JUST IN: Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Dak Prescott To Be Keynote Speaker At After-School All-Stars’ 2nd Annual Rising Stars Luncheon

Dak Prescott (AP Photo)*

With all the rumbling about Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo‘s probably being released, there’s also news about the “presumed” (wink, wink)  starting quarterback Dak Prescott off the field. 

The too-good-to-be-true former rookie, who rallied the team and North Texas to Super Bowl dreams, is going to be the keynote speaker for the 2nd  Annual After-School All-Stars Rising Stars Luncheon on Wednesday, May 17.

Yup! Luncheon Chair Gina Betts knows all the ingredients for a sell-out event and she’s done it once again. In addition to have bowtie-wearing Dak at the podium, she’s arranged for Nancy C. and Richard R. Rogers to be the presenting sponsor.

The question is, “How quick will the luncheon at the Dallas Country Club sell out to benefit After-School All-Stars North Texas?”

BTW, this is one of those splurge events meaning splurging on a VIP-type ticket will have perks like a VIP reception before the luncheon. Tickets and sponsorships are available now!

* Photo courtesy of After-School All-Stars North Texas

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

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

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

Jolie Humphrey, Eleanor Bond and Ginger Sager

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

2017 Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Presentation Ball debutantes and escorts

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

Sara Lee and Stan Gardner and Wendy Kumpf

Libby Bender, Catherine Lane and Rachel Faust

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

Still coquettish buds of deb Caroline Jones like

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

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

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

William Richardson and Heather Hall

Melissa Macatee and John and Barbara Stuart

Ken and Gina Betts, Molly Nelson and William Nelson

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

Kersten Rettig, McKenna Cook and Spencer Fontein

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

Lissie Donosky, Dixey Arterburn, Eleanor Bond and Therese Rourk

Dallas Symphony Assembly officers

Honor Guard officers

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

Gracie Beal

Caroline Jones and Stephen Jones

Alicia Crenshaw and Bob Crenshaw Jr.

Caroline Pratt and Jack Pratt Sr.

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

David Vaughan and Emily Vaughan

Will Cohn, Elizabeth Matthews and Tyler Doshier

Stan Gardner, Andrew Hatfield, Aspen Moraif and James Diamond

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

Abby Loncar and Patrick Long

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

2017 Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Presentation Ball debutantes and escorts

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

Wendy Kumpf, Simona Beal and Karen Jones

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

Gabby Crank

Bailey Turfitt

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

Dancing debs and dads

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

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

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2017 Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Presentation Ball

2017 Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Presentation Ball debutantes and escorts

The Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Presentation Ball blends youth with tradition for the benefit of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. On Saturday, February 18, 35 young women in white ball gowns made their debuts to the approval of their families and the cheers of their friends at the Meyerson.

Stephen Jones and Caroline Jones

Of course, it helped to have loads of Honor Guard chaps in white tie and tails to escort them from the stage and on to the dance floor in the lobby.

Dancing debs and dads

While the post is being prepared, check out the 60+ pictures at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.  

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.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2017 Crystal Charity Ball Bus Tour

Just when you think you’re the source of all knowledge regarding North Texas area nonprofits, those Crystal Charity Ball gals bring you down to earth thanks to a bus tour. The annual bus tour provides firsthand knowledge of how the funds raised will be put to use and introduces new programs and organizations that in many cases have gone under the radar.

At some places there are children going through their daily routine. At others, work is in place for facilities that will help countless youngsters in need.

Neil Massey

Claire Emanuelson, Cheryl Joyner, Pam Perella, Leslie Diers, Tucker Enthoven, Trey Hoobler and Lisa Longino

This year’s tour included eight beneficiaries (Autism Treatment Center Inc., Big Brothers 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).

Pam Perella, Angela Cupp, Britt Cupp and Brent Christopher

While the post is being…. ah, shoot! You know the drill. Head on over to MySweetCharity Photo Gallery to see what was on the tour that brought tears, laughter and inspiration CCB Chair Pam Perella and her ladies.

VNA’s Celebrity Chef Nancy Silverton’s Lunch And Dinner Resulted In Gang-Buster $400,000 With Kale And Anchovies For The Hungry

Just as predicted, the VNA Celebrity Chef Luncheon/Dinner proved to be money makers. And why not? Supreme Chefist Nancy Silverton was a major-league hit making kale and anchovies seem downright tasty and healthy.

Meaders Moore Ozarow and Nancy Silverton

While coverage is yet to come, the accountants’ tally is already in. For the two events combined, a whopping $400,000 was provided, not just raised.

That means more seniors and others lacking meals will have folks providing food and friendship.

How yummy that Nancy, VNA and supporters were able to pull together for those in need and also provide two fun events.

Responsible for the success were Honorary Chair  Sara Fraser Crismon and Event Co-Chairs Becky and Mike Casey.

There will be more in the days to come about the event, but just wanted to share the great “net” results.

BTW, sponsors who made this happen included

  • Presenting Sponsor ($50,000) — Valley Services Inc.
  • Platinum Sponsor ($30,000) — Lyda Hill
  • Gold Sponsor ($15,000) — Sara Fraser Crismon and Peggy Dear
  • Silver Sponsor ($10,000) — Linda and Jay Barlow, Jill Bee, Ben E. Keith Company, Becky and Mike Casey, Energy Transfer Partners, Katherine Krause and Warren Zahler/Nichole and Chris Culak, Astrid Merriman and Bob and Janet Ryan Stegall
  • Bronze Sponsor ($5,000) — 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/Rena Pederson, Angie and Marshall Brackbill, Neva and Don Cochran, Bess and Ted Enloe, Fanchon and Howard Hallam, Jan and Al McClendon/Kate McClendon/Brooke and Jason Villalba, Susan and Bill Montgomery, Meaders and Robert Ozarow, Katherine and Bob Penn, Property Advisers Realty, Vin and Caren Prothro Foundation, Texas Instruments Incorporated and Cathy and Ike Vanden Eykel
  • Apron Sponsor — Central Market
  • Floral Sponsor — Astrid Merriman
  • Tent Sponsor — Grand Bank

St. V-Day Luncheon/Fashion Show Had Guests Lined Up For Leukemia And Lymphoma Society North Texas Chapter’s Annual Fundraiser

Despite the “100% guarantee” of the area getting drenched for St. Valentine’s Day, the showers held back for the St. Valentine’s Day Luncheon and Fashion Show at the Meyerson on Tuesday, February 14, benefiting the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s North Texas Chapter.

Registration lines

While the weather held fast, the registration line wasn’t so swift. One guest critiqued the check-in: “The ladies are complaining.” It seems that instead of guests being able to check in with their group, each person had to find the right line to get their table and seat assignment. One guest, after 10 minutes of trying to locate the right line, grumbled, “I need a drink.” But, alas, the poor thang discovered, like so many others, that the champagne was long gone and the herd of guests was hustling into the McDermott Concert Hall.

While it would have seemed that the table guests would have all been seated together in the Hall, it turned out not to be so. One five-figure sponsor discovered her guests were seated all over the place. Frustrated, the leader of the pack finally found an empty group of seats and declared them theirs.

Gina Betts, Roz Colombo and Anne Besser

To fill the time both in line and in the hall, the favorite indoor game of “catch-up” was played. Cindy Turner smiled that she was going to be a grandmother come July… Paige McDaniel reported that tickets to the Chick Lit Luncheon with Bethenny Frankel were going fast… Sunie Solmon decided that after wearing red to Go Red for Women, she would opt for pink…Bina Patel brought her too-young-to-wear-stilettos daughter along… MIA were Lisa Cooley and Tanya Foster, who were in NYC for Fashion Week … Another MIA was Advisory Co-Chair Michael Flores. But what could you expect? It was St. V-Day and he had heads to fashion… Luckily, Advisory Co-Chair Gina Betts was front and center with pal Roz Colombo. Gina and her legal buds are in the process of opening Dorsey and Whitney’s new Dallas office on Wednesday, March 1.

Lisa Singleton, Heather Randall and Jana Paul

Other faces seen in the crowd included Angie Kadesky, Lisa Singleton and Jana Paul with Event Chair Heather Randall, all-in-red Nancy Gopez, Joanna Clarke and Paige McDaniels, Heather Furniss, Lunch Co-Founder Rusty DuvallSiiri Dougherty, Wanda Gierhart, Doris and Jack Jacobs, Vicki Howland and Elisa and Stephen Summers.

Angie Kadesky and Don and Robyn Conlon

Rusty Duvall

Siiri Dougherty and Wanda Gierhart

Jack and Doris Jacobs

Stephen and Elisa Summers

Inside the hall, the program was delayed a bit. Once the presentation started, a groups of chairs on the floor were empty, due to the back-up at the registration tables. As guests did arrive late, they found themselves walking the darkened aisle searching for their row ID.

Lillie Young and Clarice Tinsley

The program provided the presentation of the Memorial Hero Award presented by Robyn and Don Conlon honoring the late Charles Young, who died in September 2015 after battling multiple myeloma. As his wife of 45 years, Lillie Young, left the stage after accepting the award, she told emcee KDFW anchor Clarice Tinsley that the Youngs’ daughter, Erin Young Garrett, was due to deliver any minute. Married to Judd Garrett last March, the baby will be the first for the newlyweds.

The next presentation was the Lynda Adleta Heart of Gold Award presented by Lillie Young and Family to Robyn and Don Conlon. The Conlons’ years of involvement in supporting The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society resulted from the death of Robyn’s dear friend Linda Somerville, who died from Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia. It was a touching moment especially when insiders knew that the Conlons’ son, Keith Conlon, married Linda’s daughter Megan Somerville in 2015 and the twosome had a granddaughter this past December.

The final presentation was the showstopper, with last year’s Spirit of Tom Landry Awardee Luke Lange escorting this year’s recipient, Bennett William, to the stage following a video featuring Bennett’s family. Both boys looked so healthy, it was hard to imagine they had ever gone through the daunting journey of treatments and tests. However, the youngsters’ success stories were the result of years of funding research and family support.

Bennett Williams, Kirsa Williams and Luke Lange

Erin Ragsdale

A slight hiccup in the program followed Luncheon Chair Heather Randall’s and LLSNT Board Chair Erin Ragsdale’s personal reasons for supporting the fundraiser. Their stories were indeed sincere and touching on how the blood disease had hit them and their families. As they stepped aside and looked at the mega-screen on stage for the video, the lights dimmed and … nothing happened. After 10 seconds, giggles were heard in the back of the room. A few awkward seconds later, a video was shown. It would have been just as well if the ladies’ moving talks had stood alone.

Then Clarice returned to the podium to say that after the fashion show, guests could support the “Fund the Fight” by

  • buying a raffle ticket
  • making a donation
  • purchasing a centerpiece for $100 that would also get the buyer a better valet service.

Bruno fashion

Carolina Herrera fashion

Escada fashion

Etro fashion

Market fashion

St. John fashion

The fashions provided by Highland Park Village merchants ran the course from lighter-than-air sundresses to Herrera wedding gowns. It was interesting to note that, while great-granny Gertie might have approved the return of the below-the-knew hems, they aren’t exactly flattering to the most shapely leg.

Market fashions

Following the show, guests lunched in between being hit by raffle solicitors. One table got solicited four times. Finally, a guest told the raffle salesperson, “Everyone at this table has already bought a ticket.” The fella apologized. Too bad organizers didn’t provide stickers to designate raffle purchasers from potential buyers.

For more photos from the luncheon and fashion show, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2017 St. Valentine’s Day Luncheon And Fashion Show

On Tuesday, February 14, the Meyerson was filled with guests in reds and pink for the St. Valentine’s Day Luncheon and Fashion Show on Tuesday, February 14, for the Leukemia And Lymphoma Society of North Texas.

Lisa Singleton, Heather Randall and Jana Paul

Even on stage for the fashion presentation of Highland Park Village merchants, the color of red seemed to pop up.

St. John fashion

Carolina Herrera fashion

Etro fashion

While the posts is being prepared, check out the photos on two pages of the MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

JUST IN: Life Lesson’s Nancy Kerrigan And A Chance To Soar’s Simone Biles Announced As 2017 “Dancing With The Stars” Cast Members

Bright and early this morning the 2017 celebrities were announced for the 2017 “Dancing With The Stars” lineup. A couple of them will be in town for fundraising lunches before competing for the mirrored ball.

Simone Biles*

Nancy Kerrigan**

And the announcement couldn’t be better timed for two area nonprofits. While award-winning gymnast Simone Biles‘ appearance at the Jonathan’s Place‘s  “A Chance To Soar” won’t take place until Tuesday, April 25, ice skating sweetheart Nancy Kerrigan will be at Belo Mansion Friday for the “Life Lessons Luncheon” benefiting The Elisa Project.

While there’s no telling who will be in the finals, good money is on Nancy and Simone. They’re both Olympian medalists, graceful, agile and pretty darn cute.

In the meantime, get your ticket for Friday’s lunch. Nancy’s life both on the rink and behind the scenes has been filled with highs and lows. 

* Photo provided by Jonathan's Place 
** Photo provided by The Elisa Project

Junior League Of Dallas To Receive Dallas CASA’s 2017 Judge Barefoot Sanders Champion of Children Award In November

The Junior Leaguers of Dallas are going to be busy raising money this coming week. First, there is the 55th Annual black-tie ball — Encore — on Saturday, March 4, at the Hilton Anatole. Then next Wednesday, March 8, they’re putting on the 88th Linz Award Luncheon honoring sister JLD-er Lyda Hill at the Omni Dallas.

Dallas CASA Champion of Children Award Dinner*

After all this work, they’re going to be the recipients of Dallas CASA’s “Judge Barefoot Sanders Champion of Children Award” at The Fairmont Hotel on Thursday, November 16, at CASA’s annual Champion of Children Award Dinner.

Since 1996, JLD and Dallas CASA have worked together “to serve more children in protective care, [a figure that] has grown year over year. In 2016, the JLD provided 38 volunteers who became sworn advocates for children. In addition, annual grants from the JLD directed toward recruiting allowed Dallas CASA to recruit many additional community members to serve as advocates, helping propel the agency toward its goal of serving every child in protective care.”

Junior Leaguers of Dallas*

Christie Carter (File photo)

According to JLD President Bonner Allen, “The Junior League of Dallas is both honored and humbled to be recognized by Dallas CASA. The work Dallas CASA volunteers do for the most vulnerable children in our community is exactly what the mission of the Junior Leagues is about — it is improving the community through effective action and leadership of trained volunteers.”

Appropriately the honorary chair for the event will Christie Carter, who in addition to being a longtime Dallas CASA supporter, is also past president of the JLD, served on various boards and chaired this past year’s Crystal Charity Ball. It should be noted that she also co-chaired the “recently concluded $37M Abused Children Can’t Wait — The Campaign for Dallas CASA, which saw Dallas CASA more than double it program capacity, dramatically grow the number of volunteer advocates and move into a much larger building to accommodate the rapid growth.”

Priscilla and Corey Anthony*

John and Laura Losinger*

Champion of Children co-chairs will be Priscilla and Corey Anthony and Laura and John Losinger.

* Graphic and photos provided by Dallas CASA

Dallas Museum Of Art Became A 21st Century “Shaken, Style, Stirred” Speakeasy For 1,200 Femme Fatale Flappers And Dapper Dandies

The Dallas Museum of Art‘s current exhibition “Shaken, Styled, Stirred: The Art Of The Cocktail” provided the inspiration for more than a thousand guests to turn back the clocks on Saturday, February 4, to the Prohibition era. That’s when the right password provided access to the hottest speakeasy in town with music, dancing and naughty adult libations. Luckily, Prohibition is long gone, but the Hamon Atrium was as hot as a jazz baby. Here’s a report from the field:

The Dallas Museum of Art was transformed into a Prohibition-style speakeasy on Saturday, February 4, in celebration of the exhibition “Shaken, Styled, Stirred: The Art of the Cocktail,” an exhibition of cocktail ware from the late 19th century through present day.

Speakeasy in the Hamon Atrium*

Over 1,200 guys and dolls like Gwen and Eddie Lee, Melanie Cooke, Allie and Michael Gillam, Stephanie Gregory, Danielle Wessman, Angela and Kevin Jackson, Maria and Richard Von Horvath, Monica Berry, Sarah Stockton, Holly Bosler, Molly Meyer, Gary Beach, Cassandra Davis, Caitlin and Akers Moore, Jessica and Harl Asaff, Alia Reiners, Linda Snorina, Jack Tosi and Maggie Luttrell arrived in their best roaring-20’s attire and entered through the Museum’s Hamon Atrium. The 18-piece band, the Singapore Slingers, provided the big-band sound as guests enjoyed gaming tables, “French 75” specialty cocktails with ROXOR gin, and a buffet featuring sliders, a fries station with choice of sweet potato fries, regular fries or tater tots served in cones with custom toppings, mini carrot cake and cheesecake bites, and strawberry mousse cups.

Akers and Caitlin Moore and Jessica and Harl Asaff*

Molly Meyer*

Alia Reniers and Linda Snorina*

Gwen and Eddie Lee and Melanie Cooke*

Attendees posed in the nearby photo booth or in in front of the mint-condition period cars from the Dallas Model A Ford Club, posting their mugs on social media with the dedicated #dmaspeakeasy. For those hitting the dance floor, The Rhythm Room instructors provided the steps to 20’s favorites, including the Fox Trot and Charleston.

For VIP’s, the Focus One Gallery provided the perfect Hideaway with DJ Souljah spinning jazz-age hits with a twist, a ROXOR Gin Garden, private gaming tables and dedicated dance instructors. The savory and sweet cocktail buffet featured house-cured Gravlax crostini, dill and mustard dressing, caprese stacks with balsamic and basil, beef and horseradish rolls, home smoked chicken and mango tortilla cups, chocolate mousse shooters, lemon curd tartlets and pineapple upside down cake bites.

Jane Aldridge*

Stephanie and Phillip Robinson*

Mid-way through the evening all the Gatsbys and molls gathered at the main stage for the announcement of the winners of the costume contest. Contest judge and celebrity blogger Jane Aldridge of the Sea of Shoes blog awarded “Best Flapper” to Stephanie Surratt, “Best Dapper Dan” to Bennett Allen and “Best Couple” to Stephanie and Phillip Robinson.

Stephanie Surratt*

Bennett and Katie Allen*

As the fun continued, attendees enjoyed the exhibition that inspired the celebration, “Shaken, Stirred, Styled: The Art of the Cocktail.” Featuring nearly sixty works, predominantly from the DMA’s extensive design holdings, the exhibition explores the culture of cocktails and the wares in which they are prepared and served. As well it follows the development of the modern cocktail from the late 19th century to the present day, tracing the stylistic reflections of the rituals of the cocktail’s preparation, presentation, and consumption. “Shaken, Stirred, Styled” features a range of objects, many of which are on view for the first time, including 19th-century punch bowls, Prohibition-era cocktail shakers, and Art Deco and modern barware.

Before the night came to an end, partygoers gathered once more for the announcement of the winners of five fabulous raffle prizes:

  • The Joule Hotel and Midnight Rambler Package: a one night get away in deluxe accommodations at The Joule Hotel with complimentary overnight valet parking and a $100-gift card for food and beverage at the premier craft cocktail bar, the Midnight Rambler.
  • Fossil® Q Wander rose gold stainless+Q Marshal in brown leather
  • Victor Tangos and Bella and Chloe: a $150 shopping spree at Bella & Chloe/Brethren Boutique and a $100 gift certificate to Victor Tangos, home to Rising Star Chef of the Year, Chef Kirstyn Brewer!
  • Ultra-Luxe ROXOR Gin Experience: six tickets to a private curator tour through the Shaken, Stirred, Styled  Then, enjoy an exclusive ROXOR cocktail-making class, perched 19 floors above Klyde Warren Park and the DMA, in a private residence.
  • Arts & Letters Live VIP Package for February 25th event featuring with Jessi Klein, the Emmy and Peabody award-winning head writer and executive producer of Comedy Central’s critically acclaimed series “Inside Amy Schumer”
  • Arts & Letters Live VIP package #2 for May 3rd event, Happy Hour! A talk, cocktail sampling, and performance inspired by “Shaken, Stirred, Styled: The Art of the Cocktail.”
* Photo credit: Tamytha Cameron Smith

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

Dallas County Medical Society Alliance And The Aldredge House To Hold Double Centennial Celebrations With Historic Marker And Luncheon

Margaret McDermott (File photo)

What were you doing 100 years ago? Probably the only one who could answer that is Margaret McDermott, who just celebrated her 105th birthday on February 18. It was when she was a five-year old living in Dallas that two totally different undertakings launched.

First, a stately mansion joined the other grand residences along Swiss Avenue. Taking two years to build by Dallasite Willie (Newberry) and her West Texas rancher husband William J. Lewis, the English Georgian/French Renaissance residence was designed by architects Hal Thomson and Marion Fooshee. Four years later the home was purchased by Rena (Munger) and her husband/banker George N. Aldredge, resulting in the residence being called “The Aldredge House.”

The Aldredge House*

Remember, at this time the population of Dallas was less than 158,000. The Park Cities was just a development in progress and considered by many to be a suburb of Dallas. The Highland Park Village wouldn’t open for 14 more years. Since there was no such thing as air conditioning, these showplaces that fronted Swiss had large windows that would allow the air to flow and fireplaces to warm the rooms with their tall ceilings. Word has it that Swiss Avenue was one of the first to be paved.

The Aldredge House*

Ironically, the same year that the Lewises moved into their home, the Woman’s Auxiliary to the Dallas County Medical Society was established. What most folks don’t know is that it “was the very first permanent woman’s county medical auxiliary in the nation, organized by a group of Dallas doctor’s wives. Mrs. John McReynolds was elected president and the group voted to support Red Cross work.”

Other auxiliaries sprung up throughout the country using the Dallas organization as the model. Over the years, the Dallas auxiliary grew both in membership and mission of supporting the Dallas County medical community. Eventually the name was changed to Dallas County Medical Society Alliance Foundation (DCMSAF).

Rena Munger Aldredge*

Lindalyn Adams (File photo)

It was in the early 1970s that Rena and the Foundation found each other. The 80ish widow of George Aldredge had decided to give her mansion to a nonprofit to “preserve her home and to maintain it as a welcoming part of the Dallas community.” It just so happened that DCMSAF President/historical preservationist Lindalyn Adams was seeking a permanent home for the Auxiliary at the same time. The match was made!

The grand lady on Swiss entered a new phase of life. In addition to serving as home base for the Foundation, it was also the Kappa Alpha Theta show house and provided interior scenes for the TV show “Dallas,” as well as serving as a meeting place for the Auxiliary. In 1982, the House was recognized as a Record Texas Historic Landmark.

But over the years, the old gal needed updating and upkeep and that required funding. So after various efforts, the Auxiliary realized that they had a perfect opportunity to fund-raise coming up — the Double Centennial Celebrations of the Auxiliary and the House!

Such a momentous celebration deserved more than just one event to raise monies and awareness.

According to Foundation President Barenda Hino, “The DCMSA Foundation is seeking community support, so they can continue to preserve the rich heritage of this magnificent house.”

To kick the double centennial activities off, the official Texas Historical Marker will be dedicated at Aldredge House on Wednesday, April 5, with city, county and Medical Society leaders taking part.

The second event will be a luncheon taking place on Tuesday, May 16, at the Dallas County Club.

Barenda has arranged for Sharon and Mike McCullough to serve as co-chairs of the luncheon’s Advisory Host Committee “because of their belief in historic preservation, its importance in an ever-changing society and their great respect for the outstanding preservation of the Aldredge House by the Medical Alliance.”

Mike and Sharon McCullough (File photo)

Ruth Altshuler (File photo)

Lindalyn, who arranged for the Foundation’s acquisition of Aldredge House, and noted author/White House historian Dr. William Seale will be co-chairing the luncheon. Serving as honor co-chairs will be Ruth Altshuler and Margaret McDermott.

Tickets to the luncheon are available by calling 214.521.4108. If you can’t make it to the fundraiser, you can still donate to The Aldredge House Preservation Fund.  

* Photo courtesy of Dallas County Medical Society Auxiliary Foundation

Go Red For Women Luncheon Speaker Alison Levine Inspired Guests To Conquer All Challenges Including Heart Disease By Being Relentless

As loads of folks especially ladies attended the health screenings, cooking demonstration and CPR demonstration starting at 10 a.m. at Omni Dallas for Go Red for Women on Friday, February 4, the car cha-cha at the front door grew to bumper-to-bumper around 11:30 for those attending just the luncheon.

Amy Simmons Crafton, Melissa Cameron and Anne Stodghill

In the meantime, the invitation-only VIP reception scheduled for 10:30 was aglow in red thanks to guests in their American Heart Association best like Amy Simmons Crafton and Anne Stodghill, who was in a full-length red coat complete with glitter.

Miller Gill, Rebecca Gill, Mary Parker, Suzanne Humphreys and Joe Parker

Nancy Gopez and Alison Levine

Alas, speaker-of-honor Alison Levine was late in arriving, but once there she was non-stop howdy-doing. Waiting their turn with Alison, Sandi Haddock Community Impact Awardee Mary Parker and her family (son Miller Gill, daughter Rebecca Gill, mother Suzanne Humphreys and husband Joe Parker) posed for a quick cellphoto taken by Open Your Heart Chair and Survivor Nancy Gopez.

By noon the reception area in front of the Dallas Ballroom looked like a poppy field thanks to guests like Sandi Haddock, Kay Hammond, Kit Sawers, Roz Colombo, Gina Betts, Debbie Oates, Christie Carter, Mary Martha Pickens, Lisa Cooley, Ciara Cooley, Tracy Lange, Becky Bowen, Vicki Howland, Ramona Jones and fellas like Ron Haddock and Stan Levenson.

Kit Sawers, Gina Betts and Roz Colombo

Mary Martha Pickens, Ciara Cooley and Lisa Cooley

Thank heaven the chimes rang, the ballroom doors opened and the crowd filled the place.

Stan Levenson

Pat Malambri

Luncheon Chair Michelle Vopni introduced Amy Simmons Crafton for the invocation and Macy’s Dallas Fort Worth District VP Pat Malambri, who told of the longtime association of the retailer with the battle against heart disease in women. He also added that he hoped that many of the guests’ red outfits had come from Macy’s.

Following a brief rest for lunch, American Heart Association Dallas/Fort Worth Executive Director Melissa Cameron presented the Sandi Haddock Community Impact Award to Mary Parker, who graciously accepted the award and scored points with Pat saying, “My dress came from Macy’s.”

Then Melissa presented Open Your Heart Chair/Survivor Nancy Gopez, who asked her pal Mary to return to the podium to share the occasion. It was Mary’s advocacy about heart disease that alerted Nancy to the sign of her heart attack last year.

Mary told the audience that Amy and her AmazingGrace.Life had provided a $25,000 match for any $1,000 contributors.

Beck Weathers

As the ladies left the stage, local mountain climber Dr. Beck Weathers, who barely survived the 1996 Mt. Everest disaster, introduced Alison, who gave a polished talk. Somehow, she intertwined her twice quest to conquer Mt. Everest with every day challenges by taking one step at a time and the importance of being relentless. The first attempt in 2002 had been daunting with weeks of climbing back and forth between camps on the mountain to acclimate her body for the climb to the 29,002-foot peak. Toward the final phase, one has to take five to ten breaths for each step. To make it through this part of the climb, she focused on a nearby rock. Once there, she would focus on another rock. The message was to take one step at a time in order to achieve the final goal.

In the end, she and her team had come within 200 feet of the summit only to have to turn back because they were running low on oxygen and supplies.

Alison Levine

As a result of the miss, she learned that failure wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. After all, she and her team survived. If they had made it to summit, they might not have survived the journey down. Still, she had no plans of attempting another run for the summit.

It was her good friend/collegiate All-American soccer player Meg Berté Owen who urged her to try again. It was Meg’s resilience that turned Alison’s decision. It seems that despite her lungs being damaged due to having Hodgkin’s disease, Meg had become an avid cyclist and raised funds to fight cancer. Her death in 2009 as a result of the flu provided the impetus for Alison to take on Everest again. This time she engraved Meg’s name on her ice-ax and took on the challenge one more time. This time as she neared the summit, a storm approached. But Alison just knew she could make it to the top and return safely. Yes, she made it to the top of the world long enough to hold up a T-shirt reading “Team Meg.”

It was a talk that lasted just long enough and yet was both inspirational and refreshing.

Then it was a scamper to the cars, but it ran right on time with a finish time of 1:10.

MySweetCharity Photo Alert: 2017 Go Red For Women Luncheon

Nancy Gopez and Alison Levine

For tackling the climb to conquering heart disease, the 2017 Go Red For Women gals donned the color of the month — red — and filled the Omni Dallas Hotel on Friday, February 3, to hear best-selling author/sportswoman/explorer Alison Levine tell of her challenges in reaching the summit of Mt. Everest.

As big a draw as Alison was, there was a large number on hand to support Sandi Haddock Impact Awardee Mary Parker and Open Your Heart Chair Nancy Gopez.

Miller Gill, Rebecca Gill, Mary Parker, Suzanne Humphreys and Joe Parker

While the post is being prepped, the ladies in red and friends supporting the American Heart Association Dallas Division can be found at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

American Heart Association Dallas/Fort Worth Area’s Go Red For Women Patron Party Had A Bigger-Than-Planned Turnout

Tim Wallace and Mary Parker

The valets had been warned to expect 50 to 70 for the Go Red for Women patron party at Lisa and Clay Cooley’s estate on Thursday, February 2. Instead it was more like 150. Itty-bitty Nancy Gopez showed up a half hour into the event, but if it hadn’t been for her buddy Mary Parker, she wouldn’t have been there or anywhere at all.

It was blonde beauty/heart survivor Mary’s advocating to friend and stranger alike about the warning signs of heart disease that had sent Nancy to the ER, when she was visiting her folks last fall. That resulted in not only Nancy’s recovery from a true life-threatening condition, but it also landed her on the American Heart Association Dallas/Fort Worth Area’s Go Red For Women’s slate as Open Your Heart chair with her buddy Mary, and receiving the Sandi Haddock Impact Award at the Go Red for Women Luncheon at the Omni Dallas on Friday, February 3.

Kay Hammond

Jeff Canose

Ron and Sandi Haddock

Despite the chill of the night, the patrons found the Cooley mansion just to their liking with Sandi and Ron Haddock greeting folks like Texas Health Resources COO Dr. Jeff CanoseKay Hammond, Trinity Industries CEO Tim Wallace, Anne Davidson and Mark Porter at the entry hall. Ron looked pretty darn spiffy in his black leather jacket that they picked up in Florence.

Across the room, Crystal Charity Ball members Cara French and Lisa Cooley were recovering from a marathon day of CCB beneficiary selection. The day had started around 8 a.m. and had just finished up at 5:20 p.m.

Cara French and Lisa Cooley

Michelle Vopni and Melissa Cameron

But it was an early night for the Go Red crowd. Plans called for an early morning start thanks to American Heart Association Dallas/Fort Worth Area Executive Director Melissa Cameron‘s and Go Red for Women Luncheon Chair/Ernst and Young Dallas Managing Partner Michelle Vopni‘s plans for a full day of heart-healthy activities.

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

2017 Cattle Baron’s Ball Reveal Party Turned Out To Be A Gangbuster For Theme And Entertainment Announcements

On the afternoon of Wednesday, February 1, 2017 Cattle Baron’s Ball Chair Anne Stodghill sent out an email blast to the 100 committee members. It dealt with the attendance for the evening’s attendance for the 2017 CBB Reveal at the Stodghill home. The message was simple — Take Uber. The event that was originally guest-imated for 150 had exploded to 400.

Evidently, the sisterhood got the message. Still, the Jack Boles troops had luxury vehicles parked a block away within 20 minutes of the party’s opening.

Steve Stodghill and Callan Harrison

Upon arrival it was pretty darn obvious that the legend of the Stodg-villa had gotten around. Those-in-the-know directed newbies when asked, “Where’s the Bat Cave?” Steve Stodghill provided firsthand tours through the library to the cave where the masked man held up.

In the crowd were Katy Bock, Nikki and Crayton Webb, Cindy Stager, Joanna Clarke, Callan Harrison, Vodi Cook, Michael Royal, Olivia and Jeff Kearney, Phil Romano, Deborah Westergaard, Holly and Stubbs Davis, Amy Green, Lisa Haddow Shirley, Paige Westhoff, Larry Hackett, Bela Pjetrovic with fiancée Chase Cooley and future-mom-in-law Lisa Cooley. Made sense, since the Cooleys were underwriting the reveal event.

Jeff and Olivia Kearney

Nikki and Crayton Webb

Chase Cooley, Bela Pjetrovic, Anne Stodghill, Sunie Solomon and Lisa Cooley

Junior League of Dallas Ball Chair Isabell Novakov in suede and leather blouse reported that she had her sites sets on breaking a record for the JLD fundraiser… Brooke Hortenstine reported that her mother Peggy Davis was on the mend and headed home… Steve Solomon quickly cleaned up his red wine that had spilled in the entry hall… Nancy Gopez was receiving congrats on not just surviving last year’s heart attack, but for taking up the banner in the war against heart disease.

2017 Cattle Baron’s Ball Reveal guests

Just past 7:30, Sunie and Anne took their places on the Stodghill winding staircase with the entry hall jammed with guests. With mic in hand, Anne told of the personal commitment to turn all cancer patients into cancer survivors.

Sunie Solomon and Anne Stodghill

As the two revealed the theme — Shooting for the Stars — and the mainstage performers — Brooks & Dunn — for the 44th American Cancer Society fundraiser on Saturday, October 21, at Gilley’s Dallas, the co-chairs found themselves being upstaged. It seems that tousled-haired Stodghill offspring Dash Stodghill in cowboy attire decided the time was right to arrange his stuffed animals on the stairway. At one point, Mama Stodghill smiled saying, “Someone has just lost his computer.” But the threat didn’t deter Dash and his critters. Parents in the crowd laughed. They obviously could relate to a progeny having a mind of his/her own.

And, one gal in the crowd was especially ecstatic to hear about Brooks & Dunn. Seems that Olivia had chaired the ball back in 2006 (with Jana Wood), and the superstar duo was also the entertainment that year at Southfork Ranch. Olivia recalled having seen the boys months before the ball at a concert in Fort Worth. She even caught their drumsticks when they threw them into the crowd and “rubbed them together for luck” week after week, vowing to sign the duo up for “her” Cattle Baron’s Ball. Olivia knew the deal was sealed when Kix (Brooks) confessed, “I love Cattle Baron’s. My mother died of cancer when I was 8.” 

Information about tickets and sponsorship packages is available now!

For additional pictures, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2017 Cattle Baron’s Ball Reveal Party

2017 Cattle Baron’s Ball Co-Chairs Sunie Solomon and Anne Stodghill had a bit of challenge on their hands for the “Reveal Party” on Thursday, February 2. It seemed everyone not only RSVP-ed, they wanted to bring all types of friends along to learn who would be on stage and what the theme would be.

Chase Cooley, Bela Pjetrovic, Anne Stodghill, Sunie Solomon and Lisa Cooley

Despite the shindig being held at the Stodghill villa and the night being picture perfect, it was still gonna be a bit of jam for all the expected cars. How did Sunie and Anne handle the situation?

2017 Cattle Baron’s Ball Reveal Party

Be patient. The answer will be in the write-up that is being prepared. In the meantime, check out the photos at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

The Family Place’s Legacy Campaign Is Within A Whisker Of Achieving Its $16.5M Goal And Needs Help To Close The Books

Paige Flink (File photo)

Was it really back on October 2015 that The Family Place’s Paige Flink announce The Family Place Legacy Campaign — Building For the Future — to build a 40,000-square foot Central Dallas Counseling Center? Her goal for the capital campaign was a whopping $13M. To get things rolling, The Moody Foundation kicked in $5M that resulted in the facility being named “Ann Moody Place.”

While the physical process of groundbreaking and building has been underway, so has the effort because the goal increased to $16.5M with good reason. According to Paige, the center is going to provide such services and offerings to “help us meet the burgeoning demand for our services. Every year there are approximately 15,000 incidents of family violence reported to the Dallas Police Department. The Family Place, which is the largest family violence shelter in our community and one of the largest service providers in Texas, shelters over 1,000 victims a year at our Safe Campus with 108 beds plus cribs. Our existing shelter is regularly full. The new facility will allow us to shelter an additional 45 women and children each night. It will also house our expanded Central Dallas counseling services for victims and their children, and a medical and dental clinic for clients.”

Ann Moody Place rendering*

To accommodate those needs, Paige and her crew recognized from experience some of the reasons people in need don’t seek help. For instance, “studies show that up to 65% of domestic violence victims are unable to escape their abusers because they are concerned about what will happen to their pets when they leave.”

Pets won’t be left behind

To ease those concerns, Ann Moody Place will have five dog kennels, five cat towers, a cuddle room where clients can visit their animals plus a dog run. Thanks to a partnership with the SPCA of Texas, a vet-tech will make sure all animals are vaccinated and care for.

But as the Monday, May 1st move-in date approaches, $220,000 is still needed to complete the fundraising. As a greater incentive to donate ASAP, Highland Capital Management has provided a $1M-challenge. For every dollar raised by Tuesday, April 4, Highland will provide 50 cents.

So, perhaps your budget can’t quite muster up a hundred thousand or two. Not to worry. There are other opportunities like

  • $500 for a 6” by 12” engraved brick
  • $1,000 for a donor to have his/her/their name(s) etched in a beautiful display in the breezeway connecting the two new buildings.
  • $7,500 for each of the two remaining outdoor seating areas in the healing garden

And wouldn’t you know that the dog kennels have all been underwritten, but the poor cats are playing second fiddle and are in need of $10,000-naming rights for each of the two remaining cat towers.

Of course, Paige has other underwriting opportunities. Why she just might arrange to have your name tattooed on her shoulder for the right price.  

* Graphic courtesy of The Family Place

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

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

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

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

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

Caroline Estes and Morgan Madison Wade*

Meredith Allen and Meg Sokolosky*

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

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

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

* Photos provided by Slipper Club of Dallas

Award-Winning Director/Screenwriter Robert Benton To Receive The Dallas Star At The Art of Film In March

Back in 1934, North Texas was just a conglomeration of small towns. Dallas and Fort Worth were considered the big-time cities. But they weren’t really all that big. SMU was just 19 years old. There was no Fair Park. But there was a couple who had become folk heroes after running roughshod over the law. Their names were Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow.

Less than four months after Bonnie and Clyde’s deaths in May of that year, a baby boy was born in Waxahachie to Dorothy and Ellery Benton. They named him Robert Douglas Benton. As a boy, he had a rough time in school due to his dyslexia.

Robert Benton*

According to Robert, “I was dyslexic before anybody knew what dyslexia was. I was called ‘slow.’” It’s an awful feeling to think of yourself as ‘slow’—it’s horrible.”  

Thanks to hard work, Robert attended both the University of Texas, where he was a classmate of future columnist Liz Smith, and Columbia University and eventually became the art director at Esquire magazine in the early 1960s.

It was around this time that Robert recalled stories that his father had told him about Bonnie and Clyde. So he and his writing partner David Newman put their heads together and wrote the script for “Bonnie and Clyde” that made stars of Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, Gene Hackman and Estelle Parsons. The movie was also a game-changing film for the industry.

Not only did the film set Benton in a different direction of screenplay writing, he also was given the opportunity to direct films like “Bad Company” in 1972 and “The Late Show” in 1977. But in 1979 he hit the jackpot with the release of “Kramer vs. Kramer,” which swept the Oscars for the film, actors Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep and Benton’s direction and original screenplay.

Once again the film shook things up about the role of parenting. As Robert put it, “I’d like to know what law is that says that a woman is a better parent, simply by virtue of her sex.”

Over the years, Robert went on to direct Justin Henry, Jane Alexander, Sally Field, John Malkovich, Lindsay Crouse and Paul Newman in Oscar-nominated performances.

His success extended beyond filmmaking. He dated feminist Gloria Steinem in the 1960s, was a friend of many greats including the late Paul Newman and had Richard Russo dedicate his Pulitzer Prize-winning Empire Falls to him.

But just as Robert was turning 52, he returned to his roots in Waxahachie for the award-winning “Places In The Heart” that was set in 1935.

On Wednesday, March 29, Robert will once again return to North Texas for The Art of Film to receive the Dallas Star Award from the Dallas Film Society at sixfivehundred. Unlike years past, when The Art of Film has taken place in the fall, this year’s event will be held on Wednesday, March 29, leading up to the 2017 Dallas International Film Festival and introducing the festival’s focus on the films of 1967, like “Bonnie and Clyde.”

James Faust (File Photo)

According to DFS Artistic Director James Faust, “Robert Benton is both an award-winning director and writer as well as a Texas treasure, who has been responsible for some of the most beloved film classics of the past five decades both through his director’s vision and his words placed on the page. The fact that he co-wrote ‘Bonnie and Clyde,’ which was part of the hallowed film class of 1967, makes this a wonderful time to honor him with our Dallas Star Award.”

Regina Montoya and Paul Coggins (File photo)

Craig and Kathryn Hall (File photo)

Event co-chairs will be Regina Montoya and Paul Coggins with Kathryn and Craig Hall serving as honorary co-chairs. Host committee members include Courtney and Benton Bagot, Matt Bivona, Janis Burklund, Melina McKinnon and Michael Cain, Kelly and Jason Cleveland, Judy and Sam Coats, Hayley and Gary Cogill, Erin and Trey Cox, Pam and Mark Denesuk, Sheri Deterling and Geoff Hawkes, Joy and Billie Ellis, Jenn and James Faust, Rebecca Flores, Clare Freeman, Suzanne and Michael Grishman, Mary and Bradley Hatcher, Eric Hirschhorn, Alison and Harry Hunsicker, Lynn Lewis, Mary Blake and Chuck Meadows, Jan Miller and Jeff Rich, Sarah and Lee Papert, Anne and Steve Stodghill, Deborah and Don Stokes, Erin and Larry Waks and Ken and Maureen Womack.

Tickets and sponsorships for The Art of Film are available at the Dallas Film Society’s website and by calling 214.720.0555.

* Photo provided by Dallas Film Society