MySweetCharity To Launch Mini-Series — “Summer Pitch”

MySweetCharity

North Texas is now at “that point in the summer.” The kids have seen all the movies including the losers. The good old swimming hole is starting to look like it could boil lobster. Summer camp is either in the rear view mirror or still a couple of weeks away.

What’s left for the summer of 2017? Lots!

Thanks to North Texas nonprofits, there are still loads of gotta-dos available. Some are obvious and well known; others are off the traditional radar. But they’re all family oriented and the results of North Texan generosity.

In the days ahead, MySweetCharity is going to run a brief series — MSC Summer Pitch — for these organizations to describe their things-to-do for your consideration.

Why not give ‘em a try and don’t forget to take photos.  

The Family Place Opened Texas’ First Shelter For Male Victims Of Domestic Abuse

There’s a misconception that domestic abuse only victimizes women and children in a household. Not true. The thinking is that real men just don’t get abused. That’s not true. It’s often not reported because of the humiliation that a male victim has “not stood up for himself.”

The Family Place*

For more than 15 years, The Family Place has been working with such men on a limited basis, due to financial resources. They’ve had to resort to using hotels and apartments, and that has been costly and not the most satisfactory solution. Just last year they “provided shelter for 32 men and nonresidential services for 50 men.”

That’s why The Family Place team rolled up their sleeves and committed to creating a true facility for men and their children to seek protective shelter for healing and undertaking a better life. Their goal was to provide 21 beds and private rooms for men with children.

Construction got underway in 2016 and the house was opened this month. However, there was no grand opening due to the fact that its location must remain undisclosed.

These clients will have access to counseling, emergency relief services, case management, childcare, healthcare, legal aid, transitional housing and rental assistance.

Funding for the shelter was achieved through grants.

* Graphic courtesy of The Family Place

Sunshine Returns To The Area With Southern Charmer James Farmer For The Park Cities Historic And Preservation Society Luncheon

Despite North Texas taking a thunderous beating the night before, sunshine and friendly temperatures were on hand Wednesday, March 29, for the Park Cities Historic and Preservation Society Luncheon at the Dallas Country Club.

And what else would one expect with author/gardener/floral and interior designer/cook/garden-to-table lifestyle expert James Farmer as the keynote speaker. Sunshine just seems to be his calling card.

James Farmer and Kendall Jennings

Since his appearance in 2013 for the Kappa Kappa Gamma’s Tablescapes, James flashed the same All-American smile, but there was less of him. He told Honorary Co-Chair Libby Hunt it was due to his giving one of his kidneys to his sister, Meredith. Libby asked if the transplant had caused him to be ill and lose the weight. No, he had been put on steroids the year before and the year after the surgery, resulting in his looking heavier when he spoke at Tablescapes. Now, he was back to his normal weight.

To get things going, PCHPS President Kendall Jennings welcomed the group and asked Pierce Allman to provide the invocation. With his arm in a sling as a result of rotator cuff surgery, Pierce’s presentation was poetic. So much so, that as emcee Scott Murray took his place on stage, he admitted that it was remarkable. When asked if he had been working on the invocation for some time or if it was something that had been handed down from generation to generation, Pierce smiled and said he had just put it together that morning.

 

David and Libby Hunt, Leeanne Hunt, Herbert Hunt, Libby Hunt Allred and Barbara Hunt Crow

Mike and Marla Boone

As guests like James’ buddy Caren Kline, Debbie and Jim Francis, Heather Furniss, sisters Libby Hunt Allred and Barbara Hunt Crow, Herbert Hunt, Cynthia Beaird, Marla Boone, Lindalyn Adams, Kay Weeks and Lucy Wrubel with mother Jennie Reeves had lunch, they caught up with Melinda Obenchain receiving rave reviews for “B Magazine,” which she just produced for Briggs-Freeman…La Fiesta de Las Seis Banderas 2017 Co-Chair Rebecca Gregory reporting that La Fiesta de Las Seis Banderas would be returning to the Hilton Anatole in 2018.

Debbie Francis

Melinda Obenchain

Just past noon, emcee Scott told the guests how both Honorary Co-Chairs Libby’s and David Hunt’s childhood homes in the Park Cities were still standing. While that may not seem important to many, to this group of preservationist it was, with the recent demolishing of the Trammell Crow and Penson homes. He then had Pierce introduce James. Pierce, who had been tableside with James, described James as covering “everything from dirt to dessert.”

James Farmer

Some of the highlights of James’ talk included:

  • “Dallas still has a small-town feel. Had dinner last night at Café Pacific and knew people at the other tables.”
  • Having grown up in Perry, Georgia, “If you needed something made, you had it made there. If you wanted something from a foreign land, you went to Atlanta.”
  • As a five-year-old he was playing T-ball and was assigned left field. There he spied a colony of ziggy holes. In South Georgia, ziggy worms are grub  worms. “I knew instinctively that if I dug out a ziggy or two and put them in my pocket and took them home and threw them in our pond, I would catch catfish. And my Mimi, my grandmother, would fry that catfish and we would eat that catfish on my Aunt Irene’s Limoges plates. There’s a connection. Y’all can go to a nice restaurant and pay $30 for that fish now and it’s called ‘Pond To Plate.’ But I understood as a child that something from the ground could get to our table.” On this day in left field, he decided that he had found the “honey hole of ziggy worms.” He dug them up and put them in his pocket. “A kid from the opposing team had the nerve to hit a ball my way. I had to do what came natural to me, so I protected my ziggy colony.” The coach informed James’ father that his son was not an athlete. To this Dr. Farmer responded, “Yes, but he knows the Latin name for every blade of grass out in the field.” It would be 13 years later that James would receive a scholarship from a garden club for Auburn, and the kid who hit that ball received a scholarship to play baseball at Georgia. “So, you see we were both playing on the same field, but ended up where we were supposed to.”
  • Frank McCall influenced James with his “full service architect” firm that drew on a southern lifestyle and “helped my parents create their home.” McCall told James’ mother, “Every Southern lady needs a beautiful home. Every Southern lady needs fine silk. Every southerner needs a damn good chest.” She suddenly realized, “He wasn’t talking about Aunt Irene’s chest.” In the future, James would realize that McCall was talking about being confident and proud of what  you have.
  • It was while attending Auburn that James threw his first “dinner party.” It was in the dormitory kitchen. “I had a hankering for fried chicken and I knew how to fry chicken because you know every 18-year-old goes off to college with an iron skillet. Do you know how many friends you can make in college by making fried chicken? I never missed a sorority ball. Those girls were hungry, too. Those girls were off getting engagement rings and thinking, ‘Oh, my, I gotta learn how to cook.’ That was my ‘fried chicken moment.’”
  • “The pearly gates will smell like Lady Peas.”
  • “I love to teach the generations what the generations before had.”
  • “My grandfather was a Baptist minister and because of that I am a recovering Baptist. Thankfully, the Episcopal Church has a program for us. What the Episcopal Church does is they tell you to come to church and bring a bottle of wine.” On his first field trip with the Episcopalians, they went to the liquor store and he was told to “make eye contact with people, you address them by their first name, and bring that drink to the church and drink it.”
  • Each year his grandmother Mimi made her famous fruit cake. It called for rum. His grandfather wanted a piece with the rum: “It’s not drinking it if you’re eating it.” Being a good Baptist, his grandmother had a Methodist friend buy the alcohol at a liquor store. When the friend died, Mimi “put on some attire that the sheik of some Arab country would wear,” so no one would recognize her. When James confronted her, asking, “Did King Abdulla die?,” she proudly stated that no one had recognized her being incognito. But her grandson countered with, “But you drive the biggest Buick in town. If they saw it whipping around the liquor store…” She responded, “But I parked it at the Winn-Dixie.”
  • James’ first job was redecorating on his grandmother’s Baptist Sunday classroom. He soon learned that everything in the Baptist Church is done by committee, “which I believe is a version of eternal damnation. I would rather work for a dictator than a Baptist committee.”
  • Regarding his first book, he heard a dozen “Nos” from New York publishing houses. “They were No York.” But a Salt Lake publishing house agreed to take a meeting with him, where they wore football jerseys and jeans and James was “dressed like Astor’s pony.” The Salt Lake group agreed to publish 500 copies of “A Time To Plant.” His response was, “That’s sweet, but y’all know I’ll sell 500 copies in the Winn-Dixie parking lot from the back of my Suburban.” He ended up ordering all 500 copies himself and told them that he had some book signings coming up and friends like Caren and Peter Kline in Dallas who were going to support him with book signing events. Some friends in New York City arranged for him to prepare a dinner party for them and have a book signing afterwards. “I ran out of books. I had a conference call the next day with my publisher and I told them, ‘Y’all, I’m out of books.'” They said, “That’s what we want to talk to you about. Barnes and Noble just ordered 2,500 copies.” And it wasn’t just Barnes and Noble. Other stores were placing huge orders. The publisher asked, “What are you doing?” James responded, “Well, last night I cooked a dinner party for some friends of mine. Do you know Al Roker and Deborah Roberts?” They said, “No, but we know you’re not talking about the ‘Today’ host and the ABC reporter.” James trumped them by saying, “Yes, I am. Al and Deborah are very good friends of mine.” The publisher asked how James knew Al. “I know Al through Deborah, who’s from Perry.” They asked if he had other similar events planned. James said that he was headed down to Washington where a friend was going to host another event. “Is the President coming?” James said, “He was invited, because he’s, you know, busy. But they’re gonna take some books to the White House.” The publisher was curious, “Who do you know in Washington?” James asked, “Do you know Senator Sam Nunn? He’s from Perry.”
  • His latest book, “A Time To Celebrate,” started out focusing on big parties and deb balls. During the year that he was creating it, both his mother and grandmother died. “The word ‘celebrate’ took on a new meaning.’ It was Sunday night at home having scrambled eggs and watching ‘Downton Abbey’ with Mama.”
  • In writing “A Time To Celebrate,” he took Jenna Bush Hager up on the offer to “do anything for him.” He wanted her to write the forward. She admitted that she just didn’t know how to do it. James then told her, “You saw your mama and grandma entertain in the White House. I saw my mama and grandma entertain in a white house.” The common denominator was the fact that whether it was the president of a foreign country or the local minister, the way people come together is over food.
  • One of his favorite stories is about his mother, when they hired an Atlanta decorator. Previously, they had used a local decorator, who wore denim on denim — an “I only shop at Kmart look. She would use red latex magnolias dipped in gold glitter for Christmas.” The Atlanta decorator arrived in a black Mercedes and wearing Chanel. At one point, his mother said, “I love ‘Carl.’ I just have to tell you that ‘Carl’ makes me happy. . .  And ‘Carl’ makes me smile a lot.” When the decorator finally said she didn’t understand, because “Your husband is Ted,” Mother Farmer said, “I’m talking about the color.” Translation: coral.
  • In summary, James said, “Keep it real. That’s what the South is about.”

James talked about Al Roker, Deborah Roberts, Jenna Bush and Sam Nunn in such a way that it didn’t feel like name dropping, but rather they were just James’ friends and real.

If you weren’t able to make the luncheon, get one of James’ books and you’ll find a brand-new BFF.

Grovel Alert: A Chance To Soar Luncheon

Just heard from Jonathan’s Place CEO Allicia Graham Frye that as of noon today, there were just 10 tickets left for Tuesday’s “A Chance To Soar Luncheon” at the Hilton Anatole.

Trevor and Jan Rees-Jones (File photo)

No wonder! Just some of the VIP types in attendance will be enough to have cell-photos being taken nonstop. Co-Chairs Julie Bagley and Rachel Stephens have arranged to have Tiffany Cuban, Jessica and Dirk Nowitzki, Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones, Meredith Land and Dillard’s Corporate Beauty VP Gary Borofsky tableside.

Simone Biles*

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the darling of the 2016 Olympics Simone Biles will be the keynote speaker. Her life story reflects Jonathan’s Place’s mission to provide a safe, loving home and specialized services to children who have been abused, abandoned or neglected.” Let’s hope that she doesn’t get eliminated on Monday night’s “Dancing With The Stars.” That would mean her taking the red-eye to NYC for Tuesday morning’s “Good Morning America.” But the money’s on Simone remaining as part of the cast and overnight flying to North Texas. And who knows? Maybe her dancing partner Sasha Farber will be with her at the lunch.

Remember, just 10 seats are left, so get that reservation in now.

* Photo provided by Jonathan's Place

Partners Card Past Chairs, Sponsors, Retailers And Contributors Celebrated 25 Years Of Supporting The Family Place Fundraiser

For 24 years The Family Place clients have benefited from North Texas’ favorite indoor sport — shopping—thanks to the annual Partners Card. To celebrate its 25th-year anniversary, Sally Hoglund and Brenda West Cockerell had a lunch for near and dear at the Dallas Country Club on Tuesday, February 28. Here’s a report from the field:

Now in its 25th year, Partners Card kicked off its anniversary year with a celebratory luncheon hosted by Partners Card Co-Founder Sally Hoglund and The Family Place Board Member Brenda West Cockerell at the Dallas Country Club Tuesday, February 28. The ballroom was filled with past Partners Card chairs, sponsors, retailers and many more who contribute their time and talents to make the event a success.

Sally Johnson, Sally Hoglund and Brenda West Cockerell*

The Family Place CEO Paige Flink welcomed guests and shared how far Partners Card has come and noted that in its history, the community has helped raise more than $17 million to support victims of family violence through the Partners Card Program. Partners Card Co-Founders Sally Hoglund and Sally K. Johnson were recognized and received appreciation for believing in the Partners Card concept and establishing the program in Dallas. A video, donated by Beyond, played and featured interviews with “the Sallys” and summarized the success of the Partners Card program throughout the years.

Lynn McBee, Paige Flink and Joanne Teichman*

During lunch, Partners Card 2017 Co-Chairs Brynn Bagot Allday and Jennifer Burns graciously thanked past Partners Card chairs who are serving as committee members this year and announced this year’s “Together We Save” Partners Card will be held Friday, October 27 – Sunday, November 5. Burns offered special thanks to Partners Card retailers, many of whom have participated in the program since its inception.  For the silver anniversary, Allday and Burns shared their goal of making Partners Card 2017 bigger and better than ever with more retailers, sellers, sponsors, new technology and expanded social media campaigns.

Guests enjoyed tortilla soup, Southwest chicken chop salad and chocolate mousse prepared by the Dallas Country Club, snapped photos for social media with Partners Card props, and reminisced about the past 24 years through a montage of photos that played throughout the luncheon. Shopping bag cookies created by Kim Crigger Warren of KimCake4U were gifted to all guests, and the beautiful floral centerpieces from Branching Out Events also were available for purchase.

Ralph Prieto, Mike Meredith and Bob White*

Guests included Presenting Sponsor Bank of Texas team Bob White, Mandy Austin, Mike Meredith, Ralph Prieto, Scott Winton and Vickie Wise; The Family Place Vice President of Development Melissa Sherrill Martin; 2017 Partners Card Co-chairs Brynn Bagot Allday and Jennifer Burns; Partners Card Development Manager Heather Street Baker; and Past Partners Card Chairs Annika Cail, Gay Donnell, Susan Farris, Diane Fullingim, Suzy Gekiere, Nancy Gopez, JB Hayes, Kathryn Henry, Teffy Jacobs, Maggie Kipp, Kate Rose Marquez, Lynn McBee, Molly Nolan, Jane Rozelle, Kristen Sanger, Kelley Schadt, Nancy Scripps, Jamie Singer, Andrea Weber, Melissa Wickham, Andrea Cheek, Anne Conner, Cynthia Beaird, Dawn Spalding, Debbie Munir, Katy Duvall Olson, Lisa Rubey, Melissa Cameron, Paige Westhoff, Sally Cullum, Sue Bailey, Susan Wilson, Suzanne Crews and Samantha Wortley.

* Photo credit: George Fiala

JUST IN: Top-Tier Moms And Daughters Are Coming Together For Family Gateway To End Homelessness For Children And Their Families

This year’s Family Gateway’s Gateway To Opportunity Luncheon on Thursday, September 7, at the Omni Dallas is simply brimming with all types of mother-daughter relationships. To begin with, the organization was founded by the late Mayor Annette Strauss 31 years ago to “create sufficient stable housing and to expand availability and access to life-changing services to that every homeless child and their family has a path out of poverty to a brighter future.” With Annette’s inspiration in mind, Luncheon Co-Chairs Paula Miltenberger and Betty Schultz have arranged to have Annette’s daughters Nancy Halbreich and Janie McGarr to serve as honorary co-chairs.

Laura Bush, Jenna Bush Hager, Nancy Halbreich and Janie McGarr (File photo)

But wait! There’s more.

The keynote speaker will be former first lady Laura Bush, whose daughter Jenna Bush Hager addressed the group last year with mom in the audience.

According to Family Gateway CEO Ellen Magnis, “We are honored to have Mrs. Bush’s involvement in our Gateway to Opportunity Luncheon and to have her support of our agency. As an advocate for education and the empowerment of women and girls, Mrs. Bush understands how critical early childhood education is to breaking the cycle of homelessness. Education is an important part of our program at Family Gateway, and we are grateful for Mrs. Bush’s efforts to raise awareness.”  

With MetroPCS as the presenting sponsor, underwriting co-chairs will be another mom-dotter team —Lisa Cooley and her daughter Ciara Cooley.

Tickets and sponsorship opportunities are available now. How about getting that Mother’s Day gift locked down now?

The 2017 Dallas Symphony League Orchestra Swans Flawlessly And Touchingly Bowed At The Meyerson

Oh, those Californians! Each year they have those itty-bitty Cliff Swallows return to Mission San Juan Capistrano on March 19th. As remarkable as that may seem to the West Coasters, the arrival of the swans to the Meyerson is truly memory-making each year.

On Saturday, February 18, 35 glorious white swans (aka Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Presentation debutantes) provided perfectly executed deep bows in support of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra at the Meyerson.

Jolie Humphrey, Eleanor Bond and Ginger Sager

And thanks to blonde DSOL President Sandy Secor, red-haired Ball Chair Jolie Humphrey and her committee (Lissie Donosky, Dixey Arterburn, Ginger Sager, Eleanor Bond and Therese Rourk) these swans had credentials that would have sent the California birds into a spiral diver. But more deb name dropping later.

2017 Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Presentation Ball debutantes and escorts

Before the presentation in the McDermott Concert Hall, photographer James French mounted a sky-high ladder to memorialize the debs and the Honor Guard escorts on the steps leading to the concert hall. “Is that everybody? Who’s missing? 35? I need the Honor Guards,” shouted James, as assistants counted heads and straightened hems. Various setups were needed: first, the debs, then the debs with Honor Guard escorts and then one with Jolie in the center. After the final group shot was taken, the debs and escorts joined their families for cellphone photos.

Sara Lee and Stan Gardner and Wendy Kumpf

Libby Bender, Catherine Lane and Rachel Faust

Downstairs, the cocktail reception was underway in the lower reception area. While black- and white-tie seemed the majority rule, red was also highlighting the area, thanks to Sara Lee Gardner, Wendy Kumpf, Elizabeth Magee, Catherine Lane, Libby Bender and Rachel Faust.

Still coquettish buds of deb Caroline Jones like

Ashley McGaw, Brindley Mize, Rachael Levy, Sarah Ransan, Arlin Dawson, Peyton Dean, Caroline LeCrone and Carling Crawford

and gal pal friends of the other debs held their own in an array of colors and necklines.

And speaking of those tricky décolletages, some of the ingénues in bare-shouldered gowns were seen having to hitch up downward-bound tops. While the usual glittery purses and stilettos accessorized the looks of the evening, one or two gals downgraded their aura by chomping on gum.

William Richardson and Heather Hall

Melissa Macatee and John and Barbara Stuart

Ken and Gina Betts, Molly Nelson and William Nelson

And if anyone was expecting drama, they were sorely disappointed. For instance, deb Gracie Beal’s folks, who had been divorced for ages, were front and center with their significant others — mama Simona Beal with Ryan Green and papa Andy Beal with his fiancée Olya Sinitsyna, who revealed that their baby boy was due on May 18… Terry Bentley Hill was on hand to support her god-daughter Abby Loncar and her mom Sue Loncar… One Honor Guard parent was Brad Cheves, who was attending his first DSOL Presentation Ball for his son, Kyle Cheves… Also attending their first DSOL Presentation Ball were Gina and Ken Betts for deb Molly NelsonMarsha Cameron and her husband Michael Halloran were returning for the presentation ball for their son Bryce Halloran, who would be escorting deb Marina Frattaroli. It was just two years ago that their daughter Alix Halloran was a deb… Among the grandparents in the crowd were William Richardson for deb Heather Hall, Gene and Jerry Jones for deb Caroline Jones and Honor Guard escort Shy Anderson Jr. and Barbara and John Stuart for grandson John Macatee… At least two sets of parents were providing both debs and escorts. In addition to daughter Catherine Kumpf making her debut, Wendy and Rick Kumpf’s son Henry Kumpf was a member of the Honor Guard… And then there were Ana and Jim Yoder. Not only was daughter Maria Yoder bowing, but her escorts were her brothers/Honor Guard members James Yoder Jr. and Peter Yoder.   

Kersten Rettig, McKenna Cook and Spencer Fontein

Kersten Rettig, whose daughter McKenna Cook was one of the debs, admitted, “I’m a little teary, in a good way. I never thought McKenna would do it. Jolie asked me a year ago if McKenna wanted to be a deb. But, the parents and girls have really connected! This is Dallas. This is tradition. This is for the arts. The pageant is 100 times better than I thought it would be!”  

Lissie Donosky, Dixey Arterburn, Eleanor Bond and Therese Rourk

Dallas Symphony Assembly officers

Honor Guard officers

On cue, the Meyerson chimes called the guests to their seats in the concert hall. Before the first deb stepped on stage, introductions of those who had made the event possible were made including Sandy, Jolie, her committee and the Assembly and the Honor Guard officers. Then emcee Stan Gardner asked the audience to show proper respect for the occasion. In other words, this wasn’t a dang pep rally.

Gracie Beal

Caroline Jones and Stephen Jones

Alicia Crenshaw and Bob Crenshaw Jr.

Caroline Pratt and Jack Pratt Sr.

With families seated near the stage and friends filling the rest of the floor, the Orchestra Tier and Loge, the presentation got underway. Upon her name being announced and her selected song being played, each deb appeared at the head of the stairs and was joined by her father or male family member. The couple then walked down the steps to center stage, where the gentleman kissed the deb on the cheek and took his place to her right. Then the deb made her formal bow, as her escort(s) stood to her left. On cue as she lifted her head looking at the escort(s), the lead escort walked over and offered his hand to help her rise. After a photo or two was taken by French’s team, the couple/trio walked to the stairs leading from the stage to the floor for a couple of more photos.

David Vaughan and Emily Vaughan

Will Cohn, Elizabeth Matthews and Tyler Doshier

Stan Gardner, Andrew Hatfield, Aspen Moraif and James Diamond

Perhaps the memory maker of the night was the presentation of Abby Loncar on the arm of her brother Patrick Long. Despite the Loncar family’s recent losses, it was obvious from the response of the entire audience that the community was truly rallying around Abby.

Abby Loncar and Patrick Long

After the final deb Maria Yoder and her brothers/escorts (James Yoder Jr. and Peter Yoder) left the stage, the entire stage was filled with the 2017 debutantes and their Honor Guard escorts, to a standing ovation.

2017 Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Presentation Ball debutantes and escorts

Stan then asked the guests to stay in place as Don Averitt and Mark Averitt directed the deb mothers, who had been seated on the aisles, to the lobby’s dance floor. The fathers, who had been seated in rows along the Orchestra Terrace, also departed to join their wives.

Wendy Kumpf, Simona Beal and Karen Jones

As anxious parents waited for their daughters to arrive at the dance floor, the rest of the guests filled the overhead balcony and lobby to see the first dances. Thanks to coordinators who served as traffic cops, a walkway through the crowd was created to allow the escorts to bring the debs to the floor.

Gabby Crank

Bailey Turfitt

Once there, the escorts peeled off and the debs sought their smiling parents. The debs looked so very relieved to have the bow over with, and the fathers looked a bit apprehensive about the next part of the evening — the first dance of the night. But the dads and debs had nothing to fear. Despite the crowded dance floor with the white billowing gowns, it was rather dreamy. Then the conditions got even more jammed with the escorts and mothers joining the debs and dads for a Glenn Miller tune, thanks to the Jordan Kahn Orchestra.  

Dancing debs and dads

While some continued to fill the dance floor, others headed to their tables for a salad (medley of baby greens, purple beets, goat cheese, walnuts and herbal vinaigrette dressing), entrée (grilled herb crusted beef filet with sherry reduction sauce, seasoned-roasted potatoes, tri-color carrots and steamed asparagus) and dessert (raspberry mousse tart and white and dark chocolate tower Swiss roll).

For more photos of bowing, dancing and beautiful peeps, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

The Slipper Club Presents A Record-Breaking Check Of $116,621 To Rays Of Light Thanks To Its Beyond The Mask Gala

If the sound of something breaking was heard last night, it was the Slipper Club’s presenting a record-breaking check of $116,621 to the organization’s 2016-2017 beneficiary, Rays of Light.

Caroline Baliker, John Bonadelle, Billy Nayden, Chelsea Parish, Stephanie Tatum and Billy Machina*

The funds were the result of fundraising efforts throughout the year, especially the 21st Annual Gala and Silent Auction — “Beyond the Mask.” Held on Saturday, February 4, the black-tie gala at the Omni Dallas had more than 800 guests in attendance, including leadership of the various men’s social club (Idlewild, Calyx and Terpsichorean), past and present Idlewild debs and others like Caleb Powell, Stephanie Smartt, Jillian Mock, Abbey Mock, Maddie Beckham, Kelly Gillespie, Fallon Bock, Porter Fuqua, Walter Spradley, Travis Andres, Anna Alaback, Chloe Reed, Leslie Ingram, Lauren Metzel, Camille Sokolosky, Blaire Metcalfe, Heather Trumpfeller, Alex Bjornnes, Caroline Baliker, John Bonadelle, Billy Nayden, Chelsea Parish, Stephanie Tatum, Billy Machina, Elizabeth Metzger, Hartley Hobson, Carley Nelson, Mary Valuck, Caroline Hanson, Heather Trumpfeller, Trevor Cadigan, Houstoun Waring, Charlotte Barnett, Jake Winstel, Sam Fritsch, Alex Spinazzola, Patrick Harris, Courtney Quinn, Madeline Buckthal, Meredith Allen, Kamel Brakta, Mandy Morgan, Minette Morgan, Ali Morgan, Evan Weir, Julie Butkus, Lauren Sears, Lily Kramlich-Taylor, Peter Whaley, Lily Kramlich-Taylor, Meredith Allen and Slipper Club President Morgan Madison.

Caroline Estes and Morgan Madison Wade*

Meredith Allen and Meg Sokolosky*

According to Gala Chair Meg Sokolosky, “This year was really unbelievable, not only in terms of breaking the record for money raised for a beneficiary, but also getting to volunteer our Friday nights with the children of Rays of Light and seeing directly how we will impact these children and the organization.”

Dedicated to providing free, quality respite care for families with children with special needs, Rays of Light hosts Night Lights that “gives the parents the opportunity to have four free hours and the children get four hours of socialization and interaction.”

Congratulations to the ladies of Slipper Club and their masked friends for breaking a record.

* Photos provided by Slipper Club of Dallas

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

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

Jon Dorenbos*

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

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

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

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

Jon Dorenbos*

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

Appetite for Advocacy*

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

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

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

 

2016 Partners Card Total Take Of $1,050,000 Revealed Plus Plans For The 2017 Fundraiser For The Family Place

Just a few blocks away from Communities in Schools at Samuel Lynne Galleries, The Family Place crowd was at Bungalow 5 to celebrate the year’s take of the annual Partners Card and to hear plans for the 2017 fundraiser.

As The Family Place’s Paige Flink and Melissa Sherrill in black and white scurried through the 100+ guests, Catherine New made her 2017 debut following breast cancer reconstruction surgery. While she admitted to Anne Conner and her daughter-in-law Ryan Conner that heading back to work at the Hilton Anatole that week had been a bit too much, she was better managing her return to full form for the spring season.

Ryan Conner, Anne Conner and Catherine New

In another part of Bungalow 5, Honorary Chair Lisa Cooley and Susan Farris were asking if there had been any news about new Crystal Charity Ball members. That would come later in the evening. 

Lisa’s escort for the evening, Larry Hackett, told how he had lost 150 pounds due to a gluten-free diet and twice-a-day exercise program.

Lisa Cooley, Larry Hackett and Susan Farris

Joyce Fox arrived with Doris Jacobs on the scene just before the reveal of the final total earned. Doris reported that husband Jack Jacobs was on the mend from surgery.

With 2016 Partners Card Co-Chairs Elizabeth Dacus, Jane Rozelle and Samantha Wortley smiling, Paige revealed that $1,050,000 had been provided for the organization thanks to the annual spend-around-town fundraiser.

Paige added, “These funds are critical and will provide over 15,000 nights of shelter and support to the women, men and children who come to The Family Place to escape a violent situation.”

The amount was thanks to presenting sponsor Bank of Texas, 2016 top sellers Sara Robinson and Cass Robinson, who sold 162 Partners Cards; Paula Davis, who sold 155 Partners Cards; and Nancy Scripps, who sold 130 Partners Cards.

It was also revealed that plans for the upcoming 25th anniversary of Partners Card are already locked down. According to Bank of Texas Market President Ryan Suchala, the bank will once again be the presenting sponsor with Brynn Bagot Allday and Jennifer Burns serving as co-chairs with the help of “other past Partners Card chairs, who are joining together to make the anniversary year the best yet.”

Plans For 4th Annual Great Create Revealed At Forty Five Ten

So who said January was ho-hum? They were obviously so very out of the loop! Thursday, January 12, was a gas spender just trying to make the rounds. Like the Little Black Dress Party Preview at Goodson Audi benefiting Legal Hospice, Dallas was bustling to get back in the groove for fundraising.

Over at Forty Five Ten, the Nasher Sculpture Center’s 4th Annual Great Create was being kicked off. Nasher Director Jeremy Strick fessed up that despite all the fundraisers in Dallas, the Great Create was the most fun.

Not only does it provide a venue for kids to discover wonderment and art thanks to professional artists, it also allows parents to kick back and enjoy a Sunday afternoon in the Nasher’s gardens.

Only problem? Some of the parents wish that there was a similar type of event for parents to bring out their artistic inner selves.

This year’s even will take place on Sunday, April 23, with Lauren and Jason Bender and their children and Janelle and Alden Pinnell and their children co-chairing the fun.

Serving on the host committee are Katie and David AisnerLindsay and Jehan AkhtarLilly Albritton and Chuck BriantLindsey and Dave BeranKristy and Taylor BowenMia and Tyler BrousKatherine and Ken BullockCourtney and Dan CaseAshley and Robert CatheySylvia Cespedes and Hernan Saenz, Emily and Walter ClarkeLindsey and Patrick Collins, Jessica and Doug Epperson, Sara Fay and Merrick EganShannon and Jeff EstesJenney and David GillikinKerri and David GoldfarbJill and Wade HendersonJanie and Dave HodgesMonica and Paul HolmesBrooke HortenstineLindsay and Chuck Jacaman,Cris Jordan and Scott PotterKarey and Josh KitfieldSunny and Craig KnockeErica and Trey Kuppin, Hallie and Max LamontNicolette and Miles Lamont, Katie and Pierre Lavie, Laura and Frederick Lear, Sheryl and Eric Maas, Catherine and Doug MacMahon, Tracy and Josh Madans, Louise and Charles Marsh, Erin and Mike McKool, Paula and Todd Minnis, Meredith and Xan MooreLucy and Thomas MortonLucy and Will MurchisonJessica and Dirk NowitzkiAnnie and Tim O’GradyKristin and Aaron Ortega, Katie and Kyle OudtNatalie and Dirik OudtJessica and Tyson PinnellAlison and Cullen PowellKristie RamirezKristin and Ricky Rees, Katherine and Eric ReevesBrooke and Rod RobersonStephanie and John RobertsLisa and John Runyon, Cheryl and Andrew SchoellkopfAmanda and Charlie ShufeldtRobyn and Michael SiegelCourtney and Jeff SinelliNicole and Justin Small, Helene and Sandy SpurginMelina and Randy StarrDenise and Chris StewartRachel and Chris TrowbridgeGwendolyn and Richard Turcotte,Bianca and Bo WatsonClaudia and Brian WingMegan and Brady WoodLucy and Steve WrubelErika and Matt Yeaman, Lyssa and D’Arcy YoungRenee and Bob Yttredahl and Marjon Zabihi and Gibbs Henderson.

Starting at $500 for four, tickets are available now plus sponsorships.

MySweet2017Goals: Jody Dean

Jody Dean (File photo)

According to 98.7 KLUV’s The Morning Team ringmaster Jody Dean,

“Just found out my first grandchild is due in April. A little girl. My goal is to not turn into a complete mush.”

A Passing: Fred Wiedemann

Dallas is filled with outstanding people. Some are above-the-fold making news frequently. Others are like delicious secrets, whose amazing life stories only come to light after their deaths. Fred Wiedemann was such a man. For those who had the opportunity to know him before his death on Friday, January 20, his 93 years of life were the stuff many just dream of.

Fred Wiedemann (File photo)

Born in New York City in 1923, he was raised on the West Coast in Hollywood. Just six months after Pearl Harbor he entered the U.S. Naval Academy, where he became a Japanese interpreter and excelled academically and in sports. Just months before his graduation in 1945, he met a fourth-generation Texan who would be the love of his life — Florence “Flo” Leachman. Following an assignment in Japan in 1947 he resigned his commission, moved to Dallas, married Flo at Highland Park United Methodist Church and undertook a 50-year career in the life insurance business.

In addition to helping establish the highly successful The Wiedemann and Johnson Companies, he was involved with the up-and-coming arts (the boards of Theater Three and the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts and chairman of the Dallas Civic Opera Guild) and education (chairman of the St. Marks School executive committee, trustee and chairman of the Southwest Outward Bound School and on the boards of the Colorado Outward Bound School and National Outward Bound) programs.

Fred’s passports were filled with stamps from Canada, Patagonia, Tasmania, Nepal, Chile, New Guinea, Costa Rica and Japan, to name just a few. His wanderlust knew no bounds and he was eager to share the experiences. And, those trips weren’t just bus tours of the local landmarks. No, with family and friends Fred would trek, kayak, camp and take adventures.

According to his family, “the greatest, most wonderful adventure was when Fred planned a 15-month sabbatical in Europe, living in Zurich, Switzerland, to celebrate his and Flo’s 20th wedding anniversary. Their three sons [Frederic, Harden and Jon] went to schools there, and Flo began her Jungian studies at the C. G. Jung Institute in Zurich. Together there, Fred and Flo continued pursuit of their life-long love of opera, especially Wagner’s Ring Cycle. Fred spent his time in Switzerland on the couch being analyzed, skiing, learning flamenco guitar, and writing, with the latter two endeavors being singularly unsuccessful (according to Fred). Nonetheless the Jungian analytical process provided him with a seismic shift of consciousness and a grounding that he valued very much for the rest of his life.”

And the Wiedemann boys followed their father’s love for living a far-from-the-mundane routine. For instance, after graduating from St. Marks, Jon went to Harvard, became a Calvin Klein model, married actress Isabella Rossellini, producing daughter/model/actress Elletra Wiedemann, and went on to become an executive with Microsoft.

For those lucky enough to have attended a get-together at the Wiedemanns’ Preston Hollow ranch-style home filled with Japanese art, one just never knew what to expect. It might include a visiting best-selling author, a world-renowned educator or an artist, whose fame was just in the incubation stage. Why, D Magazine considered Flo and Fred to be one of Dallas’ “Heavenly Hosts and Best Guests.”

In reviewing his nine decades, Fred “acknowledged that he had made his share of mistakes and had tried to learn from them, but that his life had vastly exceeded any expectations he might have had. He felt it had been one ‘helluva’ ride, and he was so very grateful to have been aboard.”

Fred’s life will be celebrated at 3 p.m. on Saturday, January 28, at Serenity House at Lovers Lane United Methodist Church. Just imagine what wonderful stories will be shared.

A Passing: Robert S. Folsom

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

Robert and Margaret Folsom*

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

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

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

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

* Photo courtesy of Methodist Health System Foundation

MySweet2017Goals: Lynn McBee

Lynn McBee (File photo)

According to Young Women’s Preparatory Network CEO Lynn McBee,

“My goals are simple for 2017 — balance, family, special friends and sleep!”

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

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

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

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

Judy Wright*

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

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

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

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

Kristen Lee and Scott Murray*

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

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

Sammye and Mike Myers*

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

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

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

* Photo credit: Kristina Bowman

News 8 Daybreak’s Alexa Conomos May Be Leaving WFAA And News 8 Daybreak But Not The Nonprofits

Alexa Conomos (File photo)

For those nonprofits who worried their botoxed brows about word that WFAA’s News 8 Daybreak’s Alexa Conomos was leaving WFAA’s morning show, take a chill pill.

It was 16 or so years ago that Alexa’s journey from California brought her to North Texas and TXCN. Then, as TXCN went bye-bye in 2002, Alexa transitioned to co-anchoring with Ron Corning to wake folks up from 4:30 a.m. to 7 a.m.

Over the years, Alexa personally went from adorable single girl to glowing married lady to multi-tasking mama of three. In recent months, Alexa realized that her priorities needed a revisit and that making breakfast for her kidlets and having date nights with her hubby Bradley trumped all.

Luckily knowing Alexa, her support of the North Texas nonprofit world will continue beyond her days at the conclusion of her contract with WFAA in June.

College Sweethearts And Philanthropists Jan And Fred Hegi Got A Big Thank You As Well As George Dunham From The Senior Source

Molly Bogen

The Senior Source’s annual Spirit of Generations Luncheon entered a new era on Monday, November 14, at the Anatole’s Chantilly Ballroom. It would be the first under the leadership of TSS President/CEO Cortney Nicolato, who had succeeded longtime TSS President/CEO Molly Bogen, who retired this past year after 40 years.

A new development was the VIP reception preceding the main event that evidently was not that important as media and official photographers weren’t put on call.

Luckily, honorees Jan and Fred Hegi provided enough of the warmth factor to shout-out the importance of the organization for the AARP-ers. Why, just having the Hegi clan there was enough to make it a true family affair: Amy and Peter Hegi and Libby and Brian Hegi with all their kids (Lila, Hunter, Mary Allison, Anna and Katherine).

Lila Hegi, Hunter Hegi, Amy Hegi, Mary Allison Hegi, Libby Hegi, Anna Hegi and Katherine Hegi

After Board Chair Kathy Helm welcomed the group including Luncheon Chair Marilyn Weber, Ruth Altshuler, Margaret and Lester Keliher, Lydia Novakov, Sarah Losinger, Connie Yates, Marsha and Craig Innes, Kelly Compton and Carolyn Miller, a touching video showcased Miss Julie, who had benefited from the The Senior Source. She told how Warren had been the champion for her having a life-changing home despite his battling pancreatic cancer. As the guests watched Miss Julie at her sewing machine tell lovingly of her gratitude for The Senior Source and Warren, it was noted that the video was in memory of Warren.

Margaret and Lester Keliher

David and Carolyn Miller

Following lunch, Cortney announced the creation of the Molly Bogen Services Award, named after her predecessor. 

George Dunham, Molly Bogen and Cortney Nicolato

The first Molly Award was presented to KTCK “The Ticket’”s George Dunham, who, despite being a jock-type guy, showed all the compassion of a loving son. Following his father’s death, he visited with Molly to see how he could help; that resulted in raising more than $200K. He addressed two of his sons who were in the audience that he hoped that they would remember their grandparents. Having lost both of his parents, George announced that he would share the award with his sister.

Then it was on to the salute to the Hegis. With Jan and Fred in easy chairs on stage, they settled down for a Jimmy Fallon “Thank you” presentation. Only this one featured Hegi longtime “friends.” With the honorees watching, the signers lined up verbalizing what they were signing.

Fred and Jan Hegi

First up were Hegi sons Brian and Peter, who recalled life with the perfect parents who had met the first week of entering SMU. One of the highlights was the boys’ recalling how they would show up at neighbors’ homes on Friday nights asking to spend the night, so they wouldn’t have to wake up to Saturday-morning chores.

Brian Hegi, Fred Hegi, Peter Hegi and Jan Hegi

Others lining up providing thanks were Mike and Marla Boone, Brad Cheves, Sherry Wilson, Highland Park Police Lt. Lance Koppa as well as other Hegi friends who got into the act.

David Miller and Fred and Jan Hegi

Even a member of the audience got into the tributes, admitting that the Hegis probably didn’t recognize him but, years ago, when he was going door-to-door selling knives, Fred talked with him for 20 minutes and Jan invited him to their annual homecoming party that weekend. Despite not attending SMU and even living out of state, he brought his wife and five kids every year, declaring it was the “greatest thing ever.” Did somebody say, “Ringer”?

After the ribbing and kidding was done, Former TSS Chair/Spirit of Generations Awardee David Miller presented the couple with the Spirit of Generations Award for their contributions in “thoughts, words and deeds to all generations of the greater Dallas community  past, present and future…who have helped build the foundation that supports our community and the bridges that connect ages.”

Fabulous Faces, Fashions And Food Came Together At Brian Bolke’s Forty Five Ten To Net $400K For The Family Place’s 2016 ReuNight

After years of planning, praying and preparing, Brian Bolke’s Forty Five Ten in downtown Dallas was ready to greet the world of fashion. This four-story, 37,000-square-foot jewel box designed by Dallas architect David Droese was nearly five times the size of its 8,000-square-foot McKinney Avenue predecessor. No longer the quaint and cozy cottage nestled in the Knox/Henderson neighborhood, the new Forty Five Ten was a palace in heady company across Main Street from The Joule hotel and the Neiman Marcus flagship store.

Forty Five Ten men’s fashions

Forty Five Ten fashion

Forty Five Ten footwear

But before its official open-to-the-public debut on Saturday, November 12, Forty Five Ten proprietor Brian had arranged for a benefit supper for The Family Place’s 2016 ReuNight.

Originally, the event was to be a cocktail party at the store and a seated dinner across the street at The Joule. But that would have made for limited attendance. So, just a few weeks beforehand, the decision was made to have the dinner in an adjoining see-through enclosed tent fronting Main Street, with Tony Tasset’s Eye sculpture looking on from the opposite end. The view through the tent couldn’t have been more perfect with the surrounding downtown forest of skyscrapers sparkling.

Brian Bolke

Katherine and Eric Reeves

Candace and Jim Krause

Since the Elm Street auto courtyard was still a work-in-progress, the 160 or so guests (Karen and Stephen Jones, Katherine and Eric Reeves, Michal Powell, Candace and Jim Krause, Sue Gragg, Georgina Hartland, Kristi Hoyl, Linda and Steve Ivy, Connie and Denny Carreker, Meghan Looney and Niven Morgan and Shelby Wagner) arrived via the Main Street entrance. There they were greeted by co-hosts Brian and Faisal Halum and Shelle and Michael Sills.

Nick Wooster, Taylor Tomasi Hill and Faisal Halum

With staffers like Creative VP/Fashion Director Taylor Tomasi Hill and Men’s Fashion Director Nick Wooster on hand to guide the guests through the fashion extravaganza, it was like a glorious feast for the eyes.

Claire Emanuelson, Reed Robertson and Piper Wyatt

On the first level, Honorary Chair Mary Clare Finney and Jan Miller were found checking out the goodies in the jewelry salon. Across the way Pat McEvoy, Piper Wyatt and Claire Emanuelson were in the shoe department. Upstairs were Nancy Dedman, Brad Kelly, Tucker Enthoven, Kathy Kincaid, Catherine Howell and Heather and Billy Esping checking out the third level, along with architect David Droese and wife Suzanne Droese, Tim Headington, Diamond Mahone, Jeny Bania, Anais Assoun and Sabrina Dee.

Suzanne and David Droese

Billy and Heather Esping

Kathy Kincaid and Catherine Howell, Brad Kelly, Nancy Dedman and Tucker Enthoven

Diamond Mahone, Jeny Bania, Tim Headington, Anais Assoun and Sabrina Dee

But even ultra-sophisticated fashion lovers were impressed by the price tags, like a nifty crop jacket going for $2,300. Still others, like bearded Allan McBee, chuckled that he had found a pair of socks that were pocketbook-friendly.

And speaking of the men, the larger accommodations had allowed Brian to broaden his collection of exquisite taste to include a larger array of men’s clothing, home furnishings, jewelry and all types of luxurious goodies. 

But all too soon, the guests were directed from the brightly lit store to the walkway leading up to Todd Fiscus‘ equally dazzling tent with its black carpeting, candles, mirrored table tops and Lucite chairs.

ReuNight dining tent

Making the stroll a bit of a challenge was the black carpeting, with one poor chap tripping on a step but luckily catching himself at the last minute.

The tent’s flooring added an interesting element to the scene. As guests wandered through the glittering dining room, the towering stemmed candle-holders began wobbling. Despite the flames in motion, nary a one even came close to toppling.  

Sharon Young

Tim Blanks

Niven Morgan and Donna Karan

Todd Fiscus and Ceron

For the first time during the evening, it was an opportunity to see the entire assembled supporters of The Family Place and Forty Five Ten. It was if Brian had curated the best of fashion and fundraising. In front of the mini-stage, with its two leather easy chairs, there was a table with designer/special guest Donna Karan seated next to Tim Headington and across the table from Brian and fashion scribe Tim Blanks. At the other end of the table were Faisal with Nancy Rogers on one side and Shelle and Sharon Young on the other.  At another table to the right of the stage were Mary Clare with Chris Branscun and The Family Place CEO Paige Flink.

Mary Clare Finney and Chris Branscun

Josh Sutcliff

With all the beautiful people in such an elegant surrounding, it was perfectly understandable that dinner missed its start time of 7:45 p.m. After all, who wanted to stop chatting and taking selfies with the other guests? But it was a school night, and the dinner prepared by Joule Chef Josh Sutcliff was all ready to go. Following a first course of a scallop crudo, huckleberries, confit onion and ponzu, the entrée of wagyu beef short rib, crispy potato, spinach and green tomato was served. Finishing off the meal was a trio of hand-painted, rose gold truffles that would have been right at home in the Forty Five Ten jewelry counter.

In an unusual switch from the norm, the live auction did not take place immediately after dinner. Fundraisers tend to hold those bidding competitions when folks are still starry-eyed and receptive to upping the ante. However, this was not your typical affair.

Instead, just past 9 p.m., the conversation between emcee Kim Schlegel Whitman and designer Karan took place on the stage. Donna’s presence was a very special and personal one for both Paige and Brian.

Earlier in the evening, Brian had told guests that Donna had been one of his late mother’s favorite designers.

Paige told the crowd that before joining The Family Place 25 years ago, one of her first jobs was at the late Sanger Harris store as a buyer involved in carrying Donna’s clothing line.

She went on to tell of the 114 families that were being housed at The Family Place, the five men and three moms with kids who were being put up in hotels due to lack of space. She concluded by saying, “You’ll probably never get to meet them, but what we do tonight is going to save their lives. We have to think about that.”

Kim Schlegel Whitman and Donna Karan

As Kim and Donna took their places on stage to talk, a helicopter hovered over the tent with a spotlight. One almost suspected that Brian had arranged to have faux snowflakes flutter down from the chopper. But soon it buzzed off to another part of downtown.

However, it was soon noted that police cars with flashing lights and sirens were screaming down Main Street in the same direction as the helicopter. One guest, upon returning from the restroom, said that she and her husband were leaving because of protesters who were marching in downtown Dallas due to the recent election.

The couple was followed by another agitated twosome who admitted that they were concerned after the July police shootings downtown. However, the departures were unnecessary. Not only were the protestors orderly, they never came near the fundraiser.

Ironically, Donna talked about how she had expanded her focus from dressing to reducing stress for people. While looking good on the outside was well and it good, she felt it was all for naught if one was not well and good on the inside as well.

She also told of her early days working with the American designer Anne Klein as an associate designer. It was when she was in the hospital having her first baby that she learned that Klein was also in the hospital dying of breast cancer. With a new collection due to be completed, it fell upon Donna to produce. But the doctor told her that there was no way she was going to return to the office. So, they brought the entire company to Donna and her newborn daughter, Gabby, named after Donna’s father who had died when Donna was just 3 years old.

After taking over the Klein collection and Anne Klein II, Donna decided that she needed some clothes for herself and friends. The result: she was was unceremoniously fired but, in 1985, went on to launch her Seven Easy Pieces line with her now-legendary black tights, the bodysuit, a versatile skirt, a pair of loose trousers, a tailored jacket, a cashmere sweater and a white shirt.

Shifting directions, Kim asked Donna about her passion today. After having so many of her friends and family suffering from AIDs, cancer and other health issues, she realized that the focus had been on “disease care, not health care.”

Before dying, her late husband Stephen Weiss told her that she must “take care of the nurses” as well as the patients.

It seemed a bit ironic that a fundraiser to prevent violence nearly became the victim of feared violence. But, luckily, the vast majority of generous folks stayed put and helped net $400K to support The Family Place’s efforts to protect families.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2016 ReuNight

Forty Five Ten fashion

Nick Wooster, Taylor Tomasi Hill and Faisal Halum

It was just this side of glorious. The ultimate sneak preview of Forty Five Ten benefiting The Family Place on Thursday, November 10.

Brian Bolke and Shelle Sills

Diamond Mahone, Jeny Bania, Tim Headington, Anais Assoun and Sabrina Dee

As fabulouso as the peeps were  dressed to the nines, the collection of fashions for both men and women plus dazzling home-sweet-home accessories assembeler by retailing wizard Brian Bolke had even the most brilliant dressers becoming wide-eyed tourists.

And to add to the splendiferous factor were legendary designer Donna Karan and fashion scribe Tim Blanks.

Niven Morgan and Donna Karan

Tim Blanks

While the post is being prepared, check out the MySweetCharity Photo Gallery for the looks and the lookies at the debut of Dallas’ newest chic showplace.

Nonprofit Supporters/Beauts Former Neiman’s Taste Guru Wanda Gierhart And Primo Chef Dean Fearing Announce Their Engagement

Wanda Gierhart and Dean Fearing (File photo)

Christmas love was definitely in the air! Way too adorable nonprofit supporters former Neiman Marcus arbiter-of-good-taste Wanda Gierhart and man-of-legendary-taste Chef Dean Fearing got engaged Christmas Day.

While we’re still waiting to hear when the two will get hitched, you just know it’s gonna be a catered affair.

According to the bridegroom-to-be, “No date yet – Wanda is enjoying the ring first!!!!”

One of the first hurdles facing the newly engageds is telling Queenie she can’t be the flower girl.

MySweetMusic For Christmas – Part 6

You’re winding down from the food and festivities. But the Christmas aftermath is starting to sink in. There are those thank you notes and those … ugh, returns for the right size.

But give yourself a break. The dirty dishes and demolished gift wrap can wait. You deserve to settle back, turn off the TV, close your eyes and enjoy the music of the season that inspires people to pass-it-forward.

BTW, MSC elf twins Cherry T. and Jerry T. are heading for their trundle beds after 30 hours of DJ-ing. Not to worry. Queenie made sure that their stockings hanging from the MSC mantle are filled with all types of goodies.

We hope that your Christmas was filled with blessings and the knowledge that you’re so very important to the entire MSC community.

MySweetMusic For Christmas 2016 – Part 4

Chances are that you just returned from midnight services. Or perhaps, you just were way late in the gift wrapping duties. Regardless, you’ll be hearing drips of rain on the roof as well as the patter of reindeer. Makes sense. Rain and reindeer on the roof.

But really, should you be up so late? If so, MySweetCharity twin elves Cherry T. and Jerry T. have provided the background music for you to chill.

MySweetMusic For Christmas 2016 – Part 3

The clock just struck midnight and Christmas Day has begun. If you’re still up, you might want to turn off your fireplace. We just heard from Claus Headquarters that Santa cellphoned in saying that his boots got singed as he shimmied down one fireplace that was aglow.

Oh, and don’t forget to leave out the cookies and milk for Kris Kringle. He needs a sugar high, don’t you know?

Here we go