Calvert Collins-Bratton And Vince Bratton Announced Plans For Children At Risk North Texas Chapter’s “A Night In Barcelona” Fundraiser

Dick Collins sat in his den checking his cellphone with his longtime friend Dale Robinowitz, as the entry of his Bluffview mansion filled to capacity with guests on Thursday, June 22. Just proved that everyone hadn’t evacuated the North Texas heat.

Vince Bratton, Calvert Collins Bratton and Stratton Horres

But then, what would you expect when Dick’s blonde daughter Calvert Collins-Bratton and her husband Vince Bratton put out the shout for the Children at Risk North Texas Chapter‘s kick-off party for A Night in Barcelona, which is slated for Saturday, September 23, at Hotel ZaZa?

Standing on the winding stairway, Children at Risk North Texas Managing Director Dr. Charlotte Carlisle welcomed the crowd, including Calvert’s mom Susan Collins, Children at Risk North Texas Chairman of the Board Stratton Horres and his wife Debbie Horres, Maddy Kulkarni, Lee Papert, Angela Nash, Ron Taylor and Timmy Newsome.

Angela Nash and Lee Papert

Timmy Newsome

Children at Risk COO Dr. Katie McConnell told of her days working in the public school system when she encountered children like Umberto, who was facing challenges each day while his mom worked three jobs. It was organizations like Children at Risk that offered programs to assist Umberto.

Charlotte Carlisle

Katie McConnell

Charlotte then told about two major problems that Children at Risk deal with:

  1. Food deserts where there are areas in which children don’t have access to food beyond junk food
  2. Human trafficking — “85-90% of reported child-sex trafficking cases occur to children, who were born in the United States”

After Charlotte handed the program over to Calvert, who described the evening’s festivities, including a raffle for a five-night stay at 5-star Monument Hotel In Barcelona with air fare for two, flamenco dancers, a sangria bar and tapas and a live auction that will include a package to the NBA All-Star game in Los Angeles. VIP ticketholders will attend a pre-party poolside before joining the rest of the guests in the Uptown Ballroom.

A Night In Barcelona

After that buildup, who could resist “a night in Barcelona”?

Among the sponsors that have already signed up are

  • Las Ramblas ($15,000) — Istation
  • Arc de Triomf ($5,000) — Energy Transfer, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Methodist Dallas, Wilson Elser, Debbie and Stratton Horres, Shara McClure and Deborah and David Roylance
  • Museum Picasso ($2,500) — UMB, Steve Love, Kate and Eric Sudol and Jan and Ron Taylor

JUST IN: Mosaic Family Services’ Champion Of Human Rights Award To Be Presented To Brittany Merrill Underwood At 8th Annual Gala

Mosaic Family Services 8th Annual Gala Co-Chairs Ashley Anderson Smith and Nusia Sookarow have just announced that Akola Founder/CEO Brittany Merrill Underwood will receive the Champion of Human Rights Award on Friday, October 6, at sixty five hundred.

Brittany Merrill Underwood*

Steve Kemble (File photo)

According to Ashley, “Brittany Underwood and Akola have transformed the lives of thousands of women and children around the world. We are thrilled to honor her as a Champion of Human Rights. We hope the community will join us in ‘Raising the Stakes’ as we raise vital funds to support Mosaic Family Services and our mission of providing a safe haven for survivors of human rights abuses.”

Past recipients of the award include Councilmember Jennifer Staubach Gates, Libby Spears, Abi Ferrin, Judge Roberto Canas Jr., Jan Langbein, Paige Flink, Luis C. deBaca and Lauren Embrey.

Along with Steve Kemble serving as emcee, Susan Posnick will be the honorary chair for the “Night in Monte Carlo”-themed fundraiser that will include cocktails, dinner by cn catering, a silent auction, a raffle, a casino and music by DJ LC.

Mosaic Family Services “is a safe haven for survivors of human rights abuses, including domestic violence and human trafficking. The multicultural staff at Mosaic supports, educates, and empowers more than 25,000 people each year through direct services and outreach. Refugees and survivors of human trafficking and domestic violence receive shelter, legal representation, counseling, access to health care, and support services in more than 30 languages. Every year, Mosaic House provides emergency housing to hundreds of women and children fleeing domestic violence and human trafficking.  They are the only shelter in North Texas providing comprehensive services to multicultural survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking.”

The goal is to hit $200,000, so purchase a ticket here!

* Photo provided by Mosaic Family Services

JUST IN: Like Demi Moore, Ashton Kutcher Dumped New Friends New Life 14th Annual Luncheon For Personal Reasons

Let’s get the bad news over with. Any plans on seeing Ashton Kutcher at the 14th Annual New Friends New Life (NFNL) Luncheon on Wednesday, May 10, at the Omni can be scratched. Ashton bailed because of “personal reasons.”

Ashton Kutcher*

Joe Ehrmann*

The good news is that Joe Ehrmann will be the featured speaker.

That’s what NFNL Executive Director Kelly Cruse announced tonight at the luncheon kickoff.

Joe is not some hottie on a reality show, nor is he a child whose mother was used in the corrupt business of sex trafficking. He’s a former Baltimore Colts football player who has become recognized nationally for his advocacy of boys becoming men. Evidently, the last time he spoke in Dallas was in 2010, when he was the featured speaker at The Family Place’s Texas Trailblazer Luncheon, where he made quite an impression. 

Tickets are available here.

* Photo provided by New Friends New Life

14th Annual New Friends New Life Luncheon Speaker Ashton Kutcher Testified On Human Trafficking And Blew A Kiss To Sen. John McCain

Ashton Kutcher*

New Friends New Life speaker Ashton Kutcher proved yesterday why he was the pick of the litter to be the keynote speaker for the 14th New Friend New Life Luncheon at the Omni Dallas Hotel on Wednesday, May 10.

The 39-year-old father of wee ones Wyatt Kutcher and Dimitri Kutcher gave an “emotional” presentation before a Congressional committee including Sen. John McCain about human trafficking.

In appreciation for Sen. McCain’s response, Ashton blew him a kiss.

The young actor/businessman/co-founder of Thorn is proving to be a force to be reckoned with on the subject matter by ramping up his public voice on this crime against the innocents.

At this time only sponsorships are available. If space permits, individual tickets will become available in late March. But why wait? Get your pals together and go for a sponsorship.

* Photo provided by New Friends New Life

JUST IN: Actor, Businessman, Thorn Co-Founder Ashton Kutcher To Be New Friends New Life 14th Annual Luncheon Speaker

Tanya Foster and Lisa Cooley (File photo)

This spring’s lineup of luncheon speakers/special guests was sorta looking like a girls-only situation (Simone Biles for Jonathan’s Place, Bethenny Frankel for Community Partners of Dallas, Robin Roberts for Interfaith Family Services, Rachel Zoe for Mad Hatters Tea, Nancy Kerrigan for The Elisa Project and Arianna Huffington for Genesis).

But leave it to New Friends New Life’s 14th Annual Luncheon Co-Chairs Lisa Cooley and Tanya Foster to provide someone smart, influential, successful and of the male gender to serve as guest speaker — Ashton Kutcher.

Ashton Kutcher*

Whoa! Why Ashton? Yes, he’s hot. Yes, he’s a movie star. Yes, the last time he was seen in this neck of the woods was for the iced-over Super Bowl with then-wife Demi Moore. And, yes, he’s now happily married to Mila Kunis and the very cool father of two.

So, what does he have to do with New Friends New Life’s mission of restoring and empowering formerly trafficked and sexually exploited women, teens and children?” A heck of a lot and it ain’t no recent undertaking!

Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore (File photo)

When he was married to Demi, the couple founded Thorn, an organization that develops innovative technology solutions to fight the sexual exploitation of children.

According to Ashton, “Technology has completely changed the landscape when it comes to the abuse and exploitation of children. We created Thorn as a way to turn the tables and leverage technology to be a part of the solution, instead of a part of the problem.”

While the marriage didn’t last, Thorn did. It has “helped law enforcement identify and recover over 6,000 domestic human tracking victims to date (with 474 of those victims being received in the state of Texas).”

And Dallas is a major point of interest for his work.

Tanya pointed out that “In Dallas alone, sex trafficking is a $99 million criminal enterprise. Enlightened by so many staggering statistics and stories from survivors, Lisa and I are committed to rallying the support needed to bring an end to this injustice. There is much work to be done. ”

The luncheon will take place on Wednesday, May 10, at the Omni Dallas Hotel with Gail and Gerald Turner serving as honorary co-chairs. Sponsorships are now available ranging from $2,500-$100,000. Individual tickets will be available in March, but don’t wait. Splurge and become a sponsor by calling Jennifer Yarbrough at 214.965.0935.

* Photo credit: Nigel Parry/CPI Syndication

MySweetWishList: New Friends New Life

According to New Friends New Life Executive Director Kelly Cruse,

Kelly Cruse*

“My wish is that Dallas will become a city free of human trafficking! The Dallas sex trade is a $99-million enterprise, and I wish for this to be fully eradicated.

“I wish for an end to the entrapment of our most vulnerable girls and women into this horrific crime. The average age of entry into the American sex trade is only 13 years old.

“I wish for the continued growth and success of New Friends New Life as this team bravely stands on the front lines each day to restore and empower formerly trafficked girls and sexually exploited women and their children.

“I wish for the increased sharing of the manKINDness curriculum in local schools to educate the next generation of young men on how to properly respect and value women and themselves, and to encourage them to become part of the solution.

“I wish for more companies to stand up and join the No Harm Network and publicly state that they will maintain efforts that protect teen girls and women from the harm of human trafficking and sexual exploitation.

“I wish for a sold out New Friends New Life luncheon on Wednesday, May 10, to ensure we have the necessary funds to deliver current and expanded services to survivors in our community.

“And I wish that anyone passionate about joining this important mission acts now by donating time or resources to stand with the team at New Friends New Life as we say ‘not our girls, not our city!’”

-By Kelly Cruse, New Friends New Life executive director

* Photo provided by New Friends New Life

JUST IN: Lisa Cooley And Tanya Foster To Co-Chair New Friends New Life Luncheon

The flood of news continues! Initial plans for the annual New Friends New Life Luncheon are already underway. It will be held on Wednesday, May 10, at the Omni Dallas Hotel. Heading up the New Friends New Life benefit will be gal pals Lisa Cooley and Tanya Foster.

Tanya Foster and Lisa Cooley (File photo)

Tanya Foster and Lisa Cooley (File photo)

Despite all types of cajoling and downright begging, neither of the ladies is letting on who the speaker will be. Hmm, in the past the luncheon has had Nicolas Sparks, Barbara Pierce Bush, Sally Fields, Kevin Costner and Amal Clooney on stage. The mind boggles trying to figure out what name will be revealed in the weeks ahead.

Stay tuned. Oh, and don’t bother signing up for a ticket. They ain’t available right now, but sponsorships are. Feel free to ask about ’em.

BTW, it’s no longer called the Wings Luncheon. Guess too many peeps thought it was a fundraiser for retired flight attendants.

JUST IN: 2016 Wings Luncheon Individual Ticket Sales Nearing An End With Good Reason(s)

Amal Clooney*

Amal Clooney*

Procrastination is definitely going to cause problems for those who wait much longer for tickets to the New Friends New Life2016 Wings Luncheon” on Thursday, April 14, at the Hilton Anatole.
Seems tickets and sponsorships are flying so fast that NFNL Executive Director Katie Pedigo has let it be known that individual tickets will a done deal this Friday.

The reasons for the speedway ticket sales:

  1. Support of NFNL
  2. Chair Jeanne Johnson Phillips
  3. Honorary Co-Chairs Ruth AltshulerLaura Bush, Caren Prothro and Annette Simmons
  4. Speaker Amal Clooney

Pretty darn good reasons, huh? So wait no longer to get your ticket.

* Photo courtesy of New Friends 
New Life

New Friends New Life’s 2016 ProtectHer Awardees Were Revealed At Wings Luncheon Kick-Off Reception

Dadgummit! The wind picked up as the temperatures and rain fell on Tuesday, February 23. Still Mother’s Nature’s pooh-poohs didn’t dissuade New Friends New Life backers like newlyweds Annette Simmons and Jerry Fronterhouse, Carol Seay, Jan Osborn, Ashlee and Chris Kleinert, Caren Prothro, Dallas Police Chief David Brown, Carolyn Miller, Ray Hunt, Wendy Messmann, Joyce and Linus Wright and Sue Bailey.

Annette Simmons and Jerry Fronterhouse

Annette Simmons and Jerry Fronterhouse

Jeanne Johnson Phillips and Carolyn Miller

Jeanne Johnson Phillips and Carolyn Miller

They all gathered at the Bush Center for the official kick off of the Wings Luncheon that’s being chaired by Jeanne Johnson Phillips and benefiting New Friends New Life (NFNL).

It wasn’t your usual kick off. Everyone already knew that the 13th Annual Wings Luncheon keynote speaker would be Amal Clooney on Thursday, April 14, at Hilton Anatole.

No, instead it was the announcement of the ProtectHer Awards that would be presented at the luncheon by the New Friends New Life’s Men’s Advocacy Group Board. Receiving the awards will be

  • Ted Poe and Chris Kleinert

    Ted Poe and Chris Kleinert

    ProtectHer Award (National) — U.S. Sen. (TX.) John Cornyn and U.S. Rep. (TX. 2nd Congressional Dist.) Ted Poe, who sponsored “’The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act,’ that was signed into law on May 29, 2015, to improve law enforcement’s ability to target traffickers and buyers and protect and expand the rights of trafficking victims. The act, which increases criminal fines on convicted traffickers and child predators, will create about $60 million in federal grants that state and local governments can use for more shelter space, specialized court programs and law enforcement programs targeting human trafficking.”

  • Tan Parker, Jeanne John Phillips and Morgan Meyer

    Tan Parker, Jeanne John Phillips and Morgan Meyer

    ProtectHer Award (State) — “The 2015 Texas Legislative Session” accepted by State Rep. (District 108) Morgan Meyer and State Rep. (District 63) Tan Parker, who both have daughters and took active roles in the passing of 20 bills that would move Texas closer to a “no tolerance zone” for those exploiting women and children.

  • Katie Pedigo and Libby Spears

    Katie Pedigo and Libby Spears

    ProtectHer Award (Local) — Playground Curriculum’s Libby Spears, who wrote and directed “Playground” (2009) dealing with the child sex trade and produced by George Clooney, Steven Soderbergh and Abigail Disney (granddaughter of the late The Walt Disney Company Co-Founder Roy Disney).

As NFNL CEO Katie Pedigo told the group, “Human trafficking is not in a vacuum.” And it’s not going to be in this city, this state, the country, if NFNL has its way.

Following the announcement and acceptance speeches by all including John Cornyn via video, Nancy Ann Hunt thanked all for joining the movement to end human trafficking. Afterward, Nancy Ann admitted frustration that the effort had taken so long. But realizing that the issue was an age-old problem, she acknowledged that NFNL’s work was indeed paying off.

MySweetWishList Series Returns With Loads Of Hopes And Needs For Your Consideration



With turkey in the rear view mirror and the giving season in overdrive, the MySweetWishList series starts Tuesday. There will be loads of nonprofits crossing their fingers and hoping that some Santa(s) will appreciate their needs and come through. While some groups are very familiar, others may be little known but still are hardworking.

Yes, there will be all types of requests. Some will be itty-bitty. Others may be a bit daunting. Still they are all possible thanks to friends and strangers coming together during this time of year when miracles seem more than possible.

Even if your budget doesn’t have room for a donation, your mind will benefit just knowing these remarkable organizations and people are your neighbors making a difference for good.

JUST IN: New Friends New Life’s 13th Annual Wings Luncheon’s Keynote Speaker Will Be The Amazing Amal Clooney

Well, hold on to your whatevers. Ah, shoot! Don’t bother. Just stop reading and start making plans for the New Friends New Life’s 13th Annual Wings Luncheon at the Hilton Anatole.

It will be held on Thursday, April 14, and the keynote speaker will be an “internationally known attorney and human right activist” who [shares the] “nonprofit’s passion to protest women and children, combat human trafficking and provide healing and hope.”

Nope. It’s not the late Mother Teresa. It’s a woman who is brilliant, beautiful and the bride of George Clooney.

Yup! The keynote speaker will be Amal Clooney. Somehow, despite her being married to the man-oh-man of the 21st century, she has made a name all-on-her-own for making a difference for good on an international stage.

In addition to landing George, she’s a “Lebanese-British barrister, human rights activist, philanthropist and author…. Her recent wok as of 2015 has been in the field of advocating for the protection of women against physical and sexual violence in combat zones.”

According to New Friends New Life Chief Executive Officer Katie Pedigo, “New Friends New Life is elated to bring Clooney to Dallas for so many reasons. She shares the organization’s passion to help women and children escape physical and sexual abuse, and her perspective, insight and international acclaim, along with her wide appeal to the public, will help us create an even greater awareness of this worldwide epidemic.   Without question, this will enable us to raise more dollars to combat human trafficking in the Dallas area and throughout our state and nation.”

Serving as luncheon chair for the second year in a row will be the Honorable Jeanne Johnson Phillips with former First Lady Laura Bush and Ruth Altshuler serving as honorary co-chairs. Joining Laura and Ruth as honorary co-chairs will be Nancy Ann Hunt, Caren Prothro and Annette Simmons.

According to blonde Jeanne, “As a human rights activist on a global scale, Amal Clooney is a perfect voice to advocate against a crime that is happening in our own backyard. The subject of sex trafficking and the sex industry as a whole were rarely spoken of just a few years ago, but thanks to the incredible work of organizations like New Friends New Life and a corporate community that is willing to step forward with funding, we are making huge strides to end human trafficking in Dallas and throughout Texas and empower its survivors. Clooney’s knowledge, experience, and presentation will help us educate the community and send a strong message that Dallas is a no tolerance zone for human trafficking as we strive to protect our children, an estimated 400 teens on the streets each night – the most vulnerable targets of human traffickers.”

Let’s stop posting about this one because it’s gonna a quickie sell-out. Unfortunately, we got the information before they even got an online spot to buy tickets. But you can start putting this baby in the budget. As soon as the link for tickets is in place, we’ll let you know.

In the meantime, why not cozy up with the NFNL types by attending the 2015 Home Tour. Amal may not be there, but you’ll be supporting her local cause.

MySweetCharity Opportunity: Mosaic Family Services’ 6th Annual Gala

According to Mosaic Family Services’ 6th Annual Gala Co-Chair Melissa Green,

Mosaic Family Services 6th Annual Gala*

Mosaic Family Services’ 6th Annual Gala*

“A close friend’s stepdaughter was sex trafficked in Florida and California. As she would share with me the efforts to find her, it seemed unbelievable to me that this was happening here and to someone that I knew. They did find her, thankfully. I was introduced to Mosaic Family Services through an event and signed up to volunteer. Human trafficking is horrific and I wanted to do something to make a difference. Mosaic provides comprehensive services to all survivors of human rights abuses, including refugees and survivors of HT and DV. I believe that freedom is a basic, fundamental human right and all individuals should be entitled to it. This is exactly what Mosaic strives to do for their clients. After volunteering on last year’s Gala Committee, I joined Mosaic’s Board of Directors and am thrilled to co-chair our fun and exciting event this year!

“Mosaic’s 6th Annual Gala will be held at 3015 at Trinity Groves on Friday, October 16, from 7:00 – 11:00 p.m. to celebrate the strength and resiliency of victims of human trafficking and domestic violence. We are thrilled to honor Libby Spears, the director of ‘Playground: The Child Sex Trade in America’ and will also hear a powerful survivor testimony. DJ Andy Austin will rock this event and guests will experience a wonderful 3-course meal by Stock & Barrel. We will have a casino, silent auction, raffle, photo booth and open bar to make this a night you do not want to miss!”

“It is an honor and privilege to chair Mosaic’s 6th Annual Gala and to help provide hope for victims whose voices have been taken away. We can’t wait to see everyone there!”

“Tickets are $150 each and sponsorships range from $1,500 – $12,500. Tickets must be purchased in advance at or by calling 214.821.5393 x263. Be sure to get your tickets soon as space is limited and will quickly sell out!” This event will sell out! Please, join us and buy your tickets now!

“Mosaic Family Services is a safe haven for survivors of human rights abuses, including domestic violence and human trafficking. We are dedicated to serving survivors from around the world and within our community. We create access to opportunities for our clients, empowering them toward independence. We are the only shelter in North Texas providing comprehensive services to multicultural survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking.”

* Graphic provided by Mosaic Family Services

Academy Award-Winning Kevin Costner Flutters Hearts At New Friends New Life’s Wings Luncheon

Think back. Remember that fellow. When was it? Junior high? High school? He was that one with the smile that blended sincerity, mischief and adoration. It was the innocent twinkle in the eye and that smile that convinced your mom that he was the one. It was that touch of naughtiness that had your dad on all-force alert. You didn’t care. He was just so darn adorable. If he had foibles, you could rehab them.

But there was more to him than the look. It was the fact that music had a different sound when you thought of him. It was that blue shirt that he wore. It was that intoxicating scent that arose when he was near. It was that connection look that he would give you that made you electric.

Come on. You wrote about him in your diary and/or you told your ultimate BBF. Now, you’re remembering. Sure, that diary has been lost ages ago and your BBF is more concerned nowadays with her gray roots than your memories. But he still remains in your memory eyes as a star burst.

Kevin Costner

Kevin Costner

Well, on Friday, April 10, his prototype was there in the flesh and proved to be just as adorable as you remember. In your memories, you’ll have to supply the name. But on this day, he was Kevin Costner.

Even before the VIP reception was to start at 10:30, parking lots were filling to the max with NFNL volunteers driving ladies in stilettos from the satellite lots to the Hyatt Regency. One driver was just plain grateful that the predicted rain had held off.

Knowing that the New Friends New LifeWings Luncheon” VIP was to take place at 10:30, countless socialites turned up for the VIP reception acting like teenagers at a Justin Bieber concert. Instead of squealing, there were cellphone salutes. Ah, shoot! The gals all knew better, but as one Hyatt Regency staffer summed it up perfectly, “I’ve seen him on TV for years, but I want to see him in person just once.”

For those who had attended the night-before reception and dinner, they stood in the background knowing they had already had their moment with Kevin. A scant few were showing off their fuzzy photos of Kevin.

Kevin Costner surrounded

Kevin Costner surrounded

The meet-and-greet was packed with more people than normally attend a full-blown fundraiser. Despite the stage, Costner insisted on standing at the stage’s base to get to know the guests. Instead he was totally surrounded by the mass of women and few were giving up their spots. You just know you’ve hit the honey pot when even the most proper media types smile like giggly school girls pulling out their cellphones for a hopeful shot of the man.

At 11 Luncheon Chair Jeanne Johnson Phillips raised her voice at the mic beseeching the crowd to release their hostage.

Kevin Costner speaking at meet-and-greet

Kevin Costner speaking at meet-and-greet

Reluctantly they did, trying to grab just one more selfie-on-the-fly as he headed to the stage. His briefs remarks were kind. He said how he appreciated the ladies wanting to take their photo with him. Then he was whisked away through a back door.

By 11:15 the crowd of 1,500 inside the ballroom had grown, including Holly Reed, Claire Emanuelson, Pam Perella, Debra Nelson, Di Johnston, Mary Jalonick, Carol Seay, Gerald Turner, Jill Smith and Bobby Lyle. Video cameras on extension poles scoured the room for faces. It wouldn’t have been surprising to have seen a drone do a fly-by.

At 11:20 an unknown voice announced that the program would start in 10 minutes. The voice returned at 11:35 announcing the program would start in five minutes. This time it had a slight edge as it was heard to say, “Please take your seats.”

At 11:40 the color guard appeared at the side of the stage. Still people just stood chatting. At 11:41 the unknown voice put out the final call: “Ladies and gentlemen, PLEASE take your seats. The program is about to begin.” The guests followed the voice’s instructions this time.

Despite assurances that she would not be attending, former First Lady/Honorary Co-Chair Laura Bush entered the room from the side of the stage with Honorary Co-Chair Ruth Altshuler and the two took their seats at a front-row table. Secret Service folks suddenly popped up around the room.

Following a video, Dallas Police Chief David Brown arrived at the podium with the color guard. Following his providing the invocation, one of the flag guard shouted a command for the guard to move on. David said, “Yeah, I forgot he was in the Marines.”

A second video was shown and awards were presented to Sabre, the Letot Girls’ Residential Treatment Center and the Texas Department of Public Safety’s human trafficking team.

At 11:54 Jeanne thanked everyone for being patient with the parking and for coming. It was the largest attendance ever for the group. She then went on to say that the problem of human trafficking is “one of the worst situations in the city. “

Four minutes later another video was shown reporting that Texas is second in sex trafficking and 400 teens are on the streets of North Texas each night.

Chris Kleinert

Chris Kleinert

At noon, Chris Kleinert announced that a men’s advocacy group had been launched and he would be chairing it.

As guests finished their meals and tables were cleared, music created by Kevin played in the background.

At 12:15 a new unknown voice — a female voice — announced the program would continue in 10 minutes. A man warned the hotel staff, “You guys have to be out of here in one minute.” A minute later the male unknown voice told people to take their seats, since “the program is about to begin.” Lights dimmed.

KTVT’s Karen Borta was at the podium and welcomed Gary Cogill to the stage where two chairs were placed. Gary was soon joined by Kevin for a chat.

Kevin Costner and Gary Cogill

Kevin Costner and Gary Cogill

With a comfortable style and boyish charm, he touched on a variety of subjects. Highlights of the conversation included:

  • A movie that had a profound impact on him as a youth was “Giant,” especially the scene in which the Rock Hudson character loses a fist fight to the owner of a diner over serving Hudson’s Mexican daughter-in-law. In American movies at that time, Rock Hudson was not supposed to lose a fight. Kevin admitted that this situation confused him. “My hero was on the ground…As a young man, I was embarrassed that he lost.” What impressed Kevin the most was the Elizabeth Taylor character saying to Hudson, “You never stood taller.” It was at that young age of 9 or 10 that Kevin decided that’s the kind of person he wanted to be.
  • “Women are the ones who say, ‘We have enough. We need to take care of others.’”
  • His parents came from Oklahoma. His grandfather was 19 and lost everything during the Dust Bowl. “Maybe this isn’t the right place to say this, but he (his grandfather) married his 14-year-old sweetheart. (Laughter rose throughout the room, as Kevin looked around sheepishly)…and they were in love until the day they died.”
  • Having been brought in a conservative blue-collar family, Kevin’s father wasn’t too thrilled to learn that his son intended to become an actor. Years later, after achieving success in acting, Kevin told his father he was going to direct. His father’s response: “Ah, Jesus. That acting thing was going so good.” When Kevin decided to venture into music, the last person he told was his father.
  • His storied encounter with Richard Burton, who supposedly inspired him, “wasn’t that big a deal.”

    Kevin Costner

    Kevin Costner

  • In making “JFK,” Kevin recalled, he remembered one story that might be interesting since Laura Bush was present. “She doesn’t know anything about this…When I was making ‘JFK’ with (director) Oliver Stone in this beautiful city (of Washington, D.C.), Oliver was very agitated all the times. And he said that I should play Bush. I told him I don’t know him. I’d never met him.” Still, Stone pushed and pushed. Finally on a Sunday Keven was going to watch the Baltimore Orioles play in Washington, D.C. He ended up working out with the team, playing shortstop with Cal Ripken. Cal’s father even pitched to him and he hit a home run out of Memorial Stadium. “I was having this fantastic day. Then I went into the locker room and I was going to go out and watch the game. A phone call came and it was the president of the United States. It was George H.W. Bush and he said, ‘Wanna play golf?’” Kevin was escorted to the golf course and they had shoes for him. On the way he admitted that he hadn’t eaten, so a sandwich was ordered. As he arrived at the place, he got out of the car with sandwich in his mouth while trying to put on his shoes. Kevin ended up being on the president’s team, along with Andre Agassi. At one point he swings and the ball goes somewhere, with the Secret Service finding it. As they approached the 17th hole, they were being beaten badly. “George said that if we get this, we’ll tie them.” Kevin couldn’t figure how that could happen, but it did. “So now the day’s over and I’m gonna say ‘Goodbye.’ George said, ‘Wanna come to the White House?’ I said my pat answer: ‘Yes.’ So, we got on to the helicopter and received the Marines salute. My brother was in Vietnam in ’67 and ’68, so that means something to me…So, we went into the White House and the President said, ‘Do you want to go for a swim?’ I said, ‘Yeah.’ And there was nobody in the pool except me.” Afterwards they played horseshoes and had dinner with Barbara. As Kevin left for the evening, the President told how he was going to Moscow the next day and how he was going to deal with the situation. Kevin was amazed at how generous the President had been with his time and thought, “I was just going to play baseball today.” The next day, Kevin went to work and Oliver came into the makeup room saying, “I went to your buddy’s house yesterday…I got a chance to tour the White House, but they didn’t show me the good stuff. I didn’t get to see the pool. There was a guy swimming in the pool.”

    Kevin Costner and Gary Cogill

    Kevin Costner and Gary Cogill

  • “My journey as an actor has been magical.”
  • On “Bull Durham”: “It’s about men and women trying to get together. We can’t get along, but we have to.”
  • Westerns: “I always think sitting in the dark watching westward expansion in this country, thinking about the people who settle Texas and wondering, ‘Am I that tough?’ When a western is done really well, you create the architecture for the moment where actually as a man that if you want to be really honest with yourself, you go, ‘I don’t know what I would have done.’”
  • “I still have another western in me. It’s about 10 hours long.”
  • On “Dances With Wolves”: Years after the movie came out, he had finished a long day at the studio and was headed to his car when he heard a woman’s voice call his name. He was tired and continued walking, pretending that he hadn’t heard her. Again and again she called his name. He stopped and turned around. She described the ‘Dancing With Wolves’ scene in which Kevin had kissed his Indian love upon being reunited, and said it had meant so much to her. Then she told him that her husband was missing in action. She longed to have a similar reunion with her husband. In the following days Kevin arranged to have that one scene sent to her.
  • Sir Edmund Hillary: In conquering Mt. Everest, Hillary fell and was held by the strength of a single man, sherpa Tenzing Norgay, whom he didn’t even know. In deciding whether to proceed up the mountain or retreat, the sherpa said, “Do you hear that?” Hillary said he heard nothing. It was just the howling of the wind and the rain pounding. The sherpa replied, “It’s the mountain. It’s the summit. It’s calling us.” Kevin said, “To this day, no one knows who stepped first on the top of Everest. It’s kinda cool. Cause it’s not about who gets the credit. They needed each other. I think the summit is calling this room. It’s calling Texas because Texas is always up for a fight. These numbers that were done so beautifully in this film bother me. I can tell they bothered the room. We just can’t depend on Ray (Hunt) and Nancy (Hunt). They depend on us. So we’re kind of in this together.”
  • Kevin in raising his children told them every day, “You’re special, but it doesn’t make you better than anybody.”
  • On his daughters’ suitors: “I tell them that I am the first man to lay hands on my daughters. My daughters know what a man’s hands feel like that love them. Some of these young girls have not have had hands on them that have told them they were special. They have not had hands on them that love them, so they know the difference.”
  • Music: He had loved music as a kid, but put it aside until his wife asked why he hadn’t pursued it. The reason: one person who critiqued his music “was very cruel to me” when Kevin was in his 20’s. So, he dropped it. His wife persisted for two years, very gently. Finally, she “sat me down and asked me two questions, ‘Are you happy when you’re making music?’ ” He said, “Yes.” She then asked, “Do you think people in front of you…not this guy writing…but the people in front of you are happy?” And he said, “Yes.” She said, “What could be wrong with that?” He realized that it was such a “simple release for me.” He’s been playing for the past nine years.

As the hundreds made their way to their cars, Kevin headed to Ardmore to join his band Modern West, the Jeff Allen Band and Rich O’Toole at Heritage Hall that night.

JUST IN: New Friends New Life Reveals WINGS Luncheon Honorees

Reveals are sprouting up like tulips at the Arboretum during Dallas Blooms. The latest is the announcement of the people/organizations that will be honored at the New Friends New Life 12th Annual WINGS Luncheon at the Hyatt Regecy.

The reveal took place last night at Carolyn Miller‘s home. The following will be toasted at the April 10 fundraiser:

    • The 2015 Local ProtectHer Honoree: The Letot Girls’ Residential Treatment Center empowers the community’s youngest victims. Each year, more than 9,700 youth, ages 10 to 17, come into contact with Dallas County law enforcement. Many have run away to escape physical, sexual and emotional abuse or neglect. A partnership between NFNL and the Letot Girls Center is sending licensed professional counselors to the Letot Center to provide sexual abuse recovery therapy to high risk and trafficked teen girls. Research shows when treatment services are provided in conjunction with vital community resources both the youth and family benefit, and the statistics for long term success improve.
    • The 2015 State ProtectHER Honoree: The Texas Department of Public Safety‘s (DPS) mission is to protect and serve Texas in an ever-changing threat environment. Their Human Trafficking Squad – located in Dallas, is the first in the state.   In 2009, DPS, working with the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit and National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, developed the Interdiction for the Protection of Children Program to train over 7,000 patrol officers on detection, interdiction and rescue of child victims of sex trafficking and exploitation as well as the proper handling of such cases. For most of these children a skilled and well-informed patrol officer is their only hope of being rescued.
    • The 2015 National ProtectHER Honoree: Sabre is a leading technology provider to the global travel and tourism industry. Headquartered in Southlake, Sabre operates offices in approximately 60 countries around the world.   In 2012, as part of Sabre’s corporate responsibility program to help bring positive social change, Sabre developed “Passport to Freedom” – a program designed to help fight human trafficking and provide support to victims and survivors. Sabre’s goals for Passport to Freedom include increasing awareness and educating the travel industry on human trafficking issues, advocating for legislative change, and providing opportunities for travel industry leaders to collaborate on how to positively make a difference in one of the world’s worst crimes. This comprehensive initiative seeks to unite the travel and tourism industry to fight child sex trafficking and human slavery.

The event is being chaired by Jeanne Johnson Phillips with Ruth Altshuler and former First Lady Laura Bush serving as honorary chairs.

Award-winning actor/director Kevin Costner will be the headline speaker.

Tickets are $175. For more information, visit or call 214.965.0935.

North Texas Giving Day Booster: New Friends New Life

“Last year, North Texas Giving Day donations helped New Friends New Life restore and empower 792 trafficked teen girls and sexually oriented women and their children – women with children, like Jackie.

New Friends New Life*

New Friends New Life*

“Jackie was sexually abused by her mom’s boyfriends at an early age. As soon as she possibly could, she ran away from her home and that abuse. She found herself running into the arms of her next abuser – disguised as a boyfriend.   She remembers he promised to love and care for her. That ‘love’ quickly came with a price – a debt she could repay with the only thing she had, her body. Her ‘boyfriend’ was her trafficker.

“As a teenage girl on the streets of Dallas, there was no shortage of men that would lease her sexuality. Online, they would rent her in an average of 90 seconds for the cost of $90 for 90 minutes. What a small price to pay for statutory rape. By the time Jackie was 15 years old, she was a domestic trafficking victim.

"I'm not for sale"*

“I’m not for sale”*

“She became a new mom at the age of 17. Overwhelmed with the task of providing for a child, she remembers believing there was only one way to ‘earn’ enough money to put food on the table and pay her bills. She overlooked her own happiness and dignity to provide for her child.

Mother and child*

Mother and child*

“A friend told her about New Friends New Life and after her first visit she felt something foreign to her – hope. She began attending weekly support groups that included relationship building, life skills training, and Bible-based curriculum for formally trafficked or exploited women and their children. She focused on growing spiritually and building her parenting skills. Through counseling she began to heal and discover a different way to life. Jackie learned how to budget and gained valuable skills. She began working hard with her New Friends New Life team to enroll in education classes and secured a ‘Second Chance Job’ to help her overcome numerous obstacles to obtaining financial and emotional freedom.

“Jackie credits New Friends New Life for ‘molding her into the woman she is today.’ She is now a ‘full time employee with a 401k, a homeowner, and a better woman to be around today.’ Most importantly she says that with the help of New Friends New Life, ‘I am the mother I always dreamed to have and be.’

“Help Dallas women like Jackie by donating to New Friends New Life on September 18 at when every donation of $25 or more will be amplified by bonus funds.”

-By Katie Pedigo, New Friends New Life Executive Director

* Graphic and photos provided by New Friends New Life

MySweetCharity Opportunity: The Home Tour

According to the New Friends New Life’s Home Tour Event Chair Brooke Kilburn,
“Let’s look at the facts:

  1. Texas ranks 2nd in the country for the most human trafficking according to “The Polaris Report”
  2. The Dallas sex trade is a $99 million crime according to Urban Institute commissioned by DOJ
  3. The average age an American girl enters the sex trade is 13 years old according to Children at Risk
  4. Sex traffickers will approach a runaway teen within 48 hours of being on the street in Dallas according to the Dallas Police Department
  5. There are an estimated 400 trafficked teens on the street each night in Dallas according to the Urban Institute commissioned by DOJ
  •  96% of those have been physically abused.
  • More than 93% have been sexually abused.
  • 87% have been abandoned.
  • 80% have run away from troubled, fatherless homes.

“Who is helping Dallas girls and women?

“New Friends New Life restores and empowers formerly trafficked girls and sexually exploited women and their children. By providing access to education, job training, interim financial assistance, mental health and spiritual support, New Friends New Life helps women and their children overcome backgrounds of abuse, addiction, poverty and limited opportunities.

Home Tour*

Home Tour*

“Honorary Chair Pat Schenkel joins me in inviting you to help Dallas girls and women. Sign up to volunteer, sponsor or attend the 15th Annual Home Tour benefiting New Friends New Life featuring four homes in the prestigious Park Cities neighborhoods on November 23 from 1- 4 p.m.

“Homes will be announced on Thursday, September 18, at the Home Tour Launch Party!
Tickets & Sponsorships: Discounted advance tickets are available for purchase for $25 at ten select Tom Thumb stores on Monday, October 20. Tickets & sponsorships can be purchased now via our website,

* Graphics courtesy of New Friends New Life

North Texas Giving Day Goal: To Top Its Own National Record On September 18

Brent Christopher toasting 2013 North Texas Giving day

Brent Christopher toasting 2013 North Texas Giving day

“After last year’s national record-crushing 75,000 donations totaling $25.2 million, North Texas Giving Day is back with the hope that North Texas will rise to the challenge and outdo itself once again. With new community events and extra time to donate, the sixth annual North Texas Giving Day aims to raise the giving day bar once again to benefit more local nonprofits. On September 18, 2014, donations can be made 6 a.m. to midnight to more than 1,600 certified nonprofits listed on the new website Donations $25 and above will be amplified by $2 million in bonus funds and prizes.

“New this year, Communities Foundation of Texas will host the Dallas County Donation Station with the inaugural North Texas Giving Day Kids Give from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at our headquarters, 5500 Caruth Haven Lane, Dallas, TX. The Kids Give sponsored by DFWChild will provide kids a chance to donate their loose change as well as do hands-on philanthropic and kid-friendly activities like assembling ‘Hope’ packages for kids in the hospital and more. Visitors may purchase lunch from local food trucks and watch complimentary showcase performances. See a full list of activities here. We will also be giving out two new prizes to nonprofits that are present to win. (It will be fun. Check out the video from last year.)

“Also new this year, we have Donation Stations and events all across the metroplex from Fort Worth to McKinney.

2014 North Texas Giving Day*

2014 North Texas Giving Day*

“Giving Day is a wonderful day to support the important work of nonprofits serving North Texas. Thanks to MySweetCharity, our North Texas Giving Day blog sponsor, from now until September 18, you can learn more about some these amazing nonprofits participating in Giving Day. Throughout the month, MySweetCharity will be generously sharing guest blog posts from select nonprofits representing communities throughout North Texas.

“Each year, we are amazed by the continued generosity of the donors that participate in this day, and we hope that local nonprofits raise even more money this year. And, surely we will thanks to the many MySweetCharity fans who give their time, talent and treasure to the wonderful nonprofits that are participating.

“Its success could not be possible without the generosity of the donors that make bonus and prize money possible. Bonus funds and prizes have been contributed by Bank of America, Katherine C. Carmody Trust Fund, Communities Foundation of Texas, Community Foundation of North Texas, The Dallas Foundation, Dallas Women’s Foundation, The Hersh Foundation, Hunt Consolidated’s Hunt Cares Campaign, Meadows Foundation, Granville C. and Gladys H. Morton Fund of Communities Foundation of Texas, The Rees-Jones Foundation, Sage Payment Services, Sid W. Richardson Foundation, Harold Simmons Foundation, The Swan Smith Fund of Communities Foundation of Texas, Mike and Mary Terry Family Foundation and an anonymous donor. Thank you to WFAA Channel 8, The Dallas Morning News, MySweetCharity, 98.7 KLUV, 100.3 JACK FM, 103.7 KVIL, Fort Worth Business Press, Living Magazine, Classical Rush, Texas Tribune and DFWChild, the 2014 North Texas Giving Day media sponsors.

“Whether online at or in-person at the many Donation Station events, please join me Thursday, September 18 in giving to the nonprofits that make North Texas a great place to live!”

-By Brent Christopher, Communities Foundation of Texas President/CEO

* Photo provided by Communities Foundation of Texas

Al Biernat Spearheads Mosaic Family Services With Fashion For Freedom Luncheon, Abi Ferrin And Juliette Longuet

As mentioned before, Dallas has a heck of a lot of Mosaics in operation. If you were to ask restaurateur Al Biernat, he wouldn’t hesitate to tell you that the least known is Mosaic Family Services. But after learning the disturbing reality of MFS’s work in dealing with human rights abuses like human trafficking and domestic violence, he was going to change that spot on the MFS’s meter.

Abi Ferrin

Abi Ferrin

Whew! Boy, did Al call in some favors and friends to do that! Along with Mosaic’s sweetheart philanthropist Jan Rees-Jones, her designing buddy Abi Ferrin and NYC-based designer Juliette Longuet plus Mayor Mike Rawlings, Al had the big guns plus Nancy C. Rogers and sponsors like Tim Headington to spearhead the effort on Wednesday, May 7.

Jenny Bania and Al Biernat

Jeny Bania and Al Biernat

After all, Al had the perfect spot — his place-to-be, namesake restaurant. Despite a reputation for never, ever shutting down for fundraisers, he made an exception and his Al’s Pals (Brad Fuller and Audra Perdue) were there to make sure everything was “Al-right”!

The results?

A sold-out event with in seconds of Fashion for Freedom announcement.

Only problem? Women everywhere ordering lunch at the same time. Results? Al’s kitchen got slammed all at once with more than 170 orders for three courses including a first course (Al’s Salad, Summer Salad or Caesar Salad), second course (Beef Tenderloin or Bay of Fundy Salmon) and Dessert and Moet Nectar Rose.

But it wasn’t a big problem because the chatter level was higher than the dome in the restaurant.

Kristen Johnson

Kristen Johnson

Among those chit-chatting were Paige Lane, Johnson types (Kris and Kristen), Lisa Ogle, Cara French, Debra Nelson, Jill Tananbaum, Sunie Solmon, Leisa Street, Terra Perez, Headington headies (Matthew Simon and Jeny Bania) and MFS Executive Director Walter Nguyen.

Mike Rawlings and Jan Rees-Jones

Mike Rawlings and Jan Rees-Jones

Even Mayor Mike, who had been juggling the City Council Discussion over the Southwest vs. Virgin America debate arrived on the scene. Just getting him into the dining room was a major accomplishment, since everyone wanted their picture taken with him.

Needless to say, he couldn’t stay for the vittles, but he wanted to once again make it known where he stands when it comes to the abuse of women in any form.

Fashion For Freedom fashion show

Fashion For Freedom fashion show

Following lunch, a trunk show of Abi’s and Juliette’s collections took place in the center of the dining room. While the “mod” lighting was jazzy, some of the outfits appeared to have “Ferrin” emblazoned on them.

Juliette Longuet (second from the right)

Juliette Longuet (second from the right)

Espa gift bags

Espa gift bags

But no complaints thanks to a beautiful crowd, glasses of champagne and killer gift bags courtesy of the Joule’s Espa. One of the items was a 90-minute gift card for services at the luxurious spa.

Award-Winning Actress Sally Field Makes New Friends At New Friends New Life’s Wings Luncheon

There were those who had seriously thought about locking down tickets for the New Friends New Life’s Wings luncheon on Friday, April 11, featuring Sally Field. But they got really busy and put it off. Major oops! By the time they tried to get a place, it was way too late. What a loss!

Because everyone in the Anatole’s Khmer Pavilion gained a new best friend forever in the diminutive, award-winning actress.

With more than 50 years under her waistband, Sally faced a new challenge — the VIP reception, where a legion of fans lined up around the Carpenter Ballroom and out into Atrium I for the patron party and a photo opp.

Sally Field and her New Friends New Life friends

Sally Field and her New Friends New Life friends

The big problem was Sally. Every photo opp became a sincere handshake and a beyond “howdy-do encounter.

[Editor’s note: In a time when Botox is facial soup du jour and plastic surgeons are on retainer, Sally is a beaut. Sure, she had gained 25 pounds for the role of Mary Lincoln in Lincoln, but on this day she was slim, trim and truly natural with a line here and there.]

Too soon the chimes gonged and the multitudes headed to the Khmer. Perhaps because of her size, Sally somehow managed to slip through the crowds pretty much unnoticed. Once at her table she explored her goody bag like any guest. She examined each of the Mary Kay hand products quizzically. Someone told her “that stuff really works.” She gave it all a second look.

Debbie Foster, Sarah Saldana and David Brown

Debbie Foster, Sarah Saldana and David Brown

While Sally was checking MK out, NFNL Board Chair Pat Schenkel arranged to have U.S. Attorney Sarah Saldana photographed with Dallas Police Chief David Brown and Assistant Chief Deputy Debbie Foster.

Alan and Lee Ann White and Michael Fowler

Alan and Lee Ann White and Michael Fowler

Finally when everyone, including Honorary Co-Chairs Lee Ann White and Michael Fowler, Alan White, Ashlee and Chris Kleinert, mother-daughter teams (Annette Simmons with Amy Simmons, Lana Andrews with Natalie McGuire), Robin Bagwell, Jan Osborn, Amara Durham, Nancy Best, Sharon McCutchin, Jimmie Westcott, Creighton Webb, Terry Van Willson, Dr. Hugh McClung, Pete Schenkel, Gail Turner, Laura McClung, was seated, Chief Brown gave the invocation, Luncheon Co-Chairs Pat McEvoy and Angela Nash welcomed all and NFNL Executive Director Katie Pedigo made a “Call to Action.”

Pat Schenkel, Byron Fassett and Gerald Turner

Pat Schenkel, Byron Fassett and Gerald Turner

After lunch was served, Pat and NFNL Advisory Board Chair Gerald Turner presented “Protect Her Awards” to Sgt. Byron Fassett, Nancy Ann Hunt and U.S. Attorney Saldaña.

Nancy Ann Hunt

Nancy Ann Hunt

Then Gary Cogill and Sally took their places on stage for a chat that focused on her career. It became apparent that Sally touched all the generations in the room. From the 1960’s Flying Nun, 1970’s Sybil and Norma Rae, 1980’s Places in the Heart, Murphy’s Romance and Steel Magnolias, 1990’s Mrs. Doubtfire and Forrest Gump and 21st century’s Lincoln.

During his introduction, Gary attributed only two Emmys to Sally, while she held up three fingers [Sybill in 1977, ER in 2001 and Brothers and Sisters in 2007] trying to silently correct him from her table. But he made up for it by having hunky KTVT sportscaster Babe Laufenberg drafted from the audience to escort her to the stage. To this she quipped, “I don’t ever recall being escorted by ‘babe’.”

Sally Field

Sally Field

Regardless, Gary did an excellent job of covering as many areas of interest as possible within the time restraints:

  • The subject of Meryl Streep came up. Sally suggested that each award-winning actress had taken different roads to their places in Hollywood hierarchy. While Meryl had been studying acting at Vassar and the Yale School of Drama, Sally grew up in working-class family and on the little screen at the age of 19. Eventually she studied with Lee Strasberg and became a “method” actor.
  • She told how during her early days doing TV sitcoms (Gidget in 1965 and The Flying Nun in 1967), it was indeed difficult for women to make the transition from TV to the big screen. Sure, there had been James Garner, Clint Eastwood and Steve McQueen, but for a female. . . really tough.
  • Julia Roberts in Steel Magnolias — Director Herbert Ross gave Julia rough treatment. The ensemble of veteran female actors including Sally, Shirley MacLaine and Dolly Parton warned him to “back off. He would then look at us before he would say anything to her.” According to Sally, “One time Dolly just got him.”
  • Tom Hanks —She described working with Tom Hanks as the “wonderfulness of working with Tom Hanks and (director) Robert Zemeckis.” Throughout their working relationship, she had played his love interest (Punchline), as well as his mother (Forrest Gump) ranging from a young mom to an elderly one.
  • Sally Field

    Sally Field

    Getting the role of Mary Lincoln — It was the last question because of the length response, but no one regretted it one iota. She told in finite detail how over the years of preparing the movie, director Steven Spielberg had wanted her for the role of Abraham Lincoln’s wife. The original plan was for Liam Neeson to play the role of Lincoln. But the try-out reading missed the mark. Neeson had just lost his wife Natasha Richardson a month before and he was a “walking around zombie. We did the reading and you barely hear him. My heart was dying for him.” But as Sally said, “I ate him alive. But what can I tell you? He, consequently, dropped out of the film.” Time passed and Daniel Day Lewis was brought on board. Sally knew there would be problems. It was an age thing. Abraham Lincoln was 56 and Mary was 47 during the time period of the movie. When the movie was to be produced, Daniel was 55 and Sally was 65. Translation: Sally would have to be playing almost 20 years younger than she actually was. She fought for it saying, “I am Mary.” The first test had Steven apologetically calling Sally two days later and saying it just wasn’t going to work. However, the next morning he called her back saying he had thought about it and sent the tape to Daniel, who said he wanted me to meet her. It was decided she and Steven would meet in New York City “for coffee” with Daniel, who would be flying in from Ireland. Sally was willing to go anywhere to discuss the possibility. Then a call came in asking if Sally wanted to have hair and makeup people? Her response: “For coffee?” They said, “Oh, we didn’t tell you? We’re going to do a test.” According to Sally, “Daniel flew in from Ireland for the day because he felt that Steven needed to see him and I [sic] together on film.” When the test took place, she was seated in a high-back chair and Daniel was across the room among a group of “faceless people”. She sensed that “Daniel was heading toward me. I could sense people going away. And I slowly turned to look and there was my wonderful Mr. Lincoln ambling toward me with his hat and his beard and his totally whole demeanor. I didn’t rise until he was here standing next to me. I stood up and gave him my hand and he kissed it. I said, ‘Mr. Lincoln.’ He said, ‘Mother.’ That’s what they called each other. And I could feel a hush in the group of people . . . and I leaned my head into his chest and whispered “Thank you, thank you.” He kissed the top of my head and said, ‘My honor.’”

It was the perfect way to end a perfect lunch.

Round Robin April 10: Thrift Studio Preview Party, Wings Patron Party And Crystal Charity Ball Advisory Board Reception

And the beat went on Thursday, April 10. Starting early in the morning at the Family Gateway announcement breakfast at the Omni and then hopping over to the Dallas Arboretum for the Mad Hatter’s Tea, the day should have ended to rest up for the upcoming weekend. But, no! Dallas fundraising was just warming up for an evening of more activities throughout the area.

Thrift Studio Preview Party

The doors for the Thrift Studio Preview had hardly opened for the Dwell With Dignity month-long pop-up shop when the place was packed.

John Phifer Marrs and James Campbell

John Phifer Marrs and James Campbell

As cars lined up to get into the valet queue, the crowd including Joyce Fox, John Phifer Marrs, James Campbell, Erin Mathews, Richard Graziano, Meredith Hite, Kim Bannister, Jennifer Clark and Matthew Simon) inside was cozy. So cozy that at times it was hard to wander through the vignettes of furnishings available for sale.

But wait! A “Sold” tag here. A “Sold” tag there. So many of the items were already bearing that four-letter word.

Jan Showers

Jan Showers

Not to worry. Founders Lisa Robison and Kim Turner and their team of volunteers had a boundless amount of couches, tables, beds, etc. all ready to replace the purchased things. Among the designers showcasing were last Fall’s Thrift Studio Honorary Chair Jan Showers, Julio Quinones + Culp Associates, Mecox, Sarah Pickard + Robert Allen Design, Swoon and Tompkins Lloyd Interiors + David Sutherland Showroom.

Julie Lloyd, Jane Parker and Clair Tompkins

Julie Lloyd, Jane Parker and Clair Tompkins

The Thrift Studio is open Tuesday through Saturday until May 10. It’s free to visit, but it’s hard to leave without a purchase.

Wings Patron Dinner

Member of the Best collection

Member of the Best collection

If the Perot Museum had a satellite location, it would be Nancy and Randy Best’s Preston Hollow estate. No, there aren’t any interactive sports nor fracking exhibitions. Better than any of that, and Randy proudly showed it all to Wings’ patron dinner guest of honor Sally Field, who was to be the keynote speaker at the next day’s New Friends New Life fundraising luncheon.

Sally Field and Randy Best

Sally Field and Randy Best

On the second floor of the Best mansion was a museum of artifacts that made Harlan Crow’s collectibles look downright contemporary: Rocks, geodes, coins, wall plaques of fossils, life-sized figures of earliest forms of mankind.

As Sally leaned over one of the glass cases, Randy pointed an item out saying, “The Egyptians were just nomads. They collected these things.”

The petite Field wearing glasses could have been mistaken for a high schooler on a field trip.

In addition to taking in every inch of the museum, she chatted with every one of the 50 guests. It was as if she were here to stay and wanted to get to know her new neighbors.

Lee Ann White, Sally Field and Michael Fowler

Lee Ann White, Sally Field and Michael Fowler

Among the folks that Sally met were Laura McClung, Honorary Co-Chairs Lee Ann White and son Michael Fowler, April Box Chamberlain and her husband John, Alan White and Ashlee Kleinert, who had just added a fourth truck to her Ruthie’s Rolling Cafes. Ah, more grilled cheese sandwiches!

Angela Nash

Angela Nash

Luncheon Co-Chair Pat McEvoy and husband Charles reported that their new puppy Santiago (aka Sonny) was away at puppy boot camp. . . Co-Chair Angela Nash looked picture perfect despite having ripped her dress earlier in the day. No problem. She simply sewed it up with time to spare.

After a fabulous dinner in the ground level, it was an early evening. The group had to re-group in time to join the 1000+ for the Wings VIP reception and lunch at the Anatole the next day.

Crystal Charity Ball Advisory Board Reception

Don and Robyn Conlon and Heather and Todd Furniss

Don and Robyn Conlon and Heather and Todd Furniss

The Crystal Charity Ball Advisory Board was honored at Heather and Todd Furniss’s Highland Park Home. It seemed like so many of the guests had had a full night of “must-attend” events, but they saved this one for last to relax and catch up.

Karen Hughes

Karen Hughes

Equest Chairman of the Board Emily Hargrove was juggling Tony Cointreau’s Saturday talk for the Dallas Institute, arrangements for the Equest Triple Crown Gala on May 3 and supporting husband Miles’ movie on The Starck Club premiering at the Dallas International Film Festival. . . Gigi Potter Salley reported that the family home was scheduled to undergo some major renovations. . . Kathy and Richard Holt were asked how they met. It was in college. In what class? Psychology.

Once again Melissa Macatee was called upon by CCB Chair Robyn Conlon to whistle the crowd (Norma Hunt, Karen Hughes, Patti Flowers and Tom Swiley, Alicia Wood, Jan and Fred Hegi, Angie and Kevin Kadesky and Peggy and Dan Meyers) together in the den. Many of the gentlemen were highly impressed by the power of the plucky pucker.

Angie and Kevin Kadesky

Angie and Kevin Kadesky

Robyn thanked the advisory board, the seven 2014 beneficiaries and Kent Eastman, whose Capital One underwrote the evening.

Speaking of banking and big numbers, Robyn reported that the 2014 goal was a whopping $5,127,886 and added, “I am not going to be the first ball chair to not fund them (the beneficiaries).”

Grovel Alert: New Friends New Life’s Wings Luncheon

Sally Field*

Sally Field*

If you were thinking you’d like to attend Friday’s Wings Luncheon with award-winning actress Sally Field, stop thinking and start ordering your ticket. Only a handful of spots are left for the New Friends New Life fundraiser.

Pat McEvoy and Angela Nash are co-chairing the event at the Anatole with honorary co-chairs Lee Ann White and her son Michael Fowler.

* Photo provided by 
New Friends New Life

Gary Cogill To Interview Sally Fields At New Friends New Life’s “Wings Luncheon”

Gary Cogill (File photo)

Gary Cogill (File photo)

And the news keeps pouring in at MySweetCharity headquarters.

Fewer than ten days remain until Sally Fields is in the spotlight on stage for the New Friends New Life2014 Wings Luncheon” at the Anatole.

NFNL Executive Director Katie Pedigo just reported that instead of Sally at the podium, they’ve arranged to have her interviewed by the one-and-only, ever-adorable Gary Cogill.

If you’ve ever seen Gary conduct an interview, you know the chat between the two is going to be fascinating.

Sally has led an amazing life, both on and off the big/little screen — wearing a habit and flying the skies, dating Burt Reynolds, making a memory-making Academy Award winning acceptance speech, playing Mary Lincoln.

This one may require asking the boss to let you have a v-e-r-y long lunch. In fact, just call in sick because you’re going to be sick to miss this one.

Fashion For Freedom Luncheon To Take Over Al Biernat’s With Abi Ferrin And Juliette Longuet For Mosaic Family Services

Fashion For Freedom Luncheon*

Fashion For Freedom Luncheon*

You’re more likely to win the Powerball lottery than to have a fundraiser at Al Biernat’s. But the Mosaic Family Services has managed to achieve just that — Al Biernat’s! On Wednesday, May 7, the gathering place for celebrities and those-who-make-things-happen will be the scene of the First Annual Fashion for Freedom Luncheon.

But don’t go a-thinking that it’s going to be a ladies-with-white-gloves-type event. Oh, please! Those haven’t been around since the S&S Tearoom left Highland Park Village. This lunch is going to be fun with food and fashion.

In addition to a choice of three of one of three salads, key lime and coconut cream pies and champagne, the event will kick off with a Mosaic Martini reception.

Abi Ferrin*

Abi Ferrin*

Juliette Longuet*

Juliette Longuet*

Following lunch, there won’t be one fashion show. Nope! There will be two featuring Abi Ferrin and New York City-based Juliette Longuet plus a pop-up store, “where guests can purchase their favorite items from the runway.”

And to add a flair of gentlemanly charm, the Freedom luncheon will have both restaurateur Al and Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings on hand.

Just in case Mosaic Family Services is new on your radar, it ‘s been around for 20 years offering “free shelter, legal representations, counseling and support services to survivors of human rights abuses.”

Seating will be limited to 150, so hop to it and make your reservation. You probably were going to lunch at Al’s anyhow, so why not have it benefit Mosaic?

* Materials provided by Mosaic Family Services

New Friends New Life Celebrates Its New Home Sweet Home

The weather outside may have once again been chilly, but it was warm at the New Friends New Life housewarming. The new digs across “the pond” from the Bush Center were a perfect storm of effort, people and furnishings for the program that “restores and empowers formerly trafficked girls and sexually exploited women and their children.”

Located for the convenience of clients near the DART station, it provides an expanded space, a well-thought-through floor plan and furnishings that fit within the organization’s budget.

Katie Pedigo, Robin Bagwell, Jan Osborn and Dr. Melissa Tonn

Katie Pedigo, Robin Bagwell, Jan Osborn and Dr. Melissa Tonn

Guests like Nancy Ann Hunt, Ashlee Kleinert, Robin Bagwell, Jan Osborn and Dr. Melissa Tonn got to tour the offices and conferences room with black-and-white carpeting with freshly painted walls and windows with treetop views of the area.

Comfy chairs, polished wooden desks and refurbished furniture that looked pristine thanks to elbow grease looked familiar for some guests for good reason. They used to belong to Crystal Charity Ball and other organizations that had donated the items.

As for the floor plan, the expanded room allowed for adult programs to take place in a large conference room just a wall away from a colorful room for children to work through their own issues.

The highlight of NFNL Executive Director Katie Pedigo’s office was a brand-spanking new white desk. It was a gift from her husband for her 40th birthday.