TACA Custom Auction Gala’s Celebration Of 50 Years Of Funding The Arts “Tranformed” Into A Glistening Affair

The TACA Custom Auction Gala celebrating the art funding organization’s 50th anniversary was a time to glisten and shine. And on Friday, September 8, the first black-tie gala of the 2017 fall/winter fundraising season did just that. Only it wasn’t exactly for the reason some might have predicted.

Unlike years past, when it was held entirely inside the legendary Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, the guests discovered as they drove up to the auto courtyard that the gala had taken up more real estate. A large, see-thru tent complete with overhead lights and greenery, bars and a black stage surrounded by tables and chairs had been erected in the courtyard adjacent to the august hotel. Here the cocktail reception would be held, followed by the evening’s program. As for dinner, guests would saunter into the Mansion to dine and wine.

Dean Fearing and Wanda Gierhart

Linda and Bill Custard

Robyn Flatt and Wilson Tarver

Don and Carol Glendenning

TACA Custom Auction Gala Co-Chairs Wanda Gierhart and Dean Fearing reported that they were planning on wedding in summer 2018…Breast cancer survivor Linda Custard topped off in snow white hair reported that husband Bill Custard had teased her the year before that, for the first time, he had more hair than she did…Dallas Children’s Theater’s Robyn Flatt was thrilled about the theater’s new mega-sign lighting that took place on Wednesday, August 30. She also added that ticket sales for the annual Cabaret were going briskly…. After checking in outside the tent, guests like Carol and Don Glendenning, Wendy and Jeremy Strick, Laura and Dennis Moon, Lynn and Allan McBee, Lisa and Bill Ogle, Katherine Wynne and John Baer, Jan Barboglio, Barbara and Steve Durham, Stacie and Steve Adams and Mimi and Rich Sterling ambled on in for drinks and the evening’s festivities.

John Baer, Katherine Wynne and Laura and Dennis Moon

Jessica Chandler

Diane and Hal Brierley

When Dallas Theater Center Associate Artistic Director Joel Ferrell called the beautiful people to start the program, the veteran high rollers discovered that things had changed from the past. Instead of having front-row tables reserved for them to raise their bid paddles, it was a first-come, first-sit situation.

Then, as the body count for the sold-out event climbed past 275, the glamorous joint started getting pretty cozy. Thankfully it wasn’t a simmering August heat wave, and the  September evening’s outdoor temperature was still lingering in the upper 70’s. Still, the couple of occasionally open tent doors weren’t letting in much of a breeze. Like Ashley Wilkes, tuxedoed men in white buttoned-up shirts with ties smiled bravely, as their lady friends fanned themselves with their bid paddles like Scarlett O’Hara on the porch of Tara. It wasn’t a question of the portable A/C units not working up to snuff. Someone said there was an A/C unit trying its best in the back of the tent. But like the Titanic lifeboat count, there just weren’t enough of the little blowhards to meet the need as the festivities continued.

Joel got things started by introducing the evening’s Co-Chairs/lovebugs Wanda Gierhart and Dean Fearing. The former Mansion/current Ritz chef with headset in place kicked things off welcoming the group. But when Wanda tried to provide an added welcome, her handheld mic proved to be a silent stick. Panic on the sidelines kicked in, and event planner Randi Steinhart scrambled on stage handing Wanda another handheld mic. It proved to be suffering from the same “Silent Sam” ailment as the other mic. Giggles arose among the guests. After repeated exchanges of dead mics with similar results and pleading looks at the production table with no results, the laughter had been replaced with awkward smiles. Trooper Wanda saved the situation by simply talking into Dean’s headset.

Celebration

With a working mic in hand, TACA Chair Donna Wilhelm introduced “Celebration,” a dance commissioned by TACA to celebrate TACA’s 50th anniversary and performed by Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Bruce Wood Dance, and Dark Circles Contemporary Dance. Things were heating up. Now bid paddles were fanning at full pace, as the dancers performed flawlessly. But the icy cocktails were starting to wear off, and the body-heat temperatures table-side were rising.

Donna Wilhelm

Michelle Thomas

Katherine Bull and Jan Barboglio

Instead of going straight to the live auction, Donna returned to the stage and told of her roots in funding the New Works Fund going back to her childhood as the daughter of Polish immigrants. She was followed by incoming TACA Chair Michelle Thomas, who reported, “Did you know?” about TACA. On the front row was one of TACA’s original members Katherine Bull, who could have read chapter and verse about the days of Jane Murchison (Haber), Evelyn Lambert, Virginia Nick and the ladies getting together to raise funds for a new art group — Dallas Theater Center. But there was no mention of them or the TACA roots on this night.

The paddles kept paddling the air like a metronome at presto speed to fight off the feel of perspiration.

Louis Murad and Cyndi Phelps

Finally, it was time for auctioneer Louis Murad to lead the live auction. His aim, he’d said, was to haul in about $250,000. He said it was not going to be a repeat of the 2015 TACA Custom Auction Gala, when he had conducted the lackluster TACA auction in the cool Mansion Promenade. But as starting time neared, some, who knew they weren’t “players” or were starting to succumb to the heat, headed into the cool confines of the Mansion.

Auction sign holder

As Louis hopped on stage, he looked at the crowd of beauts and still felt confident. Two 21st century Austin Powers lovelies walked the stage like boxing ring girls holding signs designating the package for the crowd that was starting to look like a formally attired hot-yoga class. Flutes that had held champagne were drained. Makeup was starting to show premature signs of melting. Slender gals in gowns, who had stilettoed their way over the cobblestone courtyard, were now leaning against the tent’s walls, looking like wilted daisies. One woman at a front-row table stood. Louis asked if she was rising to bid. No, she was headed to the bar for a couple of drinks for friends. Items that had been described as “priceless,” were barely hitting the five-figure neighborhood.

Thanks to Diane and Hal Brierley, the evening’s bidding venture wasn’t a total loss, with their taking home dinner with Dean Fearing and Cowboy greats (Troy Aikman, Daryl Johnston and Emmitt Smith) for $32,500. Alas, Louis’ goal of a quarter of a million bucks didn’t hit its target. Including the post-auction, shout-out for funds, the evening’s take wasn’t too much more than $100,000.

One person commented, “Too sober. Too hot. This group is ready for church.”

As crass as this comment was, it was a Reader’s Digest critique. Usually, most fundraisers have the live auction preceded by a cocktail party and a well-quenched dinner. The true experts in the live auction world know that you don’t want the guests to be “too happy” that they don’t have the day-after blues. But you do want them to be lulled into feeling the lift of the paddles is painless. Not the case here. Between the heat and the grumbling tummies, these celebrants wanted to get out of the tent and onto dinner inside the air-conditioned Mansion.

According to one TACA organizer, the thinking was that people wanted the dinner to follow the live auction, so they could settle back and linger, as opposed to hustling to the auction. They also felt that the dance performance would rally the paddles into a frenzy high.

But this POA turned into a perfect storm for Monday morning quarterbacking. Had they held the live auction in the Mansion ballroom, the heat factor would not have kicked in. Had they held the live auction after the seated dinner, there would have been a more festive lifting of the paddles. Had the auction items been curated by a true luxury team like the 2017 Art Ball’s Jennifer Karol and Rajan Patel instead of parceling some items out to out-of-state AmFund, the paddles might have waved like the flags on the Fourth of July. Had the annual farm-to-table package been part of the lineup, even the poorest of the rich crowd would have had paddled up.

Editor’s comment: As the new regime of TACA gets underway for the next 50 years, it appears to still be a project in development. But on this night the celebration of TACA’s 50th anniversary wasn’t quite the bravo production that some had hoped for. MIA were some longtime TACA supporters. According to one source, past TACA chairs had been invited to join the host committee. When one “past TACA co-chair” had received the invite, she responded, “My husband and I don’t support the arts. We’ve never been to a TACA event, so I doubt we’ve ever chaired one.”

Organizers intimated that this would be the last TACA live auction. Perhaps it’s just as well, since the 2017 TACA Custom Auction Gala went out with a whimper, and not a bang.

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

Change Of Plans: MySweetCharity Will Continue One More Day Due To Overwhelming Response

MySweetCharity

Evidently the MySweetCharity Opportunity series has grown in popularity. This year’s crop of opportunities was nearly double the number of posts submitted last years.

While the series was originally scheduled to end today (aka the last day of August), it has been extended to Friday, September 1. A big thanks goes to all those who contributed to the series and “the friends,” who sponsored the series. These are the people and organizations that make North Texas the land of opportunity.   

If you missed the opportunity to share an opportunity, start thinking about the next series — MySweetWishList. It will run from the Monday after Thanksgiving until the end of 2017.

A Human’s Holiday Celebration Is A Pet’s Night Of Fear And Anxiety

This Fourth of July promises to have clear skies just perfect for firework displays throughout the North Texas area. Why you may not even have to leave your mansion to hear the ka-booms and see the flashes overhead.

Anxious pooch (File photo)

But while such a sight is breathtaking and all in the best spirit, the sounds and sights can be devastating for some… like pets.

According to Lost Dogs of America, more dogs “run away from home over the Fourth of July holiday than any other.” 

Here are some tips to prepare for that “just in case” situation:

  • Make sure your pet is microchipped and, most importantly, that its registration is current.
  • Do not take your pet to Fourth of July festivities.
  • Take your dog for a walk during the day. The cat doesn’t need to take a stroll.
  • If you’re set on taking the pooch to a parade, remember the pavement is going to be hot. So, walk and have them sit on a grassy spot and bring along some water. You may not get thirsty, but you’re not wearing a fur coat.
  • Secure them in an indoor crate with the TV and/or music playing, preferably in a room with window shades down.
  • The ASPCA has provided a free app to help you locate your pet, just in case the night results in their running away from home.
  • Ask your vet for advice specifically on how to deal with your animal companion’s anxiety.

BTW, have a current photo of your pet? Even if you don’t have a camera, you can take a cellphone picture. It will be vital if your pet does make a mad dash, so that you can immediately post on social media as well as distribute handouts.

The Elisa Project’s Life Lessons Luncheon Had DWTS’s Nancy Kerrigan, Unexpected Add-Ons To The Program And Rumbling Tummies

After years of holding luncheons at hotels and last year’s breakfast at the Belo, The Elisa Project held a luncheon for its Life Lessons fundraiser at the Belo on Friday, March 3. It kicked off with a VIP reception at 11:00, but, unlike other meet-and-greet receptions with the celebrity du jour, this one had no grip-and-grin photo opp with luncheon speaker Nancy Kerrigan, or even a sponsor backdrop. Instead, guests passed the word that “She’s over there” and “She’s so sweet” and “She looks wonderful” and snapped photos with the accommodating Kerrigan.

Kim Bannister, Ariana Luterman, Nancy Kerrigan and Allana Luterman

Alas, a photo of Co-Chairs Rhonda Sargent Chambers and Melissa Rountree, Kerrigan and Honorary Chair Toni Munoz-Hunt was stalled. Word was passed that “Toni is on her way” as the doors to the ballroom opened just after 11:30. Then tall, gorgeous Toni gathered with Nancy, Rhonda and Melissa for a snap.

Rhonda Sargent Chambers, Toni Munoz Hunt, Nancy Kerrigan and Melissa Rountree

In the crowd of supporters were Kim Bannister, Holly Davis, Pamela Graham, Carlotta Lennox, mom-to-be Jenny Anchondo, Ellen Winspear, Lisa Cooley with daughter Ciara Cooley and daughter-in-law-to-be Bela Pjetrovic, Tiffany Divis, Lynn McBee and Nancy Gopez.

Nancy Gopez and Tiffany Divis

Carlotta Lennox and Pamela Graham

Lisa Cooley, Jenny Anchondo and Bela Pjetrovic

As The Elisa Project Executive Director Kim Martinez stood on the floor with mic in hand, she called the group to their seats at tables pre-set with salads, desserts, a bowl of bread, a floral arrangement, water and ice tea. More about this setup later.

The printed program set out a plan for just five speakers — Kim, The Elisa Project Board Chair Dr. Stephanie Setliff, Star of Hope Awardee Dr. Andy McGarrahan, LEAD Awardee Ariana Luterman and keynoter Kerrigan. Instead, the program was extended with multiple unscripted speakers.

Following the invocation, Stephanie had Rhonda and Melissa come to the podium to talk about their helping those with eating disorders. They, in turn, thanked Toni, whom they asked to address the group.

It was then announced that the Esteem Fashion Show fundraiser would be held once again at Tootsies in the fall.  When the announcement of the Esteem honorary chair was made, the supposed honorary chair looked stunned. She had already told them she couldn’t do it. Oops.

Stephanie presented the Star of Hope Award to Dr. Andy McGarrahan, who twinned humility with humor in accepting the award.

Stephanie Setliff

Andrew McGarrahan

After Andy’s acceptance, Stephanie announced she was going off-script. Co-Chair Rhonda looked at her timeline and looked a bit baffled. But before she could figure out what was going on, she heard Stephanie tell of Rhonda’s commitment to the organization over the years and asked her to come back to the stage to receive a token of appreciation. Despite being caught off guard, Rhonda thanked her mom and dad (“Perhaps you should have worn a tie”), her husband and family, and told how much The Elisa Project meant to her.

Kim then presented the LEAD Award to Greenhill student wunderkind Ariana for her volunteering to handle The Elisa Project’s social media. In the audience, Ariana’s mother, Allana Luterman, recorded her daughter’s acceptance on her cellphone.

As a video was shown about The Elisa Project, some guests were starting to wonder if the seasonal mixed salad with herb vinaigrette had been the entrée. After all, it was 35 minutes into the program and the salads and dressing were long gone. All that remained were the empty salad plates putting the desserts just beyond reach. At one table a guest with long arms reached for the passel of rolls and started to pass it around. As more presentations of speakers and a video continued, the floral arrangements were starting to look downright tasty.

Whitney Kutch

In making a call for money at the 45-minute mark, Elisa Board Member Whitney Kutch came to the stage and announced that she and Melissa were issuing a $4,000-challenge for guests to match. 

Finally, Kim announced there would be a break for lunch. Quickly, the staff replaced the salad plates with dishes of chicken, carrots and whipped potatoes. Luckily, Nancy’s table was one of the first to be served. She managed to take a couple of bites before being called to the podium.

Her life story has truly been challenging. There had been the Tonya Harding episode; the heart-breaking efforts for Olympic gold; her brother’s being on trial for their father’s death; her recently announced joining the “2017 Dancing With the Stars” cast.

Would she speak on all, or just one, of those subjects? Instead, she spoke extemporaneously for 30 minutes about everything from her kids to her own challenges of looking figure perfect and fitting into costumes. A couple of times during her talk she admitted that she was bouncing from subject to subject.

Nancy Kerrigan

Then she teared up and told how she had truly been touched by Leslie and Rick McCall’s motivation in creating The Elisa Project to fulfill their late daughter’s wish to help prevent others from the agony of eating disorders. That would have been the perfect place to have ended the talk. But Kerrigan continued, with some guests slipping out at this point and others sneaking peaks at their watches.

Nearing the end of her talk, Nancy admitted she had been guilty of unhealthy care-taking. She had put others’ needs before her own and had worked to overcome that practice. However, she revealed that she was helping one of her sons, who seemed to be following his mother’s care-taking role.

Instead of allowing guests to head to their cars, Kim took to the floor with mic in hand for questions from the audience. Less than a handful of hands were raised, while others headed for the door.

Oops Alert!: Three-Way Luncheon Collision Scheduled For Wednesday, March 8

Dallas fundraising is less than two months into the 2017 marathon for local nonprofits and there’s already a major collision in sight. It takes place on Wednesday, March 8. Despite Monday, March 6, and Thursday, March 7, being pretty vacant of noontime goings-on, three groups honed in on that Wednesday for their luncheon moneymakers.

And to make matters worse, two of ‘em are taking place at the same venue. Here’s the rundown:

Lyda Hill (File photo)

Steve Mansfield (File photo)

Now, if you’re swift of feet and have plenty of buying power, you might try to hit all three. On the other hand, it’s too bad that the three couldn’t have been spread through the week, so a Solomon-like choice will have to be made.

BEWARE: Mother Nature Has Cooked Up A Weekend Of Weathery Upsy and Downsies

That Mama Nature is a tricky old gal. She had the weather guessers convinced that she would just snow flurry around this afternoon. And there were all types of impressive maps to back her claim. But then the white stuff started falling. Just one flake made people smile. Then a dozen made folks think how pretty the flurry is. But then the flurry became an afternoon drive-home fury of flakes that as soon as they hit the ground, they froze together making Central Expressway a glorified parking lot and teeny-weeny hills become icy roller coasters.

Traffic in the snow (File photos)

Now, what’s in the future? Take a deep breath and read this before venturing out Saturday morning. The stuff that’s wet and on the ground this evening is going to freeze thanks to temperatures in the 20s. Roads that were slippery today are going to be treacherous Saturday until afternoon when the temps get just barely above freezing.

Are you relieved? Don’t be. Sorry to report that Saturday night the stuff that started melting Saturday afternoon will refreeze Saturday night thanks to returning temperatures in the 20s. Rethink Sunday brunches and church services.

Dallas Arboretum squirrels (File photo)

But you deserve some good news and here goes. Sunday afternoon the temperatures will start rising above freezing and will stay there the rest of the week.

So, tell those sandals and shorts to take a break. Come Tuesday they’ll be needed for walking the dogs, sipping on patios, comparing notes with the penguins at the Dallas Zoo and checking out the blossoms at the Arboretum.

In the meantime, rethink that subscribing to Netflix and reading that book that has been gathering dusty. And what about that needlepoint that you’ve been meaning to finish up?

JUST IN: Dallas Women’s Foundation’s 31st Annual Luncheon Helped Its Unlocking Leadership Campaign Hit The $31M Mark

Dallas Women’s Foundation bean counters have been putting in overtime since Friday’s 31st Annual Luncheon at the Hilton Anatole with keynote speaker/artist Candy Chang. The Foundation’s Unlocking Leadership Campaign leadership (Ashlee and Chris Kleinert, Paula and Ron Parker and Trea Yip) just revealed over-the-top news.

With a campaign goal of $50M, they announced at the luncheon that $30.8M had been achieved.

Trea Yip, Paula and Ron Parker and Ashlee and Chris Kleinert

Trea Yip, Paula and Ron Parker and Ashlee and Chris Kleinert

But to celebrate the 31st anniversary of the Foundation, they so wanted to the $31M mark. To do that, they asked that guests text “betterworld”, and donate. Only there was a slight hitch. It seems that some folks put a space between “better” and “world” preventing the funds from hitting its target.

Not to worry. Dallas Women’s Foundation CEO/President Ros Dawson smoothly explained the situation from the podium and the day was saved.

Want proof? Thanks to the corrected texting and an anonymous donation of $31,000, they hit $31M.

Change Of Plans: The Lowest Greenville Derby Slated For October 29 Is A Victim Of Roadkill

If you were planning on being a part of the first-ever Lowest Greenville Derby on Saturday, October 29, rethink that idea. The Genesis Women’s Shelter fundraising event has been postponed.

According to the website, the change of plans is “due to concerns about construction completion.” By construction, it means the torn-up road and sidewalks that have made lowest Greenville Avenue look like a war zone for ages.

To play it safe, Emily Walsh reports that plans call for the event to be rescheduled for sometime in 2017.

Halloweeners (File photo)

Halloweeners (File photo)

But get over the disappointment. This development means you’ll have more time to pull your Halloween outfit together.

SPCA Of Texas’ Fur Ball Was A Howling Success And A Purr-fect Delight Despite A Glitch In A Donkey Offering

Sometimes the best intentions have a glitch or two. And when you’re dealing with animals, it usually ends up bringing smiles to the face or chuckles. Such was the situation at the SPCA of TexasFur Ball on Saturday, September 24, at the Omni Dallas Hotel. It seems that the evening’s emcee offered to be photographed wearing a faux donkey’s head with the winning bidder. The price? A four-figure number. Alas, things didn’t go as planned as the offer dwindled down eventually to a lower three-figure number. While that “asinine” situation didn’t make it to the following report from the field, the evening was indeed memorable anyhow, thanks to Chair Phyllis Comu:

The SPCA of Texas’ Fur Ball 2016, “Shedding Light on Their Future,” was held on Saturday, September 24 from 6:30 p.m. to midnight at the Omni Dallas Hotel. The elegantly futuristic, totally sold-out, black-tie evening included dinner, dancing and live and silent auctions for over 1,100 guests. Chair Phyllis Comu announced that thanks to the generosity of sponsors, patrons and guests, Fur Ball 2016 raised funds to help the SPCA of Texas serve 50,000 animals and their people in 2016 and beyond.

Steve Kemble, Rhonda Sargent Chambers and LeeAnne Locken*

Steve Kemble, Rhonda Sargent Chambers and LeeAnne Locken*

Guests were greeted with passed bubbly and savory hors d’oeuvres as they made their way up to the Omni’s Dallas Ballroom. During cocktail hour, elegantly clad ladies and gentlemen walked the purple carpet and chatted with Emcee/Real Housewives of Dallas LeeAnne Locken and America’s Sassiest Lifestyle Guru Steve Kemble about everything from what they were wearing to why supporting the animals is so important.

Kelly Thompson*

Kelly Thompson*

Also, a three-piece combo from Limelight jazzed it up and a whole passel of puppies from the SPCA of Texas’ iFoster program (all spayed and neutered!) romped and played as they were cooed over and petted by the glittering guests. Competition was fierce at the over 300-item silent auction, which featured everything from sports memorabilia, fabulous spa packages, high-end jewelry, dining experiences (from the fun to the fine) and so much more.

Cathy Vieth, Shane Walker and Tommy Vieth*

Cathy Vieth, Shane Walker and Tommy Vieth*

Each beautifully appointed table was graced with gorgeous, glowing floral centerpieces thank to Flower Reign by Shane Walker. The delightful dinner included the Space Station Stack Salad with heirloom tomatoes, Buffalo mozzarella and basil with a balsamic drizzle and an herb-seared petite filet of beef and prosciutto as well as a spinach- and mushroom-stuffed chicken breast with sweet potato, broccolini, baby carrot, acorn squash and blistered cherry tomato with bourbon sauce. The delicious dessert, the Galaxy Tartlet, was blackberry-filled shortbread with sage mint gel, peppercorn Chantilly and was dusted with edible glitter.

Katy Murray*

Katy Murray*

Emcee LeeAnne put the fun into fundraising with her energy and love of animals. SPCA of Texas President and CEO James Bias welcomed guests, staff and volunteers, thanked sponsors and shared with guests the important work the SPCA of Texas will be bringing to South Dallas in the future to help transform the community for people and animals, improving public safety and providing for the welfare of animals. SPCA of Texas Board Chair and Chief Financial Officer for A. H. Belo Corporation Katy Murray thanked the board of directors for their guidance and spoke about how the SPCA of Texas’ staff, volunteers and partners are intently focused at all times on saving lives, making a difference and never resting until the organization makes our community a better place for people and their pets.

The SPCA of Texas also presented the 2016 Spencer Humanitarian Award during Fur Ball. Named for warm-hearted entrepreneur and long-tenured, past SPCA of Texas Board member Mary Spencer, the Spencer Humanitarian Awards recognize an individual, company or group whose extraordinary efforts have made a positive difference for animals. Mary presented the 2016 recipient of the Spencer Humanitarian Award to Karen Urie, a dedicated SPCA of Texas volunteer, board member and animal advocate. Karen’s voice for animals speaks loud and clear, and the SPCA of Texas is indeed fortunate to have her support. Karen Urie is currently a real estate agent and internal marketing consultant with Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate.

Senior Vice President for Development Debra Burns wrapped up by thanking guests, celebrating the generosity of North Texans for their gifts to the SPCA of Texas on North Texas Giving Day, just two days prior, and bringing home why supporting the SPCA of Texas is so important to change the lives of thousands of animals, especially those living in poverty.

Guests then bid often and bid high on the evening’s nine fabulously over-the-top live auction items and “Pony Up for Paws” raise the paddle feature. High-rolling patrons won delicious dining experiences, glamorous getaways, a stunning black diamond ring, decadent cases of wine and more. The top three live auction items of the evening were all once-in-a-lifetime experiences. One of these was a two day, two-night package for four to the world-renowned animal sanctuary, the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch in Murchison, Texas, complete with personalized tours and more.

Another was a total surprise! Michael “Mico” Rodriguez generously, and on the spur of the moment, gave a 100-guest dinner, complete with tequila tasting and more, to the auction, and the package just about brought the house down! And, the biggest wow of the live auction came when Auctioneer Mike Jones announced the final package of the evening: 12 luxury suite tickets to Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Adele’s sold-out performance on November 2nd!

Fur Ball 2016 then brought the high-voltage fun with headline entertainment by Dallas’ ultimate party band, Limelight. Guests rushed the dance floor and partied under a stunning, purple-lit chandelier that twinkled like a thousand stars until after Midnight.

Kristen Greenberg, Sandra Fite and Phyllis Comu*

Kristen Greenberg, Sandra Fite and Phyllis Comu*

Fur Ball 2016 was a tail-wagging success thanks to honorary chairs D’Andra Simmons and Jeremy Lock, Anne and Steve Stodghill and Drs. Wendy and John Vandermeer; Chair Phyllis Comu; Co-Chair Kristen Greenberg; Auction Chair Sandra Fite; and event emcee LeeAnne Locken. The evening’s production was provided by Nomad Productions and RSC Show Productions. Photographers for the evening were Bret Redman and Gregory Martin.

The SPCA of Texas sincerely thanks special partners, including

  • Rescuer sponsor: Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones.
  • Defender sponsors: Linda Genneken, Marsha Pendleton-Gray and Richard Gray, Stacey and Don Kivowitz, Katy Murray, Patricia Villareal and Tom Leatherbury.
  • Patron Party Sponsor: Northern Trust.
  • Liberator sponsors: Diane and Hal Brierley, H-E-B/Central Market, Hill A. and Rene Feinberg, Hillary Hurst, Anne and Steve Stodghill and Sandra Urie.
  • Advocate sponsors: Alphagraphics at Market Center, Andrea Alcorn, BKD, LLP, CityVet, Earthwater/Phyllis & CJ Comu, Gwen and Leldon Echols, Sandra and Colin Fite/TEAM FITE-O, Gay and Lesbian Fund for Dallas, Robert Goldberg, Grand Spa, Kristen and Scott Greenberg, Dean Gresham and Caleb Hernandez, Ken Hatley, Teresa Henderson, Hollywood Feed, Robert C. Horne, Jimmy Choo, Jeri Kleiman, Jack Knox, Suzanne and David Palmlund, PwC, Joseph Quinn, Pam Ragon, Residences at the Stoneleigh, Steven Rivard, Law Office of Claire Collins Schwarz and Mary Spencer, U.S. Trust, Bank of America and Drs. John & Wendy Vandermeer.
  • Exclusive Print/Digital Media Sponsor: PaperCity Magazine.
  • Proud Official Wine Sponsor: Barefoot Wine and Bubbly and Edna Valley Vineyard.

Guests included Andrea Alcorn, Heidi and Bill Dillon, Fox 4’s Jenny Anchondo and Jennifer Meyers, WFAA-TV Channel 8’s Wex Houx and Monica Hernandez, Angie Barrett, Jocelyn White, Pamela Thompson Moayedi, Pamela Martin, Cynthia Smoot, Cathy and Tommy Vieth, Tricia Sims, Shane Walker and Billy Fulmer, Betsy Orton and Sharon Fancher, Brian Walker, Gus Hinojosa, Teresa and Chic Henderson, David and Carolyn Kubes, Pam Ragon, Danny Tobey and Patricia Villareal and Tom Leatherbury.

Fur Ball is DFW’s salute to the bond between people and their pets and a celebration of the SPCA of Texas’ important mission to provide every animal exceptional care and a loving home. All money raised through Fur Ball 2016 will go directly to the SPCA of Texas to help rescue, heal and find homes for thousands of animals.

Next year’s event is already in the works. Fur Ball 2016 will be held on Saturday, September 30, at the Omni Dallas.

* Photo credit: Bret Redman

Downtown Dallas Is Gonna Be A Major Traffic Jam… Uh, Party Room On October 21 And 22

If you thought Dallas would be ground zero for revelries on the night of Friday, October 7, with Longhorns and Sooners partying and DIFFA’s Burgers and Burgundy taking place on the Ron Kirk Bridge, think again.

It’s just gonna be a warmup for Friday, October 21, and Saturday, October 22. On those two days, downtown Dallas has all the looks of being a slam-bang theater of activity.

So, what’s the big hoo-ha?

  • Klyde Warren Park (File photo)

    Klyde Warren Park (File photo)

    To start things off, the Klyde Warren Park’s biggy fundraiser Park and Palate will be having food, fun and music from 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday.

  • Across the road at the AT&T Performing Arts Center, freebie Prelude: A Preview of Aurora 2017s will feature “10 massive art installations of light, video and sound from around the world” on the AT&T Performing Arts Center campus from 8 til midnight. Plus there will be music in the Annette Strauss Square with the doors opening at 6:30. Suggestion: However, if you’ve got some ca-ching and want a sneak preview, come to the AT&T PAC fundraiser —Prelude Lights — the night before. It will include “an extraordinary evening of interactive art in varied mediums of light and sound, culinary delights, live entertainment by Neon Indian and much more.” The original $250+ ticket levels has had a $75 level offered. What a deal! Plus you won’t have to face the logjam of traffic on Friday and Saturday.
  • Over at the Omni Dallas Hotel the St. Jude’s crowd will be holding the 2016 St. Jude Evening Under The Star starting at 6 p.m. on Saturday.

Needless to say, traffic jamming will test the temperaments of both event participants and innocent commuters. So, if your GPS is set for downtown Dallas on either of these days, pack an extra helping of patience.

Let’s just hope that the weather is pristine. You really don’t want rain on such an occasion, don’t you know?

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

Oops Alert!: Local Monthly Publication Suffers Awkward Boo-Boo In Publishing 2016 Crystal Charity Ball “Ten Best Dressed”

Some of the best things end up on the cutting room floor. For instance, Kevin Costner’s speaking role as Alex Marshall in the flashback scenes in “The Big Chill” didn’t make it to the big screen. Johnny Depp’s performance in “Platoon,” Charlie Chaplin in the “Keystone Cops,” and John Lithgow’s super-agent Harry Zell in “L.A. Story” all suffered the same fate.

Whatever the reason, directors lived to regret the elimination of such talented types.

So, folks at a local newspaper are wringing their hands about their recent publishing of Crystal Charity Ball‘s “Ten Best Dressed.” It seems that in their September issue, in which they printed Q&As with the 2016 crop, they had an “oopsie.” They left out one of the 10 and ironically it was the one who dutifully followed instructions, filled out the questionnaire and promptly returned it.

While her absence from the article was in all probability not intentional, it was awkward and unfortunate at best.

Pat Harloe (File photo)

Pat Harloe (File photo)

Oh, you’re wondering: Which one was MIA? None other than one of everybody’s favs, the adorably diminutive Pat Harloe.

Unbeknownst to Pat, the MySweetCharity crew managed to get a copy of her questionnaire and present it here for your consideration:

  • Tell us about your family — “I am married to John (an investment manager), and we have five adult children — ages 30 to 37 — with careers running the gamut:  law, medicine, design, marketing and sales — and all living east coast to west coast and in between –“
  • List three community/charitable/civic activities in which you are currently involved or you currently support (with a sentence or two about the cause) — “(a)  TexProtects — past event chair and current supporter; TexProtects’ mission is to reduce and prevent child abuse and neglect through research, education and advocacy. (b)  One Heart Project — current supporter; One Heart Project’s mission is to mentor incarcerated and at-risk youth, ages 13 to 17, in six Texas counties so that they have a positive re-entry into their community (c)  And, of course — my heart — Crystal Charity Ball — active member and life supporter.”
  • What is your current support/involvement in the 2016 Crystal Charity Ball? — “I am working hard in three areas:  Underwriting, Children’s Book, and Silent Auction/Special Gifts (my favorite — love bringing in top hotels and resorts).”
  • What is your educational background? — “Greenbrier College for Women and Southern Methodist University.”
  • What is your current/previous career or work history? — “Always sales and marketing:  up until five years ago, residential and high rise real estate; prior to that, high-end 19th and 20th century art.”
  • Please complete this sentence: My favorite thing about the Crystal Charity Ball is … — “Hands down, the impact we have with at-risk children’s lives.  Sitting through long days of Charity Selection, there are times when there is not a dry eye in the room, and we wish we could fund every candidate put before us.  In the end, it is all about giving every child a shot at a better life …”
  • My favorite fashion icon is — “Coco Chanel — who could not resist a woman who embodied humor, grand gestures and drama all at the same time?”
Carolina Herrera (File photo)

Carolina Herrera (File photo)

And, don’t go worrying about the Friday, September 16th presentation at Neiman Marcus Downtown. Pat will be there along with the other nine BD-ers (Anita Arnold, Katherine Coker, Janie Condon, Tucker Enthoven, Heather Esping, Mary Clare Finney, Margaret Hancock, Julie Hawes and Piper Wyatt), Hall of Famer Betsy Sowell and legendary designer Carolina Herrera, who will receive the prestigious Neiman Marcus Award.

If you already have your ticket to the ultra-sold-out fundraiser, we’ll see you there. If not, we’ll see you here following the fashion fest!

Change Of Plans: MySweetCharity Opportunity Series Ramps Up

MySweetCharity

MySweetCharity

Well, dang! You did it again. Way more MySweetCharity Opportunities arrived than planned. So in the final days of the annual August series, we’re going to ramp up the posts telling you about programs that provide opportunities within your hood.

Some you know but have a new development; some will be a total and delightful surprise. But all will provide you with the opportunity to make North Texas an even better place. And all would appreciate your consideration.

Zoo To Do Guests Had A Hoot Of A Time At Escada

There are party animals and then there are party animals. And when the Zoo To Do crowd makes up the guest list, there are bound and determined to be some of the Dallas Zoo’s ambassadors among the group.

Carol Glendenning, Diane Brierley, Cassie, Carol and John Levy

Carol Glendenning, Diane Brierley, Cassie, Carol and John Levy

Flighty fella

Flighty fella

On Tuesday, May 17, the two-legged types and critters gathered at Highland Park Village’s Escada salon. Since husbands/Zoo To Do’s Silver Safari Co-Chairs Don Brierley and Don Glendenning had other commitments, their better halves (aka Diane Brierley and Carol Glendenning) joined fellow Co-Chair John Levy and his wife Carol Levy and other guests like Lee Bailey and former Escada GM Melissa Rathke to check out the fashions and food benefiting the zoo.

While the humans arrived via the front door, the ambassadors snuck in through the back entrance. Don’t you just know those celeb types are always sneaking in side doors to avoid the paparazzi?

One of the literal highlights of the occasion was the owl, who upon spying the table of appetizers decided to take flight for the spread. Thanks to his handler Cassie’s leash, his airborne antics didn’t ruffle any food, fashions or feathers except his.

The Burning Issue Facing 4th Of July Celebrants

Fireworks are both dazzling and dangerous. The folks over at Parkland Health and Hospital System’s Regional Burn Center report that “on average, 230 people go to the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the month around the July 4th holiday, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). In 2014, nine people died due to eight fireworks-related incidents, and in at least two of those cases, the victims were not the users.”

Parkland itself has had 10 patients requiring hospitalization in its Burn Center due to fireworks in the past couple of years. Needless to say, they’d like to have no one needing the Center this 4th of July. To achieve this zero-patient goal, they’ve provided the following safety tips regarding fireworks:

  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks
  • Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers
  • Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don’t realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse
  • Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks
  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly
  • Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers
  • After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire
  • Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them

Interesting fact: According to Parkland Burn Program Manager Stephanie Campbell, “If you, a family member or friend are injured, call 911 immediately,” Campbell said. “Don’t use ice to cool fireworks burns or place them in a tub or pool of cold water. Immersing the whole body causes core body temperatures to drop dangerously.”

And the old adage of applying ointments, butter or steroidal salves to burns ain’t such a great idea “because they seal in the heat.”

Nobody Loves A Blood-Sucking Skeeter

The temperatures are starting to rise and the rains, they keep a’coming. What does that means? Well, the skeeters see this as St. Barts and that spells trouble.

With tales of an upcoming Zika invasion and past deadly encounters with West Nile, that should put everyone on guard. But still there are forgotten flower pots with stagnant water and and even old birdbaths that even a mockingbird would bypass, where those pesky little mosquitoes would love to make a nursery. Any and all bowls, containers or whatevers need to be emptied.

And start shopping for your Deet du jour. It may not be as tantalizing as Michael or Code, but it will be a major turn off for the blood-sucking little devils.

Government suggestion: “It is not recommended to use a single product that combines insect repellent containing Deet and sunscreen. Repellent usually does not need to be reapplied as often as sunscreen. There are not specific recommendations for products that combine other active ingredients and sunscreen. Always follow the instructions on the label of whatever product you are using.”

MySweetCharity suggestion: Put the sunscreen on. Wait a few minutes. You can use this time to rearrange your

Hilton Anatole’s Towne Park Service Once Again Left A Yucky After-Taste For Fundraising Luncheoners Thursday

Tim Gunn’s talk for Community Partners of Dallas’ Chick Lit Luncheon on Friday, April 1, at the Hilton Anatole was a home run. Only strikeout was the valet parking. One guest waited an hour before the Anatole’s in-house valet staff admitted, “Sorry, but somebody moved it.” Luckily, the vehicle was found. But as the driver left he saw about 50 guests still waiting for their wheels.

Hey, what’s the problem? It was a big luncheon crowd of over 1,200 and “oop’s” do happen. But then it happened again yesterday at the Anatole. And this time it was on a much grander scale, resulting in an automotive tsunami and two major fundraisers having to delay their POA and having guests arrive late for the program.

It might have been excusable if the two events had been handled by two competing valet services, but the Anatole’s in-house parking service Towne Park was in charge. One would think that the in-house staff would be prepared with a game plan for such an undertaking and loads of parkers.

And what was the challenge? The New Friends New Life’s “Wings” luncheon with Amal Clooney as the featured speaker was scheduled for the Chantilly Ballroom, with a projected attendance of more than 1,500. The VNA’s “Legends and Leaders” luncheon with journalist Jim Lehrer in the Imperial Ballroom was scheduled to have more than 650.

Insider info: As anyone in the hospitality industry knows, evening events usually have two people per car, while lunches tend to have more single-driver cars.

Thus, these two groups converged upon the Anatole complex at the same time for the events starting at 11:30. Instead of having off-duty police directing traffic at the intersection of Wycliff and Stemmons frontage road, one lone uniformed man was at the hotel’s Wycliff entrance. Another policeman turned away cars approaching from Market Center Boulevard and large planters blocked other entrances. The result was hundreds and hundreds of cars trying to wedge into less than three entrances, and traffic backing up on both roads. Unfortunately, frustrated drivers trying to cross Wycliff ended up blocking the cross section with 18-wheelers and cement trucks playing “musical lanes” with Mercedeses and Priuses. At times it looked like a vehicular version of the La Brea Tar Pits of vehicles.

One guest who had left their office in the Turtle Creek area at 11 didn’t make it to the Wings luncheon until past noon due to the traffic jam.

A VNA organizer delayed the luncheon program  after hearing tales from arriving guests of 30-minute waits in traffic. That person said it wouldn’t be as bad afterwards, because the VNA had arranged to stagger their event to end after the Wings luncheon, thereby relieving the congestion.

Alas, the best laid plans of mice, men and event planners don’t always happen. One VNA guest who was one of the first to hand in their valet ticket waited 40 minutes for the car to be pulled up. Another woman in a wheelchair moved faster than the cars in the porte-cochere. While guests holding purchased centerpieces patiently searched the horizon for their cars, some Towne Park management types with bellies hanging over their belts were seen laughing at the situation. Or, perhaps they were just sharing a joke?

The luxury hotel’s in-house valet service continues to be its Achilles heel. It tends to be a recurring issue for money-conscious nonprofits. Why? It’s the money, honey. If the fundraiser uses an outside parking service, the hotel charges the organization a fee (usually $3) “per plate” for the use of its parking lot. That’s in addition to paying the outside valet service. In other words, if you’re expecting 500 cars, that’s $1,500 on top of the independent valet charges.

In capturing sponsors, many nonprofits offer valet parking sponsorships. And naturally, the cheaper the sponsorship, the more likely it’s going to be scooped up. But what sponsor wants to be known for providing frowny faces and tapping toes waiting for a car that’s “just over there”?

Suggestion to sponsors: If you’re approached about sponsoring valet parking at the Anatole, ask which service will be used. If it’s one of the independents like Jack Boles or Gold Crown, go for it. If it’s Towne Park, your name just might be taken in vain by potential customers.

Two Great Fundraisers Were Victims Of A Head-On Collision

An unfortunate situation took place Friday, April 1. It wasn’t an April Fool’s joke. It was the taking place of two fundraising luncheons that divided the efforts for those in need. At the Hilton Anatole, Community Partners of DallasChick Lit Luncheon was celebrating its 10the anniversary with 1,100 and Tim Gunn on stage.

Tim Gunn

Tim Gunn

Hoda Kotb

Hoda Kotb

Over at the Dallas Country Club, Today Co-Host Hoda Kotb was the featured speaker for more than 350 at the Interfaith Dallas – Family Services‘ (formerly known as Interfaith Housing Coalition) Interfaith Auxiliary Luncheon.

Both speakers were beyond remarkable, with guests from each event swearing theirs was the best in ages. But one has to wonder, “What if….?”

What’s that? “What if….what?” It’s, “What if they had been held 24 hours apart?” The guests probably could have squeezed enough money out of their budgets and time to attend both, thereby supporting CPD as well as Interfaith. In turn, they would have been the recipients of two memory-making programs.

Sure, organizers are at the mercy of speakers’ and entertainers’ schedules, but if such a collision of fundraising can be prevented, it really benefits all.

One way to avoid similar situations is to check the MySweetCharity Calendar. If a fundraiser is already on a particular date, then it might be wise to pick another date. Basic MSC Calendar listings are absolutely free to provide the information for one and all. Bells and whistles can be added for a minimal cost.

JUST IN: Park Cities Historical And Preservation Society Postpones 5th Annual Distinguished Speaker Luncheon To May 19

There’s been a slight change of plans in the Park Cities. It’s the Park Cities Historical and Preservation Society. Originally, the organization was scheduled to have its 5th Annual Park Cities Historical and Preservation Distinguished Speaker Luncheon on Wednesday, March 30, at the Dallas Country Club.

Word just arrived that the lunch being chaired by the Jacobs gals (mama Doris Jacobs and daughters Kim Jacobs Calloway and Teffy Jacobs) has been moved to Thursday, May 19. It will still be at the DCC.

And there is no change of date for the PCHPS’s Saturday, April 2nd Classic and Antique Car Show or the 14th Annual Historic Home Tour on Saturday, April 9.

Classic car*

Classic car*

BTW, the car show at Burleson Park is being chaired by Dan McKeithen. It will include a treasure trove of vehicles, among them vehicles from the Sam Pack Automotive Museum, including “Fords from the earliest models off the assembly line through the war years, into the best of the muscle cars years and including current day models.”

Another traffic stopper will be “vehicles from the deBoulle Motorsports Collections.”

Exactly What Have You Been Hosting Over Spring Break?

Spring break has been in high gear for most of March. But many folks have been sidetracked by runny noses, hacking coughs, watery eyes and sore throats. Some swear they’ve had the flu despite having their flu shot last fall. Others blame the budding of flowers and trees for their allergies hitting hard. Still others simply write the problem off to an ordinary cold.

Any of the three is pretty unpleasant and inconvenient. After all, tearing up when making a presentation can be pitiful. And is there anything as un-rosy as a red nosy?

So, to set the record sorta straight, here are the symptoms for each of the three, so you’ll know exactly what’s being ailing you and/or your pals:

Common cold

  • Symptoms: Stuffy, runny nose; sneezing; sore throat; a mild fever and cough last up to two weeks
  • Treatment: Drink lots of fluids, get plenty of rest and take over-the-counter meds to ease symptoms. For the sore throat, gargle with salt water. Antibiotics won’t have an effect on the ordinary cold.
  • Period of contagion: Most contagious one day prior to symptoms appear and for the following week.

Flu

  • Symptoms: High fever, headaches, achy muscles, sore throat, tired, nasal congestion and cough last 10-days to two weeks
  • Treatment: Drink lots of fluids, get plenty of rest, take over-the-counter meds to ease symptoms and check with your doctor for prescription anti-viral medications
  • Period of contagion: May be Typically one to four days, but could possibly last as long as two weeks

Airborne allergies

  • Symptoms: Sneezing, stuffy nose and itchy, watery eyes as long as allergens exist
  • Treatment: Over-the-counter medicines including antihistamines, decongestants. Check with an allergist for prescription and long-term treatments.
  • Contagion: Not contagious

Make sure that you don’t play pharmacist and mix medications. They can do more harm than good. So, check with a healthcare professional like your primary care doctor or pharmacist.

Also, if you think you have a cold or the flu, be selfish and don’t share. If you are living with someone who is under the weather with the contagious stuff, make sure you wash your hands, avoid close contact and stock up on broths, hot teas, over-the-counter drugs and tissues.

Nonprofit Brags About Auctioning Off Three-Pound Puppy — Twice

Back on Wednesday, February 3, MySweetCharity posted about a group that auctioned off a puppy at its annual fundraiser. The name of the organization was not included because it may have been an innocent mistake, even though it was an illegal action and it wasn’t the group’s first “rodeo.” In fact, it was the sixth time that this event has been held.

From the Carson Leslie Foundation email

From the Carson Leslie Foundation email

However, with the arrival of an email blast from the organization this morning, it appears the nonprofit didn’t get the message, so all bets are off.

The email bragged that the three-pound puppy had not just been auctioned off once but twice. True, they said they had made a follow-up to check on the puppy that is now named after the organization. And, true, the money raised will help children suffering from cancer. But they broke the law and may have led other nonprofits into believing that they, too, can break Dallas city ordinance Sec. 7-7.6, if the intentions are all right.

Won’t work. Even the best of intentions does not make it right, if it’s against the law.

Untangling The Confusion About Fashion Stars For A Cause Events

There seems to be some confusion in the air about Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas’ Fashion Stars for a Cause gala. A media outlet reported

“Galleria Dallas will present the 10th annual Fashion Stars for a Cause runway show and cocktail party benefiting the Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas Feb. 24 on the ice rink …. The runway show will highlight spring looks from Galleria Dallas retailers.”

Yes, the Galleria Dallas is hosting “Celebrat10n” to benefit Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas on February 24, on its ice rink with 500 expected to attend at $50 a pop. And, yes, there will be a fashion show with clothes from Galleria Dallas merchants. And, yes, the models will be both professional models and members of the Fashion Stars For a Cause ambassadors.

But it ain’t the big-time gala—and it ain’t Fashion Stars for a Cause’s 10th anniversary.

The actual Fashion Stars for a Cause gala including cocktails, seated dinner, a presentation of Belk fashions by the Fashion Stars for a Cause ambassadors (Sherice Lynette Brown, Francis Harrison Brito, Laura Fedock, Laurie Graham, Gina Marx, Kristy J. Morgan, Shelley Herrera-O’Neal, Shayema Rahim, Whitney Roberts-Kutch, Bridget Sommerlatte, Carmen Sargent and Amanda Ward) and the drawing for the raffle will take place on Friday, March 25, (aka Good Friday) at the Dallas Country Club. Tickets to the gala start at $250.

Another point that needs clearing up is the fact that this year will not be the “10th annual Fashion Stars for a Cause.” It will be number three.

The confusion may lie in the fact that it was 10 years ago that Suicide and Crisis Center’s Yvonne Crum created an event involving young women, fashions, a raffle, a speaker and dinner. It was called Fresh Faces of Fashion and she partnered up with Modern Luxury and Stanley Korshak. Being in the print business, Modern Luxury copyrighted the name and the event moved along for seven years benefiting Suicide and Crisis and featuring some of North Texas’ sweetest sweethearts, who diligently sold raffle tickets.

Then, a little over three years ago, Modern Luxury notified Yvonne that the decision had been made to change up the concept a bit. Instead of benefiting Suicide and Crisis, it would benefit different nonprofits, like the Salvation Army’s Echelon Group  in 2014 and 2015 and the Wilkinson Center this year.

In typical Molly Brown fashion, Yvonne regrouped and started Fashion Stars for a Cause that still had all the elements of her brainchild — women, fashion, raffle, speaker and benefiting Suicide and Crisis. Joining her in her effort was the Galleria’s Belk.

Joining Belk’s support Galleria Dallas offered to hold the February 24th event the month before the biggy gala. However, their promotional materials included “10” in “Celebrat10n” and a release was issued reading,

“On February 24, Galleria Dallas will host Dallas’ fashion luminaries in a spectacular fashion show on the center’s noted ice rink benefiting the Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas. The festive event recognizes the 10th Anniversary of Fashion Stars for a Cause, the gala event created by Dallas philanthropist Yvonne Crum to Inspire Hope and Style.”

Suicide and Crisis Center's "Celebrat10n" page

Suicide and Crisis Center’s “Celebrat10n” page

When asked about the confusion regarding the 10th anniversary of Fashion Stars for a Cause on the Suicide and Crisis Center website and in the Galleria’s promotion of “Celebrat10n,” Yvonne responded that she had been unaware of the event being called a 10th anniversary of Fashion Stars for a Cause. She had been promoting “10 years of Inspiring Hope and Style” and would advise Galleria officials of the misunderstanding and have the Suicide and Crisis Center’s website corrected. (UPDATE: The Suicide and Crisis Center’s website has been updated since this post was originally published.)

The great news is that North Texas has plenty of room for events that feature fashion, females and fundraising.

A Gentle Reminder: It’s Illegal For Cute Critters To Be Used For Fundraising In The City Of Dallas

Word has been making the rounds that a recent event had an adorable puppy on the scene. Only the pooch was not there to party. It was part of the money-making parts of the fundraiser.

Perhaps organizers didn’t realize or ignored the fact that in the city of Dallas, it’s illegal to use any live animal as part of a raffle, live/silent auction, prize, etc.

As Jonnie England wrote in 2009 for the Metroplex Animal Coalition, “Here’s what happens at so many charity events that have auctioned animals in the past: You’re at an event, feeling generous, supporting a cause you care about—maybe enjoying a drink or two. Suddenly you see the cutest puppy ever! Caught up in the emotion and cheered on by your friends, you make the high bid—after all, it’s for a good cause.

“You get home, reality sets in, and you have a living, breathing puppy to care for. What were you thinking?? The reasoning for the new ordinance is simple and makes perfect sense to animal-welfare organizations: Adopting a puppy or kitten should be a thoughtful, deliberate decision—not one that’s made at the spur of the moment or as an emotional response. It’s a lifetime commitment that requires a great deal of time and financial resources.

“While some nonprofits and schools may be upset to learn of this new law, it’s a good thing for the animals!”

With the 2016 fundraising season getting underway, those with the best of intentions might want to pin Dallas ordinance Sec. 7-7.6 on their bulletin board.