JUST IN: North Texas Food Bank To Hold Plano Groundbreaking And Announce $55M Mega Gameplan To Expand Services to 92M By 2025

Just when you think the North Texas Food Bank has provided food for everyone, they discover greater needs. Ah, shoot! Despite all the ovens baking and the stove tops cooking, there are greater needs on the horizon and they’re in your own backyard.

North Texas Food Bank*

Today next door to Atmos Energy at 3697 Mapleshade Lane, Plano, at 11 a.m., the NTFB will hold a groundbreaking for a 222,000-square-foot distribution center that “will accommodate a robust volunteer program and expanded operation to increase the number of nutritious meals distributed annually to 92M by 2025.”

The event will include a killer gameplan. Oh, geez! They’re undertaking a $55M capital campaign — Stop Hunger Build Hope —to expand operations to the area.

North Texas Food Bank (File photo)

So, before you have that poached egg or head to Starbucks for the zingo caffeine fix, think about those, both children and adults, who literally hunger for a meal. That is the mission of one of North Texas’ most incredible nonprofits.

So, why not pass on that lunch and help someone who is literally starving for a decent meal? In fact, why not break for an early lunch and head to the groundbreaking? You haven’t been in Plano in ages.

* Graphic provided by North Texas Food Bank

Ground Broken For Children’s Health Facility In Plano That Will ‘Meet The Needs Of Young Athletes’

Collin County is growing rapidly, especially in its need for pediatric care, Dr. Kern Wildenthal was saying. And, “high-end” pediatrics has been especially underserved there. Wildenthal, president of the Children’s Medical Center Foundation, was explaining why the November 6 groundbreaking for the Children’s Health Andrews Institute for Orthopedics & Sports Medicine on the Children’s campus in Plano was such a big deal.

Children's Health Andrews Institute rendering*

Children’s Health Andrews Institute rendering*

Just then Wildenthal was joined by Christopher J. Durovich, president and CEO of Children’s Health. Durovich said the four-story, 185,000-square-foot, roughly $50 million facility—which had been planned for at least two years—would house the only pediatric-focused orthopedic institute of its kind in North Texas. Plus, he added with a broad smile, it would boast “the coin of the realm in academia and health care”: 1,000 parking spaces!

During the hour-long groundbreaking ceremony that followed, the Children’s Health chief executive said that while organized sports plays an important role in our society, more—and younger—children are suffering some type of orthopedic injury while participating. As a result, Durovich said, “We developed the Children’s Health Andrews Institute to provide tailored care to meet the needs of young athletes, and to be a resource for parents, coaches, and trainers to help prevent injuries.”

Bill Cawley, James Andrews, Kennedy Spurger, Christopher Durovich, Phillip Myers, and Sally Bane*

Bill Cawley, James Andrews, Kennedy Spurger, Christopher Durovich, Phillip Myers, and Sally Bane*

Those attending the groundbreaking—including John Eagle and Caren Kline (she’s on the Children’s board)—learned that the new institute will include four operating rooms, an imaging center, physical therapy space, and orthopedic and other pediatric clinics. It will also feature indoor and outdoor athletic performance facilities, including a half-size football field and a running track. Construction by general contractor McCarthy Building Cos.—in conjunction with architect FKP—is scheduled for completion in 2017.

The institute was developed under the direction of Alabama-based Dr. James R. Andrews, an internationally renowned orthopedic surgeon who attended the groundbreaking. Andrews, who called the facility “a dream come true,” admitted that his son lives close to the institute. “That’s one of the reasons I did this,” he said. “I want my [grandchildren] to be safe!”

* Graphic and photo provided by Children's Health

Center For BrainHealthy Types Shovel Dirt For Brain Performance Institute Groundbreaking

Unfortunately, there were just way too many top-caliber activities taking place on Wednesday, October 14, around noontime. It was a Sophie’s Choice of what to cover. Luckily the Center for BrainHealth crew were front and center and offered to provide an accurate recap of its much worked-for ground breaking of the Brain Performance Institute.  Please note that the BrainHealth crew admitted that the AC was challenged while providing comments about the event and covering peeps. No wonder these folks are brainiacs! Here goes:

Shelle Sills and Linda Evans*

Shelle Sills and Linda Evans*

More than 200 brain health enthusiasts from across the state of Texas filled an air-conditioned tent marking the exact location of where the Center for BrainHealth’s state-of-the-art Brain Performance Institute will stand come spring 2017. The invitation-only groundbreaking ceremony was beautifully orchestrated by none other than Shelle Sills and Patty Huffines.

Center for BrainHealth Founder/Chief Director Sandra Bond Chapman smiled from ear-to-ear as she hugged friends and greeted steadfast supporters of the Center including T. Boone Pickens, Mary McDermott Cook, Emy Lou and Jerry Baldridge, Jane and Bud Smith, former Navy SEAL and Carry the Load Co-Founder Stephen Holley, Southwest Airlines’ Chuck Magill John Tolleson and Carter Tolleson.

Lyda Hill, Sandra Chapman and Kimber Hartmann*

Lyda Hill, Sandra Chapman and Kimber Hartmann*

Lyda Hill, a leader of the cause whose $2 million contribution launched the very first Brain Performance Institute program for military services members in 2013, grabbed the attention of groundbreaking go-ers, making a spiritedly entrance and donning a hard-hat outfitted with a Brain Performance Institute logo. Event photographers turned into paparazzi, having a hay day her mindful accessory.

By 11:15 a.m. the AC units were struggling to cool the packed tent and it was time for US Air Force Veteran and former NFL player Chad Hennings, former Dallas Cowboys player turned NFL commentator Daryl “Moose” Johnston, Jennifer Clifford, Brent Christopher and John McStay (who was sporting a black boot cast on his injured foot) to take their seats.

Debbie Francis*

Debbie Francis*

Capital campaign and Center for BrainHealth Advisory Board chair Debbie Francis welcomed the crowd and thanked friend and UT System regent Brenda Pejovich, State Representative Morgan Meyer and former State Representative Dan Branch among dozens of other dedicated individuals including Center for BrainHealth researchers, scientists, clinicians and staff for their tremendous contributions to the organization.

Dianne Cash, Dan Branch and Sandra Chapman*

Dianne Cash, Dan Branch and Sandra Chapman*

Following her opening remarks, The University of Texas at Dallas President Ad Interim Hobson Wildenthal took the podium, singing Chapman’s praises.

“Sandi is a true visionary. Her story is vital to the story of the University of Texas at Dallas,” Dr. Wildenthal said. “We know Sandi is an incredible leader and one of the dimensions of Sandi’s brilliance is her ability to build teams. She is the envy of all of us on the UTD campus.”

Hobson Wildenthal*

Hobson Wildenthal*

James Huffines confessed that his only regret during his service as chairman of the board for the UT System Board of Regents was that his tenure did not overlap with that of Chancellor William H. McRaven.

William McRaven and Patty and James Huffines*

William McRaven and Patty and James Huffines*

“There is not a shred of doubt in my mind that he will play an invaluable part in higher education, much like he did in the military,” Huffines said of McRaven. “Our state and our world will continue to be beneficiaries of his guidance and his full vision. I am proud to call him friend.”

Chancellor McRaven began his remarks saying, “None of us, I mean none of us, would be here if it weren’t for the vision, the energy and the hard work of Sandi Chapman and her team.” He spoke of the importance of the Brain Performance Institute’s mission where everyone will be able to come to make their brains better, whether sick, injured or healthy.

“It was in Dallas more than 40 years ago that Ken Cooper set in motion the physical fitness revolution,” said McRaven, the retired four-star Navy admiral, referring to the publication of ‘Aerobics’ by the physician/Cooper Clinic founder. “And right here in Dallas, we are on the cusp of the next great revolution: the revolution in brain health.”

He continued, “To make the most of the years we have, we need to make sure that brain fitness catches up with physical fitness. And I’m convinced it’s going to happen. The University of Texas System intends to lead this new revolution.”

With the tent filled with many BrainHealth and UT System donors, McRaven addressed their generosity directly.

“One of the things that has surprised me about coming to the UT System hasn’t been the job.” McRaven said. “What has surprised me and what has inspired me has been the great philanthropy and the great donors that I see every day. They not only give of their money, and the money is important, but they give of their time, their energy and probably more importantly, they give of their dreams.”

With his commanding presence, McRaven turned over the microphone to Sandi, who spoke of why Dallas has thrived as a city “because of visionary leadership” and how the Center for BrainHealth team is made up of “impatient explorers determined to close the gap from scientific discovery to improving human lives – today.”

Chapman, in the spirit of our ‘smart’ city, reminisced on the history of Dallas commerce, reflecting on trains and planes as economic drivers and proclaiming one more with the addition of the Brain Performance Institute: brains.

Eric Bennett*

Eric Bennett*

Brain Performance Institute Executive Director Eric Bennett rounded out the row of speakers by starting with a story.

“My niece can tell me with confidence where her head, shoulders, knees and toes are,” he said, “but she looked stumped when I asked her where her brain was.”

Guests giggled at the statement, but Bennett wanted to capitalize on his stance that too much research stays in research.

“We are not the solution for all the problems, but we have the research to benefit tens of thousands of people every year,” Bennett said.

He applauded Page, the architect and engineering firm behind the “iconic on a budget” building design that pays homage to the brain’s CEO or cognitive executive officer, the frontal lobe, and explained that the goal of the Institute’s aesthetic is to instill clients with a sense of empowerment as soon as they walked through the doors.

Before relinquishing the mic, Bennett challenged every person in the room with a call to action.

“The brain likes options,” he said, checking with the closest brain scientist in the room to make sure he had not misspoken. He then challenged everyone in the room to one of three options to help the Institute raise money and awareness that start with the letter “D”: donate, do and discuss.

The ceremonial dirt followed, symbolizing the beginning of a new era. All six speakers plus groundbreaking Co-Chairs Sills and Huffines, stood at the foot of the stage behind a 20’ x 3’ white box filled with dirt. Holding gleaming silver shovels, each scooped, lifted and turned the dirt before confidently shoving the shovels back into the metaphoric earth. The groundbreaking moment was met with a standing ovation and cheers from the crowd.

Patty Huffines, Eric Bennett, Debbie Francis, Sandra Chapman, William McRaven, James Huffines, Hobson Wildenthal and Shelle Sills*

Patty Huffines, Eric Bennett, Debbie Francis, Sandra Chapman, William McRaven, James Huffines, Hobson Wildenthal and Shelle Sills*

After the program, guests filed to the back of the tent for a reception complete with freshly made mini-donuts and table décor replete with mini construction cones, dump trucks and loaders. Many stayed to visit with old and new friends while sipping tea or water and enjoying chicken fried quail bites and other brain food, of course.

* Photos provided by the Center for BrainHealth

Under A Bright Sunshiny Sky, Hope Cottage Groundbreaking Was A Heart Warmer In The Wilson Historic District

The Meadows Foundation President/CEO Linda Perryman Evans looked over the bare parking lot in the Wilson Historic District the morning of Thursday, June 25. Despite the heat already rising from the pavement, she was very pleased. It was the morning of the groundbreaking for the newest members of the Meadows Foundation community of nearly 40 nonprofits — Hope Cottage.

Hope Cottage groundbreaking shovels

Hope Cottage groundbreaking shovels

For her, having the adoption facility located here had a bit of irony attached to it. Then she smiled and recalled that “Uncle Al’s” (the late Algur Meadows) son, Robert Meadows, had been adopted. Rob is now Chairman of The Meadows Foundation’s board of trustees.

While a small sandbox with small shovels with brightly colored ribbons was placed in the center of the parking lot, the majority of Hope Cottage staffers, board members, friends and families gathered under the nearby trees and some were smart enough to bring umbrellas. It was obvious that even the summer heat was not going to discourage this official start for the 8,500 square-foot center designed by Gensler.

Joanna Clarke and Paige McDaniel

Joanna Clarke and Paige McDaniel

Kathleen LaValle

Kathleen LaValle

As time drew near for the official program to begin, Wilson District “residents” like Community Partners of Dallas’ Paige McDaniel and Joanna Clarke and soon-to-be next door neighbor Dallas CASA’s Kathleen LaValle joined the crowd of adults and kiddos.

Kathleen had a special interest in the arrival of Hope Cottage to the “hood.” It seems that more than 25 years ago Hope Cottage had been “our foundation in the adoption process” of their children from Edna Gladney in Fort Worth. She had been told that it would be six months before their adoption would go through. Six days later the call came. She laughed and admitted that she wasn’t prepared for the early arrival and had “to borrow my neighbor’s car seat.”

Shannon Hills-Cline

Shannon Hills-Cline

John Dickey

John Dickey

As some of the guests took seats under a white tent, most stood to the side as Hope Cottage President of the Board John Dickey, Gensler architect Barry Hand and adoptive mom Shannon Hills-Cline spoke.

Barry Hand

Barry Hand

Shannon told the crowd in the blinding sunlight that, as a single mother, she thought the odds were against her. Then a call came after office hours. She feared it was a turn down call. Nope, they had a baby girl. After meeting with the mother and baby, the connection was a done deal. Only, like Kathleen, Shannon had no car seat. But that wasn’t going to hold her back. She found one and fell in love with motherhood.

Cassidy Seikaly and Omar Seikaly

Cassidy Seikaly and Omar Seikaly

Behind the tent Omar Seikaly was helping his daughter Cassidy Seikaly, who was having a shoe issue. Later when Omar was joined by Hope Cottage’s Amy Broussard, he told how she had been the one who had worked with his family in making the love connection for adopting both of their children.

After all the presentations were over, the group moved to the sandbox, where Hope Cottage graduates and foster kids took charge of the shovels and dug. And when the photos were finished and the grownups sought the comfort of the shade to chat, the kids kept digging. After all, that’s what a sandbox is all about.

Round Robin November 13: Holy Moly! Seven Events In One Day

Thursday, November 13 was jam packed all day long. Hmm, seems like every day in November is turning out to be like that. Here’s the report on events from all over the area.

Obelisk Awards Luncheon

For more than two and a half decades, the Business Council for the Arts has been recognizing North Texas businesses and business leaders who believe in the “transformative power of arts and culture” with something called the Obelisk Awards. The nonprofit group did it for the 26th time, when it hosted a well-attended luncheon awards ceremony at the Fairmont Hotel in Dallas.

With luminaries in attendance including Todd Meier, Jeremy Strick, and Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger—Nancy’s late father, Ray Nasher, founded the council in 1988—the luncheon was kicked off by Larry Glasgow, the nonprofit’s board chair, and emceed by Mary Anne Alhadeff.

Before Mary Anne oversaw the presentation of the 2014 Obelisks, though, attendees listened to remarks by luncheon Co-chairs Anne and Bernie DiFlore, Business Council CEO Katherine Wagner, and Comerica Bank chief economist Robert Dye. (Who knew the bank’s senior VP is also an accomplished painter?!) Then it was Mary Anne’s turn in the spotlight, as she disclosed that the event’s nine honorees had donated a total of $1.25 million to Dallas-Fort Worth arts groups in one year alone.

With that, it was off to the races with the 2014 Obelisks.

First up was the Lifetime Achievement Award, which went to Brian Shivers, a board member with the Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Garden for nearly 30 years. Accepting the award, Brian thanked Dallas “for being a place that supports and encourages big ideas.”

Crayton Webb*

Crayton Webb*

Next came the New Initiative Award, which recognizes businesses for a new initiative with a single focus. The winners this year in the Small, Medium, and Large Business categories, respectively, were Eletorre, which manages community relations projects and web-based communications for nonprofits, like the Bridge-o-Rama event; Gold Metal Recyclers, which nurtures a variety of arts and cultural organizations in North Texas; and Mary Kay Inc., which has helped underwrite the Women of WaterTower Theatre group, among many other initiatives.

Then came the Arts Partnership Award, which honors companies that have supported one or more arts and cultural groups in North Texas for at least three years. The 2014 winners in the Small, Medium, and Large Business categories were, respectively, Fantastic Moves, a moving company that’s helped The Women’s Chorus of Dallas move pianos and risers over many years on a pro-bono basis; law firm Vinson & Elkins, which for decades has represented KERA pro-bono and supported other groups like the Dallas Museum of Art; and Pioneer Natural Resources, which, among other things, has made a 5-year commitment to the Dallas Theater Center’s educational programming for at-risk teens.

Barbara Daseke and Ben Fischer and Laree Hulshoff*

Barbara Daseke and Ben Fischer and Laree Hulshoff*

The luncheon concluded with two single presentations: the Arts Education Award and the Arts Leadership Award. The former, which recognizes business support for arts education programs, went to Carey International Inc., a transportation provider that helped the Nasher Sculpture Center expose its 10-year-anniversary project, Nasher XChange, to school and community groups. Finally, the Arts Leadership Award for long-term vision and commitment was presented to Barbara Daseke. She was recognized for her fundraising efforts on behalf of WaterTower Theatre, TACA, and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Said Mary Anne Alhedeff of the spiky-haired Daseke as the luncheon drew to a close: “She is a one-woman dynamo. Perhaps this should be called the ‘Wonder Woman’ Award!”

Affordable Living Initiative Construction Celebration

It’s not every day that construction takes place to provide affordable living for low-income families, but on this day, it got underway with a celebration at Jubilee Park. Here’s a report from the field:

“In a joint partnership, Jubilee Park & Community Center, PlainsCapital Bank and City of Dallas Housing/Community Services Department launched a large-scale, four-phase affordable housing initiative that will result in 28 residences for low-income families in southeast Dallas over the next three years. Today, a construction celebration was held to commemorate this partnership and future homeownership for the families who will reside in these new homes. This event was held in Jubilee Park where the first six homes are being built.

Jubilee group**

Jubilee group**

“Representatives from Jubilee Park & Community Center, City of Dallas and PlainsCapital Bank, the families who will take ownership of these new homes, and Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings attended the groundbreaking event. PlainsCapital Bank’s live mascot, Mo the Buffalo even made an appearance. At the close of the event, PlainsCapital Bank North Dallas President Doug Cook and Jubilee Park & Community Center Board Chairman Bill Addy competed in a Bobcat front-end loader race.

Mo and the Bobcat RAce**

Mo and the Bobcat Race**

“’The primary goal of the affordable housing project is to provide homeownership opportunities for low-income families who would otherwise not have the means to become homeowners,’ said Jubilee Park & Community Center Chief Executive Officer Ben Leal. ‘Through this partnership with City of Dallas and PlainsCapital Bank, we have a unique opportunity to be a part of making the American dream of homeownership a reality for these families in our community.’

“The cost of each new home is approximately $125,000. Both Jubilee Park and the City of Dallas will contribute a combined $50,000 toward the total cost of each home.

“Homebuyers will secure a mortgage of $70,000 to $85,000, based on their income. “Buyer Assistance” funds of $20,000 may be available from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Builder construction loans for phases II through IV will be provided by PlainsCapital Bank.

“Homebuyers must meet the income limits set by the City of Dallas which stipulate they have an annual income of 140 percent or less of the current HUD Metro Fair Market Rent Area estimate of the median family income for Dallas ($67,500). Homebuyers will also have the opportunity to participate in pre- and post-homebuyer education classes that will be provided by the East Dallas Community Organization.

“The single-family homes are approximately 1,300 square feet with three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a two-car garage. Energy efficient appliances will be included in the purchase price. Homebuyers have five home models to choose from. All homes will be LEED silver certified.

“Construction for the first six homes broke ground in September and are slated for completion in early 2015. Construction for the final phase of this project will begin in late 2015, with completion in the fourth quarter of 2016.

“East Dallas Community Organization is managing the construction, identifying and qualifying homebuyers, hiring building contractors, managing the purchase of lots and providing necessary paperwork associated with an affordable housing transaction to city, state and federal governing bodies and the designated title company. Woodmere Properties, who has built numerous affordable housing projects in Dallas, was selected as the home builder. ”

Chick Lit KO Party

Announcements evidently were high in demand for the upcoming 2015 season. As reported earlier, the Chick Lit-ters revealed their plans at a cocktail reception at Roberta Roller Rabbit for the Friday, April 24th luncheon. Wendy Messmann will be chairing the annual event at Brook Hollow benefiting Community Partners of Dallas that will feature author Stacey Ballis. Joining Wendy will be Honorary Chair Carol Seay.

2015 No Tie Dinner & Dessert Party KO

Over at Scott + Cooner, 150 enjoyed a cocktail reception and learned about the plans for the 2015 No Tie Dinner & Dessert Party scheduled for Saturday, March 28 at the Frontier of Flight Museum. Once David Nelson and Dennis Kershner will co-chair the event with Jody and Sterling O’Donnell serving at honorary co-chairs. The theme — “Under the Yum Yum Tree”!

DIFFA Holiday Wreath Collection

The DIFFA gang didn’t so much announce but rather kicked of the momentum for the season with its annual Holiday Wreath Collection at the Galleria. Despite evening rush-home traffic, folks Wreath Co-Chair Matt Wilkerson and Carol Quist joined DIFFA/Dallas Chairman of the Board Clint Bradley to checkout more than 40 designer wreaths were up for bid that had been created by individuals and companies like Stanley Korshak, Tiffany & Co., AIDS Arms, AIDS Services of Dallas, Gallerie Noir, Sissy’s Southern Kitchen (Lisa Garza), Gensler Architects, Swarvoski, Club Monaco, Jennifer Miller, RSVP Design Services, Dear Clark Hair Studio, Nine-Eighteen, Tatyana Murphy, Lucky Dog Barkery and Westin Galleria Dallas Hotel to name a few.

Playbills, Popcorn And The Press

Back at Fair Park the Press Club of Dallas presented Dallas Summer Musical’s Michael Jenkins with the 2014 Newsmaker of the Year Award. Pat Porter chaired the event — “Playbills, Popcorn and the Press” — along with Honorary Co-Chairs Cindy and Chuck Gummer at the Music Hall. Of course, it wouldn’t be an event honoring Michael without a bit of song and dance. That was provided by Cathy Rigby and Rachel York.

Encore for Advocacy

Speaking of music, Mavis Staples was blowing the roof off the Majestic for the Encore for Advocacy benefiting the Dallas Advocacy Center. Why even the Dallas Morning News’ special contributor Thor Christensen was impressed by her performance describing her as having “rarely sung with as much intensity as she did Thursday night at the Majestic Theatre, where she roared, snarled and scatter up a maelstrom.” Thor also gave a tip-of-the-hat to fellow performer Patty Griffin who shared the stage with Mavis.

* Photo provided by WaterTower Theatre
** Photos provided by PlainsCapital Bank

Round Robin April 24: Camp Bette Perot Aquatic Center, Dallas Women’s Foundation Dinner And Soup’sOn! Check Presentation

The gals were busy, busy Thursday, April 24. No, they were white gloving it and sipping tea and munching cucumber sandwiches . . . not by a long shot. And then there was the party-hearty crowd celebrating the opening day of the John Wayne Film Festival at Gilley’s with Pat Green on stage. Yahoo, baby!

Camp Bette Perot Aquatic Center Groundbreaking

It’s been a long time in the planning, but the best things don’t happen overnight. As Colleen Walker concludes her final days as CEO of the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas, she helped GSNETX CFO Debbie Roling and the project architects officially break ground for the Camp Bette Perot Aquatic Center in Anderson County.

Colleen Walker and Debbie Roling*

Colleen Walker and Debbie Roling*

While the pool will be finished just in time for June activities, the entire aquatic center won’t be finished until September.

Thanks to the Perot Foundation’s gift of $1.2M in 2012, the center is “aimed at continuing the transformation of a fully comprehensive camp.”

Leadership Forum and Award Dinner

Presented by AT&T, the annual Dallas Women’s Foundation celebrated the 2014 Maura Women Helping Women Award and Young Leader recipients at its Leadership Forum and Award Dinner. Held in the Trinity Ballroom of the Omni Dallas Hotel, the Maura Awards were bestowed on Debbie Dudley Branson, Lauren Embry, Helen Holman, Retta Miller and Gauthami Vemula.

The Young Leader Award, that was created just last year, was awarded to Dr. Myiesha Taylor and Brittany Merrill Underwood.

The evening’s keynote speaker was Ping Fu, who rose to fame for software programming and was named Inc. Magazine’s Entrepreneur of the Year. As part of the initial NCSA Mosaic team that became Netscape, she went on to help launch Geomagic, a company that is involved with everything from personalizing prosthetic limbs to repairing NASA spaceships.

Soup’s On! Check Presentation

January and its chilly weather requiring simmering soup seems like an age ago. Since the Soup’s On! luncheon at the Omni with the knock-out speaker Liz Murray, the bean counters have been burning up their abacuses.

Bruce Buchanan, Tonya Meier, Gail Davis and Sarah Leverett Charbonnet**

Bruce Buchanan, Tonya Meier, Gail Davis and Sarah Leverett Charbonnet**

It was well-worth the wait. A check for $340,000 was presented to The Stewpot Alliance’s Rev. Dr. Bruce Buchanan and Alliance President Tonya Meier and another one for $60,000 was given to the Encore Project.

The handovers took place at Susie Simon’s home with Luncheon Co-Chairs Gail Davis and Sarah Leverett Charbonnet sporting the biggest smiles in the room.

Plans are already underway for the 2015 luncheon that will be co-chaired by Anne Besser and Jackie Moore. Plan on soup at the Omni on Friday, January 30.

* Photo provided by Girls Scouts of Northeast Texas
** Photo provided by Soup's On! luncheon committee

MySweetCharity August Ad Auction Closes July 25 At 6



Despite what others may say, Dallas has still been rock ‘n rolling this summer. And things are starting to ramp up with just a few weeks left before the 2013 Fall/Winter fundraising season kicks off.

You just know if it’s news about the nonprofit sector or those wonderful people who open their pocketbooks to support them, you’ll read it on MySweetCharity.

That’s why the MSC elves haven’t had time to enjoy their summer hiatus. And dear old Queenie had to take a pass to attend Pippa’s shower for Kate and Will.

With that said, the MySweetCharity August Ad Auction ends Thursday, July 25, at 6 p.m. So send in a bid for a place to promote your organization/business or just to thank someone for being part of the North Texas community.


Despite Heels, Ground Is Officially Broken For The $108M Charles A. Sammons Trauma And Critical Care Tower

Last Tuesday was a day of past sorrow and future hope. Not only did it remind many of the tragedy that changed the world 11 years ago, it proved to be a day when violence seemed to captured headlines.

But it was also a day when a major step was taken to curb violence, or shall we say help recover from it. Under clear skies, more than 200 community and healthcare leaders gathered to break ground on the $108 million Charles A. Sammons Trauma and Critical Care Tower at Methodist Dallas Medical Center.

Methodist Dallas Medical Center President Laura Irvine told the crowd, “As a trauma center and safety-net hospital, Methodist Dallas Medical Center is here to help people in their most critical moments of need. Most of the 60,000 patients who visit our emergency department every year and certainly the 1,500 trauma patients did not plan their visit. It is our mission to stand ready to care for them no matter how complex their injury or illness.”

When the 248,000-square-foot center opens in summer of 2014, the hospital’s facility will include:

  • 58 new emergency room beds,
  • six trauma suites,
  • eight surgical suites,
  • a 36-bed critical care unit, and
  • the ability to expand to 11 stories for future growth.

But this project doesn’t just happen because it’s necessary. It only results from major fundraising efforts. This money-seeking campaign, known as BrightEr Campaign, is the “most ambitious in Methodist’s 85-year history. A $5 million lead gift was contributed by the Sammons Dallas Foundation.”

Laura Irvine, Chris Kleinert and April Box Chamberlain

According to the Methodist Health System Foundation CEO/President April Box Chamberlain, “Methodist is fortunate to have families like the Sammons and the Hunts (Honorary Chairs Nancy and Ray Hunt) with a legacy of support for our mission – generation after generation,” said Chamberlain. “So as we look to the bright future of Methodist and the patients we serve, we also looked to the new generation of philanthropic and civic leaders to join and lead us in this campaign. Chris (Campaign Chair Chris Kleinert) and his committee epitomize the next generation of leaders in Dallas.”

In introducing Chris to the crowd, April referred to Chris as Dallas’ own Clark Kent. But when Chris stepped to the stage to deliver his remarks, he claimed he was not Superman – but a mere mortal as indicated by using old-fashioned notes rather than the teleprompter.

April Box Chamberlain, Ray and Nancy Hunt and Steve Folsom

As if the day and groundbreaking weren’t getting things off to a great start, Chris reported that the following gifts were helping the group big time to their goal:

  • a $1 million gift from The Robert S. Folsom Family,
  • a $1 million gift from Pete and Pat Schenkel and
  • more than $750,000 in honor of the late Norman Brinker

Following a video illustrating the impact of Methodist Dallas on the city, Chris added, “Our theme for this historic campaign is:  BrightER — Saving lives, Serving Dallas. The first responders, physicians, caregivers, volunteers, and community leaders — each one of you here today make Dallas brighter. And together with Methodist Dallas Medical Center, we have the opportunity to make a lasting mark on our community and help create a city that is a safer, healthier, and better than any of us could ever dream.”

BrightER groundbreaking

Then it was time for the shovels to dig into the dirt in front of a huge backdrop of the new facility. That’s when some of the ladies had issues. No, it wasn’t handling the shovels. These gals have experience in digging dirt when it comes to launching new construction. It was their heels. Let’s face it, Louboutins are great at luncheons, but maneuvering through sand and dirt is another issue entirely.

BTW, if you would like to know all those who are making this health care dream come true, follow the jump.

Photos provided by Methodist Health System

[Read more…]

Letot Girls’ Residential Treatment Center Breaks Ground While Jets Thunder Overhead

Dallas Morning News real estate godfather Steve Brown broke a story yesterday morning about developers breaking ground on an Uptown luxury apartment community.

Official ground breaking

In another part of town another groundbreaking took place. It wasn’t for a splashy residential facility with “well-calibrated amenities,” like the Uptown one. But its development will have much deeper, far-reaching results. That may be why everyone from politicos, community leaders, fundraisers and the media showed up.

Letot ground breaking VIP’s

It was the official shovel-dig start for the Letot Girls’ Residential Treatment Center in Dallas County. The 55,000-square-foot, two-story facility located adjacent to Letot Center on Denton Drive will provide six to 12 months of long-term treatment and shelter for Dallas’s “invisible girls.”

What are “invisible girls”? They are girls between the ages of 13 and 17, who “have experienced extreme abuse and exploitation in human trafficking.” According to police officials and Letot Center, there are an estimated 400 “invisible girls” on any given night.

Caren Prothro

While Dallas County has two long-term residential treatment centers for boys with a total of 184 beds, there no such facility for girls. Expected to open in 2013, the 96-bed center will be “the largest among only a small handful of programs nationwide” and has been “made possible by a capital campaign undertaken by the Letot Center Capital Foundation.” The campaign was spearheaded by co-chairs Lauren Embrey, Craig Evans, Sarah Losinger and Caren Prothro.

“Today is more than a groundbreaking. It is a testament to the power of public-private partnership and the generosity of foundations, individuals and Dallas County, all of whom joined together to break new ground in how a community shelters, supports and treats invisible girls who have been abused and exploited,” said Caren.

John Wiley Price

From the podium County Commissioner John Wiley Price eloquently tipped his hat to Caren, who has been working with Letot since the beginning back in the late ’70s when he first got involved. With that the entire crowd under the tent gave Caren a SRO.

Ground breaking shovels

Perhaps that Prothro involvement was why the event seemed perfect. There was a slight breeze to keep things from getting toasty, water bottles were handed out, female guests were escorted on a red carpet to the tent, half-a-dozen floor fans were in motion at the back of the tent, gold shovels stood at attention and everything went off as planned, including the Southwest Airlines flight schedule.

You see, Letot is directly under the Love Field flight plan. Ah, but this group was prepared. As a jet flew low overhead, the speaker at the podium stopped, took a deep breath and continued on once the plane had passed.  

BTW, major donors for the new facility include Dallas Woman’s Foundation, The Moody Foundation, Embrey Family Foundation, Hoblitzelle Foundation, The Meadows Foundation, The Rees-Jones Foundation, Harold Simmons Foundation and The Crystal Charity Ball.

Now, how about a sales pitch? The campaign’s goal was $9.4 million. So far, $8.9 million has been raised. Why not end the campaign and donate? Not necessarily $500,000, though that would be very nice. But those little contributions do add up and it would be nice to check this one off the “must-do list.”