The Wilkinson Center’s Spirit of Taos Kick-Off Party Guests Shared Chuckles And Tales Of Parking Challenges At Gypsy Wagon

Henderson Avenue is such a hot spot. Whether it’s dining or shopping, it has been the place to be and be seen. And on a Thursday night, that situation ramps up the population mega times. That’s why traffic jams can turn the avenue into a parking lot at times. A parking spot is as rare as a wrinkle on a fresh face lift. Valets tend to serve as parking life guards.

Caitlin Morris Hyatt and Anne Reeder

But on Thursday, September 28, there were no parking lifeguards in sight for the Spirit of Taos kick-off party for The Wilkinson Center at Gypsy Wagon despite the invitation promising “complimentary valet parking.” But what the heck! Like war vets, guests had chuckles and tales to tell about their ability to relieve themselves of their vehicles.

Millie Winston and Anne Conner

The Wilkinson Center Executive Director Anne Reeder was surprised. She had gotten there early and parked across the street. But that parking lot with its automatic check-in was a wee bit persnickety. Karrie Cato tried to feed it a $20 bill and it wouldn’t take it. Another guest upon receiving her receipt was informed by the readout that she had checked in a 5:51 p.m. Looking at her ticker, she saw the time was actually 6:24 p.m.

Anne Conner giggled that she had indeed valeted. But it was at The Porch and she led them to believe that she was indeed dining there.

But who cared? The weather was just a step above perfection and a little stroll never hurt anyone. Once guests got inside and saw the booty for purchase that would be perfect for the Spirit of Taos fundraiser at The Lot on Friday, November 3, their parking cares were history.

Meridith Myers Zidell, Elizabeth Wivagg and Kathy Koons

Co-Chairs AC Contreras, Caitlin Morris Hyatt and Meridith Myers Zidell have arranged for Leah and Rick Margerison to serve as honorary co-chairs for The Wilkinson Center’s annual fundraiser featuring music by Blake Martin and Downtown Fever, Matt Thornton handling the emcee duties and loads of silent auction items.

And, yes, there will be valet parking at The Lot, as well as a lot of cute clothes from Gypsy Wagon.

Jubilee Park And Community Center’s 20th Anniversary Gala Patron Party Were Honored At Monica and Joe Eastin’s Preston Hollow Home

After providing education, affordable housing, public health, public safety and economic development for Jubilee Park and Community Center families in southeast Dallas for 20 years, Jubilee key supporters gathered for a cocktail party on Tuesday, September 26. The occasion was to hear about the 20th Anniversary Gala at the Omni Dallas Hotel on Saturday, November 4. Here’s a report from the field: 

Jubilee Park and Community Center with 20th Anniversary gala Co-Chairs Lydia and Bill Addy welcomed more than 100 sponsors, host committee members and supporters at a cocktail reception on Tuesday, September 26. 

Joe and Monica Eastin*

Diane Metcalf-Leggette and Taylor Miller*

Jubilee Park Commemorative 20th Anniversary bracelets**

Held at the Preston Hollow home of Monica and Joe Eastin, partygoers arrived and mingled while enjoying cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. On view was a trio of Jubilee’s 20th anniversary commemorative bracelets, designed by Dallas jewelry designer Taylor Miller. The handmade bracelets feature natural materials, including wood and chyrsoprase beads, and a custom brass “Jubilee” charm, and are available on the Jubilee Park website.

Mid-way through the evening, Jubilee Park CEO Ben Leal welcomed attendees and thanked all for their support of the upcoming 20th Anniversary Gala.  Co-chairs Lydia and Bill added their gratitude to the evening’s hosts as well as the many sponsors and host committee members in attendance.   

Lydia then announced this year’s honorary chairs would be Peggy and Mark Anschutz, who were in attendance, and recognized them as two of the founding catalysts for Jubilee Park 20 years ago. She also revealed the gala’s presenting sponsor, ISN Software Corporation, along with generous support from The Moody Foundation.  

Bill and Lydia Addy and Ben Leal*

Peggy and Mark Anschutz*

David and Maria Martin*

Bill announced the gala’s additional lead sponsors including Crow Holdings, Park Place Dealerships, Mary Stewart and Jim Ramsey and Maria and David Martin.  The support of all of the gala’s generous sponsors will enable Jubilee to launch a new Specialized Student Support (S3) Program. 

Ben Leal returned to give additional details regarding the new Specialized Student Support (S3) Program for children with special learning needs. The S3 program will combine teacher training, adaptive technology, specialized curriculum and parent empowerment to make high quality education accessible for more families.  He shared that they know of at least 150 children in Jubliee’s area who are in need of these services, and that they want to use their best practices in education, plus new specialized components, to meet that need.  He also said that the 20th Anniversary gala’s net revenue goal of $1 million will make these critical interventions accessible over the next eight years as the S3 Program becomes part of Jubilee’s ongoing Out of School Time Programs. 

Bill and Anne Johnson*

Doris Bonvino and Mary Neely*

Jim and Nancy Skochdopole*

Daniel Gerber and Elizabeth Hoffman*

Betsy Mosquera and Aline Bass*

Jeff and Darrel Rice*

In closing the Addy’s encouraged everyone including Nancy and Jim Skochdopole, Doris Bonvino, Mary Neely, Anne and Bill Johnson, Betsy Mosquera, Aline Bass, Daniel Gerber, Elizabeth Hoffman, Diane Metcalf-Leggette, Jeff and Darrel Rice, Ellen Muth, Pat and Claude Prestidge and Tiffany Davis to promote the gala on Saturday, November 4, to their friends and colleagues, including an After Party hosted by the Young Friends Host Committee beginning at 8:30 p.m. 

Ellen Muth, Pat Prestidge, Claude Prestidge and Tiffany Davis*

The 20th Anniversary Gala will be held at the Omni Dallas Hotel, starting at 6 p.m. The black-tie optional evening will include cocktails, a seated dinner, party games, dancing to live music by Dallas’ renowned Emerald City Band, party games, raffle prizes, and an oversized surprise unveiled by Jubilee’s Young Friends Host Committee members. 

Individual tickets are $250 each and now on sale; sponsorships begin at $2,500. After Party tickets are $125 and include drinks, dancing, party games and late-night bites. To purchase tickets or sponsorships, visit www.jubileecenter.org/gala or contact Lindsay Abernethy at 469.718.5702 or [email protected]

 About Jubilee Park: 

Jubilee Park and Community Center is a catalyst for community renewal and enrichment to the Jubilee Park Neighborhood, a 62- block area in southeast Dallas. Founded in 1997, Jubilee Park and Community Center helps families and other members of the community identify and access resources that help to provide stability and enhance their quality of life through five pillars: education, affordable housing, public health, public safety and economic development.   For more information, visit www.jubileecenter.org. 

* Photo credit: Michael Bruno 
** Photo provided by Jubilee Park and Community Center

Jewelry Designer Taylor Miller Has Created A Trio Of Bracelets To Benefit Jubilee Park And Community Center’s 20th Anniversary

Jubilee Park and Community Center is celebrating 20 years of providing members of a 62-block area in southeast Dallas with “education, affordable housing, public health, public safety and economic development.” And what better way to celebrate an anniversary than with jewelry and friends.

Dallas-based jewelry designer Taylor Miller of Hazen Jewelry has created three handmade bracelets made of “natural materials, including wood and chyrsophase beads and a customer brass ‘Jubilee’ charm.”  

Jubilee Park Commemorative 20th Anniversary bracelets*

According to Jubilee Park 20th Anniversary Host/Jewelry Committee Member Marilyn Harbison, “This little trio of bracelets is so versatile and stylish. Our tagline for the 20th is ‘Celebrate, Love, Dream’ and I like to think these represent each of those words. We hope people will get their holiday shopping done early, and support this great cause.”

But before heading to one of your favorite bling-bling businesses for the bracelets, put on the brakes. These little gems are going to be available for purchase at St. Michael’s Woman’s Exchange in Highland Park Village. If you’re a member of St. Michael’s, you can also purchase the bracelets every Sunday until October 29.

And if you’re worrying about using up gas, you can always order online here!

Jubilee Park Commemorative 20th Anniversary bracelets*

With 100% of proceeds benefiting “Jubilee Park’s 20th anniversary initiative to provide educational enrichment to love-income children with special learning needs,” the bracelets cost $50 each and $125 for the trio.

Jubilee Park 20th Anniversary Chair Lydia Addy said, “Jubilee’s impact over the last 20 years has been astounding to watch, and a joy to be part of. We want more people to be a part of the celebration through these custom bracelets. With each purchase, children who struggle with special learning needs will have the chance to thrive in Jubilee’s award-winning afterschool and summer program. Plus they go with everything — a win-win!”

* Photos provided by Jubilee Park and Community Center

Now Is The Time To Rise And Shine

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

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

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

(Above video courtesy of WFAA-TV)

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

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

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

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

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

MySweetCharity Opportunity: Jubilee Park And Community Center’s 20th Anniversary

According to Jubilee Park and Community Center’s 20th Anniversary Gala Co-Chairs Lydia and Bill Addy,

Ben Leal and Lydia and Bill Addy*

Jubilee Park and Community Center, a national model for community revitalization and enrichment, will celebrate its 20th anniversary this fall! 

 

To commemorate this milestone, Jubilee will host its first-ever gala on Saturday, November 4, at the Omni Hotel in Downtown Dallas. The black-tie optional evening will include cocktails, a seated dinner, party games, dancing to live music by Dallas’ renowned Emerald City Band, and an oversized surprise unveiled by Jubilee’s Young Friends Host Committee members. 

Jubilee Park is in the short list of organizations nearest and dearest to us. It’s a great example of how partnership and hard work can turn a neighborhood around, and set the standard for other organizations.  We’re excited that our kids, our friends, our friends’ kids, and a whole bunch of great people are coming together to celebrate Jubilee’s 20th anniversary. Jubilee doesn’t usually do these sorts of events, and there won’t be a 21st anniversary gala, so we’re doing this one right.

We remember signing up with other members of St. Michael and All Angels to help build the first two houses in Jubilee Park. We had no idea at the time what the future held for the Jubilee neighborhood, but we couldn’t help noticing the incredible energy, cooperation, and sense of purpose amongst the people of the neighborhood and the volunteers. This can-do spirit on the part of so many people is the reason that Jubilee Park is now a place many are proud to call home. We are honored to be a part of the 20th Anniversary celebration. We are bringing together all of the generations of volunteers and neighbors who have made Jubilee what it is today and we’re just looking forward to a fantastic party!

Proceeds from the gala will help launch a new Specialized Student Support (S3) Program for children with special learning needs. The S3 program will combine teacher training, adaptive technology, specialized curriculum and parent empowerment to make high quality education accessible for more families. The gala will raise $1.3 million to fund the first eight years of the program, building a model for other organizations around the country.

The 20th Anniversary Gala will be held on Saturday, November 4, at 6 p.m. at the Omni Dallas Hotel, located at 555 S. Lamar in Downtown Dallas. Tickets are $250 each; sponsorships begin at $2,500. For more information, visit www.jubileecenter.org or contact Lindsay Abernethy at 469.718.5702 or [email protected].

Jubilee Park and Community Center is a catalyst for community renewal and enrichment to the Jubilee Park Neighborhood, a 62-block area in southeast Dallas. Founded in 1997, Jubilee Park and Community Center helps families and other members of the community identify and access resources that help to provide stability and enhance their quality of life through five pillars: education, affordable housing, public health, public safety and economic development.   For more information, visit www.jubileecenter.org.

* Photo provided by Jubilee Park and Community Center

An Unfortunate MySweetCharity Opportunity: Hurricane Harvey

MySweetCharity

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

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

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

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

The Weather Played Nice For La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas’ “Under The Stars” To Be Out In The Open At Gwen And Doug Parker’s Casa

Rebecca Gregory, Gwen Parker and Nancy Monning

When La Fiesta de Las Seis Banderas organizers woke up to raindrops on their roofs, lightning in the air and thunder overhead, it didn’t bode well for their “Under The Stars” event on Friday, June 9. Sure, Gwen and Doug Parker’s 12,000-square-foot Park Cities home could handle the expected 300 Duchesses, escorts, parents, and underwriters. But they had so hoped for a true night under the stars.

Megan Saustad and Pam Stegenga

Evidently, the evening’s Co-Chairs Megan Saustad and Pam Stegenga had pull. By early afternoon, not only had the stormy weather gone elsewhere, but the temperatures became so downright friendly that one gal with bare shoulders thought out loud, “It might get chilly.”

As event photographer James French snapped photos out front, the highlights inside the home and in the backyard were:

  • The Parkers’ turf ground-covering validated Gwen’s decision to have it installed, instead of the need-be-mowed green stuff. Despite the rains earlier in the day, the big backyard with tables and chairs was dry and stiletto-friendly.
  • A string trio—two violins and a cello—were playing softly in the entryway.

    Ben Smith, Elizabeth Cooper, Clare Obenchain and Grayson Borrego

  • Elizabeth Cooper and Clare Obenchain admitted that their so-perfect tans were the real thing and not the spray-on variety.
  • Harrison Buford, Anna Buford, Claire Green and Robert Farrow

    In taking an accounting of high school roots, Robert Farrow was from Cambridge School, Anna Buford was a Hockadaisie and Harrison Buford and Claire Green were Highland Park Scots.

    Sonoma chicken salad croissants

  • The food on the dining-room table reflected the French theme, thanks to Sonoma chicken salad croissants, macaronis au fromage, steak au poivre crostini and spinach and mushroom quiche.
  • Doug Parker, who’s chairman and CEO of American Airlines Group, didn’t make it. He was out of town on business. Boo-hooed one attendee: “I’m sad Doug’s not gonna be here!” Parker’s presence was still felt, though: on the fireplace mantel in one cozy, white-plaster-walled room, there was a black-and-white plaque that read, “Behind Every Good Kid Is A Great Dad.”
  • Gwen Parker, looking around the house, said they were almost empty-nesters. Despite son Luke Parker in from New York University to be a La Fiesta escort and son Jackson Parker in from Nashville to watch his brother, the Parker household was down to daughter, Eliza Parker, still living in the nest while attending Hockaday.
  • Also in keeping with La Fiesta’s French theme, the servers wore red neckerchiefs and berets.

It was an early evening, though, because the big gala at The Fairmont was the next night, and a crowd of 900—believed to be the biggest ever—was expected to show up. Funds from the summer extravaganza will benefit C.A.R.E., Connecting Points of Park Cities, The Elisa Project, The Family Place, Friends of University Park 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/Moody Family YMCA and Park Cities Heritage House at Dallas Heritage Village.

Fifth Annual Can Do! Luncheon Brought Out Stories From All Walks Of Life For The Wilkinson Center Fundraiser

The Fifth Annual Can Do! Luncheon not only ran on time, it sliced off ten minutes with guests scurrying on their way to the valet ten minutes earlier than planned at the Dallas County Club on Tuesday, May 9.

It was a sell-out crowd for The Wilkinson Center fundraiser and it was a heady crowd, thanks to Co-Honorees Ashlee and Chris Kleinert, The Real Estate Council and Wilkinson Center supporters.

Regina Montoya

Craig Innes

Sara Martineau and Nelda Cain Pickens

In the crowd filling the DCC ballroom were Nancy Ann Hunt, Carolyn and David Miller, Ros Dawson Thompson, Gail and Gerald Turner, Angie Kadesky, Marsha and Craig Innes, Kristi Francis, Ellen McStay, Pam Perella, Tucker Enthoven, Stacey Walker, Cheryl Joyner, Suzy Gekiere, Leslie Diers and Sara Albert with their mom Cynthia Melnick, Jan Langbein, Sara Martineau, Nelda Cain Pickens, Regina Montoya, Jeanne Marie Clossey and Jennifer Swift.

Ros Dawson Thompson and Nancy Ann Hunt

Jennifer Swift

Marsha Innes

In keeping with other fundraisers, there was emphasis placed on text messaging donations. Whether it was Event Chair Beth Thoele or stand-up signage on tables, the message was strong to text. The problem with the text donating is that while the younger members of the audience know how to donate via their cellphones, the older crowd and the ones with the most ka-ching shied away from the idea.

Luckily, the Wilkinson message was delivered thanks to The Wilkinson Center Executive Director Anne Reeder with testimony from Bank of America’s Maria Padilla, who told of her coming to the U.S. when she was 9 years old with her mother and siblings. The purpose was to get an education. She recalled the days when she had to translate for her mother and go to McDonald’s and eat while her mother didn’t, because there just wasn’t enough money. Today her brother is an architect, her sister is a teacher and Maria has not only graduated from college but has earned a saster’s degree from SMU.

Robin Minick and Kelcey Hamilton

Following a video, the first award of the day was presented to The Real Estate Council. In accepted the award, TREC VP and Foundation Director Robin Minick spoke briefly about the similarities between The Wilkinson Center and TREC, which share a mission “to improve the lives of the people of Dallas.”

Next up were the Kleinerts. Chris started off admitting that he had been impressed by the Can Do containers with flowers on the table near the stage and had told their son to grab one after the lunch, so they could give it to Ashlee for upcoming Mother’s Day. Oops! He hadn’t realized that the containers were the awards.

Then he pointed out that the spirit of the Can Do Luncheon is about encouraging entrepreneurship and used as an example a recent news story about a youngster in Rockwall. It seems 7-year-old Kaden Newton had recognized the fact that many food pantries were in short supply when it came to healthy and kid-friendly food. So he created a program for Mac and Cheese and Pancakes to meet that need. Within the first two weeks, he had raised more than 10,000 items.

Ashlee and Chris Kleinert, Beth Thoele, Anne Reeder and Monique Weber

The Wilkinson Center’s Monique Weber also received a standing ovation for her story of surviving heart-rending challenges. She told how she had lost her son to a murder in Chicago and moved to Dallas, only to find herself homeless. She turned to Wilkinson Center’s Food Pantry, where she found a family of support in its staff. They not only provided food but also helped her earn her diploma and receive a scholarship to attend a community college, where she is training to become a surgical technician.

You Only Need This Information Once To Save Your Life

As Kevin Hurst described earlier today, Mother Nature doesn’t discriminate. No matter how skinny, rich or what zip code one claims, she feels free to unload with her tornadoes, straight-line winds, hail and locusts (okay, so the locusts may not be part of the mix). That’s why during certain parts of the year, especially spring and fall, she really slams the North Texas area with zeal.

For this reason, it’s imperative to have a “WhIP“ (What If Plan). Have you got a place to hunker down? Do you know just what you need to have in your hunker-down sweet spot?

What’s that? It only hits trailer parks and places that you’ve never heard of? Oh, please! Forget that. You’re demanding an example? Okay, you’ve got it. 

Gloria Eulich Martindale (File photo)

Just ask Gloria Eulich Martindale, who is smart, gorgeous and a roll-up-your sleeves fundraiser, as well as being a lady who knows firsthand. She was at her farmhouse on Saturday, April 29, when Mother Nature unloaded. The house was wiped out and Gloria and her family were lucky enough to have a basement that had been used “to store stuff” to hunker down.

Or, if you think it only takes place in the rural areas, hit the “Rethink” button. It was just a couple of years ago that the elegant Turtle Creek area got slam-bammed by a Ma Nature temper tantrum with a sledgehammer toppling trees and devastating the area.

If schools and commercial buildings have fire drills, think about holding your own. Here are some things to check:

  • Do you have people who will check on you if they don’t hear from you following a weather sweep?
  • If you have a VIP documents (i.e. insurance, birth certificates, passports, etc.) and a home computer, should they be part of your escape plan?
  • Have you had a dress rehearsal?
  • Do you have an app that will alert you of threatening weather in your area? If not, check with the local media. They’re free and more than willing to alert you. Despite Arianna Huffington‘s suggestion at the recent Genesis Luncheon of not sleeping with your cellphone on your bed stand, do it. If Arianna complains, tell her to check with us. There’s a time and place for everything.
  • What about the elderly? If you have a “vintage” member of your circle, have you checked on their game plan? They may pat you on the head and tell you not to worry. Don’t fall for it. Nicely demand that they show you where they would go and how to contact them, just in case.
  • What about your critters? How will you handle them in such a crisis? Having them micro-chipped can be a life saver. 

Tonight may result in another “Duh” occasion, but why not use it as an opportunity to do that drill and to let each in your household take responsibility, if a weather or whatever crisis should arise?

Kevin Hurst Provides A Firsthand Look On How North Texans Are Pulling Together Following Recent Tornadic Devastation And How To Help

With spring weather sporadically tearing up families and homes, its devastation only provides a rallying point for both friends and strangers to help the healing process. Following the recent onslaught of tornadic activities on Saturday, April 29, Neiman Marcus Director of Charitable Giving and Associate Volunteerism Kevin Hurst was able to see firsthand the ruination and the coming together. He has kindly shared his experience in the following report with photos:

Kevin Hurst (File photo)

If you have not personally been affected by a man-made or natural disaster, then you most likely have not seen first-hand what the destruction really looks like. The one-dimensional electronic images on TV, online, and print do not accurately portray the three-dimensional devastation.

As the director of charitable giving, and the steward of Neiman Marcus associate’s donations to the Neiman Marcus Disaster Relief Fund, I was recently invited to take a tour and witness the catastrophic damage that Canton and the surrounding communities suffered when four separate tornadoes moved through the area on Saturday, April 29. On May 4, I joined the American Red Cross and other corporate supporters for a 60-mile journey just east of Dallas.

During the drive, we heard all of the facts and figures:

  • four tornadoes, one of which was an F4 (the second highest type),
  • one tornado stayed on the ground for 51 miles, which is completely rare
  • 7,019 meals served to affected families and volunteers
  • 2,910 comfort and clean up kits distributed
  • The speed at which two emergency shelters had been set up
  • 100 homes destroyed or uninhabitable

The facts and figures are just that…facts and figures.  

On the day of our tour, the sky was a vibrant blue and not a cloud in sight…there was even a slight breeze to keep things cool. Just the day before, the area had once again been under a severe storm watch with the possibility of hail. In fact, we were told to wear thick sole shoes and long sleeve shirts. In addition to the storm damage, the demolition of homes had already begun causing insulation particles to float in the air. I recall seeing one house being torn down as we drove down a rural road and thought about the juxtaposition of the destruction with the glistening elements in the air.  It almost seemed like snowflakes floating to the ground.

We had been coached that we should not ask too many questions. Each person would be at a different place in the grieving process. It was best to let them talk as little or as much as they wanted and we should simply say “I am sorry for what you are going through.”

It wasn’t until we started delivering water to those families that reality set in. I think it is safe to say that our demeanors changed from that of an outsider looking in, to one who was now able to truly empathize with those affected.

Our first stop was at a trailer home. We were greeted by a 60-something year old gentleman, “Mark,” seated in a lawn chair in the middle of his yard. He was having lunch which consisted of a hamburger, bagged chips, and a bottle of water; all of which were provided by the local church that had set up grills to help feed their neighbors. Mark’s 86-year old mother, sister, and a young child were all home when the storm hit. They huddled together in an interior room. When it was over, the entire mobile home had been lifted eight inches and moved one foot from its original foundation. The branch of a large tree fell directly into the middle of the home, most likely preventing it from being completely blown away. Needless to say, their home is uninhabitable. The irony is that most of their personal possessions like photographs and keepsakes were all intact.

As I snapped these photographs, I again thought about the juxtaposition of the scene…the tattered American and Texas flags proudly displayed and waving against a backdrop of ruins.

Blue tarp covers the hole left from the tree branch*

To compound the tragedy, Mark’s brother was visiting in a travel camper and was inside of it with his dog. The tornado picked it up, slammed it on its side, and peeled the roof off extracting all of the contents. Thankfully the two walked away with minor cuts and bruises. The door of the travel camper was located wrapped around a tree.  

Campers on its side*

Inside camper with roof peeled off and door of camper wrapped around tree*

As we were visiting, a retired veteran and neighbor, “Bob,” came to talk to us. At first glance, his house directly across the street appeared to be unscathed, however that was not the case. He shared that the entire roof pulsated up and down during the storm loosening ceiling joists and cracking walls. As a trained storm spotter, he knew exactly what to do in the case of a storm and was prepared with a back-up generator, thus allowing him to continue living in his home. Being trained doesn’t necessarily mean that you are exempt.  

Bob has a cell phone tower on his land. When the company came out to inspect it, the technician climbed about ten to fifteen stories to the top. He reported that he could actually see the trench of destruction in the ground and where the tornado made a 90 degree turn to his neighbor’s mobile home.

I mentioned that our Red Cross guide said people would be at different stages of grieving. For both Mark and Bob they were grateful. Grateful not only that they were alive, but they still had some place to call home. I have to say how “impressed” (if that is even the appropriate word) I was with Mark. He was completely open and seemed almost anxious to share his story. We were told that people find it therapeutic to talk about the event.  He invited us to walk around his property and take pictures. I almost felt like it was a badge of honor for him…perhaps if only because his family was safe. As for Bob, and I suspect because of his storm training, he had a different perspective. He actually said he was “happy” it happened. He explained that this storm actually brought his community together; neighbor helping neighbor.

Showroom buildings (left) new and (right) old*

Damaged vehicles*

Our next stop was a Dodge dealership which took a direct hit. The dealership had just completed construction on the new showroom building on Friday. They were in the process of moving everything over from the small, outdated showroom building across the parking lot when the tornado hit on Saturday. Literally, every vehicle sustained damage. Some vehicles were thrown over 200 yards into an adjacent pasture. All that was left of the new building was the steel frame and the old building was completely flattened. A neighboring house across the pasture took a direct hit. Rather than flattening it, the tornado went right through the middle leaving a gaping path with both sides still standing.

In part, this visit was organized by the American Red Cross to demonstrate their quick response and the programs and services provided in a time of crisis. In reality, it demonstrated so much more. It demonstrated the force of nature. It demonstrated the gratitude and compassion of individuals. It demonstrated the resiliency of a community. For me, it validated our decision to become a National Disaster Partner with the American Red Cross. I mentioned earlier that I act as a steward of our associate’s donations to the Neiman Marcus Disaster Relief fund. This support allows the Red Cross to be ready within hours to activate the volunteer network and provide food, water, shelter, products, and other services that would help those affected start to recover from this life-changing event.

Amaryllis*

One final juxtaposition and photo. Amid the piles of debris at Mark’s home, I saw this Amaryllis flower.  It was seemingly untouched by the winds and flying materials.

The genus name Amaryllis comes from the Greek word “amarysso,” which means “to sparkle.” In Greek mythology, it was the name of a shepherdess who shed her own blood to prove her true love, and in so doing inspired the naming of this flower.

Similar to the flying insulation particles that glistened in the sunlight, this Amaryllis equally sparkled. We can only hope that much like Greek mythology, this lone flower will act as a shepherd of hope for the community and shed pollen to spawn new life.

* Photo credit: Kevin Hurst

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.”