MySweetCharity Photo Gallery: Ann Moody Place

For years, the Ann Moody Place was just a dream for those living in a nightmare. It was the hoped-for place of safety, where women could escape lives of domestic abuse and learn how to make a new and better life for themselves and their families.

Paige Flink Healing Garden in center courtyard

But thanks to The Family Place’s CEO Paige Flink, her staff, Legacy Campaign Chair Lynn McBee, TFP board and the North Texas community, Ann Moody Place became a 50,000-square-foot facility in the Medical District. Just before the Sunday, June 4th reception for supporters and the full-blown opening in July, a tour was conducted of the three-story complex with everything from an mini-clinic, kennels, a center courtyard, pillows embroidered with “Dream BIG” to artwork throughout.

Bird Flying free of a cage sculpture

While the post on the tour is being prepared, check out pictures at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery. Chances are you’ll never need Moody Place, but it needs your support to provide annually for the estimated 2,000 clients.

Dallas Women’s Foundation Board To Be Chaired By Caren Lock And Adds New Board Members

Ellenore Knight Baker is finishing up her two-year term as board chair of the Dallas Women’s Foundation. During her tenure, she led the Foundation in the creation of the Unlocking Leadership Campaign to raise $50M to “improve the future of North Texas by investing in the economic security and leadership potential of women and girls.”

Ellenore Baker (File photo)

Caren Lock and Roslyn Dawson Thompson (File photo)

In her place will be newly named Board Chair Caren Lock, who has “served on the Foundation’s executive committee, and she had chaired the Advocacy Committee. She is also a founding member of The Orchid Giving Circle at Dallas Women’s Foundation, a group of Asian women pooling resources to provide community grants that support social change and services for North Texas Asians.”

According to DWF President CEO Roslyn Dawson Thompson, “We so appreciate Ellenore’s leadership as board chair.  She is a dedicated advocate for our mission, and her passion and enthusiasm are contagious. We’re grateful that Caren brings her formidable talents and deep commitment to continue moving us forward toward our ambitious goals. Under Caren’s leadership, we will be working hard to complete the campaign, and ask everyone who supports our mission to consider giving a gift to help achieve our goals of ensuring equity for women and girls. We are also very pleased to welcome our new board members, who bring a wealth of talents and experience that will contribute greatly to this exciting time in our history.”

Those new board members include Bonner Allen, Bonnie Clinton, Teresa Giltner, Keri Kaiser, Laura Nieto, Carrie Freeman Parsons, Elizabeth Carlock Phillips, Priya Bhola Rathod, Diane Reeves, Zeenat Sidi, Karen Simon and Shawna Wilson.

George W. Bush Presidential Center Adds Harlan Crow, Henry Hager, Joel Kaplan, David Miller And Pam Patsley To Its Board

Since its opening in 2013, the George W. Bush Presidential Center has been a gathering place for all types. From international leaders comparing notes to being a favorite spot for nonprofits to centerpiece their presentations, it’s made its mark on the landscape.

To support such a world renowned operations requires a stellar group of board members. The following five new board members have just been announced by Bush Center Chairman of the Board Don Evans and Center President/CEO Ken Hersh: Harlan Crow, Henry Hager, Joel Kaplan, David Miller and Pam Patsley.

Harlan Crow (File photo)

David Miller (File photo)

According to Don, “As the Bush Center grows and expands its influence through domestic and international policy work and community engagement, I’m pleased that we’re also rounding out our Board of Directors to include this diverse and talented set of leaders. Their wisdom and guidance will be critical as the Bush Center continues its mission of developing leaders, advancing policy, and taking action to solve today’s most pressing challenges.”

Laura Bush (File photo)

Ray Hunt (File photo)

Caren Prothro (File photo)

Gerald Turner (File photo)

They’ll be joining the current board that includes Laura Bush, Bill Hickey, Ray Hunt, John W. Johnson, Mark Langdale, Jeanne L. Phillips, Caren Prothro, Craig R. Stapleton, Larry D. Thompson and Gerald Turner.

JUST IN: JPMorgan Chase Exec Michelle Thomas To Chair TACA Board Starting January 1, 2018

It’s just been announced that JPMorgan Chase VP of Corporate Responsibility and Community Relations Michelle Thomas will become TACA’s board chair. She will succeed current chair Donna Wilhelm on January 1, 2018, and will hold the position until December 31, 2019.

Michelle Thomas*

According to Donna, “We are thrilled that Michelle will chair the board of directors, and I know TACA will be in excellent hands with her at the helm. Michelle has a rare combination of leadership abilities, strategic insight and skills that will help elevate TACA and its mission of providing financial support and resources to the arts.”

Michelle is well-acquainted with both TACA and the importance of North Texas fundraising, having been “responsible for managing a multi-million dollar corporate giving budget for the Dallas-Fort Worth and Oklahoma regions. She is also responsible for implementing the firm’s strategic approach to philanthropy, which is multifaceted and aims to address community needs in the local market.”

Having served on TACA’s board, Michelle has chaired the TACA Silver Cup Luncheon.

Michelle commented, “I am honored to lead TACA, which has focused on transforming lives through the arts for 50 years. With TACA expanding its grants to include the visual arts, as well as creating a social impact fund, it’s an exciting time to work with the other board members to help lead the organization to even greater heights.”

Her volunteer efforts have included serving on the Advisory Board of the Center for Nonprofit Management, Junior League of Dallas and the Kipp DFW Council, Board of Directors for the Methodist Health Foundation and the UT Southwestern Medical Foundation. 

The Dallas native’s collection of accolades include 2014 Minority Business Leader in the Dallas Business Journal and being the recipient of the 2015 Business and Civic Leader award from the Dallas Black Dance Theater, the 2015 Income Award from United Way of Metropolitan Dallas and the 2017 Heritage Award from the African American Museum.  Under her leadership, JPMorgan Chase was named Outstanding Corporation of the Year by the Association of Fundraising Professionals in 2015.

* Photo credit: James Edward

JUST IN: TACA To Undertake Three Major Initiatives Including The Funding For Both The Performing … And Visual Arts!

Back when TACA started, North Texas’ art community was pretty limited. The arts were largely contained at Fair Park with the opera and musicals taking place in the Music Hall and the visual arts at the Dallas Museum of Arts facility near the lagoon. The Fair Park band shell with its nighttime performances and flying insects created memorable moments for singers. The Dallas Theater Center’s Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Kalita Humphreys Theater along Turtle was considered the new hottie in the world of art.  

But that was way back when. As TACA celebrates its 50th anniversary, changes are definitely underway for TACA’s next 50 years to support the overwhelming wealth of art groups in North Texas.

Donna Wilhelm (File photo)

This morning, TACA Chairman of the Board of Directors Donna Wilhelm sent a note to the stakeholders about three new initiatives for TACA.

Of the trio, the one that pops to the top of the list is “TACA Funding All Of The Arts In Dallas.” In the past, TACA has only provided funding for the performing arts. But in the future it will also support the visual arts. Before it kicks into place, the criteria for submitting grants requests will be developed and published toward the end of 2017. The deadline for the letters of intent will be Friday, February 1, 2018. The grants for both the visual and performing art groups will be presented in January 2019.

According to Donna, “For 50 years, TACA has funded the performing arts.  However our current Board of Directors has expansive vision—we will now add support of the visual arts. And we will foster arts experience that impacts social change in our North Texas community.”

The other two initiatives, are

  • “Social Impact Through The Arts” — TACA will establish “funds to foster the creation of new performing arts works and innovative performing arts residence programs” focusing on cultural and racial equity, cross-sector partnerships, arts education focusing on under-resourced communities, cross-cultural community collaboration and social change capacity building.
  • “Increased Vibrancy Of The Arts” — TACA will “lead a multi-year effort to empower and expand” the number of artists and arts organizations. The intention is two-fold:
    • To make the Dallas area a destination for performers, visual artists, musicians, writers, directors, backstage professionals, etc.
    • To create an environment that encourages the launch and nurturing of new arts organizations.

To achieve these goals, TACA will “develop a blueprint to learn and adapt strategies” that have been undertaken in other cities and “recreate the best of the best in Dallas, and enhance the impact through collaborative partnerships.”

Donna explained, “TACA is deeply committed to an expansive arts vibrancy in North Texas. We assure our donors, prospective donors and arts organizations that, for over half a century, we have established a grants review process that evaluates, selects and supports the very best organizations.  Every contributed dollar invested in TACA will indeed transform lives through the arts.”

New Baylor Scott And White Health President/CEO Jim Hinton Met Baylor Health Care System Foundation Board Members At St. V-Day Luncheon

Just outside the dining room at the Charles Sammons Cancer Center, there was a long line of people waiting to meet a Very Important Person when the Baylor Health Care System Foundation board met on Tuesday, February 14. And, why not? The quarterly meeting, after all, marked one of the first public appearances ever by James (“Jim”) Hinton, who’d been tapped to succeed Joel Allison as the president and CEO of Baylor Scott and White Health.

Jim Hinton, Lindalyn Adams and Margo Goodwin*

And, like savvy showmen saving the big act for last, the foundation scheduled Hinton as the final speaker on the 90-minute luncheon program, whose theme was, “Radiologists: Master Interpreters in Diagnosing and Monitoring Disease.” With board members including Barry Andrews, Lisa Troutt, Ray Washburne, Pryor Blackwell, Ron Steinhart, Jill Smith, Richard Holt, Aileen Pratt, Michal Powell and Steve Leiberman in attendance, Board Chair Margo Goodwin kicked off the meeting by urging the members to “up” their giving, in order to reach 100% by the next quarterly get-together.

Michal Powell, Robin Robinson and Aileen Pratt*

Pryor Blackwell*

Jill Smith*

“We’re at 67% participation now,” she said. “We’ve been at 100 percent for each of the last four years, and I hope we won’t break that spell.” Margo also encouraged gifts to the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge, which selected Baylor University Medical Center as the site of its newest facility. Hope Lodge Dallas will offer free accommodations for cancer patients who have to travel long distances for their care.

Margo gave way at that point to Foundation President Rowland Robinson, who noted the recent deaths of three strong foundation supporters: former Zale Corp. Vice Chairman Leo Fields, former Baylor liver-transplant recipient Ginny Sellers, and Tommy Valenta, a former top executive with Chaparral Steel Co. and Texas Industries.

Greg dePrisco*

With that, Robin talked a little about the meeting’s focus on radiology—“the last link in the diagnostic chain,” he called it—before introducing featured speaker Gregory dePrisco, M.D., a diagnostic radiologist and director of the MRI Fellowship Program at Baylor University Medical Center. During his fascinating and sometimes-humorous presentation, Greg explained that a radiologist is a “doctor’s doctor,” and that 1.2% of all doctors are radiologists.

He recalled the specialty’s history, from the discovery of X-rays through the widespread use of CT scans and MRIs. He told about his membership on an “anal/rectal task force” and showed and explained a number of MRIs, including an MRI comparison between a 40-year-old woman who presented normally (the subject was actually his wife, Dr. Michelle Nichols, who was in the audience) and another woman with rectal pathology and a prolapsed uterus. 

Greg also recalled how he had personally suffered a stroke; was misdiagnosed at another local medical center, where the paramedics took him; and then recovered after receiving the correct diagnosis. (Greg had “something in my lung” that caused the stroke, he explained.) The radiologist ended his presentation by showing CT images of a colonoscopy, a mammogram, and a cancerous lung, before concluding with this observation: “Radiology is a strong link in the healthcare chain. I did go over my time a little bit, but the [story about my] stroke slowed me down!”

Jim Hinton*

Then it was time for Jim to end the program with some brief closing remarks. He took the reins at Baylor Scott And White Health in January, after serving for years as president and CEO of Presbyterian Healthcare Services in New Mexico, that state’s largest healthcare provider.

“It’s good to be in Texas,” Jim told the board members. “Typically in February I’m around a lot of Texans—but in the [ski] lift line at Taos. I wasn’t looking for a job when this one came around. But [Baylor’s] reputation and the opportunity to live in a community like Dallas were too much to pass up.”

The foundation’s fundraising efforts are crucial, Jim said finally, because “there’s not enough money in patient-care revenue” to support the Baylor healthcare system’s world-class work.

* Photo credit: Lara Bierner

JUST IN: Dallas Film Society Announces New Board Members And Reveals Returning/New Dallas International Film Festival Sponsors

Evidently, the Dallas Film Society isn’t taking time off for the holidays. Word just arrived that the film-loving organization has not only added a couple of new members to its board, but it’s also locked down some returning sponsors for its Dallas International Film Festival that kicks off on Thursday, March 30, at the Dallas City Performance Hall.

The new members of the board are advertising executive Eric Hirschhorn and University of Texas at Arlington adjunct professor Rebecca Flores.

Rebecca Flores*

Rebecca Flores*

Eric Hirschhorn*

Eric Hirschhorn*

According to DFS Chair Mark Denesuk, “As we head into the organization’s second decade, we continue to steadily add strength through new voices, new ideas, and new energy, from the arts, education, and business community. Drawing from both the film and education world, Rebecca continues to add emphasis to the two primary focuses of DFS, and Eric brings another valuable viewpoint from the world of advertising and marketing. Their talent, experience and vision, will help us greatly as we continue our efforts to grow in our second decade.”

They’ll be joining current board members Benton Bagot, Matt Bivona, Jason Cleveland, Paul Coggins, Clare Freeman, Suzanne Bock Grishman, Mary Hatcher, Geoff Hawkes, Harry Hunsicker, Lynn Lewis, Dallas Sonnier, Larry Waks and Maureen Womack.

As for the partnerships, The Arthur E. Benjamin Foundation will once again be the presenting sponsor “of both the legendary DFS Honors Awards Dinner and the DIFF 2017 Audience Awards.”

Joining the sponsorship list for a first time will be Mercury One Foundation that will be the new presenting sponsor for “DIFF’s annual High School Day and the year-round High School Roundtable program.”

The film submission software program Withoutabox is also a newbie on the sponsorship list joining other confirmed 2017 DIFF sponsors including Abco, Inc., Bloomberg Philanthropies, CineState, the City of Dallas – Office of Cultural Affairs, Commerce House, the Dallas Film Commission, Downtown Dallas Inc., El Creative, the Highland Dallas hotel, the Hong Kong Economic Trade Office – San Francisco, Lucky Post, the People’s Last Stand, PreKindle, Selig Polyscope, Stella Artois and the Texas Commission on the Arts.

Follow the jump for the full-blown press release.

* Photos provided by the Dallas Film Society

[Read more…]

Callier Center Kicks Off A Whole Tradition For Callier Care Chairs With Paloma Picasso Bracelets

While a major golf tournament created a crammed parking lot at the Dallas Country Club, making it look like a luxury used car lot on Wednesday, October 12, a gathering of champs was taking place inside the clubhouse.

The “gathering” was the Past Chairs Luncheon with former Callier Cares Luncheon Chairs Barbara Stuart (2013), Betsy Cullum and Sissy Cullum (2014), Tiffany Divis (2015) and Angie Kadesky (2016), 2017 Chair Emilynn Wilson, Callier Center Foundation Board President John Stuart and Callier Center for Communications Disorders Executive Director Dr. Tom Campbell and Callier staffers.

From the left: (standing) Sissy Cullum, Tiffany Divis, Emilynn Wilson and Angie Kadesky; (seated) Betsy Cullum, Tom Campbell, Barbara and John Stuart

From the left: (standing) Sissy Cullum, Tiffany Divis, Emilynn Wilson and Angie Kadesky; (seated) Betsy Cullum, Tom Campbell, Barbara and John Stuart

Tom recalled how it was back in 2011 that Pam Busbee, Tricia George, Tincy Miller and Sara Martineau decided it was time for Callier to have an event and that the first chair should be Libby Hunt. Since that first luncheon in 2012, the annual fundraiser has provided more than $725,000 “to help provide care for patients in need.”

As Tom put it, “This is all due to the leadership of each one of you around this table. There really are no words to adequately express our gratitude — not just for the dollars raised but also for helping to educate our community about the Callier Center.”

While lunch was being served, the former chairs discussed “things that worked well” for the fundraiser and possible suggestions on how to improve on it.

Just before the group finished, Tom reported, “We want to carry forward with the tradition of holding the past chairs luncheon each fall. It will give us the opportunity to keep you all in the loop of the luncheon plans and allow you to share your wonderful thoughts and ideas related to the venue, speakers, awardees and details.”

In creating this “new tradition,” Tom then notified them that the Tiffany gift bags at each of their places contained “a keepsake” for each of the past chairs to wear to all the Callier Cares Luncheon and the Past Chairs Luncheon.

Inside were boxes containing Paloma Picasso’s “Loving Heart Bracelet.”

Goes nicely with the Callier Center’s heart logo.

And only goes to prove that leadership does warrant perks.

The Focus Is On Health At Baylor Foundation’s Quarterly Board Meeting

The theme for the first Baylor Health Care System Foundation board of directors meeting of the new (2017) fiscal year may have been “Integrative Medicine: Leveraging New Perspectives for a Healthy Body, Mind and Spirit.” But it was apparent at the Tuesday, September 20th quarterly board meeting that the Foundation itself is in pretty good health, too.

Sporting a new white beard he called “an August project,” Foundation President Robin Robinson told the luncheon meeting that the organization now had raised more than $581 million for the healthcare system since its founding. The foundation has a new tagline—“Let’s Move Mountains”—Robin disclosed, and the last fiscal year was its best ever in fundraising terms. Thirty-seven million dollars came through the doors, he said, or 128 percent of the goal. The foundation also distributed $43 million to the system during the 2016 fiscal year, Robin said, bringing total disbursements over five years to $175 million.

Board Chair Margo Goodwin had good news for the board members as well. The foundation’s most recent annual Grand Rounds golf tournament was a record-breaker, Margo announced, with 229 golfers helping raise $290,000. Board giving during the last fiscal year enjoyed 100 percent participation, she went on, with 20 percent of the board members ponying up more than $25,000.

Amy Turner, Julie Turner and Margo Goodwin*

Amy Turner, Julie Turner and Margo Goodwin*

Jim Lozier and Jill Smith*

Jim Lozier and Jill Smith*

Margo also talked briefly about the responsibilities of new foundation board members. The “Class of 2017” members are: Kenneth Aboussie Jr., Barry Andrews, Norm Bagwell, Mike Barnett, Hal Brierley, Darlene Cass, Robert Dozier, Graciela Garton M.D., Jim Lozier, Holt Lunsford, Gloria Martindale, Amy Mueller (ex-officio), Michal Powell, Bruce Robson, Ken Schnitzer, Jill Smith, Bob Thomas, Amy Turner and John Yeaman.

Following lunch and a brief report from Joel Allison, the health system’s outgoing CEO—Joel said Baylor had acquired another medical center in Austin, and finalists to succeed him should be disclosed by late October—Dr. Carolyn Matthews delivered a keynote talk about how “chronic illness is burdening” the American health system in general, and what can be done about it.

Robin Robinson, Carolyn Matthews and Joel Allison*

Robin Robinson, Carolyn Matthews and Joel Allison*

Chronic illnesses such as depression, obesity (67 percent of us are overweight or obese), cancer, diabetes (10 percent of us have it), and asthma require repeated treatment, Dr. Matthews explained, and 50 percent of adults will suffer from at least one of them. But the good news, she stressed, is that all of these chronic illnesses are “very modifiable” with exercise, sleep, and a proper diet.

Several habits will help reduce your risk for chronic illness, continued Dr. Matthews, who is Director of Integrative and Functional Medicine at the Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center. Those habits include: refraining from smoking; eating five servings of fruits and vegetables per day; doing some sort of physical activity (150 minutes per week is recommended, even if it’s just walking); and aiming for seven to eight hours of restful sleep per night.

During a Q&A session near the end of the meeting, someone asked Dr. Matthews why eating right seems to be so difficult for so many. “Because the vast majority of food in the grocery store is not real food,” she replied. “The quality of our food is not as good as it was 50 years ago,” she continued, citing “genetically modified food” among other trends. Ideally everyone would eat organic food if they could afford it, Dr. Matthews concluded, but, at a minimum, the meat you eat should be grass-fed and any fish should be of the small variety, like salmon.

* Photos provided by Baylor Health Care System Foundation

Facing Dallas’ Dante Inferno, The Bridge Announces New Leadership To Help The Homeless And Support The Mayor’s Call For A United Effort

Say the word “homeless” and an array of feelings arise like guilt, apathy, helpless or not-my-problem. And those feelings have been in simmering for decades. For too long, well-intentioned people have driven over the highways oblivious that hundreds of people were living… no make that surviving… there in tents or makeshift shacks. After all, these taxpaying drivers had other concerns like paying bills, getting kids to school or making a meeting. Yeah, the homeless situation was unfortunate, but the thinking was if they wanted to get out, they could roll up their sleeves and get a job and work their way out of it. That’s what “normal” people would do.

But these aren’t your normal” people. They’re people who have fallen into a Dante’s Inferno of despair, drugs, isolation and fear.

For years the situation has only increased because, as one community leader said, “Nobody really cared about them.”

Mike Rawlings (File photo)

Mike Rawlings (File photo)

Yes, there have been loads of nonprofits that have struggled to help the North Texas homeless. But the situation got to an “out-of-the-closet” dilemma with the recent demolition of the area tent cities. The hope had been that the tent citizens would move from the streets and utilize the organizations and their programs. But that transition has not taken place. There are lots of reasons why — lack of funding, limited services, a lack of cohesiveness among the programs, etc.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings is all too aware of the homeless situation. Before becoming mayor, he was known as the Homeless Czar for his efforts to spearhead “The Bridge,” which opened in 2008. Over the weekend The Dallas Morning News reported that Mayor Mike is “calling for the creation of a cross-jurisdictional government agency — ‘like DART’ — that would focus solely on solving Dallas’ homeless crisis.”

Ironically, The Bridge was already ramping up its structure to meet this area-wide problem by announcing “new leadership positions on its board of directors.”

Community leader Lynn McBee, who has served as co-chair of the board, will assume the role as sole chair of The Bridge’s board of directors. She’ll continue in her capacity as CEO of Young Women’s Preparatory Network and as a member of the Dallas Commission on Homelessness.

Lynn McBee (File photo)

Lynn McBee (File photo)

According to Lynn, “I am honored to serve as chair of an organization that is leading the way in providing homeless recovery services to our community’s most impoverished citizens. The growing poverty in Dallas requires us to continue to be innovative in our approach to addressing this important part of our city’s health.”

Other changes will include Dorchester Minerals CEO Casey McManemin serving as the Administrative Committee’s chair; longtime supporter of The Bridge Jennifer Karol continuing as chair of the board’s Development Committee; and attorney Michael Peterson heading up the board’s Governance Committee.

Continuing on The Bridge’s executive staff will be President/CEO Jay Dunn, who has led The Bridge since its inception; COO Sam Merten, the former advisor to Mayor Mike before joining The Bridge staff two years ago; and Chief Development Officer Ashley Harris, who had previously been involved in the fundraising for Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity.

MySweetCharity Opportunity: Dallas Children’s Theater’s “The Who? Party”

According to Dallas Children’s Theater’s The Who? Party Co-Chair Karen Travis,

Karen Travis*

Karen Travis*

“Autumn is, hopefully, just around the corner and I’m brimming over with excitement not only for cool, crisp temperatures, but also for an annual event that has a special place in my heart, one that really makes a difference for children, Dallas Children’s Theater’s annual Family Party. As president-elect of this incredible organization, I’m honored to be chairing the party with Stephanie Nelson, fellow board member. It is a fitting closure for me as I embark upon a new chapter of service – board president beginning in January 2017.

“DCT’s ’16 – ’17 season starts with a splash, ‘Seussical, The Musical,’ the timeless favorite which has been absent from Dallas theaters with a cast of equity actors for quite a while. On Saturday, September 17, ‘The Who? Party’ guests, following a matinee of the show, will thrill to a fun-ladened afternoon featuring an on stage, interactive song and dance session led by a professional actor; a Seussical chairs contest with prizes for the most agile, and backstage access to learn about the secret sauce that goes into creating the colorful set designs and costumes. These activities will be followed by a scrumptious, Seussical-themed banquet, topped off with a farewell dance party in our spacious lobby.

“Funds raised via the event will ensure the legacy of an essential DCT program, The Student Matinee Performance Series. Because of this important initiative, over 40,000 children annually, primarily from Title 1 schools (free and reduced lunch eligible), are provided the opportunity to attend performances at a very reduced cost — children that otherwise would not be able to come to the theater to see the magic of the live performance.

“In my mind, there is nothing quite as fulfilling as seeing wide-eyed youngsters, ecstatic with anticipation, skip through hallways festooned with scores of brightly colored Truffula trees, hundreds of Hortonian clovers, and bouquets of Mayzie approved feathers. After seeing literature come to life on our stage, students always depart with a rewarding glow.  I’m honored that Dallas Children’s Theater has embraced my penchant for decorations of this sort, and they even let me put my darling husband, Ken Travis, to work for the cause as well. 🙂

Ken and Karen Travis*

Ken and Karen Travis*

“Everyone at Dallas Children’s Theater truly believes in the words of the sweet sage, Horton… ‘a person’s a person, no matter how small.’ These words perfectly reflect our mission — all children truly do deserve to experience the magic of live theater!

“While after three years, I’m proud to say the party is always sold out, right now, sponsorships and tickets are still available for this wonderful and worthwhile event. So, anyone interested should not wait another minute to sign up.  To learn more, go to our Who? Party web page or call DCT at 214-978-0110. Your presence and your contributions help us keep feeding the minds and souls of young people with boundless creativity.”

* Photos provided by Karen Travis

Communities Foundation Of Texas Holds A Two-For-One Reception For Departing President/CEO Brent Christopher

Tuesday, June 28, was not only to be a farewell reception for Communities Foundation of Texas’ outgoing President/CEO Brent Christopher, it was also his 50th birthday.

But before all the brief remarks were made, the CFT reception area filled with bigwigs like Amy and Michael Meadows, Jeanne Tower Cox, Mike Rawlings, Rena Pederson, David Johnson, Cheryl Hall, Molly Bogen, Kevin Hurst, Jane Pierce, Bill Holston, Katherine Wagner, George Ellis, Gail Thomas and Jim Bass.  So, who said the boldfacers had evacuated North Texas for the 4th of July holiday?

Bill Holston, Rena Pederson and Larry Sall

Bill Holston, Rena Pederson and Larry Sall

David Johnson and Carol Goglia

David Johnson and Carol Goglia

Asked how the search for Brent’s successor was going, CFT Board Chair Frank Risch reported that it was going amazingly smoothly. Leaving the next day for the holiday weekend at the Risch home in Cape Cod, he admitted that the summer hiatus would not slow down the search efforts.

Frank Risch

Frank Risch

But Frank was soon at the podium recalling Brent’s 11-year tenure, which had accomplished the following:

  • the number of funds have grown 30+%
  • assets have grown 43%
  • CFT has received $900M in gifts
  • and granted close to $900M
  • his 11 years represents over half of the total grant giving we’ve done in the past 63 years
  • trained 46 social service agencies in data-driven decision making
  • nine agencies implementing our working families success model with over 1,000 clients
  • 50% increase in discretionary grant-making
  • the staff has tripled
  • has grown Educate Texas, and much more

He also told that when he assumed leadership of the Board, Frank had been directed to check out an envelope left in the CFT library by his predecessor, Fred Hegi. The enveloped contained a piece of paper reading, “Don’t lose Brent.”

But typical of Frank, he eloquently summed up Brent’s departure as both leaving CFT in very good shape and moving ahead in supporting North Texas as CEO of Children’s Medical Center Foundation.

Brent Christopher

Brent Christopher

On cue, a birthday cake in the shape of a mammoth bow tie with 11 candles (one for each year that Brent had worked at CFT) was rolled out. With a deep breath, Brent blew out the candles, thanked the guests and emphasized the importance of philanthropy in the North Texas community. In closing he quoted Teddy Roosevelt,

“Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”

Brent Christopher

Brent Christopher

Wearing a bow tie reflecting CFT’s colors, he went on to say, “This is a community that dares mighty things. We don’t live in the gray twilight here in Dallas. It’s an extraordinary place to call home and it’s an extraordinary community to be part of. Thankfully, I’m not moving. I’m just going to be at another institution and look forward to being with you in countless ways for years to come. But for now I am standing between you and cake.”

Brent then returned to farewell handshakes and hugs.

JUST IN: Rick Van Hooser Named LaunchAbility’s New Executive Director

After months of interviewing and vetting, the LaunchAbility Board of Trustees have named Rick Van Hooser as the organization’s new executive director.

Rick Van Hooser*

Rick Van Hooser*

According to LaunchAbility Board President Karen Wald, “As our client population continues to grow as quickly as the corporate interest in hiring adults with diverse abilities, Rick Van Hooser’s leadership couldn’t come at a more exciting and necessary time for LaunchAbility. Rick brings with him deep experience with large nonprofit organizations as well as an ability to work hand-in-hand with corporate partners. Our entire board agrees that under Rick’s leadership LaunchAbility will continue to serve our clients optimally and grow so that we can impact even more adults with diverse abilities.”

Rick’s experience within the non-profit sector includes Big Thought, the United Way of Tarrant County, American Heart Association, Autism Speaks and Muscular Dystrophy Association.

In assuming the leadership of the organization that assists adults with disabilities and their families, Rick said, “I would like to thank the LaunchAbility Board of Trustees and staff for welcoming me to this incredible organization. With a history that spans over five decades, LaunchAbility is at a critical point in both opportunities and challenges. I look forward to working with our employees, clients, donors and corporate partners as we continue LaunchAbility’s vision to deliver much needed services that help bridge a path to independence.”

* Photo provided by LaunchAbility

Young Women’s Preparatory Network Reports Evelyn Henry Miller To Chair Board And Adds Three New Board Members

It must be harvest time for area non-profits. The crop of new board members seems is flourishing. Now the Young Women’s Preparatory Network has added three new members to its board and announced that longtime board member Evelyn Henry Miller has been named board chairman.

Evelyn Henry Miller*

Evelyn Henry Miller*

Christine Breck*

Christine Breck*

The newbies include financial expert Christine Breck, philanthropist Lisa Cooley and education consultant Stef Mauler. They will be joining the current board made up of Matt Adams, Laura Estrada, Margaret Keliher, Barbara D’Auria Lerner, Marion Flores, Camie Shelmire, Michele Snyder, Kelly Tacke and Michele Vobach. Honorary Directors are Gina Betts and Todd Williams.

Lisa Cooley (File photo)

Lisa Cooley (File photo)

Stef Mauler*

Stef Mauler*

According to YWPN CEO Lynn McBee, “Evelyn has been a founding board member and has helped guide the organization from the very beginning and continues to do so because she’s passionate about our mission. We’re also pleased to have Christine, Lisa and Stef join us as their experience, leadership and energy are what the network needs to serve our young women.”

* Photo provided by Young Women's Preparatory Network

For more details about the new board members and Evelyn, just follow the jump! [Read more…]

Artist Maureen Womack And Entrepreneur Dallas Sonnier Join Dallas Film Society Board Of Directors

And the news keeps coming in! The Dallas Film Society has just added a couple of new members to its board and revealed the leaders for the upcoming year.  The newbies are entrepreneur/film industry professional Dallas Sonnier and non-representational artist Maureen Womack.

Dallas Sonnier*

Dallas Sonnier*

Maureen Womack*

Maureen Womack*

According to DFS President/CEO Lee Papert, “I am thrilled to announce that Dallas Sonnier and Maureen Womack will be joining the Dallas Film Society Board of Directors. We have sought to strengthen the representation on our board from the both the film community and the arts community and could not have found a better duo to begin that effort. Having just completed a very successful ten years, their talent, experience and vision will assist us in our efforts to reach for even greater goals and help elevate the Dallas Film Society as we enter our second decade.”

Maureen and Dallas will be joining returning board members Benton Bagot, Jason Cleveland, Paul Coggins, Lauren Embrey, Clare Freeman, Suzanne Bock Grishman, Geoff Hawkes, Harry Hunsicker, Lynn Lewis and Larry Waks.

Lee Papert (File photo)

Lee Papert (File photo)

Mark Denesuk (File photo)

Mark Denesuk (File photo)

According to DFS Chairman of the Board Mark Denesuk, “The addition of Dallas and Maureen is an important one for this Board. They will add to the fabric of the impressive group of individuals already on hand to broaden the scope of this organization’s collective talents, resources, experience, and outlook. By this point in its existence, the Dallas Film Society holds a great responsibility as a leading force in the celebration, promotion, and education of film and cinema not just in Dallas, but throughout Texas and the Southwest. Each one of our members brings an expertise to the table that can only continue to build the Film Society’s reputation at a local, national and international level.”

Joining Mark in leadership roles for 2016-2017 will be Mary Hatcher as treasurer and Matt Bivona as secretary.

For a full rundown on Maureen and Dallas, and it’s quite a rundown, follow the jump:

* Photo provided by Dallas Film Society [Read more...]

JUST IN: North Texas Food Bank COO Simon Powell To Fill In While CEO/President Jan Pruitt Takes A Leave Of Absence

There have been a few folks wondering how North Texas Food Bank CEO/President Jan Pruitt was doing. She was MIA at the Crystal Charity Ball check presentation in April, where NTFB Board Chair Tom Black received a check of $750,000. And then there was the Can Do! Luncheon in May when NTFB Board Member Katherine Perot Reeves accepted the Can Do! Award for NTFB.

Jan Pruitt (File photo)

Jan Pruitt (File photo)

It’s been curious because Jan is one of the most public figures in the North Texas nonprofit sector and hasn’t been seen since last September, when she underwent cancer treatments at MD Anderson.

Word just arrived that the doctors have ordered her to stop multi-tasking. So instead of juggling the needs of the community along with her recovery, she’s taking “a temporary leave of absence to focus fully on her health.”

NTFB’s board of directors have announced that NTFB COO Simon Powell will serve as Interim President and CEO.

According to Jan, “I have full confidence that Simon will lead the North Texas Food Bank very capably until I am able to return. Simon is backed by the best executive team and Board of Directors in my tenure with the Food Bank.  Until I return, the operation is business as usual, with a focus on closing the hunger gap in North Texas and achieving our goal of providing 92 million nutritious meals a year by 2025.”

Adding to Jan’s opinion is Tom Black, who said, “The Board of Directors fully supports Jan’s decision, and we wish her well in her complete recovery. We have full confidence in Simon’s ability to lead the Food Bank. He’s backed by a superb executive team, who’ll ensure the mission to feed our hungry neighbors moves forward in the interim.”

In the meantime, it certainly doesn’t mean that Jan won’t be able to read get well notes. Suggestion: Drop her a line by sending it to Jan Pruitt, c/o North Texas Food Bank, 4500 S. Cockrell Hill Rd., Dallas 75236-2028. And, if you really want to score brownie points, make a donation in Jan’s name to you-know-what.

JUST IN: LaunchAbility CEO Kathryn Parsons Turns In Her Resignation

It was just three weeks ago that LaunchAbility had its annual fundraiser, “A Special Evening With …” at the Meyerson with comedian Martin Short on stage to the delight of hundreds. Now word arrives that LaunchAbility CEO Kathryn Parsons has turned in her resignation that will become effective on Tuesday, May 31.

Having joined LaunchAbility in 2010, she led the organization’s “Supported Employment Services and launch[ed] the innovative Academy program.” It was in 2013 that she was made CEO.

Kathryn Parsons (File photo)

Kathryn Parsons (File photo)

According to LaunchAbility Board President Karen Wald, “Kathryn’s decision to leave reflects her personal wishes to pursue new professional endeavors. She left the agency through the evolution that focused on expanding services to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Board sincerely thanks Kathryn for her hard work and tireless dedication in serving clients and other valuable stakeholders of LaunchAbility. We wish her the very best.”

In the past two years under Kathryn’s leadership, the organization has

  • Increased the number of adults placed in jobs. Each adult placed in full-time employment saves taxpayers $47,000 annually in reduced social services and contribution back to the community.
  • Grown the Academy program as employers like Novitex, Aramark and Office Depot see the advantage of onsite training, suited specifically to their workforce needs. Since inception the program has helped double the number of successful annual hires. Additionally the program has grown to partner with local school districts to prepare youth ages 18-22 in special education in high school to transition into the workforce.
  • Initiated programs to expand opportunities for people with Autism in technology (IT) careers. In March, LaunchAbility led “The 5000: a Global Summit on Autism in IT” and announced a pilot program with AT&T to train people with autism in software testing. Modeled after our highly successful Academy, the pilot will include best practices and experience gained by our specialty in Autism. The model is one that can successfully be replicated in other companies and other cities across the nation.

It was also during her tenure that the Bill Cosby “situation” blew up just days after announcing that the comedian would be the headliner at the annual gala. Kathryn orchestrated the cancellation of the Cosby appearance and replaced him with Dana Carvey.

Dr. Bill Behrendt has undertaken the search for Kathryn’s replacement.

Parkland Advocate Debbie Dudley Branson Is Honored With Prestigious Linz Award

Few nonprofit events in Dallas can match the annual Linz Award luncheon for the star power of its guests, and this year’s Linz—held Wednesday, April 6, at the Omni Dallas Hotel—was no exception. Everywhere you turned, it seemed, the city’s legendary movers and shakers were moving and shaking, from Frank Branson, Joel Allison, Carol Reed, Walt Humann and Luncheon Chair Patti Flowers to Doug Hawthorne, Dolores Barzune, Dale Petroskey, Ros Dawson, Gay and Bill SolomonRon Steinhart, Mary Jalonick, Sarah Losinger, Margaret Jordan, Helen Holman, Winfred Parnell, Meredith Mosely, Tom Dunning, John Scovell and Andy Stern.

Patti Flowers and Ros Dawson

Patti Flowers and Ros Dawson

Larry and Dolores Barzune

Larry and Dolores Barzune

Frank Branson

Frank Branson

Winfred Parnell

Winfred Parnell

They’d all turned out to honor Debbie Dudley Branson, recipient of the 87th annual Linz Award. Presented by Zales, a Signet Brand, and The Dallas Morning News, the Linz is given each year to the individual whose civic and humanitarian efforts over the last decade created the greatest benefit to the city, without having received monetary compensation. The luncheon is organized by the Junior League of Dallas and benefits its Community Service Fund.

This year about 500 people showed up for the event honoring Branson, a trial lawyer who served as board chair of Parkland Health and Hospital System when it had multiple complex problems. Among other things, Parkland was facing the potential loss of its accreditation, its hospital license, and its Medicare certification and funding. Branson is credited with turning around and revitalizing the system, thanks to her “grace-under-fire leadership and genuine concern for the underserved people of Dallas County.”

Jim Moroney

Jim Moroney

Debbie Branson and Sheila Grant

Debbie Branson and Sheila Grant

While guests enjoyed lunch including a mixed-green salad and braised short-ribs, they heard from Sheila and Jody Grant, last year’s Linz recipients, as well as Jim Moroney, publisher and CEO of The News, and Bill Luth of Signet Jewelers. Luth called Branson a “focused, dedicated and committed leader” before giving way to Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, who likened Branson’s 2012 challenges at Parkland to receiving a military “posting to Hawaii on December 7, 1941.”

Debbie Branson and Clay Jenkins

Debbie Branson and Clay Jenkins

During her remarks accepting the prestigious award, Branson said her efforts to revive the system were a “true labor of love” that would not have been possible without the help of its thousands of front-line employees, doctors, and volunteers. Among the improvements she oversaw were the implementation of a more effective governance structure; the building of a new, $1.3 billion campus; and the hiring of a permanent CEO, Dr. Fred Cerise.

However, Branson cautioned in concluding her remarks, “I know the quest is not over to make Parkland better.”

For more photos, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: The 87th Linz Award

Dallas heavy hitters and lifters were all over the place at the Omni on Wednesday, April 6, for the 87th Linz Award. The big draw was attorney/former Parkland Board Chair Debbie Branson’s being presented the award that is “considered Dallas’ oldest and most prestigious civic honor.”

Debbie Branson and Clay Jenkins

Debbie Branson and Clay Jenkins

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

JUST IN: Issue Of ‘Different Views’ Leads To CEO Colleen Walker’s Resignation At Perot Museum Of Nature And Science

Less than two years after being appointed CEO, Colleen Walker is stepping down as the Eugene McDermott Chief Executive Officer at Dallas’ Perot Museum of Nature and Science. The surprising development was disclosed in a March 30 letter to museum “friends and supporters” from John Jaggers, chairman of the Perot’s board of directors.

Colleen Walker (FIle photo)

Colleen Walker (FIle photo)

“I am writing to inform you that Colleen Walker—in consultation with the Executive Committee—has decided to step down from her position …” Jaggers wrote. “She has agreed to remain in her current role, however, until June 30th to help ensure a smooth and seamless transition.

“It is important to emphasize that this is not an outcome either Colleen or the Board had anticipated, but over time it has become increasingly evident Colleen and the Executive Committee held different views concerning the Museum’s strategic direction and focus,” Jaggers went on. “We agreed, accordingly, that a measured transition to new leadership is warranted.”

A former Miss Colorado who holds an MBA from Harvard University, Walker in June of 2014 succeeded Nicole Small, the Perot’s founding CEO, who retired in late 2013 after 13 years. Walker came to the nonprofit museum after serving for seven years as CEO of the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas.

In his letter, Jaggers said the museum’s board is appointing a search committee to help select Walker’s successor.  The committee will be led by Herman Saenz, the board’s incoming chair.

Dr. Winfred Parnell Succeeds Debbie Branson As Parkland Health And Hospital System Board Chair

Debbie Branson deserves some time off after serving as Parkland Health And Hospital System Board chair. Heck, the gal served two terms as chair and has been on the board since 2011. And what a time it’s been. Why it even earned The 2016 Linz Award for her.

Debbie Branson (File photo)

Debbie Branson (File photo)

Winfred Parnell*

Winfred Parnell*

This past Friday, February 19, the Board held its annual meeting to vote on who would succeed her as chair. With unanimous approval, they voted for Dr. Winfred Parnell to take over the reins.

In addition to his Ob/Gyn practice, Winfred is also “a member of the medical staff at Medical City Dallas Hospital, where he served in many leadership positions including Department of Surgery Chair, Chief of Staff and on the Board of Trustees.

Other officers elected at the meeting included Michael D. Williams as vice chair and Dr. Paula Dobbs-Wiggins as secretary.

BTW, Debbie’s replacement on the board has not been selected yet.

* Photo provided by Parkland Health And Hospital System Board

Dallas CASA Board To Be Headed By John Gibson And Joined By Mike Brosin And Cynthia Comparin

Word comes that Dallas CASA has new board leadership and members. Heading up the board will be Goldman Sachs Managing Director John Gibson. In addition to his new role of leadership, the Harvard graduate is also a Dallas CASA advocate and “currently working three open cases for kids who’ve been removed from their homes.”

John Gibson*

John Gibson*

Mike Brosin (File photo)

Mike Brosin (File photo)

Cynthia Comparin*

Cynthia Comparin*

Joining the board are Crest Cadillac/Crest Infiniti Managing Partner Mike Brosin and Animato CEO Cynthia Comparin.

Luckily for more than 2,000 abused and neglected children living in foster care in Dallas County, Dallas CASA volunteers are on the frontline “to advocate for the best interests of children under protective care of courts, so they will have safe, permanent homes where they can thrive.”

* Photo provided by Dallas CASA