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

Can Do Luncheon Patron Party Brought Out Guests In Spring Colors And Honorees Ashlee And Chris Kleinert And Texas Real Estate Council

With winds blowing skirts and leaves every which way as a norther trumpeted it the weekend nearing on Thursday, March 23, The Wilkinson Center’s Can Do Luncheon Patron Party wasn’t ruffled at all at Tootsies.

Chris and Ashlee Kleinert and Helen Hunt and Harville Hendrix

As Luncheon honorees Ashlee and Chris Kleinert received a bouquet of flowers from Ashlee’s aunt Helen Hunt and her husband Harville Hendrix, other family get-togethers were taking place.

Kristi Francis, Chris and Ashlee, Beth, Kelcey Hamilton and Anne Reeder

In another part of Tootsies, Kelcey Hamilton, who was repping honoree the The Real Estate Council, was being congratulated by Can Do Underwriting Chair Kristi Francis.

Chuck and Beth Thoele

Luncheon Chair Beth Thoele greeted husband Chuck Thoele and admitted that she was torn between going bright or black. Evidently bright won out, since she was wearing a turquoise jacket.

The Wilkinson Center Executive Director Anne Reeder’s daughter Laura Reeder reported that the EarthxGlobal Gala had had a change of plans. Originally, organizers had scheduled the gala for Saturday, April 22 at the Women’s Center at Fair Park. Then they discovered that the Art Ball was taking place on that Saturday. So, they moved both the date and the location to Friday April 21, to the Texas Discovery Garden.

Laura Reeder and Dana Fay

But on this evening the Kleinerts were receiving congrats from Chela Moros, Dana Fry, Missy Quintana, Linda Secrest, Heidi Meier, Annie Wang, Kay Weil, Meridith Myers, Angela Jones, Ann Francis, Chrystie Trimmell, Melanie Myers, Darlene Ellison, Tucker Enthoven, Bianca Sterling and Dorothy Amin Modabberi.

Tickets for the luncheon honoring the “can-do” spirit on Tuesday, May 9, at the Dallas Country Club can be gotten here. This event is one that runs right on schedule and leaves guests smiling about the accomplishments of both friends and strangers who have experienced the Wilkinson Center program.

MySweetWishList: MySweetCharity

MySweetCharity

North Texas’ nonprofit old timers and newcomers made their wishes known in the MySweetWishList series for the past weeks.

Hopefully, you had time to check one, two or all of them out. And just maybe you were able to come through for one of them.

At MySweetCharity we have a wish, too. It is that if you couldn’t make one of the nonprofit’s wishes come true immediately, you’ll keep them in mind in the year ahead.

North Texas generosity is legendary for providing nonprofits with the resources to support those in need and to improve the community. While the challenges may seem never to end, there is an incredible number of dedicated people who tirelessly work in the trenches to make North Texas arise to the occasion.

Thank you for your consideration.

JUST IN: Kenneth Goodgames Named Community Council Of Greater Dallas’ CEO

In its 76-year history, Community Council of Greater Dallas has only had five CEOs. The most recent one was Martha Blaine, who retired this past June after heading up the organization for 22 years.

Just before the year ends, Martha’s successor has been revealed.

Jennifer Coleman (File photo)

Jennifer Coleman (File photo)

Kenneth Goodgames*

Kenneth Goodgames*

According to Community Council Board President Jennifer Coleman, Kenneth “Ken” Goodgames will take over the role on Monday, December 19.

Formerly serving as president/CEO of Transformance (formerly known as the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Dallas), Ken has been associated in leadership positions with the American Heart Association and The American Red Cross, as well as “building and managing high-performance teams for Fortune 100 corporations as director, sales and global business development for Microsoft and vice president, Health Care, for NuTex Sciences.”

According to Community Council Board VP Levi Davis, “Ken is energetic and excited about the opportunity to make a significant difference in the Dallas community.  His management experience in both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors will serve him very well at the Community Council.”

Ken admitted that he has already recognized some adjustments will be in the wind for the organization that “improves the health and well-being of people through all life stages”: “To move forward,” he said, “I believe we need to refresh our brand, capitalizing on the organization’s history and accomplishments, yet expanding and innovating to better leverage partnerships with different community sectors.”

* Photo provided by Community Council of Greater Dallas

JUST IN: Curt Hazelbaker Returns To North Texas As YMCA Of Metropolitan Dallas President/CEO of

When Curt Hazelbaker was a younger whippersnapper, he “worked at the Town North Family YMCA as a camp counselor.”  It was a great experience for Curt. So much so that it served as a “springboard” for his professional life resulting in his holding various positions within the YMCA, serving on the YMCA of the USA Board of Directors and becoming the president and CEO of the YMCA of Northwest North Carolina.

Curt Hazelbaker*

Curt Hazelbaker*

Now, it all comes full circle with today’s announcement that Curt has been named the successor to longtime YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas President/CEO Gordon Echtenkamp, who announced his retirement in July after being with the Y for the past 40 years.

According to Curt, “It feels great to be back where my love for the YMCA began. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve and lead the community that has given me so much. Our three pillars are youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. By focusing on these three areas, the Y can be a truly transformative partner in improving the health and wellness of the communities we serve. Thanks to current president and CEO Gordon Echtenkamp and the great foundation that he has built over the past 16 years of his tenure, the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas is poised to be that partner. I’m honored to grow that role for the Y.”

BTW, the Y of Curt’s youth has, like Curt, has grown from the old days has grown in providing services

According to YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas Board Chair Kelvin Walker said, “The YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas can help solve some of the most critical challenges we face as a community – specifically in the areas of health and wellness. Yes, the Y is a great place to swim and our life-saving swimming lessons make us a key public safety partner. The Y has accessible, leading programs for youth and adults and top-notch gyms and because exercise contributes to both physical and mental wellness, the Y is a key public health partner. Curt Hazelbaker’s task as CEO will be to expand the reach of the Y. We know that improving health and wellness in our community is a complex challenge, but when you combine the power of Y volunteers, proven programs and an extraordinary leader like Curt Hazelbaker, the Y is perfectly positioned to make a transformative impact.”

While Curt doesn’t officially assume his new role until Monday, January 16, he, his wife Melody and two children will be packing their household for the move to Dallas.

As for Gordon, he’ll “stay on for a period of time to help with the transition.”

* Photo provided by YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas

JUST IN: Wilkinson Center’s 2017 Can Do! Luncheon Chair Beth Thoele Reveals Plans Including Awardees

Can Do! Luncheon (File photo)

Can Do! Luncheon (File photo)

One of those luncheons that always makes people feel good about their neighbors and their community is the Wilkinson Center’s Can Do! Luncheon. While only five years old, it has already gained a reputation for highlighting the accomplishments of the well-known and should-be-known types.

Beth Thoele, who will also be chairing the Equest Women’s Auxiliary’s fall luncheon, is heading up the Can Do! Luncheon on Tuesday, May 9, at the Dallas Country Club.

Beth Thoele (File photo)

Beth Thoele (File photo)

Ashlee and Chris Kleinert (File photo)

Ashlee and Chris Kleinert (File photo)

As for the awardees, who represent the entrepreneurship in philanthropy, they will include the Texas Real Estate Council, Ashlee and Chris Kleinert and “a Wilkinson Center client.”

JUST IN: Lisa Singleton To Chair Dallas Women’s Foundation’s 32nd Annual Luncheon

Lisa Singleton (File photo)

Lisa Singleton (File photo)

Lisa Singleton has hardly had time to R&R since co-chairing the very successful Texas Trailblazer Awards Luncheon featuring Ronan Farrow for The Family Place and now she’s on to her next mega-fundraising project.

Dallas Women’s Foundation CEO Ros Dawson just revealed that Lisa will be chairing the 32nd Annual Luncheon in 2017.

The Dallas Foundation Bus Tour Provided Donors With A Firsthand Look At Bonton Farms And Encore Park

One of the advantages of being part of an organization like The Dallas Foundation is the ability to come together for site visits of one of the nonprofits that aren’t on the radar. On Wednesday, October 5, the Foundation donors had the opportunity to check out Bonton Farms and Encore Park. While both are rich in history, they have also had their share of rough times. Thanks to philanthropic efforts by The Dallas Foundation and others, those situations are changing for the better. Here is a report from the field:

From the left: Judy Townley, Anne Holmes, Laura J. Brown, Lesley Martinelli, Steve Holmes, Sarah Burns, Sara Ahr, Helen Holman, Jenny Mullen, Steven Engwall, Claudia DeMoss, Lydia Addy, Carol Noble and Lori Giesler*

From the left: Judy Townley, Anne Holmes, Laura J. Brown, Lesley Martinelli, Steve Holmes,
Sarah Burns, Sara Ahr, Helen Holman, Jenny Mullen, Steven Engwall, Claudia DeMoss, Lydia
Addy, Carol Noble and Lori Giesler*

Intrepid Dallas Foundation donors spent an unseasonably warm October day exploring two unique urban experiments: Bonton Farms  in South Dallas and downtown’s Encore Park . Led by Director of Donor Services Lesley Martinelli and Chief Philanthropy Officer Helen Holman, the donors boarded a shuttle bus to the Bonton neighborhood.

Daron Babcock*

Daron Babcock*

The shuttle stopped at Bonton Farms, a two-acre spread snuggled up against the levee at the end of Bexar Street. The farm’s executive director Daron Babcock came on board to give a brief guided tour of the area.

Babcock explained that the historic African-American neighborhood was built in a floodplain, had two large public housing projects and devastated by floods and crime in the 1980s and 90s.

Today, the neighborhood is improving. The housing projects were torn down and replaced with new subsidized apartments. Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity built 133 houses on vacant lots. And Bonton Farm is growing fresh food which providing employment and business opportunities. The farm won The Dallas Foundation’s $50,000 Pegasus Prize for creative solutions to community challenges last year.

Bonton Farms' goat*

Bonton Farms’ goat*

Donors walked past rows of peppers, collard greens, lettuce and cabbage. The oversize garden grows 20,000 – 30,000 pounds of produce annually, Babcock said. The visitors were impressed. Their expressions turned to amusement as they stepped inside the goat pen. The farm’s small flock of brown and white Nubian goats gently swarmed the visitors and were rewarded with head-rubbing and back-petting. The donors stopped by the chicken coop, smiled at the Berkshire sow and finished their tour at a shed where visitors can purchase farm-produced honey and eggs.

The next stop was Encore Park in downtown Dallas. An outreach project of First Presbyterian Church and The Stewpot, Encore Park is in the process of reclaiming a historic building to highlight the city’s role in blues and western music, and create a new, safe space for homeless and housed Dallasites to get to know one another.

Jenny Mullen and Christy Coltrin*

Jenny Mullen and Christy Coltrin*

After enjoying boxed lunches at the church, donors headed across Young Street to The Stewpot and its Open Art studio. Colorful paintings and drawings created by the studio’s homeless artists covered every wall. Visitors learned about the program’s art classes and shows, then went back out into the heat to see Encore Park, its mural and 508 Park.

The group entered the long-abandoned Art Deco building at 508 Park, which was built in 1929 as a film warehouse and became a field recording studio in the 1930s. Blues legend Robert Johnson recorded there, as did Bob Wills and even Eric Clapton. The visitors marveled at the (nonfunctioning) elevator with its manually operated glass doors and the marble floor in the foyer.

Donors atop 508 Park Building*

Donors atop 508 Park Building*

The group climbed the staircase to the second floor, with its large banks of windows, which will eventually be the Open Art studio’s new home. Then it was on to the third floor, which will become a recording studio for the community. Last, the visitors headed up to the roof, which provided a great view of Encore Park’s community garden and outdoor amphitheater.

The Dallas Foundation is so pleased to be able to provide educational opportunities such as the Donor Bus Tour, which allows our donors to experience firsthand the inspiration and creative work of organizations like Bonton Farms and Encore Park.

* Photo credit: Jason Janik

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2016 Change Is Good

Those folks at Community Partners of Dallas don’t let pending rain warnings dampen their plans. That was the case for their 10th Annual Change Is Good at Brook Hollow Golf Club on Sunday, September 25. While other events might suffer due to drizzle, these kids and their seemed to thrive.

Inflatable obstacle course

Inflatable obstacle course

The outdoor inflatable obstacle course was even more slippery-slidy; bounce house went in-house; the face painters had ’em lined up; the sugary delights filled tables; and, of course, there was a drop of green and white balloons.

Ray Ballotta, William Ballotta, Caroline Ballotta and Lindsay Ballotta

Ray Ballotta, William Ballotta, Caroline Ballotta and Lindsay Ballotta

Kennedy Moore, Sandy Moore, Ryan Moore and Barry Moore

Kennedy Moore, Sandy Moore, Ryan Moore and Barry Moore

While the post is being prepared, check out some pretty cute folks at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Grovel Alert: Dallas Women’s Foundation 31st Annual Luncheon

One has to hand it to North Texas women. When it comes to fundraising, they are tireless. Within the next six days, they’re ramping up efforts to fight cancer thanks to Komen Dallas Race for the Cure, Cattle Baron’s Ball and Celebrating Women.

Selwyn Rayzor and Joyce Goss*

Selwyn Rayzor and Joyce Goss*

Well, darn it. The Dallas Women’s Foundation 31st Annual Luncheon is just a week away and Co-Chairs Selwyn Rayzor and Joyce Goss report there are only four tables left as of this morning.

Candy Chang*

Candy Chang*

One of the reasons for the near-sellout is the speaker — Candy Chang. No, she’s not the spokesperson for Hershey. The Taiwanese-American artist has a background in urban planning and architecture that has had her working in Nairobi, New York, Helsinki, Vancouver, Johannesburg and New Orleans.

It was in New Orleans that a turning point in her life came. After “losing someone she loved” in 2009, she was at that turning point of either grieving and suffering from depression or applying her talents to help others. It was also a time when Fat City was still struggling to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. The citizens, as well as the city itself, was in shambles. Candy used an abandoned house in her neighborhood for her canvas. “She covered the crumbling house with chalkboard paint and stenciled it with the prompt, ‘Before I die I want to ______.’ The wall quickly filled up with responses, from the poetic to the profound: Before I die I want to… see my daughter graduate, abandon all insecurities, get my wife back, eat all the candy and sushi in the world, be a Youtube sensation, straddle the International Date Line, tell my mother I love her, be completely myself.”

Candy Chang**

Candy Chang**

Her effort went viral with more than 2,000 Before I Die walls being created in 70 countries.

And that’s just a smidge of Candy’s story. There are so many other ways that Candy has used public spaces to bring people together.

It’s this creative spirit of compassion that will be featured at Friday’s lunch. So, if you haven’t got your tickets, stop reading and lock down one of the very few remaining seats.

* Photo provided by Dallas Women's Foundation 
** Photo courtesy of Candy Chang

The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary’s 2017 Fashion Show And Luncheon Chair D’Andra Simmons Reveals Surprises For Fundraiser

Try as she might, D’Andra Simmons cannot do anything without sparkle, splash and special. In this case, it was The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary’s 2017 Fashion Show And Luncheon on Wednesday, September 21, at Market.

It was pretty obvious to area shoppers that something was up with the mini-billboard graphic promoting the 20th anniversary of the SAWA fundraiser.

Barbara Rich, Elisa Summers, D'Andra Simmons and Kathie King

Barbara Rich, Elisa Summers, D’Andra Simmons and Kathie King

Then when folks like Elisa Summers, Heather Washburne, The Salvation Army DFW Metroplex Majors Barbara and Jonathan Rich, The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary President Kathie King and D’Andra posed in front of the billboard, it was definitely hints of what’s to come. And why did that Lynn Dealey illustration include a copy of Harpers Bazaar?

Inside Market, staffers gathered in groups as guests joined among the goodies and what goodies they were.

Vicki Howland and Kim Rozell

Vicki Howland and Kim Rozell

Carol Seay and Jimmy Westcott

Carol Seay and Jimmy Westcott

In the back showroom there was a mammoth graphic in a gold frame about The Salvation Army DFW Metroplex fundraiser, but it would wait until the guests cocktailed in the main room with Ramona Jones, Mary Potter, Lynn McBee, Vicki Howland, Kim Rozell, Jeri Kleiman, Kunthear Mam-Douglas, Carol Seay, Jimmy Westcott, Ann and David Carruth and Warehouse Couture Co-Chairs Toni Turner and JoAnna Turner.

Then the guests were herded into the back show room where a floor-to-ceiling frame with the graphic stood. As Elisa and Heather slipped behind a curtain surrounding the frame, husband Ray Washburne leaned against the wall across the way.

Joyann King

Joyann King

Then the reveals were underway with D’Andra and Major Barbara telling of the many ways that The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary and The Salvation Army DFW Metroplex were doing more than ringing bells with kettles during the holidays.

D’Andra then announced this year’s fundraiser on Tuesday, May 2, would be a first in many ways. Instead of being held at a country club or hotel, it would be at the Meyerson. It would also be the first time that a national media group would be involved. D’Andra and Kathie King had arranged for Harpers Bazaar to not only be part of the festivities, but Kathie’s daughter, HarpersBazaar.com Editor Joyann King, will also emcee.

Then the reveal of the honorary co-chairs was made as the huge graphic slid to the side and the sisters stood in the frame.

Carlos Nicholls

Carlos Nicholls

The final announcement was the reveal of the event’s theme. Against a black canvas, artist Carlos Nicholls dipped his brush in yellow paint and wrote, “Fashion is art. You are the canvas.”

But thank heaven not everything would be different for the 20th anniversary. Fashion show producer Jan Strimple will once again be coordinating the runway action. What some folks do not realize is the behind-the-scenes preparation. Once clothes are turned in, SAWA volunteers sort through the merchandise. In the meantime Jan does far more than match the donated clothes with models for the runway.  Some of the items are from bygone seasons and need some updating. That’s where Jan’s wizardry comes into place. Perhaps a hem needs to be shortened, or the ruffles on the cuffs need to be taken off, or a belt needs to be added to accentuate the waist. Jan goes through the hundreds of donated outfits, picks out the showstoppers and has them refreshed where there is need.

D’Andra stressed the need for donations. After all, the luncheon’s Chic Boutique, where some of North Texas’ most fashionable types scour the bargains, is a key to the fundraising success.

Speaking of the donations, Jan reported that the deadline for turning in clothes is earlier this year. “We’re doing pick-ups and taking dropoffs all fall, hoping to have the majority of donation in by the end of January.” Clothes and accessories may be dropped off at Tootsies.

What Do A Buffalo And A Maverick Have In Common? Jubilee Park!

One wouldn’t necessarily think that a buffalo and a basketball player would have much in common. But on Thursday, September 15, these two got together at Jubilee Park and Community Center. The occasion was the reopening of Jubilee Park with new playground equipment, walking paths and the dedication of a new basketball court for kids and families from the surrounding area.

Ben Leal, George McCleskey, Jeff Rice, Floyd Jahner and Mavs Man*

Ben Leal, George McCleskey, Jeff Rice, Floyd Jahner and Mavs Man*

The court was the result of a partnership between PlainsCapital Bank and the Mavs Foundation. And while such heavy-hitting execs like PlainsCapital Bank Dallas Region Chair George McCleskey, Dallas Mavericks COO and Mavs Foundation Floyd Jahner and Jubilee Park Executive Director Ben Leal and Board Chair Jeff Rice were in shirt sleeves and sundresses, the scene stealers for the kids were PlainsCapital’s Mo the Buffalo and Mavs’ wing 22-year-old Justin Anderson.

Mo the Buffalo*

Mo the Buffalo*

While Mo leisurely just grazed on hay and was gazed upon, the Mavericks Dancers, Drumline and ManiAAcs and Mavs Man were in high gear. But towering above the rest, Justin recalled the crowd, “When it comes to outdoor court, I remember being young, and it’s almost like everything else that’s been going on that day, that week. It’s all erased, and you’re just out there and you’re just soaking up each moment. I’m so excited to be able to see the smiles on their faces once again and be able to shoot hoops with them, because I know how much as a child it meant to me of the older kids to let me shoot around and player with them.”

Justin Anderson demonstrating a free throw*

Justin Anderson demonstrating a free throw*

Following the speeches and dedication complete with plaque, Justin shot the inaugural free throws with the children from Jubilee Park followed by a mini-basketball clinic.

* Photo credit: Danny Bollinger

It’s Time To Submit Your Nominee For The 88th Linz Award

Debbie Branson (File photo)

Debbie Branson (File photo)

You know tons of people. Now you’ve got a challenge. You’ve got to go through that endless list of folks and find at least one “whose civic or humanitarian efforts have created the greatest benefits to the City of Dallas.”

The reason? It’s time to nominate the 88th Linz Awardee. The deadline for submitting your nominee(s) is Tuesday, November 1 (aka All Saints Day).

Benefiting the Community Service Fund of the Junior League of Dallas, the luncheon will be held on Wednesday, March 8, at the Omni Dallas Hotel. And you just know you’re gonna want to be there to see your nominee(s) accept their award from last year’s recipient Debbie Branson. Betcha the awardee will even do a shout-out to you for putting their name(s) in the hat.

For your convenience, here’s a link to the nomination form.

Goodwill Industries Of Dallas’ The Lunch Turned Into A Girls’ Chat Fest For W’s Chicks With Mitts Karen Hughes and Condoleezza Rice

Fall means golden leaves, weekend football games and class reunions. Okay, so The Lunch wasn’t supposed to be a “class reunion” benefiting Goodwill Industries of Dallas at the Omni Dallas Hotel. But that’s what it turned out to be.

David and Carolyn Miller

David and Carolyn Miller

With a front-row lineup of tables looking like SMU Family Weekend, the guests included Honorary Co-Chairs Carolyn and David Miller, Mike Boone, Gerald Turner, Cary Maguire, Luncheon Chair Jim Johnston and Goodwill Industries of Dallas Chairman of the Board Brooks Cullum Jr.

But the real reunion was the Bush gals. No, not Laura, Barbara I and II or Jenna. Rather, W’s daytime gal pals from his days in the White House including Harriet Miers, Karen Hughes and Condoleezza Rice.

Throughout the crowded room were smatterings of equally VIP-ish types like Caren Prothro, Nancy Halbreich, Ruth Altshuler, Gail Turner, Norm Bagwell, Laura Stockdale, Claire Emanuelson, Christie Carter, Bridget Goines, Ashley Miars, Pat McEvoy, Heather Smith, Kiley Faulkner and Elizabeth and Jack Wahlquist.

Harriett Miers

Harriett Miers

After an introduction by Harriet, featured speaker Condoleezza took her seat on stage in a chair facing Karen. At times it appeared as if the more than 700 peeps in attendance were eavesdropping on two college roommate reminiscing about the good ol’ days. The exchange was taken two different ways. One, there was a true comfort level in the conversation. Second, it seemed like it was a double bill of Karen talking as much as Condoleezza about her memories.

If anyone had expected headline-making revelations about the upcoming election,  a review of the current administration, or regrets about the Bush foreign-policy strategy, they were left hungry. Despite the softball questions lobbed by her old Crawford ranch roomie/Burson-Marsteller exec Karen, Stanford Professor Condoleezza did rise to the occasion, demonstrating her smarts, diplomacy and humor with such comments as:

Condoleezza Rice

Condoleezza Rice

  • George W. Bush’s calling the female White House staffers, who worked out with gloves, the “Chicks With Mitts.”
  • Her not-so-keen relationship with Barney. Seems upon first meeting the late Scottish Terrier in the Oval office, he ambled up in a friendly manner. She thought that was nice until she realized he was chewing on her shoe.
  • Karen’s having her over for dinner after one especially brutal week.
  • The importance of  female leadership and education. The K-12 system is in “crisis,” she said, leaving poor kids stuck in failing schools.
  • Her understanding (as a “Russianist”) of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Putin, she said, sees himself in the mold of Peter the Great and is out to re-establish Russian greatness.
  • Terrorists groups like Isis “just have to be defeated,” she concluded. Their “sexiness” or appeal needs to be degraded, while the western countries “have to have a better story than they do.”

You Did It Again: North Texas Giving Day Busts Previous Records With A Whopping $37,307,196 For 2,518 Nonprofits Thanks To 142,892 Gifts

Well, dang it! Once again Communities Foundation of TexasNorth Texas Giving Day broke all past records hauling in $37,307,196. Gee, don’t you just love the 142,892 North Texas givers who made it happen? Whether its multi-million-dollar buckeroos or the legions of $25 donors, this neighborhood shines in the world of giving.

North Texas Giving Day

North Texas Giving Day

You simply can’t even fathom the appreciation of the nonprofits for folks and organizations coming through on this legendary day.

By the way, this year’s record breaker is the very first in its eight-year history without former CFT Executive Director Brent Christopher, who announced his departure for Children’s Medical Center Foundation earlier this summer.

For a giggle, MySweetCharity contacted Brent about NTGD’s continuing its record-breaking record in the astrosphere of fundraising without him. His reply:

“The team behind North Texas Giving Day is incredible, not to mention all the participating nonprofits. But, I had no idea that I was holding everyone back all these years! This over-the-top total is nothing short of astounding. And, of course, all of us at Children’s Health are thrilled that donors to Children’s played a big part in that success, too.”

Congrats to Communities Foundation of Texas, the 2,518 nonprofits and Brent for creating one of the nation’s most remarkable fundraising accomplishments.

May the fundraising continue. But let’s let the emailboxes take a rest for a day.

North Texas Giving Day Is Underway With More Than $6M In Less Than Four Hours

At 6 a.m., did you discover that you were the most popular person in the world when your emailbox filled with “Today’s the day” type missives? Yup. You were warned. North Texas Giving Day has become the Olympics of area fundraising with nonprofits promoting their causes via all types of means — emails, TV, print media and carrier pigeons. Okay, so maybe not carrier pigeons, but you get the drift.

North Texas Giving Day*

North Texas Giving Day*

But it’s working. Within the first 3.5 hours, more than $6M has already been donated via more than 24,000 gifts.

If you want to monitor the progress of overall funding or your absolute fav organization, check the North Texas Giving Day website. You’ll also find a list of activities that are taking place throughout North Texas to promote the fun of fundraising.

And if you want to credit someone with all the hoop-la, send a note to Communities Foundation of Texas. They’re out to break another record this year. Stay tuned.

North Texas Giving Day Booster: Friends Of The Mansfield Public Library

“When Ingrid Villar decided to stay home to raise her three children, one of her girlfriends told her, ‘You’ve got to find a library. You’ll be amazed to see how many things they offer for kids.’ So Villar did, and now she wishes everyone was aware of what a gem the Mansfield Public Library is.

“’I don’t think people realize how much the library offers,’ said Ingrid, a weekly patron. ‘They think it’s just books without realizing how much there is to enrich their lives.’

“Since moving to North Texas from California about two years ago, Ingrid and her three kids – now three, five and seven – go the Mansfield Public Library nearly every Wednesday for story time and, of course, to check out books.

Friends of Mansfield Public Library*

Friends of Mansfield Public Library*

“The weekly visit has become an anticipated event in the Villar household and is a big part of Ingrid’s parenting. She loves the learning opportunities that story time provides for her children beyond reading comprehension, which is crucial in education. ‘This is all preparing them for school, so when their teacher says, “You have to listen to me,” they’ll know what to do.’

“The Villar family story underscores an important message librarians have been spreading this year –libraries change lives, whether that’s through child literacy programs, free Internet access so people can search for job opportunities, or adult art classes that foster camaraderie. Libraries are more than places to check out books.

“Earlier this year Mansfield Public Library became one of the first libraries in Texas to offer WiFi hotspots for checkout. The community institution is also establishing a Family Place Library for early childhood development, and will soon offer U.S. citizenship classes.

“To aid the hard-working staff of Mansfield’s only library, the all-volunteer nonprofit Friends of the Mansfield Public Library was established to support the library through fundraising, promotion and advocacy.

“The Friends believe in the library’s power to transform lives, which is why we raise money to purchase things that aren’t in the normal budget. This year our donations went toward many things – a one-year public performance movie license, tables and board games for family programs, supplies for new adult programs – with the biggest donation helping to fund the summer reading program, which can be one of the busiest times at the library with students on summer break.

Amanda Eyre Ward talks at the annual Mansfield Reads! program put on by the Friends of the Mansfield Library at the Evening With The Author event.

Amanda Eyre Ward talks at the annual Mansfield Reads! program put on by the Friends of the Mansfield Library at the Evening With The Author event.

“The Friends also host Mansfield Reads!, an annual award-winning program where they bring authors like Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Olen Butler and New York Times best-sellers Sandra Brown and J.A. Jance to speak to the community. With the tagline ‘One City, One Book,’ the free event fosters a sense of community through reading and public dialogue about the selected literature.

“’This is our first year to participate in North Texas Giving Day, and we are so excited,’ said Carol Ann Grantham, president of the Friends. ‘Mansfield is growing quickly, and our organization needs to keep up with the city’s development to continue to support our already fantastic library and its services.’

“By participating in Giving Day, the Friends hope to increase awareness about their group, the library’s services, and raise more money to purchase items for the library that aren’t funded by the regular budget.”

-By Lindsey Perkins Wade, Mansfield Reads! Vice President

* Photo provided by Friends of the Mansfield Public Library
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In seven years, North Texas Giving Day has pumped more than $119 million into the North Texas community. In 2015, $33 million was raised through more than 118,000 gifts benefiting over 2,000 nonprofits.

On Thursday, September 22, support Friends of the Mansfield Public Library by linking here and spreading the word. #NTxGivingDay

Change Of Plans: MySweetCharity Opportunity Series Ramps Up

MySweetCharity

MySweetCharity

Well, dang! You did it again. Way more MySweetCharity Opportunities arrived than planned. So in the final days of the annual August series, we’re going to ramp up the posts telling you about programs that provide opportunities within your hood.

Some you know but have a new development; some will be a total and delightful surprise. But all will provide you with the opportunity to make North Texas an even better place. And all would appreciate your consideration.

North Texas Giving Day Booster: Recovery First Community Development Center Inc.

Recovery First Community Development Center Inc. (RFCDC) started serving others with the motto ‘we don’t develop the community, we develop the people in the community.’

“Failure is not an option if you have the necessary resources. But the funds can only be distributed until they disappear. If you reach the end of your rope, we have the tendency to make hasty and often unhealthy decisions.

Recovery First*

Recovery First Community Development Center Inc.*

“Our domestic violence advocacy aftercare program ‘Hiding Behind The Make-up’ is designed to help survivors become and hopefully maintain an independent living status once they leave a shelter. Because of the strain on the local shelters for lack of space (Dallas Domestic Violence Taskforce Annual Report 2014-2015), we do not want the victims to fail and become homeless or return to their abuser out of desperation and no options for help.

“Our program offers, personal hygiene kits, burner phones, apartment deposits and a one-year P.O. Box rental, personal safety plans and additional counseling and case management (for up to six months). The distribution services for independent living are part one of this four part program.

Recovery First*

Recovery First*

“Educating the community with a yearly conference and/or luncheon to recognize outstanding volunteers.  Our commit to serve does not end with our program. We have outreach during the Christmas holiday with our afternoon Brown Bag lunch.  This year we received personal hygiene items from the Eta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. The ladies flooded the office with shampoo, deodorant and other items for our clients. Because of their generosity if has given us an opportunity to have a little more to offer.

Recovery First*

Recovery First*

“On North Texas Giving Day, your donations will help us maintain all of the items we offer and increase our client base when someone reaches out to our organization. It will help us to continue to educate the community with updated information and printed materials; as we keep spreading the word about the overwhelming statistics on domestic violence and how each person can help to stop this act of violence on others. Help us to help others live free from abuse and have a healthy and happy life.”

-By Deborah A. Davis, Recovery First Community Development Center Inc. Program Director/Co-Founder

* Photos provided by Recovery First Community Development Center Inc.
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In seven years, North Texas Giving Day has pumped more than $119 million into the North Texas community. In 2015, $33 million was raised through more than 118,000 gifts benefiting over 2,000 nonprofits.

On Thursday, September 22, support Recovery First Community Development Center Inc. by linking here and spreading the word. #NTxGivingDay

2016 North Texas Giving Day Booster Series Starts Tomorrow

Susan Swan Smith*

Susan Swan Smith*

“For the past seven years, our community has come together for 18 hours in September to celebrate the amazing nonprofits that fuel North Texas. North Texas Giving Day started in 2009 with 345 nonprofits. That year, the community raised an impressive $4 million. Since then, the day has grown exponentially, pumping more than $119 million into local nonprofits.

“Next month on Thursday, September 22, North Texas Giving Day is back for its eighth year with the hopes of another banner day of giving. More than 2,000 nonprofits stand to benefit this year from more than $2 million in bonus funds and prizes.

“Here at Communities Foundation of Texas, we are planning another record-breaking 18-hour Giving Day. Across the 16-county region, exciting events are being planned to celebrate and rally for participating nonprofits and their generous donors—you! Official Donation Station events, which are filled with nonprofit prizes, performances, and local entertainment, are being planned in Arlington, McKinney, Dallas, Denton, and Fort Worth. The third annual DFWChild Kids Give is also back and will take place at the Dallas Donation Station inside NorthPark Center.

North Texas Giving Day*

North Texas Giving Day*

“North Texas Giving Day is so lucky to have the generous support of donors, sponsors, and bonus funders. So far, bonus funds and prizes have been charitably donated by Arlington Tomorrow Foundation, Bank of America, Bank of Texas, Communities Foundation of Texas, The Dallas Foundation, Dallas Women’s Foundation, Hunt Consolidated’s Hunt Cares Campaign, Gene and Jerry Jones Family Arlington Youth Foundation, Meadows Foundation, The Miles Foundation, The Granville C. and Gladys H. Morton Fund at CFT, Neiman Marcus, North Texas Community Foundation, Rainwater Charitable Foundation, Rees-Jones Foundation, Sid W. Richardson Foundation, Harold Simmons Foundation and an anonymous donor.

North Texas Giving Day*

North Texas Giving Day*

“Thanks to our North Texas Giving Day blog sponsor, MySweetCharity, from now until Thursday, September 22, you can learn more about some of the effective local nonprofits participating in Giving Day. Throughout the next four weeks, MySweetCharity will be publishing guest blog posts from a handful of nonprofits representing communities throughout North Texas.

“As a reminder, donations can be made from 6 a.m. to midnight on September 22 to more than 2,000 certified nonprofits listed on www.NorthTexasGivingDay.org. Donations $25 and above will be boosted by $2 million in general bonus funds and prizes.

“Whether online or in-person at the many Donation Station events, please join me Thursday, September 22 in giving to the nonprofits that make our community one of the most philanthropic and caring communities in the nation.”

-By Susan Swan Smith, Communities Foundation of Texas North Texas Giving Day Team Lead and Chief Relationship Officer

* Graphic and photos provided by Communities Foundation of Texas
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In seven years, North Texas Giving Day has pumped more than $119 million into the North Texas community. In 2015, $33 million was raised through more than 118,000 gifts benefiting over 2,000 nonprofits.

On Thursday, September 22, support more than 2,000 North Texas nonprofits and spread the word. #NTxGivingDay

The Resource Center’s 8th Annual 5 Factor Honorees Revealed

Steve Kemble (File photo)

Steve Kemble (File photo)

The Resource Center has released the names of the five honorees, who will be celebrated at the 8th Annual 5 Factor on Friday, September 23, at 7 for Parties.

Drum roll, please. The five, “who have been valuable partners of the Center and community,” are:

  • Community — Christine Bengston of Caven Enterprises
  • Culinary — Culinaire food and beverage concepts
  • Government — Adam Medrano, Dallas City Council District 2
  • Media — Steve Kemble, radio personality and lifestyle expert
  • Philanthropy — Patti Le Plae Safe, entertainer

Tickets are $65 and can be purchased here.

MySweetCharity Opportunity: The Spirit Of Taos

According to The Spirit Of Taos Co-Chair Meridith Myers Zidell,

Meredith Zidell, Sloan Looney Dix and Stephanie Taylor (File photo)

Meredith Zidell, Sloan Looney Dix and Stephanie Taylor (File photo)

“Supporting Wilkinson Center is a family tradition in the Myers family. My Co-Chairs Sloan Looney Dix, and Stephanie Taylor and, I all grew up in Lakewood and all of our moms have been active in the Friends of Wilkinson Center for many years. They passed on their passion and commitment to the mission of providing Pathways out of Poverty. Stephanie’s mom, Missy Huber, is the current president of the Friends of Wilkinson Center and my mom, Melanie Myers, is the immediate past president of the Wilkinson Center Board of Directors. We are proud to represent the next generation of Friends and we hope to pass on the fun of voluntarism and the importance of community service to our children. We support Wilkinson Center because they serve over 10,000 individual each year by providing food, emergency services, adult education and job connections for working poor families in Dallas.

The Spirit Of Taos*

The Spirit Of Taos*

Steve Saxon and Cathy Brittingham Saxon*

Steve Saxon and Cathy Brittingham Saxon*

“The 2016 honorary co-chairs are Cathy Brittingham Saxon and Steve Saxon. Cathy (mother of Friends member Natalie Nihill) helped Missy create and chair the first Spirit of Taos in 2014. Since many of their friends escape to New Mexico each summer, they decided to channel that cool Taos vibe to entice poor Texans who were sick of the Dallas heat. The resulting laid-back celebration of fun, food, friends and music has been sold out each year to guests who were happy to trade tuxes for boots. The 2016 Spirit of Taos will be held at The Lot on Friday, October 28, at 7:00 p.m. Individual tickets can be purchased here. For sponsorships and tables, please contact Vodi Cook at 972.284.0305 or email her at [email protected]. Hope you will join us!”

* Photo and graphic provided by Wilkinson Center

La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas Luncheon Honored The 2016 Duchesses With Butterflies, Dolls And A Touch Of Mexico

With the longest legs since a giraffe convention, the 2016 La Fiesta de Las Seis Banderas duchesses gathered for a luncheon on Tuesday, June 14. Luncheon Co-Chairs Mary Van Armistead and Karen Keith knew how to pick the perfect setting for the event. They arranged to have it at Amy and Malone Mitchell’s estate along Turtle Creek.

The traditional gathering of the gals was all in preparation for the Las Fiesta de Las Seis Banderas gala just four days away. Not a split end nor a spot of cellulite was on the premises. But there were plenty of flighty types. No, not the guests. Rather the butterflies that were on the name tags and that decorated the luncheon tables from napkin rings to cupcakes.

Elizabeth Gambrell and Elizabeth Magee

Elizabeth Gambrell and Elizabeth Magee

Mary Lamar and Beth Obenchain

Mary Lamar and Beth Obenchain

And while the house was a spellbinder, as many found out, the adorable dolls on display in the great room were the main draw for young and older guests alike including La Fiesta Gala Chair Elizabeth Gambrell, Elizabeth Magee, Beth Obenchain and Mary Lamar.

Duchess dolls on display

Duchess dolls on display

Each doll wore a miniature version of the full-length gowns that the duchesses would be wearing at the ball benefiting the 2016 La Fiesta beneficiaries including CARE, Connecting Point of Park Cities, The Elisa Project, The Family Place/HPISD Be Project, Friends of the University Park Public Library, Highland Park Education Foundation, Highland Park Literary Festival, HP Arts, HPHS Community Service Council, HPHS Counseling Department and Student Council, HPHS Habitat for Humanity Campus Chapter, HPHS Science Festival, HPHS Student Emergency fund, HPHS Youth and Government and Park Cities Heritage House at Dallas Heritage Village.

Carter Pittman, Kata Massa, Lynn Wismer and Elizabeth Kraft

Carter Pittman, Kata Massa, Lynn Wismer and Elizabeth Kraft

Nancy Neuhoff and Avery Campbell

Nancy Neuhoff and Avery Campbell

Still, some of the duchesses like Avery Campbell, Nancy Neuhoff, Carter Pittman, Kata Massa, Lynn Wismer and Elizabeth Kraft, couldn’t help but wander the hallway to check out the rest of the house including the den overlooking the creek.

All too soon, the ladies were called to order and were heading to a luncheon that had a definite Mexican flavor. And why not? This year’s Gala theme is “Viva La Fiesta! — Celebrating the Splendors of Mexico.”

 

JUST IN: YMCA Of Metropolitan Dallas CEO Gordon “Gordie” Echtenkamp Announces His Retirement After 40 Years With The Y

Another job opening sign was just posted. It seems that after putting in 40 years with the YMCA, Gordon “Gordie” Echtenkamp has decided to retire. Well, not quite yet. He’ll clean out his desk as YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas CEO in 2017 after his successor has been named “allowing a smooth transition.”

According to YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas Board Chair Kelvin Walker, “Gordon Echtenkamp’s commitment to the mission and vision for the YMCA certainly has made a major impact on the lives of the children and families here in North Texas. For nearly two decades and through the economic downturn, Gordie has led our YMCA through a period of remarkable growth and community impact, with a strong focus of meeting the needs of our community through relevant programs and impeccable financial stability. Our transition plan will provide a seamless passage of his good works as we build upon the foundation of Gordie’s tenure.”

During his 16 years as Dallas YMCA CEO, “he had led two successful capital development initiatives that raised funds producing $80 million in projects addressing nearly every YMCA facility in the organization including new YMCAs opened in Plano, Frisco, East Dallas the Park Cities communities. Significant renovation of existing community Ys was also completed including the T. Boone Pickens YMCA Downtown, the J.E.R. Chilton YMCA in Rockwall, Grand Prairie YMCA along with the Park South, Moorland and Oak Cliff YMCAs and Camp Grady Spruce on Possum Kingdom Lake.”

Thanks to Gordie’s leadership, more than 300,000 children and families are served in the greater Dallas community with an operating budget of $55M. It is also “the largest provider of school-age children in North Texas serving 4,500 children daily in afterschool and camp programs.”

According to Gordie, “I am so proud to have served the YMCA movement for forty years and the last sixteen years here in Dallas. The opportunity to work not only with an incredible staff team, but also an outstanding group of committed volunteers, donors, city leaders and community partners who are all focused on strengthening the foundation of this community has been such a privilege. I am confident that the Y will continue to meet the high expectations we all have of ourselves in service to the community.”

In addition to conducting an executive search for Gordie’s replacement, a search is already underway for Dallas Y’s COO Carmelita Gallo, who is retiring this year after “a 43-year career with the YMCA.”

Anyone who wants job security might want to check with Gordie and Carmelita for their secrets for attaining tenure.