Fashion Stars For A Cause Patron Party Had Gems, Bubbles And A “Rose” At The Doorway

As Fashion Stars For A Cause patrons arrived at Diamonds Direct on Monday, March 6, they immediately spotted FSFAC Honorary Chair Caroline Rose Hunt seated in a leather chair just to the right of the doorway.

Caroline Rose Hunt and David Blank

Thanks to newlyweds Kristy Morgan Sands and Patrick Sands (aka Caroline’s son), Caroline was john-on-the-spot when the event started. Kristy was decked out in all type of leather from the suede jacket to the smooth, black leather slacks.

Kristy Morgan Sands and Patrick Sands

With three photographers snapping away, the diamonds in the cases and being sampled by guests like Suicide and Crisis Center Executive Director Margie Wright, Carolyn Tillery, Jenyce Gush, Samantha Davies, Terry Bentley Hill, 2017 Fashion Stars Tavia Hunt and Debbie Stout Elchami, Tony Stevens, Dan Prichett and Priya Rathod caused a star burst effect thanks to Diamonds Direct hosts Amit Berger, David Blank and Yosi Mayer.

Debbie Stout Elchami

Jenyce Gush, Yosi Mayer and Margie Wright

Checking around the first floor, KDFW anchor/reporter/2017 Fashion Star Jenny Anchondo and husband Heath Oakes were checking the offerings under glass. It’s hard to believe that Jenny and Heath have just barely been married a year and they’re already getting ready to welcome a new Anchondo-Oakes.

Heath Oakes and Jenny Anchondo

David Tiller looked remarkable following spinal surgery. Wife Martha Tiller invited guests to nudge his waist, “It’s a girdle. We’ve been wearing them for years.” Actually, it was a brace to help David’s back rehab.

Martha and David Tiller

Speaking of being healthy, 2017 Fashion Star Shay Geyer was svelter than ever. She claimed that she really needed to lose the pounds and felt great.

Just back from the Bahamas, Diamonds Director Amit said that he was feeling right at home in Texas and was right at home in practicing, “Y’all.”

David Blank, Samantha Davies, Priya Rathod and Amit Berger

Speaking of being right at home in North Texas, Amit and David were preparing for Thursday night’s celebration of the newest Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. Being the Dallas Cowboys right-official jeweler, Diamonds Direct celebrates the new cheerleaders with the presentation of their “class rings.”

Carolyn Tillery, Amit Berger and Tony Stevens

As FSFAC Founder Yvonne Crum in yellow greeted patrons, FSFAC Magazine publisher Carolyn Tillery was seen trying on all types of sparkly gems.

Fashion Stars for A Cause  on Friday, March 24, at the Dallas Country Club benefits Suicide and Crisis Center for North Texas.

Partners Card Past Chairs, Sponsors, Retailers And Contributors Celebrated 25 Years Of Supporting The Family Place Fundraiser

For 24 years The Family Place clients have benefited from North Texas’ favorite indoor sport — shopping—thanks to the annual Partners Card. To celebrate its 25th-year anniversary, Sally Hoglund and Brenda West Cockerell had a lunch for near and dear at the Dallas Country Club on Tuesday, February 28. Here’s a report from the field:

Now in its 25th year, Partners Card kicked off its anniversary year with a celebratory luncheon hosted by Partners Card Co-Founder Sally Hoglund and The Family Place Board Member Brenda West Cockerell at the Dallas Country Club Tuesday, February 28. The ballroom was filled with past Partners Card chairs, sponsors, retailers and many more who contribute their time and talents to make the event a success.

Sally Johnson, Sally Hoglund and Brenda West Cockerell*

The Family Place CEO Paige Flink welcomed guests and shared how far Partners Card has come and noted that in its history, the community has helped raise more than $17 million to support victims of family violence through the Partners Card Program. Partners Card Co-Founders Sally Hoglund and Sally K. Johnson were recognized and received appreciation for believing in the Partners Card concept and establishing the program in Dallas. A video, donated by Beyond, played and featured interviews with “the Sallys” and summarized the success of the Partners Card program throughout the years.

Lynn McBee, Paige Flink and Joanne Teichman*

During lunch, Partners Card 2017 Co-Chairs Brynn Bagot Allday and Jennifer Burns graciously thanked past Partners Card chairs who are serving as committee members this year and announced this year’s “Together We Save” Partners Card will be held Friday, October 27 – Sunday, November 5. Burns offered special thanks to Partners Card retailers, many of whom have participated in the program since its inception.  For the silver anniversary, Allday and Burns shared their goal of making Partners Card 2017 bigger and better than ever with more retailers, sellers, sponsors, new technology and expanded social media campaigns.

Guests enjoyed tortilla soup, Southwest chicken chop salad and chocolate mousse prepared by the Dallas Country Club, snapped photos for social media with Partners Card props, and reminisced about the past 24 years through a montage of photos that played throughout the luncheon. Shopping bag cookies created by Kim Crigger Warren of KimCake4U were gifted to all guests, and the beautiful floral centerpieces from Branching Out Events also were available for purchase.

Ralph Prieto, Mike Meredith and Bob White*

Guests included Presenting Sponsor Bank of Texas team Bob White, Mandy Austin, Mike Meredith, Ralph Prieto, Scott Winton and Vickie Wise; The Family Place Vice President of Development Melissa Sherrill Martin; 2017 Partners Card Co-chairs Brynn Bagot Allday and Jennifer Burns; Partners Card Development Manager Heather Street Baker; and Past Partners Card Chairs Annika Cail, Gay Donnell, Susan Farris, Diane Fullingim, Suzy Gekiere, Nancy Gopez, JB Hayes, Kathryn Henry, Teffy Jacobs, Maggie Kipp, Kate Rose Marquez, Lynn McBee, Molly Nolan, Jane Rozelle, Kristen Sanger, Kelley Schadt, Nancy Scripps, Jamie Singer, Andrea Weber, Melissa Wickham, Andrea Cheek, Anne Conner, Cynthia Beaird, Dawn Spalding, Debbie Munir, Katy Duvall Olson, Lisa Rubey, Melissa Cameron, Paige Westhoff, Sally Cullum, Sue Bailey, Susan Wilson, Suzanne Crews and Samantha Wortley.

* Photo credit: George Fiala

A Beacon of Hope Luncheon Introduced Faces Of Hope And Had Glennon Doyle Melton Mix Humor And Honesty About Mental Health

As final preparations were underway on the second floor of the Renaissance Hotel for “A Beacon Of Hope” silent auction and luncheon benefiting the Grant Halliburton Foundation, a VIP reception was taking place on the fourth floor’s City View room on Thursday, February 23.

Foundation President/Founder Vanita Halliburton was surrounded by people whose had been touched by teenagers dealing with mental health issues. She herself had created the foundation due to the suicide of her son Grant Halliburton at the age of 19 in 2005 after years of suffering from depression and bipolar disorder.

Dealing with teen mental health is very difficult issue for a fundraising event. It’s a delicate weaving of the emotional turmoil and hope for helping others overcome such challenges. On this occasion, Vanita was celebrating the launch of a new program — Faces of Hope. As Faces of Hope Chair Barb Farmer explained, the collaboration between the foundation and Gittings was to honor people within the community who “work in diverse ways to promote mental health every day.”

This year’s group of Faces included Suzie and Mike Ayoob, Senior Corporal Herb Cotner, Julie Hersh, Terry Bentley Hill, Patrick LeBlanc, Sylvia Orozco-Joseph, Sierra Sanchez and Priya Singvi.

Sierra Sanchez, Priya Singhvi, Sylvia Orozco-Joseph, Mike and Suzie Ayoob, Terry Bentley Hill, Julie Hersh, Herb Cotner and Patrick LeBlanc

In addition to pieces of crystal being presented to each of the Faces, their portraits were displayed in the lobby on the second floor.

Gittings Faces of Hope portraits

Following the presentation, Vanita had the day’s speaker author/blogger/newly engaged Glennon Doyle Melton briefly talk. Her message was that you can let tragedy drive you forward for the better or let it drive you further down.

Then, right on cue at 10:55, Vanita directed the patrons to the second floor to check the silent auction and buy raffle tickets. On the way down, Barb showed a bracelet that she got from last year’s raffle. It seems her husband bought ten tickets and claimed it was his. Luckily, he gave it to Barb.

Tom Krampitz and Terry Bentley Hill

Hailey Nicholson and Shannon Hollandsworth

The patrons discovered the lobby and ballroom jammed with guests like Tom Krampitz, Shannon Hollandsworth with daughter Hailey Nicholson. Dixey Arterburn was walking through the crowd with a Starbucks cup and a very hoarse throat. Seems she lost her voice at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Ball the Saturday before.

Dixey Arteburn and Ginger Sager

Taylor Mohr and Amanda Johnson

Taylor Mohr was with her buddy Amanda Johnson, who lost her sister to suicide resulting in Amanda’s working with others involved in such emotional crisis. Unfortunately, there were many in the audience with similar reason for being there. Luckily, they were there to not just support Grant Halliburton Foundation but each other.

Steve Noviello and Vanita Halliburton

Just past noon, KDFW reporter/emcee Steve Noviello recalled that the first year only 100 people attended the luncheon. Now eight years later there were more than 400. In introducing Vanita, he told how when he first met her in her office, he had remarked about the art on the walls, only to learn that it had been done by Grant.

Vanita told about the Foundation and its purpose to help young people struggling with mental health crises. In the past suicide had been the third leading cause of death among young people from ages 15 to 24. It is now second among those between 10 and 24. In Texas, the average is one suicide per week among young people.

After a break for lunch, Vanita and Glennon took their places in chairs on stage. Less than 30 seconds into the conversation, Glennon’s headset mic wasn’t working. A man hustled to the stage with a handheld. Despite the change of mic, there continued to be rustling noise over the PA. Another handheld was brought to the stage for Vanita. It didn’t seem all that necessary, since Glennon appeared to need no help in sharing her life of bulimia, alcoholism, drug addiction and her personal views.

Glennon Doyle Melton

She got sober when she was 25 after being in addiction for a decade and a half. Then she got married and life was good until her husband told her that he had been unfaithful. Learning that news, she just couldn’t stay in her house, so she headed to her yoga class, where they had her go to a hot yoga room. Upon entering the room, Glennon thought, “What the hell is this?”

When the question was raised about what the yoga members’ intentions were that day, Glennon admitted, “My intention is sit on the mat and not run out of the room.” The results? “It was the hardest 90 minutes of my life.”

While her talk was a mix of self-deprecating humor and brutal honesty, it was definitely not a scripted speech but rather just Glennon just being Glennon. 

But her message was clear — “My entire life is to not to avoid the pain of life.” She also said that as a parent, “It’s not our job to protect our children from pain.”

In closing, she consoled those who had suffered the loss of loved ones to mental illness by saying, “Grief is just the proof of great love.”

The 2017 Crystal Charity Ball Bus Tour Of The Eight Beneficiaries Resulted In Flowers, Tears And Inspiration For The $5.8M Goal

Like many nonprofits, there comes a once-a-year decision of how the raised funds will be distributed. For 65 years, Crystal Charity Ball has had that come-to moment for the Dallas area children’s nonprofits. To think. There are grown-ups who have survived devastating diseases and overcome miserable home lives and then have had amazing lives, thanks to the committee of 100 women.  

On Thursday, February 16, CCB Chair Pam Perella, CCB Underwriting Chair Leslie Diers and a busload of ladies undertook a day of visiting the eight beneficiaries thanks to Briggs Freeman | Sotheby’s International Realty’s Layne Pitzer‘s and Joan Eleazer‘s underwriting the tour. It was at one of those stops where the membership saw firsthand how one child and his mother represented the thousands of faceless and nameless other kids who were in need. More about that later.

Before the tour got underway with Andre in the driver’s seat, though, tour director Fredye Factor reminded the group that this year’s “working theme” was TV shows. Since the tour had been tagged as “All My Children,” they had arranged for Susan Lucci‘s cousin Pucci Lucci to address the ladies. Pucci turned out to be CCB member Pam McCallum, whose Pucci was more Blanche Devereaux than Erica Kane.

Big Brothers Big Sister Lone Star — $500,000

Bill Chinn

But it was time to get down to work and things started off with two representative making presentations on board the bus. First up was Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lone Star President Bill Chinn, who told how the July 7th shooting in downtown Dallas had spurred them on with a project — Bigs in Blue, which would connect first responders like policeman, fire fighters and city personnel as mentors for at-risk children to “establish strong and enduring one-to-one relationships.”  

Rainbow Days — $500,000

Tiffany Beaudine

Next up was Rainbow Days Director of Development Tiffany Beaudine, who reported that the CCB’s contribution would span three years to purchase a new van for transporting supplies to children living in motels, as well as adding “one new full-time program manager and a portion of four staff members who will assist in implementing programs, and partial salary for the program director.” Rainbow Day’s Project Hope program would also “deliver food weekly including snacks, school clothing and hygiene products as well as an opportunity for homeless children to attend summer day camps and holiday celebrations.”

The children whom they serve often suffer from fear. Too often their lives are filled with gunfire at night and the fear of playing outdoors.  

The Autism Treatment Center — $582,020

Neil Massey

Then the ladies were driven to the Autism Treatment Center to learn firsthand about its Early Intervention Therapy and Educational Capital Campaign. Thanks to the contribution, 101,100 square feet of the present facility will be “reconfigured and remodeled to increase the number of educational classrooms, therapy rooms, counseling offices and other important spaces.” The additional space will allow the Autism Treatment Center to quadruple the number of students who will receive help.

In showing the outdoor playground with its misting umbrella for hot days and the growing garden that provides both education and accomplishment, Development Director Neil Massey looked at the open lot next door. Having outgrown their current facilities, he said that they had tried to buy it from the present owner but had had no luck.

Autism Treatment Center

But it was the classrooms where the ladies learned that patience was a key to working with autistic boys and girls. Structure and patience were not just paramount for the children’s learning to adjust to their special conditions. But those lessons were important to being included in the family life. One lesson was that when an autistic children got frustrated and got physically upset, it was important for them to be ignored until they realized that their actions would not produce results. One CCB-er, upon hearing the comment said, “That probably proves true in all our lives.”

Presbyterian Communities & Services Foundation — $541,098

Presbyterian Communities and Services Foundation board member Mary Ann Hyde

Next on the itinerary was the T. Boone Pickens Center. The timing of the visit was perfectly planned. It just so happened that the Center’s board was meeting that day with Board Trustee Mary Ann Hyde backed by the board members to greet the ladies in front of the magnificent facility.

So, it may have initially seemed curious to have CCB that benefits children to be providing funds for a hospice facility, but there was a very important aspect of the Pickens Center that affected children — the Faith Presbyterian Hospice Child and Family Bereavement Program.

Breaking into groups, the membership was shown the facilities that would assist not just those completing their lives, but would also help family, especially children, to be part of the final farewell and adjust to the loss. The 36-bed facility featured suites especially designed to comfort the patients with breathtaking views of the lake, doors that could accommodate the patient’s bed being moved to the room’s patio, and the out-of-sight medical equipment.

Presbyterian T. Boone Pickens Center guest suite

But the main point of the tour was how the Faith Presbyterian Hospice Child and Family Bereavement Program would help children through the process of grieving the loss “in a healthy and healing way.” There were the Marnie and Kern Wildenthal Education Center and the Harold Simmons Foundation Inpatient Care Center that provided both areas of play and adjustment to loss.  

Faith Presbyterian Hospice Child and Family Bereavement Program play room

In one room was a playhouse with super heroes on the walls. While in other rooms were materials for kids to vent their feelings regardless of their ages to social workers, counselors, music therapists and art therapists, who “will encourage healthy emotional growth, and bring unique comfort to children who have lost a sibling, parent or grandparents.”  

Dallas Holocaust Museum and Center for Education and Tolerance — $527,770

The next stop was the Dallas Holocaust Museum and Center for Education and Tolerance in the West End. While it was perfectly planned to coincide with a group of students, it reinforced the need for the Holocaust’s need to expand to a larger facility. CCB and high schoolers found themselves on top of each other learning about the horrors of World War II and the demonstrations of remembrance.

Dallas Holocaust Museum and Center for Education and Tolerance’s Paul Lake

One such example was the placement of stones representing the persons who were victims of the Holocaust. One teenager’s attempt to place a stone found their effort falling on the floor, resounding throughout the room. Ironically, the sound of the stone hitting the hard stone floor seemed to draw attention to the solemnity that had filled the room.

Dallas Holocaust Museum and Center for Education and Tolerance

For a three-year period, the CCB contribution will allow “thousands of Title 1 and economically disadvantaged students to the Museum, free of charge, and will provide their teachers necessary curriculum support.”

Children’s Medical Center Foundation — $1,111,735

Just blocks away from Children’s Medical Center, the CCB-ers donned hard hats and safety glasses to tour Children’s Health’s Comprehensive Gait and Mobility Program that was under construction. Planned to officially open with full services in May, it allows youngsters with movement challenges resulting from injuries or chronic illnesses to access all the treatments in one facility. The rooms would provide everything from aquatic treatments to padded rock climbing.

Comprehensive Gait and Mobility Program aquatic facility under construction

Thanks to CCB’s contribution, it would be possible to purchase “five pieces of state-of-the-art robotic gait and mobility training equipment: The ErigoPro early mobilization tilt-table, the LokomatPro robotic based partial-weight-bearing treadmill system, the Andago body weight supported mobile robotic gait system, the Natus balance and gait assessment system and the HydroWorx therapy pool. Training for staff and robotic software upgrades are included with the purchase of this equipment.”

Thanks to this “centralized accessibility, thousands of Dallas County children will be able to seek services designed for patients from two to 18 years of age.

As the committee gathered in the main room, they were told of a surprise. It was indeed a surprise. Britt Cupp, who had suffered a trauma to his brain due to a skateboard accident years ago, arrived with yellow roses and a personal note for each of the women. As his mother, Angela Cupp, looked on, Britt handed out the flowers. Unfortunately, when Britt had his accident, he and his family were forced to seek assistance at different facilities throughout the country. Many of the CCB-ers who had children Britt’s age looked on in amazement at the mother and son who had been through so much and were spearheading the creation of such a facility.

Pam Perella, Angela Cupp, Britt Cupp and Brent Christopher

After a massive group pic with Britt, the CCB-ers with flowers in hand gathered outside for the traditional group picture. Inside Angela had one request — a photo of Britt with 2017 CCB President Pam Perella and Children’s Medical Center Foundation President Brent Christopher. Little did she know that Brent had made a similar request, saying, “Britt is my hero.”

Hunger Busters — $1,192,500

The CCB bus now headed to West Dallas for the Hunger Busters operation behind a tall wrought-iron fence topped with razor wire. On the side of the small building, the air condition units were padlocked.

Iron fences topped with razor wire at Hunger Busters

New father/Hunger Busters Executive Director Trey Hoobler explained, “We’re in a turf war here caught between two groups.”

But despite the Spartan and tight conditions, Production/Volunteer Manager Gumaro Castillo in the kitchen’s prep area explained how Ford would be proud of the assembly line of volunteers prepping the meals for DISD schools and after-school programs. Having been there eight years, Gumaro pointed with pride as volunteers put together sandwiches.

Hunger Busters volunteers

Thanks to the CCB contribution that would be used over a three-year period, the Feed the Need program would be expanded, “representing a 150% increase in the number of children served, from 2,000 to 5,000 daily. An additional new delivery van and staff support will allow Hunger Busters to serve children and schools on their waiting list for a total of 300,000 additional meals each year.”

Santa Clara of Assisi Catholic Academy — $850,000  

Sandra Helton

The final stop of the day was Santa Clara of Assisi Catholic Academy, where Sister Sandra Helton pointed to an open lot adjacent to the school where a cafeteria would be built. She then showed why the new facility would be needed, as she led the group to the present room where children eat. If the current lunchroom was needed for another event, the tables and chairs had to be removed and then replaced afterwards. If a funeral was to take place in the nearby sanctuary, meals would have to delayed.  The kitchen was barely larger than a jet liner’s kitchen.

Santa Clara of Assisi Catholic Academy

While the tour was going on, some youngsters took naps on the classroom floors, some practiced in the music room under Brandon McDannald‘s direction and others were hard at work at desks in classrooms.

Thanks to the CCB commitment, a 12,500-square-fooot cafeteria and fine arts center will be built that will be “available weekends for 1,300 children who attend religious education classes and also for Science Fairs, Band and Choir concerts, fundraisers like their Fall Festival and Grandparent’s Day. Funds will also be used for a dedicated fine arts center, giving Santa Clara students many more options in band, music, choir and art with designated classrooms where they can safely secure their instruments and supplies. Additionally, funds will provide a parish office and conference room, allowing for more students in the existing school.”

It was then homeward bound and ten months of fundraising to provide $5.8M for the children of Dallas.

For more photos from the 2017 Crystal Charity Ball bus tour, check MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Junior League Of Dallas To Receive Dallas CASA’s 2017 Judge Barefoot Sanders Champion of Children Award In November

The Junior Leaguers of Dallas are going to be busy raising money this coming week. First, there is the 55th Annual black-tie ball — Encore — on Saturday, March 4, at the Hilton Anatole. Then next Wednesday, March 8, they’re putting on the 88th Linz Award Luncheon honoring sister JLD-er Lyda Hill at the Omni Dallas.

Dallas CASA Champion of Children Award Dinner*

After all this work, they’re going to be the recipients of Dallas CASA’s “Judge Barefoot Sanders Champion of Children Award” at The Fairmont Hotel on Thursday, November 16, at CASA’s annual Champion of Children Award Dinner.

Since 1996, JLD and Dallas CASA have worked together “to serve more children in protective care, [a figure that] has grown year over year. In 2016, the JLD provided 38 volunteers who became sworn advocates for children. In addition, annual grants from the JLD directed toward recruiting allowed Dallas CASA to recruit many additional community members to serve as advocates, helping propel the agency toward its goal of serving every child in protective care.”

Junior Leaguers of Dallas*

Christie Carter (File photo)

According to JLD President Bonner Allen, “The Junior League of Dallas is both honored and humbled to be recognized by Dallas CASA. The work Dallas CASA volunteers do for the most vulnerable children in our community is exactly what the mission of the Junior Leagues is about — it is improving the community through effective action and leadership of trained volunteers.”

Appropriately the honorary chair for the event will Christie Carter, who in addition to being a longtime Dallas CASA supporter, is also past president of the JLD, served on various boards and chaired this past year’s Crystal Charity Ball. It should be noted that she also co-chaired the “recently concluded $37M Abused Children Can’t Wait — The Campaign for Dallas CASA, which saw Dallas CASA more than double it program capacity, dramatically grow the number of volunteer advocates and move into a much larger building to accommodate the rapid growth.”

Priscilla and Corey Anthony*

John and Laura Losinger*

Champion of Children co-chairs will be Priscilla and Corey Anthony and Laura and John Losinger.

* Graphic and photos provided by Dallas CASA

Dallas CASA’s 10th Annual Cherish The Children Luncheon To Have Casey Gerald As Keynote Speaker And The Inaugural Caroline Rose Hunt Award

Sometimes the best things can be found in your own backyard. That’s exactly what Dallas CASA’s 10th Annual Cherish The Children Luncheon Chair Shonn Brown discovered for the Wednesday, April 5th luncheon at the Fairmont Hotel.

Cherish the Children Luncheon*

For its keynote speaker, Shonn announced it will be Dallas native Casey Gerald, who overcame a “harrowing childhood in Oak Cliff to receive degrees from Yale University and Harvard Business School.”

Casey Gerald**

Like many success stories, his accomplishments were due to his parents. But they weren’t the role models that other folks serve in their children’s lives, unless it was what not to become. His mother, who suffered from mental illness, disappeared from Casey’s life when he was 12. As for his dad, he was a drug addict. What helped Casey take a different fork in the road was “his community, who surrounded him with support.”

Thanks to excelling at high school football and that community support, he earned a BA in political science from Yale and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

But what launched him to internet fame was his 2014 Harvard commencement speech that went viral.

Just two years later, his TED talk “There be no miracles here” once again catapulted him into internet fame with more than 1M views.

Caroline Rose Hunt (File photo)

According to columnist Anand Giriharadas, “Casey has lived the breathtaking fullness of America. He is a real-life Forrest Gump — oh, and he’s not yet 30. His sonorous voice, on the page and the stage, will be a bugle call for his generation, and for the rest of us.”

Also on the “Cherish the Children” program will be the inaugural Caroline Rose Hunt Cherish the Children Award, which will be presented to the National Council of Jewish Women, Great Dallas Section. Named after longtime philanthropist and Dallas CASA Children’s Council member Caroline Rose Hunt, the award was established to recognize “an individual or organization for outstanding contributions helping children who have been removed from home for abuse or severe neglect.”

Tickets are now available starting at $175, but those tickets are limited.

* Graphic provided by Dallas CASA 
** Photo credit: Joao Canziani

2016 Partners Card Total Take Of $1,050,000 Revealed Plus Plans For The 2017 Fundraiser For The Family Place

Just a few blocks away from Communities in Schools at Samuel Lynne Galleries, The Family Place crowd was at Bungalow 5 to celebrate the year’s take of the annual Partners Card and to hear plans for the 2017 fundraiser.

As The Family Place’s Paige Flink and Melissa Sherrill in black and white scurried through the 100+ guests, Catherine New made her 2017 debut following breast cancer reconstruction surgery. While she admitted to Anne Conner and her daughter-in-law Ryan Conner that heading back to work at the Hilton Anatole that week had been a bit too much, she was better managing her return to full form for the spring season.

Ryan Conner, Anne Conner and Catherine New

In another part of Bungalow 5, Honorary Chair Lisa Cooley and Susan Farris were asking if there had been any news about new Crystal Charity Ball members. That would come later in the evening. 

Lisa’s escort for the evening, Larry Hackett, told how he had lost 150 pounds due to a gluten-free diet and twice-a-day exercise program.

Lisa Cooley, Larry Hackett and Susan Farris

Joyce Fox arrived with Doris Jacobs on the scene just before the reveal of the final total earned. Doris reported that husband Jack Jacobs was on the mend from surgery.

With 2016 Partners Card Co-Chairs Elizabeth Dacus, Jane Rozelle and Samantha Wortley smiling, Paige revealed that $1,050,000 had been provided for the organization thanks to the annual spend-around-town fundraiser.

Paige added, “These funds are critical and will provide over 15,000 nights of shelter and support to the women, men and children who come to The Family Place to escape a violent situation.”

The amount was thanks to presenting sponsor Bank of Texas, 2016 top sellers Sara Robinson and Cass Robinson, who sold 162 Partners Cards; Paula Davis, who sold 155 Partners Cards; and Nancy Scripps, who sold 130 Partners Cards.

It was also revealed that plans for the upcoming 25th anniversary of Partners Card are already locked down. According to Bank of Texas Market President Ryan Suchala, the bank will once again be the presenting sponsor with Brynn Bagot Allday and Jennifer Burns serving as co-chairs with the help of “other past Partners Card chairs, who are joining together to make the anniversary year the best yet.”

MySweet2017Goals: Nikki Webb

Crayton and Nikki Webb (File photo)

According to Genesis Women’s Shelter Luncheon Co-Chair Nikki Webb,

“My goal for 2017 is for the community to join my husband Crayton Webb and myself at the 24th annual Genesis Women’s Shelter Luncheon on Monday, May 15. We are delighted to be co-chairs of one of the most anticipated luncheons of the spring, and would love to see our friends, colleagues and community partners in attendance.

“This year’s luncheon will feature founder of The Huffington Post, founder and CEO of Thrive Global and international best-selling author, Arianna Huffington, as keynote speaker. Celebrated as one of the world’s most influential women, she is sure to inspire and engage as she discusses domestic abuse in our society, and the broader topic of women and media.

Arianna Huffington*

“Funds raised through the luncheon help Genesis provide safety, shelter and expert counseling services to women and children who have experienced domestic violence. In 2016, Genesis served 1,300 women and children due to the generosity of the Dallas community.

“The 2017 Genesis Women’s Shelter Luncheon will be held on Monday, May 15, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Hilton Anatole Dallas located at 2201 Stemmons Freeway, Dallas, Texas 75207. Sponsorships begin at $1750.00. If available, individual tickets will go on sale in April 2017. For table and sponsorship information contact Genesis Senior Director of Development Bianca Jackson at 214.389.7703 or visit http://www.genesisshelter.org/events/luncheon/ to reserve your table.”

* Photo provided by Genesis Women's Shelter

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?

Junior Leaguers Grand Slammed Milestones Luncheon With Awardees Caren Prothro, Linda McFarland And Venus Williams

The Junior Leaguers had pulled out all the guns for The Milestones Luncheon on Wednesday, November 16, at the Hilton Anatole. JLD President Bonner Allen and Luncheon Co-Chairs Amanda Shufeldt and Pat Prestidge had their over-the-top game plan in order, so they wisely booked the Chantilly Ballroom to accommodate the expected 1,500 guests.

Linda McFarland and Caren Prothro

And that game plan was built around some pretty heavy hitters — Linda McFarland would be presented as the Sustainer of the Year and Caren Prothro would receive the Lifetime Achievement Award, which has only been previously presented to Ruth Altshuler, Lindalyn Adams, Linda Pitts Custard and Lyda Hill. Needless to say, honoring these ladies alone could have sold out the luncheon ASAP.  

But then Bonner, Amanda and Pat wanted to complement the awardees with an equally prestigious speaker — tennis legend Venus Williams.

Still the event’s schedule was tight. Venus had to be out of there by 1 p.m. At first blush, it looked a little iffy. The VIP reception for the meet-and-greet started at 10:30 with organizers swearing Venus was “going to be here any minute” because she needed to leave by 11:15. By 10:41, the lineup for photos with the featured speaker was starting to extend beyond the cordoned-off area, but there was no Venus. A woman in white at a side entrance door was stationed to watch for her arrival. Just as the clock hit 10:54, Venus arrived. And it was so worth the wait.

While guests filled out forms, others handed off their purses and stood next to the towering 6’1″-tall tennis player, who was totally charming. She especially like Annika Cail’s necklace. But as every photo was taken, the lineup grew three-fold. Nevertheless, Venus’ posture and smile never wavered and she stayed past the 11:15 deadline.

Linda Secrest and Isabell Novakov

In the meantime, most of the men folk gathered at the other end of the room for coffee. Junior League Ball Chair Isabell Novakov reported that she was right on target for her March 4th fundraiser that will also take place in the Anatole’s Chantilly Ballroom. The 55th anniversary gala will “showcase past Balls and bring back elements of our history as we celebrate the JLD’s 95th Anniversary.” Her goal is a whopping $1M.

But back to the day’s fundraiser. Finally, the event could wait no longer and the Wedgwood Room doors to the ballroom opened at 11:18 with guests being encouraged to head to their tables. Still Venus stayed for the final photo that was taken at 11:25 and then headed to the ballroom.

Ten minutes later, Mr. Big Voice was heard advising guests to sit with the infamous “the program will start momentarily.” Only instead of a five-minute warning, it truly was momentarily with the house lights dimming seconds later.

Pat Prestidge and Amanda Shufeldt

Emcee Shelly Slater arrived at the podium, did a selfie and told guests to start eating. After Rev. Stephen Swan provided the invocation, Shelly was back with some “housekeeping tips.” No, not the Heloise type that involved grout cleaning, but how the purchase of the centerpieces would also help get through the valet line faster.

Bonner Allen and Kittye Peeler

At 11:39 Amanda and Pat thanked all for supporting the event and were followed by Bonner and JLD Sustainer President Kittye Peeler, who presented Linda and Caren with their awards.

Just past noon, guests got to their meals. Wise move. That way the clatter of utensils hitting plates would be done when Venus had a chat with WFAA sportscaster Joe Trahan starting at 12:36.

Taking their places in easy chairs on stage, the two talked as if they were in a living room. Sounding at times like a starry-eyed groupie, Joe asked Venus about her relationship with her sister, Serena Williams. While Joe wanted to get into discussing tennis, Venus took a timeout to say “Hi to everyone” and told how much she had enjoyed meeting guests earlier in the day. Looking out into the audience, she added, “You guys looked absolutely fantastic. I want to go shopping with all of you. We’ll do at a later date. Next time it will be Junior League-Neiman Marcus.” Grand slam!

Venus Williams and Joe Trahan

Highlights of the conversation included:

  • Her winning her very first Wimbledon, six to three — “I did?…Okay. My first championship was born out of tragedy a bit.” She explained that back in 1999 when she and Serena were playing the U.S. Open, they were in the semi-finals, so they had the chance to meet in the finals. “I didn’t actually win my match, but I learned so much from that. It made me so hungry.” Off for a number of months due to injuries, she played at Wimbledon, “When I went there, I thought ‘This is my time. I’m the one.’ So, I went to that tournament knowing I was going to win. I’ve got to say that I haven’t gone to another tournament with that same attitude, but it was just like you want to win your first one,  you want to cross over that line and it was just knowing that I was not going to walk away without that title that year.”  
  • What she does when she gets to that match point — “I just press the gas pedal. I love being at match point and at that point I just knew it was mine. It’s a privilege to be at match point. I try to live my whole life at that match point level.”
  • Venus Williams

    Winning the first title compared to subsequent ones — “It always changes. It’s never the same. I wish there was a special equation of ‘Now you do it this way. Here’s your formula. And there you go.’ But it’s not. Sometimes you’re torn; sometimes you’re off; sometimes you’re injured; you’re playing a different opponent; it might be windy; sometimes you’re confident; sometimes you’re not. But it’s never the same formula. I think the next year I played, I ended up playing someone who was an upstart and got to the final. And then, of course, you don’t want to go there saying one of the best players in the world loses to someone you never heard of. It’s a whole different kind of pressure.”

  • Venus’ op ed piece on equal pay for men and women — “I never thought that I was going to be a part of equal rights. It wasn’t something that I was aware of as a young person that women weren’t paid the same as men. I grew up dreaming of winning Wimbledon and the U.S. Open and didn’t realize that it wasn’t equal until I got there. So, once I got there and I had an opportunity to be part of it, it was like you have to take a stance for something. Sometimes you find yourself in a situation. There was no grand plan, but it’s been wonderful for me because I’ve been able to follow the footsteps of people like Arthur Ashe and Billie Jean King and that’s meant so much to me to be able to contribute more.”
  • Lessons that apply both to sports and business — “In sports, there is no win-win. There’s just win. But you figure out how to win. And it applies to teamwork. Of course, within your own organization, it’s about teamwork. It’s about collaboration and it’s also about setting goals and working toward them…That’s why sports is so amazing for young women because it gives them confidence. It gives them goals; it gives them focus. You feel good about yourself and about your body especially in a day when body image is so challenging. Instead of thinking about what you look like, you think about what your body is doing for you. It’s switching the focus…. But you also learn about losing. As much as you want to, you can’t always win. And loss is the biggest single teacher every single time. Even if you don’t want it to be.”
  • Venus Williams

    Her sister Serena — “I would never pass up an opportunity to play with Serena Williams in doubles. You can’t make that work. We love each other’s company.  We always buoy each other up. It’s awesome to play with someone that you feel confident in. Then you can do your job and you don’t have to feel like you have to carry them. You can relax a little bit more. And if you’re playing bad, you know they can carry you and vice versa. It’s an awesome partnership. We wish we could play every tournament because we love that dynamic, but that’s not possible. She’s really fun. I’ll have to bring her next time.”

  • Sisterhood — “A lot of cultures have their own thing about community. In West Africa, they have like a symbol where everyone is pushing everyone up a tree.  So, we’re always pushing each other up. And that part of pushing is also competing, but it doesn’t mean we have to be rivals. We can respect each other as competitors. Just as women, we have to always be supportive of each other because not only are we facing not an equal playing field, we can’t also fight each other. We also have to have that ‘good girls club.’ We have to all be good girls and get on board and support each other. If someone phones asking if you can be here, you don’t need to know why, you just say, ‘I’m there.’ I love to win. It’s fun. I also love to see other people win, other people be successful. I love to see women be powerful. There is nothing more amazing than seeing a powerful woman. It’s intimidating actually to see someone so amazing, so beautiful, so gracious just kicking butt.”
  • Failure — “It’s an important, unfortunately but fortunately, motif in my career. Failure has always motivated me and taught me a lesson. When you fall back down, you’ve got to get right back up again. Don’t be afraid to fail. Failure is part of your success. If you’re not failing, that means you’re doing too safe or you’re such an expert and amazing that you’re just not human…. The biggest failure to me is not learning from a loss.”
  • Motivation — “The biggest motivation in my tennis career has been my sister outside of mom and dad. I wouldn’t have picked up a racket if it hadn’t been for them. But Serena taught me how to be tenacious and strong. She was just naturally so competitive and so courageous and fearless. And I was, ‘Okay, I’ve got a talent, but I hadn’t grown that heart yet.’ Remember how the Grinch had that little tiny heart? And at the end the heart got big and he became this amazing person. Well, that’s kind of what happened to me in sports. I didn’t push myself enough. You have to throw your whole body even if you’re faced with a firing squad. It doesn’t matter if you go down  on a stretcher, you won the match and die on the spot. But if that’s what it takes, that what it takes.  So, I kind of had to learn that and she showed me that. I’m eternally grateful to her because I would have been a great player who never crossed the line.”
  • Venus Williams and Joe Trahan

    Motivation in business — “My dad always encouraged us to be entrepreneurs. He encouraged us to work for ourselves. He encouraged us to get our education. He said, ‘I’m not raising some athletes here.’ Sometimes we took advantage of that by saying, ‘Dad, we have a lot of homework today.’ He’d say, ‘Okay, then we’ll cut the court short today.’ We didn’t do that too often, or he would have caught on.  He was a Renaissance man. Growing up, we’d be going to tennis tournaments and he’d be playing a tape about foreclosures. We didn’t understand it, but it was a mentality. When you’re eight years old, if you understand a foreclosure you’re probably not doing it again. It just set us up to be confident and to think for ourselves, which is super-important for a female athlete, especially a female tennis player because you’re going pro so young and there are all these outside forces that can stumble you and you can become a statistic really fast. There are also a lot of parents who stumble their own children by not allowing them to make their own decisions and grow up to be independent and strong. Our parents were a keen influence on all of that.”

  • Being in the National Museum of African American History and Culture — “I didn’t know I was in there…. That’s cool. I hope they don’t remove it.” She learned about it when friends sent her a picture of the exhibition.
  • Women in the future — She applauded what has been accomplished by women, and feels that in the future it’s important to have men come on board. “Unfortunately in this world, there is always something to conquer, but fortunately there are groups like the Junior League that are in it to win, and I appreciate your having me here today.”
  • Adversity in her life that she’s grateful for — “Wow! That’s deep. Any challenge, I don’t question it. For me it’s about being able to live with how I deal with it and being able to deal with it on my own terms. And coming out with what I can do to win and being able to regulate it and live with it that way. That’s enough for me.”
  • Her proudest accomplishment — “Two things I would say: Being able to look with no regrets, and also looking back and saying I enjoyed it.”
  • Volunteering in Compton — This past November she and her family kicked off the Yetunde Price Resource Center in Compton, California, for families suffering from violence. Her older sister Yetunde Price was killed in 2003 in a drive-by shooting. The opening and support of the center allows Venus and her family to come full circle. “It was a super healing experience for my whole family to come back to Compton and to do that. We ended up going back to the court that we practiced on a lot. I got so emotional. It was so surreal. When we got there, all those things that happened. I loved that whole experience…Serena talked about the foolish things we did.”
  • Final words — “I love Dallas and thank you for allowing me to be a part of it [the luncheon]. I love the things that you’re doing on all levels. I look forward to the next chapter and coming back if you’ll have me.”

    Venus Williams and Joe Trahan

Finishing up just before 1 p.m., Joe proved to be a typical dad and Venus fan asking for a selfie with Venus for his daughters. Without hesitation Venus flashed that constant smile and accommodated Joe.

Fabulous Faces, Fashions And Food Came Together At Brian Bolke’s Forty Five Ten To Net $400K For The Family Place’s 2016 ReuNight

After years of planning, praying and preparing, Brian Bolke’s Forty Five Ten in downtown Dallas was ready to greet the world of fashion. This four-story, 37,000-square-foot jewel box designed by Dallas architect David Droese was nearly five times the size of its 8,000-square-foot McKinney Avenue predecessor. No longer the quaint and cozy cottage nestled in the Knox/Henderson neighborhood, the new Forty Five Ten was a palace in heady company across Main Street from The Joule hotel and the Neiman Marcus flagship store.

Forty Five Ten men’s fashions

Forty Five Ten fashion

Forty Five Ten footwear

But before its official open-to-the-public debut on Saturday, November 12, Forty Five Ten proprietor Brian had arranged for a benefit supper for The Family Place’s 2016 ReuNight.

Originally, the event was to be a cocktail party at the store and a seated dinner across the street at The Joule. But that would have made for limited attendance. So, just a few weeks beforehand, the decision was made to have the dinner in an adjoining see-through enclosed tent fronting Main Street, with Tony Tasset’s Eye sculpture looking on from the opposite end. The view through the tent couldn’t have been more perfect with the surrounding downtown forest of skyscrapers sparkling.

Brian Bolke

Katherine and Eric Reeves

Candace and Jim Krause

Since the Elm Street auto courtyard was still a work-in-progress, the 160 or so guests (Karen and Stephen Jones, Katherine and Eric Reeves, Michal Powell, Candace and Jim Krause, Sue Gragg, Georgina Hartland, Kristi Hoyl, Linda and Steve Ivy, Connie and Denny Carreker, Meghan Looney and Niven Morgan and Shelby Wagner) arrived via the Main Street entrance. There they were greeted by co-hosts Brian and Faisal Halum and Shelle and Michael Sills.

Nick Wooster, Taylor Tomasi Hill and Faisal Halum

With staffers like Creative VP/Fashion Director Taylor Tomasi Hill and Men’s Fashion Director Nick Wooster on hand to guide the guests through the fashion extravaganza, it was like a glorious feast for the eyes.

Claire Emanuelson, Reed Robertson and Piper Wyatt

On the first level, Honorary Chair Mary Clare Finney and Jan Miller were found checking out the goodies in the jewelry salon. Across the way Pat McEvoy, Piper Wyatt and Claire Emanuelson were in the shoe department. Upstairs were Nancy Dedman, Brad Kelly, Tucker Enthoven, Kathy Kincaid, Catherine Howell and Heather and Billy Esping checking out the third level, along with architect David Droese and wife Suzanne Droese, Tim Headington, Diamond Mahone, Jeny Bania, Anais Assoun and Sabrina Dee.

Suzanne and David Droese

Billy and Heather Esping

Kathy Kincaid and Catherine Howell, Brad Kelly, Nancy Dedman and Tucker Enthoven

Diamond Mahone, Jeny Bania, Tim Headington, Anais Assoun and Sabrina Dee

But even ultra-sophisticated fashion lovers were impressed by the price tags, like a nifty crop jacket going for $2,300. Still others, like bearded Allan McBee, chuckled that he had found a pair of socks that were pocketbook-friendly.

And speaking of the men, the larger accommodations had allowed Brian to broaden his collection of exquisite taste to include a larger array of men’s clothing, home furnishings, jewelry and all types of luxurious goodies. 

But all too soon, the guests were directed from the brightly lit store to the walkway leading up to Todd Fiscus‘ equally dazzling tent with its black carpeting, candles, mirrored table tops and Lucite chairs.

ReuNight dining tent

Making the stroll a bit of a challenge was the black carpeting, with one poor chap tripping on a step but luckily catching himself at the last minute.

The tent’s flooring added an interesting element to the scene. As guests wandered through the glittering dining room, the towering stemmed candle-holders began wobbling. Despite the flames in motion, nary a one even came close to toppling.  

Sharon Young

Tim Blanks

Niven Morgan and Donna Karan

Todd Fiscus and Ceron

For the first time during the evening, it was an opportunity to see the entire assembled supporters of The Family Place and Forty Five Ten. It was if Brian had curated the best of fashion and fundraising. In front of the mini-stage, with its two leather easy chairs, there was a table with designer/special guest Donna Karan seated next to Tim Headington and across the table from Brian and fashion scribe Tim Blanks. At the other end of the table were Faisal with Nancy Rogers on one side and Shelle and Sharon Young on the other.  At another table to the right of the stage were Mary Clare with Chris Branscun and The Family Place CEO Paige Flink.

Mary Clare Finney and Chris Branscun

Josh Sutcliff

With all the beautiful people in such an elegant surrounding, it was perfectly understandable that dinner missed its start time of 7:45 p.m. After all, who wanted to stop chatting and taking selfies with the other guests? But it was a school night, and the dinner prepared by Joule Chef Josh Sutcliff was all ready to go. Following a first course of a scallop crudo, huckleberries, confit onion and ponzu, the entrée of wagyu beef short rib, crispy potato, spinach and green tomato was served. Finishing off the meal was a trio of hand-painted, rose gold truffles that would have been right at home in the Forty Five Ten jewelry counter.

In an unusual switch from the norm, the live auction did not take place immediately after dinner. Fundraisers tend to hold those bidding competitions when folks are still starry-eyed and receptive to upping the ante. However, this was not your typical affair.

Instead, just past 9 p.m., the conversation between emcee Kim Schlegel Whitman and designer Karan took place on the stage. Donna’s presence was a very special and personal one for both Paige and Brian.

Earlier in the evening, Brian had told guests that Donna had been one of his late mother’s favorite designers.

Paige told the crowd that before joining The Family Place 25 years ago, one of her first jobs was at the late Sanger Harris store as a buyer involved in carrying Donna’s clothing line.

She went on to tell of the 114 families that were being housed at The Family Place, the five men and three moms with kids who were being put up in hotels due to lack of space. She concluded by saying, “You’ll probably never get to meet them, but what we do tonight is going to save their lives. We have to think about that.”

Kim Schlegel Whitman and Donna Karan

As Kim and Donna took their places on stage to talk, a helicopter hovered over the tent with a spotlight. One almost suspected that Brian had arranged to have faux snowflakes flutter down from the chopper. But soon it buzzed off to another part of downtown.

However, it was soon noted that police cars with flashing lights and sirens were screaming down Main Street in the same direction as the helicopter. One guest, upon returning from the restroom, said that she and her husband were leaving because of protesters who were marching in downtown Dallas due to the recent election.

The couple was followed by another agitated twosome who admitted that they were concerned after the July police shootings downtown. However, the departures were unnecessary. Not only were the protestors orderly, they never came near the fundraiser.

Ironically, Donna talked about how she had expanded her focus from dressing to reducing stress for people. While looking good on the outside was well and it good, she felt it was all for naught if one was not well and good on the inside as well.

She also told of her early days working with the American designer Anne Klein as an associate designer. It was when she was in the hospital having her first baby that she learned that Klein was also in the hospital dying of breast cancer. With a new collection due to be completed, it fell upon Donna to produce. But the doctor told her that there was no way she was going to return to the office. So, they brought the entire company to Donna and her newborn daughter, Gabby, named after Donna’s father who had died when Donna was just 3 years old.

After taking over the Klein collection and Anne Klein II, Donna decided that she needed some clothes for herself and friends. The result: she was was unceremoniously fired but, in 1985, went on to launch her Seven Easy Pieces line with her now-legendary black tights, the bodysuit, a versatile skirt, a pair of loose trousers, a tailored jacket, a cashmere sweater and a white shirt.

Shifting directions, Kim asked Donna about her passion today. After having so many of her friends and family suffering from AIDs, cancer and other health issues, she realized that the focus had been on “disease care, not health care.”

Before dying, her late husband Stephen Weiss told her that she must “take care of the nurses” as well as the patients.

It seemed a bit ironic that a fundraiser to prevent violence nearly became the victim of feared violence. But, luckily, the vast majority of generous folks stayed put and helped net $400K to support The Family Place’s efforts to protect families.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2016 ReuNight

Forty Five Ten fashion

Nick Wooster, Taylor Tomasi Hill and Faisal Halum

It was just this side of glorious. The ultimate sneak preview of Forty Five Ten benefiting The Family Place on Thursday, November 10.

Brian Bolke and Shelle Sills

Diamond Mahone, Jeny Bania, Tim Headington, Anais Assoun and Sabrina Dee

As fabulouso as the peeps were  dressed to the nines, the collection of fashions for both men and women plus dazzling home-sweet-home accessories assembeler by retailing wizard Brian Bolke had even the most brilliant dressers becoming wide-eyed tourists.

And to add to the splendiferous factor were legendary designer Donna Karan and fashion scribe Tim Blanks.

Niven Morgan and Donna Karan

Tim Blanks

While the post is being prepared, check out the MySweetCharity Photo Gallery for the looks and the lookies at the debut of Dallas’ newest chic showplace.

MySweetWishList: Dallas CASA

According to Dallas CASA Executive Director and President Kathleen LaValle,

Kathleen LaValle (File photo)

“Sixteen-year-old Daniella grew up in a chaotic environment filled with drinking, domestic violence, poverty and hopelessness. Up to 16 people lived in her tiny, wood-frame house at one time.

“Daniella was removed from home after her mother was arrested for driving drunk with Daniella’s four siblings in the car. No family members in Dallas were able to care for the child, but a cousin in Oklahoma agreed to take in the defiant and angry young woman. Removed from home, separated from her siblings, in desperate need of anger counseling, living in a new town with family she barely knew and attending a new school, Daniella felt abandoned and disconnected.

“But while Daniella felt forgotten in Oklahoma, Dallas CASA never forgot about her.

“Daniella’s Dallas CASA volunteer, Marie, visited the child often, driving to Oklahoma monthly for more than a year to stay connected. Daniella and Marie spoke often by phone, and Marie kept Daniella’s Dallas-based Child Protective Services caseworker up to date.

“Dallas CASA’s wish this Christmas is for gas cards and airline miles so no children have to go without a CASA to speak for them.

“Due to Dallas’ lack of adequate foster homes and residential treatment centers, up to 40%

of Dallas children are placed in protective care outside the county. A child might be placed in Houston, Lubbock or El Paso, but decisions made about that child still happen in a Dallas courtroom. And many of the children placed in distant locations are teenagers in the permanent custody of CPS and living in treatment centers, some of the most vulnerable children we serve. Almost half the children our volunteers serve are living in long-term foster care.

“Marie visited Daniella frequently in Oklahoma, observing the teenager settle into life with her cousin, her cousin’s husband and their two young children. She helped Daniella understand her cousin’s curfew and rules about who she could hang out with, both new concepts to Daniella. She made sure Daniella saw a psychiatrist regularly. Marie helped Daniella get an identification card and her school records transferred to Oklahoma. Marie facilitated contact with Daniella’s younger siblings, all living in foster care. And when Daniella’s parents’ rights were terminated by the court leaving Daniella in the permanent custody of CPS, Marie helped Daniella talk through her options. Should she consider being adopted? Or plan to age out of foster care? What did she want her future to look like?

“While living with her cousin, Daniella chose to attend a local vocational high school for healthcare professions and got a job at a fast food restaurant three afternoons a week. For the first time in her life, she had money to spend on herself, a home free of addictions and violence and hope for her future. Consistent love and care gave Daniella clarity for her future, stripping away her anger and defiance and replacing it with a caring heart and a big smile.

Dallas CASA*

“Today, Daniella, at 17, has been adopted by her cousin, giving her permanency before adulthood. CASA attended the adoption and sent photos to CPS afterward. Daniella is considering going to college for nursing, something Marie has encouraged with a visit to a local college with a strong nursing program. Marie even called friends in Dallas who could offer Daniella advice on different nursing degrees and the salary she could expect.

“Daniella was forced to grow up fast, but with Marie by her side, a permanent place to call home and a strong plan for her future things look bright. Dallas CASA’s wish this holiday season is that no child ever feels forgotten. With gas cards and airline miles and airline gift cards, we can ensure our volunteers can travel as far as they need to so all children know they are important and valuable.

“For more information on donating, contact Becca Leonard at [email protected] or 214.827.8961.”

-By Kathleen LaValle, Dallas CASA executive director and president

* Graphic provided by Dallas CASA

JUST IN: The Huffington Post’s Arianna Huffington To Be 24th Annual Genesis Luncheon Keynote Speaker

It’s not even 2017 and already the lineup of stellar keynote speakers for the spring is making news. Genesis Women’s Shelter and Support’s CEO Jan Langbein just revealed the plans for its annual 24th annual fundraising luncheon.

Co-chairing the event at the Hilton Anatole will be one of the leading Genesis couples —Nikki and Crayton Webb.

According to Jan, “Crayton is both a professional and personal hero of Genesis, serving as board president of Genesis’s men’s auxiliary group HeROS (He Respects Others), and vice president of corporate communications and corporate social responsibility with Mary Kay Inc., one of our most committed corporate partners. Working with Crayton and Nikki as co-chairs this year is like working with family.”

Crayton and Nikki Webb and little Webbies*

And speaking of family, Nikki is an active nonprofit volunteer and a non-stop supportive wife. She and Crayton are the parents of four pretty adorable kiddos (three boys and a new baby girl, who was born this past March).

Arianna Huffington**

As for the day’s keynote speaker, it’s going to be a lady who definitely has an opinion providing food for thought — Arianna Huffington!

It was back in May 2005 that Greek-born Arianna launched a news/blog site, The Huffington Post, that became part of the internet information revolution. Why, it even won the Pulitzer Price for national reporting in 2012. This past August she started Thrive Global, “a corporate and consumer well-being and productivity platform with the mission of changing the way we work and live by ending the collective delusion that burnout is the price we must pay for success.”

She is a regular guests on national news programs, and her accomplishments include being named to Time Magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people, and Forbes’ “Most Powerful Women.”

Traditionally scheduled around Mother’s Day, this year’s event will take place the day after Mama’s Day (aka Monday, May 15). So, why not treat your favorite mom with gifting her on Sunday with tickets to the Monday lunch? And since individual tickets don’t go on sale until April, how about getting together with some other daughters/sons and becoming a sponsor, so you can lock down that ticket for your mum? You do know sponsorship are available now! Just contact Bianca Jackson at 214.389.7703.

* Photo courtesy of the Nikki and Crayton Webb family 
** Photo provided by Genesis Women's Shelter and Support

MySweetWishList: New Friends New Life

According to New Friends New Life Executive Director Kelly Cruse,

Kelly Cruse*

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-By Kelly Cruse, New Friends New Life executive director

* Photo provided by New Friends New Life

Genesis HeROs’ Gentlemen’s Night Had Cigar Rollings, Whiskey Tastings And Membership Sign-Ups At The Crow Library

The rain gods, “Drip” and “Sprinkle,” decided to hedge their appearance in North Texas on Wednesday, November 2. Perhaps it was because of the seventh World Series game, or the CMAs. Whatever.

Nearly 200 gents and their fav gals held forth at Kathy and Harlan Crow’s library, complete with shoes shines and cigar rolling on the covered side terrace and whiskey tastings in Harlan’s better-than-real-life Oval Office.  

Harlan Crow's Oval Office

Harlan Crow’s Oval Office

In the main room, a huge drop screen was on the stage where there is usually a piano. Instead guests could see live play-by-play of the Fall Classic.

And what was the uproarious occasion demanding stogies, drops screens, shoe shines and all those guy-like activities? Why, it was the inaugural Gentlemen’s Night created by Genesis Women’s Shelter’s Genesis HeROs program. “We wanted to do something that was fun for the guys,” said Jan Langbein, the Genesis Women’s Shelter CEO.

Chris and Nancy Mulder

Chris and Nancy Mulder

Morgan Meyer

Morgan Meyer

And what a gathering of eagles it was, including Texas State Rep. Morgan Meyer, Judge Nancy and Chris Mulder, Lisa and Marvin Singleton, Kristen Howell, Daniel Roby and Amber and Josh Ragsdale, the W.H. Adamson High School football coach who was the recipient of the 2015 HeRO Award for “taking a public stand against domestic violence by serving as a role model, mentor and change agent for W.H. Adamson High School football players and the greater Dallas community.”

Josh and Amber Ragsdale and Daniel Roby

Josh and Amber Ragsdale and Daniel Roby

For some, it was a return to one of country’s most outstanding private collections; for others, it was a first time at a wonderland of historic treasures. As one young woman pointed out Lincoln’s itty-bitty desk in Congress, Carolyn Miller in the adjacent alcove was focused on Lincoln’s death mask.

Carolyn Miller

Carolyn Miller

Crayton Webb and Jan Langbein

Crayton Webb and Jan Langbein

Dang, but it almost got embarrassing as CEO Jan and HeROs President Crayton Webb exchanged platitudes on stage with each other. Said Jan, of Crayton’s heartfelt speaking style: “I don’t know whether to vote for him, or to pass the collection plate. Ladies and gentlemen, the Rev. Crayton Webb!”

Crayton said, “I’m here to say, the good guys have got to do their part” against domestic abuse. He encouraged the multitude of men to join up and take a pledge to “create safe homes and a safe community for domestic violence survivors” and to commit to zero tolerance for domestic abuse in the community. Already on board are Jason Adams, Travis Armayor, Chris Ayres, Elias Bahar, David Camp, Chief (Ret.) Lowell Cannaday, David Carlock, Kendall Castello, Randy Golden, Taly Hafffar, Holt Haynsworth, Clint Hennen, Bill Howell, Heath Hyde, Chris Kolczun, Andrew Marcus, Tony McGuire, Prentis Murphy, Scott Murray, David Novak, Bryon Sanders, Lt. (Ret.) Miguel Sarmiento, Jim Savage and Rev. R. Casey Shobe.

Memberships range from the active members ($100 annually) to lifetime members (one-time payment of $1,000). Concluded Crayton: “We need your help.”

Mosaic Family Services 7th Annual Gala Patrons Sipped, Chatted And Shopped At West Village’s Abi Ferrin And Kendra Scott

Leave it to the Mosaic Family Services team to share the love for their 7th Annual Gala patrons. On Tuesday, September 20, they partied at two of the West Village’s fav spots — Abi Ferrin and Kendra Scott. Here’s a report from the field:

Mosaic Family Services honored sponsors, committee members and supporters of the 7th Annual Gala at a cocktail reception on Tuesday, September 20, from 5–9 p.m. at Abi Ferrin and Kendra Scott in West Village.

Mirjana Omeragic, McKenzie Hoopfer, Le Ta and Catherine Langlois*

Mirjana Omeragic, McKenzie Hoopfer, Le Ta and Catherine Langlois*

More than 75 partygoers like Mirjana Omeragic, McKenzie Hoopfer, Catherine Langlois, Chad Collom, Tam Tran, Marta Knutson, Leanne Moye, Shannon Mukundan, Nusia Sookarow, Kristin Paul and Meagan McLauchlin arrived at Abi Ferrin in West Village and sipped cool drinks while shopping Abi’s eponymous collection. DJ Lamont Carlis kept the vibe going, as guests enjoyed savory fare donated by CRU, including artisan cheese and charcuterie with house made fig jam and fresh Turkish honeycomb, mini meatballs with tomato sugo and shaved Manchego, smoked salmon rillettes and arancini with roasted pepper tomato sauce.  

Steve Kemble, Abi Ferrin and Chad Collom*

Steve Kemble, Abi Ferrin and Chad Collom*

With the nearby Kendra Scott boutique sharing the hosting duties for the evening, patrons mingled in both stores while they shopped knowing a percentage of proceeds would benefit Mosaic Family Services.

Tam Tran, Tina Witkoff, Marta Knutson and Leanne Moye*

Tam Tran, Tina Witkoff, Marta Knutson and Leanne Moye*

As the evening came to an end, posh patrons were treated to homemade cake balls by Tina Witkoff and a gift bag of Mary Kay’s Satin Hands signature products.

Jennifer Staubach Gates and Lana Byrne*

Jennifer Staubach Gates and Lana Byrne*

It was all in a warm up for the 7th Annual Mosaic Family Services Gala on Thursday, October 20, from 7–11 p.m. at The Empire Room in the Dallas Design District. Chaired by Melissa Green and Elizabeth Weathersby, with honorary chair Lana Byrne, the gala will include cocktails, dinner by Stock & Barrel, master of ceremonies Steve Kemble, silent auction curated by Auction Chair Nusia Sookarow, raffle and casino. A highlight of the evening will be the presentation of the 2016 Champion of Human Rights Award to Councilmember Jennifer Staubach Gates.

* Photo credit: Bob Manzano

What A Night ReuNight Is Gonna Be

If you were one of the lucky few, who moved fast enough and had the extra bucks to be part of Thursday’s ReuNight benefiting The Family Place, you just might benefit from these tips from Event Co-Chairs Brian Bolke and Faisal Halum and Shelle and Michael Sills and Honorary Chair Mary Clare Finney.

First of all, there’s going to be just the slightest chill in the evening air, so it’s the perfect opportunity to debut your fall/winter evening wear.

As for arriving for the festivities, the valets will be set up at 1608 Elm Street (aka Forty Five Ten Courtyard). That’s where you’ll just hop out of your car and head straight into the brand, spanking new Fort Five Ten for cocktails at 6 p.m.

After an hour of eyeballing the fabulous, new fashion digs and the other well-dressed guests, you’ll stroll next door to the tent for dinner served up by The Joule. You can’t miss it. It’s right in front of The Eye.

On the agenda for the tent will be a Q&A between local Kim Schlegel Whitman and designer/extra-special guest Donna Karan.

And, of course, there will be the live auction. But in keeping with tradition, a ReuNight live auction is extremely limited and very unique. This year’s collection of four includes the following to-die-for items:

  • Art Deco Citrine Cameo Ring*

    Art Deco Citrine Cameo Ring*

    Art Deco Citrine Cameo Ring — This gem has got to be seen to be believed. Psyche is depicted crossing the river Styx within the citrine cameo cuvette. It is framed by a pierced and engraved white gold mounting, bead-set with old European and rose-cut diamonds, seed pearls and millegrain accents. Think of artwork for the hand.

  • One&Only Ocean Club Bahamas*

    One&Only Ocean Club Bahamas*

    One&Only Ocean Club Bahamas — So, what would a live auction be without a trip? But leave it to ReuNight to come up with a doozy. For simply ages, Paradise Island has been renowned for its pristine white beaches, luxurious accommodations, golf course and meals provided by Michelin-starred Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. No wonder it’s considered a getaway magnet for extreme boldfacers.  The package includes a three-night stay in a Hartford Wing Ocean View Room with daily breakfast in Dune Restaurant, a $200-spa credit and, of course, a chef’s dinner by Jean-Georges. Since it’s still cleaning up after Hurricane Matthew partied there, the trip is available from March 2017 to March 2018. 

  • Urban Zen Downtown Experience

    Urban Zen Downtown Experience*

    Urban Zen Downtown Experience — How simply perfect with Donna Karan just a table away. You and a companion will be able to channel Donna thanks to a $5,000 gift certificate to Urban Zen NYC, Donna’s Eastern-inspired luxury clothing and lifestyle boutique. But there’s still more. There will be “a relaxing and healing session for two with an Urban Zen Integrative Therapist in the Loft. While in NYC, you’ll call “a luxe downtown hotel” home for two nights and have dinner at Tutto Il Giorno in Tribeca.

  • Hermes Kelly Pochette*

    Hermes Kelly Pochette*

    Hermes Kelly Pochette — A cross between a bag and a clutch, this Hermes beaut will be an showstopper thanks to its gorgeous vert anis green lizard. And, naturally, the Hermes palladium hardware is front and center, don’t you know?  

Make sure you catch Heritage Auction’s Alissa Ford’s eye, so she doesn’t miss you hand when you bid.

Afterward, head back to the Forty Five Ten Courtyard for your ride home and a night of sweet dreams.   

* Photos provided by The Family Place

Critter Lovers Head To House Of Blues To Release Their Inner Animal For A Howling Good Time

For decades the words “spay” and “neuter” have been the mantra of local animal activists. Because of the recent tragedies involving stray dogs and the report by BCG, the call to arms has been ramped up. But to “fix” the problem requires funding and lots of it for those who can’t afford the procedures.

Loads of dogs*

Loads of dogs*

On

Howl At The Moon*

Howl At The Moon*

Saturday, November 12, the Dallas Companion Animal Project is encouraging folks to “release your inner animal” at its fall fundraiser, “Howl at the Moon.” It will take place in the Cambridge Room of the House of Blues from 7 to 10 p.m. with loads of music, food, cocktails and a silent auction specially designed for animal lovers.

According to Event Organizer Brooke Scruggs, “This is about raising funds for spay-and-neuter days, community outreach, and other programs that are so valuable for animals in Dallas. But we also wanted to have some fun. It’s an opportunity to have a great time and do it for a good cause.”

If DCAP is new on your pet radar, it’s a non-profit “created to focus on the future of the community by strengthening the connection between people and animals. One of the services offered is SpayDay that provide free and low-cost spay/neuter to low-income families who could not otherwise afford to alter their pets.

* Graphic and photo provided by Rebecca Poling

Suggestions For A Safe Howl-oween

With Halloween approaching, parents know the drill about checking candy and keeping a watchful eye on little costumed folks not making the rounds alone.

Trick-or-treaters (File photo)

Trick-or-treaters (File photo)

But precautions also extend to pet owners. For instance, candy and pooches don’t mix well. Chocolate may be dandy for humans, but it can be lethal for dogs.

Pooch (File photo)

Pooch (File photo)

The SPCA of Texas has provided the following reminders on how to take care of critters on the night of goblins and ghouls.

  • Keep pets away from live flame decorations like candles and jack-o-lanterns, and restrict your pet’s access to hanging decorations such as streamers. Pets are curious and can become tangled or even choke if they chew on the decorations.
  • Pets may be terrified by tiny gremlins carrying big, orange, pumpkins full of sugar… wouldn’t you? If you have a protective dog that might feel threatened by strangers, keep him/her away from the door when trick-or-treaters arrive. Keep pets in a familiar place with lots of toys and soothing music to distract them from the doorbell.
  • Don’t let the family dog accompany the kids on their trick-or-treat outing. Although bringing your pooch may seem like a fun family outing, your pet would likely feel much safer and more comfortable in his or her own home away from all the Halloween festivities.
  • Make sure your pet’s Halloween costume includes a collar and identification tags, so you can be contacted if he or she does slip away during all the Halloween commotion. In addition to identification tags, ensure your pet is microchipped and the information is current, too.
  • And of course, if the thought of more homeless, unwanted dogs and cats scares you like it does the SPCA of Texas, you can help us spay and neuter more pets by donating today.
Black cat (File photo)

Black cat (File photo)

While in the past some shelter have not adopted out black cats around Halloween, SPCA’s Maura Davies reports, “We are not suspending the adoption of black cats until after Halloween or at any time during the year. We do not have any reason to believe that black cats adopted from us are at risk of being cruelly treated if adopted around Halloween or any time. Tragically, animals of all species, breeds and coat colors can become victims of animal cruelty or abuse any day of the year. Our Animal Cruelty Investigations Unit is here for those animals.

“We stand behind our wonderful staff who facilitate each adoption and our regular adoption counseling processes that ensure that all of our pets are adopted into loving homes. Further, we contact all of our adopters to follow up and offer any needed support after the adoption takes place.”

JUST IN: Plans Revealed For Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center For Education And Tolerance’s Capital Campaign

Frank Risch is a very busy fellow. He’s headed up the search for the Communities Foundation of Texas CEO. The buzz is that the decision on Brent Christopher’s successor should be announced soon.

Now, word just arrived from the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance that Frank is co-chairing the “Building a Foundation of Hope” capital campaign to raise the remainder of the $61M for building a 50,000-square-foot museum that will be “a new permanent home in the West End Historic District. The new museum will be named Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum.”

Frank Risch (File photo)

Frank Risch (File photo)

Mary Pat Higgins (File photo)

Mary Pat Higgins (File photo)

The museum “has already raised two thirds of the funds it needs to start construction, which will take about two years to complete. More than $43 million has been raised.”

According to Museum President/CEO Mary Pat Higgins, “At a time when Texas leads the nation in the number of active hate groups, and the Dallas community is still healing from the July 7th attack on local law enforcement officers, the most violent and hateful act against law enforcement officers since 9/11, we believe the mission of the new Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum is more important than ever.”

Mary Pat explains that due to running out of space in the current rented facility, the museum was “limited in the number of visitors we can see at one time, and many schools and thousands of students are not able to visit as their class sizes are too large for our current museum. We have been forced to move many of our events to other venues. These are all wonderful problems to have, but we urgently have to address our community’s need for education surrounding the history of the Holocaust and it’s all too relevant lessons. This need has led our board to unanimously approve the ‘Building a Foundation of Hope’ capital campaign to create the new Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum.”

Built in the parking lot near Houston Street and the DART Rail corridor, the new museum will feature new exhibit galleries on human rights and American ideals, a 250-seat theater, new classrooms, an expanded library and archive, modern technology throughout, a special reflections and memorial area for visitors and much more.

So far capital campaign donors have included:

  • $10,000,000: Ann and Nate Levine
  • $3,000,000-$4,999,999: Carol and Steve Aaron
  • $1,000,000-$2,999,999: Edward and Wilhelmina Ackerman Family Foundation, Alon USA Energy Inc., Janet and Jeffrey Beck, The Brown Family, Cinemark, Cynthia and Robert Feldman, Funk Families, Estate of Lilian Furst, Glazer Family, Lisa and Neil Goldberg, Sherry and Kenny Goldberg, Dot and Basil Haymann, The Hirsch Family Foundation, Helen and Frank Risch, Simmons Sisters Fund, Donna and Herbert Weitzman and Peggy and Mark Zilbermann

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?

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

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

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

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

Mike Rawlings (File photo)

Mike Rawlings (File photo)

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

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

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

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

Lynn McBee (File photo)

Lynn McBee (File photo)

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

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

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

North Texas Giving Day Booster: Dogs Of Hilltown

Dogs of Hilltown (DOH) firmly believes that the only way to end the cycle of unwanted dogs is to start with medical outreach, owner education and spay and neuter efforts. We are committed to spaying, neutering and vaccinating every owned and stray dog in an isolated area called Hilltown.

Dogs Of Hilltown*

Dogs Of Hilltown*

“Hilltown is an unincorporated community, and thus lacks many municipal services. Whether it is spaying or neutering owned dogs, feeding street dogs that call Hilltown home, or providing adoption support to unwanted or abandoned dogs — every donation benefits the dogs.

“Since forming in March 2016, DOH has rescued 110 unwanted dogs from Hilltown and placed them with amazing furever families. Dogs from Hilltown are always in desperate need of extensive medical help when they are captured from the street. Each dog must be vaccinated, cleaned of internal and external parasites, spayed and neutered. The majority of the rescued dogs have severe intestinal parasites along with extensive heartworms. These treatments and medications come at a steep price but we believe these dogs deserve to be healthy. They are innocent and completely helpless to the whim of humans. They deserve to at least feel no pain.

Dogs Of Hilltown*

Dogs Of Hilltown*

“In addition to providing adoption support, DOH has an extensive outreach program that we are extremely passionate about.  Dogs of Hilltown provides spay and neutering to owned dogs. We also ask the residents of Hilltown to contact us whenever their dog has a medical emergency. We have been contacted at all hours of the day — anything from dying puppies under a trailer to dogs getting snake bites, to dogs fighting over a female in heat… We never say no to helping not only the dogs of Hilltown but also the residents.

Dogs Of Hilltown*

Dogs Of Hilltown*

“Since the beginning we have wanted to create a mutual respect between our volunteers and the residents of Hilltown. No dog owner wants to be ridiculed for the way they care for their dogs. We want the residents of Hilltown to trust us and know that we are not passing judgment on their financial situation. We know that they love their dogs and are trying to do the best that they can do. In our outreach program we have created educational materials in Spanish and English that caters to the residents of Hilltown. We hope by educating the residents about basic pet care we will be able to end the cycle of unwanted puppies and teach the truth about some of the medical myths concerning heartworms and fleas we often hear in Hilltown.

“Our incredible team of volunteers spend countless hours of their own time feeding Hilltown dogs, running offsite adoption events, fostering multiple dogs at a time, transporting dogs to and from the vet, and hundreds of other tasks that are necessary to keep the mission of DOH alive.

Dogs Of Hilltown*

Dogs Of Hilltown*

“Without our supporters and donors- what we do would not be possible. Every time we open a new bag of dog food- every time we see a street dog play with a dog toy for the first time in their life — every time we see a newly healthy dog wag his tail — we send a silent ‘thank you’ to our supporters and donors.

“We are honored to be able to join our fellow nonprofits for this year’s North Texas Giving Day. It is truly amazing seeing all of North Texas come together and support our local nonprofit organizations. We wish every nonprofit good luck and best wishes!”

-By Teresa Mustafa, Dogs of Hilltown Director

* Photos provided by Dogs of Hilltown
______

In seven years, North Texas Giving Day has pumped more than $119 million into the North Texas community. In 2015, $33 million was raised through more than 118,000 gifts benefiting over 2,000 nonprofits.

On Thursday, September 22, support Dogs of Hilltown by linking here and spreading the word. #NTxGivingDay