MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: Center For BrainHealth’s Legacy Award Dinner

If anyone mistakes the Center for BrainHealth types as strictly cerebral types, who sit around and use four syllable words, they definitely need to rethink that train of thought.

Need proof? Well, Brook Hollow was filled to the max with North Texas’ extreme boldfacers for the Legacy Award Dinner on Tuesday, November 14.

Debbie Francis, Laura Bush, Margaret McDermott, Deedie Rose and Caren Prothro

And what else would one expect when the co-chairs were Caren Prothro and Deedie Rose and the  honoree was that wheeling wonder Margaret McDermott? The lady-in-white, who is headed for her second century of philanthropy and wisdom, was the belle of the ball and joined other Legacy Awardees like Debbie Francis, James Huffines, Dee Wyly and Jane and Bud Smith plus a former first lady.

Patty and James Huffines

Dee Wyly

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

Jennifer and Keith Cerny and Nikki and Crayton Webb

BTW, this was The Dallas Opera GM/CEO Keith Cerny’s social swan song and he didn’t let on that a move to Calgary was in his future. Shoot!

How About A Sweet Gift That Won’t Break The Bank

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the rear view mirror, some folks are still stumped for the perfect gift.

Bonton Farms just may have the answer.

What is Bonton? It’s a community in southeast Dallas that got underway in the early 1900s. Instead of flourishing as North Texas did over the decades, it fell into a whirlpool of poverty and crime. Since 63% of its resident lacked personal transportation, they had to rely on public transit resulting in a three-hour round-trip for grocery shopping. Bonton literally became the perfect example of an “food desert.”

Luckily, in recent years people have come together to change the situation. One of the most impressive steps was the creation of 40-acre Bonton Farms with vegetables, poultry and goats providing fresh food for locals and for sale. In addition to the Bonton residents, a Great Pyrenees named Moses oversaw the operations.

Bonton Farms’ goat*

Bonton honey (Not actual bottle)

And one of the products that might meet the idea of perfect gifting was Bonton honey. It’s locally produced thanks to the Bon Ton residential bees; it’s benefiting the Bonton efforts and it’s cheap ($8 for a bottle).

What an ideal stocking stuffer or hostess gift! Or, what about dressing it up with a toast holder and a fresh loaf of Empire Bakery bread? And why not get some of the honey for yourself? It’s perfect to sweeten up hot tea.

And if you’re holiday gift list is done, consider Bonton honey for future gifts. It’s a sweet deal.

* Photo credit: Jason Janik

JUST IN: The Dallas Opera’s GM/CEO Keith Cerny Resigns To Head Up Calgary Opera

Keith and Jennifer Cerny (File photo)

The Dallas Opera‘s GM/CEO Keith Cerny has just turned in his resignation to take over the position of general director/CEO of Calgary Opera in January.

During his seven-and-a-half years with the Dallas company, Keith presided over five consecutive balanced operating budgets and a host of artistic projects, expansions, and technical innovations.  These include a highly-successful simulcast program; regional, U.S. and world premieres; and innovative community outreach programs.  

According to Dallas Opera Board Chair Holly Mayer, “Keith has every reason to be proud of his legacy. We wish him every success with his new responsibilities as we turn our efforts to maintaining this company’s impressive forward momentum and strengthening the collaborations with other arts organizations that have marked Keith’s tenure here in Dallas.”

Dallas’ loss is Calgary’s gain.

MySweetWishList: 2018 Genesis Young Leaders Masquerade Ball

According to 2018 Genesis Young Leaders Masquerade Ball Co-Chairs Kirstin and Holden Godat and Sarah and Hayden Godat,

Hayden and Sarah Godat and Kirstin and Holden Godat*

“This holiday season, our wish is for women and men across Dallas to help end domestic violence by purchasing tickets to attend the 2018 black-tie Genesis Young Leaders Masquerade Ball. Our goal is to raise $200,000 for Genesis Women’s Shelter and Support, an organization that provides safety, shelter and support to women and children fleeing abuse.

“The fifth annual Genesis Young Leaders Masquerade Ball will be held at 8 p.m. on Saturday, February 17, at the hit event venue Sixty Five Hundred. Hundreds of young professionals will come together to raise funds and awareness for Genesis Women’s Shelter while treating themselves to a formal night out. 

Genesis Women’s Shelter and Support*

“The evening promises to be one to remember, with live entertainment, casino games and a silent auction you won’t want to miss. Whether you make plans for a date night or a night out with friends, make sure to mark February 17 on your calendar. Last year’s Masquerade was a sold-out event, so get your tickets quickly. Tickets and more information can be found here.

Have a magical holiday season, and we can’t wait to see you on February 17!

“Questions? Contact Amy Norton at 214.389.7705 or [email protected].”

-By Kirstin and Holden Godat and Sarah and Hayden Godat, 2018 Genesis Young Leaders Masquerade Ball co-chairs

* Graphic and photo provided by Genesis Women’s Shelter and Support

Art Ball 2018 Is Celebrated At Forty Five Ten

The gleaming Forty Five Ten store on Dallas’ Main Street was the setting on Monday, November 13, for a much-anticipated “celebration” of Art Ball 2018.

Geoff Green and Pat and Charles McEvoy*

Before details about the ball were revealed on the store’s fourth floor, more than 100 guests including Laura and Walter Elcock, Art Ball 2017 Co-Chair Ann Hobson, Brian Bolke and Faisal Halum and Pat and Charles McEvoy mingled throughout the retail palace, catching up with friends and checking out the luxurious offerings. [Editor’s note: Photo provided by Art Ball PR ID-ed Brian Bolke as “Brian Eloke.” Evidently, another media outlet didn’t catch the “oops!”].

Lucy Wrubel, Brian Bolke and Faisel Halum and Lisa Rocchio*

The guests had good reason to check out the offerings: 10 percent of the evening’s purchases were to be donated to the Art Ball beneficiary, the Dallas Museum of Art. The museum relies on money raised through the Art Ball to fulfill its mission.

As partygoers chatted and shopped and munched on delicious lobster rolls to the peppy tunes of spin-meister Lucy Wrubel, the DMA’s Eugene McDermott Director Agustin Arteaga finally took the mic and addressed the expectant crowd.

After noting that former Art Ball chairs Melissa Fetter and Catherine Rose were in the house, Agustin said, “We have a dynasty of great chairs, and now we have one more: Rebecca Enloe Fletcher!

“I want to thank her for taking this huge job. I promise her that I will be right there next to her, supporting her,” Agustin went on, adding, “I know that doesn’t mean anything,” to a burst of laughter from the crowd. 

Augustin Areteaga, Rebecca Enloe Fletcher and Carlos Gonzalez-Jaime*

After thanking the event’s premier hospitality sponsor, Forty Five Ten owner the Headington Cos., Arteaga gave way to Rebecca, who will chair the museum’s 53rd annual gala on Saturday, April 21, at the DMA.

Rebecca said that, with Agustin on board, the DMA is “entering a new chapter,” inspiring her theme for the upcoming ball: “Horizon: Now. New. Next.” Explained Rebecca: “There will be a lot of color, a contemporary theme, and a lot of surprises.”

The event will include a seated dinner, a luxury live auction chaired by Faisal and Brian, and a festive after-party.

With that, Rebecca thanked a number of the ball sponsors, including Fendi, Peggy and Carl Sewell, J.P. Morgan, Jennifer and John Eagle, Clay Cooley Auto Group, Neiman Marcus, Bank of America, and Sidley Austin LLC.

Then everyone went back to visiting and shopping for the worthy cause.

* Photo credit: Tamytha Cameron

Stella Wrubel, Quinn Graves And Their MistleCrew Want You To Kiss-Off Hunger With Jingle Bell Mistletoe Starting Friday

The countdown is underway for Christmas. It’s ten days filled with parties, gift wrapping, cooking and kissing. Whoa! What was the last one? Yup. Kissing. There are all types of smooching. There’s the air kiss, the pucker planting, the kiss blowing, the hand kissing, the cheek pecking and the blissful buss to name a few.

Quinn and Stella’s Jingle Bell Mistletoe*

But this indoor/outdoor activity can be enhanced with a little inspiring decoration like mistletoe. While the greenery may be considered a parasitic plant to a tree, it is the seasonal good luck charm for a lucky locking of the lips.

And if you don’t want to haul out the extension ladder and perhaps break a bone or two by cutting some greenery out of the trees, 12-year-olds Stella Wrubel, Quinn Graves, Isabella Dickason, Trevor Godkin and their MistleCrew have it all under control.

Starting Friday, their Jingle Bell Mistletoe will be back in operation for a fifth year selling mistletoe with the hope of raising $60,000 for the North Texas Food Bank to feed 180,000 children in North Texas. Just last year, Stella and Quinn were awarded the North Texas Food Bank’s Golden Fork for their seasonal project.

Stuart Reeves, Quinn Graves, Lucy and Steve Wrubel, Stella Wrubel, Jennie Reeves and Katherine Reeves (File photo)

Here is the schedule for the pop-up plant stations:

  • Highland Park Village
    • Friday, December 15: 2 to 5 p.m.
    • Saturday, December 16: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
    • Sunday, December 17: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
    • Monday, December 18: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Dallas Farmers Market on Saturday, December 16, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

xxoo

* Photo provided by Jingle Bell Mistletoe

MySweetWishList: Frazier Revitalization

According to Frazier Revitalization Community Engagement Advisor Hank Lawson,

Hank Lawson*

“Hopelessness becomes a way of life early for children in the Frazier neighborhood south of Fair Park, where poverty and urban decay are rampant. But, when you look into the eyes of the children here, when you peer deep into them, you can see and feel them saying, ‘Show me, show me the way…. Help us to believe in ourselves, to have hope.’

“That’s why the nonprofit Frazier Revitalization started the Frazier Kids afterschool program. This program is successfully getting elementary-aged children off the streets and into positive experiences, supporting their academic and social growth. It is a part of our broader strategy to bring positive growth and change to the Frazier neighborhoods.

“A majority of the children in our program attend the Paul L. Dunbar Learning Center, where only 1 out of 5 children in grades three and above meet grade-level for reading and mathematics. Our program provides these high-need students educational enrichment and targeted tutoring programs.

“Additionally, we holistically address the complex social-emotional needs of these students, many who have faced poverty-related trauma. Our Social-Emotional Learning activities create a positive and proactive environment that enhances peer relationships and helps reduce incidents of teasing, aggression and bullying. 

Frazier Revitalizaiton*

“My wish this holiday season is for critical funding to serve the children of Frazier Kids. We will provide tutoring and literature circles; physical activity and recreation; arts and crafts; enrichment activities; and a snack and dinner to every child four days a week. We are also expanding our technology to bring students iStation, an interactive learning program that engages students in reading and math.

“You can be part of the answer for these children, as they search for hope, look for guidance and seek to believe in themselves and others. Your support of Frazier Kids will give them the opportunity to succeed in school and the skills needed to face poverty-related trauma.

“To learn more about Frazier Revitalization’s programs, visit frazierdallas.org or contact me, Hank Lawson, Community Engagement Advisor, at [email protected].”

-Hank Lawson, Frazier Revitalization Community Engagement Advisor

* Graphic and photo proved by Frazier Revitalization

As 2017 Gala Nears, Crystal Charity Ball Committee Honors Its Top Producers With Charms And Fashions At Forty Five Ten

As the 2017 Crystal Charity Ball committee faced their final days before the black-tie gala at the Anatole on Saturday, December 2, it was time for CCB Chair Pam Perella and her lieutenants (Leslie Diers, Elizabeth Gambrell, Anne Besser, Cheryl Joyner and trapped in traffic Kristina Whitcomb) to literally “wrap up” the year-long effort for Dallas County children’s charities.

Elizabeth Gambrell, Leslie Diers, Pam Perella, Anne Besser and Cheryl Joyner

Thanks to the Tim Headington posse, the reveal of the CCB top producers were feted at Forty Five Ten’s top floor restaurant on Monday, November 13. While some succumbed to downtown’s “don’t turn” traffic traps and construction turmoil, the vast majority arrived right on time.  

Adam Lippes, Lauren Ostek and Travis Christian

Promptly at noon, the ear-shattering crowd of ladies took their places to eyeball Forty Five Ten designer Adam Lippes.

Scott Polk

Just before the presentation of the awards was made, jeweler Scott Polk revealed the charm that would be presented to the awardees.

In keeping with CCB Chair Pam Perella’s theme, “Evening in the Alps,” the charm was a St. Bernard.

And the recipients were:

  • Underwriting — Tucker Enthoven, Fredye Factor, Sarah Losinger, Meredith Bebee, Libby Allred, Suzy Gekiere, Lisa Cooley, Patty Leyendecker, Amy Hegi, Lynn McBee and Claire Emanuelson
  • Foundations — Alicia Wood, Amy Prestidge, Susan Farris, Paige Slates, Linda Secrest, Vinnie Reuben, Kimber Hartmann, Leigh Anne Haugh, Jennifer Dix and Susan McSherry
  • Silent Auction/Special Gifts — Tiffany Divis, Margaret Hancock, Shelle Sills, Katherine Coker, Ola Fojtasek, Janie Condon, Tucker Enthoven, Elsa Norwood, Kim Miller and Susan Farris
  • Children’s Book — Lynn McBee, Margaret Hancock, Suzy Gekiere, Elsa Norwood, Linda Secrest, Libby Hegi, Kristina Whitcomb, Stacey Walker, Melissa Macatee and Libby Allred

For additional photos, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Kyle Taylor To Take Over For Retiring Irving Cares CEO Teddie Story

Kyle Taylor*

Some folks didn’t know much about Irving in 1957. It wouldn’t pop up on their radar until the Cowboys moved from the Cotton Bowl to the “state-of-the-art” Texas Stadium in Irving. But the Irving residents were already addressing “the social welfare of the needy people in their community.” To help those facing financial crisis, the seeds of Irving Cares were sown.

Its success was based on a dedicated staff and a compassionate team of volunteers. In July 2010 a fellow by the name of Kyle Taylor joined up as a volunteer in the Employment Services Program. In less than two years, he was named “Volunteer of the Year.”

His efforts impressed the Irving Cares staff so much that they hired him to be Coordinator of Volunteers, “where each year he has managed a food pantry that serves thousands of Irving resident and supervised hundreds of volunteers.”

Teddie Story*

Once again his work led to his being named Community Engagement Director, “working to build mutually beneficial relationships with a diverse set of community partners.”

Now, word has arrived that Irving Cares CEO Teddie Story is retiring this month after starting off as a volunteer in 1991 and, like Kyle rising through the ranks.

Carrying on in Teddie’s place will be… yup, Kyle.

According to Teddie, “The staff, volunteers, donors and customers of Irving Cares will be well represented by Kyle Taylor as the next Chief Executive Officer. His passion for service to others is evident in his dedication to Irving Cares and its customers.”

Congratulations to both Teddie and Kyle for showing that being a volunteer can lead to even greater things.

* Photo provided by Irving Cares

JUST IN: Golden Globe’s Nominee “This Is Us” Chrissy Metz To Be Keynote Speaker At The Elisa Project’s Life Lessons Lunch On February 28

The Golden Globe nominees were revealed Monday and Chrissy Metz is once again nominated for her role as Kate Pearson on NBC’s “This Is Us.” But her success and fame didn’t come overnight or easily. Chrissy’s life story is one that screenwriters dream of. Sure, she went through the trials and tribulations that many actresses face like being out of work, surviving thanks to friends and family, watching roles won by others and learning to accept rejection.

Chrissy Metz*

But Chrissy dealing with a literally “bigger” issue — her weight. Admitting that she was born chubby, she was just 11 when she went to Weight Watchers. Her weight jumped up and down the scales at one point losing 50 pounds only to “gain back 100 pounds due to depression and ‘eating my feelings.’”

Then the moment came when all the stars were in alignment and she landed the role of Kate, whose storyline was so akin to Chrissy’s. But even more than the role, Chrissy’s popularity has been due to her being so open about her dealing with her weight issues.

For that reason, The Elisa Project organizers are thrilled that they have just gotten word that Chrissy will be at the 13th Annual Life Lessons Luncheon on Wednesday, February 28, at Brook Hollow Golf Club for a conversation with Kimberly Schlegel Whitman.

Kimberly Schlegel Whitman (File photo)

Kim Bannister (File photo)

According to Luncheon Chair Kim Bannister, “As an organization dedicated to the development of healthy children and adolescents by raising awareness of body image and self-esteem issues and the prevention of life-threatening eating disorders, we know Chrissy will truly captivate attendees as she shares her own inspirational stories of courage and self-acceptance. This year’s luncheon is not to be missed!”

Honorary co-chairs will be Sandra Estess and Elizabeth Estess Hughes.

Starting at $2,000, tables are available for purchase now. If space permits, individual tickets will go on sale in early February. Suggestion: Gather up pals and get a table locked down now. Don’t depend on those individual spots coming available.

* Photo provided by The Elisa Project

MySweetWishList: Callier Center For Communication Disorders

According to Callier Center for Communication Disorders Executive Director Dr. Tom Campbell,

Tom Campbell*

“You probably know the song, ‘All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth.’ Please bear with me for a refresher of the chorus:

‘All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth
‘My two front teeth
‘See my two front teeth
‘Gee, if I could only have my two front teeth
‘Then I could wish you, “Merry Christmas’

“As I was brushing my teeth this morning, I wondered, what if the lyric was ‘All I want for Christmas is the ability to hear and speak.’ It doesn’t have the same ring to it as the song, but I know that children who are deaf or hard of hearing feel this way.

“This holiday season, most of us will be able to hear and even sing Christmas carols and holiday songs. We will be able to hear and speak with family members and friends, as we gather at holiday parties. But not everyone is able to hear and speak, communicate with their loved ones, hear music and sing.

“To complicate matters, many insurance plans, even Medicaid, only partially cover the cost of audiology and speech-language services. Thus, many families cannot afford the clinical care necessary to treat a child who is deaf or hard of hearing. These families seek a place that will help them, but unfortunately many clinics across North Texas have stopped seeing patients with Medicaid. Where do these children go? The Callier Center.

“I am proud that the Callier Center has chosen differently. We are committed to transforming the lives of all patients regardless of their income level or insurance coverage. It is a privilege to serve those who are less fortunate, but we cannot do it without you.

“When you give to the Callier Center, you open the door for a family in need. We provide the expertise of audiologists and speech-language pathologists, leading-edge technology, research and care.

“The ability to hear and speak should be a given, but that is not always the case. You have the power to ensure that a family’s limited finances do not become a barrier to care. Will you open the door for someone in need today? Will you grant a child’s wish to hear and speak?

“Please give to the Callier Center for Communication Disorders.”

-By Dr. Tom Campbell, Callier Center for Communication Disorder executive director

* Photo provided by Callier Center for Communication Disorder

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2017 Crystal Charity Ball Wrap-Up Luncheon

Elizabeth Gambrell, Leslie Diers, Pam Perella, Anne Besser and Cheryl Joyner

After a year of work, the 2017 Crystal Charity Ball Chair Pam Perella and her team were tallying up the results for Dallas children’s charities. While the final dollar amount won’t be revealed until 2018, the top producers of the committee were recognized at the annual Wrap Up Luncheon on Monday, November 13, at Forty Five Ten’s Mirador penthouse restaurant.

Meredith Bebee

Caren Kline

Patti Flowers

Before learning the heavy hitters, check out the MySweetCharity Photo Gallery for some of the folks lunching and being “charmed.”

The Eight Days Of Hanukkah Begin At Sunset Today

Monuments Men album and seven-branch menorah (File photo)

So many parties and get togethers are taking place this week. But at sunset tonight (5:21 p.m.) the eight days of Hanukkah will commence for the members of the Jewish community. Commemorating the successful rebellion of the Maccabees against Antiochus IV Epiphanes and the rededication of the Temple of Jerusalem in 165 B.C.E., the menorah will be the centerpiece of the days and nights ahead. With the lighting of each of the candles at sunset, those of the Jewish faith will celebrate how despite having just enough oil for one day in the Temple, the oil lasted eight days.

If your calendar isn’t already filled to capacity, you might want to join the events that are taking place in the area and learn about this age-old celebration. Or, why not try one of the recipes that will be used during the eight days. Here’s one by Temple Emanuel’s Tina Wasserman.

Hanukkah ends at 5:24 p.m. on Wednesday, December 20.

Mirages, Mind Tricks, ‘Intrigue’ And Sticky Fingers Marked The Perot’s Annual Night At the Museum Fundraiser

Tania Boughton, the Texas legislative chair for Childhood Obesity Prevention, said someone advised her to attend “Intrigue,” the Perot Museum’s Night at the Museum fundraiser on Saturday, November 11, because she would see some “very important people” there. She’s glad she did, Tania said, because in no time at all she was meeting and chatting with guests like Diane and Hal Brierley.

Tania Boughton and Hal and Diane Brierley

Like Karen Katz and others, Hal was suffering from a case of “sticky fingers” at the annual gala for the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. No, he wasn’t spotted lifting rocks from the Lyda Hill gem room. Instead, he’d just come from the VIP party, where guests including Margot and Ross Perot, Lyda herself, Thomas Surgent, Gail and Jim Spann, Nina and Trevor Tollett, Linda and Ken Wimberly and Sally and Forrest Hoglund were offered “printed photo cocktails” (it was the cocktails that gave rise to the sticky fingers) from the SipMi’ company.

Sally and Forrest Hoglund

To make these special drinks, photographers “shot” the guest, then sent his or her image electronically to the SipMi’ team, which printed out the image on SipMi’s trademark foam, which was then placed on top of the guest’s cocktail. The image stayed perfectly intact, even while the drink was being sipped.

As many as 1,000 partygoers showed up for Intrigue, which showcased “an evening of illusion, magic and mystery,” as per the amazing SipMi’ drinks.

Mirrored performers

The fun had begun outside on the plaza, where guests like Lynn McBee (hubby Allan was indisposed that night), Katherine and Eric Reeves, Russell Holloway, Lee Jamison, and Amy and Michael Meadows entered the museum through a human maze amid music, lights, and models dressed in mirror-covered body suits.

Once inside, they could sample the likes of “Confidentiality” (you had to see the Poirot Crime Lab to believe it) on Level 2, “Natural Curiosities” such as Chemical Caviar and Baffling Botany on Level 3, and the Art of Deception (think 3D holograms and optical illusions) on Level 4.

As they navigated the various floors, the guests enjoyed such fare as a “squid ink” pasta station, mirror-glazed cake bites, “cassoulet” on grilled focaccia with duck confit, and a gravity-separated centrifuge station featuring carbonated mission fig “beer” with lime.

Heather Sauber and Julie Burns

Spotted enjoying the unique fare were Heather Sauber and Julie Burns, who were excitedly checking everything out—for good reason. In April, they’ll be co-producing a gala for Trammell S. Crow‘s Earthx Expo at the Perot, complete with a “green carpet.”

To wrap up The Night at the Museum fundraiser, the Taylor Pace Orchestra played for the after-party, where women traded in their stilettos for more comfortable flats at a shoe check-in.

Hernan J.F. Saenz III and Linda Abraham-Silver

Chairs for Intrigue were Sylvia E. Cespedes, Hernan J.F. Saenz III, and Meredith and Mark Plunkett, while Sharon and Kip Tindell were the honorary co-chairs.

Pausing for a moment between greeting guests at the VIP pre- festivities in the Moody Family Children’s Museum, Saenz—who’s also the museum’s board chair—and Dr. Linda Abraham-Silver, the Perot’s CEO, described their new effort to “redefine what a museum means in the 21st century.” Among their tentative plans for the Perot: more investment in gems and minerals, a new lecture series, and a more aggressive outreach to children in south and east Dallas. All very intriguing, just like the party.  

MySweetWishList: Christmas In The Park

According to Christmas In The Park Volunteer Nita Clark,

“My wish is to help the SM Wright Foundation achieve its goal of securing 15,000 toys, one for each child attending this year’s Christmas in the Park event on Saturday, December 16! We are closing in, but we can always use your donations:  http://www.smwrightfoundation.org/content/donate-today/ .

Nita and Clark Cullum*

“Christmas in the Park is an annual event serving tens of thousands of residents of Fair Park and South Dallas – an area of Dallas with very high unemployment and scarce infrastructure and support. Christmas in the Park has grown beyond giving a toy or a bike to each child, but now provides winter coats, mattresses for kids who have no bed, plus books, a job fair, a college fair, hot meals, groceries, clothing, bus passes, gift cards for Walmart and help with utilities payments. 

“The Rev. SM Wright II pulls this off every year through the help from volunteers, members of the South Dallas community and corporations and donors from the greater Dallas community. Please help by supporting the toy drive.  You can also help by volunteering at the event!  Just email [email protected] to register. Like any great Christmas party, it’s sometimes chaotic, but always fun!

“The Christmas in the Park event is the best opportunity of the year for the SM Wright Foundation to reach families in the Fair Park area for the first time. Once the Foundation makes contact with a family, it can bring the adults into the computer skills training program, and kids into the South Dallas Top of the Class Community Tutoring Center. The Foundation helps people throughout the year with various immediate needs- from food at the Operation Hope Food Center, to clothes to help with rising electric bills. Again this year, there is a college expo with a dozen representatives from area colleges present, a job fair, hot meal, gift cards and bus passes. Please join us in participating in this joyous and meaningful holiday event! Christmas in the Park happens on Saturday, December 16, at the Automobile Building in Fair Park.”

-Nita Clark, Christmas In The Park volunteer

* Photo credit: Dana Driensky

2018 Dallas Black Dance Theatre’s Farewell Founder’s Award Luncheon To Honor Founder Ann Williams As Awardees Andy McCarthy, Herdercine Nash And Linda Todd

Back in 1996 Dallas Black Dance Theatre Founder Ann M. Williams wanted a fundraising event to support the organization’s community outreach and education programs in the area including dance classes, workshop and lecture-demonstration for students. She also wanted to recognize “civic and business leaders of Dallas who have impacted Dallas Black Dance Theatre and the Dallas arts community.” Her supporters came up with the perfect solution — the Annual Founder’s Award Luncheon

Thanks to the support of such sponsors like Presenting Sponsor Chase, the event became the major community fundraiser for the “oldest, continuously operating professional dance company in Dallas,” that was established in 1976.

But the upcoming fundraiser on Wednesday, January 17, at the Hilton Anatole has been renamed the 2018 Farewell Founder’s Award Luncheon. The reason is that it will be the last one. It’s time to launch a new “initiative.”

But the luncheon will be far from a boo-hoo occasion. It will be a celebration highlighting “the legacy and extraordinary service of Ms. Williams, to Dallas and the field of dance,”as well honoring the 2018 awardees Andy McCarthy, Herdercine Nash and Linda Todd

Doug Curtis, Lucy Billingsley and Ann Williams*

Joining Event Co-Chairs Kimberley Runnels and the Rev. Lelious Johnson will be Honorary Co-Chairs Lucy Billingsley and Doug Curtis.

With this finale luncheon just a few weeks away, better lock down your reservations pronto. Plans for the fundraiser’s replacement will be revealed at the meal.

* Photo credit: Derrick Waiters

32nd Annual National Philanthropy Day Awards Luncheon Carried On Despite Coinciding With Veterans Day Parade And A Couple Of Hiccups

When the Association of Fundraising Professionals of Greater Dallas scheduled its  32nd Annual National Philanthropy Day Awards Luncheon for Friday, November 10, at the Hyatt Regency, it was all systems-go without a hitch in sight.

However, just weeks before the big award presentation the Veterans Day Parade leadership announced that instead of holding the parade on Veterans Day (Saturday, November 11), it would be held the day before (aka Friday, November 10). Still that shouldn’t have been a problem. But then the route was presented with the starting point across the Reunion Boulevard from the Hyatt in Reunion Park. To add pepper to the mix, the parade’s start time coincided with the arrival of the philanthropists for lunch.

But wait! It got more tangled up. Like the date and place being on the calendar for months for the awards luncheon, so was Scott Murray. It was a no brainer, since Scott and his company Murray Media have been heavily involved with the program for years. But for Scott it was going to be a busy weekend because he had promised to be part of the parade that he thought would be on Saturday. Then when the parade was literally moved to Friday, Scott had a bit of a predicament — How to be in two places at the same time? But the parade organizers promised him that his part in the parade would be over by the time he was needed at the luncheon and they would get him there.

Whew!

Micah Pinson

While Scott was with the vets parading, the pre-luncheon reception carried on with a cute red-haired chap charming one and all. It was 13-year-old Outstanding Youth In Philanthropy Micah Pinson. He was right at home with people like Gae Whitener, Karen Waller, Jay McCauley, Deborah Montonen, Doug Hawthorne, Brent Christopher, Katherine Krausse, Chris Culak, Kathleen Gibson, fellow awardees like Outstanding Philanthropists Sandra and Henry Estess, Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser Lynn McBee, Outstanding Foundation representatives Julie and Ken Hersh, Outstanding Fundraising Executive Pagett Gosslee and the Terry Simmons family (Karen, Jordan, Adam and Shannon Simmons) on hand to receive the Special Recognition Award for the late attorney.

Meagan Burton, Ken and Julie Hersh, Karen Simmons, Pagett Gosslee, Mica Pinson, Lynn McBee, Kevin Hurst, Sandra and Henry Estess and Mary Freeman

Becky Sykes

Doug Hawthorne

Katherine Wagner

Following a group photo, the VIP types joined the rest of the guests like Jamie Williams, Katherine Wagner, Frank Risch, Becky Bright, Kit Sawers, Mimi Sterling, Jody Grant and Michael George, in the Landmark Ballroom. However, a couple of the folks were doing the swivel head searching the room. Kevin Hurst was looking for Neiman’s President/CEO Karen Katz. He was hoping that her busy schedule would allow her to accept the award for the Outstanding Corporation. No problem. Karen was there along with NM Downtown GM Tim Adair.

Tim Adair, Karen Katz and Kevin Hurst

Doug Murray and Carole and Scott Murray

On the other hand, Carole Murray, as well as National

Philanthropy Day Chair Meagan Burton, was trying to find out what Scott’s status was. Just minutes before the noon start, Scott arrived looking like a kid who had the time of his life. He explained that despite the Veterans Day program had run longer than planned, the organizers assured him that they would get him to the Hyatt on time. And they did complete with Scott being driven through the crowds with a police escort complete with lights flashing and sirens blaring.

Following the presentation of the flags, Donte Ford’s providing the invocation, luncheon and remarks by Greater Dallas Chapter AFP President Mary Freeman and South Texas Money Management CEO/Chief Investment Officer Jeanie Wyatt, AFP International Interim President/CEO Jason Lee admitted that due to the recent hurricanes there was a concern about donor fatigue?” His answer was positive — Despite the division within the country, philanthropy is something that can bring all together.

Then it was time for the presentation of awards in which the recipient tape their acceptance speeches ahead of time, so there are no “I’m going to go off script” hiccups.

However, there were hiccups. When Scott introduced the video for Sandra and Henry Estess, all eyes turned to the mammoth screens. Nothing happened. And nothing continued to happen, except Scott’s looking back at the production table. Finally, the video appeared.

The rest of the videos went up perfectly until 1:11 p.m. when foster mother and past Philanthropy Day Chair Pagett Gosslee’s video was to be shown for the Outstanding Fundraising Executive. Instead of the attractive brunette, it was red-haired Micah on the screen. Scott could be heard telling the production table that they had the wrong one showing. The screen went dark and immediately Pagett was accepting her award.

Next up was Micah, who had been born without three finders and had become a patient at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital at the age of six. The next year he decided he launched “Helping Hands One Step At A Time” to give back.

After he received his award, Scott asked him what he wanted to be when he was older. Micah didn’t hesitate. He wanted to be a sport agent because he “likes people and want to make money.” When asked who was his hero, Micah said, “My Dad. He’s always been there for me.” With a little nudging from Scott, Micah added that he liked his mom, too.

Scott then told Micah that he was going to have him on “The Scott Murray Show” the following Sunday on KLIF.

For a look at more of the people at the luncheon, check MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetWishList: Dallas CASA

According to Dallas CASA Volunteer Manager Sandra Teter,

Sandra Teter*

“My wish for Dallas CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) this holiday season is that more community members will join me and serve as volunteer advocates for abused and neglected children who have been removed from their homes and are in foster care or alternative placements.

“I joined CASA’s cadre of volunteers 20 years ago in 1997. Since then I have worked 24 different cases involving 47 children. I have always been pretty altruistic and when I found CASA I knew I had found my place.

“Though I have always been one to speak up, CASA gives my “voice” the ability to affect real immediate change.  As an advocate you have to ask the tough questions and the best decision is not always the easy one. These kids deserve someone that will really listen to them and go to bat for them to ensure their wellbeing. The healing that often occurs in whole families can make positive change for future generations.

“People tend to be afraid of volunteering at places like CASA because they worry about seeing things they do not want to see. The truth is these situations happen whether we see them or not. The toughest job out there is a Child Protective Services caseworker. They see the situations the children are removed from in real time. CASA is assigned after the children are in protective care and safe and it is time to pick up the pieces.

“CASA has taught me to be more compassionate and look at every side to a story. Every time I read a new case, I get angry. I have learned there are truly so many sides to every story. Many of the children’s parents have been victims themselves and are repeating learned behavior. Though we wish there was not a need for the process, the court’s intervention provides access to services such as counseling, drug and alcohol treatment and mental healthcare. I have gained perspective and balance as a CASA volunteer and feel I gain as much, if not more, than I give.

Dallas CASA*

“I hope you will join me on this walk as a Dallas CASA volunteer. As of Tuesday, November 7, 1,264 volunteer advocates have served 2,928 abused and neglected children in Dallas in 2017. The numbers are heartbreaking but the results are amazing.

“There are more children who need advocates. Dallas CASA is currently able to provide advocates for three out of four children in need. As proud as we are all of that, it is the child without an advocate I can not stop thinking about. These children deserve our care and attention, not just during the holidays but year round.

“The first step is to go to an information session at Dallas CASA.

“New volunteer information sessions are offered weekly, go to DallasCASA.org to register.”

-By Sandra Teter, Dallas CASA volunteer manager

* Graphic and photo provided by Dallas CASA

A Passing: Ruth Collins Sharp Altshuler

Ruth Collins Sharp Altshuler (File photo)

Perhaps it was just selfish, but no one ever thought Dallas would be without Ruth Collins Sharp Altshuler. She exemplified the city with her energy, determination, humor and ability to rise above loss. That’s why her death Friday night will cause many to recall their favorite stories about “their Ruth.”

There won’t be many who will remember the little girl who started life in 1924 on Swiss Avenue. Five years later when the Great Depression threw the country into a financial nightmare, her family’s resources protected her and her two brothers (Carr Collins II and Jim Collins) from the poverty that ravaged others.

At the age of 21, she was widowed when her first husband’s plane was shot down during World War II. A couple of years later she met and married her second husband Charles Sharp. Together they made a striking couple and their marriage of 40 years would produce three children (Sally, Stanton and Susan). It would also test the part in the wedding vows — “in sickness and health” — when Charles was diagnosed with Parkinson’s.

Ruth Altshuler and Susan Sharp (File photo)

It was during their marriage that she joined the Junior League and took on a lifelong mission to support the nonprofit sector including the Crystal Charity Ball, SMU, United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center, Dallas County Medical Society, The Salvation Army DFW, Susan G. Komen, Dallas Summer Musicals, North Texas Giving Day, Retina Foundation of the Southwest, Family Gateway, I Stand For Parkland, Laura Bush’s Foundation for America’s Libraries and countless others. 

In 1963 both the 39-year-old Ruth and the city of Dallas faced a turning point that would determine the city’s fate when President John F. Kennedy was killed in downtown Dallas. Overnight the city became internationally synonymous with hatred. But eventually the city rebounded, thanks to the leadership of the late Mayor Erik Jonsson and others including Ruth, who was on the grand jury that indicted Jack Ruby the day after he killed Lee Harvey Oswald.

The following years were indeed challenging on a personal level as well for Ruth with Charles’ disease progressing until his death in 1984. Still she carried on, juggling her family’s needs and her community involvement.

Ruth and Ken Altshuler (File photo)

With the children grown and, widowed once again, Ruth threw herself into helping others. Eventually, she found the perfect partner in Dr. Ken Altshuler, who shared her sense of humor and her commitment to others. Just this past Tuesday, they celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary.

True to form, Ruth was always a magnet for attracting people. Whether it was U.S. Presidents (four of them to be exact — Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, George Bush and Barack Obama), movie stars like Ginger Rogers and Sophia Loren, noted intellectuals like David McCullough or just a child in need, Ruth treated all the same with appreciation and that legendary quick wit.

For instance, at the 2014 Callier Center for Communications Disorders luncheon when she presented the Ruth and Ken Altshuler Callier Cares Award to her longtime friend Sara Martineau, she “admitted that her own grandchildren had held ‘an intervention,’ because no matter what they said, their grandmother would say, ‘What?’ She then reported that in her own household, she and husband Ken constantly exchange, ‘What?’ As Ken choked hearing Ruth tell the group of their personal experience, Ruth admitted that Ken had already gotten a hearing aid and she had ordered one.”

In the days, weeks and years ahead, it’s going to be difficult to imagine a world without Ruth. But on the other hand, if one just looks around, they’ll see her in the programs, buildings and people that have benefited from a life well lived.

According to The Dallas Morning News, a memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday at Highland Park United Methodist Church, 3300 Mockingbird Lane. A reception will follow at the Umphrey Lee Center at SMU in the Margaret Mack Ballroom. Both will be open to the public.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: Association Of Fundraising Philanthropy Greater Dallas Luncheon

Meagan Burton, Ken and Julie Hersh, Karen Simmons, Pagett Gosslee, Micha, Lynn McBee, Kevin Hurst, Sandra and Henry Estess and Mary Freeman

Once again the Association of Fundraising Philanthropy Greater Dallas Luncheon’s was totally upstaged by the cutest recipient. But this year there was a wrench thrown into the plans. It had to do with the announcement of the Veterans Day Parade schedule.

Doug Murray, Kit Sawers and Carole and Scott Murray

The results were traditional Emcee Scott Murray arriving via a police escort.

Micah Pinson

While the post is trying to reorganize, check out the cute red-haired Micah Pinson and other recipients of the National Philanthropy Day of Greater Dallas Awardees at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

A Gentle Reminder: 2017 BMW Dallas Marathon Weekend Will Have Runners On Area Roads Both Saturday And Sunday

BMW Dallas Marathon*

Back in 1971 the very first Dallas White Rock Marathon was held on March 6. Over the years the name and date changed. In 2012 “White Rock” disappeared from the name and it became Dallas Marathon. Over the years some things stayed the same like Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children being the beneficiary and thousands of participants including world-class runners.

2017 Coors Light 5K and 10K*

This weekend the annual runathon has been expanded. For starters, it’s going to be a two-day run including

If you’re not planning on being part of those running or volunteering, you might want to check the road closures that will be in place. They range from Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge through downtown Dallas on Saturday to Sunday mega-run starting at City Hall and heading around White Rock via Turtle Creek and back to City Hall.

* Graphics courtesy of BMW Dallas Marathon

MySweetWishList: Wilkinson Center

Jane Shouse*

According to Wilkinson Center Volunteer Jane Shouse,

“As a Wilkinson Center volunteer for many years, I’ve come to understand how deeply felt the desire to have seasonal traditions, the kind most of us take for granted, is for families who struggle day to day with poverty.  Their children dream of Santa, toys and treats of the season, and parents look forward to special times, shared meals and the happiness that comes from celebrating together. Yet for many of these families, the holiday season also represents a time of hardship. Even small amounts of generosity during the holiday season can make an inspiring impact on these families’ holidays and carry meaning we may not realize.

“The Wilkinson Center’s holiday wish, easily fulfilled by an individual, group or business, is for food pantry items to fulfill families’ needs for holiday meals, specifically baskets with a frozen turkey and your choice of fixings.

“Turkey baskets given to Wilkinson Center clients mean much more than providing food or a doing a good deed; these baskets lift their load, not only for the tangible contents, but also because of what they represent. They provide families with the ability to celebrate in a manner that they look forward to all year.

Wilkinson Center*

“Your help in fulfilling these wishes enables Wilkinson Center to make this season happier for one Dallas family of 2,600 families that the Center serves. Please join us in making holiday dreams come true in your community.

“For more information on how to help the Wilkinson Center this holiday season, please contact Teresa Norton at [email protected], or visit our website at www.wilkinsoncenter.org.”

– By Jane Shouse, Wilkinson Center Volunteer

* Graphic and photo provided by Wilkinson Center

Star 102.1 Personalities To Broadcast “Miracle Day Radiothon” Friday From Children’s Medical Center Dallas From 6 a.m. To 7 p.m.

Lacey Parker and Renee Parker (File photo)

Friday is going to be a bit warmer, but there’s still going to be a holiday chill in the air. That translates into the taste of hot chocolate at the desk and the aroma of homemade bread baking away. But what would be the ideal sound to go with all these senses of the holidays?

It’s “Miracle Day Radiothon”! Presented by Neighborhood Credit Union, iHeartRadio  Star 102.1’s Leigh Ann, Amanda Flores and Rick O’Bryan will be broadcasting from Children’s Medical Center Dallas. From 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., there will be patients like Kristin Alcaraz, Shantisa Anderson, Julissa Garcia, Sadie Granberry, Emmy Kaighan, Maddox Kindiger, Katie Kramer, Braden McCollum, Jacob Mowl, Samantha Raack, Makenna Rodolph, Sim Scott, Ace Shelton and Miguel Soto and their families telling memorable stories about their relationship with Children’s.

Tom Thumb’s Connie Yates (File photo)

In addition to reminding listeners of the true meaning of the holidays, the hope is that listeners will reach in their pockets to support program at Children’s Health, in partnership with Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) Hospitals. Donations can be made online or by calling 800.800.7277.

Factoid: Last year the Children’s Health system provided care for more than “278,000 unique patients at its hospitals, specialty centers and pediatric group practices. It is the second-busiest pediatric health system in the nation in terms of admissions and pediatric emergency department visits.”

Joining the effort to provide health care for children will sponsors Albertsons/Tom Thumb, Granite, AT and T, Cisco and The Residences at Rough Creek Lodge.

Prepare Flower Children For First Freeze Of The Season

Dallas Arboretum pansies (File photo)

As confusing as the weather has been for wardrobes, the poor residents of the Dallas Arboretum are in a blooming quandary. One day it’s sunshine and temperatures in the 80s. The next day it’s cloudy, windy and a drop of 30 degrees. And to top it all off, tonight there is a threat of a freeze that would make a pansy shiver down to its roots.  

Dave Forehand (File photo)

But no need to worry about the Arboretum plants. The staff is taking action to protect the little critters thanks to Dallas Arboretum VP of Gardens Dave Forehand, who has shared the following tips for your garden:

 

  • Water plants before freeze: First, water plants before a freeze, particularly the plant root zone. Water acts like a blanket insulating the roots. This makes the plant stronger against a freeze. When plant cells are full of water, they are less likely to be subject to frost damage. If possible, water a day or two before a freeze and make sure to water the entire root zone of the plant. This is especially important in newly planted trees and shrubs. Try watering early in the day so plants have time to absorb water before a freeze. If at all possible, avoid watering the foliage. If you have an irrigation system, hand watering might be the best option for certain locations. Keeping water off the foliage prevents the formation of ice on leaf material which can cause breaks and more damage.
  • Cover cold sensitive plants: Cover them with blankets, sheets or towels. Do not use plastic because it is not breathable and will freeze to the plants causing damage. When daytime temperatures rise above freezing, it is important to remove the cover because, if left under cover all day, temperatures under the blankets can get too warm, damaging the plants and waking them from dormancy. 
  • If possible, use frost cloth: Frost cloth acts as a blanket and helps trap heat. Make sure that you secure the cloth entirely around the plant and tighten to the soil using fabric pins or bricks (anything that will hold it down firmly will work). Frost cloth is made from a product that “breathes,” and this cloth helps against burn caused by other materials. Purchase frost cloth months in advance, if possible. When the threat of a freeze is coming, frost cloth sells out quickly. Do not use frost cloth when there is a chance of snow. Otherwise, it will cause more damage breaking plants from the weight of the snow.
  • Take care of plants constantly: The healthier your plants are, the more prone they are to handle stress. Proper water and maintenance throughout the growing season will help in the winter months. It is also important to select the right plant for your area.  Check to make sure that the plant material you select is appropriate for your location. Check out USDA plant hardiness zone map to see what zone you live in. This information will help you purchase the best plant material for your zone. 
  • Move plants inside, especially with high winds: When high winds are a threat, it is a good idea to move potted plants into a shed or garage. Although plants don’t feel wind-chill, cold winds quickly dry them out.  Most plants can survive upper 30-degree temperatures easily in a shed or garage because these areas usually don’t drop below freezing until severe weather in February.