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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* Photo provided by Reading Partners North Texas

Dallas Women’s Foundation’s Ros Dawson Thompson Hosts A Dinner For Maura And Young Leader Awardees To Get To Know Each Other

While the Dallas Historical Society was “celebrating Texas” at Julie and George Tobolowsky’s home staring at walls of vintage map on Wednesday, March 1, NorthPark was buzzing with activity. At Vineyard Vines, Lee Park Junior Conservancy’s 9th Annual Day At The Race’s Co-Chairs Camille Cain Barnes and Tyler Stevens were kicking off plans for the Saturday, May 6, fundraiser for Lee Park and Dallas Women’s Foundation President/CEO Ros Dawson Thompson was hosting a dinner at Seasons 52 as a get together for the 2017 Maura Women Helping Women and Young Leader Award recipients. Here’s a report from the field about the gals at Seasons 52:

On Wednesday, March 1, at Seasons 52 at NorthPark Center, Dallas Women’s Foundation held a dinner for the recipients of its 2017 Maura Women Helping Women and Young Leader Award to meet each other, the co-chairs and DWF leadership.

DWF will honor this illustrious group of leaders, who have positively impacted the lives of women and girls in the North Texas area, at the Leadership Forum And Awards Dinner, presented by AT&T, on Tuesday, May 9, at the Dallas Omni Hotel. Co-chaired by Cheryl Alston and Laura V. Estrada, the fundraising dinner will include a presentation of the Maura Awards and Young Leader Award, presented by Capital One.

The evening will also feature keynote speaker Carla Harris, Vice Chairman, Global Wealth Management, Managing Director and Senior Client Advisor at Morgan Stanley. Harris is the author of “Strategies to Win” and “Expect to Win,” and a presidential-appointed chair of the National Women’s Business Council.

Dallas Women’s Foundation President and CEO Roslyn Dawson Thompson said, “We are truly inspired by these women and their stories of success in their professional lives. We look forward to celebrating their accomplishments on May 9.”

From the left: (standing) Ellenore Baker, Roslyn Dawson Thompson, Hind El Saadi El Jarrah, Laura V. Estrada and Cheryl Alston; (seated) Tonya Parker, Lupe Valdez and Cynthia Nwaubani*

The Maura Women Helping Women Award recipients are Texas Muslim Women’s Foundation Executive Director Hind El Saadi El Jarrah, Ph.D.; TexProtects (The Texas Association for the Protection of Children) Founding CEO Madeline McClure, LCSW; Judge of the 116th Civil District Court in Dallas County The Honorable Tonya Parker; and Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez. The Young Leader Award will be presented to Wells Fargo and Company Relationship Manager Cynthia Nwaubani, CPA .

For those interested in purchasing tickets to the dinner, which start at $150, or a sponsorship, visit https://www.dallaswomensfdn.org/2016/events/leadershipawards.

* Photo provided by the Dallas Women's Foundation

JUST IN: Junior League To Receive Genesis Women’s Shelter’s Jane Doe Award And Former Police Chief David Brown Tapped For HeROs Award

As part of the 24th Annual Genesis Women’s Luncheon celebration, the announcement has just been made of the 2017 Jane Doe Award and the 2017 HeROs Award recipients.

According to Genesis Women’s Shelter And Support CEO Jan Langbein, the Jane Doe Award that “recognizes individuals, groups or organizations that display an extraordinary commitment to standing alongside women seeking freedom from domestic abuse” will be presented to the Junior League of Dallas’ President Bonner Allen, who will represent the JLD.

Junior Leaguers of Dallas*

Receiving the 2017 HeRO Award, which was established in 2013 to “honor men who use their voice and influence to take a public stand against domestic violence,” will be former Dallas Police Chief David Brown. Past recipients include Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings in 2013, Dale Hansen in 2014, Joshua Ragsdale in 2015 and Roger Staubach in 2016.

David has been a busy fella since trading in his uniform for civilian garb. In addition to having a new job with ABC News, he’s been collecting accolades like being the grand marshal for the Dallas St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Saturday, March 11, and receiving the J. Erik Jonsson Ethics Award at Belo Mansion tomorrow.

David Brown (File photo)

Jan explained, ““The Junior League of Dallas has walked hand in hand with Genesis since the very beginning.  Our Junior League volunteers bring passion and professionalism to their placements that in many ways serve as an extension of the Genesis staff.

“Long before Chief Brown was thrust into the national spotlight for his heroic efforts during the tragedy that struck our city last July, he was a hero in Dallas and a hero to Genesis. The Dallas Police Department walks in lockstep with Genesis to help create a safe community, and Chief Brown understood all along that we cannot have a safe community if we do not have safe homes.”

Nikki and Crayton Webb (File photo)

Arianna Huffington**

Luncheon Co-Chairs Nikki and Crayton Webb have arranged for the awards to be presented at the luncheon’s patron party on Thursday, May 11.

A limited number of individual tickets for the Monday, May 15th luncheon at the Hilton Anatole featuring Arianna Huffington are available. For a few dollars more, patron level is also available plus the perks of attending the patron party.

* Photo provided by the Junior League of Dallas 
** Photo provided by Genesis Women's Shelter And Support

Retired Attorney Suzan Fenner And Northwood Woman’s Club To Receive Our Friends Place’s 13th Annual Ebby Award At April Gala

Ebby Halliday Acers (File photo)

The late Ebby Halliday Acers would have been 106 years old this month. Despite the loss of the first lady of residential real estate a year-and-a-half ago, her memory and inspiration continue. Timed in sync with Ebby’s natal day is the announcement of the Annual Ebby Award that is presented by Our Friends Place for those contributing to the advancement of girls and/or women.

Our Friends Place Executive Director Sue Thiers Hesseltine revealed the 13th Annual Ebby Awardees will be retired partner of Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP Suzan E. Fenner and the Northwood Woman’s Club.

According to Sue, “Both award winners are truly passionate about serving our community and engage with a number of nonprofits, providing leadership and resources that contribute to the advancement of girls and women in North Texas. Suzan and the Northwood Woman’s Club have made Dallas a better place.”

Past recipients include Ebby, Sarah Losinger, Barbara S. Cambridge, the National Council of Jewish Women of Greater Dallas and Leigh Richter.

The presentation of the award to Suzan and the Northwood Woman’s Club will be made at the 14th Annual Our Friends Place Gala Auction And Casino Night on Saturday, April 29 at the Omni Dallas Hotel. Joining Event Co-Chairs Tonnette Easter, Barbara Milo and Leslie Simmons will be Honorary Co-Chairs LuAnn and George Damiris and Debbie and Jack Gibson.

The full release of the announcement follows the jump.

[Read more…]

A Beacon of Hope Luncheon Introduced Faces Of Hope And Had Glennon Doyle Melton Mix Humor And Honesty About Mental Health

As final preparations were underway on the second floor of the Renaissance Hotel for “A Beacon Of Hope” silent auction and luncheon benefiting the Grant Halliburton Foundation, a VIP reception was taking place on the fourth floor’s City View room on Thursday, February 23.

Foundation President/Founder Vanita Halliburton was surrounded by people whose had been touched by teenagers dealing with mental health issues. She herself had created the foundation due to the suicide of her son Grant Halliburton at the age of 19 in 2005 after years of suffering from depression and bipolar disorder.

Dealing with teen mental health is very difficult issue for a fundraising event. It’s a delicate weaving of the emotional turmoil and hope for helping others overcome such challenges. On this occasion, Vanita was celebrating the launch of a new program — Faces of Hope. As Faces of Hope Chair Barb Farmer explained, the collaboration between the foundation and Gittings was to honor people within the community who “work in diverse ways to promote mental health every day.”

This year’s group of Faces included Suzie and Mike Ayoob, Senior Corporal Herb Cotner, Julie Hersh, Terry Bentley Hill, Patrick LeBlanc, Sylvia Orozco-Joseph, Sierra Sanchez and Priya Singvi.

Sierra Sanchez, Priya Singhvi, Sylvia Orozco-Joseph, Mike and Suzie Ayoob, Terry Bentley Hill, Julie Hersh, Herb Cotner and Patrick LeBlanc

In addition to pieces of crystal being presented to each of the Faces, their portraits were displayed in the lobby on the second floor.

Gittings Faces of Hope portraits

Following the presentation, Vanita had the day’s speaker author/blogger/newly engaged Glennon Doyle Melton briefly talk. Her message was that you can let tragedy drive you forward for the better or let it drive you further down.

Then, right on cue at 10:55, Vanita directed the patrons to the second floor to check the silent auction and buy raffle tickets. On the way down, Barb showed a bracelet that she got from last year’s raffle. It seems her husband bought ten tickets and claimed it was his. Luckily, he gave it to Barb.

Tom Krampitz and Terry Bentley Hill

Hailey Nicholson and Shannon Hollandsworth

The patrons discovered the lobby and ballroom jammed with guests like Tom Krampitz, Shannon Hollandsworth with daughter Hailey Nicholson. Dixey Arterburn was walking through the crowd with a Starbucks cup and a very hoarse throat. Seems she lost her voice at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Ball the Saturday before.

Dixey Arteburn and Ginger Sager

Taylor Mohr and Amanda Johnson

Taylor Mohr was with her buddy Amanda Johnson, who lost her sister to suicide resulting in Amanda’s working with others involved in such emotional crisis. Unfortunately, there were many in the audience with similar reason for being there. Luckily, they were there to not just support Grant Halliburton Foundation but each other.

Steve Noviello and Vanita Halliburton

Just past noon, KDFW reporter/emcee Steve Noviello recalled that the first year only 100 people attended the luncheon. Now eight years later there were more than 400. In introducing Vanita, he told how when he first met her in her office, he had remarked about the art on the walls, only to learn that it had been done by Grant.

Vanita told about the Foundation and its purpose to help young people struggling with mental health crises. In the past suicide had been the third leading cause of death among young people from ages 15 to 24. It is now second among those between 10 and 24. In Texas, the average is one suicide per week among young people.

After a break for lunch, Vanita and Glennon took their places in chairs on stage. Less than 30 seconds into the conversation, Glennon’s headset mic wasn’t working. A man hustled to the stage with a handheld. Despite the change of mic, there continued to be rustling noise over the PA. Another handheld was brought to the stage for Vanita. It didn’t seem all that necessary, since Glennon appeared to need no help in sharing her life of bulimia, alcoholism, drug addiction and her personal views.

Glennon Doyle Melton

She got sober when she was 25 after being in addiction for a decade and a half. Then she got married and life was good until her husband told her that he had been unfaithful. Learning that news, she just couldn’t stay in her house, so she headed to her yoga class, where they had her go to a hot yoga room. Upon entering the room, Glennon thought, “What the hell is this?”

When the question was raised about what the yoga members’ intentions were that day, Glennon admitted, “My intention is sit on the mat and not run out of the room.” The results? “It was the hardest 90 minutes of my life.”

While her talk was a mix of self-deprecating humor and brutal honesty, it was definitely not a scripted speech but rather just Glennon just being Glennon. 

But her message was clear — “My entire life is to not to avoid the pain of life.” She also said that as a parent, “It’s not our job to protect our children from pain.”

In closing, she consoled those who had suffered the loss of loved ones to mental illness by saying, “Grief is just the proof of great love.”

St. V-Day Luncheon/Fashion Show Had Guests Lined Up For Leukemia And Lymphoma Society North Texas Chapter’s Annual Fundraiser

Despite the “100% guarantee” of the area getting drenched for St. Valentine’s Day, the showers held back for the St. Valentine’s Day Luncheon and Fashion Show at the Meyerson on Tuesday, February 14, benefiting the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s North Texas Chapter.

Registration lines

While the weather held fast, the registration line wasn’t so swift. One guest critiqued the check-in: “The ladies are complaining.” It seems that instead of guests being able to check in with their group, each person had to find the right line to get their table and seat assignment. One guest, after 10 minutes of trying to locate the right line, grumbled, “I need a drink.” But, alas, the poor thang discovered, like so many others, that the champagne was long gone and the herd of guests was hustling into the McDermott Concert Hall.

While it would have seemed that the table guests would have all been seated together in the Hall, it turned out not to be so. One five-figure sponsor discovered her guests were seated all over the place. Frustrated, the leader of the pack finally found an empty group of seats and declared them theirs.

Gina Betts, Roz Colombo and Anne Besser

To fill the time both in line and in the hall, the favorite indoor game of “catch-up” was played. Cindy Turner smiled that she was going to be a grandmother come July… Paige McDaniel reported that tickets to the Chick Lit Luncheon with Bethenny Frankel were going fast… Sunie Solmon decided that after wearing red to Go Red for Women, she would opt for pink…Bina Patel brought her too-young-to-wear-stilettos daughter along… MIA were Lisa Cooley and Tanya Foster, who were in NYC for Fashion Week … Another MIA was Advisory Co-Chair Michael Flores. But what could you expect? It was St. V-Day and he had heads to fashion… Luckily, Advisory Co-Chair Gina Betts was front and center with pal Roz Colombo. Gina and her legal buds are in the process of opening Dorsey and Whitney’s new Dallas office on Wednesday, March 1.

Lisa Singleton, Heather Randall and Jana Paul

Other faces seen in the crowd included Angie Kadesky, Lisa Singleton and Jana Paul with Event Chair Heather Randall, all-in-red Nancy Gopez, Joanna Clarke and Paige McDaniels, Heather Furniss, Lunch Co-Founder Rusty DuvallSiiri Dougherty, Wanda Gierhart, Doris and Jack Jacobs, Vicki Howland and Elisa and Stephen Summers.

Angie Kadesky and Don and Robyn Conlon

Rusty Duvall

Siiri Dougherty and Wanda Gierhart

Jack and Doris Jacobs

Stephen and Elisa Summers

Inside the hall, the program was delayed a bit. Once the presentation started, a groups of chairs on the floor were empty, due to the back-up at the registration tables. As guests did arrive late, they found themselves walking the darkened aisle searching for their row ID.

Lillie Young and Clarice Tinsley

The program provided the presentation of the Memorial Hero Award presented by Robyn and Don Conlon honoring the late Charles Young, who died in September 2015 after battling multiple myeloma. As his wife of 45 years, Lillie Young, left the stage after accepting the award, she told emcee KDFW anchor Clarice Tinsley that the Youngs’ daughter, Erin Young Garrett, was due to deliver any minute. Married to Judd Garrett last March, the baby will be the first for the newlyweds.

The next presentation was the Lynda Adleta Heart of Gold Award presented by Lillie Young and Family to Robyn and Don Conlon. The Conlons’ years of involvement in supporting The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society resulted from the death of Robyn’s dear friend Linda Somerville, who died from Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia. It was a touching moment especially when insiders knew that the Conlons’ son, Keith Conlon, married Linda’s daughter Megan Somerville in 2015 and the twosome had a granddaughter this past December.

The final presentation was the showstopper, with last year’s Spirit of Tom Landry Awardee Luke Lange escorting this year’s recipient, Bennett William, to the stage following a video featuring Bennett’s family. Both boys looked so healthy, it was hard to imagine they had ever gone through the daunting journey of treatments and tests. However, the youngsters’ success stories were the result of years of funding research and family support.

Bennett Williams, Kirsa Williams and Luke Lange

Erin Ragsdale

A slight hiccup in the program followed Luncheon Chair Heather Randall’s and LLSNT Board Chair Erin Ragsdale’s personal reasons for supporting the fundraiser. Their stories were indeed sincere and touching on how the blood disease had hit them and their families. As they stepped aside and looked at the mega-screen on stage for the video, the lights dimmed and … nothing happened. After 10 seconds, giggles were heard in the back of the room. A few awkward seconds later, a video was shown. It would have been just as well if the ladies’ moving talks had stood alone.

Then Clarice returned to the podium to say that after the fashion show, guests could support the “Fund the Fight” by

  • buying a raffle ticket
  • making a donation
  • purchasing a centerpiece for $100 that would also get the buyer a better valet service.

Bruno fashion

Carolina Herrera fashion

Escada fashion

Etro fashion

Market fashion

St. John fashion

The fashions provided by Highland Park Village merchants ran the course from lighter-than-air sundresses to Herrera wedding gowns. It was interesting to note that, while great-granny Gertie might have approved the return of the below-the-knew hems, they aren’t exactly flattering to the most shapely leg.

Market fashions

Following the show, guests lunched in between being hit by raffle solicitors. One table got solicited four times. Finally, a guest told the raffle salesperson, “Everyone at this table has already bought a ticket.” The fella apologized. Too bad organizers didn’t provide stickers to designate raffle purchasers from potential buyers.

For more photos from the luncheon and fashion show, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2017 St. Valentine’s Day Luncheon And Fashion Show

On Tuesday, February 14, the Meyerson was filled with guests in reds and pink for the St. Valentine’s Day Luncheon and Fashion Show on Tuesday, February 14, for the Leukemia And Lymphoma Society of North Texas.

Lisa Singleton, Heather Randall and Jana Paul

Even on stage for the fashion presentation of Highland Park Village merchants, the color of red seemed to pop up.

St. John fashion

Carolina Herrera fashion

Etro fashion

While the posts is being prepared, check out the photos on two pages of the MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Junior League Of Dallas To Receive Dallas CASA’s 2017 Judge Barefoot Sanders Champion of Children Award In November

The Junior Leaguers of Dallas are going to be busy raising money this coming week. First, there is the 55th Annual black-tie ball — Encore — on Saturday, March 4, at the Hilton Anatole. Then next Wednesday, March 8, they’re putting on the 88th Linz Award Luncheon honoring sister JLD-er Lyda Hill at the Omni Dallas.

Dallas CASA Champion of Children Award Dinner*

After all this work, they’re going to be the recipients of Dallas CASA’s “Judge Barefoot Sanders Champion of Children Award” at The Fairmont Hotel on Thursday, November 16, at CASA’s annual Champion of Children Award Dinner.

Since 1996, JLD and Dallas CASA have worked together “to serve more children in protective care, [a figure that] has grown year over year. In 2016, the JLD provided 38 volunteers who became sworn advocates for children. In addition, annual grants from the JLD directed toward recruiting allowed Dallas CASA to recruit many additional community members to serve as advocates, helping propel the agency toward its goal of serving every child in protective care.”

Junior Leaguers of Dallas*

Christie Carter (File photo)

According to JLD President Bonner Allen, “The Junior League of Dallas is both honored and humbled to be recognized by Dallas CASA. The work Dallas CASA volunteers do for the most vulnerable children in our community is exactly what the mission of the Junior Leagues is about — it is improving the community through effective action and leadership of trained volunteers.”

Appropriately the honorary chair for the event will Christie Carter, who in addition to being a longtime Dallas CASA supporter, is also past president of the JLD, served on various boards and chaired this past year’s Crystal Charity Ball. It should be noted that she also co-chaired the “recently concluded $37M Abused Children Can’t Wait — The Campaign for Dallas CASA, which saw Dallas CASA more than double it program capacity, dramatically grow the number of volunteer advocates and move into a much larger building to accommodate the rapid growth.”

Priscilla and Corey Anthony*

John and Laura Losinger*

Champion of Children co-chairs will be Priscilla and Corey Anthony and Laura and John Losinger.

* Graphic and photos provided by Dallas CASA

Go Red For Women Luncheon Speaker Alison Levine Inspired Guests To Conquer All Challenges Including Heart Disease By Being Relentless

As loads of folks especially ladies attended the health screenings, cooking demonstration and CPR demonstration starting at 10 a.m. at Omni Dallas for Go Red for Women on Friday, February 4, the car cha-cha at the front door grew to bumper-to-bumper around 11:30 for those attending just the luncheon.

Amy Simmons Crafton, Melissa Cameron and Anne Stodghill

In the meantime, the invitation-only VIP reception scheduled for 10:30 was aglow in red thanks to guests in their American Heart Association best like Amy Simmons Crafton and Anne Stodghill, who was in a full-length red coat complete with glitter.

Miller Gill, Rebecca Gill, Mary Parker, Suzanne Humphreys and Joe Parker

Nancy Gopez and Alison Levine

Alas, speaker-of-honor Alison Levine was late in arriving, but once there she was non-stop howdy-doing. Waiting their turn with Alison, Sandi Haddock Community Impact Awardee Mary Parker and her family (son Miller Gill, daughter Rebecca Gill, mother Suzanne Humphreys and husband Joe Parker) posed for a quick cellphoto taken by Open Your Heart Chair and Survivor Nancy Gopez.

By noon the reception area in front of the Dallas Ballroom looked like a poppy field thanks to guests like Sandi Haddock, Kay Hammond, Kit Sawers, Roz Colombo, Gina Betts, Debbie Oates, Christie Carter, Mary Martha Pickens, Lisa Cooley, Ciara Cooley, Tracy Lange, Becky Bowen, Vicki Howland, Ramona Jones and fellas like Ron Haddock and Stan Levenson.

Kit Sawers, Gina Betts and Roz Colombo

Mary Martha Pickens, Ciara Cooley and Lisa Cooley

Thank heaven the chimes rang, the ballroom doors opened and the crowd filled the place.

Stan Levenson

Pat Malambri

Luncheon Chair Michelle Vopni introduced Amy Simmons Crafton for the invocation and Macy’s Dallas Fort Worth District VP Pat Malambri, who told of the longtime association of the retailer with the battle against heart disease in women. He also added that he hoped that many of the guests’ red outfits had come from Macy’s.

Following a brief rest for lunch, American Heart Association Dallas/Fort Worth Executive Director Melissa Cameron presented the Sandi Haddock Community Impact Award to Mary Parker, who graciously accepted the award and scored points with Pat saying, “My dress came from Macy’s.”

Then Melissa presented Open Your Heart Chair/Survivor Nancy Gopez, who asked her pal Mary to return to the podium to share the occasion. It was Mary’s advocacy about heart disease that alerted Nancy to the sign of her heart attack last year.

Mary told the audience that Amy and her AmazingGrace.Life had provided a $25,000 match for any $1,000 contributors.

Beck Weathers

As the ladies left the stage, local mountain climber Dr. Beck Weathers, who barely survived the 1996 Mt. Everest disaster, introduced Alison, who gave a polished talk. Somehow, she intertwined her twice quest to conquer Mt. Everest with every day challenges by taking one step at a time and the importance of being relentless. The first attempt in 2002 had been daunting with weeks of climbing back and forth between camps on the mountain to acclimate her body for the climb to the 29,002-foot peak. Toward the final phase, one has to take five to ten breaths for each step. To make it through this part of the climb, she focused on a nearby rock. Once there, she would focus on another rock. The message was to take one step at a time in order to achieve the final goal.

In the end, she and her team had come within 200 feet of the summit only to have to turn back because they were running low on oxygen and supplies.

Alison Levine

As a result of the miss, she learned that failure wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. After all, she and her team survived. If they had made it to summit, they might not have survived the journey down. Still, she had no plans of attempting another run for the summit.

It was her good friend/collegiate All-American soccer player Meg Berté Owen who urged her to try again. It was Meg’s resilience that turned Alison’s decision. It seems that despite her lungs being damaged due to having Hodgkin’s disease, Meg had become an avid cyclist and raised funds to fight cancer. Her death in 2009 as a result of the flu provided the impetus for Alison to take on Everest again. This time she engraved Meg’s name on her ice-ax and took on the challenge one more time. This time as she neared the summit, a storm approached. But Alison just knew she could make it to the top and return safely. Yes, she made it to the top of the world long enough to hold up a T-shirt reading “Team Meg.”

It was a talk that lasted just long enough and yet was both inspirational and refreshing.

Then it was a scamper to the cars, but it ran right on time with a finish time of 1:10.