luncheon supported Interfaith’s Hope and Horizons Children’s Program as well as Interfaith’s Home and Hope Transitional Housing Program that provides housing and support services for nearly 100 families in crisis each year.

Sponsors included:

  • Give Families Hope ($15,000) — Katy and Kyle Miller, Robyn and Don Conlon and The Hegi Family
  • Give Families Hope For A Home ($10,000) — Anna and Ryan Moss, Benchmark Bank and Benchmark Title, Nancy Carter and The David B. Miller Family Foundation
  • Give Families Hope For A Hand Up ($7,500) — Kamela and Kenneth Aboussie and Mrs. Wilson Johnson
  • Give Families Hope For Stability ($5,000) — Lincoln Property Company, Melinda and Jim Johnson, Nancy and Neil West, Prairie Creek Partners, Southwest Kia, Susie and John Adams and The Moody Foundation

For almost 30 years, Interfaith Family Services (Interfaith) has been a leading resource for working poor families and a haven for homeless children who long for stability and hope. Today, we are even more committed to our mission to empower families in crisis and break the cycle of poverty.  At the core of our work is a simple yet effective program formula: Stability + Self-Worth + Skills = Self-Sufficiency. First, we stabilize about 100 homeless families (nearly 90% of them female-led) each year by providing them with fully-furnished housing for up to a year in one of the 26 units that we own debt-free, and we offer daily children’s programs tailored to the unique needs of homeless children. Next, we increase their self- worth through on-site counseling for parents and play therapy for children. Finally, we develop their skills via career coaching, financial coaching, and life-skills classes for parents and daily homework assistance and individualized tutoring for children. These comprehensive holistic services lay the foundation for the families’ long-term self-sufficiency. Our outcomes prove that our model works.

Interfaith families earn more ($13.51/hour), save more ($1,631 on average), reduce more debt ($1,167 on average), and remain self-sufficient longer than the members of any other transitional housing providers that report their outcomes publicly.

For more information on Interfaith Family Services or to discover other ways you can support Interfaith’s work, please contact Marketing and Media Coordinator Destiny DeJesus or visit www.interfaithdallas.org.

* Photo credit: Michelle Oesterricher

SOLD-OUT ALERT: A Chance To Soar

Simone Biles*

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

* Photo provided by Jonathan's Place

Children’s Medical Center Foundation Is Prepared For Weather Questions About Saturday Morning’s Red Balloon Run And Ride

Wouldn’t you just know that the weather-guessers have been as fickle as Scarlett O’Hara filling out her dance card. Some are saying that tomorrow morning is going to be wet, windy and wild. Others are swearing that it will hit tonight and Saturday morning will be as dry and crisp as a nice bottle of Pinot Blanc.

Red Balloon Run And Ride*

Luckily, the Children’s Medical Center Foundation’s Red Balloon Run And Ride organizers are on top of developments. Yes, they’re in negotiations with Mother Nature, but they’re also prepared to communicate any changes.

According to the Foundation’s Heidi Cannella, “We will provide updates (any delays, cancellations, etc.) from now through tomorrow. Our primary concern is safety.” Those updates will be available at www.childrens.com/runandride.

Red Balloon’s corporate sponsor WFAA will also be providing information about the weather conditions and how they’ll be affecting the annual fundraiser.

* Graphic courtesy of Children's Medical Center Foundation

Sadie Keller Stole The Limelight And Hearts At The Children’s Cancer Fund Patron Party

Despite being divorced, Pamela Moayedi and Mehrdad Moayedi are still on good terms. No, make that very good terms. Need proof? On Thursday, March 23, Mehrdad let his gorgeous blonde ex use his fabulous home on Strait Lane with the spectacular view of the property’s lake for the Children’s Cancer Fund patrons party. The reason is that Pamela is chairing the Friday, April 21st Children’s Cancer Fund “Broadway Light and Runway Lights” on Friday, April 21, at the Hilton Anatole.

Grant Keller, Sadie Keller and Sarah Moayedi

Shawn and Sarah Keller

Since the previous owner was in the restaurant/food industry (think Phil Romano), the home’s kitchen was larger than some condos and was the center of the festivities with pizzas emerging from ovens and the island covered with so many edibles for the 60 or so guests including the Moayedi daughter, Sarah and Shawn Keller with pretty-in-pink daughter Sadie Keller and very-cool son Grant Keller, Tim Mullaney, Ludovit Zywczak, Anne Davidson and Cornelia and Ralph Heins.

Cornelius Heins

Anne Davidson

At one point organizers scurried around notifying guests that Honorary Co-Chair Roger Staubach and his wife Marianne Staubach had just arrived.

Pamela Moayedi, Jennifer Arthur, Marianne and Roger Staubach, Sadie Keller and Becky Lewis

Photos were taken of the Staubachs with Executive Board President Becky Lewis, CCF Executive Director Jennifer Arthur and adorable Sadie Keller. Old pro Roger immediately welcomed the fact that he was playing second fiddle to adorable Sadie. Even a Super Bowl win is nothing compared to beating cancer.

Sadie will be one of the kids on the runway wearing the Dillard’s fashions in the show produced by Rhonda Sargent Chambers. Tickets are starting at $300 and raffle tickets for the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLA250 can be gotten here for $100 each. BTW, the post-fashion show partying will be in the hands of DJ Lucy Wrubel.

Grovel Alert: A Chance To Soar Luncheon

Just heard from Jonathan’s Place CEO Allicia Graham Frye that as of noon today, there were just 10 tickets left for Tuesday’s “A Chance To Soar Luncheon” at the Hilton Anatole.

Trevor and Jan Rees-Jones (File photo)

No wonder! Just some of the VIP types in attendance will be enough to have cell-photos being taken nonstop. Co-Chairs Julie Bagley and Rachel Stephens have arranged to have Tiffany Cuban, Jessica and Dirk Nowitzki, Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones, Meredith Land and Dillard’s Corporate Beauty VP Gary Borofsky tableside.

Simone Biles*

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the darling of the 2016 Olympics Simone Biles will be the keynote speaker. Her life story reflects Jonathan’s Place’s mission to provide a safe, loving home and specialized services to children who have been abused, abandoned or neglected.” Let’s hope that she doesn’t get eliminated on Monday night’s “Dancing With The Stars.” That would mean her taking the red-eye to NYC for Tuesday morning’s “Good Morning America.” But the money’s on Simone remaining as part of the cast and overnight flying to North Texas. And who knows? Maybe her dancing partner Sasha Farber will be with her at the lunch.

Remember, just 10 seats are left, so get that reservation in now.

* Photo provided by Jonathan's Place

Grovel Alert: 2017 Chick Lit Luncheon

Let’s hope the Anatole Grand Ballroom has its Spanx on for Friday’s Chick Lit Luncheon. The annual Community Partners of Dallas fundraiser is busting with folks to hear Bethenny Frankel at the podium.

Bethenny Frankel*

According to insiders, there are just a couple seats left. Hurry and get one or two of those last places because ya just know that Bethenny is gonna be quotable and memorable.

And don’t worry about setting Bethenny up on a dating apps blind date. According to her chat with People Magazine, “I wouldn’t have enough time to date online. I thought about it, but I haven’t actually done it because I wouldn’t have the time.”

“If it gets there and it’s a dry country, maybe I’ll think about it — but it hasn’t gotten to that point,” Frankel adds. “At my age I got game, who knew?”

But that was a couple of weeks ago. Who knows? Perhaps Bethenny has changed her mind about online dating.

BTW, ticket sales close Thursday at 5 p.m. Hustle, hustle, hustle!

Skinnygirl Sangria And Margaritas Plus Peanut Butter Balls Were On The Menu For Community Partners Of Dallas’ Chick Lit Toast

Skinny Girl beverages and Chick Lit glassware

Like a glamorama pep rally, the Community Partners of Dallas Chick Lit Luncheon crowd held forth at Chick Lit Honorary Chair Gail Fischer’s Preston Hollow estate for the Skinnygirl Toast on Tuesday, March 21.While Skinnygirl Founder/Chick Lit Headliner Bethenny Frankel was ways away from the ZIP code making headlines, she was well represented thanks to pitchers filled with Skinnygirl drinks — Grapefruit and regular margarita, White Cranberry Cosmo, White Sangria and Chardonnay — at the bar and making the rounds.

As one gal said, “The sangria is healthy. Just look at all the fruit.”

Cassandra’s peanut butter balls

Across the way on a buffet table loaded with edibles was the star of the yummies — Cassandra Tomassetti’s peanut balls smothered in dark chocolate. A couple of those would fatten up even skinny Bethenny. One gal looked as if she was going put one or two in her purse for a late-night snack.

Jana Nobles, Mary Moore and Paige McDaniel

For the toasting occasion, CPD masterminds Paige McDaniel and Joanna Clarke had the drinks served up in stemless glasses boasting the Chick Lit Luncheon logo. Little did the guests know that they would have similar glasses and mints to take home. 

Laura Pickens, Mary Martha Pickens and Gail Fischer

As the 100 guests Like Luncheon Co-Chair Mary Martha Pickens with her niece Laura Pickens, Cindy Turner, Suzy Gekiere, Susan Farris, Jan Nobles and Mary Moore filled the home, Gail fiddled with her remove control navigating the Smart TV’s music categories. She wanted to play the right music, but husband Cliff Fischer, who is usually the one in charge of remoting, was out of town on business. With a try at jazz, Carol Seay played advisor, suggesting to move on to something a little more upbeat.

Cindy Turner, Suzy Gekiere and Susan Farris

Tickets for the Friday, April 21, CPD fundraiser presented by Lara and Dr. Robert Tafel at the Hilton Anatole are available here. Proceeds from the event will help CPD serve “more than 20,000 of Dallas County’s abused and neglected children this year.”