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.

MySweetCharity Photo Alert: 2017 Go Red For Women Luncheon

Nancy Gopez and Alison Levine

For tackling the climb to conquering heart disease, the 2017 Go Red For Women gals donned the color of the month — red — and filled the Omni Dallas Hotel on Friday, February 3, to hear best-selling author/sportswoman/explorer Alison Levine tell of her challenges in reaching the summit of Mt. Everest.

As big a draw as Alison was, there was a large number on hand to support Sandi Haddock Impact Awardee Mary Parker and Open Your Heart Chair Nancy Gopez.

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

While the post is being prepped, the ladies in red and friends supporting the American Heart Association Dallas Division can be found at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

As Cookie Sales Wind Down, Girl Scouts Of Northeast Texas Announce Astronaut Dr. Mae Jemison To Keynote Women Of Distinction Luncheon

There is absolutely no truth to the rumors that the Girl Scouts are running low on cookies. Not only are there plenty of stashes of Samoas, Thin Mints, Tagalongs and other cookies still available, but there is additional news.

Inside word has just arrived that Women of Distinction Luncheon Co-chairs Laura Downing and Susan Glassmoyer have arranged for Dr. Mae Jemison (aka the first African American woman in space) to be the keynote speaker for the Friday, November 3rd Girl Scouts fundraiser at the Omni Dallas’ Dallas Ballroom.

Mae Jemison*

According to Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas Chief Executive Officer Jennifer Bartkowski, “We are honored to welcome Dr. Jemison as our keynote speaker at the Women of Distinction Luncheon. Dr. Jemison, a former Girl Scout herself, is a representation of who we want our girls to be – a female not afraid to take risks, someone who has the courage to enter a field where she may be in the minority, and a woman with the boldness to advocate for her ideas. We all look forward to hearing Dr. Jemison’s inspiring story.”

As for the recipients of the “outstanding women leaders” awards in Life Achievement, Women of Distinction, Young Women of Distinction and Man Enough, that news is yet to come. Be patient. It’s slated to be announced this spring.

BTW, deadline for nominations is Thursday, February 23. Ah, shoot! That’s just around the corner.

As for the cookies, they’ll be available in this neck of the woods until Sunday, February 26. But don’t wait til the last minute.

And as you’re munching away on your cookies, why not nominate that special person for an award and  lock down your place at the Women of Distinction Luncheon now? Mae’s talk should be out of this world.

* Photo provided by Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas

Award-Winning Director/Screenwriter Robert Benton To Receive The Dallas Star At The Art of Film In March

Back in 1934, North Texas was just a conglomeration of small towns. Dallas and Fort Worth were considered the big-time cities. But they weren’t really all that big. SMU was just 19 years old. There was no Fair Park. But there was a couple who had become folk heroes after running roughshod over the law. Their names were Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow.

Less than four months after Bonnie and Clyde’s deaths in May of that year, a baby boy was born in Waxahachie to Dorothy and Ellery Benton. They named him Robert Douglas Benton. As a boy, he had a rough time in school due to his dyslexia.

Robert Benton*

According to Robert, “I was dyslexic before anybody knew what dyslexia was. I was called ‘slow.’” It’s an awful feeling to think of yourself as ‘slow’—it’s horrible.”  

Thanks to hard work, Robert attended both the University of Texas, where he was a classmate of future columnist Liz Smith, and Columbia University and eventually became the art director at Esquire magazine in the early 1960s.

It was around this time that Robert recalled stories that his father had told him about Bonnie and Clyde. So he and his writing partner David Newman put their heads together and wrote the script for “Bonnie and Clyde” that made stars of Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, Gene Hackman and Estelle Parsons. The movie was also a game-changing film for the industry.

Not only did the film set Benton in a different direction of screenplay writing, he also was given the opportunity to direct films like “Bad Company” in 1972 and “The Late Show” in 1977. But in 1979 he hit the jackpot with the release of “Kramer vs. Kramer,” which swept the Oscars for the film, actors Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep and Benton’s direction and original screenplay.

Once again the film shook things up about the role of parenting. As Robert put it, “I’d like to know what law is that says that a woman is a better parent, simply by virtue of her sex.”

Over the years, Robert went on to direct Justin Henry, Jane Alexander, Sally Field, John Malkovich, Lindsay Crouse and Paul Newman in Oscar-nominated performances.

His success extended beyond filmmaking. He dated feminist Gloria Steinem in the 1960s, was a friend of many greats including the late Paul Newman and had Richard Russo dedicate his Pulitzer Prize-winning Empire Falls to him.

But just as Robert was turning 52, he returned to his roots in Waxahachie for the award-winning “Places In The Heart” that was set in 1935.

On Wednesday, March 29, Robert will once again return to North Texas for The Art of Film to receive the Dallas Star Award from the Dallas Film Society at sixfivehundred. Unlike years past, when The Art of Film has taken place in the fall, this year’s event will be held on Wednesday, March 29, leading up to the 2017 Dallas International Film Festival and introducing the festival’s focus on the films of 1967, like “Bonnie and Clyde.”

James Faust (File Photo)

According to DFS Artistic Director James Faust, “Robert Benton is both an award-winning director and writer as well as a Texas treasure, who has been responsible for some of the most beloved film classics of the past five decades both through his director’s vision and his words placed on the page. The fact that he co-wrote ‘Bonnie and Clyde,’ which was part of the hallowed film class of 1967, makes this a wonderful time to honor him with our Dallas Star Award.”

Regina Montoya and Paul Coggins (File photo)

Craig and Kathryn Hall (File photo)

Event co-chairs will be Regina Montoya and Paul Coggins with Kathryn and Craig Hall serving as honorary co-chairs. Host committee members include Courtney and Benton Bagot, Matt Bivona, Janis Burklund, Melina McKinnon and Michael Cain, Kelly and Jason Cleveland, Judy and Sam Coats, Hayley and Gary Cogill, Erin and Trey Cox, Pam and Mark Denesuk, Sheri Deterling and Geoff Hawkes, Joy and Billie Ellis, Jenn and James Faust, Rebecca Flores, Clare Freeman, Suzanne and Michael Grishman, Mary and Bradley Hatcher, Eric Hirschhorn, Alison and Harry Hunsicker, Lynn Lewis, Mary Blake and Chuck Meadows, Jan Miller and Jeff Rich, Sarah and Lee Papert, Anne and Steve Stodghill, Deborah and Don Stokes, Erin and Larry Waks and Ken and Maureen Womack.

Tickets and sponsorships for The Art of Film are available at the Dallas Film Society’s website and by calling 214.720.0555.

* Photo provided by Dallas Film Society

2017 Great Adventure Hunt Provided Brainbusting Puzzles Throughout The Perot From Mother Goose To Fencing For ChildCareGroup

While the black-tie-optional Catholic Charities group was filling the Omni’s Dallas Ballroom on Saturday, January 28, nearly 320 more casual types were on the other side of downtown Dallas at the Perot Museum.

Tori Mannes and Bart Showalter

Joe Mannes and Michael Newman

The occasion was the Great Adventure Hunt benefiting ChidCareGroup and chaired by Erin Nealy Cox and Trey Cox and Nicole and Justin Small and presented by
Data Alliance
. According to CCG President/CEO Tori Mannes, last year’s GAH wizard-behind-the-scenes/journalist Tom Shroder had begged off  this year, due to his writing two books. To seek a replacement puzzle strategist, Tori killed two birds with one stone. She asked past champ team members John Harris, Joe Mannes, Tom Nynas, Kemp Sawers and Elizabeth and Bart Showalter to create the puzzles for the night. Not only did she come up with some real insiders creating the evening’s challenges, she also allowed for a new team to score the top prize.

Wendy Moore Oglesby,, Peggy Allison, Edward Oglesby Gladys Kolenovsky and Lyda Hill

Rena Pederson

One of those vying for the trophy was the infamous Lyda Hill team (Peggy Allison, Gladys Kolenovsky, Wendy Moore Oglesby, Edward Oglesby and Rena Pederson), whose captain, Lyda, has played in every GAH except the very first one. In preparation for the evening, Lyda reported her team had met twice to strategize and to allow each of their strengths to shine. Lyda recalled that her team had won the competition “several times in a row, but not recently. We have to let others win!” she joked.

When asked about her upcoming Linz Award, Lyda admitted that she was truly taken by surprise. She was told about the honor over the phone while she was driving, and was caught totally speechless.

Doug Murray

On another subject, Lyda was asked why time and time again people think her middle name is “Hunt.” While her brother (Al Galatyn Hill Jr.) and sister (Alinda Hunt Hill Wikert) both have middle names, Lyda doesn’t. But she recalled that years ago, everyone was into monogramming. Since a great monogram had three letters, young Lyda gave herself a temporary “H” to fill the bill.

While the cocktail reception carried on in the Lyda Hill Gems and Minerals Hall on the third level, production coordinator Doug Murray was preparing the acoustics for the dinner on the first level. Some guests didn’t recognize Doug. The reason? He’s lost 50 pounds—going from a 17 1/2 shirt-neck size to a 15 1/2—by exercising and eliminating soft drinks and breads from his diet. However, he admitted that on Sundays he may cheat and have a pizza. His goal is to lose 15 more pounds.

Fencing*

As for the competition, the puzzlemasters proved their worth.The very first challenge took place at the dinner tables with a round of Bingo, Then they were off and running with “puzzles featuring unique items such as edible clues, Mother Goose, a fencing match, ‘The Hokey Pokey’ and Twister. Some team solved the puzzles with ease, and other chose to receive extra hints.”

Tori Mannes, John Matthews, Kat Kunze, Suzanne Smith, Ben Mackey, Melanie Ferguson and Evgeniy Gentchev*

After the final team “crossed the finish line” and made it back to their tables for dessert and the results, it was team Matthews Southwest (John Matthews, Kat Kunze, Suzanne Smith, Ben Mackey, Melanie Ferguson and Evgeniy Gentchev) that not only took home the prize but also proved to have the distance in their effort. Boss John Matthews had flown in from Canada just to participate in the Hunt.

Other winners included the following:

From the left: (back row) Kathy Touchstone, Jenny Murphey and Jason Arneson; (front row) Kathryn Treece, Alyson Trout and Andrea English*

  • Second place — Kick-Off Party Sponsor Pegasus Bank and Bright and Bright LLP (Kathy Touchstone, Jenny Murphey, Jason Arneson, Kathryn Treece, Alyson Trout and Andrea English.
  • Third place — Meredith and Scott Wallace team
  • Rookie team — Meredith and Scott Wallace team
  • Best Team Name — Valet sponsor Roach Howard Smith and Barton for “Can’7 5OLV3 TH15”
* Photo provided by ChildCareGroup

 

Dallas CASA’s 10th Annual Cherish The Children Luncheon To Have Casey Gerald As Keynote Speaker And The Inaugural Caroline Rose Hunt Award

Sometimes the best things can be found in your own backyard. That’s exactly what Dallas CASA’s 10th Annual Cherish The Children Luncheon Chair Shonn Brown discovered for the Wednesday, April 5th luncheon at the Fairmont Hotel.

Cherish the Children Luncheon*

For its keynote speaker, Shonn announced it will be Dallas native Casey Gerald, who overcame a “harrowing childhood in Oak Cliff to receive degrees from Yale University and Harvard Business School.”

Casey Gerald**

Like many success stories, his accomplishments were due to his parents. But they weren’t the role models that other folks serve in their children’s lives, unless it was what not to become. His mother, who suffered from mental illness, disappeared from Casey’s life when he was 12. As for his dad, he was a drug addict. What helped Casey take a different fork in the road was “his community, who surrounded him with support.”

Thanks to excelling at high school football and that community support, he earned a BA in political science from Yale and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

But what launched him to internet fame was his 2014 Harvard commencement speech that went viral.

Just two years later, his TED talk “There be no miracles here” once again catapulted him into internet fame with more than 1M views.

Caroline Rose Hunt (File photo)

According to columnist Anand Giriharadas, “Casey has lived the breathtaking fullness of America. He is a real-life Forrest Gump — oh, and he’s not yet 30. His sonorous voice, on the page and the stage, will be a bugle call for his generation, and for the rest of us.”

Also on the “Cherish the Children” program will be the inaugural Caroline Rose Hunt Cherish the Children Award, which will be presented to the National Council of Jewish Women, Great Dallas Section. Named after longtime philanthropist and Dallas CASA Children’s Council member Caroline Rose Hunt, the award was established to recognize “an individual or organization for outstanding contributions helping children who have been removed from home for abuse or severe neglect.”

Tickets are now available starting at $175, but those tickets are limited.

* Graphic provided by Dallas CASA 
** Photo credit: Joao Canziani

JUST IN: Jonathan’s Place Adds Tiffany And Mark, Dirk And Jan And Trevor To “A Chance To Soar Luncheon” Namedropping Lineup

Simone Biles*

Boy, talk about name dropping! As if the Jonathan’s Place’s “A Chance To Soar” luncheon on Tuesday, April 25, at the Hilton Anatole wasn’t gangbusters enough with Olympian Simone Biles as the featured speaker, an impressive array of nationally known locals have been added to the lineup.

According to Jonathan’s Place CEO Allicia Graham Frye, “We are so grateful to Tiffany and Mark Cuban for their continued support of Jonathan’s Place and are very proud to have them serve as honorary chairs for the luncheon this year.”  

In addition to Simone chatting it up with NBC 5’s Meredith Land, the following distinguished Jonathan’s Place supporters will be recognized:

  • Award of Compassion: Dirk Nowitzki (Dirk Nowitzki Foundation)
  • Award of Service: Dillard’s
  • Award of Excellence: Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones (Trevor Rees-Jones Foundation)

Trevor and Jan Rees-Jones (File photo)

While sponsorships are still available, folks who purchase tables at $2,500 will also receive tickets to a VIP reception and photo opp with Simone.

At this date the following sponsors have already signed up:

  • Champion Sponsor: Insperity and Mohr Partners
  • Hero Sponsor: Al G. Hill Jr.
  • Guardian Sponsors: Julie and Scott Bagley, Allison and John Carlisle, Tracy and Ben Lange, Macy’s, Larissa and Mitchell Milby, Kay Sim, Rachel and Brad Stephens, Strategic Dealer Services and Stacey and Reid Walker
  • Defender Sponsors: At Home, Dana and Brad Ayres, Barbie and Bill Borlaug, Keri Brookshire and Susan Mattox, Kimberly and Christopher Cocotos, ConnectThree, Serena Simmons Connelly, Suzie and Bunker Curnes, Mary and Ted Fredericks, Icon Partners, Amy Mahoney and Nikki Wolff, Jenny and Jason Lichty, Alexandra Lovitt, Beth Maultsby and Goranson Bain PLLC, Jennifer and Bradley Norris, Josephine C. Olson, Kerry and Don Peterson, Stephanie and Todd Phillips, Marcellene Malouf and Royal Furgeson, Julie and Eliot Raffkind, Katherine and Eric Reeves, Cordelia and David Rendall, Republic National Distribution Co., Randa and Doug Roach, Southern Enterprises LLC, Verner Brumley Mueller Parker PC, April and John Willingham and Linda and Ken Wimberly

JUST IN: NFL Star/America’s Got Talent’s Jon Dorenbos To Keynote DCAC’s 10th Annual Appetite For Advocacy

Jon Dorenbos has scored fame on two entirely different fronts. He’s a two-time NFL Pro Bowler, having just completed his 11th year with the Philadelphia Eagles as a long snapper. And just this past year, his talents in magic placed him third “with his mind-blowing magic performances on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.”

Jon Dorenbos*

But that is today. Back in October 1992, he was a 12-year-old boy who should have been outdoors playing sports. After all, he and his family were the picture-perfect version of “Father Knows Best” living in Woodinville, Washington. Instead he was in a courtroom with his brother, Randy Dorenbos, and sister, Krissy Dorenbos, watching their father, Alan Dorenbos, on trial for the second-degree murder of their mother, Kathy Dorenbos. The reason the former Little League president gave police for beating his wife to death with a grinding tool: He “lost it.”

During the trial the children sat in the courtroom listening to the testimony and testifying.

As a relative told The Seattle Times, “The children have lost a father and mother. This is really very difficult for everyone.”

After their father was sentenced to less than 14 years in prison, Randy stayed in Woodinville to finish high school, while Jon and Krissy “moved in with an aunt and uncle in Garden Grove, California.”

Jon Dorenbos*

For some this tragedy and turning point would have been an opportunity to find escape in drugs and crime, but Jon went down a different road. And that story will be provided for those attending the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center’s 10th Annual Appetite for Advocacy Luncheon on Wednesday, April 19, at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel.

Appetite for Advocacy*

Chairing the event will be the father-daughter team of Dick Collins and Genevieve Collins.

Warning: This one is going to be a sellout, so don’t go slo-mo in locking down those tickets.  

* Graphic and photos provided by Dallas Children's Advocacy Center

 

JUST IN: Dallas Women’s Foundation’s Leadership Forum And Awards Dinner Plans Announced Including Keynote Speaker Carla Harris

Carla Harris*

And the good news just keeps rolling in! Dallas Women’s Foundation is popping with news on all fronts regarding the Leadership Forum and Awards Dinner on Tuesday, May 9, at the Dallas Omni Hotel. Dinner  Co-Chairs Cheryl Alston and Laura V. Estrada have arranged for Vice Chairman, Wealth Management, Managing Director and Senior Client Advisor at Morgan Stanley Carla Harris to be the keynote speaker. In addition to being a presidential-appointed chair of the National Women’s Business Council, the Port Arthur native has written “Strategies to Win” and “Expect to Win” and gospel singer.

As for the recipients of the 2017 Maura Women Helping Women and Young Leader Awards, DWF President/CEO Ros Dawson Thompson revealed quite a lineup. The 2017 Mauras will be presented to the following gals at the dinner:

  • Hind El Saadi El Jarrah*

    Hind El Saadi El Jarrah, Ph.D. – Born in Beirut to Palestinian parents, Jarrah has promoted the understanding and respect for multicultural diversity, especially for her three daughters. To preserve her culture and to instill it in her daughters, in 1982 she co-founded the Arabic Heritage Society, a nonprofit whose mission was educational, cultural, social and charitable to preserve and promote understanding of the culture. From 1983 to 1991, she served as principal of the Arabic school. After 9/11, widespread misconceptions about Islam and Muslims resulted in her giving speeches about these topics to promote understanding. In 2005, she co-founded and continues to serve as the executive director of the Texas Muslim Women’s Foundation (TMWF), a nonprofit that empowers Muslim women and their families and addresses critical needs of this population including counseling, legal services and play therapy. In 2012, TMWF opened Peaceful Oasis, a shelter for victims and children of domestic violence, which has served more than 1,500 clients from all faiths and races.

  • Madeline McClure*

    Madeline McClure, LCSW – As the founding CEO of TexProtects, The Texas Association for the Protection of Children, McClure is on a mission to prevent child abuse. After a successful nine-year career in finance on Wall Street, she started a second career to help abused and neglected children by creating large-scale systemic change through legislative advocacy. Under her leadership, TexProtects has led or assisted in the passage of 41 bills that have improved the Child Protective Services system, and advocated for and secured $100 million for family support home visiting programs, which currently serve more than 21,000 families across Texas. Recently, McClure led successful efforts to make positive changes to Texas’ Child Protective Services, including a recent approval of pay raises for 5,000+ frontline CPS caseworkers, of which 75 percent are female.

  • Tonya Parker*

    The Honorable Tonya Parker – Judge Tonya Parker has been Judge of the 116th Civil District Court in Dallas County since she was elected in 2010 and re-elected in 2014. During her tenure, she has served with the highest remarks and approval ratings. She currently serves as the Presiding Judge of the Dallas County Civil District Courts and is the immediate past president of the Texas Association of District Judges. By serving honorably in her position, she has elevated the status of and opened doors for women. In addition, she is involved with IGNITE, a non-partisan organization aimed at developing political ambition and training for young women (ages 14-22) to run for public office. Parker serves as a mentor to these young women, helping them learn how to be impactful contributors to society, especially if they are elected. Parker also finds time to serve on many legal associations, civic boards and commissions. A passionate speaker, she’s often asked to give speeches to legal groups and schools, including an impactful commencement speech she gave to Richardson ISD graduates in 2015.

  • Lupe Valdez*

    Sheriff Lupe Valdez – The youngest child and only daughter born to migrant farm workers, Sheriff Lupe Valdez became the highest-ranking law enforcement officer in Dallas County in 2005. Re-elected for her fourth term in 2016, she is the only Hispanic female sheriff in the nation and one of four female sheriffs in Texas. Because her mother was determined that she would receive an education, Valdez worked two jobs to put herself through college. After college, she enlisted in the Army Reserves where she rose to the rank of captain, and also earned a master’s degree in criminology and criminal justice. As Sheriff, she has partnered with the Dallas County Commissioner’s Court, Parkland Hospital, Dallas County Constables, the District Attorney’s Office and several judges to improve county law enforcement. Some of her successes include hiring 400 new detention service officers, expanding the highway patrol system, and improving healthcare for mentally ill inmates.

Dallas Women’s Foundation’s Young Leader Award recognizes breakthrough leadership exhibited by a woman under the age of 40 who is achieving success in a field, initiative or sector, and creating a path of opportunity for other women to follow.

Cynthia Nwaubani*

Presented by Capital One, this year’s Young Leader Awardee will be Cynthia Nwaubani, CPA. “Because of the important role education played in Nwaubani’s life, she has devoted her time on efforts to promote education, empowerment and financial independence for women and girls. She earned her MBA and CPR certification while working full-time and raising a family, and now works as a relationship manager for Wells Fargo & Company. She was recently recognized with Wells Fargo’s “Living with Vision and Values” award just two years into her career. She’s passionate about connecting women executives and clients, as well as global diversity that focuses on diversity of thoughts, ideas and experiences. Through her involvement with 4word women’s group, she is able to grow with other women leaders who work, love and pray. Nwaubani also mentors women business owners from countries that have been affected by war or genocide through the Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women.”

According to Ros, “We are proud to honor and celebrate exceptional leaders who are blazing trails for women in their professions and communities. These women have dedicated themselves to creating opportunities for women and girls to accomplish their goals, and their stories are an inspiration to us all.  We also look forward to hearing from the dynamic Carla Harris, who will encourage us to do even more to advance women’s leadership at work and in the community.” 

Dinner tickets starting at $150 and sponsorships are available right here!

* Photo provided by Dallas Women's Foundation

Three Days Of Letter Signing Got Underway For Callier Cares Luncheon At Beth Layton’s Dining Room Table

Beth Layton

All was not clear Tuesday, January 10, at Beth Layton’s home. While  Callier Care Luncheon Chair Emilynn Wilson arrived early to arrange stacks of letterhead and envelopes on the dining room table for a three-day-athon of letter signing, hostess Beth was already head down, hand-signing the letters.

Looking up briefly, Beth complained the windows looking out on the street weren’t pristine. Instead of grabbing a bottle of Windex, Beth just got back to signing.

Missing in action was Callier Center for Communication Disorders’ Dr. Tom Campbell, who is usually one of the first ones at the signing. Instead he was under the weather and not in the sharing mood.

Jill Edgington and Emilynn Wilson

For the next three days, peeps like Marybeth Conlon, Stacy Crouch, Marie DeCamp Dean, Jill Edgington, Louise Griffeth, Stephanie Haley, Angie Kadesky, Jean Lattimore, Vicky Lattner, Pat McEvoy, Richard Neely, Barbara Stuart, Betty Suellentrop, Beth Thoele and Kristina Whitcomb would converge on Beth’s home to personally address letters to friends and supporters about the Callier Cares luncheon honoring Dr. Kern Wildenthal with the Ruth and Ken Altshuler Callier Care Award.

The event will take place at the Dallas Country Club on Thursday, April 20, and the luncheon speaker will be announced in the days ahead. If you haven’t received your letter, go ahead and get your seat reserved.

JUST IN: Artscape Reimagined 2017 Chair Kaki Hopkins Announces Craig Hall To Receive The First Great Contributor To Art Award And Much More Deets

Due to circumstances way beyond our control, the next couple of days are going to be filled with announcements galore thanks to those wonderful people who bring you fundraising in North Texas. The news will be revealed as soon as it breaks.

The very first on the lineup just took place, courtesy of Artscape Reimagined 2017 Chair Kaki Hopkins, who never tackles any project in a lightweight manner. She gathered a crowd of folks, including many of her 48-member committee, at Dallas Arboretum’s DeGolyer House this evening to reveal plans for the upcoming Artscape Reimagined 2017.

Kaki Hopkins (File photo)

Craig Hall (File photo)

The eyebrow-raising headline of the evening was the creation of the Great Contributor to Art Award in association with the garden’s fine art and craft show. And to kick the launch of the award off with a bang, she announced the very first recipient will be entrepreneur/best-selling author/philanthropist/vineyard owner Craig Hall.

According to Kaki, “Craig Hall embodies the spirit of this award. He is someone who collects art not for himself but for the benefit of the communities in which we live and work, and we are excited to honor him.”

Craig will be presented with the Gary Lee Price-designed award on Friday, May 12, at the Artscape Award and Auction Dinner in the Arboretum’s Rosine Hall.

With wife Kathryn Hall standing nearby, Craig said, “I am a strong believer in the importance of public art and the incredible effect it can have on its audience. Art has the ability to touch the soul and make people think, and it should be shared openly and democratically. The Dallas Arboretum, through its public art exhibits, sculptures throughout the garden and Artscape, is a great example of how our city is embracing public art, and I am glad to be a part of it.”

Patricia Meadows (File photo)

Regarding Artscape itself, it will feature more than 100 renowned artists from around the country thanks to the Artscape jury including Chair  Patricia Meadows, Katherine Wagner and Marty Ray with assistance by Gail Sachson. This year’s show will feature “a variety of mediums including paintings, sculpture, 2-D and 3-D mixed media, photography, fiber, ceramics and more.” But leave it to Kaki to have ramped it up to live up to its Artscape Reimagined theme, like:

  • An architect-designed landscape layout with decorative signage and boulevards that provide excellent audience flow and heightened visibility for the artists.
  • The historic DeGolyer House transformed into the DeGolyer Gallery, featuring local Dallas galleries presenting works by artists they represent
  • The University Zone, where approximately 10 universities will show and sell works by their professors and students.

And it will all take place with the Arboretum grounds in full bloom, thanks to dazzling azaleas. The schedule calls for the member preview on Friday, April 28, with the public viewings on the following Saturday (April 29) and Sunday (April 30).  

As an additional offering, Artscape guests will also be able to check out ZimSculpt, the exhibition of “modern Zimbabwean stone sculptures that will be incorporated into the garden” from Saturday, April 15 through Monday, July 31. This collection of more than 100 hand-carved pieces will be the first time that the sculptures will be on display in the southern U.S. During their stay, Zimbabwean artists Aron Kapembeza and Passmore Mupindiko will be on hand to demonstrate how the stone is carved into modern art.

BTW, tickets for the Artscape Award and Auction Dinner are $300 per guest and will be available for purchase on Monday, February 6.

A Passing: Robert S. Folsom

Not all the news today is wonderful. One of Dallas’ legendary leaders died Tuesday, January 24 — former Mayor Robert “Bob” Folsom. His 89 years of life bridged generations with successes and accomplishments.

Robert and Margaret Folsom*

There were his years at SMU where he played football alongside Doak Walker and Kyle Rote and lettered in four sports (basketball, football, track and baseball). There was his more-than-successful career in real estate that provided a wealth of experience and knowledge that would serve as a catalyst later. There were his years on the Dallas Independent School District’s school board, where he was first a board member and then president. And there were the years (1976-1981) when he was mayor of Dallas, during which his business acumen helped him energize the community’s growth for both the corporate and nonprofit sector.

And the city and university recognized and saluted his contributions with numerous awards and acknowledgments: the SMU Edwin L. Cox  School of Business Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1995, SMU Letterman’s Association Silver Anniversary Mustang Award in 1991, J. Erik Jonsson Aviation Award in 1990, Dallas Commercial Real Estate Hall of Fame – inductee in 1989, Entrepreneur of the Year – SMU School of Business in 1984, Headliner of the Year – Dallas Press Club in 1981, James K. Wilson Art Award – Contribution to the betterment of the arts in 1980, Distinguished Alumni Award of Southern Methodist University in 1975, and  NCAA Silver Anniversary Award – College Athletics’ Top Ten in 1975.

It was only appropriate that the Robert S. Folsom Leadership Award was established by Methodist Health System Foundation “to recognize individuals whose demonstrate commitment and excellence in community leadership emulating the achievements of former Dallas Mayor Robert S. Folsom.”

But most importantly there was his family. From his marriage in 1949 to his “childhood sweetheart” the late Margaret Dalton Folsom to his three children (Steve Folsom, Diane Frank and Debbie Jarma) and their famlies, Bob knew he had the best in his life right at home. In turn, his children have carried on the legacy of giving back to the community and celebrating the greatness of Dallas.

* Photo courtesy of Methodist Health System Foundation

JUST IN: Dallas Opera Board Of Directors Chair Holly Mayer To Receive 2017 National Opera Trustee Recognition Award

Holly Mayer (File photo)

For ages The Dallas Opera Board of Directors Chair Holly Mayer has been happily flying under the radar. But for those in the know, she has been the sweetheart of The Dallas Opera (DO). She has served on the DO’s board for 27 years, and what years they’ve been. From the DO’s being on the edge of ruin to its present glory days, she’s stayed the course as vice president of development from 2001 to 2014. Need proof?

According to The National Opera America Center, “During Ms. Mayer’s time as vice president of development, the company achieved a 50 percent increase in annual giving over a two-year period. She helped lead numerous multi-million-dollar fundraising campaigns, resulting in $20 million for the company’s endowment (more than doubling its size), $5.1 million for the construction of the company’s administrative offices and $3.1 million in honor of the company’s 50th anniversary, among other successes.”

But her low profile was unveiled to many unknowing types when she received the TACA Silver Cup in 2014 and was recognized as Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser by the Greater Dallas Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals this past November.  

Fellow DO Board Member/Silver Cup Awardee John Cody described Holly this way: “Perhaps most impressive is Holly’s willingness to take on leadership roles during challenging times — evidence of her blend of optimism and tenacity. She is well-known for her ability to listen and to offer valuable insight, and can be counted on to apply the highest professional standards to all she endeavors. The trust she instills in others is evident in the number of times her colleagues are willing to say ‘yes’ when Holly asks them to join her.”

So, it should come as no surprise that Holly has just been named one of four recipients of the Opera America’s 2017 National Opera Trustee Recognition Awards. Along with Carol Lazier of the San Diego Opera, R. Marsh Gibson of Opera Memphis and Jerry Clack of Opera Theater of Pittsburgh, Holly will be honored at a dinner in NYC on Friday, February 24.

The selection of the recipients is based on their displaying “a significant range of accomplishments, profound generosity and a deep devotion to promoting opera in their communities.”

Congrats to Holly and the DO for having her.

Much To Everyone’s Delight, Philanthropy Day Luncheon’s Spotlight Was Once Again Hijacked By The Outstanding Youth In Philanthropy

There are those who worry about the importance that the next generation will place on philanthropy and fundraising. But all they need to do is attend the annual National Philanthropy Day Luncheon put on by the Greater Dallas Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Each year, it seems like the recipient of the Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy knocks it out of the park. This year’s presentation at The Hyatt Regency Dallas on Friday, November 18, once again had youth showstopping despite the eloquence of the elders. Here is a report from the field:

The Greater Dallas Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ 31st Annual National Philanthropy Day Luncheon, held Friday, November 18, at the Hyatt Regency Dallas, honored six of Dallas’ finest philanthropists and volunteers for the differences that they have made in our community. This year’s awards honored Mike Myers as Outstanding Philanthropist; Holly Mayer as Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser; Jim Lewis, CFRE, as Outstanding Fundraising Executive; The Theodore and Beulah Beasley Foundation as Outstanding Foundation; Bank of America as Outstanding Corporation; and the Garage Sale Girls as Outstanding Youth(s) in Philanthropy.

Jeanie Wyatt, Holly Mayer, Jim Lewis, Kristen Lee, Scott Murray, Mike Myers, Victoria Beasley Vanderslice and Bob Beasley*

Judy Wright*

Event chair Tara Judd Longley, CFRE, CPECP, shared a message of gratitude with the crowd of 500, thanking them for their philanthropy, service, dedication, and investment in the future. 2016 AFP Greater Dallas Chapter Board President Judy Wright recognized additional major sponsors South Texas Money Management, Dini Spheris, The Dallas County Community College District Foundation, Texas Health, M. Gale and Associates, Parkland Foundation, Texas Capital Bank, and Southwestern Medical Foundation and UT Southwestern.

Judy also thank longtime event emcee Scott Murray, along with son Doug Murray, who came on board with Murray Media as the luncheon’s presenting sponsor, producing the videos of the award recipients speaking prior to receiving their awards. 

The Most Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy video was one of the most memorable of the day showcasing the creativity, sense of humor, and hard work of the Garage Sale Girls – a group of childhood friends from Lewisville, who each had one parent diagnosed with cancer within a short time frame. The girls, stunned that cancer had entered each of their families’ lives so close together, decided to make a difference by organizing a garage sale. From 2011-2015, Kristen Lee, Cailee Dennis, Stefanie Doyle and Anna Elkin, raised a combined total of $90,000 to benefit cancer research at the American Cancer Society. 

As Kristen spoke on stage she said they could not believe they were able to make so much money. “I thought the first year we might make $1,000, and we made $5,000! We couldn’t have done it without the help of the community – it was amazing!” The audience roared with laughter at the video which not only showed the girls and their moms organizing the garage sales, but also included comical scenes of group driving around “dumpster diving” to find items to sell. The final scene in the video showed the group – cue the theme song from “Sanford and Son” – driving off in a red truck loaded with lots of “stuff.” Kristen Lee accepted the award on behalf of the other girls who were competing in the NCAA soccer tournament that day and could not attend the luncheon. All of the girls are freshmen at the University of Arkansas. As Scott Murray visited with Kristen on stage, he suggested they might take a selfie showing the audience behind them to text to the girls who couldn’t be there. 

Kristen Lee and Scott Murray*

He asked her for advice to the audience. She concluded, “If you have a dream, go for it! She referenced her conversation (at the age of 12) with her mom about her garage sale idea. She said her mom said, “Sure, honey, whatever…you’ll raise $10.” But she went for it anyway, and her mom and dad are her biggest cheerleaders.  

Outstanding Fundraising Executive Jim Lewis shared the most rewarding thing about fundraising is that it’s a team game, humbly acknowledging that “any significant gift in which I have been involved has had many fingerprints in it.” He went on to say his role is merely one of a facilitator working on behalf of a cause and assisting those who are the difference makers through their philanthropy.  He also gave a moving tribute to his late wife Cheryl, whom he lost last January, and gratefully accepted the award on her behalf and in recognition of countless other spouses who have made great but significant contributions “ to support folks like me who endeavor to serve the greater good through our work.”

Sammye and Mike Myers*

Outstanding Philanthropist Mike Myers shared that his personal inspiration for giving was his mother. “As a school teacher and Sunday School teacher, she taught me the importance of giving. She not only talked the talk, she walked the walk.  It was through her example and guidance that I developed a compassion for and a commitment to those who need a helping hand.”

Attendees included Mary Brinegar, Brent Christopher, Ruben Esquivel, Ed Fjordbak, Sarah Losinger, Michael Meadows, Jay McAuley, Lynn McBee, Helen and Frank Risch, Bob Thornton, Lynn Vogt and Jeanie Wyatt.

Scott Murray concluded the luncheon, thanking all for coming to celebrate the impact philanthropy has in our communities and encouraging everyone to note the date for next year – Friday, November 10, 2017 at the Hyatt Regency Dallas.

* Photo credit: Kristina Bowman

Thanks To CNM Connect’s “A Night Of Light,” The Awards Kept Being Handed Out On Thursday, November 17

And the awards just kept being given out on Thursday, November 17. Tis the season, don’t you know! Following the Dallas Historical Society‘s Awards of Excellence at lunchtime, the CNM Connect presented by Atmos Energy held forth in the evening at the George W. Bush Presidential Institute with WFAA’s Ron Corning doing the emceeing for “A Night of Light”.

According to CNM President/CEO Tina Weinfurther, individuals and organization within the North Texas nonprofit world were chosen by an independent panel of judges, who based their selection on the winners being “at the forefront of driving positive impact in our community.” In addition to learning the results and receiving their awards, the recipients were given a $5,000 cash grant for their organization as well as a $2,500 scholarship toward CNM services such as training or consulting.

The Family Place CEO Paige Flink admitted that 2016 was a competitive year, with the Girls Scouts of Northeast Texas being a finalist in a number of the categories. While Paige was right on target about the Scouts, her concerns were for naught when it came to her own chances.

Lori Ross, Don Ferrier, Donna Van Ness, Tina K. Weinfurther, Kit Addleman, Jennifer Bartkowski and Paige Flink*

Here is the list of the happy folks/organization that received the awards:

  • Nonprofit of the Year presented by Frost — Girls Scouts of Northeast Texas accepted by GSN CEO Jennifer Bartkowski
  • Nonprofit CEO of the Year presented by Bank of America — Paige Flink of The Family Place
  • Nonprofit Board Leader of the Year presented by Fidelity Investments — Kit Addleman of Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas
  • Nonprofit Partner of the Year presented by Southwest Airlines — Tarrant County Housing Partnership accepted by TCHP President Donna Van Ness and Ferrier Companies accepted by Ferrier Companies President Don Ferrier
  • Robert Miller Nonprofit Communicator of the Year presented by Communities Foundation of Texas — First Liberty Institute accepted by FLI Human Resources Director Lori Ross
* Photo provided by CNM Connect

From An Olympian Gold Medalist To An Opera CEO, The Awards Of Excellence Celebrated A Wide Range Of Achievers

One of the favorite award luncheons of the fall season is the Dallas Historical Society‘s Awards for Excellence. Just the week before Thanksgiving on Thursday, November 17, the lovers of Dallas history and those who help make it all come true were at the Fairmont for the handing out of awards and the legendary A.C. Greene champagne toast. Here’s a report from the field:

The Board of Trustees of the Dallas Historical Society, with Honorary Co-Chairs Gail Thomas, PhD and Robert Hyer Thomas and co-chairs Veletta Forsythe Lill and Mary Suhm, welcomed over 650 attendees to the 35th Awards for Excellence (AFE) in Community Service luncheon on Thursday, November 17, at the Fairmont Dallas.

May Suhm, Amy Aldredge and Veletta Forsythe Lill*

As attendees arrived and took their seats, Master of Ceremonies Stewart Thomas welcomed everyone to the 35th annual celebration, which recognizes individuals who have demonstrated generosity of spirit, civic leadership, and ability to encourage community-wide participation in a particular phase of the growth of the city. He then welcomed Reverend Richie Butler, senior pastor of St Paul United Methodist Church, for the invocation. 

Following the invocation, guests enjoyed a first course of spring pea and ham soup en croute with mint cream, followed by roasted chicken breast with demi glace served with old school stacked potatoes, arugula and carrot cardamom puree. Thomas returned to introduce Co-Chairs Veletta and Mary.

Bob and Gail Thomas*

Ms. Lill and Ms. Suhm expressed their gratitude to attendees, event sponsors and the luncheon committee for their support of this year’s Awards for Excellence, particularly Honorary Co-Chairs Gail Thomas and Robert Hyer Thomas. Applauding the couple’s many contributions to Dallas, including their long-standing support of the Dallas Historical Society, the co-chairs announced that two special books would be donated in the Thomas’ honor to the G.B. Dealey Library and Reading Room at the Hall of State: for Bob, Darwin Payne‘s “One Hundred Years On The Hilltop: The Centennial History of Southern Methodist University” and for Gail:  the late historian A. C. Greene‘s “A Town Called Cedar Springs” for creating the sense of community from the many former historic villages that now comprise Greater Dallas.

Dallas Historical Society Board of Trustees Chair Bill Helmbrecht then took the podium recognizing event co-chairs and honorary chairs as well as Amy Aldredge, the Dallas Historical Society’s recently appointed executive director. Additionally, he thanked Arrangements Chair Shannon Callewart, Master of Ceremonies Stewart Thomas, AFE Coordinator Louise Caldwell, Caro Stalcup and Staff Liaison Nora Lenhart for all the dedicated hours they put in to making the event a success.

He also shared the impact the Dallas Historical Society makes with its holdings of over three million archives and artifacts related to Dallas and Texas history, its exhibits and events, including two upcoming exhibits, “Polly Smith: A Texas Journey” and “Drawing Power: The Editorial Art of John Knott” and its education and public programs which reach approximately 20,000 area school students annually.

As dessert of caramel pecan cheesecake with salted caramel and Texas pecans was served, Stewart returned to recognize the 2016 Awards for Excellence in Community Service recipients.  Each recipient was presented with their award by co-chairs Lill and Suhm.  

Keith Cerny, Holly Mayer and Emmanuel Villaume*

Anita Martinez, Eliseo Garcia and Patricia Meadows*

Richard Stanford and Pat Mattingly*

Hugh Aynesworth and Pierce Allman*

2016 Awards for Excellence recipients:

    • Arts Leadership – Keith Cerny, general director and CEO of the Dallas Opera
    • Business – Leonard M. Riggs Jr. M.D., noted Dallas civic leader who began his career as an emergency physician, became chief of emergency medicine at Baylor University Medical Center, and later founded the precursor of EmCare, Inc.
    • Creative Arts – Eliseo Garcia, international multi-media sculptor
    • Education – Pat Mattingly, long-time educator and former 26-year director of The Lamplighter School
    • History – Hugh Aynesworth, award-winning journalist and writer
    • Humanities – Molly Bogen, retired 40-year director of Senior Source
    • Medical Research – Eric Olson, renowned molecular biologist specializing at UT Southwestern Medical Center
    • Philanthropy – Linda Perryman Evans, president and CEO of the Meadows Foundation
    • Sports Leadership – Michael Johnson, four-time Olympic gold medalist and eight-time World Championship gold medalist
    • Volunteer Community Leadership – Philip C. Henderson, architect and urban visionary and first president of the Friends of the Katy Trail
    • Volunteer Community Leadership – Frederick “Shad” Rowe, co-founder of GIBI Investment Symposium and advocate and board member of the Michael J. Fox Foundation
    • Jubilee History Maker – Margot Perot, community volunteer and philanthropist

Nancy Shelton and Molly Bogen*

David Dunnagan and Linda Perryman Evans*

Glenn Solomon, Louise Caldwell and Michael Johnson*

Shad Rowe and Willing Ryan*

Carol Montgomery and Margot Perot*

After the awards presentation, champagne was served to all attendees as well as recipients on stage. Stewart returned to the podium, with glass in hand, to conclude with the event’s traditional A.C. Greene toast:  “Would everyone who was born in Dallas, please stand up.  Would everyone who was born in Texas, please stand up. We toast the rest of you – who were smart enough to move here as fast as you could! Here! Here!”

The A.C. Greene toast*

As the event concluded, the Judy Moore Duo played the event’s signature song, “Big D” from the musical, “Most Happy Fella.”

Proceeds from the annual fundraiser support the Dallas Historical Society and its dedication to the preservation of Dallas and Texas history through its many programs, including educational outreach and public programs.

* Photo credit: Steve Foxall