Friends Of Wednesday’s Child Is Closing

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

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

Friends of Wednesday’s Child (File photo)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Last Tree On The Lot

Years ago there was a child who was at that age when the belief in Santa, elves and flying reindeer was starting to fade. As she sat next to her father driving home from Christmas Eve dinner, she told him of her doubts about the season of miracles. Her father, who was dreading this talk more than the one about the facts of life, pulled into the garage and told her a story that his father had told him decades ago. On this Christmas Eve, we share the story with you.

That night was the coldest and windiest Christmas Eve ever. The seasonal Christmas tree lot was bare except for one little fir. People had wanted bigger, robust trees for their homes and the tiny tree just was passed by each time.

But despite the frigid temperatures, the tree and her guests huddled together and stayed warm. The little sparrows joined the mockingbirds and Mourning Doves in singing Christmas carols. The squirrels and mice applauded with great enthusiasm for each song. The little tree’s heart was warmed by all the happiness.

As the night went on, so the wintry conditions grew. Finally, just as the first ray of sunlight began to appear in the east, a great whoosh of breeze spun around the tree and there was silence. The tree and her friends discovered they had been joined by a sleigh, reindeer and Santa himself.

One of the mice peeked out from the tree’s branches and asked, “Perhaps you have a gift or two left?”

Mice can be a bit pushy, you know.

“I am pleased to say we had exactly the right number of gifts for children this year,” Santa replied.

“That’s remarkable,” said the tree. “How marvelous it must have been for all of my tree friends to be surrounded by presents. Just think what is happening right now? People are laughing and smiling and enjoying the happiness of Christmas. How lucky my tree friends are.”

“They probably are,” said Santa. “But unfortunately, I have a problem and must ask your help.”

The tree was surprised that Santa would ever need help.

Santa and a Christmas tree (File photo)

“You see,” Santa continued, “I forgot to get a tree this year and Mrs. Claus is going to be very disappointed if I don’t return with one. When I passed overhead just now, I was advised by the reindeer of a singing tree. Well, I know it’s rather late, but I was wondering if you and your friends would let me take you home to the North Pole.”

Before the tree and the little creatures could reply, Santa added, “By the way, we’ll need you for quite a while. You see we celebrate Christmas year round. It helps the elves keep focused.”

With that, Santa carefully lifted the tree into the sleigh and told all the creatures to hop on board for a trip to their new home. 

JUST IN: North Texas Food Bank CEO Jan Pruitt Is Officially “Stepping Down”

Gee, it seems all the cute nonprofit top  gals are retiring. First, there was TACA’s President/Executive Director Becky Young. Then earlier this week, Trinity Trust’s President/CEO Gail Thomas announced her retirement. Now, word comes that North Texas Food Bank President/CEO Jan Pruitt is “stepping down effective today.”

Becky Young (File photo)

Gail Thomas (File photo)

Jan Pruitt (File photo)

According to the official press release, “Rather than continue with her medical treatment and in consultation with her doctors, she has chosen to spend time with family and friends in the comfort of her home.”

Knowing Jan, after spending over a year battling cancer, she wants to focus on spending the holiday with her family and let her North Texas Food Bank family focus on providing for the thousands in need of food during the neediest time of year.

Luckily, Jan is such a smart cookie. Her vision for NTFB is in place and she has an all-star team in place to see that plan through.

So, if you want the ultimate perfect holiday gift, why not drop Jan a note and make a donation to her baby — North Texas Food Bank. And how about making it the price of a la-di-da dinner at some swanky Dallas restaurant? That suggestion also goes to area restaurateurs and nonprofits, who have long respected Jan’s 20 years at NTFB.

Remember, hunger is the first step in providing people with the ability to be educated, to create, to survive the next day and to even provide for their children and animals. North Texas Food Bank has been the oasis for so many, including your neighbors and strangers.

For the full announcement, follow the jump, but don’t forget to send Jan a note and make that donation.

[Read more…]

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

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

Jenna Bush Hager*

Jenna Bush Hager*

Ron Corning (File photo)

Ron Corning (File photo)

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

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

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

BTW, some tickets are still available here.

* Photo provided by Family Gateway

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



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

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

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

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

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

PlainsCapital Bank*

PlainsCapital Bank*

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

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

* Graphic provided by PlainsCapital

Hope’s Door And New Beginning Center To Officially Merge On Thursday, September 1

The news was just official, but word had been making the rounds that Hope’s Door and New Beginning Center were combining their efforts. The first obvious clue was the “Save The Date” postcard that arrived in the mail mid-July. It was for Friday, September 16 fashion show featuring Abi Ferrin clothes at the Hilton Dallas/Plano Granite Park.

Abi Ferrin (File photo)

Abi Ferrin (File photo)

Florence Shapiro (File photo)

Florence Shapiro (File photo)

As impressive as it was that Luncheon Chair Janet Dorsett had arranged for Florence Shapiro to be the honorary chair, it was curious that both Hope’s Door’s and New Beginning Center’s logo were on the card as beneficiaries.

Evidently the rumors proved to be true with the announcement of the pending merger of the two organizations that have been helping those in domestic abuse situations since the 1980s. It all becomes official on Thursday, September 1.

According to Hope’s Door CEO Jim Malatich, “This unification will allow us to gain financial efficiencies in our administration allowing us to shift those resources to serve our clients more effectively. Hope’s Door will be able to offer an increased capacity for emergency shelter, additional services including counseling programs and intervention and prevention classes at seven locations in both Dallas and Collin counties.”

Hope's Door and New Beginning Center*

Hope’s Door and New Beginning Center*

While combining the two staffs and boards, it is interesting to note that both organizations will keep their names.

For the official word, follow the jump for the press release. [Read more…]

Dallas’ Homeless Problem Was On The Menu And Had Guests On A Tractor At Mudhen’s Bridge Fundraiser

About 200 people turned out on Sunday, May 1, at Shannon Wynne’s Mudhen Meat & Greens to enjoy some music and some great food. But the “grand opening” party at the new restaurant at the entrance to the Dallas Farmers Market had a more serious purpose, too: raising $35,000 for the restaurant’s nearby neighbor, The Bridge homeless recovery center.

Wynne, who’s on The Bridge board of directors, said he opened Mudhen on South Harwood in part for its location. Even though the surrounding neighborhood is improving, he said, some are still afraid to venture there, in part because of the homeless people who are drawn to the recovery center. “I want people to see that we’re not afraid of The Bridge,” Wynne said. “This is not a scary place!”

While guests like Tom Dunning, Margaret Keliher, Lucian LaBarba, Nancy Nichols and Shannon and Skip Hollandsworth milled about and chatted, Erin Mathews and Russ Davis walked up to greet the veteran restaurateur. “When I got the invitation, I said, ‘Oh my God, I’ve been dying to go” to Mudhen, Erin told Shannon.

Mike Rawlings, Suki Otsuki, Shannon Wynne and Jay Dunn*

Mike Rawlings, Suki Otsuki, Shannon Wynne and Jay Dunn*

One guest, Bridge CEO Jay Dunn, was asked whether the recent closing of Dallas’ Tent City homeless camp had affected his facility. Many of the Tent City residents are coming to The Bridge for daily services, Dunn replied, and the need is outstripping the supply. “We are working with them on a case-by-case basis,” he explained. “Some just need a hot and a cot. It is straining us, though. We get better every year, but as Dallas grows, poverty is growing, too.”

Outside the restaurant, the band Shotgun Friday was playing country tunes on the patio, and guests were posing for photos atop a vintage tractor. Soon enough Shannon headed for the bandstand, where the band stopped playing and Wynne thanked everyone for coming. He said he employed one of The Bridge residents in the Mudhen kitchen, and that it’s the responsibility of every Dallas council district to help provide housing for the city’s homeless.

Mudhen tractor and friends

Mudhen tractor and friends

Then Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, clad in a green Dallas Stars jersey, took the mic. The mayor thanked Shannon for opening Mudhen, which Rawlings said “really celebrates what we’re doing in Farmers Market.” He then echoed Wynne’s call for citywide help with the homeless problem, adding, “The city can only do so much. We need the private sector to step up, too.”

With that, Shannon introduced Jennifer “Suki” Otsuki, Mudhen’s executive chef. “We use no hormones in our meat, and the vegetables are organic,” Suki said, as guests made a beeline for the buffet tables. “So, you can eat like a pig—or you can eat well!” When she was finished talking, some people proceeded to do a little of both.

* Photo provided by Mudhen

What’s Up With The Early-Bird Tent At The Dallas Museum Of Art?

Walter Elcock

Walter Elcock

Whoa! The Dallas Museum of Art’s Mark Di Suvero’s “Ave” is already keeping company with a gargantuan tent. Say what? The 2016 Art Ball is not until Saturday, April 23. So, what’s up?

The answer was provided by the ever-charming Walter Elcock, who has been filling in until a new DMA director is announced. Evidently someone wanted to have a very special private tented gathering this Saturday. So, Walter and the DMA crew arranged schedules and managed to have the tent stay put until the annual fundraiser that Ann and David Sutherland are chairing.

David and Ann Sutherland and Rachel and Michael Osburn

David and Ann Sutherland and Rachel and Michael Osburn

On the north end of the DMA compound, the workers are working non-stop to finish up the new Eagle Family  Plaza just in time for the Folly at the Art Ball (aka Art Ball after party) being chaired by Junior Associates Rachel and Michael Osburn. If you remember the old northern entrance, scrap that idea. The new plaza is gonna be something and perfect to party hardy.

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

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

Colleen Walker (FIle photo)

Colleen Walker (FIle photo)

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

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

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

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

Untangling The Confusion About Fashion Stars For A Cause Events

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Suicide and Crisis Center's "Celebrat10n" page

Suicide and Crisis Center’s “Celebrat10n” page

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

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

The Scams Are Popping Up Like Fire Ants And Just As Nasty

Gee, the scammers are already swarming the area to take advantage of the weekend’s tornado furor. Roofers, construction gypsy types and fake fundraisers, who couldn’t pronounce “Mesquite” or “Waxahachie,” are skulking like buzzards in the devastated areas.

Evidently, someone claimed to be working with FEMA and Operation: Kindness. Whoa! The OK team was more than suffering vapours. The staff took to Facebook expressing their OMG shock:

We have received many questions and would like to clarify that Operation Kindness is not partnering with Operation Rescue Paws on the ground in Rowlett. Early this morning, we personally reached out to all local animal shelters that have been affected by the storms and offered assistance with housing, transporting, or fostering animals in need. We are following the appropriate protocol so that we will not interfere with rescue and clean up efforts in the community. Operation Kindness is on stand-by in case any local shelters do need our assistance. Thank you.

Ah. come on. You’re a smart cookie. You know the tried-and-true teams that manage to squeeze positive results out of every cent donated. They’ve been around in the good times and the now-times. And now is the time to let them know that you’re there for them.

Another source to check out the good guys from the bad ones is Charity Navigator. It’s an excellent source when it comes to trying to determine the legitimacy of a nonprofit.

But let’s not discount those individual offerings like the teacher, who lost practically everything. Her students’ parents are rallying with a Give Forward program. Still before contributing to such opportunities, check to make sure that you really, truly know those behind the effort.

Here Comes Santa…For Real!

There are actually some folks who question whether there really is a Santa Claus. While it’s not a new question and there have been romantic explanations of the jolly fellow’s existence, here is proof of his being on the job this very moment.

And please note that he does not text while he’s reining his reindeer. And, yes, Rudolph is still in the lead.

So, take that all you naysayers!

Update On Kristina Bowman

Inquiries have been flooding in about the status of photographer Kristina Bowman, who took a nasty spill Saturday morning at The Dallas Opera First Night after party.

Short answer: As of this afternoon, she is at Presbyterian Hospital in Hamon Tower following surgery on Wednesday.

Long answer: Kristina was taken to Baylor’s ER Saturday morning, where the staff said the break of her right kneecap was so severe they felt a specialist was needed. As one doctor told her, if she had taken a chisel and hammer and hit the sweet spot, she couldn’t have done more damage.She was sent home with pain killers because there was a lot of pain. BTW, her bedroom and bath are upstairs, but she struggled to make it to bed.

As soon as possible, she got into see a specialist on Tuesday expecting to go home and return for surgery. But, no! The doctor sent her straight to Presbyterian, where surgery was performed Wednesday morning. It wasn’t until Kristina was under that they discovered the damage to the knee was far worse than the X-rays initially showed. Her 34-year-old (“I’m old enough to be his mother!” -Kristina) surgeon, Dr. Donald Hohman, was amazed that she endured the pain.

She was told that this operation would be just the first of several, a blood clot was discovered under her knee and the knee was to remain totally immobile for eight weeks. Then they would decide how to proceed.

Liz Perales and Kristina Bowman

Liz Perales and Kristina Bowman

The good news is that Kristina’s longtime partner Liz Perales, who was scheduled for surgery herself, has postponed it and has been by her side throughout. Kristina has received calls from loads of friends and even this morning Jack Knox was at her bedside with a box of La Madeleine goodies and a Café Pacific sweatshirt.

On the not-so-good-news side is that this time of year is the peak season for photographers and her income is pretty well shot. No, take that back. It’s really shot (no pun intended). Kristina has no idea how much business she’s lost, since clients are already scheduling other photographers when they would have used her. (Suggestion: If you were going to use Kristina, let her know, so she can know you were thinking of her.)

Now that Kristina is recovering from surgery, she’s accepting visitors, calls, cards and good thoughts. You might want to call to make sure that she’s still at Presby and that she’s not sleeping.