Sold-Out Alert!: 2017 Recess

Another state of “Sold Out” has been revealed. Friday night’s Recess  at the Dallas Arboretum is a done deal. 

As for those predictions of stormy weather, they won’t be a problem because the NorthPark-sponsored Sandbox, games, spiked juice box and music provided by Prophets and Outlaws will all be safe and sound inside Rosine Hall.

Recess*

And no need to wear stuffy, grown-up attire. It will be strictly “schoolyard chic” (aka casual chic).

Benefiting and celebrating the 10th anniversary of Dallas AfterSchool, Event Co-Chairs Regina Merson and Robyn Siegel and Honorary Co-Chairs Tanya McDonald and Janet Mockovciak have arranged for the following sponsors:

  • Capture the Flag ($25,000) – The Baldridge Foundation
  • Simon Says ($10,000) – Lydia and William Addy, Baird, Strategic Wealth Partners/Colleen and Peter Bowler and Janet and John Mockovciak
  • Red Rover ($5,000) – Anne and Terry Conner, Christina K. Hanger and Tanya and Ken McDonald
  • Duck Duck Goose ($2,500) – Philip Theodore Bee Charitable Trust, Kristi and Brian Erickson, Cherri and Jack Musser, Cindy and Howard Rachofsky, Ernst and Young and Tenet Healthcare
  • Four Square ($1,000) – Christy Bednar, Sheela and Marc Birnbaum, Kathi and Chris Child, Serena Simmons Connelly, Maria and Douglas Cramer, The Donachie Foundation, Laurie and Craig Dunn, Angela and Mark Frederiksen, Abby and Michael Gregory, Sarah Losinger, Christina and Tim Norris, Tricia and Eric Stammberger, Social Venture Partners Dallas, Stacy and Mack Hicks and The Fijolek Family
  • Special Thanks and In-Kind Donors – Aimbridge Hospitality, BANCO, Cindy Ferris, Dallas Arboretum, Kent Rathbun Catering, LeForce Entertainment, Live Nation, McShan Florist, Microsoft, NorthPark Center, Paper City, Pop Parties, Topgolf, Yellow Rose Distilling and Housed Real Estate
* Graphic courtesy of Dallas AfterSchool

Celebrity Chef Nancy Silverton Brought “Zest” To Sold-Out Lunch Fundraiser For VNA Programs

Nancy Silverton

There’s just something about the creation of a meal that is both soothing and magical. At the Haggerty Kitchen Center on Mockingbird, it came together for the Celebrity Chef Luncheon Tuesday, February 28. As Los Angeles-based James Beard Foundation 2014 Outstanding Chef Awardee Nancy Silverton prepared for a demonstration, the sold-out crowd including Honorary Chair Sara Fraser CrismonPaula Lambert, Rena Pederson, Caren Prothro, Mary Martha Pickens, Fanchon and Howard Hallam, Anne Leary, Cathy Buckner and Lucian LaBarba with Christina LaBarba gathered. Paige McDaniel proclaimed, “This is one of my favorite events.”

Sara Fraser Crismon

Howard and Fanchon Hallam

Lucian LaBarba, Jennifer Atwood and Christina LaBarba

But before things got started and folks checked out the silent auction items, Empire Baking Company’s Meaders Ozarow recalled her childhood with her creative mother. The twosome would drive in from Abilene and visit NorthPark Center with its Magic Pan, Carriage Shop and Neiman’s. It was her mother’s creative spirit that both baffled Meadows and planted the seeds for her own talents.

Janet Ryan

But all too soon, the program was underway with VNA Board Chair Janet Ryan revealing that it was also President/CEO Katherine Krause’s birthday. Instead of blowing out candles on a cake, Katherine focused on the importance of the fundraiser that would provide funding for the Meals on Wheels and Hospice Care programs.

Katherine Krause

Katherine told of heart-wrenching numbers and stories about the people served by VNA’s Meals on Wheels program. For instance, 65% of the 4,600 home-bound and in need of the service are women. Of that number, 14 are more than 100 years old. The oldest is 105. Katherine shared the story about hospice-client Priscilla Hartman, who had just recently died at the age of 107. She had started using Meals on Wheels in her 90s. While others her age had found a comfy couch to retire to, she had discovered a new life literally by volunteering at Parkland holding newborn babies until her retirement at the age of 92.

Speaking of hospice, Katherine reminded the guests that Medicare covers hospice care for those over 65 years of age. On the other hand, VNA’s Hospice Care is able to step up and help those under 65 in need of hospice care.

VNA kettle

Chris Culak and Paige McDaniels

Next up was VNA Director of Development Chris Culak, who reported that each year VNA has to spend about $300,000 to replace the kitchen equipment that provides 6,000 meals daily. He then directed the attention to a kettle displayed on the terrace that was the size of a small car. It carried with it a price tag of a SUV — $40,000. But it alone can produce 1,800 meals. Chris then made the request that people donate to the Kitchen Fund to help replace the equipment.

But the day’s program wasn’t to focus on the deeds achieved daily by VNA. Its focus was Nancy, who had also been heavily involved with Meals on Wheels in LA.

Kale salad with zest grater

Despite having more experience and credentials than could be put into that kettle, Nancy walked the room through the creation of her Kale Salad with Ricotta Salata, Pine Nuts and Anchovies. She emphasized the fact that despite 21st century techie tools found in many kitchens, she still prefers some old favorites like her zest grater. She also stressed the importance of fresh ingredients. Despite the initial eye shifting by some members of the audience at the thought of kale and anchovies being tasty, they changed their tunes when a parade of servers presented plates with the salad to kick off their family-style meal made up of recipes (Flattened Chicken Thigh with Charred Lemon Salsa Verde; Pasta Salad with Bitter Greens, Parmigiano Cream and Guanciale; Oily Galicky Spinach; Glazed Onions Agrodolce; Bean Salad with Celery Leaf Pesto; Marinated Lentils; Slow-roasted Roma Tomatoes with Garlic and Thyme; Marinated Roasted Sweet Peppers; and Four-layer Salted Chocolate Caramel Tart) from Nancy’s recently published cookbook, “Mozza At Home.” Organizers were so smart. In listing the various items on the menu, they also included the page on which the recipe could be found.

One guest later admitted that she went home and tried the recipe, only to discover that it was just as good as what had been served at the luncheon.

In between stages of preparation, Nancy provided anecdotes like the fact that the VNA’s purchase of 400 copies of her new cookbook “Mozza At Home” as favors had turned out to be a record-breaker for her. The book was the result of Nancy’s realizing that after rising up the food chain and running six restaurants in the U.S. and Singapore, she had gotten sidetracked from her original love of cooking for friends. During a restful trip to Italy, she started rediscovering the joy of food, friends and fresh ingredients. She also realized that other hosts/hostesses found themselves in similar situations. So, she put together 19 menus with easy-to-follow recipes that could be prepared in advance and interchanged.

But her work wasn’t done. Later she would do another demonstration for the sold-out Celebrity Chef Dinner.

For more pictures from the food-fest fundraiser, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: VNA’s 2017 Celebrity Chef Luncheon

Nancy Silverton

Each day VNA turns out thousands of meals for those in need through its Meals on Wheels and Hospice Care programs.

But on Tuesday, February 28, the Haggerty Kitchen Center added a couple of additional feedings — VNA Celebrity Chef Lunch and VNA Celebrity Dinner — to provide $400,000 to support its programs.

Both events were sold out thanks to longtime supporters and food-lovers, and author/award-winning Chef Nancy Silverton demonstrating how to make a kale salad complete with anchovies yummy.

Kale salad with zest grater

While the post on the lunch is being cooked up, pictures are available over at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Sold-Out Alert!: Dallas Arboretum’s Inaugural Food And Wine Festival

Dallas Bloom’s tulips (File photo)

Despite claims that North Texas has been evacuated due to Spring Break, ain’t so! In fact, more than 1,300 are gonna be at the Dallas Arboretum’s First-Ever Food and Wine Festival Thursday. If you haven’t gotten your ticket, you’re out of luck because the food fest is sold out!

Janice Provost and Abraham Salum (File photo)

Chad Houser (File photo)

Dunia Borga (File photo)

It’s been such a gangbuster sell-out that the tulips are squeezing together to make room for the participating chefs (Chef Sharon Van Meter, Chef Aaron Staudenmaier, Chef Abraham Salum, Chef Alex Astranti, Chef Anastacia Quinones, Chef Andrea Shackelford, Chef April Barney, Chef Brad Phillips, Chef Chad Houser, Chef Christopher Patrick, Chef Daniel Pittman, Chef Daniele Puleo, Chef Dunia Borga, Chef Rebecca Jolly, Chef David Gauthier, Chef Dunia Borga, Chef Eric Dreyer, Chef Gianni Santin, Chef Henry Gentry, Chef Jay Valley, Chef Janice Provost, Chef Jean-Marie, Chef Jeffrey Hobbs, Chef John Doumas, Chef John Tesar, Chef Josh Harmon, Chef Junior Borges, Chef Josh Sutcliff, Chef Justin Box, Chef Katherine Clapner, Chef Larry Williams, Chef Luis Olvera, Chef Mark Wootton, Chef Mary Sparks, Chef Matt McCallister, Chef Meaders Ozarow, Chef Michael Scott, Chef Mike Shetsky, Chef Nikky Phinyawatana, Chef Omar Flores, Chef Richard Chamberlain, Chef Robert Lyford, Chef Samantha Rush, Chef Samir Dhurandhar, Chef Scott Nakachi, Chef Sheila Roidopoulos, Chefs Sonny Pache, Michael Scott and Chef Uno Immanivong).

After grazing among the 500,000 blossoms and food stations, guests will be entertained with a concert on the Martin Rutchik Concert Stage And Lawn as the sun sets behind White Rock Lake.

Stock Up To “Stuff The Trolley”

Jan Pruitt (File photo)

On the heels of last Friday’s Empty Bowls that filled the Meyerson with restaurateurs and hungry patrons to raise funds for the North Texas Food Bank, NTFB’s Anna Kurian sends word about another foodie project. According to Anna, “Longtime Food Bank friends Janet and Phil Cobb are organizing a special food drive: ‘Stuff the Trolley’ to honor our late CEO Jan Pruitt. I know the Cobbs really want to make sure that this drive honoring Jan is a success.”

Stuff the Trolley*

Here’s the plan: On Saturday, March 25, and Sunday, March 26, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., food will be collected at the Trolley Turntable at the West Village, 2700 City Place West Blvd. That’s the DART Transit Station on City Place West Drive.

Sponsored by the McKinney Avenue Transit Authority, both monetary and food items such as canned goods like tuna and peanut butter will be collected. If you were gonna donate your favorite jar of caviar, it’s a nice thought, but doesn’t quite fit the need for those in need.

If you can’t make it by, you can always donate here!

* Graphic provided by 
North Texas Food Bank

JUST IN: Friday’s18th Annual Empty Bowls Will Be Totally Indoors At The Meyerson

Just heard from the North Texas Food Bank team and “due to anticipated inclement weather conditions,” they’ve already kicked into back-up mode for the 18th Annual Empty Bowls food fest on Friday at the Meyerson. That means everything is gonna be indoors!

18th Annual Empty Bowls*

All the restaurants (Aisan Mint, Blue Bell Creameries, Blue Mesa Grill, Carso Mediterranean Grill, Celebration Restaurant, Dining at the Meyerson, Empire Baking Co., Kroger, Low Country Quisine, McAlister’s Deli, Meso Maya, Mozzarella Company, Norma’s Cafe, Paradise Bakery and Cafe, Royal Cup Coffee, Shake Shack, Snappy Salads, SPIN! Neapolitan Pizza, Tejano Brothers, Tortaco, True Food Kitchen and Urban Crust) will be high and dry inside the Meyerson serving up all type of goodies.

Bowls for sale (File photo)

And then there are the bowls that will be auctioned off and for sale.

Since parking is going to limited, why not buddy together for Uber?

* Graphic courtesy of 
North Texas Food 
Bank

Klyde Warren Park’s 2017 Park And Palate To Coincide With Longhorns And Sooners Get Together

The folks at Klyde Warren Park have just revealed the dates for the third annual Park And Palate. It’s that two-day food fest at the downtown oasis featuring “top chefs from throughout Texas, a variety of wineries, breweries, distilleries and musical entertainment.”

Klyde Warren Park (File photo)

The Friday night is a VIP Down To The Roots, followed the next days with the Grand Taste all day.

Before getting that plastic out to buy a ticket, hold off because the Early Bird tickets won’t go on sale until April.

Longhorn (File photo)

What’s that? Oh, the dates? Now, that’s an interesting question. The organizers have picked Friday, October 13, and Saturday, October 14. Hmm, isn’t that Texas-OU weekend? There will be no excuse to complain about having nothing to do that weekend.

The 2017 Crystal Charity Ball Bus Tour Of The Eight Beneficiaries Resulted In Flowers, Tears And Inspiration For The $5.8M Goal

Like many nonprofits, there comes a once-a-year decision of how the raised funds will be distributed. For 65 years, Crystal Charity Ball has had that come-to moment for the Dallas area children’s nonprofits. To think. There are grown-ups who have survived devastating diseases and overcome miserable home lives and then have had amazing lives, thanks to the committee of 100 women.  

On Thursday, February 16, CCB Chair Pam Perella, CCB Underwriting Chair Leslie Diers and a busload of ladies undertook a day of visiting the eight beneficiaries thanks to Briggs Freeman | Sotheby’s International Realty’s Layne Pitzer‘s and Joan Eleazer‘s underwriting the tour. It was at one of those stops where the membership saw firsthand how one child and his mother represented the thousands of faceless and nameless other kids who were in need. More about that later.

Before the tour got underway with Andre in the driver’s seat, though, tour director Fredye Factor reminded the group that this year’s “working theme” was TV shows. Since the tour had been tagged as “All My Children,” they had arranged for Susan Lucci‘s cousin Pucci Lucci to address the ladies. Pucci turned out to be CCB member Pam McCallum, whose Pucci was more Blanche Devereaux than Erica Kane.

Big Brothers Big Sister Lone Star — $500,000

Bill Chinn

But it was time to get down to work and things started off with two representative making presentations on board the bus. First up was Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lone Star President Bill Chinn, who told how the July 7th shooting in downtown Dallas had spurred them on with a project — Bigs in Blue, which would connect first responders like policeman, fire fighters and city personnel as mentors for at-risk children to “establish strong and enduring one-to-one relationships.”  

Rainbow Days — $500,000

Tiffany Beaudine

Next up was Rainbow Days Director of Development Tiffany Beaudine, who reported that the CCB’s contribution would span three years to purchase a new van for transporting supplies to children living in motels, as well as adding “one new full-time program manager and a portion of four staff members who will assist in implementing programs, and partial salary for the program director.” Rainbow Day’s Project Hope program would also “deliver food weekly including snacks, school clothing and hygiene products as well as an opportunity for homeless children to attend summer day camps and holiday celebrations.”

The children whom they serve often suffer from fear. Too often their lives are filled with gunfire at night and the fear of playing outdoors.  

The Autism Treatment Center — $582,020

Neil Massey

Then the ladies were driven to the Autism Treatment Center to learn firsthand about its Early Intervention Therapy and Educational Capital Campaign. Thanks to the contribution, 101,100 square feet of the present facility will be “reconfigured and remodeled to increase the number of educational classrooms, therapy rooms, counseling offices and other important spaces.” The additional space will allow the Autism Treatment Center to quadruple the number of students who will receive help.

In showing the outdoor playground with its misting umbrella for hot days and the growing garden that provides both education and accomplishment, Development Director Neil Massey looked at the open lot next door. Having outgrown their current facilities, he said that they had tried to buy it from the present owner but had had no luck.

Autism Treatment Center

But it was the classrooms where the ladies learned that patience was a key to working with autistic boys and girls. Structure and patience were not just paramount for the children’s learning to adjust to their special conditions. But those lessons were important to being included in the family life. One lesson was that when an autistic children got frustrated and got physically upset, it was important for them to be ignored until they realized that their actions would not produce results. One CCB-er, upon hearing the comment said, “That probably proves true in all our lives.”

Presbyterian Communities & Services Foundation — $541,098

Presbyterian Communities and Services Foundation board member Mary Ann Hyde

Next on the itinerary was the T. Boone Pickens Center. The timing of the visit was perfectly planned. It just so happened that the Center’s board was meeting that day with Board Trustee Mary Ann Hyde backed by the board members to greet the ladies in front of the magnificent facility.

So, it may have initially seemed curious to have CCB that benefits children to be providing funds for a hospice facility, but there was a very important aspect of the Pickens Center that affected children — the Faith Presbyterian Hospice Child and Family Bereavement Program.

Breaking into groups, the membership was shown the facilities that would assist not just those completing their lives, but would also help family, especially children, to be part of the final farewell and adjust to the loss. The 36-bed facility featured suites especially designed to comfort the patients with breathtaking views of the lake, doors that could accommodate the patient’s bed being moved to the room’s patio, and the out-of-sight medical equipment.

Presbyterian T. Boone Pickens Center guest suite

But the main point of the tour was how the Faith Presbyterian Hospice Child and Family Bereavement Program would help children through the process of grieving the loss “in a healthy and healing way.” There were the Marnie and Kern Wildenthal Education Center and the Harold Simmons Foundation Inpatient Care Center that provided both areas of play and adjustment to loss.  

Faith Presbyterian Hospice Child and Family Bereavement Program play room

In one room was a playhouse with super heroes on the walls. While in other rooms were materials for kids to vent their feelings regardless of their ages to social workers, counselors, music therapists and art therapists, who “will encourage healthy emotional growth, and bring unique comfort to children who have lost a sibling, parent or grandparents.”  

Dallas Holocaust Museum and Center for Education and Tolerance — $527,770

The next stop was the Dallas Holocaust Museum and Center for Education and Tolerance in the West End. While it was perfectly planned to coincide with a group of students, it reinforced the need for the Holocaust’s need to expand to a larger facility. CCB and high schoolers found themselves on top of each other learning about the horrors of World War II and the demonstrations of remembrance.

Dallas Holocaust Museum and Center for Education and Tolerance’s Paul Lake

One such example was the placement of stones representing the persons who were victims of the Holocaust. One teenager’s attempt to place a stone found their effort falling on the floor, resounding throughout the room. Ironically, the sound of the stone hitting the hard stone floor seemed to draw attention to the solemnity that had filled the room.

Dallas Holocaust Museum and Center for Education and Tolerance

For a three-year period, the CCB contribution will allow “thousands of Title 1 and economically disadvantaged students to the Museum, free of charge, and will provide their teachers necessary curriculum support.”

Children’s Medical Center Foundation — $1,111,735

Just blocks away from Children’s Medical Center, the CCB-ers donned hard hats and safety glasses to tour Children’s Health’s Comprehensive Gait and Mobility Program that was under construction. Planned to officially open with full services in May, it allows youngsters with movement challenges resulting from injuries or chronic illnesses to access all the treatments in one facility. The rooms would provide everything from aquatic treatments to padded rock climbing.

Comprehensive Gait and Mobility Program aquatic facility under construction

Thanks to CCB’s contribution, it would be possible to purchase “five pieces of state-of-the-art robotic gait and mobility training equipment: The ErigoPro early mobilization tilt-table, the LokomatPro robotic based partial-weight-bearing treadmill system, the Andago body weight supported mobile robotic gait system, the Natus balance and gait assessment system and the HydroWorx therapy pool. Training for staff and robotic software upgrades are included with the purchase of this equipment.”

Thanks to this “centralized accessibility, thousands of Dallas County children will be able to seek services designed for patients from two to 18 years of age.

As the committee gathered in the main room, they were told of a surprise. It was indeed a surprise. Britt Cupp, who had suffered a trauma to his brain due to a skateboard accident years ago, arrived with yellow roses and a personal note for each of the women. As his mother, Angela Cupp, looked on, Britt handed out the flowers. Unfortunately, when Britt had his accident, he and his family were forced to seek assistance at different facilities throughout the country. Many of the CCB-ers who had children Britt’s age looked on in amazement at the mother and son who had been through so much and were spearheading the creation of such a facility.

Pam Perella, Angela Cupp, Britt Cupp and Brent Christopher

After a massive group pic with Britt, the CCB-ers with flowers in hand gathered outside for the traditional group picture. Inside Angela had one request — a photo of Britt with 2017 CCB President Pam Perella and Children’s Medical Center Foundation President Brent Christopher. Little did she know that Brent had made a similar request, saying, “Britt is my hero.”

Hunger Busters — $1,192,500

The CCB bus now headed to West Dallas for the Hunger Busters operation behind a tall wrought-iron fence topped with razor wire. On the side of the small building, the air condition units were padlocked.

Iron fences topped with razor wire at Hunger Busters

New father/Hunger Busters Executive Director Trey Hoobler explained, “We’re in a turf war here caught between two groups.”

But despite the Spartan and tight conditions, Production/Volunteer Manager Gumaro Castillo in the kitchen’s prep area explained how Ford would be proud of the assembly line of volunteers prepping the meals for DISD schools and after-school programs. Having been there eight years, Gumaro pointed with pride as volunteers put together sandwiches.

Hunger Busters volunteers

Thanks to the CCB contribution that would be used over a three-year period, the Feed the Need program would be expanded, “representing a 150% increase in the number of children served, from 2,000 to 5,000 daily. An additional new delivery van and staff support will allow Hunger Busters to serve children and schools on their waiting list for a total of 300,000 additional meals each year.”

Santa Clara of Assisi Catholic Academy — $850,000  

Sandra Helton

The final stop of the day was Santa Clara of Assisi Catholic Academy, where Sister Sandra Helton pointed to an open lot adjacent to the school where a cafeteria would be built. She then showed why the new facility would be needed, as she led the group to the present room where children eat. If the current lunchroom was needed for another event, the tables and chairs had to be removed and then replaced afterwards. If a funeral was to take place in the nearby sanctuary, meals would have to delayed.  The kitchen was barely larger than a jet liner’s kitchen.

Santa Clara of Assisi Catholic Academy

While the tour was going on, some youngsters took naps on the classroom floors, some practiced in the music room under Brandon McDannald‘s direction and others were hard at work at desks in classrooms.

Thanks to the CCB commitment, a 12,500-square-fooot cafeteria and fine arts center will be built that will be “available weekends for 1,300 children who attend religious education classes and also for Science Fairs, Band and Choir concerts, fundraisers like their Fall Festival and Grandparent’s Day. Funds will also be used for a dedicated fine arts center, giving Santa Clara students many more options in band, music, choir and art with designated classrooms where they can safely secure their instruments and supplies. Additionally, funds will provide a parish office and conference room, allowing for more students in the existing school.”

It was then homeward bound and ten months of fundraising to provide $5.8M for the children of Dallas.

For more photos from the 2017 Crystal Charity Ball bus tour, check MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Sold-Out Alert!: VNA’s Celebrity Chef Lunch And Dinner

In the past VNA has limited its annual Celebrity Chef Luncheon to a noontime fundraiser. This year they decided to expand to have a dinner as well on Tuesday, February 28. The hope was “to double the funds raised to serve Meals on Wheels clients and patients in need of charitable hospice care.”

The results? They both sold out!

Nancy Silverton*

No wonder, since the celebrity chef will be Chef Nancy Silverton, who “is the only chef to be awarded both the Outstanding Chef and Outstanding Pastry chef awards from the James Beard Foundation. Nancy is co-owner at Osteria Mozza, Pizzeria Mozza, Chi Spacca, and Mozza2Go in Los Angeles, Singapore, and Newport Beach.”

It’s interesting to also note that VNA’s team has adjusted their marketing strategy. They’ve done away with their Legends And Leaders luncheon and created the VNA Chairman’s Society, which is a giving society “with a minimum annual donation of $15,000, and every dollar going to the programs.” So far, the Society has been a big hit. According to VNA Director of Community Engagement Cara Mendelsohn, “the Chairman’s Society has completely replaced the income from Legends & Leaders and has the potential to be an important source of funding for Meals on Wheels and charitable hospice care in the future.”

Sponsors for the Celebrity Chef include the following:

  • Presenting — Valley Services Inc.
  • Platinum — Lyda Hill
  • Gold — Sara Fraser Crisman and Peggy Dear
  • Silver — Linda and Jay Barlow, Jill Bee, Ben E. Keith Company, Becky and Mike Casey, Energy Transfer Partners, Katherine Krause and Warren Zahler and Nichole and Chris Culak, Astrid Merriman and Bob and Janet Ryan Stegall
  • Bronze — Lydia and Bill Addy, Susie and Steve Anderson, Bank of America/U.S. Trust, Suzanne and Enrico Bartolucci, Mary Frances and Timothy Bellman, Della and Bob Best, Kathy and Gene Bishop, Jan Hart Black and Rena Pederson, Angie and Marshall Brackbill, Neva and Don Cochran, Bess and Ted Enloe, Fanchon and Howard Hallam, Jan and Al McClendon, Kate McClendon and Brooke and Jason Villalba, Susan and Bill Montgomery, Meaders and Robert Ozarow, Katherine and Bob Penn, Property Advisors Realty, Vin and Caren Prothro Foundation, Texas Instruments Incorporated, Cathy and Ike Vanden Eykel and Paula and Charles Wills.
* Photo courtesy of VNA

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

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

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

Mae Jemison*

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

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

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

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

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

* Photo provided by Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas

Symphony Of Chefs Top Rollers Celebrated The Stellar Chefs Who Will Be Cooking Up A Storm Tableside For The KidLinks Fundraiser

The crowd that gathered on Tuesday, January 31, at the Renaissance Dallas Hotel had an agenda. They were there to not just celebrate the cast of chefs for the annual Symphony of Chefs fundraiser. They also had their sights set on selecting the chef who would be cooking up a storm for the Monday, February 27th KidLinks‘ fundraiser at Eddie Bernice Johnson Union Station. Here’s a report from the field:

When your chef talent includes a James Beard award winner, Bravo TV Top Chef Alumni, a guy who recently “Beat Bobby Flay” on the Food Network and three World Master Chefs, that calls for a celebration. On Tuesday, January 31, at the Renaissance Dallas Hotel’s new City View and City View Terrace, that’s exactly what the North Texas-based non-profit KidLinks did. Celebrating the upcoming Monday, February 27th Symphony of Chefs culinary dining experience at Union Station, sponsors and chefs were treated to a wine tasting by 4R Ranch Vineyards and Winery, cocktails featuring Hennessy V.S.O.P Privilège and fare provided by the culinary team of the Renaissance Dallas lead by Executive Chef Frank Quant and including participating Sous Chef Steven Torbron of Asador. 

But that wasn’t the only purpose for the party. Perhaps by circumstance or even with intention just in time for Super Bowl LI, guests were treated to a draft style pairing where they were able to select their seated dinner chef. The Symphony of Chefs features an array of notable culinary talent including a set of rising star chefs who will prepare hors d’oeuvres, 22 chefs who will cook a four-course cocktail and wine paired dinner table-side and another set of pastry chefs preparing a decadent dessert reception.

Marc and Bonnie Shea, Jeremy Lock and D’Andra Simmons Lock and Marc and Georgia Lyons*

As Honorary Chairs D’Andra Simmons-Lock and husband Jeremy Lock along with Event Co-Chairs Georgia and Marc Lyons and Bonnie and Nathan Shea greeted guests upon arrival, the room swelled with talks of each chefs’ menu available for preview. Chefs Uno Immanivong from Chino Chinatown, John Kleifgen from Nick and Sam’s Park Cities and Yutaka Yamato from Yutaka Sushi Bistro were in attendance. Even Gorji from Canary by Gorji was present, having sent an email earlier in the day stating that his Addison-based restaurant would be closed for the evening so that he could personally attend the party.

Sherry Gritch and Gorji**

As Jane McGarry took to the microphone and began with introductions and sponsor thank you’s, it was apparent that the crowd was anxiously awaiting their opportunity to select their favorite chef. The first set of sponsors to select their chefs were, of course, Presenting Sponsors Mason and Allen Custard, Emily and Bruce Robson and Kaari and James Wicklund. With a charming story about their 20+ year connection to Richard Chamberlain, Kaari and James Wicklund made the first pick of the evening, which was then followed by their second selection, Nick and Sam’s Steakhouse Executive Chef Robert James Clifford. The evening continued with Chef Tiffany Derry of The Cupboard by Tiffany Derry being selected by Cristi and Kevin Ryan, with Barbara and Jeffrey Adelglass then selecting Chef Francesco Farris of Zio Cecio.

James Wicklund, Robert James Clifford and Kaari Wicklund*

New Dallas transplant Josh Healy of Filament was scooped up by Tracy and Jeff Hull and long-time supporter and KidLinks board member JW Brown and wife Ann selected private celebrity chef Kevin Ashade (the chef who recently beat Bobby Flay). With over 22 chefs participating in the upcoming event, the evening wrapped with emcee Jane McGarry noting in her final comments that only 20 seats remained for this exclusive dinner.  

Kevin Ashade and Ann and JW Brown*

As guests departed with their Sewell gift bag in hand, you could hear the excitement as they left the building knowing that the chef they selected would make their evening at the Symphony of Chefs memorable. Now it was time to decide who they would invite to sit at their table, a much more daunting task for some.

For more information about KidLinks and the Symphony of Chefs evening of culinary composition visit www.thekidlinks.org./soc.html.

* Photo credit: Travis Lilley 
** Photo credit: Thomas Garza

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

SPCA Of Texas’ Paws Cause “Fetches” $115,000 To Benefit Mary Spencer Spay/Neuter And Wellness Clinic At Village Fair And The South Dallas Initiative

Perhaps more than ever, the need for spay and neuter has been moved to the top of the list of longtime solutions for the area glut of stray animals. With such city officials as Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, City Councilperson Monica Alonzo and Dallas City Attorney Faith Johnson in attendance to drive the point home, the SPCA Of Texas‘ Annual Paws Cause — “Pawsitively Dallas Strong” — at the Jan Rees-Jones Animal Care Center on Sunday, January 29, took on an added importance in fundraising for the Mary Spencer Spay/Neuter and Wellness Clinic at Village Fair and the South Dallas Pet Initiative. The result was netting $115,000 for the program. Here is a report from the field:

Monica R. Alonzo*

Faith Johnson*

On Sunday, January 29, the SPCA of Texas’ Paws Cause, “Pawsitively Dallas Strong,” at the SPCA of Texas’ Jan Rees-Jones Animal Care Center saw more than 300 animal lovers come together to benefit the Mary Spencer Spay/Neuter and Wellness Clinic at Village Fair and the South Dallas Pet Initiative. The event attendees were welcomed with a purple search light, a purple carpet, dancing dog and cat mascots and actual dogs and cats galore.

2017 Paws Cause’s “Pawsitively Dallas Strong”*

Inside, guests enjoyed gourmet food from some of Dallas’ finest chefs, imbibed luscious libations–including the “Pawsitive Delight” signature drink, danced the night away to musical entertainment by Goga, took part in the Bone Appetite restaurant drawing and had their pictures snapped at the Flipbook photo booth. A raffle of high-end items tempted attendees with fine art, photography packages, pet care products, designer purses, fine jewelry and more. A highly successful live auction and Pony Up for Paws fundraiser completed the night.

Haute cuisine stations from several of the Metroplex’s best restaurants, including Salum, Parigi, Pink Magnolia, Cane Rosso, Whistle Britches and 3015 at Trinity Groves tempted guests with everything from  sumptuous savories to decadent desserts.

Paws Cause 2017 was a tail-wagging success thanks to 2017 Paws Cause Honorary Chair  Andrea Alcorn, and the Steering Committee, which included: Jane Arrington, Steve Atkinson, Rebecca Belew, Diane Brierley, Andie Comini, Phyllis Comu, Giana DePaul, Gwen Echols, Kristen Greenberg, Whitney Keltch, Christina Miller, Pam Ragon, Abraham Salum, Gloria Snead, Karen Urie and Cathy Zigrossi

At the pinnacle of the party, Mayor Mike Rawlings first addressed the crowd saying, “The spay and neuter initiative that the SPCA is taking on is the lynchpin of the plan…to solve the situation in South Dallas that is hurting neighborhoods. We’ve got tens of thousands of dogs that need to have this operation and I believe that when we do that we will not only make the lives of those dogs better, but the lives of the neighbors and the strength of Dallas will come with it.”

Andrea Alcorn and Karen Urie*

Then, SPCA of Texas Senior Vice President Debra Burns, Karen Urie, Andrea Alcorn, SPCA of Texas President/CEO James Bias and SPCA of Texas Board Chair Katy Murray took turns thanking the guests and encouraging them to give. Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson spoke in support of the partnership between the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office’s Animal Cruelty Unit and the SPCA of Texas.

The event netted $115,000 for the Mary Spencer Spay/Neuter and Wellness Clinic at Village Fair and the SPCA of Texas’ South Dallas Pet Initiative.

All proceeds from the Paws Cause event benefit the Mary Spencer Spay/Neuter and Wellness Clinic at Village Fair and fund spay and neuter efforts in the Dallas community. This includes the SPCA of Texas’ programs that aim to support the pets and people of South Dallas to help address the serious stray animal, pet homelessness and pet overpopulation issues, also supporting the preservation of the bond between pets and people and keeping pets and the community healthy and safe.

Angela Thompson, Mary Spencer and Ann Marcus*

James Bias and Jan Rees-Jones*

Attendees also included Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Monica Alonzo, Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones, Bobbi Snyder, Stacey and Arnie Verbeek, Bob Minyard, Angela Thompson, Candace Rubin, Ann Marcus, Hal Brierley, Leldon Echols, Marsha Pendleton-Gray and Dr. Richard Gray, Mary and Skip Trimble, Stacey and Don Kivowitz, Mary Spencer, Betsy Orton and Sharon Fancher, Mike and Catherine Merritt and Claire and Kurt Schwarz.

Event sponsors included:

  • Diamond Sponsors: Andrea Alcorn, Friedman & Feiger LLP and Dr. Richard Gray and Marsha Pendleton Gray
  • Gold Sponsors: Diane and Hal Brierley, the Durham Family Foundation, Forty Five Ten, Gwen and Leldon Echols, In Memory of Guy T. Marcus, Trinity Industries Inc. and Patricia Villareal and Tom Leatherbury
  • Silver Sponsors: Ralph Lauren – Highland Park and Skip and Mary L. Trimble
  • Copper Sponsors: Sharon Devereux, Stacey and Don Kivowitz, Katy Murray, Ray and Patricia A. Smerge, Pam Ragon, Redfin Real Estate, Claire and Kurt Schwarz and Sandra Urie and Frank Herron
  • Bronze Sponsors: MaryLynn M. Black, Karen and Phil Drayer, Cassie Evans and Hattie Pearl Decker, Hillary Hurst and Mark Schwarz, Bobby Minyard, Carol Orr, Penny Rivenbark Patton, Lucilo A. Pena, Candace Rubin, Mary Spencer, Susie Swanson, Chad West and Mr. and Mrs. David Yost.
* Photo credit: Thomas Garza Photography

18th Annual Empty Bowls Is Gearing Up With Pottery Wheel, Area Restaurants And A Special Kroger Early Bird VIP Preview Bargain

The North Texas Food Bank crew is gearing up for their 18th Annual Empty Bowls on Friday, March 10. And while they’re still going through the adjustment of losing their mother hen Jan Pruitt, they’re soldiering on knowing that every dollar is a tribute to Jan’s mission of feeding neighbors in need.

Empty Bowls’ bowls (File photo)

Once again, the soups, chefs and bowls will be at the Meyerson. But this year there will be a pottery demonstration in front of the Meyerson. But don’t spend too much time watching the potter’s wheel whirl the birthing of a bowl. Not only might you get a tad-bit dizzy, you’ll want to head inside to visit the dozens and dozens of local restaurants, each ladling out their own liquid concoction.   

Empire Baking Co.’s Meaders Moore Ozarow and Mozzarella Company’s Paula Lambert (File photo)

This year’s line-up includes Asian Mint, Blue Bell Creameries, Blue Mesa Grill, Carso Mediterranean Grill, Celebration Restaurant, Dining at the Meyerson, Empire Baking Co., Kroger, Low Country Quisine, McAlister’s Deli, Meso Maya, Mozzarella Company, Norma’s Café, Paradise Bakery & Café, Royal Cup Coffee, Shake Shack, Snappy Salads, SPIN! Neapolitan Pizza, Tejano Brothers New Texas Cuisine “Black Tie” Catering, Tortaco, True Food Kitchen and Urban Crust.

Empty Bowls guests filling the Meyerson (File photo)

General admission tickets are going for $40, but smart folks are going to spend a little extra change by buying the Kroger Early Bird VIP Preview ticket that includes a first opportunity to purchase the handcrafted bowls and the “exclusive VIP area complete with wine and an exclusive chef station.” If you order your ticket before Monday, February 27, it’s $125. After that date, the price ramps up to $175. Go for it now! Use that extra $50 to buy a bowl or two.

Insider tips: The following week is spring break for most of the area schools, so why not have lunch at Empty Bowls and head on home to pack your bags for the holidays. The NTFB folks won’t tell your boss that you’re skipping out early.

Soup’s On! Patron Party Was A Feast Of Friends Supporting The Stewpot Alliance’s 10th Anniversary Of Helping The Homeless

The evening of Thursday, January 26, seemed just perfect for strolling in Flippen Park. And a couple of the guests for the Soup’s On! Luncheon patron party did just that. Instead of valet parking, they parked down the way and walked to the mansion on the corner where Luncheon Chair Heather Sauber was greeting the non-stop flow of guests like Nelda Cain Pickens, David Griffin, Jan and Fred Hegi, Nancy Scripps, Stewpot Alliance Board President Julie Marshall and Honorary Co-Chairs Margie and Ray Francis.

Ray and Margie Francis and Nelda Cain Pickens and David Griffin

This year there was a bit of change in the air for the annual Stewpot Alliance fundraiser on Tuesday, January 31. Yes, they would be returning to Union Station, and Chef Chief Brian Luscher had an all-star lineup of chefs preparing the soup. But Heather had tweaked the usual program explaining that by having a panel discussion with Mayor Mike Rawlings, Dallas Morning News’ Keven Ann Willey and Robert Wilonsky, Dallas Police Sgt. Jeff Tooker and The Concillo President/CEO Florencia Velasco Fortner, “We’re returning to our roots of addressing the Dallas homeless situation.”

Julie Marshall, Brian Luscher and Heather Sauber

She also admitted that the plan avoided having to pay a speaker’s fee by tapping the local vets of the homeless situation. Smart thinking. By staying lean, the check to the Alliance will be fatter.

Florencia Velasco Fortner and Fred and Jan Hegi

Another feature added to this year’s luncheon would be the celebration of the women (Catherine Bywaters, Jennifer Clifford, Marty Coleman, Margie Francis, Nancy Gillham, Jan Hegi, Kathy Jackson, Martha Lipscomb, Martha Martin, Joan Mason, Suzanne Palmlund, Micki Rawlings, Carolyn Walton, Karen Ware and Trish Weigand) who founded the Stewpot Alliance 10 years ago.

Sold-Out Alert!: 2017 Soup’s On!

Two of the most wonderful words in fundraising were making the rounds at the Soup’s On! patron party tonight — “Sold Out!”

Yup! If you thought this chilly-willy weather had inspired you to get a soup bowl spot or two at Union Station on Tuesday, January 31, open up a can of Campbell’s and cry in your ho-hum soup bowl.

Julie Marshall, Brian Luscher and Heather Sauber

According to the 9th Annual Soup’s On! Chair Heather Sauber, it’s sold out with 642 bowls in need of filling and a panel discussion on Dallas’ homeless situation with a stellar group of veterans in the issue scoring headlines locally.

Congrats to Heather, The Stewpot Alliance President Julie Marshall, adorable Honorary Co-Chairs Margie and Ray Francis and Souper-Duper Chief Chef Brian Luscher and his team of chefs on scoring the very first “Sold Out” of 2017 in Dallas fundraising.

Let’s keep these “Sold-Out Alerts” coming on in.

The Great Girl Scout Cookie Debate Nearly Results In An Elf Brawl

The debates have not ended! The MySweetCharity espresso barroom was the scene of a near brawl this afternoon. With her eminence Queenie sitting on her throne as judge, she listened to two teams of elves argue, complain and decry the lack of knowledge of the other group. At one point it got so ugly that one debater stuck his purple tongue out.

Girl Scout S’more*

Girl Scout Samoa*

The subject? Which Girl Scout cookies were better — old favorite Samoas (aka Caramel Delites) or the new cookie on the block S’mores? The S’mores team argued that there are S’mores and then there are S’Mores. The Samoas group claimed the other side was nuts not to love the coconut-laden Samoas.

Girl Scout Thin Mint*

At one point it got so ugly that one debater stuck his … that’s right … purple tongue out. Queenie had had enough and ordered a time out. After 10 minutes Elder Elf notified the old gal that it hadn’t worked. In fact the elf gallery was now complaining that both sides were wrong. Thin Mints topped the other two and they were staging a protest in front of the MSC headquarters.

Making a Solomon decision, Queenie told Elder, “Get me a crate of each and I shall make the final decision.”

Elder sought the request here to provide Queenie with crates of cookies. One can only suspect that Queenie’s New Year’s resolution of losing that 50 pounds was history, as she waddled to her chambers with a wheelbarrel filled with the boxes of cookies.

But don’t wait to learn Queenie’s decision. The Girl Scouts are officially kicking off sale of the cookies (Girls Scouts S’more, Thin Mints, Caramel deLites/Samoas, Peanut Butter Patties/Tagalongs, Shortbread/Trefoils, Do-si-Dos/Peanut Butter Sandwich, Lemonades, Savannah Smiles, Thanks-A-Lot, Toffee-tastic and Trios) on Friday. They (the cookies, not the Scouts) can be ordered directly from a Scout or online.

Girl Scout cookie sales*

And look to downtown Dallas Friday night for dazzling signs of the great cookie takeover. The Bank of America Plaza will shine green and white; One Arts Place’s unique green square will dazzle; and the Omni Dallas Hotel will feature “the Girl Scout logo in green displaying the message, ‘Cookie Time.’”  

* Photos provided by the Girl Scouts

2016 Crystal Charity Ball Celebrates Its Circle Of Angels With A Cocktail Reception And Seated Supper At Forty Five Ten

Forty Five Ten fashions

It was the big hoop-di-doo for Crystal Charity Ball underwriters — the Circle of Angels dinner. Originally slated to be the opening event for Forty Five Ten, it took second place on Wednesday, November 16. Just the Thursday before, The Family Place’s 2016 ReuNight had been the sneak peek before the luxury store’s Saturday, November 12th opening. But not to worry. As it was, it worked out perfectly. It was almost as if ReuNight had been a dress rehearsal.

Instead of arriving at the Main Street curb entrance like ReuNight, most guests got the royal experience of the auto courtyard with Anthony Howe’s mesmerizing, wind-powered 25-foot tall sculpture, Lucea. Now, Tony Tasset’s 30-foot Eye next door won’t be the only “eyecatcher” on the block!

Chris and Christina Durovich and Barbara and Ralph Babb

But unlike the ReuNight guests who explored every nook and cranny of the four-story fashion palace, the Angels stayed primarily on the first and second levels.

Jerry Fronterhouse and Annette Simmons, Christie Carter, Claire and Dwight Emanuelson

John and Mary Martha Pickens

Alison and Mike Malone

While the ladies checked out the shoes, jewelry and clothes, more than two fellows asked, “Where the bar?” The answer was found over in the jewelry department.

Circle of Angels dinner table

Once again to accommodate the dinner, the see-thru tent adjacent was in place. However, there had been some adjustments to the dinner tent from the week before. While the tent’s black flooring still created a slight wobble for guests, the towering glass candleholders of ReuNight had been replaced by 30” tall straight-sided white candles. The mirrored-top tables that had added dazzle to the filled-to-capacity tent the previous week were gone. In their places were tables draped in pink clothes to accommodate a lesser number of guests, say 113. In the center of each table was a low vase filled to the max with white roses. Hmm, round tables with pink table clothes, centerpieces of white roses, simple white candles…well, after all, it was “circle of angels.”

Tanya Foster and Eric and Elizabeth Gambrell

As CCB Chair Christie Carter and Circle Chair Tanya Foster handed out table assignments, some naughty guests got to their tables early and swapped table assignments. And one or two of the guests arrived with someone not on the acceptance list. Emily Post must be rolling her hereafters.

But pretty soon dinner via The Joule was served up, so who cared about tablemates. The salad (escarole salad with herbs, parmesan and bread crumbs) was a hit. The entrée’s (duet of beef filet and main lobster, Thumbelina carrots, king trumpet mushrooms and truffle jus) meat portion was tender on the inside, but a bit challenging to cut into. The “Last” (aka dessert) was a chocolate lover’s idea of palate paradise. To heck with the calories, gobble up the chocolate crème caramel, devil’s food, Cajetan and pecan toffee!

Vicki Chapman and Tom Swiley and Patti Flowers

Jennifer Dix and Stacey Walker

Nickey and Debbie Oates

Tucker and Rick Enthoven and Julie Ford

Table-top topics of the night: Chef Kent Rathbun’s amazing recovery from his November 5th accident in West Texas that resulted in 22 broken ribs, fractured vertebrae and a punctured kidney. The good news is that he was home mending… Christine and Chris Durovich serving as honorary co-chairs for the 2016 Trains at NorthPark…Thanksgiving plans had Annette Simmons and Jerry Fronterhouse headed for AT&T Stadium for the Cowboys game; Nancy and Robbie Briggs watching the game with homeless people; Mary Martha and John Pickens staying home with loads of family and friends over for dinner… Claire Emanuelson was receiving congratulations on recently being named the 2018 CCB Chair.

Christie Carter and Brian Bolke

The evening program was brief with CCB Chair Christie thanking guests for their support in raising more than $5.6M for the beneficiaries. Forty Five Ten proprietor/host Brian Bolke graciously thanking the women for what they have done over the years to support the children of Dallas. And the evening sponsor Deloitte’s Bob Chapman proudly appreciating the partnership that DeLoitte and CCB have had for 17 years.

More photos can be seen at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

A Passing: Jan Pruitt

Jan Pruitt (File photo)

There are just some posts that one dreads writing. This is one of them. It is with the greatest sorrow to report that the North Texas Food Bank’s former President/CEO Jan Pruitt died today.

It was just a month ago after battling cancer for more than a year that she and her doctors decided that her time would be best spent with her family and she “stepped down from her position at NTFB.”

As NTFB Director of Communications Anna Kurian said, “I was comforted knowing that she spent Christmas and New Year’s Day with her family. I am sitting in our offices, looking at her office and missing her very much.”

In the days ahead much will be written about Jan’s leadership at NTFB and how she took it on 20 years ago and grew the organization that feeds thousands upon thousands each year. But it will be difficult to describe the zest she had. There was just a twinkle in her eye and a down-to-business attitude that inspired all around her to roll up their sleeves and help faceless and nameless people.

During her months of illness, she continued to juggle her families at home and at NTFB with her treatments. But then that’s how Jan was. And that’s the inspiration she has provided for those who knew her and those who benefited from her efforts.

According to NTFB Board Chair Tom Black,

“Jan was a one-of-a-kind leader whose spirit and passion for feeding our hungry neighbors will continue to live in each of us as we fulfill her extraordinary legacy through the mission of the Food Bank.  

“I knew Jan well, and I know that she would want us to forge ahead to close the hunger gap in the 13 counties that the Food Bank serves. To that end and as part of our ten-year plan, the North Texas Food Bank will fulfill Jan’s vision of providing 92 million nutritious meals annually by 2025.”

Today and tomorrow and the tomorrows to come, while you’re filling your kitchens with marvelous aromas or giving your orders to waiters for chef-prepared dishes, there will be folks who will count their blessings for a meal provided by the efforts of a person, whom they never met but will be ever grateful. That person is due to a dedicated wunderkind amongst us by the name of Jan Pruitt.

In keeping with Jan’s commitment and love for NTFB, her family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the North Texas Food Bank honoring Jan.

We extend our most sincere condolences to her family, the NTFB staff and to the countless children and adults, who will not go hungry today or in the future thanks to Jan. As tears are shed, may the multitudes be fed.

Night At The Museum Gala Guests Had A Night To “Elevate” At The Perot Museum

Despite a tad bit of anxiety by some about the possibility of another election protest in downtown Dallas on Saturday, November 12, the Night at the Museum fundraiser for the Perot Museum didn’t dissuade guests from attending the “Elevate”-theme soiree. Here’s a report from the field:

Mariah Wilcox and Hunter and Wendy Covitz*

Glitzily dressed guests descended on the Perot Museum of Nature and Science for its annual Night at the Museum gala on Saturday, November 12. This year’s soiree, themed “Elevate,” took party-goers on an all-night flight through the world of aerospace to discover how nature has influenced modern-day aviation, the future of flight, artistic interpretations of elevation and more. From live bird shows, aerialists, virtual reality and drones to fancy floating foods, feather tattoos and hair extensions, Night at the Museum had guests playing and partying the night away.

Francie Moody-Dahlberg and Kevin Dahlberg*

Carolyn Rathjen, Ross Perot and Nancy Perot*

Prior to the main party, top supporters began trickling in and were welcomed by “old-school stewardesses” to the VIP reception, presented by Highland Capital Management. Before long, the retro-style airport lounge, which was sponsored by American Airlines, was bustling with special guests including Margot and Ross Perot, Honorary Co-Chairs Carolyn Perot Rathjen and Karl Rathjen, Nancy Perot and Rod Jones, Suzanne and Patrick McGee, Katherine and Eric Reeves, Tori and Russ Mulford, Co-Chairs Francie Moody-Dahlberg and Kevin Dahlberg and Co-Chair Thomas Surgent. (Co-Chair Carmen Surgent was ill and missed out on the fun!)

Adam Nelson, Emily Sharp, Thomas Surgent and Katie and Grant Irving*

Other dignitaries included Interim Perot Museum CEO Dan Kohl and Maria Garcia, Lyda Hill, Katherine and Michael Phillips, Rusty and John Jaggers, Perot Museum Board Chair Hernan Saenz and Sylvia Cespedes, Jody and Sheila Grant, Jim and Gail Spann, Forrest and Sally Hoglund, Kelly Compton, Nicole and Justin Small and others. With a backdrop of black-and-white vintage moments in aviation history and the crooning of Frank Sinatra’s “Come Fly With Me,” highlights included a Wolfgang Puck chocolate bar, a green-screen photo booth, and a “pearls and bubbles” caviar and champagne station.

Dan Kohl and Hernan Saenz*

Justin and Nicole Small*

As the evening got underway, guests enjoyed live bird shows with Window to the Wild, flight simulators, drone races, trebuchet demos, an oxygen blast bar, the Birds of Paradise exhibition, and interacting with the Museum’s virtual Beam robot, to name a few. Lots of smiles were made at the popular hot air balloon green screen, the hair-raising Van de Graff generator and the amethyst heart geode, which made its sparkly debut in the Lyda Hill Gems and Minerals Hall. 

Guests flocked to the dragon’s breath liquid nitrogen station, featuring dream-sicle meringue, lemon meringue and Cracker Jack pops on sticks, which were dipped in liquid nitrogen. Lots of cell phone videos were recording as guests tasted the instantly frozen treats and then blew out a liquid nitrogen puff.  Other food and drink favorites included levitating macaroons, a donut wall and the Fancy Francie cocktail.

The after-party, sponsored by Central Market, got underway as Manhattan rocked the house. Ladies traded in their heels for ballet flats, as pilot hats and aviator sunglasses were passed out. Late-night snacks included “walking tacos,” pimiento mac n’ cheese, Cuban sandwiches, churros, pizza and “spiked” grasshopper milk shakes.

Jerry and Emy Lou Baldridge and Sally and Forrest Hoglund*

A few of Dallas’ local luminaries were spotted including D’Andra Simmons, Jane McGarry, A.C. Gonzales, Emy Lou and Jerry Baldridge, Peggy and Richard Allison, Betsy and Richard Eiseman, Eugenia and Frank-Paul King, Mary Suhm, Mary Jalonick, Monica Egert-Smith, Barbara and Don Daseke, Betsey Urschel, Mollie Crow, Anne Davidson, Suzanne and Walt Humann and Brent Christopher.

* Photo credit: Jason Janik

Housing Crisis Center’s Patriot Party Brought Out The Red, White And Blues At The Mansion On Veteran’s Day

Thanks to the stars and calendar lining up in sync on Friday, November 11, the day of celebrating the nation’s veterans flourished. While the day’s parades and festivities went on under sunshine, the Housing Crisis Center’s Patriot Party at the Mansion proved to be a nighttime crowd pleaser.

Katherine Wynne and John Baer

Cindy Stager and Oscar Durham

Roz Colombo, Amy Turner, Sunie Solomon and Laura Moon

Paul and Tiffany Divis and Kim Hext

Jamie Williams

In keeping with the Patriot Party spirit, the red, white and blues were the colors of choice for the night thanks to Katherine Wynne, Sandy Schwan, Tiffany Divis, Amy Turner, Sunie Solomon, Cindy Stager, Roz Colombo and mama Gigi St. Pe, Jamie Williams, Anita Braun, Shannon Brame, Holly Mayer, Eliza Cochron, Darlene Elison, Tasha Harden, Katy Bock and Lisa Cooley, who accessorized her outfit with a sparkly clutch. According to their choices of ties, it appeared the gents like Paul Divis, Lawrence Bock, Clay Cooley, Thomas Harden and Event Chair John Baer evidently got the color memo, too.

Lawrence and Katy Bock and Lisa and Clay Cooley

Anita Braun and Shannon Brame

Heath Oakes and Jenny Anchondo

KDFW anchor/evening emcee Jenny Anchondo was sporting more than a fresh glamorama makeup do. Little did she and husband Heath Oakes let on that they were on the verge of announcing that they’d be expecting a baby girl in May.

As if the reception didn’t prove heady enough with its countless silent-auction items, the main disco act in the Mansion ballroom created a bit of a stir when one over-exuberant blonde slipped and fell on the dance floor.

Ken Cooper

Jonathan Jaffin

Then there were the chat-about types who insisted on chit-chatting nonstop when Dr. Ken Cooper and Jonathan Jaffin talked about the importance of military service and our brave veterans and how, despite their selfless service, there are 40,000 homeless vets in the U.S. On the other hand, there were others who listened intently and afterward recalled stories that their parents and grandparents had told them about past military service.

The newly renovated ballroom’s A/C was working nicely. So much so that some staved off the chill with fur wraps, while other naked-shouldered lasses just harvested goose bumps.

Helene Cronin

Speaking of which, one poor gal’s bare-shouldered cocktail dress required some occasional hitching up as the décolletage went southward. Luckily, a gal pal came to the rescue helping her bud redirect the errant gown northward.

After Americana artist Helene Cronin sang a touching, original tribute to the military called “Lucky Me”—it was based on a true story, she said—it was time for the live auction. The auction proved to be a patriotic success, with the Napa Valley wine experience going for $3,000, the New York Broadway package luring $3,250, and a dinner with Fox4’s Mike Doocy bringing in $2,250.

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.

MySweetMusic For Christmas 2016 – Part 5

Let’s envision this scene. If you have munchkins anywhere in the house, then you’re up with a cup of coffee watching a destruction derby taking place around a pristine Christmas tree. Gift wrap is being torn apart like a truck pull at AT&T Stadium. But it’s worth it.

Now, there is a full day of activities including food, food and more food.

But let’s have a reality check. As you settle back on the couch, are you  wondering how you could have eating all “that stuff”? Or, perhaps you’re in the kitchen, drafting “volunteers” to help do KP duties? Surely, you’re not already writing thank you notes!

Regardless, it’s a dreary day with gray clouds and rain outside. Still, you’re inside safe and sound. Here’s some music to enjoy your state of being.

MySweetWishList: C.C. Young

According to C. C. Young Vice President of Development Sharon Ballew,

Sharon Ballew (File photo)

“My wish this holiday season is that the community will join together and participate in the 2nd Annual Carry the Torch 5K and Fun Run on Friday, March 3, benefiting the C. C. Young Cares program. The program provides flash frozen, heart-healthy meals to seniors in in need throughout the Dallas Metroplex, and every race registration fee helps to fund this mission.

“The race will begin at the beautiful C. C. Young campus overlooking White Rock Lake, at 6:00 p.m. and the route will feature sloping inclines, turns and scenic views. All runners also will receive a swag bag for participating in the race including a race shirt, glow kit and medals for all 5K finishers. Following the run, the after party will feature food trucks, vendors, a DJ and more. Awards will also be given in age group categories and for Overall and Masters Male and Female Finishers.

“To register yourself or a team online, please visit www.CarryTheTorchRun.com.  

“Please join me in supporting seniors in need by pledging to run in C. C. Young’s Carry The Torch 5K and Fun Run this March!”

-By Sharon Ballew, C. C. Young vice president of development