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

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

North Texas Giving Day

North Texas Giving Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

North Texas Giving Day Booster: NorthPark Center

North Texas Giving Day*

North Texas Giving Day*

“To celebrate the philanthropic spirit of our city and the wonderful work of our local nonprofits, NorthPark Center is honored to partner with Communities Foundation of Texas for a special Donation Station event for North Texas Giving Day on Thursday, September 22, 2016.

North Texas Giving Day is the one day each year when donations of $25 or more are amplified by bonus funds and prizes. This event has grown over the years into the largest giving day in the nation, raising over $119 million since its inception in 2009. Last year, an astounding 118,000 gifts totaling $33 million benefited more than 2,000 worthy nonprofit organizations.

Ballet Folklorico dancer (File photo)

Ballet Folklorico dancer (File photo)

“In celebration of this day, NorthPark will welcome many important nonprofits as well as showcase special entertainment by some of our region’s best performing arts organizations, such as Anita N. Martinez Ballet Folklorico, Dallas Black Dance Theater, Dallas Children’s Theater, Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts Dance Company, Junior Players, Lone Star Wind Orchestra, Shakespeare Dallas, and The Singing Girls of Texas and Texas Boys Choir from Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts, among others.

“Save the date now to attend KidsGive, which provides children with a chance to donate their loose change and help with nearly a dozen hands-on, philanthropic activities like stuffing goodie bags with toiletries for Attitudes and Attire and writing notes to deployed soldiers with Patriot PAWS Service Dogs. Children can also engage with animals from Dallas Zoo, SPCA of Texas and Equest.

Nancy Nasher*

Nancy Nasher*

“We hope to see you at NorthPark Center on Thursday, September 22, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in NorthCourt, on Level One between Nordstrom and Macy’s.”

Nancy A. Nasher, NorthPark Center President and Owner

______

In seven years, North Texas Giving Day has pumped more than $119 million into the North Texas community. In 2015, $33 million was raised through more than 118,000 gifts benefiting over 2,000 nonprofits.

On Thursday, September 22, support North Texas Giving Day by linking here and spreading the word. #NTxGivingDay

* Photo provided by NorthPark Center

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

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

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

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

Friends of Mansfield Public Library*

Friends of Mansfield Public Library*

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-By Lindsey Perkins Wade, Mansfield Reads! Vice President

* Photo provided by Friends of the Mansfield Public Library
______

In seven years, North Texas Giving Day has pumped more than $119 million into the North Texas community. In 2015, $33 million was raised through more than 118,000 gifts benefiting over 2,000 nonprofits.

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

It Was All Painted Hands On Deck For Hyundai Hope On Wheels Presentation For Children’s Medical Center Foundation

The cancer-battling kids at Children’s Medical Center are such incredible troopers. Having faced daunting treatments, loss of hair and being hooked up to mobile IVs, they take it all in stride. With their families at their side, they trust the wisdom and advice of their doctors and the team of healthcare providers without hesitation.

But on Friday, September 2, a handful of the young patients were wondering if these wise professionals had gone a bit batty.

But more about that later.

Brent Christopher and Kern Wildenthal

Brent Christopher and Kern Wildenthal

With chairs in the Butterfly Atrium filled, Children’s Medical Center Foundation President Brent Christopher welcomed all to the Hyundai Hope On Wheels presentation that included area Hyundai dealers and former Children’s Medical Center Foundation President Kern Wildenthal. Brent reported how in the state of Texas, one in five children diagnosed with cancer is treated at Children’s.

Stephen Skapek

Stephen Skapek

Division of Pediatric Hematology-oncology chief/Dr. Stephen Skapek told of the advances that were being made at Children’s in partnership with UT Southwestern, thanks to generous financial support. Proudly he showed off his “lab coat of Hyundai” honor that he keeps hanging in his office.

Then Hyundai South Central Regional Manager Tom Hetrick told how this event “was the best part of [his] job.” Since 1998 Hyundai nationally has provided a total of $115M to pediatric cancer research. This year the goal was $13M, with $150,000 provided by local Hyundai dealers for Children’s.

Tom Hetrick

Tom Hetrick

This year’s contribution will support the work of Dr. Kenneth “Kenny” Chen, who gratefully thanked the Hyundai team and told how 40,000 children are annually diagnosed with pediatric cancer and one in eight will not survive. He added that “only 4% of the national cancer budget goes to childhood cancer research.” It was just four years ago that Kenny and “his colleagues at Children’s Medical turned surgically removed kidney tumors — once threats to life — into new sources of information on cancer. They sequenced the genes of dozens of tumors.” Thanks to the $150,000 grant from Hyundai, Kenny will be to build on their discoveries.

This undertaking is especially important to pediatric cancer research. The 44 genes were from Wilms tumors, “a rare kidney cancer that primarily affects children under the age of five. Also known as nephroblastoma, Wilms tumor is the most common cancer of the kidneys in children. Studying mouse models and human cells. Kenny plans to investigate whether using drugs designed for adults that put microRNAs back into cells can stop or even reverse Wilms tumor cell growth.”

Kenny then introduced “the main event”: 12-year-old cancer patient Jack Maurer, who had a Wilms cancer tumor removed surgically in 2007, came to the podium. With his mother Amy Maurer smiling on the front row, the brown-haired Coppell seventh grader, whose tumor may have been one of those used in the program, briefly told the group about his stay at Children’s and thanked the Hyundai dealers for their donation. He added later, “It’s neat to think I might have been part of that. It’s like I left a legacy at the hospital that took care of me.”

Following a standing ovation, Hyundai Van General Manager George Donaldson admitted that Jack was “a tough act to follow for sure,” but he rose to the challenge saying, “This is not a day about selling cars or promoting our businesses. This is an issue that is truly at the core of who we are… We are proud to be part of this community and even more proud to have an institution like this one serving our children every day. Children are our future. They should have a chance to grow, play and learn in a world that is cancer-free. This is why we are so committed to this cause. It is for the kids.”

Following a photo session with Hyundai fellows, the Children’s team of professionals and kids all were invited upstairs to the driveway. While the adults knew what was going to happen, the kids were a bit mystified. They knew it had to do with a car and something about paint.

Once in the driveway, they spied a white Hyundai with colorful mini-hand prints. Then they were ushered to a table with bowls of paints. Once there, the adults painted the kids’ hands with the paint and had them hand-print a large piece of paper. Hmm, this was so not the usual “adult-approved” situation.

Mackenna Rodolph

Mackenna Rodolph

Then they were taken to the white Hyundai and told to go at it. Frisco third-grader Mackenna Rodolph was the first and laughed as she was actually urged to lay her red-painted hands on the vehicle. She was soon joined by eight-year-old Conner Sides, five-year-old Tatum Teague and Jack.

Hyundai dealers and from the left Jack Maurer, Tatum Teague and Mackenna Rodolph

Hyundai dealers and from the left Jack Maurer, Tatum Teague and Mackenna Rodolph

As if that wasn’t a little unusual, the kids also were pointed to hand-print Kenny’s pristine white lab coat. One kiddo looked at the adults as if to ask, “Are you serious?” But once again the adults and Dr. Chen were all beaming as the kids got handy.

Tatum Teague, Mackenna Rodolph, Kenny Chen, Conner Sides and Jack Maurer

Tatum Teague, Mackenna Rodolph, Kenny Chen, Conner Sides and Jack Maurer

The children decided that they weren’t being punked and got into the occasion, sporting colored hands and smiles. It was a day when the best cancer treatment was kids mixing it up with paint.

Still another photo session was set up with the Hyundai dealers in front of the car. But they wanted the children in the photo. As one of the dealers put it, “This is about the kids.”

As for Jack, he was destined for even more to celebrate his conquest of cancer, thanks to the Hyundai locals. They had arranged with Children’s to have Jack throw out the first pitch at Sunday’s Texas Rangers’ game against the Houston Astros to commemorate Children Cancer Awareness Month.

10th Annual Change Is Good Kick-Off Party Turned Work Into A Birthday Celebration with Green Cupcakes, Crayons And Checks

One local nonprofit group that subscribes to the Tom Sawyer philosophy of making work seem like fun is Community Partners of Dallas. To launch its 10th anniversary of Change is Good along with prepping supplies for young clients, they held a kick-off party on the afternoon of Saturday, August 20, at CPD headquarters complete with green birthday cupcakes, loads of crayons and checks. Here’s a report from the field:

Ray Ballotta, Caroline Ballotta, Lindsay Ballotta and Williams Ballotta*

Ray Ballotta, Caroline Ballotta, Lindsay Ballotta and Williams Ballotta*

Community Partners of Dallas kicked off the 10th Annual Change is Good on Saturday, August 20, with a celebration and day of volunteering for event sponsors and members of the event’s host committee.

Chair family Lindsay and Ray Ballotta with kids Caroline and William, welcomed nearly 100 attendees for a day of fun. As families arrived, they were encouraged to create their own design for the annual t-shirt, which will be unveiled at the upcoming Sunday, September 25th event.  With “10th birthday” as the theme, participants of all ages showed their artistic talents with their original designs.

Barry and Sandy Moore, Ryan Moore and Kennedy Moore*

Barry and Sandy Moore, Ryan Moore and Kennedy Moore*

Grayson Porwell, Valerie Prowell and Noelle Prowell*

Grayson Porwell, Valerie Prowell and Noelle Prowell*

Gracie Kong, Sarah Kong and Owen Kong*

Gracie Kong, Sarah Kong and Owen Kong*

Paige McDaniel, Henry Horvat and George Horvat*

Paige McDaniel, Henry Horvat and George Horvat*

Midway through the event, President and CEO Paige McDaniel welcomed everyone and thanked event sponsors, then gave special recognition to the Change is Good chair family, the Ballottas, as well as honorary chairs Beth and Larence Park. She also thanked all the kids for working so hard over the summer as they collected change to help change the lives for other kids – whether they emptied their own piggy banks or raised money online or through other activities. As a surprise, George Horvat (age 10) and his brother Henry Horvat (age 8) made a special presentation to Paige…a check for $300, which they raised from hosting a summer day camp, which benefited CPD.  Paige wrapped up by leading the kids in singing “Happy Birthday” to Change is Good, as well as Calum Taylor who was celebrating his 14th birthday on Saturday!

Birthday cupcakes*

Birthday cupcakes*

Attendees were then separated by age to help CPD put together hygiene kits and back to school supplies for the abused and neglected children they serve.

The 10th annual Change is Good will be held on Sunday, September 25, from 3 – 6 p.m. at Brook Hollow Golf Club. The fun-filled day will feature activities for all ages, including bungee jumping, obstacle courses, a prince/princess station, a paper airplane zone, a GameTruck, the Rad Hatter, balloon artists, face painting, bounce houses, a DJ dance party and an array of fun birthday activities to celebrate Change is Good turning 10. Participating children and teens will turn in the change they collected over the summer in exchange for chances to win exciting prizes. This year’s prize for most change raised is a 3D printer!

Sponsorships begin at $550 and are on sale now; tickets are $75 per adult and $35 per child.  For more information visit communitypartnersdallas.org.

* Photo provided by Community Partners of Dallas

2016 Junior Cattle Baron’s Ball Partied With Painted Faces And Hula Hoops Before Heading To The Circus

On Sunday, August 7, the Cattle Baron’s Ball Baronesses and their kids held the annual Junior Cattle Baron’s Ball honoring the munchkin cancer warriors from Children’s Health and Medical City Children’s Hospital at a party at American Airlines Center’s Old Number 7 before the Barnum and Bailey Circus.

There were kid-friendly swag bags and loads of food, but the real action was divided.

From the left: (adults) Craig Williams, Whitney and Todd Williams, Derrin and Mary Williams, Jamie Williams; (children) Graham Williams, Georgia Williams, Kate Williams, Andrew Williams, Lanier Williams and Phillip Williams

From the left: (adults) Craig Williams, Whitney and Todd Williams, Derrin and Mary Williams, Jamie Williams; (children) Graham Williams, Georgia Williams, Kate Williams, Andrew Williams, Lanier Williams and Phillip Williams

Thanks to presenting sponsor The Moody Foundation, Jr. CBB Co-Chairs Mary C. Corrigan and Lisa Ogle were able to arrange for a couple of activities that were ideal for the pre-show party.

Cassidy Barrett

Cassidy Barrett

Kamila Cortes

Kamila Cortes

First was the face decorating. The lineup for face painting was never-ending with four facial artists creating masterpieces. In this situation having a lack of hair was doggone adorable. Fashionista Cassidy Barrett accessorized beautifully with a pink lace headband. Kamila Cortes opted for the pierced ear look and instead of having her face painted, she had a nifty purple cat created on her left arm. When one youngster was asked if he had always been that cute, his reply was: “Yes!”

Across the way, an old-time toy became a real pacesetter — hula hoops! Who would have thought in this day and age of 3D games that the 1950’s hoop would thrill. Needless to say, the adults looked on thinking, “Someone is going to sleep soundly tonight.”

Bella Anderson

Bella Anderson

Maidie Corrigan

Maidie Corrigan

Mary and Lisa provided an additional surprise. Thanks to Luke Lange, each of the young cancer patients received a Luke’s FastBreaks T-shirt. Because Luke has been where these kids have been, these T-shirts are designed to have the cool factor as well as snaps on the side that allow for cancer treatments.

From the left: Dawn Greiner, Julie Clancy, Kathryn Henry, Jennifer Walters, Andrea Weber, Danielle Sealy, Lisa Ogle, Brynn Bagot and Mary C. Corrigan

From the left: Dawn Greiner, Julie Clancy, Kathryn Henry, Jennifer Walters, Andrea Weber, Danielle Sealy, Lisa Ogle, Brynn Bagot and Mary C. Corrigan

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, check out the MySweetCharity Photo Gallery for tens of thousands of cute faces, both natural and painted!

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2016 Junior Cattle Baron’s Ball

From the left: Dawn Greiner, Julie Clancy, Kathryn Henry, Jennifer Walters, Andrea Weber, Danielle Sealy, Lisa Ogle, Brynn Bagot and Mary C. Corrigan

From the left: Dawn Greiner, Julie Clancy, Kathryn Henry, Jennifer Walters, Andrea Weber, Danielle Sealy, Lisa Ogle, Brynn Bagot and Mary C. Corrigan

While many were in faraway places or sleeping in on Sunday, August 7, Cattle Baronesses Mary C. Corrigan and Lisa Ogle were hustling down at AT&T Arena for the annual Junior Cattle Baron’s Ball.

Nainga Thomas

Nainga Thomas

Nainga Thomas

Nainga Thomas

Hudson Whiteman

Hudson Whiteman

Hudson Whiteman

Hudson Whiteman

Cassidy Barrett

Cassidy Barrett

Cassidy Barrett

Cassidy Barrett

The event celebrates munchkins and their families, who are battling childhood cancer. And what were the two most popular items at the party? Well, you’ll just have to wait for the post. But until then, check out the incredibly, absolutely adorable kiddos at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

From the left: Christopher Merrell III, LaTonia Merrell, Chasity Merrell, Christin Merrell and Christopher Merrell II

From the left: Christopher Merrell III, LaTonia Merrell, Chasity Merrell, Christin Merrell and Christopher Merrell II

If you need an incentive to support cancer research via the Cattle Baron’s Ball at Gilley’s on Saturday, October 15, you’ll see it in the eyes of the wee warriors.

North Texas Giving Day Booster: Fossil Rim Wildlife Center

“As an employee at Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Glen Rose since the facility opened to the public in 1984, I’ve seen a lot of memorable wildlife conservation events and met some remarkable people along the way. If you haven’t do so before, we hope you will visit us sometime, but let me try to explain what we do and why we do it.

Simitar-horned oryx and blackbuck*

Simitar-horned oryx and blackbuck*

“We oversee more than 1,100 animals spanning 50-plus species on 1,800 acres, and there are some particular species with which we have found success. We’re consistently a top-three production center in North America for cheetahs, we are the top producer of Attwater’s prairie chickens, plus we are a strong producer of addax, scimitar-horned oryx, Arabian oryx, addra gazelle, sable antelope, Grevy’s zebras and other species.

Cheetah*

Cheetah*

“We strive to maintain viable insurance populations of selected wildlife according to the natural history of a species and within Fossil Rim’s environment. It is not about how many different species we work with, but rather working as well as we can to make a meaningful impact toward the continued existence of the species we do oversee.

“We place a high premium on the successful production of offspring by our animals. That helps maintain the groups that we have and then extrapolates out to boosting the broader metapopulations of the species we work with.

“Obviously the land itself provides a fantastic environment for these animals. But we are so very proud of the team that it takes to care for so many of them. And we also know that all Fossil Rim staff, interns and volunteers play a huge part of this organization’s conservation mission. We recognize that each visitor or supporter becomes a conservation partner in supporting that mission.

Giraffes*

Giraffes*

“On Thursday, September 22, every $25 donation or greater will be amplified through an automatic bonus distributed by North Texas Giving Day. I can promise that 100% of your donations to Fossil Rim will go directly to our capital needs, which will help us provide the best-possible care for these animals.

White rhinos*

White rhinos*

“For us, it’s about a long-term, sustained endeavor. The end will never come for our efforts with most of these species, because natural habitats are generally getting smaller, not larger. The lists of threatened and endangered species are not getting shorter; they are getting longer. We must have source populations to accommodate reintroduction into the wild, as well as ensure they continue to exist for many years to come.”

-By Kelley Snodgrass, Fossil Rim Wildlife Center Chief Operating Officer

* Photos provided by Fossil Rim Wildlife Center
_______

In seven years, North Texas Giving Day has pumped more than $119 million into the North Texas community. In 2015, $33 million was raised through more than 118,000 gifts benefiting over 2,000 nonprofits.

On Thursday, September 22, support Fossil Rim Wildlife Center by linking here and spreading the word. #NTxGivingDay


MySweetCharity Opportunity: Dallas Children’s Theater’s “The Who? Party”

According to Dallas Children’s Theater’s The Who? Party Co-Chair Karen Travis,

Karen Travis*

Karen Travis*

“Autumn is, hopefully, just around the corner and I’m brimming over with excitement not only for cool, crisp temperatures, but also for an annual event that has a special place in my heart, one that really makes a difference for children, Dallas Children’s Theater’s annual Family Party. As president-elect of this incredible organization, I’m honored to be chairing the party with Stephanie Nelson, fellow board member. It is a fitting closure for me as I embark upon a new chapter of service – board president beginning in January 2017.

“DCT’s ’16 – ’17 season starts with a splash, ‘Seussical, The Musical,’ the timeless favorite which has been absent from Dallas theaters with a cast of equity actors for quite a while. On Saturday, September 17, ‘The Who? Party’ guests, following a matinee of the show, will thrill to a fun-ladened afternoon featuring an on stage, interactive song and dance session led by a professional actor; a Seussical chairs contest with prizes for the most agile, and backstage access to learn about the secret sauce that goes into creating the colorful set designs and costumes. These activities will be followed by a scrumptious, Seussical-themed banquet, topped off with a farewell dance party in our spacious lobby.

“Funds raised via the event will ensure the legacy of an essential DCT program, The Student Matinee Performance Series. Because of this important initiative, over 40,000 children annually, primarily from Title 1 schools (free and reduced lunch eligible), are provided the opportunity to attend performances at a very reduced cost — children that otherwise would not be able to come to the theater to see the magic of the live performance.

“In my mind, there is nothing quite as fulfilling as seeing wide-eyed youngsters, ecstatic with anticipation, skip through hallways festooned with scores of brightly colored Truffula trees, hundreds of Hortonian clovers, and bouquets of Mayzie approved feathers. After seeing literature come to life on our stage, students always depart with a rewarding glow.  I’m honored that Dallas Children’s Theater has embraced my penchant for decorations of this sort, and they even let me put my darling husband, Ken Travis, to work for the cause as well. 🙂

Ken and Karen Travis*

Ken and Karen Travis*

“Everyone at Dallas Children’s Theater truly believes in the words of the sweet sage, Horton… ‘a person’s a person, no matter how small.’ These words perfectly reflect our mission — all children truly do deserve to experience the magic of live theater!

“While after three years, I’m proud to say the party is always sold out, right now, sponsorships and tickets are still available for this wonderful and worthwhile event. So, anyone interested should not wait another minute to sign up.  To learn more, go to our Who? Party web page or call DCT at 214-978-0110. Your presence and your contributions help us keep feeding the minds and souls of young people with boundless creativity.”

* Photos provided by Karen Travis

2016 North Texas Giving Day Booster Series Starts Tomorrow

Susan Swan Smith*

Susan Swan Smith*

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

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

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

North Texas Giving Day*

North Texas Giving Day*

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

North Texas Giving Day*

North Texas Giving Day*

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

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

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

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

* Graphic and photos provided by Communities Foundation of Texas
______

In seven years, North Texas Giving Day has pumped more than $119 million into the North Texas community. In 2015, $33 million was raised through more than 118,000 gifts benefiting over 2,000 nonprofits.

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

MySweetCharity Opportunity: Behind Every Door’s Bowl-A-Rama

According to Behind Every Door’s Bowl-A-Rama Co-Chair/Board Member/volunteer Lori Turpin,

“Behind Every Door Ministries is hosting its Bowl-A-Rama on Sunday, September 18, at Bowl and Barrel. In addition to fun, food and football watching, this year’s event will include two bowling tournaments (one for families with children), open bowl, a silent auction, and a raffle.

Behind Every Door's Bowl-A-Rama*

Behind Every Door’s Bowl-A-Rama*

“Behind Every Door was founded in 2009 to transform lives in underserved neighborhoods by being intentional and present, believing the best about those who live there, and building healthy community. “They serve at two apartment communities, one in Southeast Oak Cliff and one on the edge of Vickery Meadow. To date, they have seen a 70% decrease in neighborhood crime.

Behind Every Door's Bowl-A-Rama*

Behind Every Door’s Bowl-A-Rama*

“Behind Every Door cultivates dignity, optimism, inspiration, and hope in everything they do. They believe in the ability of the love of Jesus to transform lives.

“They do this by focusing on:

  1. “Relationships — they learn the stories behind every door by knocking on them one at a time.
  2. “Collaboration — they welcome other non-profits, churches, businesses, community members, and individuals to assist in offering helpful services, programs and events, targeting these six areas:
  • “Education
  • “Employment/financial health
  • “Physical/emotional health
  • “Spiritual health
  • “Mercy/social issues
  • “Role models
  1. “Gospel: they demonstrate and proclaim the love of Jesus through acts of service and love

“Funds raised at Bowl-A-Rama will enable staff, volunteers, and ministry partners to continue this powerful impact.

Behind Every Door's Bowl-A-Rama*

Behind Every Door’s Bowl-A-Rama*

“For information about tickets, sponsor opportunities, raffle, and auction items, please visit our event webpage at www.behindeverydoor.org/bowlarama.”

Cristo Rey Dallas College Prep Held Its Draft Day With Mayor Mike, Mav Maniacs And Media Types For Corporate Work Study Program

Despite being the busiest man in North Texas, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings once again was on the spot to promote education at the Cristo Rey Dallas College Prep Draft Day on Friday, July 29. Unlike last year when he had to video his comments, Mayor Mike was in person along with other well-known types. Here’s a report from the field:

On Friday, July 29, Cristo Rey Dallas College Prep transformed its gym into an NFL Draft-inspired venue, as it announced students’ Corporate Work Study Program partnerships for the 2016-2017 school year!

Draft Day 2016 kicked off as students were lead into the gym by the Mavs Maniacs, whose energy was infectious and quickly got the entire crowd on its feet. The Maniacs proceeded to launch Mavs gear into the roaring crowd as students took their seats in the gymnasium bleachers, cheering and squirming in anticipation of being “drafted” by some of the city’s biggest corporations.

Kelby Woodard*

Kelby Woodard*

Event emcee and Fox 4 Weekend Sports Anchor/Reporter Edward Egros took the stage shortly after 2:30 p.m. to welcome families, charitable executives and students. Cristo Rey Dallas President Kelby Woodard spoke briefly, thanking the inaugural Corporate Work Study Program partners and donors for their support and vision, then introduced Corporate Work Study Program Director Gunnar Rawlings. Rawlings shared details on Cristo Rey’s innovative high school model, which features some of the country’s most recognized businesses hiring students to work entry-level positions in exchange for tuition assistance. He also praised the students for earning “more than $2 million” in tuition aid from the school’s Corporate Work Study Program partners, which include: Hunt Oil, Ernst & Young, CBRE, KPMG and The Boston Consulting Group.

Mike Rawlings*

Mike Rawlings*

Rawlings then introduced his father, Mayor Mike Rawlings, who spoke on the importance of “pulling our city together” and bridging neighborhoods and communities, particularly in light of the recent and tragic police shootings. Mayor Rawlings also addressed recent growth in South Dallas and sited Cristo Rey Dallas and the education it is providing its students as an integral part of the positive transformation taking place within the community.

Mike Gruber, Mike Doocy, Gunnar Rawlings and Edward Egros*

Mike Gruber, Mike Doocy, Gunnar Rawlings and Edward Egros*

Mayor Rawlings then turned things back over to Egros, who introduced the Draft Day panel including: Gunnar, Fox 4 Weeknight Sports Anchor Mike Doocy and sports personality and Music Director for the Dallas Mavericks Mike Gruber. The trio provided color commentary on students as they were “drafted” and eagerly welcomed to the stage to meet representatives from their assigned Corporate Work Study Program company.

A reception for CEOs and company executives followed the festivities. Corporate Work Study Program partners, Cristo Rey Dallas faculty and board members gathered in St. Therese Hall to enjoy post-Draft Day barbeque and refreshments.

Draft Day 2016 attendees included: PwC Vice Chair Tom Codd, Cristo Rey Dallas Board Member/CBRE Vice Chair and Managing Director Jack Fraker, Dieste Chair Tony Dieste, EY Managing Partner Michell Vopni, Firebird Restaurant Group CEO and Owner Mike Karns, KPMG Managing Partner Manny Fernandez, President and CEO of Greyhound Dave Leach, Jackson Walker Managing Partner David Moran and President and CEO of Vogel Alcove Karen Hughes.

* Photos provided by Cristo Rey Dallas College Prep

Children’s Medical Center’s Butterfly Atrium Was Transformed Into A Pooch Party Room Thanks To PetSmart Paws For Hope

Children’s Medical Center’s Butterfly Atrium should have been renamed Pooch Palace on Thursday, July 14, thanks to the Second Annual Dog Days of Summer Party. With pooches from the PetSmart CharitiesPaws For Hope pet therapy program, kiddo patients, their folks and all types of canines from Pugs to Goldendoodles partied big time. Rising to the occasion, the pooches were dressed to the nines in all types of accessories from sunglasses and T-shirts to tutus and leis. They were joined by faux dogs and the Children’s facility dogs like Beauty and Blair, who works in Children’s oncology department alongside their mom/primary handler Caitlin Arndt.

It was a dual celebration. First, it provided the opportunity for the patients to play games, visit with all types of dogs and just party. Second, it also was to commemorate the Children’s Medical Center and PetSmart relationship in which PetSmart has helped to provide additional animal-human therapy teams for the facility.

Posing for photos

Posing for photos

Photo opps

Posing for photos

And while some of the four-legged crowd seemed a little surprised at the turnout, they wagged as if it was a normal day at Children’s Medical Center. Across the room near the popcorn cart, nearly two-year-old William Knupple looked right at home among the four-legged types. Maybe it was because he lives with a three-year-old miniature Australian Shepherd, Marly.

William Knupple

William Knupple

Tucker

Tucker

Bark for Blue

Bark for Blue

Over in one part of the room English Cream Golden Retriever Tucker was patiently having Ellen Aster dip his white, furry paw in blue paint and then apply his paw print on a “Bark For Blue” banner supporting the Dallas Police. As soon as the print was done, Blair’s paw was washed and dried.

While patients were posing for photos with pooches, Children’s Director of Solid Organ Transplant Services Bill Pelley looked as happy as one of the kids as he reported that, during the past year, Children’s performed about 50 liver, kidney and heart transplants. Since performing its first pediatric kidney transplant in 1979, Children’s transplant program has provided more than 350 kidney transplants, 480 liver transplants and 150 heart transplants.

Bill Pelley

Bill Pelley

Dr. Nerse

Dr. Nerse

Adoptable pup

Adoptable pup

Jose with stuffed friend

Jose with stuffed friend

But on this day it was games, clowns like Dr. Nerse, tons of treats including a never-ending chocolate fountain (aka Mud Bath) and even adopting new best friends of the stuffed variety. Even Jose in his stroller found a perfect stroller mate.

Except For A Few Tardy Escorts, La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas Went Off With Perfect Bows By the 2016 Duchesses

It was the last black-tie hurrah of the 2016 spring season. While temperatures proved summer was indeed setting up residence, La Fiesta de Las Seis Banderas types were dressed to the nines on Saturday, June 18. The honoree of the day should have been the person who created A/C.

At 5:40 p.m. as family and friends gathered in the Chantilly Ballroom’s lobby, the ballroom itself was a flurry of activity. All the staging was nicely in place. Two large screens faced each other from the far side of the ballroom. A multi-tiered stage with columns and a huge fan featuring the six flags of Texas served as the backdrop. Across the way at the back of the room was a stage for the band, a dance floor and platforms for videographers and production crews. In a corner to the side of the stage was a small stage for the presentation band and a mic for the speakers.

But the videographers, bands and speakers were not to be found at this time. No, it was time for the official photographs of the Duchesses and their escorts. As the Duchesses stood to the side of the stage, the escorts assembled on stage for the first photo of the night. Well, most of the escorts that is.

Like a vet wrangler of cats, photographer James French stood on a ladder hollering orders first to the group of escorts on stage. “You on the top row on the end. No, the top row. Yeah, you. Step down.”

Finally all with gloved hands clasped standing like a team of football players in white tie, the photos were taken.

La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas escort

La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas escort

Then it was time for the photo of the couples. That’s when the problem was discovered. Standing among the couples were a handful of beautiful Duchesses without escorts. An adult shouted to one of the girls, “Where’s your escort?”, as if the Duchess has hidden him in the storage room. The Duchess raised her shoulders and motioned with her hands, “I don’t know.”

Before that reality hit home, three white-tie escorts came bounding in the room and hustled to the ladies in waiting. As French and the rest of the advisors did a quick check, they realized they were still three escorts short. As if on cue, the last three rushed into the ballroom, just as French realized that the “done” escort photo was going to have to be “redone.”

2016 La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas Duchesses and escorts

2016 La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas Duchesses and escorts

Finally the group photo, the Duchesses photo and the redo escort photo were done. French hustled off hollering to the escorts, “If you’re going to have a family photo done, go now.” Escorts scampered.

La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas Duchesses

La Fiesta De Las Seis Banderas Duchesses

By 6:16 p.m. the ballroom was now devoid of Duchesses, escorts, and French.  In their place were servers setting up tables. One organizers was heard to say, “Get ready for round two.”

In the meantime the crowd in the lobby had become a selfie extravaganza. While some might think it was due to the overload of collegiate types home to support their former classmates, the adults were into the memory-making photography, too. One leggy young thing with a thigh high slit sprinted across the lobby on nose-bleed stilettos like a gazelle to greet her pals.

Chris O'Neill, Isabel O'Neill, Connie O'Neill, Pierce Allman and Jack O'Neill

Chris O’Neill, Isabel O’Neill, Connie O’Neill, Pierce Allman and Jack O’Neill

La Fiesta Co-Founder Pierce Allman was with Connie and Chris O’Neill talking about their son, Jack O’Neill, escorting his granddaughter Allie Beth Cowan. All-dolled up Gala Co-Chairs Elizabeth Gambrell and Rebecca Gregory didn’t show any signs of having coordinated the day’s preparation. Others in the crowd included Linda Shiffer, Karen Young, Catherine Magee, Mary Kumpf, Jillian Daber, Cecily Work, Duchess mama Mary Humphreys Parker, Amy Hughes, MaryMichael McCartin, Emily Anwar, Lily Cockerell, Arden Wynn, Leah Lambert, Regan Tate and Brooke Wilson.

Catherine Magee, Mary Kumpf, Jillian Daber and Cecily Work

Catherine Magee, Mary Kumpf, Jillian Daber and Cecily Work

Erin Egan, Elizabeth Cooper, Megan Giotes, Tate Giddens and Ellie Gosnell

Erin Egan, Elizabeth Cooper, Megan Giotes, Tate Giddens and Ellie Gosnell

Mary Humphreys Parker, Leah Lambert, Regan Tate and Brooke Wilson

Mary Humphreys Parker, Leah Lambert, Regan Tate and Brooke Wilson

Soon the signal was given that the main event was getting ready to start. Running a couple of seconds late, the lights in the ballroom dimmed at 6:45, the A/C cranked up, so even the wooliest tuxedoed guest would feel right at home and the crowd of guests moved into the ballroom.

The doors opened and initially only five or six senior types ventured in, but within minutes they were followed by a flood of guests making their way to their assigned tables for dinner and applauding. Watching the various generations of guests make their way into the ballroom, the questions of heels was noted. Some guests took long strides and looked like they had been born in stilettos. Others looked like they’d had their feet bound as they hobbled their way to their tables.

But these guests weren’t finished chatting. At 6:52 “the voice” over the PA asked guests to “take their seats. The program will being in 15 minutes.”

As some heeded the call, it was noted that the video crews were outnumbering the still photographers.

Three minutes later “the voice” warned “the program will being in 10 minutes.” Still the guests had a lot of hugging and talking to do and one couldn’t really blame them. After all, some of these collegiate types hadn’t seen each other since graduating from high school last year.

But “the voice” was not to be ignored. At 6:59 sounding like a call to arms, “the voice” announced for guests “to take your seats. The program is about to begin.” No more of the minute countdown. The time had come and there was no turning back.

Well, that may have been well and good, but the masses kept pouring in and not settling down to business. Over the PA, “Chicago That Toddlin’ Town” played. Interesting choice.

Uh, ho. At 7:04 the doors closed, the music stops and still a few stalwarts keep standing and talking. “The voice” returns. His credibility is on the line. He repeats that the program is about to begin. There’s just the slightest tinge of a sounding like a father, who isn’t falling for his kid’s excuse for being past curfew. This time the message came across and seats were almost filled. Alas, at 7:07 he gave it one final effort. Evidently there were a number of people with hearing challenges.

But at 7:08 the stage lights came up and the last standing guests were seated. The main doors of the ballroom opened and the escorts marched in and onto the stage. Yes, all the escorts were accounted for. They were followed by six beautifully dressed folklorico dancers, who performed flawlessly on stage. After all, this year’s them was “Viva La Fiesta! — Celebrating The Splendors of Mexico.”

Kaitlyn Gamster

Kaitlyn Gamster

Following very brief remarks by La Fiesta Chairs Eloise Meachum and Missy Rothwell, the presentation was underway. First there was the presentation of the escorts, who disappeared off stage. Then eight escorts returned to places on the multi-tiered stage. The first Duchesses were individually escorted centerstage by their fathers and joined by their escort. Each Duchess represented a unique duchy (i.e. the Duchess of Monarch Butterfly, the Duchess of Cinco de Mayo, the Duchess of Palacio de Bellas Arts, etc.) with her gown reflecting her theme. Following the Duchess’ bow, her father presented her with a white rose and she rewarded him with a kiss on the cheek. As the father left the stage, she Duchess and her escort returned to the escort’s place on the tier. Despite having 40 Duchess presented in five groups, it all came off flawlessly.

Chronicling moments was potential Duchess-to-be Kaitlyn Gamster with her cellphone.

The finale had all 40 Duchess and their escorts on stage for a standing ovation. Then they promenaded down the runway to the dance floor for the first of many dances to come.

For more photos of the Duchesses, their escorts and the whole goings-on, check MySweetCharity Photo Gallery. Be prepared because there are a heck of lot of ’em.

2016 Parade Of Playhouses At NorthPark Center Marched Off With A Record-Breaking Amount For Dallas CASA

Dallas nonprofits are on a roll with good news. Now word comes from Dallas CASA about the results from the 2016 Parade of Playhouses at NorthPark. The Kappa Alpha Thetas have spent the last couple of days tallying the results. The total was so astonishing that they triple checked their findings. But the numbers added up to 15,546 raffle tickets being purchased. Adding that amount with sponsorships and text voting, “more than $200,000” went to Dallas CASA and it was a record breaker!

But the smiley faces weren’t just on the Dallas CASA staffers and volunteers. Nope. More good news was being spread all around. Here’s a snapshot of other results from the “parade” from Dallas CASA’s Rosanne Lewis:

Kid Cottage (File photo)

Kid Cottage (File photo)

Say Cheese (File photo)

Say Cheese (File photo)

The Lookout*

The Lookout*

  • “’The Kid Cottage’ by LRO Residential (copper roof) was won by a Preston Hollow family with 3 kids under three. They have two boys and a girl and the boys were hoping for the Crest CASA Garage but mom split the tickets because she wanted the Cottage!
  • “’Say Cheese’ was won by one of our new volunteers. In her email she said, ‘Winning a playhouse was almost as exciting as becoming an advocate.’
  • “’The Lookout’ was won by a family who also have three children, a little 3-year-old boy and infant twins (a boy and a girl), who were born premature and are still in the hospital. On Sunday they won their playhouse, and on Monday they finally brought their babies home.”

And how about the playhouse builders? Which ones were voted the most popular via text ballots? Here’s the answer:

  • African Safari Adventure by Harman
  • Basecamp by Redlee/SCS with Sketchup
  • Crest CASA Garage by Crest Cadillac/Crest Infiniti

 

African Safari Adventure (File photo)

African Safari  (File photo)

Basecamp (File photo)

Basecamp (File photo)

Crest Casa Garage (File photo)

Crest Casa Garage (File photo)

Tomorrow and Thursday the playhouses will be delivered courtesy of Glazers to their new homes. One of them is going to Celina!

The only question remaining is what the heck are the builders going to come up with next year?  Perhaps a playhouse with a storm shelter?

LAST CALL: Dallas CASA’s 2016 Parade Of Playhouses Raffle And Voting Ends Sunday

2016 Parade of Playhouses (File photo)

2016 Parade of Playhouses (File photo)

Those adorable little residences that have been lining NorthPark Center’s hallways have evidently been a big, old hit. In just two weeks folks have purchased more than 10,000 raffle tickets in hope of winning one of the Parade of Playhouses for their own. Thanks to Dallas CASA volunteers including Kappa Alpha Theta types, more than 2,000 hours have been invested in the raffle sales that will benefit Dallas CASA.

Insiders report that sales are ahead of last year and 2015 was a record maker.

And as for the voting, there’s been a bit of debating on which one will win. So far, pollsters claim that the Kid Cottage by LRO Residential, African Safari Adventure by Harman and Crest CASA Garage by Crest Cadillac/Crest Infiniti were in the lead.

Kid Cottage

Kid Cottage (File photo)

African Safari Adventure (File photo)

African Safari Adventure (File photo)

Crest Casa Garage (File photo)

Crest Casa Garage (File photo)

But that could easily change, since voting doesn’t end until Sunday, when the raffle winners will be revealed in NorthPark’s North Court at 4 p.m. BTW, if you’re thinking about doing an online-ticket purchase, get it in before noon on Sunday.

As for the popularity contest, the voting results will be announced via social media and the Dallas CASA website.

Chance tickets are going for $5 each and a bargain-saving $20 for five. Voting is accomplished by texting dallascasa to 41444 with each vote costing $5 and are “not included” in the raffle drawing.

2016 Parade Of Playhouses Brings Out The Competitive Spirit To Raise Funds For Dallas CASA At NorthPark

Jeff Kindig

Jeff Kindig

Jeff Kindig of Harman is bound and determined to continue Harmon’s reign as the Parade of Playhouses top builder. It was just last year when Jeff blew the Dallas CASA parade competition at NorthPark off the grid with Buckaroo Mountain Adventure house. But Friday as the 14 adorable mini-mansions were preparing for the official kick-off, the bearded Jeff found himself facing the idea of staying put in his African Safari Adventure until the “parade’s” finish on Sunday, July 31.

The reason goes back to the night before, when the 14 Parade of Playhouses were delivered to NorthPark lining from Dillards to Macys to North Court. Since the houses were to be prepared for display Friday morning, the mini-houses were literally open houses Thursday night with munchkins checking out the rock walls, slides, ladders and multi-levels.

Retro Roots

Retro Roots

Steampunk

Steampunk

Friday morning was spent cleaning up footprints and replacing doorway netting and other temporary stop measures with Plexiglas. It was the installation of the Plexiglas that found Jeff on the wrong side of the tent. But after a little work, Jeff was outside and the goodies (bunk beds, desk, chair, trunk, Harman stereo audio system and an ATV-Style Jeep, 12-vol 4X4 Electric Car) were safely behind the Plexiglas for viewing.

Looking at the Plexiglas successfully in place, Dallas CASA Executive Director/President Kathleen LaValle with camera in hand admitted that the competition had been fierce. The Crest Casa Garage had an adorable mini-Cadillac parked inside. One builder, whose entry had a metal roof, reported that his people would be out each morning to polish the roof. The “Life on Mars” was the product of the College of Architecture at the University of Oklahoma.

Crest Casa Garage

Crest Casa Garage

Kid Cottage

Kid Cottage

Life on Mars

Life on Mars

XyLophoNEhouse

XyLophoNEhouse

In the meantime, NorthParkers were chuckling about inquiries about NorthPark’s new piece of art. It wasn’t. It was XyLophoNEhouse, a work in development. On Saturday the wooden tunnel would be highlighted by musical tubes all tuned to the note of C…like CASA.

Love and Peace

Love and Peace

Steampunk

Steampunk

2016 Parade of Playhouses

2016 Parade of Playhouses

The adorable homes with amazing detailing and imagination will be on display for voting and raffle until Sunday, July 31. The timing is simply perfect with the heat and humidity getting really old. Strolling through air-conditioned NorthPark to check out the parade is free for the viewing. And if one or two or all of them strike your fancy, buy a raffle ticket! You can either do it at one of the tables set up in NorthPark or do it online. The chances are going for $5 for one or five for $20. The winning tickets will be drawn on Sunday, July 31 at 4 p.m. at NorthPark.

You can also vote for your fav by texting dallascasa to 41444. Each vote costs $5. After all, paper ballots are so yesterday.

The Lookout*

The Lookout*

However, there was one MIA. Starting yesterday, #15 (aka The Lookout) was in place at Dallas CASA.

Why not drive over to Dallas CASA in the Wilson Historic District and check it out? While there check out volunteering for Dallas CASA.

In meantime, you can check out all the NorthPark 14 plus The Lookout at Dallas CASA at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

* Photo provided by Dallas CASA

Auctions, Dancing, Dale Hansen And Mini-Ambassadors At Texas Horse Park Helped Equest Celebrate Its 35th Anniversary

One day before it took place on Saturday, May 7, Equest’s 35th Anniversary Gala at the Texas Horse Park was sold out. Walking around the gala off Pemberton Hill Road in South Dallas, it was easy to see why.

That situation was even more impressive since guests weren’t able to just drive up to the front door and turn their wheels over to car parkers. The vast majority had to be shuttled to the Park via chartered buses from locales in Dallas. After all, Texas Horse Park was built to be equine horsepower as opposed to an automotive parking lot. But despite the perceived inconvenience, the bus loads arrived for a night of fun and fundraising.

Stacey Hodge, Disco, Lisa Blackford, Sherry Wood, Dare, Christine Volkmer and Christa Collum

Stacey Hodge, Disco, Lisa Blackford, Sherry Wood, Dare, Christine Volkmer and Christa Collum

And, of course, there were the horses befitting the group that, since 1981, has used the four-hoofed critters to bring hope and healing to children and adults with diverse needs. (In fact, Equest was the first therapeutic riding program in Texas.) At the front door, there were the miniature equine stars Teddy Roosevelt and Tex; later, gals and guys could have their photo taken with Disco and Dare.

Susan Schwartz, Lili Kellogg and Helena Wall

Susan Schwartz, Lili Kellogg and Helena Wall

As the guests made their way into the grounds—among them, Stacey Hodge, Amy and Michael Meadows, Sherry Wood, Alan Curtis, David Whyman, Lezlie and Bill Noble, Jeff Byron, Kevin Hurst and Equest co-founder Susan Schwartz—they saw “client and rider demonstrations” happening in the outdoor pens. Moving down beneath the Equest covered arena, they encountered the reception and silent auction and, later, the table settings for the gala dinner and live auction. Among the auction highlights: a Costa Rica getaway (value, $12,000) and a Montana Sporting Club Retreat ($10,000).

Jody Dean, Maddie Dean and Jocelyn White

Jody Dean, Maddie Dean and Jocelyn White

Over at the “Equest Country Store,” meantime, mother and daughter Maggie and Annabelle Buckner (Annabelle’s 12) were checking out the goods. As Emilynn Wilson and her husband Claude strode through the stables, Emilynn said, “I just had a horse that fell in love with me.” Guests Phyllis Glazer and Susan Iannaccone were chit-chatting. While Maddie Dean patiently waited, her dad/emcee Jody Dean and co-emcee Jocelyn White huddled over last-minute details with the likes of Equest CEO Lili Kellogg and Helena Wall, who with her husband Doug Wall was serving as the Gala Chair. Despite all the hifalutin types, four-year-old mini-ambassador donkey Taco was quite content to stay in his stall and occasionally saunter over for a howdy do with a guest or two.

Susan Iannaccone and Phyllis Glazer

Susan Iannaccone and Phyllis Glazer

Taco

Taco

Honorary Chairs Chris and Dale Hansen soon pulled up in their big black SUV with Dale at the wheel and, much later, the Gala guests would be dancing up a storm to the music of Cary Pierce with Crystal Yates and John Christopher Davis. Really, now; with horses, good friends, great food and fun music, could there have been a better way to celebrate Equest’s landmark anniversary?

Neiman Marcus Downtown’s Crawl Tubes Have Found A New Home-Sweet-Home With Spark!

Believe it or not, North Texas is heading warp speed from this week’s wet and humid conditions to next week’s dry and summer heat. To better survive this transition, how about a thought of cooler times? For instance, remember back in 2013 when Neiman Marcus Downtown’s windows were a holiday showcase with crawl tubes for munchkins to explore, while people on the sidewalk watched the fun?

Spark!*

Spark!*

Say, what happened to the tubes? Did they end up in a dump? Heavens, no! That’s not the NM way of handling such marvels. Checked with NM Director of Charitable Giving Kevin Hurst about the tubes’ whereabouts. And, of course, he immediately had the answer: “When the tubes ‘retired’ in 2013 they went to a great home. I am happy to say they have been completely transformed and re-purposed and are bringing joy to a whole new set of kiddos at Spark! They literally used everything that was donated, but completely re-purposed and added to it. The tubes now extend 30 feet into the air. They built cool stairs and slides (even has a dragon head). It is quite the experience for both little kids and big kids (that act like little kids).”

Climb Crawl Slide sculpture*

Climb Crawl Slide sculpture*

So, what is Spark? A new theme park? No! Spark! is a year-old non-profit that “provides children from second grade to high school with a fully immersive creative environment and hands-on learning that develops their self-definition as creative individuals. Strategically located in the sub-basement of the historic South Side on Lamar building near a large population of low-income families, Spark! provides a fully immersive learning environment, layering a myriad of creative disciplines to spark the imagination, expand the mind, and engage the body. Through an endless roster of workshops and pop-up activities, students exercise their creativity and learn from creative experts, innovators, and artists.”

Climb Crawl Slide sculpture*

Climb Crawl Slide sculpture*

According to Spark! President/CEO Bev Davis, “In 2015 [we] engaged with 13 different schools and have already worked with more than 40 institutions to date. To celebrate serving 1,775 children in the first seven months of operation, Spark! announced that the facility would be open to the public every Saturday starting in June. In 2016, Spark! will aim to serve more than 5,000 students. Tickets are $10 at the door, $8 in advance.”

In addition to pop-up activities like Giant Light Bright, Recycled Art, Chalk Art, Poetry Magnets and percussion, June’s Spark! Saturdays provide a 6,000-foot Climb, Crawl, Slide Sculpture that looks suspiciously like some NM crawl tubes.

* Graphic and photo courtesy of Spark!

Young Women’s Preparatory Network Art Show At Talley Dunn Gallery Showcased The Theme Of “Respect Starts Here”

Beyond all the construction beyond Javier’s and even past Allie Beth Allman’s headquarters, the valets were lined up in front of what looked like rental storage units on Wednesday, May 4.

But as Claire and Dwight Emanuelson emerged from the lead unit, it became obvious this wasn’t your mama’s rental. It was Talley Dunn Gallery and in addition to the professional exhibitions, it was showcasing hundreds of very unique artwork that was for the taking.

So, as the Emanuelsons headed to a friend’s party and a lacrosse game, the crowd inside was checking out the OMG handiwork of Young Women’s Preparatory Network students on display at Talley Dunn Gallery. It was all a part of the YWPN’s “Respect Starts Here — Listen, Learn and Act” program that was kicked off last fall to promote empathy and equity through education.

Joyce and Larry Lacerte, Quincy Lacerte and Margaret Keliher

Joyce and Larry Lacerte, Quincy Lacerte and Margaret Keliher

Pamela Johnson, Kelsie Johnson and Bernadette Nutall

Pamela Johnson, Kelsie Johnson and Bernadette Nutall

Maria Johnston and Sally Posey

Maria Johnston and Sally Posey

Jin-Ya Huang and Lang Vovk

Jin-Ya Huang and Lang Vovk

With Natasha Bowdoin‘s “Spelboken” serving as a backdrop, YWPN CEO Lynn McBee welcomed guests including Joyce and Larry Lacerte, Roxann Vyazmensky, Margaret Keliher, Maria Johnson, Sally Posey, Jin-Ya Huang with Lan Vovk, Pam Johnson and Kelsie Johnson, Beth Thoele and DISD Board Member Bernadette Nutall, who said, “Respect Starts Here is important because developing leadership skills in economically-disadvantaged students who are starting off against the odds can help them to become proactive in dealing with issues that might detail their education. This program also embodies our three pillars of leadership, college readiness and health/wellness. We can’t wait to have our student leaders and faculty train our other network schools!”

Lynn McBee

Lynn McBee

Patty Leyendecker

Patty Leyendecker

Lynn then turned the mic over to YWPN Development Director Patty Leyendecker, who said, “Young Women’s Preparatory Network hired social justice organizations such as Journeyman Ink, Border Crossers and 29 Pieces to develop our program with best practices and to ensure our programming is intentional and effective in this goal. We also hired Diana O’Connor, who is passionate about this issue ans whose day job is the Irma Rangel librarian, to develop and implement our curriculum. The artwork you see tonight is part of a collaboration with 29 Pieces.”

Respect Starts Here artwork

Respect Starts Here artwork

Respect Starts Here artwork

Respect Starts Here artwork

After pointing out staffers and donors, Patty returned the mic to Lynn, who encouraged guests to “take on pieces that spoke to them and consider making a donation to the program as YWPN rolls it out to two more network schools.”

JUST IN: Dallas Symphony Orchestra Memorial Day Concert Moved To The Meyerson

Due to Mother Nature being literally a wet blanket, Monday’s Dallas Symphony Orchestra Memorial Day concert has been moved from Flag Pole Hill to the Meyerson Symphony Center. Start time for the free concert is still 8 p.m.

Another change: The firework display has been canceled.

Taste Of The NFL Is Heading Totally Outdoors And Making VIP Tickets Available For Individuals

With Wednesday sounding like some more thumper-bumper storms are on the agenda, it’s a brave group that decides to commit to an all-outdoor event. Such a group is the North Texas Food Bank and the event is Taste of the NFL at AT&T Stadium. But the date is not Wednesday. Whew! It’s Sunday, May 1, from 6 to 10 p.m.! Hopefully, by that time all this hail-ish stuff will be in the rear-view mirror.

According to the NTFB folks, “We enjoyed beautiful weather last year, so we made the decision to move our entire main event outdoors.”

Kent Rathbun (File photo)

Kent Rathbun (File photo)

Dunia Borgia

Dunia Borgia

That means the whole kit-and-caboodle will take place in the Miller Lite Plaza. Led by slimmer-trimmer Chef Kent Rathbun, the chefs from such restaurants as Abacus, Chamberlain’s, Salum Restaurant, Shinsei, Clark Food & Wine, La Duni, Lockhart Smokehouse BBQ, Off the Bone Barbeque, Frosted Art Bakery & Studio, Il Calabrese Ristorante & Bar, Texas de Brazil and NTFB Community Kitchen will be cooking up a storm in the 8,000-square-foot covered Miller Lite Corral. Let’s hope that Dunia will once again bring her Micrema Bespoke Frozen Dessert.

While the silent auction will have everything from “unique foodie packages from our participating restaurants to autographed items for the biggest sports fan,” the stage will be far from quiet with musical fav Jack Ingram performing.

Jack Ingram (File photo)

Jack Ingram (File photo)

Preston Pearson (File photo)

Preston Pearson (File photo)

Chad Henning (File photo)

Chad Henning (File photo)

Charles Haley (File photo)

Charles Haley (File photo)

And just who will be in the crowd? Well, how about Dallas Cowboys Offensive Lineman Travis Frederick, former Dallas Cowboys Chad Henning, Charles Haley and Preston Pearson, plus host committee members like Kimberly Hall Alexander, Monica Blacker, Lane Conner, Daniel Frid, Daniella Giglio, Nancy Gopez, Claire Kinzy, Betty Lovell, Ali Pickens, Carol Roberts, Krystal Schlegel, Liza Schlitt, Jamie Singer, Whitney and Rob Strauss and LuAnn Tarango.

Unlike last year, when VIP perks were only available for sponsors, this year they’re opening up the advantages to individuals as well that will include designated VIP parking and entrance, an exclusive pre-event in the Miller Lite Lounge from 5 to 6 p.m. with special field access and locker-room tours, plus “exclusive access to the VIP area at our main event with food and beverage service as well as reserved seating.”

Here’s a breakdown of the ticket prices:

  • General — $150
  • VIP — $250
  • Reserved seating for 10 — $2,500

According to organizers, “Last year was recording breaking for us!” Proceeds from the event will benefit the North Texas Food Bank, but you already guessed that.

Hal, Don And John To Tri-Chair 25th Anniversary Of Zoo To Do’s “Silver Safari” Presented By The Eugene McDermott Foundation

It was 25 years ago that Zoo To Do was created, turning the Dallas Zoo into a festival of food, silent auctions and entertainment, much to the fascination of the critter residents. The giraffes love it because there are always guests who give them extra helpings of munchies.

Giraffe (File photo)

Giraffe (File photo)

And speaking of the food, it’s a showcase of chefs impressing one and all with edibles.

To celebrate its 25th anniversary, a trio of fellas will co-chair the outdoor “Silver Safari” on Saturday, October 1, for an estimated 700 guests. And what a threesome it is — Hal Brierley, Don Glendenning and John Levy!

Don Glendenning (File photo)

Don Glendenning (File photo)

Hal Brierley (File photo)

Hal Brierley (File photo)

With the past two years of hitting the million-dollar mark, the boys have a challenge ahead. But they’ve already signed up The Eugene McDermott Foundation as the presenting sponsor, as well as putting together a top-notch team including Mary McDermott Cook coming on board as honorary chair, Ruth O’Donnell Mutch as host committee chair, Diane Brierley and Cindy Gummer as past chair committee co-chairs, Kevin Hanrahan as underwriting chair, Barbara Daseke as live auction committee chair and Denise Zook-Glazer as silent auction chair.

Gorilla (File photo)

Gorilla (File photo)

And what about the chefs? The honorary chef will be the Hotel ZaZa’s Dragonfly Chef Dan Landsberg, who will be joined by Chef Chair Sarah Barr of Hotel ZaZa and Chef Wrangler Brett Krafft of the Hilton Anatole.

Following dinner, the live auction for “rare zoo experiences, travel and more” will take place in the Wilds of Africa. Then the guests will dance away the night with Party Machine providing the sounds. Hope it doesn’t keep the animals up past their bedtime.

Individual tickets start at $750.

Dallas Children’s Theater’s “A Year With Frog And Toad” To Help Youngsters In The Housing Crisis Center Program

Hmmm, “A Year With Frog and Toad”? Sound like a freshman dorm roommate assignment? Nope. It’s the Tony-nominated musical production about friendship that runs from Friday, January 29, thru Sunday, February 28, at the Dallas Children’s Theater. And leave it to those wonderful folks at DCT, they’ve partnered up with the Housing Crisis Center to help children whose families are homeless.

It’s a tradition for the DCT to use “their first production of every new year to spotlight a community partner.” As part of the collaboration, the DCT patrons are asked to make a donation to the HCC.

The DCT is also reserving tickets for some of the HCC children to attend the musical.

Ah, but there’s still more. DCT Co-Founder/Executive Artistic Director Robyn Flatt and her crew are “collecting books and blankets for children ages 3-12” to be provided for the HCC munchkins.

Robyn Flatt (File photo)

Robyn Flatt (File photo)

Sherri Ansley (File photo)

Sherri Ansley (File photo)

It makes so much sense. As HCC Executive Director Sherri Ansley put it, “Housing Crisis Center is implementing a new program called Imagine Time to bring therapeutic learning experiences to the children in its programs designed to allow them to heal from their situation and protect against many of the issues related to homelessness. By providing children a safe place to learn and grow, they will be given the space and time to process their previous — often traumatic— life experiences.”