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

Dirk and Jessica Nowitzki

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

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

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

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

Sydney Hoyl and Kristi Hoyl

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

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

Simone Biles and Ron Biles

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

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

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

Pam Busbee

Tracy Rathbun

Stacey Walker and Bryan Dunagan

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

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

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

Allicia Graham Frye and Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones

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

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

Simone Biles

Still, Simone did not disappoint with such revelations:

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

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

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

Business Council For The Arts Is Calling All Art Heroes For Obelisk Awards

Each year the Business Council for the Arts presents its Obelisk Awards at a luncheon to “honor businesses, business leaders, arts/cultural leaders and nonprofit organizations who have significantly advanced arts and culture in North Texas.”

Event Co-Chairs Thai-lan Tran and Steven Roth have just announced that nominations are now open.

Exactly what does it take to be a nominee? Here’s a breakdown of the requirements for your consideration:

For Businesses:

  • The New Initiatives Award recognizes businesses for supporting an innovative arts/cultural program created within the past three years. Awards are given to one large, medium and small business each.
  • The Arts Partnerships Award recognizes businesses that have provided sustained support to an arts/cultural organization for three or more years. Awards are given to one large, medium and small business each. A business may only win the Arts Partnership Award once every two years.
  • The Arts Education Award recognizes one outstanding business for its support of arts education programs.

For Individual Business Leaders:

  • The Business Champion for the Arts Award recognizes long-term leadership and commitment to arts/culture by a business executive (president, CEO, partner).
  • The Outstanding Leadership Arts Alumnus Award recognizes outstanding board leadership and commitment by a graduate of the Leadership Arts Institute.

For Individual Arts/Cultural Leaders:

  • The Visionary Nonprofit Arts Leader Award recognizes an arts leader who has consistently demonstrated vision, impact, innovation, and successful alignment with business and community partners throughout their tenure.

For Nonprofit Arts/Cultural Organizations:

  • The Distinguished Cultural Organization Award is given by Neiman Marcus to recognize one outstanding nonprofit organization for a project or program that has enhanced the community through partnership with a business.

Larry Glasgow (File photo)

According to BCA Board of Directors Chair Larry Glasgow, “For more than a quarter century, the Obelisk Awards have been the symbol of excellence recognizing support of the arts in our community.  Past recipients include visionaries who represent diverse industries, each one making a unique contribution to our cultural vibrancy and quality of life. With the exponential growth of the arts in North Texas, we believe that this year’s nominations will include long-time arts supporters as well as the new and innovative.”

The awardees will be celebrated at the 29th annual Obelisk Awards luncheon at Belo Mansion on Wednesday, November 15.

The deadline for nomination submissions is Wednesday, June 21. That’s less than a month away, so put on those thinking caps and make the world know about an art hero.  Here’s a link for the nomination form.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2017 Chick Lit Luncheon

Nancy Rogers and Bethenny Frankel

After waiting for what seemed like eons, reality TV and Chick Lit fans gathered at the Hilton Anatole on Thursday, April 20, to hear from that lightning rod personality/author/business woman Bethenny Frankel.

Mary Martha Pickens, Mary Ella Bitzer and Tricia George

From the Cristal served at the VIP pre-luncheon meet-and-greet to the chatter during the presentation of the Community Partners of Dallas’ 2017 Partners for Children Award, the CPD fundraiser ran the gamut from class to crass. And then there were a couple of Bethenny comments that earned giggles and grumbles.

While this post is being finalized, check out the MySweetCharity Photo Gallery for the peeps who were part of one of the most talked-about luncheons this season.

Awardee Kern Wildenthal Highlights A ‘Perfect’ Callier Cares Luncheon At The Dallas Country Club

Even before the doors opened to the Dallas Country Club ballroom, the Callier Cares Luncheon VIP reception filled the Founders Room on Thursday, April 20. Luncheon Chair Emilynn Wilson was with husband Claude Wilson and Ruth and Ken Altshuler Callier Care Awardee Dr. Kern Wildenthal and all smiles over the sold-out Callier Care Fund fundraiser.

Kern Wildenthall, Emilynn and Claude Wilson

In another part of the room, Beth Layton was sporting a new haircut and talking with Chick Lit Co-Chair Tricia George.

Beth Layton and Tricia George

Barbara and John Stuart

Dee Wyly and Jill Rowlett

Marnie Wildenthal and Cyndi Bassel

Others in the crowd were Callier Center Foundation Chair John Stuart and his wife Barbara Stuart, Callier Center for Communications Disorders Executive Director Dr. Tom Campbell, Dan Branch, Angie Kadesky, Brent Christopher, Heidi Cannella, Lindalyn Adams, Dee Wyly, Jill Rowlett, Dee Collins and Kern’s wife Marnie Wildenthal and longtime assistant Cyndi Bassel.

Callier Cares Luncheon table

When the doors did open to the ballroom, it was pretty obvious that Emilynn had definitely filled the room to capacity. It was surprising that she didn’t try to put a table on the stage.

As guests like Keith Cerny, Caren Prothro,  Dr. Hobson Wildenthal, Lynn McBee, and Dr. Lynn Markle made their way into the room for lunch—Southwest Roasted Chicken Chop Salad and Chocolate Caramel Cake were on the menu—Tom welcomed everyone and kicked off the program. The annual Callier Prize in Communication Disorders Award, it was announced right off the bat, would go to Dr. Sharon G. Kujawa, an associate professor of otology and laryngology at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Kujawa graciously accepted the award, which came for her groundbreaking work that has instigated a paradigm shift in the way researchers and health workers think about noise-induced and age-related hearing loss and inner ear injury. She gave way to luncheon Chair Emilynn and then to Stuart Bumpas and Dr. Ken Altshuler, who presented the annual Ruth and Ken Altshuler Callier Care Award to Kern.

During his many years as president of UT Southwestern Medical Center, Kern had helped nourish a relationship between UT Southwestern and the Callier Center that resulted in the Callier Child Development Program, the Cochlear Implant Program, and a joint program to evaluate and treat children with autism.

“I couldn’t have been more pleased, knowing that Emilynn Wilson would chair this event, because I knew it would be perfect in all regards,” Kern told the guests. “Callier is an organization I heard about many years ago. It epitomizes the best of what all academic institutions try to do … and it does so in an impeccable manner, and in collaboration with other institutions.

“For four decades I’ve wanted to add Ken and Ruth Altshuler’s name to my name,” Kern concluded with a smile. “And, now I can!”

Then, following an informative video and just before keynote speaker Richard Neely was to deliver his remarks, the podium microphone went dead for some reason. That gave Richard—an emeritus trustee of the Callier foundation and a profoundly deaf person who has cochlear implants—the perfect opening to begin his talk. “When the mic went out, I thought, to the people who could hear: welcome to my world!” Richard joked.

The former CFO for a local real estate investment company and a former SMU football star, Richard recounted his struggles with hearing loss and, ultimately, how he overcame them—with no small thanks to the cochlear implants. After he got his “first one in 2008,” he laughed, he complained to his wife that “she was crinkling the newspaper!” 

According to Emilynn, the 2017 luncheon will provide a whopping $278,450 for the Callier Center for Communication Disorder’s Callier Care Fund at the University of Texas at Dallas. 2018 Luncheon Chair Beth Thoele was already making plans for her effort to help “ensure that resources are available for patients and families” in need of financial assistance for speech, language and hearing disorders..

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

Building Bridges

Tony Romo autographed football

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

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

Marissa Leach and Dan Bailey*

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

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

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

David Brown*

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

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

David Brown*

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* Photos provided by Just Say Yes

 

La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas Luncheon Honors The Mothers Of 2017 Duchesses And Escorts And Reveals 2018 Co-Chairs

Kathy Sockwell and Pauline Neuhoff

If you didn’t have a 20-ish type son or daughter, the gathering at Belo Mansion on Wednesday, April 19, sure made you wish you did. At noon nearly 400 gals gathered for the La Fiesta de Las Seis Banderas luncheon honoring the mothers of the 2017 duchesses and escorts.  

Luncheon Co-chairs Pauline Neuhoff and Kathy Sockwell had the entry hall decked with gowns of past duchesses like Camille Adele Humphrey (2014), Amelia Bryan Crank (2011) and Madison Zoe Brittingham (2012).

Amelia Bryan Crank gown (2011)

Madison Zoe Brittingham gown (2012)

Camille Adele Humphrey gown (2014)

In the hallway, the annual preview miniature display of the 2017 duchesses’ gowns was a true stop-gape-and-check-out-the-next.

2017 mini-duchesses

Rebecca Gregory and Nancy Monning

La Fiesta Co-Chairs Rebecca Gregory and Nancy Monning, donning the Las Fiesta necklaces, admitted that they were thrilled about not just the year’s French theme but also about plans for 2018.

Little did the girls know that following the formal introductions of the moms and performance by the Highland Park High School Choir, the 2018 co-chairs would be announced — Anne Besser and Elizabeth Gambrell.

But 2018’s still months away. In less than three months, more than 40 duchesses will be presented at the Omni Dallas. Comme c’est sucré.

Aware Affair Had Guests From Near And Far, Oldtimers and Newcomers Raising Funds To Combat Alzheimer’s

Bob and Myrna Schlegel

While the Yellow Rose Gala was under way across Stemmons Freeway for Multiple Sclerosis, and the No Tie Dinner and Dessert was raising funds for AIDs Services of Dallas at the Frontiers of Flight Museum, Aware’s “Aware Affair” was filling the Atrium lobby of the Anatole with about 300 guests on Saturday, April 8.

Sandi and Jim Treliving and Amy and Greg Osler

As Aware vets like Kay and Jim Hammond checked out the silent auction items, honorees Myrna and Bob Schlegel were thrilled to have fellow Canadians Sandi and Jim Treliving on hand. Jim, who owns the Boston Pizza company, has also been a regular for 12 years on the CBC-TV show “Dragon’s Den,” which is the Canadian counterpart of ABC-TV’s “Shark Tank.”

Penny Reid and Thomas Nolan, Ron Corning, Venise Stuart, Angela Fontana and Andre Szuwalski

Aware President Venise Stuart, decked out in a Patti Flowers ensemble, hardly made it past the check-in as she greeted guests like Dolores and Larry Barzune, Dee Holley, Debra Nelson, Harriet Kelly Gibbe, Misty Keown, Jolie and Bart Humphrey, Honorary Co-Chairs Amy and Greg Osler, Chairs Penny Reid and Thomas Nolan and Angela Fontana and Andre Szuwalski, the Center for BrainHealth’s Sandi Chapman, and Kimber Hartmann with husband Michael Hartmann.

Kimber and Michael Hartmann

Dolores and Larry Barzune

Justin Hinton, Shane Allen and Ron Corning

Master of Ceremonies WFAA’s Ron Corning arrived with graying Eye Opener’s Shane Allen and Asheville, North Carolina, TV reporter Justin Hinton. Ron reported having had a full day, as only a few hours earlier he’d been emceeing the Ennis Bluebonnet Trails Festival in Ennis.

Debbie Oates, Christie Carter and Sandi Chapman

Pam and Dan Busbee

In another part of the lobby, honorees Pam and Dan Busbee greeted guests with Christie Carter, Debbie Oates, Gregory Dunbar and Terry Van Willson, as they entered the Stemmons Ballroom for dinner, a live auction and dancing to the Georgia Bridgewater Orchestra.

Thanks to funds raised from the dinner as well as the live and silent auctions, checks will be handed over to the Center for BrainHealth at UT Dallas, Juliette Fowler Communities, NorthPark Presbyterian Church, Presbyterian Communities and Services Foundation, The Senior Source, Texas Winds Musical Outreach, and The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

For more photos, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Grovel Alert: Genesis Annual Luncheon

Bianca Jackson (File photo)

As the May countdown for fundraising gets underway before the area is evacuated for the summer, the Genesis Annual Luncheon is leading the pack with its Monday, May 15th fundraiser at the Hilton Anatole.

According to Genesis Women’s Shelter And Support Senior Director of Fun and Community Development Bianca Jackson, the event with keynoter Arianna Huffington and the Junior League of Dallas and David Brown being honored with the Jane Doe and HeROs awards, respectively, tickets are getting as scarce as eight-track tapes.

But don’t hesitate and don’t let your stingy factor rule. Patron level not earns a nifty seat at the luncheon and an invite to the pre-luncheon meet-and-greet, but it also includes a super patron party at a very cool mansion.

Check here for ticket availability, but make it quick!

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

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

Joyce Rosenfield and Mark Berg*

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Casey Gerald*

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

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

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

* Photo credit: Kristina Bowman

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.

SOLD OUT ALERT: Callier Cares Luncheon

Emilynn Wilson (File photo)

Lisa Troutt (File photo)

Kern Wildenthal (File photo)

Well, Emilynn Wilson has gone and done it. She said she would hit the “Sold Out” mark for Thursday’s Callier Cares Luncheon at the Dallas Country Club, and word just arrived that the ballroom is filled.

But then how could she lose with Lisa Troutt as her honorary chair, Dr. Kern Wildenthal receiving the Ruth and Ken Altshuler Callier Care Award, and noted audiology researcher Dr. Sharon Kujawa being presented with the 2017 Callier Prize?

Proceeds from the luncheon will benefit the patients in need through the Callier Care Fund at the University of Texas at Dallas’ Callier Center for Communication Disorders.

JUST IN: KidneyTexas Inc.’s Runway Report Co-Chairs Plan “Transforming Lives” With Tootsies Fashions, Awards And Much More

KidneyTexas Inc.’s 2017 Runway Report Co-Chairs Christine Martin and Susan Russell have announced plans for the Tuesday, September 26, fashion show at Brook Hollow Golf Club with Linda and Steve Ivy serving as honorary co-chairs.

Linda and Steve Ivy (File photo)

This year’s theme which will be “Transforming Lives” was revealed in the logo designed by Lynn Townsend Dealey.

The Runway Report’s “Transforming Lives”

The theme was especially poignant for KidneyTexas Inc. President Andrea Alcorn, whose mother is “one of the oldest kidney transplant recipients.”

Longtime supporter Sue Goodnight will receive the First Annual Lifetime Achievement Award and Natalie Taylor will be presented with the Sue Goodnight Award.

The Over the Top Awards will be presented to Tootsies’ Dustin Holcomb and Nerissa von Helpenstill and Dee Lincoln.

The Tootsies’ team will be providing the fashions with the show being produced by flaming-haired Jan Strimple.

In addition to a tea in October featuring Royal Chef Darren McGrady, there will be an event in November honoring Men of Kidney.

The 2017 beneficiaries are scheduled to receive the following amounts:

  • Parkland Foundation — $30,500 for a kidney dialysis unit,
  • Baylor Health Care Foundation — $30,000 for a five-year study of kidney transplants, 
  • UT Southwestern Medical Center — $29,925 for kidney-related research,
  • Children’s Medical Center Foundation — $20,500 for hemodialysis and blood pressure machines,
  • Camp Reynal — $19,500 and
  • Texas Health Resources Foundation —$14,214 for a hemodialysis machine.

Information about tickets and underwriting opportunities can be found here!

* Graphic provided by KidneyTexas Inc.

JUST IN: Dallas CASA’s Cherish The Children Luncheon Nets $170,000

What a perfectly wonderful way to kick off Easter weekend. The Dallas CASA bean counters have been adding and subtracting the numbers from the Cherish the Children Luncheon held on Wednesday, April 5, at The Fairmont.

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

In addition to ticket sales, sponsorships and the auctioning of children’s furniture, Luncheon Chair Shonn Brown arranged for keynote speaker Casey Gerald and the National Council of Jewish Women receiving the First Caroline Rose Hunt Cherish the Children Award. The results was a gangbuster $170,000 netted for the nonprofit that “trains and supervises volunteers to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected Dallas County children living in protective care.”

According to Dallas CASA Board Member Mark Berg, who mother was a member of NCJW and one of Dallas CASA’s founders, ““CASA is about a group of mothers who could not stand to see children mistreated. Dallas CASA is now within reach of achieving what was unthinkable a few years ago – serving every child in need. We’ve all stood on the shoulders of those dedicated mothers.”

* Photo credit: Kristina Bowman

Grovel Alert: Callier Cares Luncheon

With the Callier Cares Luncheon still 10 days away, Event Chair Emilynn Wilson and Honorary Chair Lisa Troutt report that the tickets are nearly gone with the wind. They’ve nearly filled the entire Dallas Country Club’s ballroom thanks to having the Ruth and Ken Altshuler Callier Care Award being presented to Dr. Kern Wildenthal and the Callier Prize in Communication Disorders awarded to Dr. Sharon Kujawa.

Emilynn Wilson (File photo)

Lisa Troutt (File photo)

While Kern is well known for his leadership in healthcare administration, clinical medicine, education, biomedical research and philanthropy, Sharon may not be a familiar name. That’s because she’s not a local. She’s the director of audiology research and a senior scientist at the Eaton-Peabody Laboratories at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston. Her focus is “to clarify mechanisms and manifestations of common forms of acquired sensorineural hearing loss in humans; particularly, those due to aging and exposure to noise and ototoxic drugs.”

In addition to receiving the Prize at the Thursday, April 20th luncheon, she’ll be the keynote speaker at the Callier Prize Conference at Callier Dallas the following day.

Proceeds from the luncheon will benefit the Callier Care Fund that was created by Ruth and Ken Altshuler to “help children and adults who would otherwise be unable to afford treatment to overcome speech, language and hearing disorders.”

Suggestion: Don’t put off buying that ticket much longer, because it just not be there.

Amid A Ballroom Of Orange, 2017 Linz Awardee Lyda Hill Graciously Accepted The Accolades And Inspired All Present To Get Involved

With the predictions of a major event collision, the Omni Dallas was ground zero on Wednesday, March 8. Perhaps it was to squeeze in one more fundraiser before North Texas emptied out for spring break. Or maybe it was just the “oops” ingredient for the fundraising recipe.

The problem was the schedule of two behemoth events for lunch — the Planned Parenthood fundraiser with Marcia Clark and the 88th Linz Award Luncheon on the same day. 

In the meantime, the Virginia Chandler Dykes Leadership Award Lunch fundraiser was across town at the Belo.

But the gods of planning smiled on the scheduling. Thanks to the Junior League of Dallas commandos, they had scheduled everything down to the second not to collide with the Planned Parenthooders.

Timing was imperative.

From the left: Tom Dunning, Ron Steinhart, Ruth Altshuler, Sheila Grant, John Scovell, Lyda Hill, Dolores Barzune, Walt Humann, Lindalyn Adams, Jody Grant, Debbie Branson, Forrest Hoglund, Bob Thornton and Bill Solomon

The Linz group’s past awardees (Lindalyn Adams, Bill SolomonSheila and Jody Grant, Debbie Branson, Ruth Altshuler, Forrest Hoglund, John Scovell, Ron Steinhart, Tom Dunning, Dolores Barzune, Bob Thornton and Walt Humann) gathered in a side room for a photo with the 2017 Linz Awardee Lyda Hill with the Dallas skyline in the background by 11:10. Then they were led to the VIP Reception outside the Trinity Ballroom.

With the timing of a prima ballerina, the Linz group was cloistered in the Trinity’s reception area just as the Planned Parenthood guests arrived for check-in at the Dallas Ballroom’s lobby.

In the meantime, men and women in blue stood watch. One Linzer wonder why all the security. It wasn’t because of the Linz Award. Rather, the recent protests at the Fort Worth Planned Parenthood had put the local first responders on alert.

When Lyda was complimented about how great she looked, the lady responded, “Take a good look, because it’s gonna be the last you’ll see me like this.”

Orange tableclothes

Despite the protests, Lyda did look great and, of course, was wearing an orange jacket. In fact that was the password color of the day. In the ballroom filled with hundreds of guests, everything from BBFs (Lynn McBee, Millie Cooper, Bobby Sue Williams, Diane Brierley, etc.) to table centerpieces honored Lyda’s love of orange.

Mike Rawlings and Lyda Hill

A couple of fellas like Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and Don Glendenning sheepishly admitted that their borderline reddish, yellowish ties were as close as they could get to the color of the day.

Speaking of the good mayor, Mike reported that son Gunnar Rawlings’ wedding to Gabby Gutierrez had gone off without a hitch in Mexico, except for the bridegroom’s limp. Seems Gunnar had fractured his leg and hobbled to the altar. However, Mike admitted that it was a beautiful occasion with the weather behaving marvelously.

While some guests hopped between the Linz Luncheon and the Planned Parenthood Luncheon, 2016 Linz Awardee Debbie Branson got things going in the Dallas Ballroom. No sooner had she gotten the attention of the group than Junior League of Dallas Sustainer President Kitty Peeler thanked The Dallas Morning News and Zales and welcomed Rev. Stephen Swann to provide the invocation.

Planned Parenthood check-in

Following official introductions and recognitions, guests lunched.

Following the lunch, it was time for the salutes and a couple of shots across the bow. Mayor Mike kicked it off welcoming all to the city-owned hotel. He then told how in reviewing the list of Linz Award recipients, he was surprised that only 10 women had received it.

Mike recalled that when the Ebola outbreak and the July 7 shootings took place, Lyda was one of the first to step forward offering help. He pointed out other endeavors in which Lyda was a rock: VNA, North Texas Food Bank, Perot Museum, etc. He finished up by describing Lyda as a “rock of our city and a wonderful gem.”

Jim Moroney

Across the stage in a chair, Linz Award Co-Sponsor Dallas Morning News Publisher/CEO Jim Moroney didn’t look all that happy at the comment about the Linz recipients. Following Mike, Jim said, “Mayor, on behalf of the two sponsors of the Linz Award, I would say that we are not proud of the number of women that have received this award—but I think we’re doing better than the mayors of Dallas… Just saying.” That “shade throwing” got a mix of laughter and hoots from the audiences.

Then Jim got on his bully pulpit, bringing up the problems making headlines — homelessness, police and firemen’s pension fund, renegade dogs in South Dallas, etc. 

Nicole Small

After Mike’s and Jim’s exchange, Linz Award Co-Sponsor Signet Chief Retail Insights and Strategy Officer George Murray along with Lyda Hill Foundation CEO Nicole Small lassoed the group back to the topic du jour — Lyda. Nicole went on and on providing insight about the woman, who prefers to provide for others rather than promote herself. A telling moment came when Nicole asked Lyda to stand. Then Nicole asked all who had known or been friends with Lyda for more than 30 years to stand. More than a third of the room stood. Nicole then asked for a board member or executive director of an organization that Lyda had spent her time with to stand. Another third of the room stood. Her next request was for anyone whose organization had received funding from Lyda to stand. Almost the rest of the room stood. Nicole’s final request was for anyone who just wanted to know Lyda to stand. That allowed the handful of folks who were left to stand. 

The rest of Nicole’s talk was a valentine for Lyda, including the revealing of her love for dark chocolate and her hidden stash in the upper left hand drawer of her desk.

At one point Nicole told how Lyda would clear the trail of branches to make it easier for those who follow. Throughout her various endeavors, that is what Lyda has done — cleared the way for those who follow.

Lyda Hill

Being called to the stage, Lyda started off in typical Lyda form, “I think I’d be smart if I turned around and left right now…. Nicole, you didn’t have to tell which drawer the candy’s in.”

Lyda admitted that she had “born into privilege and have been privileged all my life to live in a great city with generations of community-minded citizens. But I feel far more privileged today to be able to have an impact on the city that I love.”

Despite only knowing her childhood surroundings, she attributed the Junior League’s provisional program for showing her what needed to be done and how to do it.

She recalled that she has lived half of her life following her breast cancer diagnosis. “I’m trying to make the best that I can with my borrowed time.”

Ten years ago when the economy went down, Lyda made the largest grant that she has ever made. The result? “Nothing is more gratifying than being able to experience helping the abused, the homeless and the hungry.”

She pointed out that in reviewing the previous Linz Award recipients, three traits stood out:

  1. They looked ahead to what was coming.
  2. They were entrepreneurs with a can-do spirit.
  3. Collaborations allowed the winners to bring groups together to solve issues.

With the enthusiasm of a child on Christmas Eve, Lyda talked about what the future held.

She encouraged the audience to in turn encourage family and friends to get involved. Within her own family, Lyda not only takes her nieces and nephews on her Meals on Wheels deliveries. She has also established the “Aunt Lyda Grant.” When her nieces, nephews and grand nieces and nephews turn seven, she sends them a letter “offering to make charitable contribution to the charity of their choice for $50 times their age. As they get older, the charities get happier. But most important I asked them why they want that charity, to get them thinking about it. Then I have the charities send the newsletters directly to them. I have also taken all my nieces and nephews and most of my grands to deliver Meals on Wheels. Because I want them to be exposed at how much fun it is to be there and help people and see what it feels like when you’re helping people.”

She closed by saying, “We are lucky to live in Dallas. Spread this luck in your own way. Most people vote every four years, but donors and volunteers daily vote for the kind of action for the world they want to be through their actions. That same kind of world is available to all of us. A world that is full of hope and inspiration for the future.”

For more photos, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 88th Annual Linz Award

With a ballroom decked out with orange tablecloths and many guests in equally orange attire, the Omni ballroom looked a bit like a Longhorn feast around noon on Wednesday, March 8. But, no! It was the 88th Annual Linz Award honoring that orange-loving entrepreneur and philanthropist Lyda Hill.

Mike Rawlings and Lyda Hill

Diane Brierley

Bobbie Sue Williams

Millie Cooper

Lynn McBee

While the post is being prepared, there’s a whole lot of orange over at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

JUST IN: Girl Scouts Of Northeast Texas Announces Sara Martineau And Nina Vaca Women Of Distinction And Todd Williams Man Enough

Susan Glassmoyer and Laura Downing (File photo)

For those emerging from Samoa and Thin Mints rehab and in need of a Girl Scout fix, there’s great news. The Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas have just announced plans for their annual Women of Distinction Luncheon. It’s already been announced that Dr. Mae Jemison will be the keynote speaker, thanks to Luncheon Co-Chairs Laura Downing and Susan Glassmoyer.

But now comes word that the fundraiser on Friday, November 3, at the Omni will honor Sara Martineau and Nina Vaca on stage receiving the Woman of Distinction Award.

Sara Martineau (File photo)

Nina Vaca (File photo)

According to Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas CEO Jennifer Bartkowski, “It is an honor to recognize Nina, Sara and Todd for their exemplary leadership and lifelong commitment to serving our Dallas community. Empowering and supporting girls is the key to our future, because they are the innovators, leaders and change-makers of tomorrow. It comes down to a simple truth – when we invest in the advancement of girls, we are not only helping them reach their fullest potential, we are also investing in the future success of our businesses and communities. We are incredibly thankful that each honoree recognizes the importance and value of empowering girls.”

Todd Williams*

As for the second male to be recognized by the Girl Scouts for his understanding and support of the Girl Scouts’ mission, Todd Williams will be presented with the Man Enough to be a Girl Scout Award.

Regarding the Young Woman of Distinction, stay tuned. It will be announced “late summer.”

BTW, last year’s luncheon impressed vet munchers with the fact that it ran right on schedule.

Tickets are available here, but no, there will be no cookies as incentives.

For the full-blown release, follow the jump:

*  Photo provided by Girl Scouts 
of Northeast Texas

[Read more…]

Dr. Stephen Mansfield Accepts 2017 Virginia Chandler Dykes Leadership Award For “The People of Methodist”

There could scarcely have been a more appropriate choice for the 15th annual Virginia Chandler Dykes Leadership Award than Dr. Stephen Mansfield, president and CEO of the Dallas-based Methodist Health System. As Mansfield explained to some 400 people gathered for the luncheon at the Belo Mansion and Pavilion Wednesday, March 8, he is, after all, a respiratory therapist by training—and luncheon namesake Virginia Chandler Dykes is an occupational therapist.

Dykes completed the graduate occupational therapy program at Texas Woman’s University in 1954, and, after a career directing the occupational and recreational therapy department at Baylor University Medical Center, launched the annual awards program for TWU 15 years ago. To date, Virginia told the luncheon attendees, the event has raised $650,000 for students in each of TWU’s four colleges.

Bob White, Ralph Hawkins, Virginia Chandler Dykes, Carine Feyton and Stephen Mansfield*

Elizabeth Dodd and Mary Brinegar*

Harry Crumpacker and Mike McCullough*

Addressing an audience that included the likes of Col. Allen West, Marnie and Kern Wildenthal, Michael Meadows, Gretchen Minyard Williams, Elizabeth Dodd, Mary Brinegar, Harry Crumpacker, Mike McCullough, Mickey Price, Steve Fick, Travis Youngblood, Matt Mitzner, Michael Schaefer and Clint McDonnough, Virginia soon gave way to Bob White of sponsor Bank of Texas—the bank has sponsored the luncheon for 11 years—who said of Mansfield: “Steve’s been quiet and under-the-radar, but he’s made tremendous strides” for Methodist. Bob’s plaudits were echoed by Luncheon Co-Chair Ralph Hawkins, the event chair. During Steve’s roughly 10 years at the helm, Ralph pointed out, Methodist has tripled in size and was recognized as one of the fastest-growing health systems in the country.

Stephen and Marilyn Mansfield*

During his brief remarks, Mansfield said his selection as the 2017 Virginia Chandler Dykes Leadership Award recipient was “a great honor for me, and the for the people of Methodist.” He thanked his wife Marilyn Mansfield—”she’s my better 3/4, at least”—as well as Methodist’s 8,000 employees and 1,800 volunteers. “They pay me to be good,” Steve recalled that he jokingly teases the volunteers, “but you people are good for nothing!” He also said he’s “fallen in love” with TWU, where more than half the students are the first in their families to go to college. 

Julie Southward, Kamica King, Virginia Chandler Dykes and Laurie Stelter*

With that, TWU Chancellor and President Carine Feyten launched into the second half of the annual luncheon: presentation of the Virginia Chandler Dykes Scholarship Awards to TWU students. The 2017 scholarships went to: Laurie Stelter, from TWU’s College of Health Sciences; Katheryn Courville, from the College of Nursing, who was unable to attend; Julie Southward, of the College of Professional Education; and Kamica King, of the College of Arts and Sciences. Kamica concluded the luncheon by singing an inspirational song titled, “Live, Love, Dream,” which was featured in a documentary film about homelessness called “Signs of Humanity.”

* Photo credit: Kristina Bowman

TACA’s 2017 Silver Cup Luncheon Had Some Hits And Misses, But Recipients Nancy Nasher And Walter Elcock Were The Best Of The Best

As TACA approached its 50th anniversary, major changes were underway. Retired was Executive Director Becky Young and in her place was Wolford McCue. The first fundraising occasion showcasing the transition from the past to the future was the 2017 Silver Cup Luncheon on Tuesday, March 7, at the Anatole.

Early on, the question had been raised why the celebration of Dallas art leadership had been moved from the Anatole’s Grand Ballroom (max. capacity: 1,600) to the Chantilly Ballroom (max. capacity: 2,600). Evidently, when the reservation was made last year, it was thought that due to TACA’s 50th Anniversary, extra room would be necessary. More about that later.

David Haemisegger

Caroline Rose Hunt and Barbara Womble

Lee Cullum and Katherine Wynne

Nancy Carlson and Lynn McBee

Wolford McCue, Carol Glendenning, Nelda Cain Pickens, Don Glendenning and Donna Wilhelm

At 11 a.m. the VIP reception took place in the Wedgwood Room with folks like Luncheon Co-Chairs Nancy Carlson and Lynn McBee, Laura Elcock with daughter Hilah Elock Schutt, Jonathan Martin, Michelle Burns, Erin Mathews, Daylon Pereira, Carol Glendenning, Nelda Cain Pickens, Katherine Wynne, Barbara Womble, Capera Ryan and Susan Collins.

Nancy Nasher

Nancy Nasher and Walter Elcock

Just a few minutes past the timeline, 2017 Silver Cup recipients Nancy Nasher and Walter Elcock opened the big silver gift boxes on the center table. Nancy immediately spotted the logo on the top of the box and showed it to the Neiman Marcus crowd in attendance (Kevin Hurst, Ginger Reeder, Jerry Marcus Smith, Allison V. Smith).

Then Nancy, Walter and the rest of the previous TACA Silver Cup recipients (Ruben Esquivel, John Eagle, James Wiley Jr., Lucilo Peña, Don Glendenning, Brad Todd, Kern Wildenthal, Elaine Agather, Caroline Rose Hunt, Joyce Mitchell and Rebecca Enloe Fletcher) were herded to a couch at the far end of the room. The only hold-up was Luncheon emcee Lee Cullum button-holding Nancy.

From the left: (standing) Ruben Esquivel, John Eagle, James Wiley Jr., Lucilo Peña, Don Glendenning, Brad Todd and Kern Wildenthal; (seated) Elaine Agather, Caroline Rose Hunt, Nancy Nasher, Walter Elcock, Joyce Mitchell and Rebecca Fletcher

Eventually, the photo took place with Nancy and Walter holding their shiny cups.

In the meantime, guests were checking in at the registration tables at the Chantilly entry. Unlike other events, where guests amble on down to the ballroom lobby, the multitude seemed all too happy just to stay put.

But once the doors opened, the hundreds headed into the ballroom. Interestingly, while the tables were seat-to-seat together fronting the stage and head table, there were more than a dozen feet separating the back-row tables from the room’s back wall.

Pam Perella and Leslie Diers

Jeff Byron and Malcolm Reuben

As guests (Peggy Sewell, Diane and Hal Brierley, Mary McDermott Cook, Pam Perella, Leslie Diers, Christie Carter, Claire Emanuelson, Jeff Bryon and Malcolm Reuben) entered the ballroom, voices were overhead commenting, as though they were TMZ-ing a red carpet. One guest looked a little bewildered saying, “Did someone have an open mic?” Nope. It was a new add to the event. Alas, with guests vying for their tables in the cozy placement of tables and trying to be heard over the “open mic” audio, an itty-bitty moment of frustration resulted.

Kate Levin and Elaine Agather

Nancy Kasten

Luckily, the head table guests (Rabbi Nancy Kasten, Ginger Reeder, Rebecca Enloe, Water Elcock, Lee Cullum, Donna Wilhelm, Nancy Nasher, James Wiley Jr., Elaine Agather and Kate Levin) had no problems finding their places.

Uptown Players

It wasn’t until the Uptown Players took their places on the stage that the “open mic” situation resulted in an “Aha” realization. However, as emcee Lee tried to take command of the program, one of the actors told her to hold off. They were going to announce that an award was to be presented to … “La La Land.” Unfortunately, the attempt at humor may have looked good on paper, but it resulted in a couple of hand claps surrounded by silence.

Lee finally took charge of the program and provided an abbreviated state-of-the-arts address.

After a first course (roasted red pepper hummus, spring pea dip, baba ganoush, crudité and pita chips), second course (chicken salad in bibb with pimento cheese quiche and quinoa salad with diced vegetables) and dessert (chocolate truffle, mini-lemon curd blueberry tartlet and macaroon) with TACA grant recipients Fine Arts Chamber Players’ Quinlan Facey and Blue Candlelight Music Series’ Baya Kakouberi playing at baby grand pianos on stages at opposite ends of the ballroom, JP Morgan Chase’s Elaine Agather and TACA Board of Directors Chair Donna Wilhelm welcomed the group.

Ndumiso Nyoka

It was then time for NM’s Ginger Reeder. She had been concerned about correctly pronouncing the name of featured performer 2017 SMU Meadows School of the Arts’ tenor Ndumiso Nyoka’s name. (“He sent me the phonetic pronunciation.”) She pulled it off and looked relieved as he sang “La Donna e mobile” with Brian Bentley accompanying him on a grand piano on the stage in front of the head table. Unlike the “open mic,” Ndumiso’s performance scored a resounding wave of applause.

Following introductions by last year’s Silver Cup recipients Rebecca Enloe Fletcher and James Wiley Jr. and Jeremy Strick and John Eagle via video, Nancy and Walter raised the bar on acceptance speeches.

With a voice exuding calm, strength and elegance, Nancy recalled her parents inspiring her “passion for the arts” and how she considered NorthPark to be a “shopping museum.” Looking at her husband David Haemisegger, the very private Nancy said, “David, you have been my steadfast partner in all that we have created. None of this would have been possible without your counsel, your wisdom and unwavering support.”

Then looking at her children Sarah Haemisegger, Isabell Haemisegger and David Haemisegger, she said, “Thank you for being such wonderful sports as your father and I tried to persistently instill in you our love and passion for the arts. I believe that you too will further develop your own unique passion for the arts and make your own mark on our great city. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for each of you.” Her speech received a resounding standing ovation.

Walter admitted that following Nancy was a daunting task. Still, the retired banker/former Dallas Museum of Art Interim Director rose to the occasion. He broke the ice by saying, “I’m just like you — a fiscally conservative art lover, card-carrying ACLU democratic gun lover.”

Unlike Nancy, Walter admitted how the arts had not been paramount in his life. That changed when he “tried to get a blind date” with an art major. “I didn’t know that at that moment I had found the two great loves of my life. For better or for worse, and God knows for richer or poorer, all the credit for that goes to my muse Laura.” As members of the audience sighed, Walter mimicked them.

As much as he loved working with the people during his tenure as interim director of the DMA,  he admitted that turning in the key to “greatest basement in town was painful.”

Walter closed with a quote from Angela Davis, “I am no longer accepting the things that I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.” He, too, was rewarded with a standing ovation.

Both Nancy and Walter emphasized the importance of the arts in the future of North Texas. Only they did it with such eloquence that even past recipients were in awe. It was the perfect way to end the occasion.

But there was one final speaker — Bloomberg Associates Cultural Asset Management Principal Kate Levin, who lauded the North Texas leadership’s involvement in the arts. While providing food for thought regarding that future of arts, it transformed the room from the magic of Nancy’s and Walter’s acceptance to a classroom of information. One guest remarked that just as Kate’s talk was getting a little too professorial, she would inject a bit of humor to lighten things up. Still another guest associated with a major arts group seemed a little miffed when Kate suggested that tourism was not all that important or beneficial for the arts.

As TACA enters its 50th year, change is afoot and, like other great undertakings, it’s a work in progress.

For more pixs, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: TACA’s 2017 Silver Cup Luncheon

The performing-art lovers gathered for TACA’s 39th Annual Silver Cup Luncheon honoring Nancy Nasher and Walter Elcock.

Nancy Nasher and Walter Elcock

As part of TACA’s own 50th anniversary celebration, the luncheon was ramped up with a bigger venue at the Hilton Anatole and some additions to the program. Some worked. Some struck out. Some were base hits. But the recipients pulled off home runs flawlessly.

Uptown Players

While the post is being prepared, check out the people at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Time Is Running Out for Laura Grace Caregiver Award Nominations

The Senior Source*

The clock is ticking for The Senior Source‘s 2nd Annual Laura Grace Caregiver Award nominations. The deadline for nominations of people “who care for, or has cared for, an aging loved one and has gone above and beyond to provide exceptional care” is Friday, March 31. Yipes!

 

Here are the requirements for nominations:

  • The recipient must be able to attend the event on Thursday, April 13, at The Kessler Theater. (Two complimentary tickets will be provided.)
  • Neither paid, professional caregivers nor individuals who self-nominate are eligible for the award.
  • Nominee must reside within the greater Dallas area.

The award recipient will be notified on Friday, April 7, of their being selected.

The award will be presented during Jub Jam, benefiting The Senior Source and presented by Sportsradio 1310 “The Ticket.”

Submit your nomination(s) here. As for Jub Jam, it’s sold out. But you know the drill. For a nice check, sponsorship just might be yours.

*  Graphic courtesy of The Senior Source

The Elisa Project’s Life Lessons Luncheon Had DWTS’s Nancy Kerrigan, Unexpected Add-Ons To The Program And Rumbling Tummies

After years of holding luncheons at hotels and last year’s breakfast at the Belo, The Elisa Project held a luncheon for its Life Lessons fundraiser at the Belo on Friday, March 3. It kicked off with a VIP reception at 11:00, but, unlike other meet-and-greet receptions with the celebrity du jour, this one had no grip-and-grin photo opp with luncheon speaker Nancy Kerrigan, or even a sponsor backdrop. Instead, guests passed the word that “She’s over there” and “She’s so sweet” and “She looks wonderful” and snapped photos with the accommodating Kerrigan.

Kim Bannister, Ariana Luterman, Nancy Kerrigan and Allana Luterman

Alas, a photo of Co-Chairs Rhonda Sargent Chambers and Melissa Rountree, Kerrigan and Honorary Chair Toni Munoz-Hunt was stalled. Word was passed that “Toni is on her way” as the doors to the ballroom opened just after 11:30. Then tall, gorgeous Toni gathered with Nancy, Rhonda and Melissa for a snap.

Rhonda Sargent Chambers, Toni Munoz Hunt, Nancy Kerrigan and Melissa Rountree

In the crowd of supporters were Kim Bannister, Holly Davis, Pamela Graham, Carlotta Lennox, mom-to-be Jenny Anchondo, Ellen Winspear, Lisa Cooley with daughter Ciara Cooley and daughter-in-law-to-be Bela Pjetrovic, Tiffany Divis, Lynn McBee and Nancy Gopez.

Nancy Gopez and Tiffany Divis

Carlotta Lennox and Pamela Graham

Lisa Cooley, Jenny Anchondo and Bela Pjetrovic

As The Elisa Project Executive Director Kim Martinez stood on the floor with mic in hand, she called the group to their seats at tables pre-set with salads, desserts, a bowl of bread, a floral arrangement, water and ice tea. More about this setup later.

The printed program set out a plan for just five speakers — Kim, The Elisa Project Board Chair Dr. Stephanie Setliff, Star of Hope Awardee Dr. Andy McGarrahan, LEAD Awardee Ariana Luterman and keynoter Kerrigan. Instead, the program was extended with multiple unscripted speakers.

Following the invocation, Stephanie had Rhonda and Melissa come to the podium to talk about their helping those with eating disorders. They, in turn, thanked Toni, whom they asked to address the group.

It was then announced that the Esteem Fashion Show fundraiser would be held once again at Tootsies in the fall.  When the announcement of the Esteem honorary chair was made, the supposed honorary chair looked stunned. She had already told them she couldn’t do it. Oops.

Stephanie presented the Star of Hope Award to Dr. Andy McGarrahan, who twinned humility with humor in accepting the award.

Stephanie Setliff

Andrew McGarrahan

After Andy’s acceptance, Stephanie announced she was going off-script. Co-Chair Rhonda looked at her timeline and looked a bit baffled. But before she could figure out what was going on, she heard Stephanie tell of Rhonda’s commitment to the organization over the years and asked her to come back to the stage to receive a token of appreciation. Despite being caught off guard, Rhonda thanked her mom and dad (“Perhaps you should have worn a tie”), her husband and family, and told how much The Elisa Project meant to her.

Kim then presented the LEAD Award to Greenhill student wunderkind Ariana for her volunteering to handle The Elisa Project’s social media. In the audience, Ariana’s mother, Allana Luterman, recorded her daughter’s acceptance on her cellphone.

As a video was shown about The Elisa Project, some guests were starting to wonder if the seasonal mixed salad with herb vinaigrette had been the entrée. After all, it was 35 minutes into the program and the salads and dressing were long gone. All that remained were the empty salad plates putting the desserts just beyond reach. At one table a guest with long arms reached for the passel of rolls and started to pass it around. As more presentations of speakers and a video continued, the floral arrangements were starting to look downright tasty.

Whitney Kutch

In making a call for money at the 45-minute mark, Elisa Board Member Whitney Kutch came to the stage and announced that she and Melissa were issuing a $4,000-challenge for guests to match. 

Finally, Kim announced there would be a break for lunch. Quickly, the staff replaced the salad plates with dishes of chicken, carrots and whipped potatoes. Luckily, Nancy’s table was one of the first to be served. She managed to take a couple of bites before being called to the podium.

Her life story has truly been challenging. There had been the Tonya Harding episode; the heart-breaking efforts for Olympic gold; her brother’s being on trial for their father’s death; her recently announced joining the “2017 Dancing With the Stars” cast.

Would she speak on all, or just one, of those subjects? Instead, she spoke extemporaneously for 30 minutes about everything from her kids to her own challenges of looking figure perfect and fitting into costumes. A couple of times during her talk she admitted that she was bouncing from subject to subject.

Nancy Kerrigan

Then she teared up and told how she had truly been touched by Leslie and Rick McCall’s motivation in creating The Elisa Project to fulfill their late daughter’s wish to help prevent others from the agony of eating disorders. That would have been the perfect place to have ended the talk. But Kerrigan continued, with some guests slipping out at this point and others sneaking peaks at their watches.

Nearing the end of her talk, Nancy admitted she had been guilty of unhealthy care-taking. She had put others’ needs before her own and had worked to overcome that practice. However, she revealed that she was helping one of her sons, who seemed to be following his mother’s care-taking role.

Instead of allowing guests to head to their cars, Kim took to the floor with mic in hand for questions from the audience. Less than a handful of hands were raised, while others headed for the door.

Actresses Faye Dunaway And Zoey Deutch And The Late Bill Paxton To Be Honored At Upcoming Dallas International Film Festival

The Dallas Film Society has just announced its line up of honorees for the Dallas International Film Festival taking place from Thursday, March 30, to Sunday, April 9.

On the eve of DIFF, The Art Of Film will celebrate Robert Benton, who co-wrote “Bonnie And Clyde,” at sixty five hundred on Wednesday, March 29.

Robert Benton*

Faye Dunaway**

In keeping with the “Bonnie And Clyde” 50th anniversary, the Opening Night Gala on Thursday, March 30, will kick off with a showing of the iconic film complete with Academy Award-winner Faye Dunaway, who portrayed Bonnie. She will receive the Dallas Star Award at the Opening Night Gala.

In addition to the comings and goings of various filmmakers during the festival, the DFS Honors presented by the Arthur E. Benjamin Foundation at The Highland Dallas on Friday, April 7, will be the posthumous presentation of the Dallas Star to Fort Worth native, the late Bill Paxton.

Zoey Deutch*

Bill Paxton***

Receiving the Dallas Shining Star will be “Before I Fall” star Zoey Deutch.

According to DFS Artistic Director James Faust, “Our two Dallas Star Award honorees hail back to something this festival has done from its inception – honor cinema legends, icons, and the film artists that made a difference in our film viewing lives. Faye Dunaway has been at the center of a number of certifiably classic films, and we joined so many in being devastated by the recent loss of Bill Paxton, on so many levels. To have Dunaway here on Opening Night will be a spectacular moment for Dallas, and to have Paxton here in spirit, was a must to anyone that knows anything about this film festival’s history and the people that are a part of it.

“Zoey Deutch is the quintessential choice for a Dallas Shining Star Award honoree. She has had a very impressive start to her career, and is now poised to take it to an entirely different level with wonderful performances in three different films this year.”

Tickets and festival passes are available here!

* Photo provided by Dallas Film Society 
** Getty image provided by Dallas Film Society 
*** Photo credit: Rachel Parker