JUST IN: First-Day Sales Of Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala Single Ticket Sales Astounded Even DSO President/CEO Jonathan Martin

Jonathan Martin (File photo)

Despite Dallas Symphony Orchestra President/CEO Jonathan Martin disappointing many with his recent announcement of leaving North Texas for Cincinnati, he also shared some good news about the upcoming DSO Gala. It seems that the day that the single tickets for the DSO Gala went on sale, they really blew the DSO circuits.

When asked the cause for this DSO history-making situation, Jonathan said that it was three-fold: the amazing leadership (Co-Chairs Lisa and Clay Cooley and Honorary Chair Margaret McDermott), featured cellist Yo-Yo Ma and the final gala concert under the direction of DSO Music Director Jaap van Zweden.

Make sure that your reservation is in for the Saturday, September 16, black tie fundraiser at the Meyerson.

Genesis Annual Luncheon VIP Sponsors Celebrated The Jane Doe And HeRO Awards At Amanda And Brint Ryan’s Home-Sweet-Home

Amanda and Brint Ryan

When Amanda and Brint Ryan waved goodbye to the last of the 75 guests at the Genesis Annual Luncheon VIP Sponsors Party on Thursday, May 11, hopefully they checked all the nooks and crannies of their palatial digs. The reason? The main house and grounds were so absolutely perfect, it was good money that someone would hide out just to spend the night.

Ryan main house

Ryan doghouse

Even the Ryan’s doghouse was a mini-version of the main house. The two Ryan pooches had to watch the festivities from their fenced-in mini-estate, while the party was going on.

But the night wasn’t just for critters and palace gazing. It was to thank the Genesis major donors and to present some awards in advance of the annual luncheon on May 15.

Gerald Turner

Chuck Thoele and David Miller

When a classical string group stopped playing and the pool’s fountains closed down, it signaled that the evening’s program was getting under way, with guests in attendance like Nancy Best, Gail and Gerald Turner, Carolyn and David Miller, Beth and Chuck Thoele, Bob Mong and Steve Langbein.

First to speak was Genesis Annual Luncheon Co-Chair Nikki Webb, who thanked the Ryans for their hospitality. “I find your house so incredibly warm, and I’m sure it’s a reflection of y’all,” she said. Then, Nikki revealed for the first time that a fella that she’d dated in college had proved to be a very wrong person for a relationship. She admitted that while she feared him, her friends claimed that he was really a great guy. Luckily, Nikki rose above and out of that situation and eventually married her husband/Genesis Annual Luncheon Co-Chair Crayton Webb.  

Crayton and Nikki Webb

Next Crayton took the mic and announced that this year’s HeRO Award, which honors men who take a public stand against domestic violence, would be going to former Dallas Police Chief David Brown. The ex-chief, Crayton said, “was involved in preventing domestic violence long before” the tragic police shootings on July 7, 2016. Brown would accept the award, it was explained, at the May 15 luncheon at the Hilton Anatole.

With that, Genesis Women’s Shelter CEO Jan Langbein took over, explaining that the 2017 Jane Doe Award—which honors groups or individuals who stand strongly in support of domestic-abuse victims—would be going to the Junior League of Dallas. Jan, who was initially exposed to Genesis as a JLD volunteer and later won its highest honor, the Mary Harriman Community Leadership Award, explained that Genesis currently enjoys the services “of the most JLD volunteers of any nonprofit in Dallas.”

Nancy Best and Jan Langbein

Bonner Allen

Accepting the Jane Doe award was Bonner Allen, the league’s 2016-2017 president. While 2017-2018 President Jennifer Tobin looked on, Bonner proudly said, “I can’t tell you how much this award means to us. I couldn’t think of a better partner [for the league] than Genesis.”  

Under A Bright Sun, The Star Shone With Great Taste, Cowboys, Chefs And North Texas Food Bank Fans

After the ups and downs of weather days combining cashmere shawls with Daisy Dukes, Sunday, May 7, was bright, shiny and in the 80s. It was especially shiny at the Dallas Cowboys’ Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, where the North Texas Food Bank’s fundraiser, Taste of the Cowboys, was preparing for 1,000 guests. Presenting sponsor for the event was Caliber Collision.

There had been changes from the past. It was no longer called Taste of the NFL. It was no longer at AT&T Stadium. It was no longer led by he-who-used-to-be-known-as Kent Rathbun, although there was a chap non-cooking on the premises with his family (wife/restaurateur Tracy Rathbun, son Max Rathbun and daughter Garrett Rathbun).

Garrett Rathbun,, Max Rathbun and Kent and Tracy Rathbun

While the Star’s mini-Jerry World is still a project in progress, there was some confusion about where to park and check in. VIPs like Susan and John Farris, Larry James of  CitySquare, current Dallas Cowboys center Travis Frederick, and former Cowboys star Preston Pearson were to enter for a 5 p.m. start, but evidently some general-admission early birds nestled in a line before their 6 p.m. official get in.

John and Susan Farris

Preston Pearson and Larry James

As signage directed all to general parking a block or so away, smart VIP-ers headed around the corner to the valet check-in. Once on foot, though, the confusion continued. Folks lined up 10 deep to check in, only to finally learn: “Oh, you’re supposed to go outside and the lady there will direct you.” Alas, there was no woman there, so humbled VIP-ers wandered down the walkway like children lost at the State Fair. Soon they discovered an outdoor mini-stadium field surrounded by food stations and topped with a stage with bands performing (the headliner set for 8:30 p.m. was to be Reckless Kelly).

Taste of the Cowboys stage

The good news was that, despite the lack of signage directions, the in-the-flesh NTFB staffers were more than willing to help get things straightened out.

Once inside the air-conditioned lobby between the indoor and outdoor playing fields, there were a Mirmir Photo Booth, a Kendra Scott set-up, and a number of silent auction items.

Dunia Borgia

Aaron Hardwick and Tina Um

Chris Memme

Outside, there sure wasn’t any A/C. But there were a heck of a lot of local chefs cooking up a storm. Dunia Borgia of La Duni Baking Studio had replaced her frozen treats (at last year’s event) with sweet empanadas; Tina Um and Aaron Hardwick were showing off their General Tsao’s Chicken from Howard Wang’s China Grill; and BIRD Bakery proprietor Elizabeth Chambers Hammer, famed for her cookies, cupcakes, and mini-cupcakes, was enjoying the afternoon with Julie Bowsher and Mary Welch. Other eateries represented included Mi Cocina, Seasons 52, Off the Bone Barbeque, and The Common Table. 

Jamie Poper, Jill Bailey, Taylor Wencis and Ben Austin

Blythe Beck

Craig Walter

Julie Bowsher and Mary Welch

2017 Crystal Charity Ball Theme – “Evening In The Alps” – Announced At Jan And Trevor Rees-Jones’ Frank Lloyd Wright-Inspired Estate

The Crystal Charity Ball theme announcement party generally attracts 60-75 guests. But on Thursday, May 4, the headcount was just shy of 200.

Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones

Well, yeah! After years of designing and construction, Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones had made their 15,000-square-foot home the site of the 2017 CCB theme announcement, and even the most stay-at-home types weren’t going to miss this one. And it was one that was not to be missed.

Channeling Frank Lloyd Wright into the 21st century, this baby overlooking the Dallas Country Club was brilliant, to say the very least.

Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones home

The Rees-Jones’ connecting home offices showcased the couple’s different styles. His wood shelves and drawers with hardbound books had a perfect view of the golf course. Her gloriously sleek and gleaming office, with shelves filled with framed photos of family and friends, was surrounded by the creek and the towering trees. Connecting the two offices was an open doorway and a see-through fireplace.

As guests entered the home, they were greeted by 2017 CCB Chair Pam Perella and a couple of snow bunnies lending a feel for what would be announced. Then it was decision time: go outdoors on the terrace, or wander through the house with its mammoth windows and wonderful art collections. (Jan’s is modern, while Trevor’s is western, by the likes of such legends as C.M. Russell and Frederic Remington.)

Janie Condon, Margaret Hancock and Angie Kadesky

Cynthia Beaird and Tiffany Divis

Before the announcement took place, the guests were enjoying hors d’oeuvres by Cassandra and revealing their stories of the day. Janie Condon was preparing to Southwest it to Kentucky to greet her first granddaughter… Cynthia Beaird had had a rough day. Forget her being stuck on the tollway for nearly an hour; she had dropped her purse and broken an ornament on it. Then, arriving at the CCB reception, she was more than an hour late and still was on her way to husband Brice Beaird’s performance… Lisa Singleton was late arriving. She had been way north on the tollway for the 2017 Cattle Baron’s Trailblazer party at another mega-estate belonging to Howard Hughes Corporation CEO David Weinreb.

Crystal Charity Ball theme announcement guests

Bob White and Pam Perella

Quietly, the bunnies disappeared from view and guests were herded onto the terrace. Pam, standing next to a covered easel, thanked Jan and Trevor and the evening’s sponsor Bank of Texas, who was represented by Bob White. Bob, an old hand at these occasions, made his comments brief, thanking the CCB for what they do so well—raise money “in buckets.” While Pam recognized key people in the crowd like event producer Tom Addis, the bunnies were seen just below the terrace inching their way up the steps along with Bernie the St. Bernard, which had arrived earlier in the day from New Jersey. Just in time, they joined Pam on the other side of the easel as it was uncovered and Pam announced the 2017 theme would be “Evening In The Alps.”

Snow bunnies, Bernie the St. Bernard and Pam Perella

However, it should be noted that word evidently had slipped out to some of the CCBers, since a few wore snow-white outfits and others’ ensembles were highlighted by sparkling designs.

It will be interesting to see how the 1,000+ guests interpret the theme on Saturday, December 2, at the Hilton Anatole to benefit area children’s nonprofits.    

For more photos of the party, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2017 Crystal Charity Ball Theme Announcement Reception

Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones

Leave it to the Crystal Charity Ball ladies to land one of the most talked about estates-in-the-making in the Park Cities for the theme announcement of the 2017 children’s nonprofit fundraiser. The home-sweet-home a la Frank Lloyd Wright belonging to Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones drew nearly three times the usual number for such an occasion on Thursday, May 4.

Snow bunnies, Bernie the St. Bernard and Pam Perella

With the night air being spectacular and the terrace overlooking the Dallas Country Club golf course and Turtle Creek, 2017 Crystal Charity Ball Chair Pam Perella with a couple of snow bunnies and Bernie the stuffed St. Bernard at her side revealed the theme would be “Evening In The Alps.”

While the post is being finalized, check out the photos at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

JUST IN: Multi-Award Winner Jennifer Hudson To Headline CitySquare’s 2017 A Night To Remember On September 9 At The Winspear

Leave it to the CitySquare fundraisers. They always manage to come up with a performer who guarantees a sell-out. Last year’s Jerry Seinfeld was nearly a done deal before the ink on the contract was dry. Others who have been filled the Winspear Opera House for CitySquare have been Gladys Knight, Vince Gill, LeAnn Rimes, Clint Black, Steve Martin, Kirk Franklin, Jay Leno, Lyle Lovett, Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin and Hall and Oates.

Jennifer Hudson (File photo)

And the stellar talent roll-call keeps coming in, with the reveal that the headliner for A Night To Remember 2017 will be all-around winner (Academy Award, Grammy Award, Golden Globe Award, Screen Actors Guild Award) Jennifer Hudson.

Her voice is incredible and her presence on stage is memorable.

Co-chairing the event for the Saturday, September 9th fundraiser will be Wendy and Boyd Messmann,Tiffany Touchstone-Hawkins and Brandon Hawkins and Sherel Riley.

Tickets and sponsorships are available now. Proceeds from the event will support CitySquare’s “17 social service programs that address hunger, health, housing and hope with more than 50,000 human touches annually.”

So, while you’re chilling on your vacation, make plans now for a cool evening with Jennifer. Keep your fingers crossed that she might sing “Hallelujah.”

2017 Fur Ball Team Reports At Kick-Off Party That The SPCA Of Texas Fundraiser Will Be “Reigning Cats And Dogs” Come September

The two-legged critters got together at Highland Park Village’s Alice And Olivia to dine, shop and learn about plans for the black-tie 2017 Fur Ball. Needless to say, guests were purring with approval when details of the SPCA of Texas fundraiser were revealed. Here’s a report from the field:

Fur Ball Kick-Off party*

Friends of Fur Ball gathered on a lovely spring evening at Alice and Olivia at Highland Park Village on Tuesday, May 2, for the Fur Ball 2017 kick-off party! Guests were all decked out in spring finery, and joined 2017 Fur Ball Chair Cindy Lindsley; Auction Chair Sandra Fite; Co-Chairs Laura Floyd, Allie Jarvie and Jennifer Lindsley; and Auction Co-Chair Cameron Gummer to enjoy shopping, champagne and sweet and savory bites.

Cameron Gummer, Cindy Lindsley and Sandra Fite*

Champagne and wine, thanks to Barefoot Wine and Bubbly, were passed while guests enjoyed light bites provided by Whole Foods and Bird Bakery’s signature cupcakes. The evening’s superb staffing was provided thanks to KMG Events. People’s pooches also felt the love thanks to gourmet dog treats from Dane and Dale Pet Provisions.

Sincere thanks Alice and Olivia for welcoming the happy crowd and for donating 15% of proceeds from the evening’s sales to the SPCA of Texas! Very special thanks to Alice and Olivia for hosting the beautiful bash, especially CEO Stacey Bendet and store manager Carson Haynes.

The event was held in support of the SPCA of Texas’ Fur Ball 2017, “Reigning Cats and Dogs,” DFW’s salute to the bond between people and their pets. The elegant black-tie gala will delight the senses with Emcee Ron Corning, dancing, headline entertainment by Limelight and live and silent auctions. SPCA of Texas’ Fur Ball 2017 will be held on Saturday, September 30, from 6:30 p.m. to midnight at the Omni Dallas.

All money raised through Fur Ball 2017 will go towards the SPCA of Texas’ important mission to rescue, heal, and find loving homes for vulnerable animals.

Sharon Fancher, Katy Murray, Lynn McBee, Gus Hinojosa and Betsy*

Karen Urie and Kristen Greenberg*

Debra Burns and Russell Dealey*

Guests included Lynn McBee, Russell Dealey, Betsy Orton, Sharon Fancher, Paula Calise, Giana DePaul, Kay Whelan, Anja Woodson, Andrea Reich, Chad England, Ashley Berges, Mark Soto, Ashley Berges, Diane Taheri, Tatiana MurphyElizabeth and Harold McCoy, Carly O’Keefe, Carla Webb, Cameron and Jay Gummer, Kristen Greenberg, Dean McSherry, SPCA of Texas Chair Katie Murray, Gus Hinojosa, Steve Atkinson, Teresa Henderson, Karen Urie and Susie Swanson.

* Photo credit: Thomas Garza Photography

JUST IN: The Dallas Opera’s First Sight/First Night Plans Revealed With Dianne And Mark LaRoe At The Helm

While the queen bees may have flown to cooler places, the worker bees are hard at work churning out news.

The latest comes from The Dallas Opera about its annual fall two-day fundraiser — First Sight/First Night.

First, let’s get the basics down. The luncheon and fashion show will take place on Thursday, October 19, followed the next night [aka Friday, October 20] by First Night’s seated dinner, performance and after party. All of these activities will be taking place at the Winspear Opera House, but you already knew that.

Now about the who’s who involved in putting the festivities on, here goes:

Overseeing the whole two events will art-loving Dianne and Mark LaRoe, who chaired the 2016 TACA Custom Auction Gala, and, boy, have they been busy putting together their team.

Dianne and Mark LaRoe (File photo)

Nancy Nasher and David Haemisseger (File photo)

Serving as honorary co-chairs will be Nancy Nasher and David Haemisegger, who have practically made the Performing Arts District their second home.

Lisa Cooley and Ciara Cooley (File photo)

Bela Cooley (File photo)

Steve and Betty Suellentrop (File photo)

Co-chairing the First Sight luncheon will be Lisa Cooley and her girls — daughter Ciara Cooley and new daughter-in-law Bela Cooley. Presented by NorthPark Center, the luncheon will be highlighted by fashions from NorthPark Center’s Salvatore Ferragamo.

As for the black-tie First Night, it will be presented by Deutsche Bank Wealth Management and will kick off for The Dallas Opera season with Betty and Steve Suellentrop serving as co-chairs. The evening will start at 5:30 p.m. with guests arriving via a red carpet for a cocktail party, having a gourmet dinner in a tent in Sammons Park and attending the Linda and Mitch Hart Season Opening Night Performance of Camille Saint-Saëns‘ “Samson and Dalila.” For those with no curfew, there will be an after party.

Tickets are available here.

The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary Fashion Show And Luncheon Had Guests Shopping And Re-Invented Fashions On The Runway

Even before the official open got underway, the cars were lined up for The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary Fashion Show and Luncheon at the Meyerson on Tuesday, May 2. Perhaps the reason was the sneak peek of the Chic Boutique of “experienced” clothes and accessories.

Joyann King

Surprisingly, most guests headed to the Opus Restaurant, where the silent auction was taking place. It didn’t take long for the smart shoppers to bird-dog the goodies on the upper level where folks like Tracy Lange, Dee Simmons and others checked out the racks curated by Tootsies. Among the shoppers was HarpersBazaar.com Executive Editor Joyann King. When asked if she had missed attending the Met’s red carpet the night before, she smiled and didn’t hesitate —“No.”

Despite a scheduled VIP group photo scheduled for 10, it didn’t happen. Event Chair D’Andra Simmons-Lock was behind the scenes taking care of last-minute details; Majors Barbara and Jonathan Rich were at the front managing things along with Women’s Auxiliary President Kathie King and daughter Joyann.

Suzanne Palmlund, Dee Simmons and Marian Barnes

Billie Leigh Rippey

Ramona Jones and Julie Patrick

Barbara Daseke

Louise Griffeth and Carol Seay

As the crowd including Bobbie Sue Williams, Linda Custard, Chris Hite, Mary Clare Finney, Christie Carter, Ruth Altshuler, Annette Simmons, Connie Carreker, Barbara Daseke, Lynne Sheldon, Angie Kadesky, Pat McEvoy, Suzanne Palmlund,  Marian Barnes, BJ Ward and Louise Griffeth grew, some decided to move into the McDermott Concert Hall. Love the Meyerson, but time and time again guests struggled to find the rows. Perhaps the grand old lady hall needs a little refreshing to make seat finding less challenging.

Dee Collins Torbert

Another problem was the seating of Dee Collins Torbert, who relies on a wheelchair. Her assignment was on the front row of the Orchestra Terrace. While the location provide an ideal place to observe the stage, it also required her to leave her wheelchair and for two gentlemen to help her carefully navigate the three steps down to the front row.

Finally, the chimes rang and Event Producer Jan Strimple’s voice called all to their seats. The lights dimmed. Serving as a backdrop for the “Fashion Is Art…You Are The Canvas!” theme was a wonderful, mammoth curved screen.

D’Andra Simmons Lock

Kicking things off was D’Andra, who told how this event was her dream come true. It has been rewarding and humbling. Recognizing Honorary Co-Chairs Elisa Summers and Heather Washburne, D’Andra told how she and Elisa’s and Heather’s mother Vicki Howland had “prayed together many times” on whether the girls should be part of the fundraiser. It must have worked, because the Al G. Hill Jr. family (BTW, their dad is Al G. Hill Jr.) and the family business — Highland Park Village — served as presenting sponsor. It was a first for the event to have a presenting sponsor.

Kathie then introduced SAWA Founder Margot Perot to present the Margot Perot Award to Ramona Jones. From serving as president of the Women’s Auxiliary of The Salvation Army in 2003 to making and taking food to the Carr P. Collins Center every Thursday for the past 15 years, Ramona has exemplified the purpose of the Margot Perot Award.  

Margot Perot, Ramona Jones and Kathie King

D’Andra then returned to the podium to introduce a video testimony revealing that she had been a victim of domestic abuse with her husband, Jeremy Lock, at her side. While obviously heartrending and sincere, some in the audience wondered who the perpetrator of D’Andra’s suffering was. But the reason for her admission was to support the Salvation Army’s work with such victims.

Following the video, Major Barbara alluded to the fact that the Salvation Army would soon be announcing more news about its domestic violence efforts and how the Army continues its efforts to help those in need.

Simone Garman

With that, cellist Simone Garman performed “Pray,” while a beautiful photomontage by Jeremy of Army clients was displayed on the curved screen behind her. Barbara returned to the podium to thank D’Andra, Jeremy, Kathie and her husband Randy King, Joyann and all involved.

It was a nice transition from Jeremy’s and Simon’s presentation to Joyann’s sharing tidbits about the upcoming fashion season.

  • Think pink
  • Bright, modern floral designs
  • Blue jeans combined with other non-traditional pieces
  • Light, frothy white dress
  • A brand new bag
  • Stripes
  • Blushes on eyes and cheeks and striking blue eye shadow

The Salvation Army Fashion Show

The Salvation Army Fashion Show

The Salvation Army Fashion Show

The Salvation Army Fashion Show

The Salvation Army Fashion Show

The Salvation Army Fashion Show

The Salvation Army Fashion Show

The Salvation Army Fashion Show

The Salvation Army Fashion Show

The Salvation Army Fashion Show finale

It was then time for the fashion show of gently used clothes that had been adapted for today’s hottest looks courtesy of Strimple’s direction, followed by lunch in the lobby giving organizers enough time to bid on ‘em before the silent auction ended at 2 p.m.

Check out the countless fashions that were on the runway and on their way to new owners at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Carolina Herrera Exec Lauren Astry Sorensen Had Lunch With Crystal Charity Ball Members Before Catching A Flight To The Met Gala

Since being named vice president of global marketing and communications for Carolina Herrera on January 23, Lauren Astry Sorensen has been a very busy gal. Following Ivanka Trump’s wearing Herrera to the Inaugural Ball in Washington, Lauren’s been juggling her non-stop schedule. Monday, May 1, was one of those travel challenges. With turbulent weather, she just barely made it to Dallas for the Highland Park Village Herrera’s luncheon honoring the new Crystal Charity Ball members.

Lauren Astry Sorensen

Allison Presser

Without a hair out of place, she and store manager Allison Presser welcomed the house full of oldtimers and newbies. Little did anyone know that almost immediately following her welcome to the group, Lauren was back at DFW International to catch a flight back to NYC for the Met Gala red carpet, where Hailey Baldwin, Karlie Kloss, Taylor Hill and Emmy Rossum were in Herreras.

Lisa Longino and Dianne LaRoe

Candace Winslow

Meredith Bebee and Delilah Boyd

Shannon Thompson

As for the lunch, it was the opportunity for the new kids (Meredith Bebee, Dianne LaRoe, Kim Quinn, Shannon Thompson, Dee Velvin and Candace Winslow) on the fundraising block to be officially introduced to the membership. MIA was new member Lisa Singleton due to her day-job call to action. Unlike years past, where a “sponsor” introduced the new member, the introductions were made by New Member Liaisons Tucker Enthoven and Susan Farris.

Carolina Herrera fashion

Carolina Herrera fashion

Carolina Herrera fashion

Carolina Herrera fashions

Following the brief intros, the Herrera fashions paraded around the room surrounded by displays of the designer’s handiwork to the delight of the fashion-loving guests.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: Crystal Charity Ball New Member Luncheon

Carolina Herrera Global Marketing and Communications VP Lauren Astry Sorensen had a whirlwind stop in Dallas before heading back to NYC for the Met Gala red carpet on Monday, May 1. But she wasn’t about to miss the Crystal Charity Ball new members luncheon at the Herrera’s salon in Highland Park Village.

Lauren Astry Sorensen

Lisa Longino and Dianne LaRoe

The occasion was a mixed bag of CCB oldtimers getting an official introduction to the newbies and all getting an eyeful of Herrera designs.

Carolina Herrera fashion

Carolina Herrera fashion

Carolina Herrera fashion

The post is almost finished. In the meantime, check out the ladies and fashions at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Texas Discovery Garden’s 2017 Flora Award Will Be Presented To Bettye Slaven, Janet Smith And Marilyn Waisanen At Annual Black-Tie Dinner

Since 1982 Texas Discovery GardensFlora Award has showcased individuals, “who have demonstrated a commitment to community service, natural resource education, protection of the environment and quality of life.”

Co-Chairs Kathryn Febbroriello, Angela Shank and Amelia Valz have just revealed that this year’s Award will be presented to a trio  — Bettye Slaven, Janet Smith and Marilyn Waisanen.

Marilyn Waisanen, Bettye Slaven and Janet Smith*

According to TDG Executive Director Dick Davis, “It is our honor to celebrate Bettye, Janet, and Marilyn, and to thank them for their time spent as Board members and volunteers at Texas Discovery Gardens. Between them, they have spearheaded the renovation of our Native Butterfly Habitat, inception of our Seasonal Garden Adoption program, creation of our Demonstration Gardens, beautification of our Grand Hall, and tradition of our Commemorative Bench over the past decade.”

Other contributions to the community have included their work with Swiss Avenue Historic District Association, Children’s Medical Center Auxiliary, Dallas Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, The Stewpot, Interfaith Housing Coalition, The Salvation Army, Junior League of Dallas and Dallas Women’s Foundation.

Serving as honorary co-chairs for the Thursday, October 26, presentation at TDG are past Flora Awardees Myrna and Bob Schlegel.

Proceeds from the black-tie dinner support the “educational mission to help children and adults discover and learn to sustain their natural world.” Tickets and sponsorships are available here.

* Photo provided by Texas Discovery Gardens

Our Friends Place’s 14th Annual Gala – Auction And Casino Night Celebrated With Awards, Partying And Alumnae Accomplishments

There was a heck of a lot of celebrating over at the Omni Dallas on Saturday, April 29, thanks to Our Friends Place‘s 14th Annual Gala. From handing out awards, playing casino games, dining, dancing and most importantly hearing success stories from OFP graduates, it was a night to remember. Here’s a report from the field:

Tonnette Easter, Barbara Milo and Leslie Simmons*

Our Friends Place (OFP) celebrated their 14th Annual Gala – Auction And Casino Night on Saturday, April 29, at the beautiful Omni Dallas Hotel.  Honorary co-chairs included LuAnn and George Damiris and Debbie and Jack Gibson. Gala – Auction and Casino Night co-chairs included Tonnette Easter, Leslie Simmons and Barbara Milo.

Despite the blustery and rainy forecast, the event was well attended with those eager to bid on auction packages, play casino games and get their dance feet moving. 

Suzan E. Fenner*

Sharyl Weber and Sharon Pope*

The night started off with the presentation of The 13th Annual Ebby Awards to Suzan E. Fenner and the Northwood Woman’s Club represented by NWC President Sheryl Weber and Board Member Sharon Pope. Each recipient was honored to be recognized for their significant contributions and achievements in the advancement of girls and/or women in North Texas. The award is named after Ebby Halliday Acers, who was a tireless and passionate advocate for women in the community, and she was the first recipient of this award in 2005.

Another heartfelt highlight occurred when a few OFP alumnae were recognized for their achievements and growth through the program. We introduced Morgan and Shabnam, recent alums who shared their story about being homeless through video to a completely silent room of over 450 people. The impact of the OFP program was evident when both young ladies came to the stage to share updates.

Morgan finished her Associates Degree at Richland College while at Our Friends Place and is now living in an apartment and going to school at Texas Women’s University in Denton.

Sue Hesseltine and Cindy Tonnessen*

Shabnam is continuing her Year Up program through El Centro College and will graduate in late summer. She also works with Dallas ISD as a Homeless Youth Advocate at a local high school.

“Thanks to everyone who made our 14th Annual Gala – Auction and Casino Night such a success,” said Our Friends Place Executive Director Sue Thiers Hesseltine. “With the record number of guests, we were able to increase awareness of Our Friends Place, while having a great time raising funds to help the young women who call Our Friends Place home.” 

Gala sponsors, whose contributions made the evening an even greater success, included:

  • Diamond ($15,000) – Ben E. Keith Co.
  • Ruby ($10,000) – Suzan and Peter Fenner and Debbie and Jack Gibson
  • Emerald ($5,000) – BDO, Ebby Halliday Realtors, HollyFrontier, Paladin Partners, PWC, Laura and Jerry Fonville, Jan Wilkes/Debbie and Clarence Woosley and The Lee Family Charitable Fund
  • Jade ($3,000) and Sapphire ($2,000) – EY, The Fab Four, 12 General Contracting Services, Heather Bennett/Angela Maverick/Micki Seager/Cindy Tonnessen, Diane and Curtis Hawkins, TDKrause Consulting and Peggy Busby, Leslie Simmons and Rick Johnson, The Ryan Foundation, Brenda and David Snitzer and Jill and Brad Svoboda 
  • Underwriters — Bradford Commercial Real Estate, Frost Bank, Sue and Jack Hesseltine, Hunton & Williams LLP, Angela Maverick and Sean Baxley, Leslie Simmons and Rick Johnson, Jackson-Shaw Foundation, and Sutton Frost Cary LLP
* Photo provided by Our Friends Place

The Stewpot Alliance Crowd Gathers At Margie And Ray Francis’ Home For Soup’s On! Check Presentation And To Hear About 2018 Lunch Move

Margie and Ray Francis*

On Thursday, April 27, Soup’s On! Luncheon Honorary Co-Chairs Margie and Ray Francis opened their home for guests like Hank and Barbara Schlachter, Stewpot Alliance board members Zac Evans and Kristine Schwope, Susan and Rob Dillard, Eric and Carla Moore and Carol Adams to hear about the past Stewpot Alliance fundraiser and the upcoming one.

Hank and Barbara Schlachter, Zac Evans and Susan and Rob Dillard*

It was such a perfect evening that folks enjoyed the terrace overlooking Turtle Creek.

Carla and Eric Moore and Carol Adams*

First on the agenda was the presentation of the check by Alliance President Julie Marshall and 2017 Luncheon Chair Heather Sauber to Stewpot Alliance Executive Director Rev. Dr. Bruce Buchanan in the amount of $230,000!

It was then time to reveal plans for next year’s luncheon. The 2018 co-chairs will be Mary and Mike Terry Family Foundation Executive Director Allison Salas and US Trust Philanthropic Relationship Manager Kelly Donohue.  

Kelly Donohue and Allison Salas*

The ladies announced that the fundraiser is shifting direction in locations for the Soup’s On! tenth anniversary. It will be held at The Statler on Monday, January 29.

Both gals have another special event in their future. They’re planning September weddings. Allison is marrying Christopher Fasy and Kelly is getting hitched to Grant Garlock.

In the meantime, why not check out Brad Oldham‘s and Christy Coltrin‘s Sculpture Wall at The Stewpot’s Encore Park. It’s free for the viewing.

* Photo credit: John 
Strange

Dr. Marilyn Albert Reported The Developments In The Treatment Of Alzheimer’s At The Jean And Bill Booziotis Distinguished Lecture

Alzheimer’s is a disease that impacts all ages. From the more susceptible older members of the community to the millennials, who see and care for family members in various stages of Alzheimer’s, it has been a multi-generational rallying point. For that reason it was no surprise to see all ages present for the 4th Annual Jean and Bill Booziotis Distinguished Lecture with Dr. Marilyn Albert discussing the issue. Among those present at the Center for Vital Longevity lecture at Communities Foundation of Texas were 2016 BvB President Rachel Anderson and her teammates. Here is a report from the field:

Rachel Anderson, Catelyn Fox and Holley Caldwell*

 

Determining who is at risk for developing Alzheimer’s Disease well before symptoms appear is a major challenge faced by researchers and clinicians seeking to treat this form of dementia, said Dr. Marilyn Albert, Director of the Division of Cognitive Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University, who was speaking at the Center for Vital Longevity’s 4th annual Jean and Bill Booziotis Distinguished Lecture.

Currently, there is no effective way to halt the disease process in Alzheimer’s. And by the time symptoms of the disease appear, it’s too late. “We don’t currently have effective drugs that can either stop or slow down the disease’s progression,” she said during a public gathering at the Communities Foundation of Texas, which hosted the lecture on Thursday, April 27.

Dr. Albert emphasized what many in the field now strongly believe: for a treatment or prevention to be effective, early diagnosis is key. A challenge has been in accurately diagnosing the disease, and distinguishing it from other age-related brain diseases and conditions that can affect memory and behavior.

Thankfully, diagnostic tools for detecting Alzheimer’s have advanced a long way, she said, from the days of Dr. Alois Alzheimer, the German psychiatrist credited with identifying the first case in the early 1900s. With advances in imaging, such as PET scanning to identify potentially harmful plaque deposits, and improvements in cognitive and genetic testing, characteristic signs of disease can potentially be detected earlier.

Finding even more accurate or sensitive biological markers that determine risk perhaps decades before onset could have profound impacts on public health down the road, she said. In the meantime, adopting lifestyle changes that improve cardiovascular health (which is closely connected to brain health) might help, along with staying mentally and socially engaged.

Doug and Cassie Crosby*

Earlier in the evening, Dr. Albert met with members of the Director’s Research Circle, in a reception attended by UT Dallas Executive Vice President Hobson Wildenthal, and members of the CVL advisory council.

Guests included Rachel Anderson, Catelyn Fox and Holley Caldwell, with BvB (formerly Blondes vs. Brunettes), an organization raising funds for Alzheimer’s research and awareness, as well as CVL supporters Dr. Doug and Cassie Crosby, past AWARE president.

The next Jean and Bill Booziotis Lecture is slated for April 2018. For more information on how to join CVL’s Director’s Research Circle, please visit: http://vitallongevity.utdallas.edu/support/.

* Photo credit: John Michael Bruno

JUST IN: 2017 Rising Stars Luncheon Scored A Touchdown Netting $336,870 For After-School All-Stars North Texas

Ben Lange (File photo)

Nancy Rogers and Gina Betts (File photo)

If you see attorney Gina Betts and America’s Auto Auction CEO Ben Lange giggling and high-fiving each other, it’s not because they just won a lawsuit or sold a lot full of cars. Nope. The two just learned the results of their After-School All-Stars North Texas’s Rising Stars Luncheon fundraiser on Wednesday, May 17, at the Dallas Country Club.

Dak Prescott and Brad Sham

It was only the second luncheon fundraiser for the group, but ASAS Advisory Board Chair Ben managed to get fundraising queen Gina to chair the event that was such a sell-out that folks were nearly sitting in laps.

In addition to the need for the ASAS program being a big draw, Gina and Ben pulled in a couple of big guns — Nancy and Richard Rogers as presenting sponsors and Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott.on stage in a chat with Brad “Voice of the Dallas Cowboys” Sham.

The event was a grandstand touchdown scoring a whopping $336,870. No, that’s not the amount raised. It’s the net.

Needless to say, ASAS Executive Director Marissa Castro is thrilled because it means that middle schoolers will have “safe and structured opportunities between 3 and 6 p.m.”

Mad Hatter’s Tea’s “Under The Tuscan Sun” Soared To Sky With Over-The-Top Toppers And Rachel Zoe Fashions

After a day of chilly-will temperatures and rainy storms, the 29th Annual Mad Hatter’s Tea had a bright sun-shiny morning for its “Under the Tuscan Sun” on Thursday, April 27, at the Dallas Arboretum benefiting the Women’s Council of the Arboretum.

Kori Green, Caroline Kraddick and Tracy Rathbun

Tara Green and Micki Rawlings

Niven Morgan and Courtney Kerr

Unlike years before, the event started a half hour earlier at 10:30 with guests finding the Ginsburg Plaza roped off. Evidently organizers had hoped guests would flow away from Rosine Hall and the tented tables. Some heeded the suggestion, but the majority stayed clustered near the entry to watch the hat contestants wannabes hold their numbered cards up as they strolled the red carpet for the judges (Kori Green, Tara Green, Micki Rawlings, Niven Morgan, Lynae Fearing, Tracy Rathbun and Caroline Kraddick) who were seated on the elevated terrace in the shade. Judge Courtney Kerr didn’t sit because she didn’t want to wrinkle her outfit. Someone asked why she was wearing cherries in her hair. The person was corrected, “They’re tomatoes.” Oh.

Judge/designer Rachel Zoe was nowhere to be seen until the last moment. A coterie of lithe lassies popped out of a car with Starbucks in hand for Rachel, who had been sequestered away.

Soni Pancretz

Karen Lukin

Kunthear Mam-Douglas

Jordi Bostock

As for the guests’ interpretations of the day’s theme, it was obvious that Michael’s had been hit hard for sunflowers thanks to folks like Soni Pancretz. Needless to say, the results varied from subtle and beautiful to towering structures with wine bottle, plates, corks and even cars. Mary Tomas wore a Ray Conniff vinyl record with dolls and feathers … Proving that pink is always a standout were last year’s Mad Hatter’s Chair Jocelyn White, Donna Darling, Pebble McGehee and her mom Faye BriggsKaren Lukin’s looked like someone had used her brown hair as a platter for their pasta, complete with meatballs and fork …Corks were the lightweight accessory of the day. Amanda Johnson‘s cork-brimmed sunhat stayed put, but poor Steve Kemble’s cork vest was shedding corks as he strolled the grounds looking like a 21st century Bacchus…Kunthear Mam-Douglas’ hat appeared to be an entire Tuscan village… On the other hand, Jordi Bostock opted for a simpler look with checkered-tablecloth table for two… Lorenda Wyant towered among the group thanks to her Leaning Tower of Pisa … On the shorter structure side, Rene Farren‘s topper was delicious with an upside-down cone of faux spumoni … Still there were others who tossed the theme idea and went with their own vision, like Barbara Daseke with bird in nest and Virginia Chandler Dykes in white fur.

Lorenda Wyant

Cathy Vieth all in purple arrived with her equally purple hat of feathers, butterflies and flowers by her side. As her car pulled up, her chapeau designer Shane Walker and his partner Billy Fulmer were there to help her plant it on her head. With the wind picking up, Cathy seemed to sway a bit thanks to the “head wind.” Shane told her not to worry — the Plaza was much calmer… at least wind-wise.

Cathy Vieth and Shane Walker

Amber Griffin

No sooner had Shane got Cathy on her way to the Plaza than Amber Griffin arrived in an Italian flag dress. Quickly, she took a seat on a bench as Shane and Billy erected the hat that had plates, silverware, wine bottles, grapes, corks, peppers, candles and a loaf of Italian bread. It looked good enough to eat. The structure appeared to weight more than Amber. As soon as she entered the Plaza, the oohs and applause could be heard outside at the driveway.

Evidently Amber’s Italian flag dress wasn’t a one-of-a-kind idea. Lynne Lowder wore a sleeveless version that she got on Ebay with a hat featuring her cellphone playing a video. 

At 11:30 word was passed to head into Rosine Hall for the Jan Strimple-produced fashion show of Rachel Zoe’s clothes. Herding the hats and their underlings into the hall and their seats proved to be as challenging as Central Expressway at 5:30 p.m.

And then there was that issue of viewing the runway. Seems that some of the oversized hats may have been eye-catchers in the Plaza, but in the rows of chairs, they were eye-blocking. One gal was seen getting slapped around by the decorations of another guest’s hat, who kept turning her head to see others.

Rachel Zoe

Others had the problem of trying to see around the army of photographers, who were out to capture moments.

Following presentations to Honorary Chair Amanda Hill and her mom Amy Warren, the fashion show got under way with Rachel checking each of the creations, while husband Rodger Berman videoed the show on his phone.

Rachel Zoe fashion

Rachel Zoe fashion

Rachel Zoe fashion

Rachel Zoe fashion

Next up was the live auction. Instead of relying on local media types handling the auctioneering duties, they had award-winning Wendy Lambert, who kicked things off with Amy Warren raising her paddles and eyebrows with a winning bid of $10,000 for a Tootsies shopping spree. Not to be outdone, daughter Amanda snapped up a cooking lesson for $8,500. UPDATE: The live auction results added up to $33,400, but organizers later reported, “The Live Auction amount raised was $27,000.”

The live auction was followed by the usual shout-out that tends to be more awkward than profitable. Alas, this point became evident when Wendy’s announced the goal was for $35,000. The take ended up being $8,000 $26,000. But who knows? Wendy told the crowd that she would be available afterwards to accept donation from guests who might have been too shy to participate.

Finally, the time came for the judging results, with the following named winners:

Joani White

Cynthia Smoot

Tracy Rathbun, Carmen Surgent and Lynae Fearing

Terry Irby

  • Molto Italiano (Judge Caroline Kraddick) — Joani White
  • Most Elegant (Judge Kori Green) — Cynthia Smoot
  • A Taste of Italy (Judges Lynae Fearing and Tracy Rathbun) — Carmen Surgent
  • Bellissima Botanical (Judge Tara Green) — Terry Irby
  • People’s Choice (Judge Micki Rawlings) — Katherine Phillips
  • Fellini’s Follies (Judge Niven Morgan) — Chad Collom and Steve Kemble
  • Most Outlandish (Judge Courtney Kerr) — Lynne Lowder 
  • Rachel’s Pick (Judge Rachel Zoe) — Amanda Warren

Katherine Phillips and Micki Rawlings

Steve Kemble, Chad Collom and Niven Morgan

Lynne Lowder and Courtney Kerr

Amy Warren and Rachel Zoe

Rachel in making her presentation admitted,”I’ve had a pretty long career. In no part of my life have I ever experienced anything like this….I’m going back to L.A. and talking about this. I love Texas.”

As the ladies and guests headed to their tables to take in the beautiful day, it was learned that Venise Stewart would be chairing the 2018 Mad Hatter’s. Can’t wait to hear how Venise plans to stage the 30th anniversary of this fundraiser for A Woman’s Garden.

33rd Annual Care Dallas Breakfast To Feature Actress/Author Mackenzie Phillips And Breathe Life Healing Center Founder Brad Lamm

Perhaps Mackenzie Phillips was the first one to spot Harrison Ford as a hunk in 1973 when she and Paul Le Mat drag raced with him back in “American Graffiti.” She was just 14 years old and already part of the celeb universe being the daughter of The Mamas and The PapasJohn Phillips. The hit movie had hardly made the rounds before Mackenzie was in the TV comedy “One Day at a Time.”

By the third season of the show, the 19-year-old Mackenzie was already in hot water that included arrests for disorderly conduct, drug and alcohol abuse, two near-fatal overdoses and various stints in rehab. Despite efforts to deal with her addictions, she relapsed time and time again even admitting to using cocaine when she was pregnant with her son Shane Barakan.

While she appeared to have cleaned up her act by 2010, she also made headlines in 2009 with her telling Oprah Winfrey that “she was raped by her father in a hotel room when she was 18 while passed out after a drug binge but continued to use drugs and have consensual sex with him for years.”

Since that time Mackenzie’s life has gained a sense of normalcy. In 2013 she became a Primary Substance Use Counselor and began working in the addiction field as a counselor. Just last year she joined the Breathe Life Healing Center’s staff.

Mackenzie Phillips*

Brad Lamm*

According to Breathe Life Healing Centers Founder Brad Lamm, “We are thrilled to have Mack join the Breathe family. Our clients will no doubt benefit from her expertise in the field and her personal journey to recovery. She has recovered so much – a life rich in value and substance and I cannot wait to collaborate with her. She is a brave warrior who has trudged a long road, and has built a true bridge back to life. Plus, she’s not a glum gal!”

33rd Annual CARE Dallas Breakfast Chair Mary Martin just reported that both Mackenzie and Brad will be the featured guests at the Care Dallas fundraiser at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, November 15, at the Dallas Country Club. Honorary Event Co-Chairs are Lindsay and George Billingsley.

In addition to the talk by Mackenzie and Brad, Charles Carneal will receive Margaret Sharpe Award and JDs Chippery will be presented the Community Partner Award.

While individual tickets are not available now, tables and sponsorships are. Check here to get your spot.

* Photo provided by Care Dallas

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2017 Mad Hatter’s Tea

Cathy Vieth and Shane Walker

It’s that event of the year in which creative juices are let loose resulting in jaw-dropping expressions by passersby. Benefiting the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum, the Mad Hatter’s Tea has become a feast for gawkers and showboaters.

Amber Griffin’s hat

On Thursday, April 27, “Under The Tuscan Sun” had some of the guests’ chapeaus reaching for Old Sol at the Arboretum, while others looked like an Italian platter had taken residence on their heads. Mamma mia!

While the post is being prepared, check out the hats and faces at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Sold-Out Alert!: Crystal Charity Ball Ten Best Dressed Women Of Dallas Fashion Show And Luncheon

That day has come. In keeping with the age-old tradition of being a done deal before North Texas evacuates for the summer, the Crystal Charity Ball Ten Best Dressed Women of Dallas Fashion Show and Luncheon is sold out.     

Amy Hegi, Piper Wyatt, Julie Hawes, Pat Harloe, Janie Condon, Charlotte Jones Anderson, Tucker Enthoven, Katherine Coker, Delilah Holmes, Anita Arnold and Lisa Cooley (File photo)

So, if you had planned on personally handing your check in Tuesday, scrub it. That is, unless it’s an awful hefty check and who knows? Maybe CCB Chair Pam Perella and Luncheon Chair Christi Urschel will get their space makers out and find you room for the event on Friday, September 15, at Neiman Marcus Downtown with designer Zac Posen in the audience and his fashions on the runway.

JUST IN: Businessman/Philanthropist David B. Miller To Receive 2017 Robert S. Folsom Leadership Award

David Miller (File photo)

While it’s hard to miss the towering David Miller in a crowd, he tends to shy away from being in the spotlight despite his leadership in business and philanthropic endeavors. But he’s going to have to adjust to being the man of the hour on Wednesday, October 25, when he is presented the 2017 Robert S. Folsom Leadership Award at the Hilton Anatole.

Benefiting the Methodist Health System Foundation, the annual dinner is one of the gems of the fall season with surprises for both the recipient and the guests.

According to Methodist Health System Foundation President Jim Johnston, “David Miller clearly exemplifies Bob Folsom’s legacy as a revered community leader, serving Dallas with integrity, humility and respect. Like Mr. Folsom, David’s dedication and involvement with SMU, his dynamic leadership as a successful entrepreneur/business leader, as well as his care, concern and generosity toward others who are less fortunate, have made a lasting impact on Dallas and beyond. This year is particularly poignant because of the passing of Mr. Folsom in January. We hope to make this a special celebration as we pay tribute to Mr. Folsom as well.”

David and the late mayor had a lot in common. They both were athletes at SMU. Bob played on the football team and David was a basketball player. At different periods they served on the Edwin L. Cox School of Business. While Bob became a “legendary investor and developer… who built a fortune as a master of real estate,” David set his sights on the oil and gas industry, co-founding EnCap Investments L.P. and MAZE Exploration Inc. Despite their professional accomplishments, both men placed a priority on their families and community.

It was an interesting touch of irony that despite being 23 years apart in age, Bob was born on February 15 and David on February 17.

In typical David fashion, he responded upon learning of being the award recipient: “I am humbled and honored to receive this significant award as Bob Folsom was a role model for many of us, and he was a true servant leader.”

Co-chairing the dinner will be Nancy Ann and Ray Hunt, Lottye and Bobby B. Lyle, Jeanne L. Phillips and Gail and Gerald Turner.

For a full-blown release on the announcement including David’s countless accomplishments, both professional and philanthropic, follow the jump. [Read more…]

JUST IN: Details Revealed About Upcoming 2017 Parade Of Playhouses At NorthPark Center For Dallas CASA

Who says that summer is the “quiet time” for North Texas fundraisers? Even before schools are out, Dallas CASA is already staking claim for more than two weeks of its annual Parade of Playhouses. The annual favorite fundraiser that transforms NorthPark Center into a showcase of mini-cottages is scheduled to officially be on site starting Friday, July 7.

Parade Of Playhouses*

Built and donated by local designers, architects and builders, the 16 pint-size palaces include an Australian airline-themed house, a Rubik’s cube and a space-theme house.

This year’s collection includes houses from the international playhouse design by Nicollo Abe of Ontario, Canada; Riaan Kotze of Massachusetts, USA; Christiaan Luijk  of Cape Town, South Africa; and Amrita Raja and Katharine Storr of London, United Kingdom.

2016 Parade of Playhouses (File photo)

According to Dallas CASA Executive Director/President Kathleen LaValle, ““The creativity, imagination and ingenuity that these playhouse builders and designers brings is simply astounding. The vulnerable children we serve need safe homes where they can heal from their physical and emotional injuries and begin dreaming of a future they could not dare to think about. We hope every builder, designer and organization donating a playhouse knows they are helping an abused child begin to build a new dream for themselves.”

On Sunday, July 23, the mini-mansions will be raffled off. Interested? Raffle tickets are going for $5 each or five for $20 and can be purchased at event ticket tables or online during the 17-day run.

Jim Thompson (File photo)

Thanks to the following people and organizations, who are aiding Dallas CASA’s goal of providing all abused children with a Dallas CASA volunteer to help them through the child welfare system:

  • Honorary Chair — Jim Thompson
  • Parade Host — NorthPark Center
  • Castle — Jim Thompson
    Estate — SketchUp
  • Mansion — Kappa Alpha Theta Dallas Alumni Chapter, Newton Thomas with Summit Funding Inc. and Pirch
  • Villa — Bernbaum/Magadini Architects and Jackson Walker LLP
  • Playhouse Architects and Builders — Austin Commercial, Beck Architecture LCC, Bob Borson, BufordHawthorne Homebuilders, Butscher Construction, Crest Cadillac/Crest Infiniti, Domiteaux and Baggett Architects, FP Construction, Guardian Exteriors Inc., Jay W. Grishby Jr., Harman, Holder Construction Company, LRO Residential, Omniplan Inc., Perk Homes, Redlee/SCS, Robert Hopson Construction Group, Schwob Building Company LTD., University of Oklahoma – College of Architecture and William P. Manning Company Inc.

The 22nd annual parade is the absolutely perfect event because it’s free for the viewing, inside the air-conditioned center and helps Dallas CASA “continue its growth trajectory to serve all children in need.”

* Graphic provided by Dallas CASA

Mad Hatter’s Tea Judges Scored With Some Pretty Heady Escorts For The Arboretum’s Fundraiser Patron Party At Amy And Kelsey Warren’s Estate

As Pat Green surveyed Mad Hatter’s Tea Honorary Co-Chair Amy and Kelsey Warren’s backyard, he laughed when someone asked him if it was bigger than his spread in Fort Worth on Tuesday, April 25. What brought the country-western singer to Dallas was the Mad Hatter’s Tea patron party. No, he wasn’t going to be entertaining at the tea the following Thursday. But his adorable blonde wife Kori Green was going to be one of the category judges and Pat was playing the role of escort for the evening.

Amy Warren

Pat and Kori Green

Still another escort was Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, who was also playing a secondary role to wife Micki Rawlings, who also was to be a judge.

Mike and Micki Rawlings

Tracy Rathbun and “her husband”

But wait! There was still another judge in the crowd overlooking the palatial grounds. It was restaurateur Tracy Rathbun with “her husband.” Tracy told “her husband” she had been amazed earlier in the day at how itty-bitty Simone Biles was at the “A Chance to Soar” benefiting Jonathan’s Place.

Amanda Hill and Melissa Lewis

Jocelyn White and Joani White

Others in the crowd were the Honorary Co-Chairs Amanda Hill, Women Council of the Dallas Arboretum President Melissa Lewis, evening’s chair Emilynn Wilson and husband Claude Wilson, Anne Stodghill, Phyllis and CJ Comu, Joani White and Jocelyn White, who would be emcee at Saturday’s Equest Gala as well as the Mad Hatter’s Tea.

Itty-Bitty Gold Medalist Simone Biles Scored A Perfect Ten For Jonathan’s Place’s “A Chance To Soar” Luncheon Guests Of All Ages

Dirk and Jessica Nowitzki

If Episcopal School of Dallas or The Hockaday School staffers noticed that their lunchrooms were a bit scant of students on Tuesday, April 25, they were right. The lasses were at the Hilton Anatole’s Imperial Ballroom with their parents’ permission.

The occasion was Jonathan’s Place’s “A Chance To Soar Luncheon.” Now, normally it might be considered a grown-up event, but this one had two mega-athletes — Olympian God Medalist/former foster child Simone Biles on stage and Maverick main man Dirk Nowitzki as one of the day’s award recipients.

As mom Tracy Lange surmised, a couple of the moms hosted a table for their girls, and others quickly followed suit filling the ballroom with 700.

Tracy Lange, Livia Lange, Amelia Schoellkopf, Olivia Hohmann, Mary Ellen Schoellkopf, Kate Eastin and Monica Eastin

Sydney Hoyl and Kristi Hoyl

While some might question pulling the young ladies out of school, others reasoned that in addition to seeing world-class role models, the girls had the opportunity to be part of a grownup fundraising experience.

Some of the young luncheoners, like Livia Lange, Amelia Schoellkopf, Olivia Hohmann, Mary Ellen Schoellkopf, Kate Eastin and Caroline Bagley, were dressed to the nines. Too bad they’re too young for 10 best Dressed. Others like Sydney Hoyl opted to stay in their school uniforms.

Simone Biles and Ron Biles

The photo opp for guests and Simone was a bit of a ramble scramble due to Simone’s late arrival. She had been delayed due to an interview in another area of the hotel with KXAS/emcee Meredith Land.

Walking to the front of the room with her father, Ron Biles, Simone’s 4’9” size seemed even more so standing next to 7’0” Dirk. Still her smile was as big as ever despite having taken a flight from Los Angeles following her appearance on “Dancing With The Stars” the night before.

Even before folks like Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones, Jenny and Trevor Rees-Jones III, Stacey Walker, Jessica Nowitzki, Lydia Novakov, Tracy Rathbun, Monica Eastin and Pam Busbee took their seats, the raffle tickets were sold out.

Pam Busbee

Tracy Rathbun

Stacey Walker and Bryan Dunagan

Following the welcome by Luncheon Co-Chairs Julie Bagley and Rachel Stephens, the invocation by Highland Park Presbyterian Church Senior Pastor Bryan Dunagan and a luncheon of pecan crusted chicken breast salad, the following awards were presented:

  • Award of Compassion to Dirk Nowitzki
  • Award of Excellence to Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones
  • Award of Service to Gary Borofsky representing Dillard’s

Jonathon’s Place’s CEO Allicia Graham Frye told the group that last year, 277 children were handled by Jonathan’s Place. She finished her remarks saying, “My wish is that every child that comes across my path would feel loved.”

Allicia Graham Frye and Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones

It should be noted that unlike the Chick Lit Luncheon, the audience was silent during the award presentation and Allicia’s remarks.

It was then time for Simone to chat with Meredith Land on stage. The undercurrent in the room seemed to race, as if Santa had just popped down the chimney. For those close to the stage, they got a pretty good look at the twosome. However, the quality of the lighting and video created shadows, making the on-screen presentation challenging.

Simone Biles

Still, Simone did not disappoint with such revelations:

  • “I was just a crazy kid.”
  • She started gymnastics at the age of six and loved it immediately.
  • Her routine was an hour and half of conditioning, going to school and returning to the gym for her real workout. Such a regimen required more than dedication, it demanded sacrifice like, “I’ve never been to a prom. I cried a lot. Sasha (Farber, her ‘DWTS’ partner) was the first guy that she had really danced with and “he was 20 years old.”
  • Regrets — “I shouldn’t say that I do because of all of the accomplishments that I have from it. It’s all worked very well.”
  • Bullying — “Rise above it and use it as a motivation to do anything that you want to do and to always prove them wrong.”
  • Confidence — “I have very down-to-earth parents. I have amazing friends. My brothers, as well, are supporting me. It’s kind of easy to do that. But at times it gets hard because I want to be a normal kid and do other things. At the end of the day it’s my goal that I want.”
  • Olympics — “I actually didn’t really want to go to the Olympics when I was younger. I said I did because every little girl wanted to, so I would say, ‘I want to go to the Olympics.’ At a time in my career I knew I could be the best and it scared me so much that I would sometime sabotage my gymnastics. I knew I had the potential, but I didn’t want all that attention on me. It scared me so much. So I would do things on purpose. But I got out of it…. In February 2016 I had a really big breakdown. I had been at the top for three years and I thought this is my really big year, but what if I get hurt. And I started thinking of all these things, so I was too scared to even tumble. I thought if I land wrong, there goes my Olympic game. I would go to the bar and start bawling. It happened for two weeks. I cried a lot. I would go to practice and my coach would be like, ‘Just go home.’ My Dad told me to call my sports psychologist and I said, ‘No, I just want to cry.’ And my dad called him. He came into my room and handed the phone to me and I usually don’t cry in front of him or really anybody, and I just started bawling my eyes out — ‘I don’t know what I’m going to do. I’m not going to make the team. Blah, blah, blah.’ He (the sports psychologist) said, ‘Simone, what was the first thing I said to you when you came into my office?’ We chatted about it.”
  • Sports Psychologist — “For three years your parents, your coaches, your mentors, it’s good to have someone that knows your sport, but it helps that it’s not the same person over and over again.”
  • Whom did she not want to disappoint — “I didn’t want to let down America because they had such big goals for me. They expected me to get five gold medals and I only walked out with four, so I felt like I let them down a little bit.” Afterwards she was asked in an interview about how badly she felt getting a bronze instead of a gold, her response was, “I’m sorry if that was your goal. I’m sorry if you guys had to backspace on your typewriter. I’m pretty happy. This was my first Olympics and I’m 19 years old and I’m walking out of here with five medals. My goal was to make the finals. Whatever happens happens. I came out with four golds and one bronze and pretty proud of myself. I’m sorry if I disappointed you because they already crowned me with five gold medals. I think they (the interviewer) was trying to put it on me, so that’s what hurt a little bit.”
  • On the podium — “You feel like you’re a princess up there. It never feels real. I would always look at my parents. They would be bawling and I would then start tearing up. I’m an ugly crier.”
  • Post Olympics — “I haven’t worked out since the Olympics. It is my year off, so that is why I chose ‘Dancing With The Stars.’ I’m going on a vacations with my family this summer.  One is Hawaii and the other is Belize… I eat ice cream every chance I get.”
  • 2020 — “I’m going to train for the 2020 Olympics.”
  • What makes Texas special — “It’s the people. I’m in L.A. right now and it’s very different. I think it’s the southern-ness.”
  • What she misses — “I miss my bed and my dogs. I cook for my dogs. They’re spoiled little things. They have monogrammed beds. They’re not little. They’re German Shepherds. We have three.”
  • First Date — “It was like low key. I had never been on a date before or had a boyfriend. So, it’s all new. We just went to get frozen yogurt. It was a little scary. I’ve trained all my life to go to the Olympics, not to go on a date.”
  • The future — “I think I want to do something with sports management.”
  • Foster care — “[Being a foster parent] really does change a child’s life. It does give them a home, love. A lot of them age out at the age of 18 and that makes me sad. I was very fortunate for my situation. It really does make difference in the kids’ eyes.”
  • She recalled that before being rescued from her birth mother, there were days when she ate her cereal with white.
  • She felt that she would not win “Dancing With The Stars.”

At the end of the conversation, Simone looked out into the audience with each member holding a card reading “10.”   

She was then off to Jonathan’s Place to visit with children waiting for a foster parent.