Co-Chairs Ann And Lee Hobson’s Art Ball “Glittered” With Fashions, Faces, A Fabulous Record-Breaking Live Auction And A Net Of $1.3M+

With the departure of Dallas Museum of Art Eugene McDermott Director Max Anderson in September 2015, fundraising at the DMA shifted direction. As adorable as the Downton Artsy and Art Ball Funk video takeoffs were in years past, the DMA’s Art Ball  leadership was keeping expenses as tight as a third face lift without losing the artistic panache of activities.

Lee and Ann Hobson

To get the mission accomplished for this year’s big black-tie fundraiser, Ann and Lee Hobson were called on to co-chair the 2017 Art Ball on Saturday, April 22. Inspired by their love for romantic France, the Hobsons announced the evening’s theme would be “All That Glitters.” It turned out to be the perfect canvas for guests to display beautiful fashions ranging from simple elegance and old-time showstoppers to wearable art.

But could the blonde twosome pull off a luxurious evening of dining, dancing and dough raising without going in the red? On paper they hit a home run, scoring a net of $1,330,138. On the scene, it was a grand slam.

Still, there had been a little anxiety due to the weather. The night before, a cold front had rain in the area that would have been a frown-maker in years past for the tented affair, due to the Mark di Suvero sculpture requiring a hole in the top. No matter how careful the construction of the tent, there was just no way to totally enclose the opening. One year, guests complained that raindrops had found their way to their table underneath the sculpture. This year, the Hobsons and event producer Todd Fiscus had carefully edited the main room to keep things intimate, leaving the di Suvero out in the cold.

Todd Fiscus, Agustin Arteaga, Ceron and Michael Flores

To make up for the MIA artwork, the artistic beauty was still there thanks to the array of guests. Despite it still being before Memorial Day, the rule of never wearing true white until after Memorial Day was not the protocol, thanks to gents in white evening jackets (Stuart Bumpas, Ceron and Fiscus, Michael Flores, Stephen Giles, Brad Kelly and host Hobson). Hey, this is the artistic set and they know no ordinary ho-hum rules.

Debbie Ryan, Brook Hazelton and Capera Ryan

The ladies also rose to the occasion with designers, both past and present. In vintage gowns were Houston’s Becca Cason Thrash on the arm of Brian Bolke and Christen Wilson with Faisal Halum. Capera Ryan was golden in Galanos with her mom Debbie Ryan (in Armani) and Christie’s American President Brook Hazelton.

Ben and Tracy Lange, Clay and Lisa Cooley, Bela Pjetrovic and Chase Cooley

Kemp and Kit Sawers

Rusty and Bill Duvall

Barbara Daseke

John and Jenny Kirtland and Michael and Sharon Young

Designer Michael Faircloth had had his work cut out for him, ranging from Tracy Lange’s white evening pants with train to Lisa Cooley’s sweeping gown showcasing an old master’s work of art. Other designers being shown were Dior (Bela Pjetrovic, Dallas Snadon and Nancy Carlson), Naeem Khan (Moll Anderson and Katherine Hall), Tom Ford (Catherine Rose), Badgley Mishka (Kit Sawers),  Alberta Ferretti (Julie Hawes), Pamella Rowland (Rusty Duval), Rick Owens (Sharon Young), Mary Katrantzou (Barbara Daseke and Jessica Nowitzki) and Monique Lhuillier (Nancy Rogers).

Jennifer Karol and Merry Vose

Becca Cason Thrash and Brian Bolke

Clane Lacrosse, Crystal Lorde and Margot and Darin Rubel

Michael and Shelly Dee

Dirk and Jessica Nowitzki

But still there can be a cost to wearing couture. Georgina Hartland admitted that her Valentino was a bit scratchy.

Georgina Hartland

Stuart Bumpas, Mary McDermott Cook and Diane Bumpas

Barron and Rebecca Fletcher

Will and Catherine Rose

Tom Lentz and Marguerite Hoffman

Pat and Charles McEvoy

Needless to say, the cocktail party was filled with eye-catchers like DMA Board President Catherine and Will Rose, Muffin and John Lemak (he accessorized his tuxedo with a sling following his rotator cup surgery), Lara and Bob Tafel (his colorful pocket square inspired by Tim Gunn‘s talk last year), Fanchon and Howard Hallam, Gonzalo Bueno with Michael McCray, Wendy and Jeremy Strick, Walter and Laura Elcock, Niven Morgan and Shelby Wagner, Claire Emanuelson, Clarice Tinsley, Nancy and Clint Carlson, Mimi and Rich Sterling, Rob Kendall, Tony Holmes, Mary McDermott Cook with Dan Patterson, Kit and Kemp Sawers, Kara and Randall Goss, Clair Dewar, Lynn and Allan McBee, Shelly and Michael Dee (she was in a traditional Bhutanese jacket, he was in kilts), Jennifer and John Eagle, Carlos Gonzalez Jaime, Sue and Jimmy Gragg, Jennifer and Tom Karol, Leslie and Bryan Diers, Marguerite Hoffman with Dr. Tom Lentz, Dirk Nowitzki, Kim and Justin Whitman, Pat and Charles McEvoy, Tori and Ross Mulford, Jenny and John Kirtland, Sharon and Michael Young, Rusty and Bill Duvall, Brandi and Pete Chilian and Cindy and Lindsay Brown, Clane Lacrosse with Crystal Lorde, Margot and Darin Rube, Bill and Wendy Payne, Brooke and Blake Davenport, Katherine and Craig Hall, Moll and Charles Anderson, Brooke Hortenstine, Reed Robertson, Walter Voit, Fort Worth’s Marsha and John Kleinheinz, Rebecca and Barron Fletcher and Jo Staffelbach Heinz and Andre Staffelbach.

Gonzalo Bueno and Michael McCray

Jeremy and Wendy Strick

Walter and Laura Elcock

Agustin Arteaga and Carlos Gonzalez Jaime

Just making it under the wire was the Rogers posse (Donna Brittingham, Michael Flores, Doug Carney and Dallas Snadon) led by Fancy Nancy. They ran into jewelry designer/actor Adam Shulman and his Academy Award-winning wife Anne Hathaway with Adam’s cousin Peter Brodsky and his wife Lael Brodsky. Adam had designed a bracelet for Lady Rogers.

Brooke Hortenstine, Peter Brodsky, Nancy Rogers, Adam Shulman, Anne Hathaway, Lael Brodsky and Reed Robertson

Following the cocktail party in the tented reception area, the curtains were pulled back revealing a romantic scene with greenery and five chandeliers suspended from the ceiling, white lattice behind the staging and table settings with tablecloths of swirling colors and gold flatware. The reviews flowed in like champagne in a Baccarat flute. As one guest said upon gazing at the room, “This is just like Ann’s and Lee’s home. It’s both inviting and elegant.”

Melissa Foster Fetter

Sue Gragg

Due to the dip in temperatures, some of the gals like Melissa Foster Fetter, Mary McDermott Cook, Jennifer Karol, Carol Glendenning, Sue Gragg, Kit Sawers, Kara Goss, Leslie Diers, Rusty Duvall, Crystal Lorde, Wendy Payne, Shelly Dee and Heather Washburne had brought along their shawls and coats in case of a slight chill.

As for the program, DMA Eugene McDermott Director Agustin Arteaga, who’s been here seven months, is still learning his way around the hood. At one point he reported that Dallas Mayor “Mark Rawlings” was present. He also told the crowd of 500 that Lady Hobson had been the driving force and revealed that, just the day before, Ann had celebrated her 52 birthday. Oops! The crowd protested and Ann smiled. She had just hit the 50 mark. Not to worry. Hiccups happen.

While catering mistress Cassandra Tomassetti checked the tables and service, there was no need. The seated dinner led off with Petrossian caviar and potatoes with lemon crema and chives under glass, followed by three courses (first course — handmade angel hair pasta, morel mushrooms, quail confit with Madeira sauce; second course — pan-roasted Rhode Island wild fluke, spring vegetables and tomato fumet; and third course — an assortment of pastries).

Rajan Patel and Ann Hobson

It was then time for Brook to auction off the eight items curated by Rajan Patel and Merry Vose, and what an auction it was. DMA Board Chair Melissa Foster Fetter happily looked on as hands competed for items. A couple of times during the night, Georgina and Fancy Nancy at nearby tables tried to outbid each other. At one point, despite his best efforts, Brook couldn’t get the donor’s go-ahead to double the offer for the ladies.

Christen Wilson and John Kleinheinz

Luckily, Brook had better luck with the biggy item of the night — a week’s stay at the Hobsons’ seven-bedroom chateau in the south of France. A breathtaking battle of the paddles commenced between Lady Rogers and a group of pals led by Bill Payne, with bids passing the $100K mark. When Brook wondered aloud about satisfying the two bidders, Ann hopped up with arms waving to go for it, with each bidder agreeing to pay $120,000. In delight Christen Wilson danced between the tables like an adorable sprite. No wonder. The auction of the elegant eight hauled in $460,000, resulting in “the highest-grossing live auction in Art Ball history.”

For more than two pages of picture featuring the fashions and faces, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Dallas CASA Classic Golf Tournament Results In A Record-Breaking $2M Check For Dallas CASA

The Dallas CASA folks have had a great week, thanks to golf. No, Dallas CASA Executive Director/President Kathleen LaValle has not been taking lessons from Jordan Spieth. Rather, she was presented a check for an eye-popping $2M resulting from AT&T, Goldman Sachs and Pioneer Natural Resources hosting the 20th annual Dallas CASA Classic.

Kathleen LaValle*

With 700 golfers coming together from around the country on Monday, April 24, at Brookhaven Country Club and the Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas on Monday, April 24, the event was needless to say a record breaker for the annual fundraiser.

According to Kathleen, “Dallas CASA would not have been able to embark on this tremendous and exciting growth plan without the Dallas CASA Classic and the incredible corporate partners we have in AT&T, Goldman Sachs and Pioneer. This tournament has brought hope and support directly to thousands of Dallas-area children living in protective care because it’s not safe at home.”

Kerry Scott, Jim Lozier, Kathleen LaValle, Mark Berg, Linda Swartz and Woody McMinn*

Other organizations and people who made it possible include:

  • Platinum Sponsors — AT&T; Auction.com, a Ten-X Company; Ciena Corporation; Flotek Industries; Goldman Sachs; PfP Technology; and Pioneer Natural Resources
  • Gold Sponsors — Arent Fox LLP; CBRE; Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, LLC; Enterprise Products Operating LLC; FB Industries Inc.; Greenberg Traurig, LLP; Greystar; Haynes and Boone, LLP; Helmerich & Payne, Inc.; KDC Real Estate Developments and Investments; Jones Long LaSalle Incorporated; Kel-Tech, Inc.; KPMG LLP; LEAM Drilling Systems, Inc.; Lincoln Property Company; MasTec Network Solutions; NOV Completion & Production Solutions; OmniTRAX Inc.; Patterson-UTI Drilling Company LLC; Plains Marketing LP; PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP; ProPetro Holding Corporation; Sullivan & Cromwell LLP; Sunuco Logistics; U.S. Silica Holdings Inc.; Targa Resources; Tenaris; Trammell Crow Residential; Trinidad Drilling; Vinson & Elkins LLP; and Wood Partners
  • Silver Sponsors — AEI Group; Aimbridge Hospitality; Alliance Residential Holdings; Alvarez & Marsal; ARA, a Newmark Company; Bank of America/Merrill Lynch; BP P.L.C.; Black & Veatch Corporation; Caron Transportation Systems; Clear Capital; Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen and Hamilton LLP; CoreLogic, Inc.; Credit Suisse; Dawson Geophysical Company; Deloitte; DistributionNOW; Eastdil Secured; Ericsson, Inc.; Emerson; Energy Transfer Partners; Ernst & Young; Fairmont Santrol Holdings Inc.; General Dynamics Wireless Services; Gibson Dunn; Globe Energy Services, LLC; Goldberg Kohn; Halliburton; John Plott Company, Inc.; J.P. Morgan; LMC, a Lennar Company; McClatchy Bros., Inc.; McCollam Law Firm, Nabors Drilling USA, LP; Neustar, Inc.; Nexius; OpenInvoice; Petro Amigos Supply, Inc.; Platinum Pipe Rentals LLC; QuadGen Wireless Solutions Inc.; Quorum Business Solutions, Inc.; Rush Truck Leasing; Schlumberger Limited; Seitel, Inc.; Select Energy Services; Sun Coast Resources, Inc.; TechnipFMC PLC; USIC LLC; Wells Fargo; Wilson Elser
* Photo credit: Nate Bednarz

The Two-Day “Christmas Is For Children Radiothon” Resulted In A Record-Breaking $1,262,704 For Children’s Health

KLUV’s Jody Dean seemed to put an extra “oomph” in this year’s two-day “Christmas is for Children Radiothon.” Perhaps it was because he will have his first granddaughter born this April.

And that “oomph” on Thursday, December 8, and Friday, December 9, at Children’s Medical Center resulted in a record-breaking sweet deal — a check for $1,262,704 for Children’s Health.

Jody Dean (File photo)

Jenny Q (File photo)

El Chiquilin (File photo)

Chris Sommer (File photo)

As part of the partnership with Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) Hospitals, Jody was joined by other CBS Radio DFW folks like KLUV’s Jenny Q, La Grande’s El Chiquilin, KRLD’s Chris Sommer and 26 patients and families like Lacey Parker and her mom Renee Parker for the 26-hour fundraiser.

Why La Grande alone broke another record by bringing in a record-breaking “$558,199, making it the No. 1 CMN Hispanic Radiothon in the country.”

Lacey Parker and Renee Parker

According to CBS Radio DFW Senior Vice President/Market Manager Brian Purdy, “CBS Radio DFW began the Radiothon partnership 11 years ago to support the incredibly amazing work of Children’s Health. Year after year, the generosity of our listeners continues to humble us as we are reminded of how truly blessed we are here in North Texas.”

In addition to the VIP guests like Children’s Medical Center Foundation President Brent Christopher and former Foundation President Dr. Kern Wildenthal dropping by to visit with the radio personalities, teams from area companies manned the phone accepting contributions.

Local sponsors of the event included presenting sponsor FairLease, phone line sponsor Credit Union of Texas, child champion sponsor Neighborhood Credit Union and others (Albertsons-Tom Thumb, The Children’s Courtyard, Granite Properties, Padrino Foods, Skanska, ReTrak, Dallas Fort Worth Acura Dealers, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, ADT Security, Cisco, Marquis Group, UBC and El Rio Supermercados).

If you missed the opportunity to support the Radiothon, you can still support Children’s Health via the Children’s Medical Center Foundation by donating here!

JUST IN: 2016 Radiothon Breaks A Record For Children’s With A Whopping $1,262,704

Well, dang it. All those hours and heart-wrenching stories for the past two days on Children’s Medical Center’s Radiothon made an impression and fueled future life-saving stories. And you came through big time!

Children’s Medical Center Foundation bean counters put their abacuses together  with CBS’s KLUV, KRLD and La Grande accountants and reported that a whopping $1,262,704 was netted.

Jody Dean, Jenny Q, Lacey Parker and Renee Parker

Chances are that KLUV’s Jody Dean doesn’t know. He’s probably in sleep mode after spending countless hours on air interviewing munchkins and parents like Lacey Parker and her mom, Renee Parker, on their OMG relationship with Dallas’ pediatric Trauma One facility.

If you don’t know the importance of this healthcare oasis for kiddos, you’ve probably never held your breath, said a prayer and watched your child struggle for good health.

And while some may regret the cancellation of the Children’s Health Holiday Parade, the patients at Children’s Medical Center are more than grateful for the support of all who supported 2016 Radiothon.

Give yourselves a pat on the back.

JUST IN: The Dallas Arboretum Just Welcomed Its Millionth Visitor For The Year

It’s not every day that the “million mark” is hit.  And today was the day that the Dallas Arboretum scored it for the first time in its history. Well, of course, there have been millions over the years, but this year is the first time that they welcomed the millionth visitor within the calendar year.

And what a visitor it was! Actually it was a couple — first-time visitors Micki and Randy Baldwin, who were in town from North California. They had been in Oklahoma City to visit their sons and a new grandchild and decided to drive on down to Dallas to check out the Arboretum. Made perfect sense since Randy is a gardener and the twosome like to check out botanical gardens and arboretums.

Mark Wolf, Randy and Micki Baldwin, Al Olson and Missy Whisler*

Mark Wolf, Randy and Micki Baldwin, Al Olson and Missy Whisler*

Micki’s and Randy’s helping the Arboretum pass the million-visitor point put the Arboretum in a very rarified place. “Of the more than 50 large gardens in the nation, the Dallas Arboretum joins only six other ones that have reached more than a million visitors annually.”

They couldn’t have picked a more perfect day. Not only did the icy chill hold off, but Micki and Randy were able to see the elaborate 12 Days Of Christmas throughout the grounds, as well as being greeted and ballyhooed by Dallas Arboretum Board Chair Mark Wolf, Board member Al Olson and Arboretum Senior VP Missy Whisler.

According to Mark, “First, we are grateful for the support of our 37,000 members and donors. Second, there were several factors that helped us reach a million visitors. In addition to our popular Dallas Blooms in the spring and Autumn at the Arboretum, the garden finally added a blockbuster holiday display — The 12 Days of Christmas — that attracted our local community and many out of town visitors.”

If you haven’t checked out the winter wonders, bundle up and head on over. BTW, if you want a night time view of the exhibit, you’re in luck. The gardens are open Wednesday through Sunday evenings through Friday, December 30. However, the 12 Days will be available for daytime viewing every day leading up to Sunday, January 8, except for Christmas Day, when the grounds are closed.

* Photo provided by the Dallas Arboretum

The Boots Were Scootin’ At Eddie Dean’s Ranch For Northwood Woman’s Club’s Annual Gala With Jan Langbein In The Spotlight

When it comes to feeling right comfortable for an evening out on the town, it’s a rare man who will complain about putting on cowboy boots and jeans. So, the Northwood Woman’s Club gals had some very happy fellows in tow for their annual “Boot Scootin’ Ball” at Eddie Dean’s Ranch on Saturday, October 29. But the evening was more than swirling around the dance floor, grazing on vittles and bidding on auction items. Co-Chairs Sharon Pope and Laura Williamson arranged to have a Genesis Women’s Shelter CEO Jan Langbein give a brief talk about one of the organizations that the Club supports. Here’s a report from the field:

Sharon Pope and Laura Williamson*

Sharon Pope and Laura Williamson*

Northwood Woman’s Club “filled the boot” for their beneficiaries at their “Boot Scootin’ Ball” held Saturday, October 29, at Eddie Dean’s Ranch in downtown Dallas. A  familiar face in the community, Jan Langbein, CEO of Genesis Women’s Shelter and Support, took the stage to motivate and urge the crowd to step up and “fill the boot” for the support of so many people with so many needs.

Cheryl Toman, Linda Myers and Sharyl Weber*

Cheryl Toman, Linda Myers and Sharyl Weber*

Her presence represents the daily needs of abused women and children, the homeless and those seeking shelter and counseling. She urged the crowd that included Club President Sharyl Weber, Sharon and Pete Protzmann, Trish and Bryce Weigand, Cheryl Toman, Linda Myers, Suzanne Caruso, Judy and Rex Weigand, Eleanor Casey, Paul and Lynn Slaney Silguero, Kay and Ron Burgert, Phyllis Farragut, Alice Slaney Davis and Nancy Griffith to find it in their heart to share abundantly in giving for those less fortunate in our community. The funds raised will benefit Friends of Wednesday’s Child, Genesis Women’s Shelter and Support, North Dallas Shared Ministries, Our Friends Place, Promise House and Shared Housing Center.  

Our Western-themed gala was a record breaking success for our philanthropic grants and our volunteer programs. Live Auction items included luxury trips, popular sporting events, and Broadway show tickets, plus the use of a large Italian villa in the heart of Tuscany, Italy. The Silent Auction featured estate jewelry, fashion and accessories, home and garden gifts, restaurant gift certificates, holiday decor and a wine pull Our Charitable Fund underwriting and our event  proceeds exceeded our goal which should allow us to meet our grant requests.

This western party with 325 in attendance was an overwhelming success for our beneficiaries, plus a fun filled evening with a historic western dinner. Dancing to the music of the Breckenridge Boys band was a true “Boot Scootin” evening in downtown Dallas.  

* Photos provided by the Northwood Woman's Club

JUST IN: Mission Olé Hauls In A Big Net For Trinity River Mission

Dolores Sosa Green

Dolores Sosa Green

All that partying at the Trinity River Mission’s 17th Annual Mission Olé on Thursday, October 27, paid off big time.

Event Co-Chairs Lesley Chambless, Ann Kellogg Schooler and Margaret Spellings just got word from the bean counters that the fundraiser at Chicken Scratch netted … not raised… netted $315,000. That’s nearly double from last year’s Ole.

TRM CEO Dolores Sosa Green was hopeful the take would be good, but even she probably never imagined that number.

Congrats!

You Did It Again: North Texas Giving Day Busts Previous Records With A Whopping $37,307,196 For 2,518 Nonprofits Thanks To 142,892 Gifts

Well, dang it! Once again Communities Foundation of TexasNorth Texas Giving Day broke all past records hauling in $37,307,196. Gee, don’t you just love the 142,892 North Texas givers who made it happen? Whether its multi-million-dollar buckeroos or the legions of $25 donors, this neighborhood shines in the world of giving.

North Texas Giving Day

North Texas Giving Day

You simply can’t even fathom the appreciation of the nonprofits for folks and organizations coming through on this legendary day.

By the way, this year’s record breaker is the very first in its eight-year history without former CFT Executive Director Brent Christopher, who announced his departure for Children’s Medical Center Foundation earlier this summer.

For a giggle, MySweetCharity contacted Brent about NTGD’s continuing its record-breaking record in the astrosphere of fundraising without him. His reply:

“The team behind North Texas Giving Day is incredible, not to mention all the participating nonprofits. But, I had no idea that I was holding everyone back all these years! This over-the-top total is nothing short of astounding. And, of course, all of us at Children’s Health are thrilled that donors to Children’s played a big part in that success, too.”

Congrats to Communities Foundation of Texas, the 2,518 nonprofits and Brent for creating one of the nation’s most remarkable fundraising accomplishments.

May the fundraising continue. But let’s let the emailboxes take a rest for a day.

JUST IN: More Than 4,000 In-Need Dallas Kids Start The 2016-2017 School Year In Great Shape Thanks To CPD And DCAC

Since SMU is now officially back in session, the Bed Bath and Beyond staff has been in recovery mode. Seems the place was busting as parents and their collegiate kids shopped for dorm room necessities. As for the Office Depot team, they’re still under siege as area students and their folks are buying everything from pens to binders.

Community Partners of Dallas' Back-To-School 2016*

Community Partners of Dallas’ Back-To-School 2016*

One group that is taking a deep breath is Community Partners of Dallas (CPD). As part of their 23rd Annual Back-To-School drive, they surpassed their goal of providing more than 3,100 Dallas public school students with uniforms and supply-laden backpacks.

In addition to FFA’s kick-off contribution, The Container Store really gave a helping hand by raising $57,000 for the program. Remember that for each dollar donated, CPD was able to buy $5 worth of supplies and uniforms. Translation: The Container Store’s contribution resulted in supplies and uniforms worth a comfy six figures.

Dallas Children's Advocacy Center's Back To School**

Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center’s Back To School**

Thanks to CPD and the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center (DCAC), more than 4,000 in-need kids started the 2016-2017 school year in stellar condition. Both were record breaker campaigns!

Pats on the back for CPD, DCAC and all the individuals and companies that came together for the children.

* Graphic provided by Community Partners of Dallas 
** Graphic provided by Dallas Children's Advocacy Center

2016 Parade Of Playhouses At NorthPark Center Marched Off With A Record-Breaking Amount For Dallas CASA

Dallas nonprofits are on a roll with good news. Now word comes from Dallas CASA about the results from the 2016 Parade of Playhouses at NorthPark. The Kappa Alpha Thetas have spent the last couple of days tallying the results. The total was so astonishing that they triple checked their findings. But the numbers added up to 15,546 raffle tickets being purchased. Adding that amount with sponsorships and text voting, “more than $200,000” went to Dallas CASA and it was a record breaker!

But the smiley faces weren’t just on the Dallas CASA staffers and volunteers. Nope. More good news was being spread all around. Here’s a snapshot of other results from the “parade” from Dallas CASA’s Rosanne Lewis:

Kid Cottage (File photo)

Kid Cottage (File photo)

Say Cheese (File photo)

Say Cheese (File photo)

The Lookout*

The Lookout*

  • “’The Kid Cottage’ by LRO Residential (copper roof) was won by a Preston Hollow family with 3 kids under three. They have two boys and a girl and the boys were hoping for the Crest CASA Garage but mom split the tickets because she wanted the Cottage!
  • “’Say Cheese’ was won by one of our new volunteers. In her email she said, ‘Winning a playhouse was almost as exciting as becoming an advocate.’
  • “’The Lookout’ was won by a family who also have three children, a little 3-year-old boy and infant twins (a boy and a girl), who were born premature and are still in the hospital. On Sunday they won their playhouse, and on Monday they finally brought their babies home.”

And how about the playhouse builders? Which ones were voted the most popular via text ballots? Here’s the answer:

  • African Safari Adventure by Harman
  • Basecamp by Redlee/SCS with Sketchup
  • Crest CASA Garage by Crest Cadillac/Crest Infiniti

 

African Safari Adventure (File photo)

African Safari  (File photo)

Basecamp (File photo)

Basecamp (File photo)

Crest Casa Garage (File photo)

Crest Casa Garage (File photo)

Tomorrow and Thursday the playhouses will be delivered courtesy of Glazers to their new homes. One of them is going to Celina!

The only question remaining is what the heck are the builders going to come up with next year?  Perhaps a playhouse with a storm shelter?

Children’s Cancer Fund’s “An Evening In Oz” Broke All Previous Records With Cancer-Fighting Kids And Celebrity Escorts

Giora Barker and Lisa Cooley

Giora Barker and Lisa Cooley

Unlike years past, this year’s Children’s Cancer Fund annual fundraiser for Children’s Health took on a different spin on Friday, April 22. Instead of a luncheon, Event Co-Chairs Giora Barker and Lisa Cooley moved it to nighttime with “An Evening In Oz” as the theme. And the only thing missing was the horse of a different color! And the decision to move it worked, because the evening’s net … oops, can’t reveal it because the board is keeping that number under wraps. Still word has it that it was a record breaker.

But from the beginning of the night, it was obvious that more than Dorothy’s red slippers had been clicking for wishes to come true. As the girl from Kansas and her pals welcomed more than 900 guests at the Anatole, the munchkin artists and models were hunkered down in the Wedgwood Room with makeup being applied, hair curled and partying. In the meantime, the older high-paying kids were in the Peacock Room for the VIP meet-and-greet with Honorary Co-Chairs Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach.

Cowardly Lion, Scarecrow, Dorothy and Tin Man

Cowardly Lion, Scarecrow, Dorothy and Tin Man

Over to the side, Marianne Staubach reported that they had just returned from Disneyland with daughter Amy Mentgen and her kids. She admitted that after making the rounds of the park with the grand-kids, the adults were worn out.

Bela Pjetrovic and Chase Cooley

Bela Pjetrovic and Chase Cooley

In another part of the room Bela Pjetrovic and mustachioed Chase Cooley were being congratulated on their recent engagement. Has a date been set? Nothing definite yet, but April 2017 is looking good. And speaking of mustaches, Cooley dad Clay recalled that when he and wife Lisa met, he also had a mustache and long hair.

Another dad in the crowd was Ben Lange, sans son/T-shirt entrepreneur Luke Lange, who was at Benihana for a birthday. The mention of Benihana set off a memory for Clay, who remembered how in the early days, Chase’s birthdays were celebrated there.

All too soon the VIPs adjourned to join the hundreds of others checking out the silent auction in the Chantilly Ballroom reception area just as the ballroom doors were opened.

Missy Chami and Anne Davidson

Missy Chami and Anne Davidson

Inside the ballroom, it appeared as if the Emerald City of Oz had indeed taken up residence, with a stage for the Emerald City band at one end and the presentation stage with runway at the other. All around were tables with folks like presenting sponsor Anne Davidson, Cindy Turner, Suzy Gekiere, Patti Flowers, Tanya and Pete Foster, Mary Meier, Betty Turner and Mary Poss.

Serving as background for the stage were mega scenes straight from “The Wizard of Oz,” including the yellow brick road leading through the field of poppies to the city of Oz.

First on stage were Roger and Troy, joined by Lisa with Emme Nees and Giora with son Jack Barker. The exchange between Rog (this was his 28th CCF appearance) and Troy (it was his 20th) proved their ongoing commitment to battling children’s cancer as well as their mutual respect and friendship for each other.

Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman

Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman

Following Lisa’s and Giora’s personal testimonials about each of their reasons for undertaking the fundraiser, Tom Gilchrist sang a capella the Lord’s Prayer. (Quipped Roger afterward: “I’d trade my Heisman for a voice like that.”)

Under the direction of special events producer Rhonda Sargent Chambers, not a moment was lost for the fashion show of Dillard’s kiddo clothes. As Rog, Troy et al left the stage, emcee Scott Murray arrived at the podium to introduce the Children’s Cancer Fund artists and their celebrity escorts including

  • 6-year-old Cooper Dorr with Roger
  • 10-year-old Hayden Ritchie with Troy
  • 12-year-old Mercedes Howdeshell with Tara Pavlock and Ashleigh Panelli
  • 9-year-old Myles Allison with Jason Garrett
  • 13-year-old Carsyn Sapp with Sunny Malouf
  • 7-year-old Corbin Glasscock with Terrance Williams
  • 5-year-old Kamryn Rakestraw with Jim Stroud
  • 11-year-old Maxwell Matlock with members of the Dallas SWAT
  • 5-year-old Reese Skelte with “Dorothy”
  • 11-year-old Keamus Bryant with Medieval Times Red Knight
  • 8-year-old Trip Rowley with Brandon Carr

Unfortunately, 5-year-old Flick Blevins was under the weather and couldn’t make the event. In his stead, Dallas Fire Department #19’s Jerry Hooker, Michael Wolfe, Derrick Brouhard and John Keeler walked the runway holding his photo.

At this point, Scott introduced KDFW’s Clarice Tinsley to introduce the other cancer-surviving children and their celebrity escorts, including:

  • 13-year-old Andrew Russell with Kaitlyn Wade
  • 16-year-old Sabeen Wazir with Jake Pavelka
  • 6-year-old Jackson Houser with Morris Claiborne
  • 6-year-old Rina Cantrell with Jane McGarry
  • 15-year-old Saket Ashar with Dr. Ted Laetsch
  • 9-year-old Laura Beth Rote with Brianna Kiesel
  • 10-year-old Brady Pampilonia with Kliff Kingsbury
  • 9-year-old Julissa Garcia with Jocelyn White
  • 11-year-old Juan Lopez with the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders and Rowdy
  • 7-year-old Jordan McDowell with Miss Texas America
  • 16-year-old Averi Moya with Mitch Gaylord
  • 10-year-old Julia Brown with Amy Vanderoef
  • 12-year-old Christian Arroyo with Byron Jones
  • 9-year-old Lynette Quintana with the Pink Heals Firefighters
Andrew Russell and Kaitlyn Wade

Andrew Russell and Kaitlyn Wade

As 18-year-old Kaitlyn Wade escorted child artist Andrew Russell, Marianne recalled how, years ago, Rog had escorted the pretty blonde on the runway when she was presented. Yes, she had conquered leukemia, but her story of challenges hadn’t end there. After winning the battle, she was the victim of a drunk driver. As the result of the horrendous car accident, 9-year-old Kaitlyn “spent two months in a coma and six months at Cook Children’s before she could return home.”

But on this evening, the emphasis was on the current crop of cancer-conquering kids as they mugged, twirled and charmed their way on the catwalk. Blonde Brill Garrett cheered each one like a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader. Okay, so maybe she had an extra whoop when husband Jason took his turn in the spotlight with Myles Allison.

All of this was building up to the live auction. Troy won the trip to the Masters and learned from Rog all the perks associated with the package. Jana and Mike Brosin won the artwork created by CCF Gala artists and Christopher Martin.

To the delight of many of the ladies in the audience, Jake “The Bachelor” Pavelka was doing double duty. In addition to walking the runway, he also was part of the “Dancing With The Stars” package. Shoot! They could have auctioned off pictures with Jake and won a passel of dough, as lady after lady wanted a quick cell-snap with the cutie. But it was Tracy and Ben Lange who won the package. So, watch for them during Season 23 that is scheduled to air this fall.

As soon as the live auction ended, the focus shifted to the other end of the ballroom, where Emerald City took over to get guests on their feet and dancing the night away.

For more pictures from “An Evening in Oz,” check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

2015 Crystal Charity Ball Committee Distributed Record-Breaking $6.5M To 11 Dallas Children’s Non-Profits

There are hundreds of children…no, make that thousands of children…who went to sleep on Tuesday, April 12, never having heard of a gal from Andrews, Texas, by the name of Michal Powell or an organization called Crystal Charity Ball.

That’s just peachy keen for the 2015 CCB Chair Michal and her gall-gal committee of 99. For a little over a year, they made calls, hand delivered contracts and championed the cases for Dallas children to net a record-breaking $6.5M.

Some of that money would go to healthcare, ranging from sexual abuse to hearing and sight challenges. Other funds would assist homeless and hungry kids and those working through the challenges of autism.

Pat McEvoy, Tucker Enthoven, Vinnie Reuben, Gregg Ballew, Michal Powell, Leslie Diers, Susan Farris and Mary Clare Finney

Pat McEvoy, Tucker Enthoven, Vinnie Reuben, Gregg Ballew, Michal Powell, Leslie Diers, Susan Farris and Mary Clare Finney

But on this evening, it was Christmas with Michal and her team including Underwriting chair Tucker Enthoven presenting the real-thing checks to the 11 recipients thanks to host Westwood Trust Senior VP Gregg Ballew. Among the crowd of more-than-smiley recipients and guests were Dave Woodyard, Ola Fojtasek, Robyn Flatt, Cara French, Sandra Session-Robertson, Bob Sweeney, Elizabeth Gambrell, Tom Turnage, Pam Busbee, Ona Foster, Daffan Nettle, Dr. Tom Campbell, Beth Thoele, Michael Craven, Margaret Hancock, Kimberly Williams, Anne Reeder, Doug Adkins, Tricia George, Tom Black, Mary Martha Pickens, Jan McAuley, Fredye Factor, Pat McEvoy, Vinnie Reuben, Leslie Diers, Mary Clare Finney, Susan Farris, Barbara Stuart and 2016 CCB Chair Christie Carter.

Here is a breakdown of how the checks were distributed:

  • Catholic Charities of Dallas — $575,000 for the School Readiness Program
  • Dallas Children’s Theater — $564,400 for Sensory-Friendly Performances and Classes
  • Dallas Life — $546,919 for the Kids Life Program
  • Dallas Services — $646,064 for the Vision for Children Program
  • Family Compass — $600,000 for the Healthy Families Program
  • Foundation for the Callier Center for Communication Disorders — $630,000 for The Pediatric Hearing Aid Project
  • H.I.S. BridgeBuilders — $539,450 for the Crossover Athletics Program
  • Interfaith Housing Coalition — $500,000 for the Childcare and Youth Services Center
  • Mary Crowley Cancer Research Centers —$500,000 for Ewing’s Sarcoma Pediatric Cancer Research Program
  • North Texas Food Bank — $750,000 for the Food 4 Kids Backpack Program
  • Texas Health Resources Foundation — $459,124 for the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program

Wanna bet what the first thing the 11 recipients did the next morning? Deliver the checks to their banks, of course. The second thing was to put that money to work.

Chi Omega Alumnae Dole Out Chi Omega Christmas Market’s $330,000 To Area Nonprofits And Scholars

Amy Mitchell and Betsy Keith*

Amy Mitchell and Betsy Keith*

While November seems ages ago, the Dallas Chi Omega Alumnae have been adding up the dollars earned through their annual Chi Omega Christmas Market. When the total was finalized, the checks were handed out at Chi O alumna Amy Mitchell’s fabulous home on Turtle Creek on Tuesday, February 16. Here’s a report from the field:

More than 100 Dallas-area Chi Omega Alumnae and beneficiary representatives gathered at the home of Amy and Malone Mitchell for a check presentation of funds raised from the 2015 Chi Omega Christmas Market, which was held November 18-21, 2015, in Centennial Hall in Fair Park. The 38th annual market drew a record crowd of 10,500 shoppers.

Amanda Escobedo, Sue Bailey and Amy McAleavey*

Amanda Escobedo, Sue Bailey and Amy McAleavey*

Co-Chairs Amanda Escobedo and Amy McAleavey announced that the total amount to be distributed from the market was $330,000, providing critical funds for local beneficiaries including Association for Independent Living, Attitudes & Attire, AVANCE- Dallas Inc., Camp Summit, Dallas Services Low Vision Clinic, DME Exchange of Dallas, Hope Cottage, Jonathan’s Place, Make-A-Wish Foundation of North Texas, ManeGait Therapeutic Horsemanship and Chi Omega Educational Corporation.

Beneficiary Committee Chair Jenny Kaiser and Beneficiary Liaison Barb McCluer presented checks to representatives from these local beneficiaries, as well as collegiate scholarship recipients and their families.

Danna Hamann, LeAnn AuBuchon, Jane Porter and Kelly Waterman*

Danna Hamann, LeAnn AuBuchon, Jane Porter and Kelly Waterman*

Guests included Chi O Alumnae President Sue Bailey, ManeGait’s Danna Hamann, LeAnn Aubuchon and Kelly Waterman, AVANCE-Dallas’ Will Hornberger, Anne Thomas and Mack Campbell, Betsy Keith, Julie and Mikes Karnes, Carolyn Peck, Suzanne Caruso, Bitsy Carter, Kelly Hosch, Nancy Leonard, Cindy Robinson, Gayle Chapman, Jenny Kaiser, Denise JerniganBarb McCluer, Arlene Manthey, Leah Keeter, Christine Platt, Kathy Martin and Laura Rohrman.

* Photo credit: Rhi Lee

JUST IN: Gina Betts And Michael Flores Reveal A Record-Breaking $725,000 Netted From St. Valentine’s Day Luncheon And Fashion Show

Gina Betts

Gina Betts

Nancy Rogers and Michael Flores

Nancy Rogers and Michael Flores

St. Valentine’s Day Luncheon And Fashion Show Co-Chairs Gina Betts and Michael Flores have been working their calculators non-stop since Tuesday’s Leukemia And Lymphoma Society of North Texas fundraiser at the Meyerson.

Their hard work, dedication and great friends like Nancy Rogers have resulted in a record-breaking $725,000 being netted. Yup, that’s not the amount raised, it’s the amount of money that will support the research and treatment against leukemia and lymphoma.

Why, “the ask” that took place before the fashion show took place, had hands raised to a whopping $195,000.

What a simply lovely way to start the weekend! Gina and Michael, go have a manicure. Your fingers deserve a bit of pampering after summoning up that amount!

North Texas Giving Day’s Date Changes Just Slightly

January is a great month to announce changes. One of the big ones requires getting dates on the calendar. Communities Foundation of Texas is one of those with a change of date that might send event organizers back to the drawing board.

The 2016 North Texas Giving Day is definitely taking place, but unlike years past when it’s been held on the third week of September, it will be held this year on Thursday, September 22 (aka the first day of autumn).

So, add that to your schedule because CFT CEO Brent Christopher and his team are gearing up to have another record-breaker for the North Texas nonprofits. And while you’re at it, register now. Orientations will take place the first part of June and that’s just around the corner.

Take A Chance To Score Big Time At Saturday’s Crystal Charity Ball

Michal Powell (File photo)

Michal Powell (File photo)

Surprise! The Crystal Charity Ball is Saturday. It’s the absolute standout when it comes to the glamorous gowns, gems, gals and gents. This year’s CCB Chair Michal Powell is charging ahead to break all-time records for the 63-year-old fundraiser for children. Her goal is not to raise, but to net a “celestial” $6.3M for a record-breaking number of beneficiaries (Callier Center for Communication Disorders, Catholic Charities of Dallas, Dallas Children’s Theater, Dallas Life, Dallas Services, Family Compass, H.I.S. Bridgebuilders, Interfaith Housing Coalition, Mary Crowley Cancer Research Center, North Texas Food Bank and Texas Health Resources Foundation).

To accomplish that goal, she and her team of women have arranged for a king’s/queen’s ransom of marvy-oodle silent auction items.

Ah, but the “contribution tickets” are the ones that always raise eyebrows. Not only for what they are, but who ends up with them. Generous boldfacers who buy a handful of tickets as well as “This-is-the-first-time-I-bought-a-ticket” types perk up when they find out their name is called.

Here’s a roundup of the grab-ables for your consideration. And, no, you don’t have to be present to win, but you do have to buy a raffle …oops, make that … a contribution ticket.

Lexus RC F*

Lexus RC F*

  • For a $300 chance ticket — A Lexus RC F, compliments of Sewell Lexus and Park Place Lexus. (Retail value: $75,000) Drawing is limited to 500 tickets.

    LegacyTexas*

    LegacyTexas*

  • For a $275 chance ticket — A prepaid $25,000 VISA card from Legacy Texas Bank.

    NorthPark Gold*

    NorthPark Gold*

  • For a $250 chance ticket — $20,000 in NorthPark Gold plus Two VIP Valet Parking Cards.

    Forty Five Ten*

    Forty Five Ten*

  • For a $225 chance ticket — A year of Forty Five Ten with four seasonal $5,000 gift cards (total of $20,000).

    Exclusive Resorts*

    Exclusive Resorts*

  • For a $200 chance ticket — An Exclusive Resorts 7-Night Gateway Escape to a destination of the winner’s choice. (Options include resorts in Hawaii, Mexico, Cayman Islands, California, Costa Rica, Colorado, Georgia, South Carolina and Arizona).
  • For a $175 chance ticket —A $10,000 Timepiece Gift Certificate to Eiseman Jewels NorthPark.
Grand Homes*

Grand Homes*

By the by, Grand Homes is the official sponsor of the 2015 Contribution Tickets.

If your dance card is already filled and you just can’t make Saturday night’s festivities, you can still take a chance and buy a contribution ticket by contacting the CCB office at 214.526.5868. Who knows? Not only will you help area kiddos, you just might help your sweet self.

* Graphics and photos provided by Crystal Charity Ball

Dallas Women’s Foundation’s Sold-Out Luncheon With Eva Longoria Proved Inspiring, Successful And Almost Too Popular

Once again North Texas was warned that a slug-athon of rain was on its way on Friday, October 30. Sounded a bit like the locusts and plague were the follow-up acts.

Both the Dallas Women’s Foundation and The Dallas Opera First Night heeded the warning. But perhaps they should have compared notes with the Cattle Baron’s Ball chairs, who are old hands at end-of-the-world weather conditions.

The DWF rearranged arrival for its 30th Annual Luncheon by moving the valet check-in to the more protected area. However, the expected 200 attendees for the 10:30 a.m. meet-and-greet with speaker Eva Longoria in the Grand Ballroom seemed to have double that number. Someone muttered that it appeared that some guests decided to bring their own guests to the by-invite-only reception. With the lineup spilling into the lobby, organizers cut off things off because after all there was a sold-out luncheon to get underway.

Luckily, the grip-and-grin organization was one of the best seen in these parts. Before guests got their time with Eva, their names were written down on a card and placed on a ring, so names and photos would fall in order. Then a staffer would take the guest’s purse to a table on the other side of the sponsor backdrop, while the photo was being taken. As the guest exited, the purse was on a table ready to be picked up and the guest was on their way to join the masses.

Itty-bitty Eva was a real trooper. All in white, she greeted the non-stop parade of guests with a picture-perfect smile. She barely had time to take a sip of coffee in between handshakes and smiles.

At 11:20 the last photo was taken and Eva was whisked away via the hotel’s back hallways.

DWF President/CEO Roslyn Dawson Thompson gave a great welcome address announcing that it was the largest luncheon crowd in the DWF’s history. Ever gracious, Ros paid tribute to her predecessors Becky Sykes and Pat Sabin. Too bad one table of gals decided to chatter through her talk. Some of the folks at nearby tables looked a bit peeved that the girl-talk was clashing with Ros’ talk about DWF’s having given back more than $30M to Dallas women and girls in the past 30 years. They would have learned about the DWF’s Bridge Project that is helping women with childcare, so that a good chunk of their salaries isn’t eaten away.

Keith Banks, Eva Longoria and Ros Dawson

Keith Banks, Eva Longoria and Ros Dawson

She finished up saying that the luncheon at that point was at the $1.1M mark and the hope was they would break the previous $1.2M record.

Just a couple of minutes before noon, luncheon was served including salad (chopped romaine, black bean and corn relish, tortilla strips, cotija cheese and tomatillo vinaigrette), entrée (achiote grilled chicken breast with peach chutney, cilantro rice, broccolini and carrots with jalapeno corn muffins and baguette) and dessert (special anniversary Stout Chocolate, Red Velvet and Maple-Caramel Cream cupcakes).

Just 20 minutes later a video was shown with the message “Stronger Women, Better World.”

Ron and Paula Parker, Michael and Jane Hurst and Stacey and John Relton

Ron and Paula Parker, Michael and Jane Hurst and Stacey and John Relton

As the lights came up, the eight co-chairs — Jane and Michael Hurst, Paula and Ron Parker and Stacey and John Relton appeared on stage wearing capes. Each took a part in telling the audience that for a $90-donation, guests could get a cape, too. As women gathered donations, the co-chair kept a stream of talk going to encourage the crowd. Michael warned: “The collectors are not leaving empty-handed.” Stacey suggested they can use the cape to shield the rain. Another added the cape would be a perfect Halloween outfit.

At 12:36 p.m. U.S. Trust, Bank of American Private Wealth Management President Keith Banks admitted that while the teleprompters were pretty cool, he was going to rely on his notes. He told how U.S. Trust has recognized the importance of women as decision makers in today’s financial world. To assist them the institution has held seminars for women in Haiti, Japan and other nations. Another program has set up online mentoring for women.

Keith then introduced Eva, admitting a guy thing: “I still don’t get the Carlos thing.” This comment was greeted with laughter. He concluded, “I’m feeling quite inadequate, so I’m going to get off the stage.”

At 12:45 p.m. the actress/activist/business woman walked on stage and said, “I’ve been and will always be a Dallas Cowboy fan.”

Eva Longoria

Eva Longoria

She told how being one of four girls in her family, she was surrounded by amazing role models. “I saw it all around me.” Her oldest sister Liza’s developmentally disability led to her mother’s becoming a special education teacher.

Recently Eva introduced Liza to Eva’s new boyfriend. Liza’s response: “Another one?”

Eva recalled years ago when their mother bought Lisa a letter jacket that someone stole. Eva was furious. When her mother asked Liza if she knew who had stolen the jacket, Liza said, “No, but they must have been cold.” That reaction replaced Eva’s anger with admiration for Liza’s compassionate outlook.

Eva then admitted that many women don’t have the support that she experienced in her family. The result of this lack of support results in women still suffering from lower wages than their male counterparts. She admonished the men and women in the room that the success of the U.S. is tied to the success of women.

In achieving success in the film and TV industries, she came to the realization that she wanted to help others, but “I knew I could do anything, but I couldn’t do everything.” Her decision was to focus on Latinas.

In discussing the importance of mentoring, she admitted that it depended on the conditions. Recalling how she had wanted to be an engineer, she shadowed a male engineer. That convinced her that she didn’t want to be an engineer. With a smile, she added, “I should have shadowed a woman engineer.”

Her Eva Longoria Foundation has helped women entrepreneurs and schools in San Antonio and Corpus Christi, her hometown. She attributed her ability to achieve her goals to research providing the focus and to the selection of the right projects.

Giving a tip of the hat to the DWF, she said that’s why she likes DWF and its theme of “the ripple effect.” Then she apologized to the teleprompter crew for going off script.

At 1:03 p.m. she was off to a waiting black SUV in the Tower’s porte-cochere. Others, however, weren’t so lucky in getting their rides. Those who had decided to self-park, hit the road painlessly. For those who used the valet, it was another story. Hunkering in the Tower’s porte-cochere with the wind blowing, women who had been energized at the luncheon about leadership  found themselves having their names hollered by valets like naughty children. But with a full crowd of guests waiting, the wind howling and cars running, a raised voice was necessary. Perhaps the hotel that is so popular for fundraising should consider having a PA system installed to share the information that a car is ready to be picked up. If that’s too costly, how about a megaphone?

True, some of the gals slowed up the driveway doing girl talk. But many couldn’t see their cars arriving due to the crowd teetering on the curb.

According to sources, the hotel was prepared for 600 cars to be in need of valet for the 1,800 attendees. They even drafted some extra help from Gold Crown. Still, guests took on a bunker mentality, congratulating each other when they finally saw their car on the drive.

Crystal Charity Ball’s Circle Of Angels Dined Surrounded By Elegance Despite The Hostess Being MIA

Clay and Lisa Cooley

Clay and Lisa Cooley

Clay Cooley pushed off his birthday celebration for 24 hours. That was because wife Lisa Cooley in a Lela Rose cocktail dress had scheduled them to attend the extra-social Crystal Charity Ball’s Circle of Angels seated supper at Mary Clare Finney’s estate on Tuesday, October 20.

Alas, the darling hostess Mary Clare, who is known for fashion trend-setting, was again once ahead of the herd. She was upstairs with signs of coming down with the flu.

Laura and Jason Downing

Laura and Jason Downing

While Mary Clare took to her bed, a record-breaking crowd of nearly 200 partied downstairs with Deloitte’s Laura and Jason Downing greeting one and all at the front door.

Cliff Fischer's BMW

Cliff Fischer’s BMW

Even before the doors opened at 7 p.m., the driveway was jammed like NorthPark valet parking on Black Friday. In the crowd of luxury vehicles was Cliff Fischer’s hotter-than-hot, brand new BMW with paper plates. One of the valets admitted that the car was so high tech, they weren’t quite sure how to move it.

Annette Simmons and Jerry Fronterhouse

Annette Simmons and Jerry Fronterhouse

Glen Ashworth and Christie Carter

Glen Ashworth and Christie Carter

In the crowd were Annette Simmons and Jerry Fronterhouse, who had given Annette a golf bag with two clubs. He reported that she’s quite a golfer… Tricia George reported that the Fund A Cure luncheon that she’s co-chairing with husband Kenn George is heading toward a sell-out…Judge Glen Ashworth was in from Kaufman with CCB 2016 Chair Christie Carter.

Just when the mansion’s public rooms seemed to be filled to the max, the guests were invited to fabulous tables set up in the backyard for a dinner. The dining started off with Maine lobster and sous vide hen egg ravioli with house-made ricotta cheese, tarragon cream and winter truffles, followed by red chermoula-crusted Mediterranean loup de mer, cardamom-roasted heirloom beets, sun-choke scallion puree and reserved lemon butter sauce. To top off the meal and in keeping with the 2015 Crystal Charity Ball “An Evening of Celestial Radiance” theme, dessert was celestial radiance white chocolate moon with mandarin, gianduja chocolate and brownie “dirt.”

As for Clay, don’t worry about his boo-hooing about the delayed birthday. Upon hearing that Lisa was giving him a new, big belt buckle, he smiled and said he didn’t need anything because he had Lisa.

Robert S. Folsom Leadership Award Dinner Shone The Spotlight On Jack “Jackman” Lowe Jr. With Magicians, Poker And Grandkids

The Hilton Anatole is like a second home to fundraising types. After lunch earlier in the day for the Girls Scouts of Northeast Texas’ Distinguished Women, the generous types were headed back for the Robert S. Folsom Leadership Award Dinner on Wednesday, October 14, benefiting Methodist Health System Foundation.

It was an odd sight to see the trafficking of the conventioneers in open shirts and lanyards exiting the door, as more than 800 Folsom guests in their suits and stilettos headed to the reception area outside the Grand Ballroom.

April Box and Joy Duncan

April Box and Joy Duncan

Trammell S. Crow

Trammell S. Crow

Ron and Phyllis Steinhart and Joan and Alan Walne

Ron and Phyllis Steinhart and Joan and Alan Walne

But once the ballroom doors opened and the band from the School for the Talented and Gift at Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Center got underway, there was no doubt that the festivities had started. The guests like Joy Duncan, Phyllis and Ron Steinhart, Joan and Alan WalneTrammell S. Crow, Steve Folsom, Diane Folsom Frank, Bobby Lyle and Lottye Brodsky found their way into the ballroom and started to visit. That turned out to be part of a problem. They were just having so much gabbing, they didn’t want to settle down.

School for the Talented and Gift at Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Center

School for the Talented and Gift at Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Center

Ray and Nancy Ann Hunt

Ray and Nancy Ann Hunt

Ashlee and Chris Kleinert

Ashlee and Chris Kleinert

Still, it appeared there were a number of guests who were MIA. Then magically a wave of guests arrived. As Ashlee Kleinert explained, “We were in the car listening to the Rangers-Blue Jays game.” They would have done better not listening to the Rangers losing to the BJ’s.

Mary and Jack Lowe Jr., Gary Cogill and April Box

Mary and Jack Lowe Jr., Gary Cogill and April Box

Finally, all took their seats and emcee Gary Cogill got things started, telling guests of honoree/former TDIndustries CEO Jack Lowe Jr.’s fondness of Jack Daniel and poker. A dishy type in red-sequined dress appeared holding a signed poster of “The Princess Bride,” Jack’s fav. With a video camera over their shoulders, Gary and Jack downed a glass of Jack Daniel’s and played cards for the poster.

Signed Princess Bride poster

Signed Princess Bride poster

Taking a break for dinner, the guests then discovered that Jack enjoyed magic. Up the ramp to the stage, a magician arrived and did all types of things to a blonde assistant. He sliced her in two. He stuffed her in a box only to have her disappear and then reappear. He levitated her. For the finale he covered her with a backdrop curtain and moments later made Methodist Health System Foundation CEO April Box appear. She took over the program, telling guests that this year’s proceeds would go to providing prenatal group care, individual education, ongoing pregnancy monitoring and medical care to support full-term delivery.

Harold MacDowell

Harold MacDowell

Her words were hardly out and the applause thundered when the sound of a scissor lift decked out in colorful lights rolled into the ballroom with Event Co-Chair/TDIndustries CEO Harold MacDowell at the helm.

Hopping on to the stage and after telling a couple of jokes about Jack, Harold told how Jack’s leadership had literally saved TDIndustries in 1986 when mechanical contracting firms were folding left and right. Sounding a little amazed himself, Harold recalled how when it looked like the company was on the verge of going under, Jack called his team in and told them the solution to their problems was to end the benefit retirement plan and for them to sign over checks for the company’s salvation. They did and it was the best investment they made.

Adding to Jack’s story, a video was shown featuring his daughter Coley Canter and Michael Hinojosa wearing a Batman T-shirt and surrounded by Batman collectibles that segued the program to the “Jackman” portion of the evening.

When the video ended, a mammoth animated pop-art-style presentation of “Jackman” was shown with Jack as the heroic problem solver. Following the last slide, the Lowe grandkids in “Jackman” garb and masks took the stage dancing to the “Batman” theme song, much to the delight of Jack and the rest of the guests. Just as the applause rewarded the dancing efforts, Jack hopped up on stage to the arms of the children. It was a wonder Jack didn’t topple over as they all hugged him.

As the kids took their seats on stage, April presented Jack with his own Jackman cape. Keeping his words brief, Jack recalled when they got the contract for the Anatole on July 7, 1977 (7-7-77). “I think that’s lucky.”

Turning the attention to the award’s namesake, Jack paid tribute to Bob Folsom, saying, “In addition to serving as the Mayor of Dallas, he served as president of the board of trustees of the Dallas ISD school board. To my knowledge, no one else has served in both positions.

“I want to share three ways he impacted me. One, he was the only four-sport letterman ever at SMU, and I aspired to play end like him. Two, early in my career at TDIndustries, he was one of our most important customers. Three, he opened my eyes and my mind to the idea of volunteering to serve our community by running for political office.”

He then thanked the Methodist team and the guests, who had helped raise a record-breaking $1.3M.

Mother Nature’s User-Friendly Weather Breaks Records And Makes Smiley Faces For Local Venues

Is there an upside to a drought? Farmers, landscapers and fire fighters wouldn’t hesitate  bristling, “H_ll, no!”

But there is. Sure for the past six weeks, the weather has been a bit on the warmish side, but it has translated into the “4 S’s” (shorts, sleeves cotton shirts, sun dresses and sandals).

And the venues have seen traffic counts soar as well as $$. Of course, you require proof. For your consideration how about:

Evidently, that isn’t enough proof, so here goes:

These numbers are gratifying since October is traditionally one of the wettest months of the year and not particularly guest-friendly.

But this run is about to end with forecasters hinting that rain is on its way starting Thursday. Enjoy the beautiful weather while it’s here. Old Man Winter is icing up for the months ahead.

Round Robin September 17 Daytime: North Texas Giving Day And A Tribute To Ebby

If ever there was a Super Bowl of North Texas philanthropy, Thursday, September 17, was that day. Bad enough that it was the humpback whale fundraisers — North Texas Giving Day — but that didn’t stop other activities from taking place, like a very special tribute to legendary Ebby Halliday Acers. Here are just a couple of the activities that took place during the daylight hours.

North Texas Giving Day

The day started fresh out of the gate at 6 a.m. with Communities Foundation of Texas’ North Texas Giving Day online on little screens and on-air appearances at WFAA’s “Daybreak.”

The goal was to rise above last year’s total of $26.3Mm.

Throughout the day the events popped up throughout North Texas with dollars surging on the leaderboard. Organizations were competing for prizes. On Cistercian alum proudly revealed the school’s strategy. They aimed a whole lot of their fundraising efforts for that one day. It worked as they continued to be among the very top on the board ending up with a whopping $486,575 and the #1 spot among schools.

Ballet Folklorico dancer

Ballet Folklorico dancer

Around noon the Dallas activities centered at a center — NorthPark Center’s North Court complete with Nancy Nasher and David Haemisegger on hand looking pleased as punch. With organizations like the Dallas Zoo, The Birthday Party Project, SPCA and others filling the area, Communities Foundation of Texas CEO Brent Christopher took the mic to introduce the Ballet Folklorico after the raffle drawing for a nifty check of $1,953 that went to Friends of the Bath House Cultural Center.

Brent admitted that NTGD had grown to gargantuan proportions and was concerned about its maintaining its original can-do spirit, while still growing to help all the North Texas nonprofits from the itty bitty to the big boys.

While emails flooded potential donors’ emailboxes throughout the day, others staked out spots to champion their causes. Over at Highland Park Village Starbucks, Just Say Yes Dan Bailey and Marissa Leach were manning the corner table to promote participation in NTGD and Just Say Yes.

Like cheerleaders, they were frontline cheerleaders encouraging folks about the importance of the day’s effort.

Dan revealed that four Dallas schools had been so impressed with Just Say Yes, they had managed to help fund the program.

By midnight when the final donation was made, NTGD did indeed beat last year’s goal by hitting $33,092,687.13. However, the accountants are burning up their calculators to figure out the absolute, final total that will be revealed on Monday, November 16.

Plans are already underway for next year.

Ebby’s Farewell

Hardly lunch had been gobbled up than cars headed to Park Cities Baptist Church for the 3 p.m. memorial service for Ebby Halliday Acers, who had died on Tuesday, September 8. As guests started arriving more than an hour beforehand, one of the ushers warned — “The sanctuary is already filling up.”

Ebby Halliday Acers memorial service*

Ebby Halliday Acers memorial service*

The service was so very Ebby. Speakers (Dr. Jim Denison, Laura Bush, Don Glendenning, Ebby’s niece Joan Patmore and Ebby Realtor CFO Ron Burgert) told stories that produced smiles, tears and unforgettable memories. Some guests wore touches of Ebby red, while a gaggle of gals wore black, topped with hats and yellow roses.

Upon looking at the mammoth drop-down screen displaying Ebby photos from the past, one young thing said, “She looks like Ann Landers.”

Brent Christopher had broken away from his North Texas Giving Day non-stop activities to attend the service. Seated along an exterior aisle, he was amazed when Ebby Halliday President/CEO Mary Frances Burleson pitched guests to donate to one or all of Ebby’s fav charities before the NTGD deadline.

Even Park Cities Baptist Church Senior Pastor Dr. Jeff Warren was amazed that the celebration had resulted in two standing ovations without the honoree even being present. But he soon found he erred on two points. The crowd of nearly 3,000 stood in a final celebration of Ebby as a video of the 104-year-old playing “Happy Days Are Here” again on her ukulele.

The other point? As one Ebby executive confessed, “I just know Ebby was here.”

* Graphic provided by Ebby Halliday Realtors

North Texans Amaze Experts By Raising A Record-Breaking $33M+ For 2,022 Nonprofits In 18 Hours

You never cease to amaze. There was just no way that North Texas Giving Day could top last year’s record-breaking goal of $26.3M in 18 hours. No, siree. Bets were being placed all over that with oil going for less than a cookie straw and the stock market looking like a seismograph during an earthquake, this year’s regional one-day fundraiser would miss the mark.

2015 North Texas Giving Day*

2015 North Texas Giving Day*

But, oh, no! Unlike the instability of the financial world, 118,667 donations were made to support 2,022 nonprofits to the tune of $33,093,837.13.

The organizations did all type of things to promote the day. Some like the SPCA, The Birthday Party Project, the Dallas Zoo and Ballet Folklorico were part of the hoop-la at NorthPark Center. Others like Just Say Yes staked out a corner at Highland Park’s Starbucks like a friendly Marine recruiting station.

Yes, times may be uneven right now for those who have money, but they still can find the funds and time to help those who are in need.

The Communities Foundation of Texas staff is probably in recovery mode after raising that bar of philanthropy $6.7M higher. What are they gonna do on September 22, 2016, to top September 17, 2015?

* Graphic provided by Communities Foundation of Texas

2015 BvB Dallas Powder-Puff Football Game Had Brus Out For Revenge Against Pretty In Pink Blondes For A Record-Breaker Check

A lot of folks thought the brutal August heat and overpowering sunshine would be a real problem for the annual BvB Dallas Powder Puff Football Game on Saturday, August 8, at the Cotton Bowl. But whether it was a stroke of good luck or someone checking the setting sun, Old Sol hid behind the stands at the Cotton Bowl, causing a shade to cover the stadium’s stands and field.

On the other hand, the Fair Park parking lots were spilling over, especially with Rascal Flatts performing in nearby Gexa Energy Pavilion. But that didn’t really matter. Nothing was going to stop the BvB Dallas fans, players, coaches, sponsors and media.

But before the sun set, the pre-game preparations were buzzing. BvB Dallas Founder Erin Finegold with clipboard in one hand and walkie-talkie in the other was seamlessly juggling all questions, issues and people. She even managed to do it all with a non-stop smile, never giving a hint that she wasn’t all that happy. For the first time in the BvB Dallas history, they weren’t going to make their goal. Instead of writing a check for $600,000, she was disappointed that it would be for $475,000. Still, that was a record-breaker of an amount for the teams raising funds for Alzheimer’s research and treatment.

Erin and the other BvB vets had had such high hopes this year. They were returning to the Cotton Bowl. They were stepping back to let an executive director raise efforts to the next level. They had an outstanding group of sponsors, both old and new. Yup, they had come a long way since that first game back in 2008. Since then they had raised more than $1.8M.

Jennifer Bergman and Erin Cesla

Jennifer Bergman and Erin Cesla

Still, the game must go on. It was easy to tell the two teams — Blondes in pink and Brunettes in blue. The BvB Dallas leadership like BvB Dallas President Jennifer Bergman was in black. Sunscreen replaced perfume. Instead of makeup, faces were painted with Blondes or Brus.

Cash Sirois and Mike Sirois

Cash Sirois and Mike Sirois

The media was on hand to sweat through the event, too. Univision’s Pedro Silva did pre-game interviews. The Ticket was well represented Brothers Mike Sirois and Cash Sirois warmed up to do the play-by-play. They made it clear that they had their favs — Mike in his pink cowboy hat and Cash in his blue one. Ty Walker was the special guest and announcer and announced that “Cash will pound one Bud Light for every touchdown Team Brunette scores!”

DJ EJ

DJ EJ

For pre-game entertainment and between quarters, there was Dallas Cowboys DJ EJ and the Dallas Mavericks ManiAACs, who have more costume changes than an Academy Award emcee.

Mary Frances Burleson and Cody Baker

Mary Frances Burleson and Cody Baker

Longtime sponsor Ebby could be seen throughout the stands and on the field. No, not Ebby herself. Instead hand fans with “Ebby” stamped on them fluttered throughout the bleachers. Along the sidelines Ebby’s President Mary Frances Burleson and Marketing Guru Cody Baker arrived in a golf cart. Right at home, Mary Frances in white Puma sneakers, white blouse and slacks and black “shirt” was being diplomatically correct in taking sides. She swapped stories and laughs with others before the game commenced. On the field, the two teams worked out.

Greer Fulton, Jay Finegold and Erin Finegold

Greer Fulton, Jay Finegold and Erin Finegold

Other BvB vets on the sidelines included Erin’s dad Jay Finegold. Father of three girls, he was proud of what his daughter had created in the memory of her grandmother. But then he felt that way about the other original organizers of the fundraisers like 31-year-old Greer Fulton, who was just 23 at the first BvB when she was quarterback along with Erin that first year. And then there was Erin’s sister, Toby Finegold, who at the ripe old age of 14 ran the scoreboard way back then.

Brus' coaches in blue-and-white argyle sock

Brus’ coaches in blue-and-white argyle sock

A difference this year was that the two teams would not be on the same side of the field. The first half the Blondes would be across the field, while the Brus would be on the side where the fans were gathered. At halftime they would switch. Seems that the coaches wanted it that way. However, the Brus coaches in blue-and-white argyle socks were just too cute to complain. Luckily, there were big Coppus fans blasting cool air.

Cotton Bowl scoreboard

Cotton Bowl scoreboard

Not so cute was one of the scoreboards. Evidently, it was having a glitchy day. The right upper part of the screen just took a long coffee break, creating a black hole.

Brus arriving on

Brus arriving on

But once the announcement of teams arriving on the field came, nobody really cared. The Brus were first. They could be heard hollering their arrival as they walked down the tunnel arm-in-arm. There was no doubt that losing was not a part of their game plan as they smashed through their banner.

As they lined up along the goal line, someone suggested that they move to the far left. The Blondes were about to make their entrance.

Blondes arriving on field

Blondes arriving on field

Lindsey Kluempers and Becca Elinor

Lindsey Kluempers and Becca Elinor

With the confidence of having won all of the previous games except one, the Blondes in pink broke their banner with smiles. Co-Captain Becca Elinor held high a flag with a picture of the ultimate blonde babe — Dolly Parton — and Co-Captain Lindsey Kluempers carrying a Go-Pro on a selfie stick to be used for future promotion.

Like any other football game, the teams went through last minute warmups as the crowds in the stands filled. Someone noticed that one of the Brus was “firing bullet passes for the Brus.”

Over the PA system they announced the outstanding fundraisers on each team like MVP Billie Jo Davis, who raised $21,100. Unfortunately, that tricky scoreboard only partially showed their photos.

Then the drama built as over the PA was heard, “Last year the Brus knocked on the door, kicked on the door, this year they will knock down the door!” and “The Blonde beast has once again been awakened. The dynasty. Victors in six of the last seven games!”

Then it was time for the game to commence with the coin toss. Oops, instead of years past when Mary Frances did the toss, she was escorted to the center of the field only arriving just as the coin landed with the Brus happy as can be.

But before the fun began, a moment of silence was held for those who suffer from Alzheimer’s and the singing of the national anthem.

The game was then on. Here’s a bit of play-by-play recap:

Sabrina Testut, Kimberly Burton and Lauren Davis

Sabrina Testut, Kimberly Burton and Lauren Davis

Blondes’ first possession is unsuccessful. Brus take over. #4 quarterback is Michelle Rowden. Hits a bullet pass to receiver #81 Vanita Krouch for a first down. But there’s a busted play on fourth down and Blondes take back over. Blonde QB #6 Becca Ellinor completes pass. But they give it up on fourth down, back to Brus. Michelle hits Vanita again for a long gainer. Then they’re just short of goal line. Completed pass to #14 Kristen Kramer for a TD. With extra point good, it’s now 7-0.

Leslie Chandler and Rita Metzinger

Leslie Chandler and Rita Metzinger

Blondes have ball. Drive down field. #39 Katie Tull is QB now. They score TD on completed pass to #57 Natalie Crittenden. Extra point no good, score now 7-6, and first quarter ends.

Mav ManiAACs Osito, Wild Dog, Munchie, Mardi Mar and Black Rhino

Mav ManiAACs Osito, Wild Dog, Munchie, Mardi Mar and Black Rhino

Between quarters, the Dallas Mavericks ManiAACs perform to the delight of the fans in the stands. Somebody noted that the quarters were lasting 20 minutes instead of the traditional 15 minutes.

The second period begins with Brus making a few long catches, including one to #91 Mikki Bailey and they score. Extra point is no good, so it’s 13-6 with 15:57 left in second quarter.

Over the PA is heard, “I speak for Team Blonde when I say, ‘Whatever.’”

Blondes with ball now. But, they soon turn it over to Brus. Says announcer: “It feels like a whole new year, Ty. Very Brunette-ish.”

A long pass is completed to #33 Jody Schueler and the announcer says, “Who are these girls? Do they even live in Texas? Brought in some ringers this year!” Then, #76 Jade Randle is all alone in the end zone and catches a pass. On extra point try, #42 for Blondes Lindsay Kluempers intercepts and runs the ball back 100 yards to give the Blondes 2 points. So, score is now 19-8. Blondes take over with 6:55 to play in quarter.

Can’t do anything. Brus take over. Vanita makes a nice run, then next play QB hands it off to V and she throws long pass to #33 Jody Schueler for a TD. Now 25-8. Blondes take over. #0 Kelsey Wasmer is QB. Makes nice long run. Completes some passes. Runs again. A fellow in stands yells: “Can you do anything but run?!” Brus take back over with seconds left. Half ends, score is 25-8.

At halftime the check presentation of $475K is made to Baylor AT&T Memory Center and The Center for Vital Longevity at the University of Texas Dallas.

2015 BvB Dallas check presentation

2015 BvB Dallas check presentation

Second half starts. Vanita runs long. Completes a couple of passes, near goal line again. Completes a pass to #76 Jade Randle for TD—score now 31-8. Lots of stroking of chins among the blonde coaches.

Will Braaf

Will Braaf

Football fan Will Braaf in pink headband and tank top with a couple of Buds in hand is not happy. Chris Neidhardt and others are with Will to support Blonde #9 Kristen Schoellhorn. Will yells, “No. 9, it’s all you out there!” and then: “Stop losing!”

Blondes deep in Bru territory now, but can’t do it. Brus take back over. Long pass completed to #91 Mikki Bailey and she does a long run. Quarter ends.

With another outfit change, Mavs Maniacs perform again to the delight of the fans.

The fourth quarter starts. TD pass is made to Jade and it’s now 38-8. Will yells out: “I encourage you now to disappoint me again!” Announcer says: “Come on Team Blonde. We’re only down 30.” Will: “You guys give me your best effort. It’s really working for you. Everyone gets a trophy.”

With mic in hand, Mike Sirois calls Will out to tone it down, but evidently Will doesn’t hear him and keeps up his remarks.

Whitney Bardales, Darby Chalko, Vanita Krouch, Sarah Hall and Elora Torres

Whitney Bardales, Darby Chalko, Vanita Krouch, Sarah Hall and Elora Torres

Vanita is QB now. Brus have it. Then Blondes. Back to Brus. Vanita completes pass to #4 Michelle Rowden, who started at QB for TD. Now 45-8 with 5:30 to go in game.

Blondes take over. Incomplete pass and someone in stands yells, “Hey, catch the f–kin’ ball!” Brus get it back with 2:18 to go. They threaten a TD but Blondes repel them, take over the football with :26 to go. They complete a pass and game is over. Final score: 45-8. Someone says it’s the most points ever scored in this game.

Brus claiming the win and the trophy

Brus claiming the win and the trophy

Following a presentation of the trophy to the Brus and the Blondes graciously accepting defeat, the fans, players, coaches and friends emptied the stadium for a party with Empire 6 on stage. Someone mentioned how the last time the Brus won was also the last time that Vanita had played. She evidently brought them luck.

For more photos and there are a lot of ’em, check MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

JUST IN: There You Broke Another Record!

There are folks who like to low-ball estimates in the hopes they just might do better than expectations. Evidently the Dallas Zoo peeps and critters fall into that group.

Laura and lesser anteater (File photo)

Laura and lesser anteater (File photo)

Dallas Zoo flamingo (File photo)

Dallas Zoo flamingo (File photo)

An elephant in the hood (File photo)

An elephant in the hood (File photo)

Dallas Zoo elephant (File photo)

Dallas Zoo elephant (File photo)

They were saying yesterday that they hoped to break 30,000 on Dollar Day making it sound like there was no hope for topping last year’s 33,000.

Yup, you guessed it. Everybody but cutie pie Jordan Spieth showed up. He was out of town, don’t you know.

So how many humanoids showed up to do a lookey-see? According to the official number that just arrived, it was 41,422! According to reputable calculators, that beats last year’s number by 6,389.

Trivia tip of the day: In 1995, the zoo didn’t have 40,000 total visitors for the entire month of July.

Gregg Hudson (File photo)

Gregg Hudson (File photo)

According to Dallas Zoo’s President/CEO Gregg Hudson, “This was certainly a day we’ll remember. Last year’s record of 35,000 was incredible, but exceeding 40,000 for the first time in our 127-history is astounding. Our staff is wiped out, but we’re extremely proud to be able to give back to our community and offer this day at the zoo to guests who wouldn’t otherwise be able to visit.”

That’s the outstanding news. The only downer of the day was the traffic. “Dallas Police Department officers staffed Interstate 35 and all Zoo entrances due to heavy traffic.The zoo utilized all of its auxiliary lots, but parking still filled up by 11 a.m., leaving some guests to wait for turnover to get in.”

Next go-around, why not use this as a learning experience on how to use DART? Tax dollars are paying for it, so why not give it a try?

If tonight you drive by the Dallas Zoo and hear bigtime snoring, it’s probably the Giants of Jurassic Park. Word has it that they’re already in their PJ’s and in sleepy-land.