JUST IN: Hold On To Your Hats! The 2017 Mad Hatter’s Tea Judges Were Just Announced

Despite the stormy weather, Mad Hatter’s Tea Chair Linda Spina had folks gather at Tootsies this afternoon for “Mimosas and Millinery,” plus the great reveal of the judges for the Thursday, April 27thUnder The Tuscan Sun” hat competition at the Dallas Arboretum.

Hat by Cassandra MacGregor

Surrounded by a collection of chapeaus including some by Cassandra MacGregor for the “Mimosas and Millinery” reception, Linda announced the following judges:

Tracy Rathbun and Lynae Fearing (File photo)

Caroline Kraddick*

Niven Morgan (File photo)

Micki Rawlings (File photo)

Celebrity judge Rachel Zoe, restaurateurs Lynae Fearing and Tracy Rathbun (a judge team), Klyde Warren Park President Tara Green, Kerrently website editor Courtney Kerr, Kidd’s Kids CEO/Chief Happiness Officer Caroline Kraddick, fragrance guru Niven Morgan and Dallas First Lady Micki Rawlings.

The judges will be eyeballing the guests finery for awards in the following categories:

  • Molto Italiano “Very Italian” — Most True-to-Theme.  Everything Tuscan from the rolling hills of Tuscany to the art treasures of Florence to the Leaning Tower of Pisa and everything in between.
  • Rachel’s Pick – Rachel Zoe’s favorite hat.  The best of the best, from her point of view.
  • Bella Donna “Beautiful Woman” — Most Elegant.
  • A Taste of Italy — The food and drink of Italy.  Wine, cheese, pasta, pizza and more!
  • Bellissima Botanical — Best Botanical.  What would Mad Hatter’s at the Arboretum be without hats adorned with beautiful flowers?
  • Fellini’s Follies — Famed Italian film director Federico Fellini always worked in a group.  Best Group of Hats.  Men may compete in this category.
  • Mamma Mia! — Most outlandish.  Go wild!
  • Ciao Bella! “Hello Beautiful” — People’s Choice.  The best of the best, as voted on by the attendees.

Warning: Please do not try to bribe the judges, but do get your hats ready for the champagne reception on the Ginsburg Plaza and reserved your seats for the Tootsies fashion show in Rosine Hall and the seated luncheon in the tented Outdoor Plaza.

* Photo provided by 2017 Mad Hatter's Tea

Actresses Faye Dunaway And Zoey Deutch And The Late Bill Paxton To Be Honored At Upcoming Dallas International Film Festival

The Dallas Film Society has just announced its line up of honorees for the Dallas International Film Festival taking place from Thursday, March 30, to Sunday, April 9.

On the eve of DIFF, The Art Of Film will celebrate Robert Benton, who co-wrote “Bonnie And Clyde,” at sixty five hundred on Wednesday, March 29.

Robert Benton*

Faye Dunaway**

In keeping with the “Bonnie And Clyde” 50th anniversary, the Opening Night Gala on Thursday, March 30, will kick off with a showing of the iconic film complete with Academy Award-winner Faye Dunaway, who portrayed Bonnie. She will receive the Dallas Star Award at the Opening Night Gala.

In addition to the comings and goings of various filmmakers during the festival, the DFS Honors presented by the Arthur E. Benjamin Foundation at The Highland Dallas on Friday, April 7, will be the posthumous presentation of the Dallas Star to Fort Worth native the late Bill Paxton.

Zoey Deutch*

Bill Paxton***

Receiving the Dallas Shining Star will be “Before I Fall” star Zoey Deutch.

According to DFS Artistic Director James Faust, “Our two Dallas Star Award honorees hail back to something this festival has done from its inception – honor cinema legends, icons, and the film artists that made a difference in our film viewing lives. Faye Dunaway has been at the center of a number of certifiably classic films, and we joined so many in being devastated by the recent loss of Bill Paxton, on so many levels. To have Dunaway here on Opening Night will be a spectacular moment for Dallas, and to have Paxton here in spirit, was a must to anyone that knows anything about this film festival’s history and the people that are a part of it.

“Zoey Deutch is the quintessential choice for a Dallas Shining Star Award honoree. She has had a very impressive start to her career, and is now poised to take it to an entirely different level with wonderful performances in three different films this year.”

Tickets and festival passes are available here!

* Photo provided by Dallas Film Society 
** Getty image provided by Dallas Film Society 
*** Photo credit: Rachel Parker

North Texas Food Bank Makes Changes In Its Annual Food Raising Event With Cowboys And Chefs

Change is in the air. The North Texas Food Bank has made changes for its fundraising “Taste of the NFL.” First, the name has readjusted. It’s now known as “Taste of the Cowboys.” And they don’t mean rodeo types.

Taste Of The Cowboys*

Second, the location has been moved from AT&T Stadium (the home turf for the Dallas Cowboys) to The Ford Center at The Star in Frisco (aka the new home base for the Dallas Cowboys).  

But what stays the same is the involvement of past and present Dallas Cowboys, entertainment (Reckless Kelly) and top-area restaurants and chefs participating Shinsei, The Capital Grill Plano, Seasons 52, Asador, Lockhart Smokehouse, Texas de Brazil, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House, Bistro 31, Kent Rathbun, Taverna, Toulouse, The Common Table, Perry’s Steakhouse And Grille, Cane Rosso, Howard Wang’s China Grill, il Calabrese Ristorante And Bar, Yucatan Taco Stand, Mayfield Ice Cream, The Oceanaire Seafood Room, Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen And Bar, Legends Hospitality, Cowboys Club, Off the Bone Barbeque, Frosted Art, Omni Frisco Hotel/Neighborhood Services, Rye. Craft Food And Drink, La Duni and Mi Cocina.

Reckless Kelly*

The shindig takes place on Sunday, May 7, with the Main Event taking place from 6 to  10 p.m. For a few bucks more, the VIP Event (5 to 6 p.m.) is available.  Tickets are online now!

Presented by Caliber Collision, all proceeds from the tasty event will benefit NTFB’s child programs.

* Graphic and photo provided by North Texas Food Bank

The 5th Annual Reading Partners Celebrity Spelling Bee Had City Performance Hall Buzzing With Boldfacers Competing

For some, auto-spell check has relieved some of the angst of getting words spelled correctly. But a group of area hotshots, they found themselves relying on their own gray matter to compete in the Reading Partners Spelling Bee on Wednesday, March 1, at City Performance Hall benefiting Reading Partners North Texas. Here’s a report from the field: 

What do Don Quixote, Pharrell Williams and Hermione Granger all have in common? Their names were each spelled (not necessarily correctly) by local celebrities at the 5th Annual Reading Partners Celebrity Spelling Bee on Wednesday, March 1, at City Performance Hall. Following a cocktail reception, Co-Chairs Jenny and Loren Koziol kicked off the evening with powerful statistics about the current state of child literacy in North Texas before introducing emcees Katy Blakey and Kristi Nelson of NBC 5. Byron Sanders, Vice President of U.S. Trust, assumed his position as Official Spelling Bee Judge on stage shortly after. Then, one by one, the five teams entered the stage with hopes of being crowned spelling champions by the end of the competition. Each sponsored by a company or individual, the teams were divided as follows:

  • Team Neiman Marcus — Brandon Carr of the Dallas Cowboys; Tyrone Crawford of the Dallas Cowboys; and Jennifer Lassiter, Vice President of Internal Corporate Communications at Neiman Marcus
  • Team EY — Ryan Burke, partner at Ernst And Young; Lesley McCaslin, Fox Sports reporter; and Dr. Kent Scribner, Superintendent of Fort Worth ISD
  • Team U.S. Trust — Tiffany Bias of the Dallas Wings; DJ Poizon Ivy, DJ for Dallas Mavericks and Dallas Wings; and Janet Ryan, Managing Director and Private Client Advisor at U.S. Trust
  • Team Mike And Mary Terry — Bill DeOre, former editorial cartoonist at The Dallas Morning News; Michelle Staubach Grimes, children’s author; and Mary Terry, co-founder of The Mike And Mary Terry Family Foundation
  • Team Vinson And Elkins — John Coleman, Executive Chef and Owner of Savor and Relish; Jim Meyer, partner at Vinson And Elkins; and Cary Pierce of Jackopierce.

From the left: (back row) John Coleman, Jim Meyer, Kent Scribner, Ryan Burke, Kristi Nelson, Mary Terry, Bill DeOre, Brandon Carr and his children; (middle row) Byron Sanders, Cary Pierce, Lesley McCaslin, Jennifer Lassiter, Tiffany Bias, Janet Ryan, DJ Poizon Ivy and her daughter; (front row) Katy Blakey, Jenny Koziol, Michelle Staubach Grimes, Tyrone Crawford, Byron Jones*

Just before the competition kicked off, Dallas Cowboy Byron Jones joined Team Neiman Marcus from the crowd as a surprise last-minute addition. The spelling bee then began with one practice round, but not before each team purchased passes for $1,000 each to be used in case they got stumped. Words were pulled from one of multiple categories, such as pop culture, literature or geography. After six or seven rounds—and all passes used on difficult words—a winning team rose to the top. When Team U.S. Trust misspelled the word ‘bourgeoisie,’ Team EY became the 2017 Reading Partners Celebrity Spelling Bee Champions. After posing for a photo with their trophies, the winning team joined their defeated opponents to mingle with guests across the street at Jorge’s during the after party.

Team EY may have taken home trophies, but Reading Partners was the real winner of the evening. The Celebrity Spelling Bee raised $155,000, which supports Reading Partners’ proven child literacy intervention program. In addition to each team sponsor, the event was made possible by Holly Energy Partners, AZZ Inc., Topgolf, Make It Count Family Foundation, Bandera Ventures, Downtown Dallas Inc., ExxonMobil, Frost Bank, Industrial Valuation Services, The Hoglund Foundation, Oncor, Price Waterhouse Cooper and TIER REIT.

* Photo provided by Reading Partners North Texas

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

JUST IN: Zac Posen To Present His Collection At The Crystal Charity Ball 2017 Ten Best Dressed Women Of Dallas Fashion Show and Luncheon

One of Dallas’ favorite designers will have his collection on the runway for  The Crystal Charity Ball’s 2017 Ten Best Dressed Women of Dallas Fashion Show and Luncheon on Friday, September 15. It will none other than that cutie pie Zac Posen!

Zac Posen*

Christi Urschel (File photo)

According to Fashion Show Chair Christi Urschel, “Everyone is thrilled to have Zac Posen’s collection featured at this year’s event. We are honored that he will be joining us for this very special day.”

And what a special day it will be. Instead of pitching the mega-tent in the adjacent parking lot, Neiman Marcus Downtown GM/VP Jeff Byron is going to have the CCB fundraiser back in the NM flagship. The Fashion Show will take place on the second floor followed by a seated luncheon on the store’s fourth floor.

Jeff Byron (File photo)

Pam Perella (File photo)

2017 Crystal Charity Ball Chair Pam Perella commented, “The generous support of Neiman Marcus allows all proceeds from the event to support children served by the 2017 beneficiaries. We are most grateful to Neiman Marcus for planning such an exciting fashion show and luncheon.”

In addition to the Fashion Show, the annual presentation of the Ten Best Dressed and Hall of Fame honoree will take place. And just who will make up the 10 BD and the Hall of Famer? That reveal will be made at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, April 12, “at a reception and preview of the Zac Posen Resort 2017 Collection at the downtown store.”

Before you start writing that check or calling to reserve your spot, stop! Tickets and sponsorships won’t be available until late April.

However, it would be wise to save your coins now for a sweet sponsorship, since there are some delicious perks that go with ‘em. For instance, Comerica will host a seated dinner at the Dallas County Club on Tuesday, September 5, for Platinum Level Patrons. And for Fashion Show Patrons, there will be a cocktail buffet sponsored by JP Morgan the night before the Fashion Show at Shirley and Bill McIntyre’s fabulous Bluffview estate with Zac in attendance.

Thanks to the Fashion Show and The 2017 Crystal Charity Ball on Saturday, December 2, at the Hilton Anatole, the following children’s nonprofits will benefit: Autism Treatment Center Inc., Big Brothers and Big Sisters Lone Star, Children’s Medical Center Foundation, Dallas Holocaust Museum, Hunger Busters, Presbyterian Communities and Services Foundation, Rainbow Days and Santa Clara of Assisi Catholic Academy.

* Photo provided by The Crystal Charity Ball

Sold-Out Alert!: 2017 Art In Bloom

Whoops! Yesterday it was reported that no “Sold Outs” had been announced for the spring fundraising season following spring break. Today word arrived that that status had changed.

2017 Art In Bloom’s “Seasons Of Love”*

Not only is the 2017 Art In Bloom’s “Seasons Of Love” hosted by the Dallas Museum of Art League and chaired by Sarah Jo Hardin sold out, but organizers have added an opportunity for those who missed out on the Monday, March 27th event.

Sure, the Art In Bloom guests will get a sneak peak of the “Live Blooming Art Exhibit,” but DMA visitors will be able to check the floral designs “created by local floral designers and inspired by works of art from the Museum’s permanent collection” from Tuesday, March 28, thru Wednesday, March 29, on the DMA’s Level Two.

And how about some name dropping? Well, Art In Bloom can provide ‘em. The exhibition will include the talents of Judy Blackman of Blumengarten, Metka Terselich of Metka Floral Designs, Caroline Hansen of Forestwood Florals, Dan Pierce of Wild about Flowers, Doan Do of Cebolla Fine Flowers, Sarah Hobbs of Park Cities Petals, Juan Gomar of Apples to Zinnias, Lucy Diaz-Flores of Bella Flora and David Kimmel of David Kimmel Design.

So, don’t boo-hoo that you can’t attend the presentation by floral industry ambassador René van Rems and lunch on Monday at the DMA. You can still check out “Live Blooming Art Exhibit” Tuesday and Wednesday!

Art In Bloom proceeds will benefit the DMA League’s Floral Endowment Fund, as well as the DMA’s exhibition and education programs.

* Graphic courtesy of Dallas Museum of Art League

Northwood Woman’s Club’s “Dine By Design” Luncheon Whooped It Up With More Than 30 Tables All Duded Up Texas-Style

Gaylan Sapp and Shannon Burton

Unlike lady year’s Parisian ooh-la-la theme with a standard poodle greeting guests at the door, the North Woman’s Club’s Dine by Design was Texas-bound on Tuesday, February 28 at Bent Tree Country Club. Luncheon Co-Chairs Gaylan Sapp and Shannon Burton had decided to use “Waltz Across Texas” as the inspiration for more than 30 table designs. Well, why not? Texas Independence Day was just 48 hours away.

And to get things going, they had cowgirls Hailey Sandoz and Kristyn Harris strumming and singing in the entry.

Hailey Sandoz and Kristyn Harris

According to Gaylan, she came up with the Texas idea and her husband thought up the theme.

For the past year, Rebecca Dickinson and Sherry Draper had spearheaded the gathering of professional designers and creative types to fill the club. And the tables reflected just how different each creator’s interpretation was. Sure, there were Holiday Warehouse’s “Spring Waltz” and Donna Bailey‘s “Here Comes Easter To Texas” that cashed in on the upcoming spring and Easter.

Here Comes Easter To Texas

Spring Waltz

And Susan Loveless managed to blend her new line of Spa 1421 at her table with the approval of her mother Betty Stripling.

Poker and Gun Barrel City

Deep in the Heart

This Ain’t My First Rodeo

Trains Across Texas

Still others embraced the Lone Star feel with everything from Paula Austell‘s and Sarah Losinger‘s “Trains Across Texas,” Peggy Shuman‘s “Poker At Gun Barrel City,” Barbara Kutz‘s “This Ain’t My First Rodeo,” Barbara Barndt‘s, Michelle Hefner‘s and Molly Meyer‘s “Deep In The Heart,” Laura Williamson‘s and Lugay Wills‘ “All My Exes Live In Texas” to Carolyn Tayne‘s and Betty Verplan‘s “Daughters of the Republic of Texas…125 Years of Preserving Texas History.”

Mary Anne Preston’s copy of the Texas Declaration of Independence

And speaking of Texas history, new club member Mary Anne Preston, who was the great-great-granddaughter of Texas legend Jesse Grimes, shared family memorabilia including a copy of the original handwritten Texas Declaration of Independence.

After checking out all the tables and enjoying flutes of champagne, the guests headed to the ballroom for lunch and entertainment by Dan Tanner.

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, let the photos of the tables tell how the Northwood Woman’s Club raises funds for Friends of Wednesday’s Child, Genesis Women’s Shelter And Support, North Dallas Shared Ministries, Our Friends Place, Promise House and Shared Housing Center Inc. Check the designs at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

JUST IN: Junior League To Receive Genesis Women’s Shelter’s Jane Doe Award And Former Police Chief David Brown Tapped For HeROs Award

As part of the 24th Annual Genesis Women’s Luncheon celebration, the announcement has just been made of the 2017 Jane Doe Award and the 2017 HeROs Award recipients.

According to Genesis Women’s Shelter And Support CEO Jan Langbein, the Jane Doe Award that “recognizes individuals, groups or organizations that display an extraordinary commitment to standing alongside women seeking freedom from domestic abuse” will be presented to the Junior League of Dallas’ President Bonner Allen, who will represent the JLD.

Junior Leaguers of Dallas*

Receiving the 2017 HeRO Award, which was established in 2013 to “honor men who use their voice and influence to take a public stand against domestic violence,” will be former Dallas Police Chief David Brown. Past recipients include Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings in 2013, Dale Hansen in 2014, Joshua Ragsdale in 2015 and Roger Staubach in 2016.

David has been a busy fella since trading in his uniform for civilian garb. In addition to having a new job with ABC News, he’s been collecting accolades like being the grand marshal for the Dallas St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Saturday, March 11, and receiving the J. Erik Jonsson Ethics Award at Belo Mansion tomorrow.

David Brown (File photo)

Jan explained, ““The Junior League of Dallas has walked hand in hand with Genesis since the very beginning.  Our Junior League volunteers bring passion and professionalism to their placements that in many ways serve as an extension of the Genesis staff.

“Long before Chief Brown was thrust into the national spotlight for his heroic efforts during the tragedy that struck our city last July, he was a hero in Dallas and a hero to Genesis. The Dallas Police Department walks in lockstep with Genesis to help create a safe community, and Chief Brown understood all along that we cannot have a safe community if we do not have safe homes.”

Nikki and Crayton Webb (File photo)

Arianna Huffington**

Luncheon Co-Chairs Nikki and Crayton Webb have arranged for the awards to be presented at the luncheon’s patron party on Thursday, May 11.

A limited number of individual tickets for the Monday, May 15th luncheon at the Hilton Anatole featuring Arianna Huffington are available. For a few dollars more, patron level is also available plus the perks of attending the patron party.

* Photo provided by the Junior League of Dallas 
** Photo provided by Genesis Women's Shelter And Support

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: Northwood Woman’s Club’s Dine By Design

Those Northwood Woman’s Club gals once again filled Bent Tree Country Club with dozens and dozens of decked-out table settings for its annual Dine By Design on Tuesday, February 28. This year’s theme of “Waltz Across Texas” was true food for thought with tables ranging from spring whimsical to another just chugging along.

Spring Waltz

Trains Across Texas

While the post is being prepared, check out the tables at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Turtle Creek Association’s Annual Fundraiser Will Offer A Home Tour Of Six Showplaces And An After Party Overlooking Turtle Creek

Boy, has the Turtle Creek Association lined up some incredible residences for its 2017 Home Tour. On Sunday, April 9, from 1 to 5 p.m., ticket holders will be able to check out the in-the-sky residences at 3525, The Claridge and Park Towers and the more down-to-earth homes on Turtle Creek Bend and Rock Creek Drive.

But wait! There’s more. The Association has also arranged for an after-party from 6:30 to 8:30 that evening at Greg Pearl’s and Ashley Akin-Pearl’s fabulous 6,500-square-foot residence nestled on nearly an acre overlooking Turtle Creek.

Greg Pearl’s and Ashley Akin-Pearl’s residence*

Originally the site of the late landscape architects Marie and Arthur Berger’s legendary mid-century home designed by O’Neil Ford in the early 1950s, it was replaced in the early 2000s by this outstanding French Normandy residence designed by Dean Smith and built by contractor/former owner George Pelletier. Hidden atop the hill from the street thanks to much of the Bergers’ originally landscaping, this is a hidden treasure that is rarely seen.

Providing the hors d’oeuvres for the after-party will be Chef Abraham Salum.

The two events are being ticketed separately, so here is the breakdown:

  • Afternoon tour — $60 for non-Turtle Creek Association members and $50 for members. Tickets purchased before Friday, March 31, are $54 for non-members and $45 for members.
  • After Party — A limited number of tickets are available at $125 per person on a first-come, first-serve basis.

According to Turtle Creek Association President/CEO Jennifer Schultz, “This year we are focused on featuring the art along the creek; all homes on the tour have spectacular art collections including regionally and internationally known artists. We deeply appreciate the homeowners who have so graciously opened their homes to our fundraising tour.”

Funds raised from the Home Tour and After Party will help preserve the Turtle Creek area’s 87 acres of greenways and parklands.

* Photo courtesy of Turtle Creek Association

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.

Retired Attorney Suzan Fenner And Northwood Woman’s Club To Receive Our Friends Place’s 13th Annual Ebby Award At April Gala

Ebby Halliday Acers (File photo)

The late Ebby Halliday Acers would have been 106 years old this month. Despite the loss of the first lady of residential real estate a year-and-a-half ago, her memory and inspiration continue. Timed in sync with Ebby’s natal day is the announcement of the Annual Ebby Award that is presented by Our Friends Place for those contributing to the advancement of girls and/or women.

Our Friends Place Executive Director Sue Thiers Hesseltine revealed the 13th Annual Ebby Awardees will be retired partner of Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP Suzan E. Fenner and the Northwood Woman’s Club.

According to Sue, “Both award winners are truly passionate about serving our community and engage with a number of nonprofits, providing leadership and resources that contribute to the advancement of girls and women in North Texas. Suzan and the Northwood Woman’s Club have made Dallas a better place.”

Past recipients include Ebby, Sarah Losinger, Barbara S. Cambridge, the National Council of Jewish Women of Greater Dallas and Leigh Richter.

The presentation of the award to Suzan and the Northwood Woman’s Club will be made at the 14th Annual Our Friends Place Gala Auction And Casino Night on Saturday, April 29 at the Omni Dallas Hotel. Joining Event Co-Chairs Tonnette Easter, Barbara Milo and Leslie Simmons will be Honorary Co-Chairs LuAnn and George Damiris and Debbie and Jack Gibson.

The full release of the announcement follows the jump.

[Read more…]

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.

2017 CancerBlows Committee Tackles Everything From Coordinating World-Class Musicians’ Scheduling To Busing Kids In

Putting on a one-day-only event is tough. Managing all the logistics is like juggling cactus. But a multi-day venture ramps all those headaches to migraine status. So, the CancerBlows team has been orchestrating all the arrangements of bringing in world-class trumpet players for its May 8th-May 10th fundraising activities for The Ryan Anthony Foundation.

But it’s all underway, thanks to CancerBlows Co-Founders Niki and Ryan Anthony and Co-Chairs D’Andra Simmons-Lock and Jeremy Lock and Anne and Steve Stodghill and the legion of volunteers, committee members and sponsors raising funds to battle multiple myeloma.

How about an example? On Tuesday, May 9, there will be a series of free Education Events including

  • Chamber Music Master Class — CancerBlows artists affiliated with chamber music groups such as Canadian Brass, Boston brass, Rhythm and Brass and more work with collegiate brass quintets.
  • Panel Discussion with CancerBlows Artists — Public Q&A session with CancerBlows artists. Topics include warm-up techniques, making a living as a freelancer and professionalism in the workplace.
  • CancerBlows Jazz Master Class — CancerBlows artists work with pre-selected high school and collegiate trumpet players with emphasis on jazz.
  • Cancer Blows Classical Master Class — Cancer Blows artists work with pre-selected high school and collegiate trumpet players with a classical emphasis.
  • CancerBlows Big Band/Jazz Artist rehearsal — Select local high school and college students are invited to watch the first half of the CancerBlows Big Band and Jazz Artist rehearsal.
  • Lessons With the Legends* — Select CancerBlows Legends will make lesson times available to individuals.

Ryan Anthony

Niki Anthony

Tim Andersen

David Cowling

That all sounds like it covers all the bases, but then how do you transport the students to the events? That was one of the  questions addressed at a meeting of volunteers on Monday, February 27, at Jones Day including Niki, Ryan, David Cowling, Todd Ranta and Tim Andersen.

The answer seemed simple — just use school buses. Not so fast. It was to take place on a school day, and the school buses’ priority was busing students home. And you just thought carpool was a challenge! But not to worry. The team handled the challenge, so the kids wouldn’t miss out.

BTW, if you want to be part of the committee putting this mega-fundraiser together to fight multiple myeloma, you’ll be hanging out with Jenna Alexander, Larry Alexander, Diane and Joel Allison, Niki and Ryan Anthony, Deidre and Chris Bacala, Jamie Jo Boulogne, Laura and Bob Beard, Diane and Hal Brierley, Christen Casenave, Jennifer and Coley Clark, Rozalyn and Robert Colombo, Phyllis and CJ Comu, Megan and Michael Considine, John Conn, Lisa and Clay Cooley, Amy Youngquist and David Cowling, Serena and Tom Connelly, Roberta Corbett, Barbara and Don Daseke, Pam and Mark Denesuk, Cary and Mark Deuber, Heidi and Bill Dillon, Dean Dimmitt, Noelle and David Dunavan, Claire and Dwight Emanuelson, Ashley Berges and Greg Fasullo, Lora Farris, Michelle and Kevin Finamore, Holly Forsythe, Emily and Darryl Freeling, Don Gaiser, Hadley and Travis Galt, Shay and Brian Geyer, Sally and Mark Helm, Julie and Ken Hersh, Stephanie and Travis Hollman, Peggy and Tim Horner, Kristi and Ron Hoyl, Colleen O’Conner and Joe Hubach, Laree Hulshoff and Ben Fischer, Linda and Steve Ivy, Lindsay and Chuck Jacaman, Wendy and Michael Jenkins, Kathie and Randy King, Maggie Kipp, Jeri and David Kleiman, Richard Stanley and Matthew Kline, Allan Knight and Cearan Henley, Tracy and Ben Lange, Julian Leaver, Susan and Dean McSherry, Alison and Mike Malone, Rhonda and Fraser Marcus, Amy and Jonathan Martin, Sarah Catherine Norris, Delia Parman and Robert Kyle, Leah and Jim Pasant, Cyndi Phelps, Terri and Brad Phillips, Mary Martha and John Pickens, Brian Ratner, Stacey and John Relton, Melody and Rick Rogers, Carla Ferrer and Joe Russo, Susan Post Sanford, Lisa Simmons, Lisa and Marvin Singleton, Linda and Thomas Smith, Hamilton A. Sneed, Cindy Stager, Tara and Harvey Stotland, Aneeta and Sandy Sule, Elisa and Stephen Summers, Patti Flowers and Tom Swiley, Ellen and Larry Talley, Jill Tananbaum, Rachel and Christopher Trowbridge, Ashley Tatum and New Walker, Nikki and Crayton Webb, Kameron and Court Westcott and Piper and Mike Wyatt.

Contact Niki for information on how to sign up.

* There is a fee for the lesson and available times are very limited.

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

Louise Herrington School of Nursing’s Going for Gold Gala Raised Funds For Scholarships With TV Producer Derek Haas Keynoting

In this world of high technology and ever-changing development in the health care world, the mainstay of the medical world is the legion of nurses who daily provide the personal and professional care so needed by patients. Needless to say, their education and training doesn’t come cheap. That is why the 6th Annual Going For Gold Gala’s “Coming Together To Make A Difference” benefiting Baylor University’s Louise Herrington School of Nursing (LHSON) on Saturday, February 25, at the Fairmont Hotel was so important.

Kristen and Jim Hinton, Shelley Conroy and Greg and Susan Pendleton Jones*

With 600 guests including Baylor Scott And White Health CEO Jim Hinton and his wife Kristen Hinton,  Baylor University Louise Herrington School Dean Dr. Shelley Conroy, Baylor University Executive Vice President Dr. Greg Jones and his wife Susan Pendleton Jones and Louise Herrington Ornelas, it was an occasion to “recognize and honor those who serve our communities — both the nurses who care for our sick and wounded and our selfless public servants in the police and firefighting communities.”

Two of those people were LHSON grad 1997 Jessica Haas and LHSON grad 2006 Annie Young, who work in the Richardson Independent School District as school nurses and saved two lives last fall.

On Monday, November 14, Jessica rescued a mom, Sarah Maupin, who had suffered a heart attack at Wallace Elementary just blocks away from the junior high. In addition to being featured in a report by WFAA (ABC) on Monday, November 14, and a story on KTVT (CBS) on Monday, December 5, Jessica was a guest on the Harry Connick Jr. Show on Wednesday, December 21.

During the week of December 5, a student collapsed on the track at Lake Highlands Junior High and Annie provided AED/CPR rescue.

Mary Ann Hill and Louise Herrington Ornealas*

Ray Vaughn*

In addition to celebrating Jessica and Annie, Gala Chair Mary Ann Hill arranged Baylor alumna/NBC-5 Co-Anchor Bianca Castro to serve as emcee. Adding to the special occasion were Dallas Police Officer Ray Vaughn’s singing “Be The Change,” and LHSON alumna Bailey Harrison Moore, BSN 2015, providing “a compelling testimony.”

Derek Haas and students*

With the help of volunteer Gala Task Force members and LHSON Student Ambassadors, Mary Ann also had silent and live auctions, as well as having Baylor graduate Derek Haas (no relation to Jessica) be the keynote speaker. In addition to co-creating and producing NBC’s hit television series “Chicago Fire,” “Chicago PD” and “Chicago Med,” his newest show, “Chicago Justice,” was just days away from premiering.

Past Going for the Gold Galas have featured champion athletes and celebrities such as: Noah Galloway, a wounded Operation Iraqi Freedom U.S. Army war veteran hero and finalist on “Dancing with the Stars” along with Dallas Cowboys Wide Receiver Terrance Williams in 2016; Heisman Trophy winner and NFL Quarterback Robert Griffin III (RGIII) and former Baylor linebacker and NFL Hall of Famer Mike Singletary in 2015; America’s gold medal legend Mary Lou Retton in 2014; former Dallas Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith in 2013 and Baylor’s championship-winning women’s basketball coach Kim Mulkey, who joined former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman in 2012.

LHSON is passionate about preparing exemplary nurses for the 21st century, and the key to doing that is recruiting and retaining outstanding students. Proceeds from the gala provide scholarships as well as funding for the new nursing school building in the Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas.

The evening was made possible thanks to the generosity of Louise Herrington Ornelas, Elizabeth and Drayton McLane Jr. and the following patrons and sponsors:

  • Golden Gran Gala Hosts — The Ginger Murchison Foundation, Suzanne and Tom Martin and Donna and Scott Miller
  • Gold Benefactor — Marie and John Chiles, Dr. and Mrs. J. Stuart Crutchfield, Shari and Terry Hill, Pam and Mike Jones and Martha and John Minton
  • Gold Patron — Dr. D.M. Edwards
  • Golden Sponsor — Jay and Jenny Allison, Susan Key and Gary E. Baker, Barnabas Foundation Inc./Anita Jones, Ruth and Don Buchholz, Sue and Rex Jennings, Laurie and Mark Nielsen, Alice and Ken Starr and Lois and Dexter Ward
  • Golden Friend — Rita and Carl Bonds, Mr. and Mrs. C. Robert Byrd, Joy (Helm) and Steve Cobb, Chris and Michael Felton, Karen and Paul McDonald, Cheryl and Ron Hylse Murff, Mr. and Mrs. Stephen D. Reynolds, Dr. and Mrs. David L. Ring, Dr. Lisa Stepp, Dr. Kathryn and Don Tinius and Terri Heard and Nancy Withrow
  • Sustaining Member — Dr. and Mrs. C. Brad Bowman
  • Video Underwriter — Brenda and Bob Barkley
  • Invitation Underwriter — Marie and John Chiles
  • Special Underwriter — Suzanne and Martin
  • Table Host — Prosperity Bank and Leisa and Jimmy Winters
* Photo credit: Mary and Michael Hammack

North Texas Smarty Pants — TAG And Lee Park Jr. Conservancy — Make Kentucky Derby A Two-Day Fest Of Fundraising

Tired of hearing about event collisions? You know. That’s when two or three very interesting fundraisers are scheduled at the same time like this past Wednesday, when the luncheon slam-bang — Linz Award, Planned Parenthood and the Virginia Chandler Dyke — had guests making Solomon-like decisions. Not everyone can be a Janie McGarr, who attended the Linz VIP reception in the Omni’s Trinity Ballroom and then scooted on over to the Omni’s Dallas Ballroom for Planned Parenthood.

But how about some good news about two groups that had competed for the same type of guests and managed to make it all work this year?

Horse racing (File photo)

Back story: In past years, the Kentucky Derby has had the BrainHealth’s Think Ahead Group (TAG) and Lee Park Junior Conservancy holding their fundraisers at the same time to see the Run for the Roses. Ah, but this year those brainiacs came up with an idea — a two-fer by holding their event the night before to get the momentum underway plus celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Gee, no wonder they’re so dang smart!

So, here’s how North Texas is gonna celebrate the Kentucky equine race:

  • Harold Scherrell, Alison Percy, Scott Caldwell and Dan Hunt (File photo)

    Friday, May 5 (8 p.m.-midnight) — TAG holds Cinco de Derby at Marie Gabrielle with margaritas and mint juleps complementing Mexican food. If you haven’t been to Marie Gabrielle, don’t tell a soul. It’s Dallas proper’s sweetheart of an oasis within the concrete forest. Proceeds benefit the Discovery Group, a program at the Center for BrainHealth that “works to improve quality of life after an Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis.” As for tickets, non-TAG member tickets are going for $87 and members save $20 for their $67 tickets.

To keep things rocking and rolling, wake up late morning and put on your prettiest frock and nattiest duds and prepare for fashionable strutting and horse racing watching. (Editor’s note: put tea bags on top of those partied-out eyes for 10 minutes before applying the makeup.)

  • Tyler Stevens, Gay Donnell and Camille Cain Barnes*

    Saturday, May 6 (4 – 7:30 p.m.) — For the big spenders, the 9th Annual Day at the Races Co-Chairs Camille Cain Barnes and Tyler Stevens announced at the kick-off party at Vineyard Vines that there will be a VIP private champagne reception at Arlington Hall and Lee Park starting at 4 p.m. But, please let the jeans, cowboy boots and leather fringe take the day off. This one demands true southern comfort sundresses and seersuckers topped off with smashing hats. Well, after all, there is a competition for the Best Dressed and Best Hat. If it’s a pretty day, there will be lawn games. But if it’s one of those drizzle days, don’t despair. (Alliteration is everything, don’t you know!). Inside Arlington Hall there will be a silent auction, a wagering table, live music and watching the Derby on major screens. Remember? You’re there for the Kentucky Derby. Tickets are available now with Lee Park Junior Conservancy members getting a thrifty $125 per person and non-members paying $150. For that VIP special, it’ll be $500 for two and it include “an invitation to attend the Patron Party in April.” Love perks!

If you haven’t been to either or both of these events, stand in the stand-out corner. There isn’t a zit in the crowd and even AARP types suddenly become young fillies and stallions.

* Photo provided by Lee Park Junior Conservancy

A Gentle Reminder: Greenville Avenue’s St. Patrick’s Day Run/Walk, Parade And Festival To Take Place This Saturday

2017 Dallas St. Patrick’s Parade and Festival map**

While St. Patrick’s Day is still a week away, the Dallas St. Patrick’s Day Parade And Festival will take place this Saturday along Greenville Avenue benefiting the Greenville Avenue Area Business Association.

2017 St. Paddy’s Day Dash Down Greenville 5K*

But before the parade kicks off at 11 a.m., the 22nd Annual St. Paddy’s Day Dash Down Greenville will start at 8 a.m. Organizers are predicting 5,000 participants will run/walk the 5K down “the St. Patrick’s Day parade route, tree-lined Southwestern Blvd., Skillman and University Blvd.,” benefiting the North Texas Food Bank.

Hopefully, all the runners/walkers will be across the finish line before the parade’s floats hit the avenue.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival (File photo)

Now, some suggestions:

  • Barriers and other preparations for the run and parade will start showing up Friday afternoon. So, it might be wise to run those errands today and early tomorrow. Be forewarned: Some stores like Office Depot along Greenville might be closed Saturday during the parade.
  • Weather guessers are claiming that Saturday morning may be damp-ish, so if you’re gonna be among the 100,000+ spectators, you might want to bring along a slicker or umbrella.
  • Take DART to the Greenville station because parking is going to be painfully limited.
  • If you decide to linger into the afternoon and night enjoying the adult libations, reconsider driving yourself home. No matter how responsible you may think you are, you’ll be much more so by having Uber or another professional service drive you home.
*Graphic courtesy of Dallas St. Patrick's Day Parade and Festival 
** Graphic courtesy of St. Paddy's Day Dash Down Greenville 5k

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

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?

A Beacon of Hope Luncheon Introduced Faces Of Hope And Had Glennon Doyle Melton Mix Humor And Honesty About Mental Health

As final preparations were underway on the second floor of the Renaissance Hotel for “A Beacon Of Hope” silent auction and luncheon benefiting the Grant Halliburton Foundation, a VIP reception was taking place on the fourth floor’s City View room on Thursday, February 23.

Foundation President/Founder Vanita Halliburton was surrounded by people whose had been touched by teenagers dealing with mental health issues. She herself had created the foundation due to the suicide of her son Grant Halliburton at the age of 19 in 2005 after years of suffering from depression and bipolar disorder.

Dealing with teen mental health is very difficult issue for a fundraising event. It’s a delicate weaving of the emotional turmoil and hope for helping others overcome such challenges. On this occasion, Vanita was celebrating the launch of a new program — Faces of Hope. As Faces of Hope Chair Barb Farmer explained, the collaboration between the foundation and Gittings was to honor people within the community who “work in diverse ways to promote mental health every day.”

This year’s group of Faces included Suzie and Mike Ayoob, Senior Corporal Herb Cotner, Julie Hersh, Terry Bentley Hill, Patrick LeBlanc, Sylvia Orozco-Joseph, Sierra Sanchez and Priya Singvi.

Sierra Sanchez, Priya Singhvi, Sylvia Orozco-Joseph, Mike and Suzie Ayoob, Terry Bentley Hill, Julie Hersh, Herb Cotner and Patrick LeBlanc

In addition to pieces of crystal being presented to each of the Faces, their portraits were displayed in the lobby on the second floor.

Gittings Faces of Hope portraits

Following the presentation, Vanita had the day’s speaker author/blogger/newly engaged Glennon Doyle Melton briefly talk. Her message was that you can let tragedy drive you forward for the better or let it drive you further down.

Then, right on cue at 10:55, Vanita directed the patrons to the second floor to check the silent auction and buy raffle tickets. On the way down, Barb showed a bracelet that she got from last year’s raffle. It seems her husband bought ten tickets and claimed it was his. Luckily, he gave it to Barb.

Tom Krampitz and Terry Bentley Hill

Hailey Nicholson and Shannon Hollandsworth

The patrons discovered the lobby and ballroom jammed with guests like Tom Krampitz, Shannon Hollandsworth with daughter Hailey Nicholson. Dixey Arterburn was walking through the crowd with a Starbucks cup and a very hoarse throat. Seems she lost her voice at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Ball the Saturday before.

Dixey Arteburn and Ginger Sager

Taylor Mohr and Amanda Johnson

Taylor Mohr was with her buddy Amanda Johnson, who lost her sister to suicide resulting in Amanda’s working with others involved in such emotional crisis. Unfortunately, there were many in the audience with similar reason for being there. Luckily, they were there to not just support Grant Halliburton Foundation but each other.

Steve Noviello and Vanita Halliburton

Just past noon, KDFW reporter/emcee Steve Noviello recalled that the first year only 100 people attended the luncheon. Now eight years later there were more than 400. In introducing Vanita, he told how when he first met her in her office, he had remarked about the art on the walls, only to learn that it had been done by Grant.

Vanita told about the Foundation and its purpose to help young people struggling with mental health crises. In the past suicide had been the third leading cause of death among young people from ages 15 to 24. It is now second among those between 10 and 24. In Texas, the average is one suicide per week among young people.

After a break for lunch, Vanita and Glennon took their places in chairs on stage. Less than 30 seconds into the conversation, Glennon’s headset mic wasn’t working. A man hustled to the stage with a handheld. Despite the change of mic, there continued to be rustling noise over the PA. Another handheld was brought to the stage for Vanita. It didn’t seem all that necessary, since Glennon appeared to need no help in sharing her life of bulimia, alcoholism, drug addiction and her personal views.

Glennon Doyle Melton

She got sober when she was 25 after being in addiction for a decade and a half. Then she got married and life was good until her husband told her that he had been unfaithful. Learning that news, she just couldn’t stay in her house, so she headed to her yoga class, where they had her go to a hot yoga room. Upon entering the room, Glennon thought, “What the hell is this?”

When the question was raised about what the yoga members’ intentions were that day, Glennon admitted, “My intention is sit on the mat and not run out of the room.” The results? “It was the hardest 90 minutes of my life.”

While her talk was a mix of self-deprecating humor and brutal honesty, it was definitely not a scripted speech but rather just Glennon just being Glennon. 

But her message was clear — “My entire life is to not to avoid the pain of life.” She also said that as a parent, “It’s not our job to protect our children from pain.”

In closing, she consoled those who had suffered the loss of loved ones to mental illness by saying, “Grief is just the proof of great love.”

JUST IN: 2017 Celebrating Women Luncheon Deets Revealed With More To Come

Recently Tucker Enthoven and Ola Fojtasek  have been hunkering down about some kind of project. After much prodding and pushing (okay, so the typical types of medieval tortures were not applied), they wouldn’t give up the info. Still they offered smiles, winks and what all.

Ola Fojtasek and Tucker Enthoven

Finally, after over-the-top pleading and first-born-promises, the duo revealed the date for the 2017 Celebrating Women Luncheon fundraiser for Baylor Health Care System Foundation. Tucker is gonna be chairing the event and Ola will be handling the underwriting efforts.

It will be held at the Hilton Anatole on Thursday, October 26.

As for the guest speaker, hold your breath. Nobody’s talking, but they’re all thrilled. Stay tuned for deets. Gee, whiz! It can’t possibly be who is rumored! But dadgummit, time will tell. Besides, if it helps prevent breast cancer, that’s what matters.