Despite Initial Fiscal Confusion, Lee Jarmon Alzheimer’s Pro Am Benefits Aware And Three Other Area Non-Profits With $220,000

There’s been a tad bit of confusion about the funds netted from the Lee Jarmon Alzheimer’s Pro Am held in May at Gleneagles Country Club. Aware President Venise Stuart recently reported that the tournament had provided $20,000 for the group. But upon checking with the Jarmon’s Elisa Stephens, she said that the actual amount for Aware had been $40,000. 

Lee Jarmon Alzheimer’s Pro Am*

So, where was the MIA $20,000? No, Venise hadn’t taken a lavish trip. Rather the two groups have conflicting fiscal years. Jarmon had issued two $20,000 checks with each falling in separate fiscal years for Aware.

According to a statement provided by Aware,

“Venise Stuart, president of AWARE announced today that the AWARE organization received two grants totaling $40,000.00 from the Lee Jarmon Alzheimer’s Pro Am Golf  Tournament and Auction. The first grant of $20,000.00 received in March will be used toward the funding of the 2016-2017 AWARE grant recipients.  The second $20,000.00 grant received this August will be used in the funding of the 2017-18 grant recipients, listed below. The event will be held on April 13, 2018, at the newly renovated The Statler in downtown Dallas.  ALL grant funds received will be dedicated solely to the funding of AWARE’s grant recipients.”

Whew! If you’re confused, call your accountant and s/he’ll explain.

Regardless, the final rundown of checks distributed by the tournament was:

  • $100,000 to Baylor Memory Care Center
  • $60,000 to C.C. Young building fund for their new Memory Care Center
  • $40,000 to Aware
  • $20,000 to the Aging Mind Foundation 

In other words, $220,000 was provided to four nonprofits to fight Alzheimer’s on behalf of the Lee Jarmon Alzheimer’s Pro Am.

* Graphic courtesy of Lee Jarmon Alzheimer's Pro Am

Friends Of Wednesday’s Child Is Closing

Sorry to start the week off with some sad news, but The Friends of Wednesday’s Child is ceasing operation.

Whoa! Before you go thinking that WFAA’s Cynthia Izaguirre won’t be doing her “Wednesday’s Child” segments, stop thinking that. These are two separate organizations dedicated to supporting foster children in need of permanent homes.

Friends of Wednesday’s Child (File photo)

Founded by a couple in 1985, Friends of Wednesday’s Child “provided for all their unmet needs while they are in foster care. These unmet needs include many of the things that establish a healthy, productive childhood; from tutoring to medical/dental care to summer camp to birthday gifts.”

According to the Friends of Wednesday’s Child’s website,

“It is with heavy hearts we write that Friends of Wednesday’s Child is closing its doors. We do not have the financial support to continue. The good news is North Texas has some outstanding allies in the community of people who serve children living in foster care. We are in discussion with these great groups who are interested in absorbing Friends of Wednesday’s Child programs and services. We hope to announce something in the coming weeks and months. An education can transform the lives of these children and put them on a path to success in school and life. Thank you for your support in making it possible. It is an honor and a privilege. Please continue supporting them. You are the difference.”

It must have come as a surprise for the staff, since they had just recently submitted a MySweetCharity Opportunity about its Top Kids at TopGolf fundraiser in November.

On the other hand, WFAA’s Wednesday’s Child program is still in operation finding adoptive parents for foster children. As a matter of fact, WFAA will be holding a phone-bank drive today at 4, 5 and 6 p.m. to raise money for Community Partners of Dallas’ annual “Back to School Drive.”

A Clarification On The Dallas Country Club’s New Event Scheduling Policy

Whoa! Yesterday’s post mentioning the Dallas Country Club adjusting its event-scheduling policy has had some event planners wondering, “What’s up?” Well, the good folks at the Dallas Country Club wanted to clarify the situation.

The Board of Directors set the new policy last week that the Club can host events under 100 guests Tuesday – Friday for breakfast and lunch or any size on Mondays, Saturdays and Sundays.  The limitations on size are only during the breakfast and lunch hours Tuesday – Friday. Evening events and events that are already confirmed on the calendar are not affected.

It seems that since the Clubhouse’s reopening in 2012, the member usage has continued to increase as well as the demand for private event space. With the large daytime events and having ample parking for Members increasingly becoming a challenge, the Board set this temporary policy in place until they can find a solution.

Bethenny “Skinnygirl” Frankel Served Up One Of The Season’s Most Talked-About Presentations At The Annual Chick Lit Luncheon

On Friday, April 21, the annual Chick Lit Luncheon became the scene of two social earthquakes that split the Anatole’s Grand Ballroom. But more about that later. First, let’s set the scene.

Cristal Champagne

To kick off the Community Partners of Dallas fundraiser, the VIP reception was held in the Plum Blossom Room and, thanks to hosts Nancy and Richard Rogers, guests celebrated with Cristal Champagne. At the opening there were grand silver punch bowls filled with the elite champagne bottles chilling in ice. By the time the chimes called the guests to the luncheon, only a trio of partially filled bottles remained.

Tricia George, Paige McDaniel, Gail Fischer and Mary Martha Pickens

Lara Tafel

Nancy Rogers and Bethenny Frankel

Alas, keynote speaker Bethenny Frankel didn’t enjoy the bubbly, thanks to a non-stop of step-and-repeat photo session with folks like Co-Chairs Tricia George and Mary Martha Pickens, Presenting Co-Sponsor Lara Tafel, Honorary Chair Gail Fischer and daughter Elizabeth Fischer, Lisa Cooley with daughter Ciara Cooley and soon-to-be daughter-in-law Bela Pjetrovic and her sister Sabina Pjetrovic, Dee Simmons and daughter D’Andra Simmons Lock, Elizabeth Gambrell, Margo Goodwin, Cheryl Joyner, Tiffany Divis, Claire Emanuelson, Christie Carter and Cindy Turner.

Tiffany Divis and Bela Pjetrovic

D’Andra Simmons Lock and Dee Simmons

Elizabeth Gambrell, Margo Goodwin and Cheryl Joyner

As the guests literally filled the grand ballroom, Bethenny was whisked off to a private spot for some quiet time. But little did anyone know that in the hour and a half to come, the grand ballroom would be the scene of two distinctly different attitudes.

Some claimed it was a generational separation. One guest snorted, “It’s those millennials!” Another declared the other side of the great divide to be behind the times. It was just that “the times they are a-changin‘” for the decade-old luncheon featuring authors.

The old days of the Chick Lit at Brook Hollow with pecan crusted chicken and G-rated speakers like Stacey Ballis, Julia Reed, Gigi Levangie, Allison Winn Scotch, Emily Giffin and Jen Lancaster were in the rear-view mirror.

Last year’s move to the Anatole with Tim Gunn charming one and all in an on-stage chat had shifted the program to a new level. It was like moving from grade school to high school, from Shirley Temples to Cosmopolitans or from Boy Scouts Camp to Quantico.

But when the announcement of Bethenny’s being the keynoter came, lovers of reality TV were ecstatic. For them, it was like having the Pope serve mass at the local parish. For those who only considered the word “Bravo” to be what was said after a stellar performance, Bethenny was a rather unknown commodity. Didn’t matter. The Chick Lit Luncheon had always been fun and a fundraiser for a good cause.

Still, there were warnings that Bethenny might raise some eyebrows and that the uneducated might need to be forewarned and study up on the Skinnygirl.

Despite warnings that Bethenny was not your same-old, same-old, CPD loyalists signed on. In the meantime, new world reality TV lovers bought in with hopes of a “tell-it-like-it-is” presentation.   

So, what happened? Well, the first “earthquake” took place before Bethenny ever arrived on stage.

Mary Martha Pickens, Mary Ella Bitzer and Tricia George

To kick things off, CPD President/CEO Paige McDaniel presented the 2017 Partners for Children Award to Mary Ella Bitzer representing The Bitzer and Needleman Families and Peacock Alley. Unfortunately, whether it was due to poor acoustics or to all the chatter in the room, the presentation seemed to take place without much fanfare.

Faith Johnson

When Dallas District Attorney Faith Johnson provided the invocation, she was heard throughout, thanks to the lack of talking. But the chitchat kicked back in once Paige returned to the podium, and the first of the divides created a Grand Canyon among the guests. Looking like unhappy emojis, some strained to hear Paige, while others held steroid conversation to such a point that even those frowny-faced guests close to the stage had to rely on lip reading to “hear” Paige talk about the importance of the organization’s annual Christmas toy drive and how Peacock Alley had supported it. Some tried to silence the chatterboxes by clanging their silverware on their glassware, but even that couldn’t be heard above the racket. Perhaps the talkative guests had never attended a fundraiser before?

What made it more obvious was how the room went into a vacuum state of silence after Community Partners of Dallas Board Member Greg Nieberding introduced Bethenny and she arrived on stage. How quiet? At one point in her talk, a cell phone in the room rang and Bethenny interrupted her talk saying, “Somebody need to take a call?”

The svelte brunette, who had risen to fame thanks to reality TV and her “Skinnygirl” business empire, was both charming and disarming. On one hand, she couldn’t have been more upbeat and complimentary about North Texas women and the CPD. She even did a shout-out to “my friend Fancy Nancy Rogers” at a front row table with pals Dallas Snadon, Leisa Street, Michael Flores, Cindy Rachofsky and Niven Morgan and Shelby Wagner.

Dallas Snadon

Lori Jones, Nancy Rogers and Cindy Rachofsky

Leisa Street and Michael Flores

Shelby Wagner and Niven Morgan

On the other, she raised even the most heavily Botoxed brows with comments about “guano” (she didn’t use that word) and describing rich Dallas women as having Texas tea flowing from a particular body part (she put it much more colorfully). If you don’t get it, ask one of the thousand-plus who were there. They’re bound to recall the exact words.  

Some of the highlights of Bethenny’s talk included:

Bethenny Frankel

  • After having a rough childhood, she focused on “breaking the chain” in raising her daughter. She was not going to be “chained” to what others thought or what she had experienced as a child.
  • Finding balance in her life being a mother and a businesswoman.
  • Everyone has a great idea, but it’s the execution that matters, she said. Too often they get bogged down with the business plan or other aspects. “I would have never gotten into the liquor business had I known.”
  • Stay focused on your goals and don’t “look at the other lanes… I do my own thing.”
  • “25 years ago I was a bartender and had no idea I’d end up being an alcoholic… just kidding… I would end up founding a liquor company.”
  • She has founded an organization called “B Strong” to help women in crisis. “As women, we make a lot of decisions out of fear.”
  • “You can’t be pretty, tan, have sex, rich and sleep…I’m not tan, I don’t have sex and I’m  rich, but not like Dallas rich…. What the hell was I talking about?”
  • The night before on “Real Housewives of New York,” Bethenny had been confronted by another housewife over how she was dealing with her 6-year-old daughter about the fact that Bethenny had done a nude scene 27 years ago. “I just sat there and just took it and just said, I have no shame in my game. This is who I am. This is my past and I was an actress and I needed the money and I’ve done so many things in my life that got me to where I am, so I think that’s part of my owning it.” She went on, saying how “crazy it was for women trying to tear each other down.”

    Bethenny Frankel

  • “The least favorite element [of being on a reality show] is you get mired in something that you don’t even care about…You can’t believe that people can be so nasty and malicious. I think it’s a comedy. I see it as a satire. You can’t believe how fake people are. It’s amazing. You look around and any five people. You believe they are totally normal. ‘She’s so down to earth; she’s  so normal.’ She’s ‘guano‘ crazy!”
  • “I want to give you one tip. It’s changed my life. At night before you go to bed, for like five to 15 minutes, put in as much hot water as you possibly can in your bathtub and just your feet—not your whole body—in Epsom salts. It’s like a drunk. I don’t know what happens. I used to take something to sleep, but this knocks you out. It’s like detoxing and it’s crazy and it’s the simplest and oldest thing and has changed my life.”
  • Being an entrepreneur “is really hard. You’ve got to be out there. But it’s good. It’s like the ocean. It keeps changing and moving all the time.”
  • “I’m really a homebody. I like being with my daughter.”
  • When asked what the one thing she keeps in her refrigerator to make a meal, Bethenny responded, “I’m a big fan of the freezer. I travel so much that when I get home there’s always a frozen organic broccoli.”
  • Kale — “You can’t walk on the street without being assaulted by kale. I want to meet the kale publicist. What’s so great?”
  • The future for Bethenny — “I’m focused on this charity [B Strong]. I’m able to help women. Now that I’m not struggling and white-knuckling it anymore, I want to inspire women.”

Bethenny lived up to her honest, no-holds barred comments about her life, both past and present. She was true to herself. Some loved her words; some were perturbed by her presentation. Hey, when you go to a Mexican food restaurant, you can’t expect meat loaf to be the featured item on the menu.

Oops Alert: Family Gateway’s “Gateway To Opportunity” Luncheon Is Tuesday, Not Wednesday

It’s Monday. It’s wet. It’s cool-ish. It has all the elements for an oopsie taking place. And that’s what happened. Normally, most “oopsies” at other media outlets would just be dismissed as, “So who cares?” But this one has organizers a wee bit concerned, so we’re setting the record straight.

Jenna Bush Hager*

Jenna Bush Hager*

Ron Corning (File photo)

Ron Corning (File photo)

It seems that a daily newspaper column on philanthropy reported bright and early this morning that the Family Gateway’s “Gateway To Opportunity” featuring Jenna Bush Hager at the Omni Dallas Hotel was taking place on Wednesday. So, what’s so earth-shattering about that? Jenna will indeed be at the Omni and she’ll have a chat with WFAA’s Ron Corning. And it will benefit Family Gateway for homeless families with children.

The problem is that it’s taking place tomorrow, like Tuesday, instead of Wednesday.

As of 9:30 a.m. today, the website still had the incorrect date, so please think Tuesday. Because if you show up Wednesday, you’re gonna miss out on Jenna, Ron and a whole lot of your friends.

BTW, some tickets are still available here.

* Photo provided by Family Gateway

JUST IN: Media Panel For Nonprofits Is Nearing Done-Deal Status



Oh, dear! With such short notice, the prediction for the nonprofits’ media panel on Friday, August 19, was that perhaps a baker’s dozen would sign up. But, oh, no! So very wrong.

Understand that the sign-ins are coming in nonstop. Guess word has gotten out that PaperCity’s Jane Rozelle is gonna have all the scoop about the new format that the monthly publication will be introducing in September. Or, maybe it’s WFAA’s Ron Corning’s additional duties as commentator and doing lengthier interviews with the likes of Tyler Perry. Or, perhaps it’s photographer Kristina Bowman’s fessing up on how to work with photographers and what types of photos to submit.  Everyone is hoping that MySweetCharity’s Jeanne Prejean will take her friendly medication and explain the easiest way to get coverage on MSC and answer any questions about the lifestyle of elves.

Since one of the most popular parts of the past panels has been the Q&A, it will be nicely in place and open to all questions. One surprising development that took place at the last panel was the nonprofit representatives networking and exchanging ideas with each other afterwards.

The conversation will once again be an honest effort to help those working with nonprofits to get their message across to both established and potential fans.

One nonprofit marketing staffer is even bringing along her CEO to help her boss better understand why their stories aren’t on CNN. Another PR firm that doesn’t normally deal with nonprofits is sending a couple of their associates to learn the unique issues facing nonprofit media pitching.

PlainsCapital Bank*

PlainsCapital Bank*

And, thanks to PlainsCapital Bank, the whole morning of chatting is free. They’re even gonna provide a great view of Victory plus a continental breakfast!

But there is a catch. You’ve got to register here and do it pronto. All you have to do is provide your name, the nonprofit that you work with and a phone number. (BTW, your information will NOT be used for any solicitation by anyone or any group.) Then mark down August 19 for an 8:30 check-in at PlainsCapitals headquarters. After the panel, go have a leisurely lunch and take a nap with visions of headlines promoting your nonprofit!

* Graphic provided by PlainsCapital

JUST IN: United Way Of Metropolitan Dallas Comes Through With Record Breaking Numbers And Where The $$’s Are Going

First thing this morning a glowing…no, make that spectacularly dazzling…release arrived from United Way of Metropolitan Dallas reporting that it had raised a record-breaking $72M in the past year. Now, that is pretty darn mind blowing!

The question simmering around the MySweetCharity croissant and latte bar was — Is that the net or gross amount? Within minutes of being hit with that question, the public relations person responded that it was indeed the gross amount. When asked if she could supply the actual, final figure that would be distributed, she responded they were working on that.

Within a couple of hours, the following answer was received:

-$43,404,109 (Community Fund, UWMD programs, and agency designations) goes directly back to the community now.

-$15,222,316 has been raised for planned giving/endowment fund.  As the Live United Forever Endowment fund grows, it will generate resources to support work both now and for the long term future community investments.

Total of these 2 is $58,626,425 – net.

In discussing the subject of posting net amounts opposed to gross last week, one local business editor questioned whether fundraisers would actually supply such real numbers. The answer is, “Heck, yes!” That’s why check presentations take place.

Still another business editor explained it this way, “It’s all about transparency.” In other words, fundraising needs to be like Caesar’s wife. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. For instance, just this past week the Houston Press reported about a sticky situation that arose for CancerForward.

While MSC is not into investigative work about the inner workings of nonprofits, it can and will focus on the actual amounts handed over to the charitable organizations.

So, bravo to those, like United Way that report how much and where the monies raised go. Let’s keep up the net work!

MySweetCharity Policy Announcement: Only Nets To Be Accepted



Queenie arrived with an entourage this morning all huffy. Not the entourage. They’re nice elves, unicorns and angelfish. Queenie looked at the Elder Elf and handed him a freshly laid egg.

The old elf thanked her and asked her, “How am I to interpret this item, O Mighty One Who Makes My Eyes Water?”

With her painfully perfect posture, the old gal said, “When we receive gushing information about funds raised for nonprofits, it is like the egg.”

With wrinkled brow, EE pushed the issue: “And why is fundraising information like an egg, Oh One Who Makes Me Wonder Why I Showed Up For Work?”

With a weary tone in her voice, she replied, “I gave you an egg. You don’t know what it contains until the egg is cracked and the results are shown. A baby duck. A baby crocodile. So, it goes with the flood of releases boasting how much has been raised. But after the expenses are tallied, the question is how much actually went to the beneficiary?”

Leaning over to EE, Queenie whispered, “I happen to know of a group or two that have claimed to have raised incredible amounts for charities, but after the expenses were counted. . . well, honey, I can tell you that a garage sale would have been more beneficial.”

Pulling out his quill pen, the aged elf, who has been in the same position before countless times, prepared to write the latest entry in the MySweetCharity book of rules.

Queenie harrumphed herself, sat on her double-cushioned throne and waved her scepter — “From this point on, we shall only post news about the net amount that will be handed over to the charity/nonprofit.”

2014 Crystal Charity Ball 10 Best Luncheon Boasts Nina Ricci Fashions, Dallas’ Couture Set And Myths In Need Of Correction

It was 41 years ago that Janet DeSanders ruled Dallas society coverage. In addition to writing full time for The Dallas Times Herald, she also published an ultra-slick monthly publication called The Society Section. As if that wasn’t enough, she came up with the idea for an event that would recognize Dallas’ best dressed and most philanthropic women. The savvy Janet partnered up with Dallas’ premier couture salon Lou Lattimore and the 21-year-old Crystal Charity Ball.

For those who weren’t born at that time or are now journeying on the dementia road, Lou Lattimore was the Southwest’s oasis of international fashion that was operated by the Lidji brothers. Albert Lidji had bought the store back in the 1950’s. His exquisite taste had him searching the world for incredible fabrics and designers that would give nightmares for buyers at high-end stores. His youngest brother Henry would spritz the boutique with Norell perfume and serve as “general troubleshooter and manager.” One of the staffers was Cece Eddy Kieselstein-Cord. The beauty salon was the place to rejuvenate color and looks with the area’s top stylists.

Why all this history? More about that later.

Pre-Show activities

Nancy Rogers

Nancy Rogers

Michael Flores Salon

Michael Flores Salon

As Bentleys were parked out front, more than 400 Dallas fashion aficionados gathered at Neiman Marcus Downtown for the 41st Crystal Charity Ball 10 Best Dressed Luncheon. Word was being whispered among those in the know at the first floor reception — “Have you seen what Nancy has done?” The Nancy in question was Nancy Rogers, who had just flown in from New York’s Fashion Week. She was hostessing a Cristal toast for the 2014 10 BD sisterhood (Nancy Carlson, Heather Esping, Mary Clare Finney, Margaret Hancock, DeeDee Lee, Patty Leyendecker, Lynn McBee, Francie Moody-Dahlberg, Ashley Tripplehorn Hunt, Christi Urschel), 2014 Hall of Famer Lee Ann White and a few friends in the Michael Flores Salon on the sixth floor. The talk was about the glorious floral arrangement that Grō’s Nathan Johnson had created around the entrance and the reception desk. Cellphone cameras were whipped out to snap the artistry, but two-dimensional photos just couldn’t do it justice.

Nick Even

Nick Even

Brian Bolke and Piper Wyatt

Brian Bolke and Piper Wyatt

Inside the salon, attorney Nick Even was drafted to snap a cellphone shot of a trio…Brian Bolke admitted to Piper Wyatt that he was tired of seeing Brian Bolke in the press… Dwight Emanuelson arrived coatless with Mary Clare “Legs” Finney. He claimed that he had smeared an Egg McMuffin on his lapel. Dwight had gotten three steps into the salon, when a NM associate presented the spotless jacket to him…Michael Lee arrived from Austin with his grandmother Sue Peege and dad Jim Lee. Instead of flying up from Austin, Michael just took “The Bus” complete with Wi-Fi, complimentary refreshments, satellite television and radio, etc. Alas, no Jacuzzi.

Sue Peege, Michael Lee and Jim Lee

Sue Peege, Michael Lee and Jim Lee

Promptly at 11, the 10BD’s and Lee Ann had disappeared. Actually they were good girls and had adjourned to the second floor’s couture salon for a group photo.

But all was not quite right. The headcount wasn’t right. Someone was missing. It was Nancy Carlson. It seems that Nancy had been in London all summer and had picked out a fabulous Nina Ricci outfit to wear on stage. It was such a knock-out that unbeknownst to Nancy or the Dallas CCB coordinators, Mary Clare had picked out the very same outfit. Okay, so that collision of fashion does happen. But it’s one thing to have it happen at a cocktail party. It’s an asteroid smackdown on the runway, especially this one. Lo and behold, the NM couture professionals had one of the world finest collections to pull a new outfit for Nancy within minutes. Quickly Nancy was whisked into a dressing room. There her outfit was tweaked still showcasing her legendary legs.

In the meantime, the other 10BD-ers were like homecoming princesses on the verge of being escorted on field. Francie Moody-Dahlberg decided to go long formal. DeeDee Lee and Christi Urschel wore black, skin-tight slacks with killer jackets. Heather Esping, Ashley Tripplehorn Hunt and Lynn McBee opted for party girl dresses. Patty Leyendecker’s and Margaret Hancock’s dresses proved that the professional look can definitely have a “Wow!” element.

Lee Ann looked at the 2014 classmates and laughed: “They all look so young.”

As soon as a refreshed Nancy C. emerged, photos were taken. First, the ultra-proper ones shot with NM PR gal Marjon Henderson directing: “I was editor of my college yearbook.”

Front row: DeeDee Lee, Lynn McBee, Heather Esping, Ashley Tripple horn Hunt and Nancy Carlson; Back row: Christi Urschel, Patty Leyendecker, Mary Clare Finney, Lee Ann White, Margaret Hancock and Francie Moody- Dahlberg

Front row: DeeDee Lee, Lynn McBee, Heather Esping, Ashley Tripplehorn Hunt and Nancy Carlson; Back row: Christi Urschel, Patty Leyendecker, Mary Clare Finney, Lee Ann White, Margaret Hancock and Francie Moody- Dahlberg

Front row: DeeDee Lee, Lynn McBee, Heather Esping, Ashley Tripple horn Hunt and Nancy Carlson; Back row: Christi Urschel, Mary Clare Finnery, Patty Leyendecker, Pat McEvoy, Lee Ann White, Robyn Conlon, Francie Moodey-Dahlberg and Margaret Hancock

Front row: DeeDee Lee, Lynn McBee, Heather Esping, Ashley Tripplehorn Hunt and Nancy Carlson; Back row: Christi Urschel, Mary Clare Finney, Patty Leyendecker, Pat McEvoy, Lee Ann White, Robyn Conlon, Francie Moody-Dahlberg and Margaret Hancock

Then Luncheon Chair Pat McEvoy and CCB Chair Robyn Conlon were added for the final photos.

Michael Fowler, Lee Ann and Alan White

Michael Fowler, Lee Ann and Alan White

Marjon marched the ladies to the corner of the salon and halted them. Ashley applied a last touch of lip glass. Hall of Famer Husband Alan White admitted that his back was really feeling the pain of a pull the week before.

Promptly at 11:25 General Marjon ordered her fashionable troopers to NM’s back halls and the freight elevator. Seeing the perfectly coiffed and attired philanthropists and fundaisers make their way through the utilitarian hallways was like seeing Anna Wintour on the midway. Instead the gals acted like kids on an adventure.

Marjon Henderson

Marjon Henderson

Once on the sidewalk the group was ushered past the hundreds lining up under the canopied sidewalk to the backstage. Here male models offered bottles of water to the honorees, while female models exchanged their street clothes for Nina Ricci fashions and makeup and hair experts fastidiously prepared one and all.



In The Tent

Out front the guests took their seats at tables throughout the mammoth tent that now occupied the NM parking lot. Annette Simmons, Gene Jones, Laura Bush, Nancy Dedman and Kelly Ford were at a front row table on the “50-yard line” to support Lee Ann.

Gene Jones, Laura Bush and Annette Simmons

Gene Jones, Laura Bush and Annette Simmons

Across the runway was Nancy Rogers’ entourage including Gina Betts, Carlos Parada, Tanya Foster, Katy Bock, Janie Condon, Kathleen Hutchinson, Kris Johnson and Annika Cail.

Also at front row tables were Lisa Troutt, Nelda Cain Pickens, Lana Andrews, Jill Smith and Toni Pickens. Just a table away were Elaine Agather, Lee Bailey, Sarah Losinger, Charles McEvoy and Diane Brierley. Standing in the back of the tent among the NM staffers and herd of photographers was Dr. Hal Urschel with his trusty crutch and “boot.”

When an announcement came over the PA that the show was getting ready to start, 446 took their places. After the show started #447 scurried to her place at a front-row seat.

It was then that the problems started. It seems the CCB history has become a bit of a mystery for the NM scriptwriters that would have furrowed the brow of Jessica Fletcher.

The official welcomes by NM Downtown VP/GM Jeff Byron, Pat McEvoy and Robyn Conlon went according to script. So did NM Group President/CEO Karen Katz’s part. and that was the problem. Like lace it was filled with holes, but these weren’t pretty holes.

Now, don’t get all hot and bothered wondering what the gaps were. Here they are:

  1. Time and time again the script had Karen chiding CCB about the group’s being unfaithful to NM. Actually, according to Janet DeS., the first one was produced by Lou Lattimore because Neiman’s wasn’t interested in it. After that year, NM’s interest perked up and the show has always been a NM production.
  2. According to the speech, CCB had been unfaithful due to a “fellow named Lou.” Actually, the “Lou” in Lou Lattimore was a woman, whose backers Sam Klein and Sam Pearlman sold it to the Lidjis in the 1950’s.
  3. Karen proudly announced that the 2014 CCB goal was $50M. Backstage Robyn Conlon thought she had heard Karen incorrectly. Making her way to her table, her committee asked if there had been a change made to the official $5.2M. Nope. Must have been a typo. Oh.
  4. Sandy Marple

    Sandy Marple

    A tip of the hat was given to NM Fashion Producer Sandy Marple for doing an outstanding job, and rightly so. However, the script said that she had “produced” every one of the 40. Perhaps the word should have been “involved with,” since the original shows were coordinated by NM’s then-VP Fashion Director Daria Retian, when Sandy was just a 25-year-old.

  5. But Karen wasn’t the only one having “oops” on stage. When Jeff returned to the podium, he surprised CCB staffers by reading information about the honorees that had been regarded as not for publication, like the names of children. Then as he completed the run-through with Lee Ann White, he congratulated “Leon.”

While some may have their faces all twisted up about the nitpicking, others deserve the credit for what started more than 40 years ago and for the amazing partnership that has resulted between two Dallas legends — Crystal Charity Ball and Neiman Marcus — and their uninterrupted relationship to raise millions of dollars for children’s charities. However, the NM script writers need to do a little more homework before they put the wonderful Karen in such a situation. She deserves better.



Karen Katz and Ralph Toledano

Karen Katz and Ralph Toledano

As the models strolled the runway with Nina Ricci President Ralph Toledano seated with Karen, it became apparent that lace is the thing for the season.

Outside, the earlier predicted rain that had held off so graciously while the guests entered the tent now started drip-dropping. The canopy over the sidewalk proved to have ever-so-slight gaps, causing Marjon and an associate to put golf umbrellas into operation. A lineup of servers with plates in hand paraded along the sidewalk to the hungry guests inside, as a downtowner walked her pit bull between the carpeted sidewalk and valet line.

JUST IN: Crystal Charity Ball Charity Selection Applicant Orientation Date Change

There’s been a slight change of plans for prospective Crystal Charity Ball recipients. Originally the CCB team scheduled the CCB Charity Selection Applicant Orientation to take place on Thursday, September 18, at Communities Foundation of Texas.

Then calendars were compared and big, old, scary “Oops!” showed up. September 18 is North Texas Giving Day and CFT is busier than Uber drivers on Texas-OU weekend.

North Texas Giving Day*

North Texas Giving Day*

With just a little tweaking, a new date for the CCB orientation was picked. The new date is Tuesday, September 30.

While applications will be available online starting Monday, September 1, they must be mailed or hand-delivered by the Wednesday, October 29, deadline. No emailed applications will be accepted.

So, transfer the orientation meeting from September 18 to September 30. Everything else stays absolutely the same.

*Graphic provided by Communities Foundation of Texas

How To Survive Those Close-Up Moments

Due to popular demand, this post is taking place. It has absolutely nothing to do with nonprofit fundraising. But it provides some tips for those who nonprofit fundraise and are “forced” to face eager-beaver photographers.

Just say, "Cheese."

Just say, “Cheese.”

Also, man-in-the-know John Clutts (no, that’s not John in the photo) recommends that when having your photo taken, look at the top of the photographer’s head.

Dare you to try some of these out with your own smartphone? We won’t tell, if you don’t. Wink, wink.

Hey, it’s a summer Thursday. Don’t think of this as a post but as a pose. Now, you’ve got all summer to practice before the fall season kicks into gear. It also will help you the next time you have your driver’s license or passport photo taken.

An Eagle Will Be Missing From Tonight’s Nest

Tonight the Meyerson will be filled with eagles. No, not the ones with feathers. Rather the ones in University of North Texas green. As promoted for weeks, the Emerald Eagle will honor legendary alumni with clever comments, entertainment and celebs.

There’s been a slight change of plans, though.

When the original announcement of honorees — former Miss America/sportscaster Phyllis George, award-winning author Larry McMurtry and actor Peter Weller — was made, a couple of veteran celeb watchers raised their well-plucked eyebrows.

As time passed and more news (Robert Edsel, Ali MacGraw, Brent Musburger and Jeff Bridges being part of the event) ramped up the excitement, the eyebrows lowered just a smidge. Still there was skepticism about the situation.

The whispered doubt was about one of the honorees — Pulitzer-Prize winning author McMurtry, who’s earned a reputation as a curmudgeon. His participation in such public events has been minuscule, at best. But still, if Edsel and Bridges, who appeared in McMurtry’s “Last Picture Show,” were involved, organizers must have really locked down LM’s appearance.

Then word cleared up some confusion last week. Seems that Bridges wouldn’t actually be at the event. He had “filmed a segment for the video tribute to McMurtry.”

This past Monday an email was received saying, “All the celebs  Phyllis George, Peter Weller, actress Ali MacGraw, sportscaster Brent Musburger, and author Robert Edsel (The Monument Men)  will be available for interviews and photos on the ‘green carpet. . .”

Eyebrows returned to high-rise status noting McMurtry’s name was not on the list.

Still, as of yesterday, it was “All Systems Go!” with UNT President Neil Smatresk giving no indication that an eagle might be missing.

Even this morning, the media was reporting that clear skies were ahead for the eagles.

Then the “Oops!” happened. When the organizers were contacted about McMurtry’s availability for a chat, the following response was just received:  “Unfortunately, due to health issues, he is not attending.”

It’s too bad. Send your “get well soon” notes to Larry in Archer City.

In the meantime, dig out your best green and be prepared for an entertaining evening. BTW, you don’t have to be a UNT grad to join in the fun.

MySweetCharity’s Queenie Loves Working With PR People But They Won’t Be Seen Around Here

Queenie was reviewing some photos that had been submitted by a couple of nonprofits about their recent fundraising. They were great looking photos and should have been. Professional photographers and beautiful people tend to make for the best-looking pieces of artwork.

Then the old Q made a fussy face and pointed at one of the people in the photographs — “I know her. Wasn’t she the public relations person who was promoting the event?”

While the elves gave each other the sideway eyes, Elder Elf peered over Q’s shoulder and said that, “Yes, indeed it is she. Thought she did a nice job of getting the materials to us within the 48-hour window.”

Getting eye-to-eye with Elder, Queenie narrowed her cat-like eyes and smiled deliciously. “Was she not paid to promote the event, the sponsors and the paying guests?”

Elder knew where this conversation was going as he nodded in agreement.

Raising her right eyebrow and stroking her scrawny neck, Q continued, “So, let’s say I had paid money to be at this event, or even a larger amount of money to put on the party. Then instead of seeing my flawless face among those at the party, I see the paid PR person’s too-young-for-Botox face instead. . .”

Elder shrugged his shoulders, turned away from Queenie and went to the ledger where the MySweetCharity policies, like “No wire hangars,” are written. Guess what the latest entry is?

UPDATE: The Harrison Group Likes MySweetCharity Too Much

For those wondering what happened about The Harrison Group’s posting a couple of verbatim items by MySweetCharity without attribution, here is the update.

Mary Beth Harrison called today. It seems that since starting The Harrison Group blog six years ago, they have tirelessly promoted nonprofit organizations and activities on the site. Oops! The Group thought MySweetCharity was a nonprofit holding events and they were trying to help. (Must admit that at times the MSC accountants think MSC is pretty nonprofitable.)

When Mary Beth realized the situation, she immediately removed the MSC posts from The Harrison Group blog.

Two great things resulted:

  1. A problem/issue was worked out through communications.
  2. The Harrison Group and MySweetCharity are totally on the same team — promoting area nonprofits.