JUST IN: Dallas Cowboys’ Wunderkind Dak Prescott And Coach Of The Year Jason Garrett To Walk The Children’s Cancer Fund’s Runway

Children’s Cancer Fund‘s Executive Director Jennifer Arthur is whooping it up. She just revealed that Honorary Co-Chairs/former Dallas Cowboys quarterbacks Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach will be joined at the Friday, April 21st fundraiser — Broadway Nights and Runway Lights — by the new Cowboys starting quarterback/cutie pie Dak Prescott.

Dak Prescott*

Jason Garrett*

Also, escorting Children’s Medical Center pediatric oncology patients on the runway will be Cowboys coach/Coach of the Year Jason Garrett, plus a heck of a lot of other well-known and photographed folks.

Tickets are available for the dinner, applauding and dancing at the Hilton Anatole here!

* Photos provided by Children's Cancer Fund

Just Say Yes’ “Building Bridges” Will Celebrate With Romos, Brown And Chances For Gragg Gems, Royal Dining, Grelle Artwork And More

Tony and Candice Romo*

David Brown*

As if having former Dallas Police Chief David Brown as the keynote speaker and Honorary Co-Chairs Candice and Tony Romo weren’t enough for the 7th Annual Just Say Yes (Youth Equipped to Succeed) Celebration’s Building Bridges,” organizers have put together quite a line up for the Wednesday, April 19th raffle and live auction fundraiser at Belo Pavilion.

Sue Gragg necklace*

For the raffle, it will be “a custom-made diamond necklace by jewelry designer extraordinaire” Sue Gragg. The winner will be able to select their choice of an 18-karat white, yellow or rose-gold necklace. And to add that personalized touch, they’ll have “their name, or a word of their choice, encrusted with diamonds.” If your chance ticket is picked, you’ve got your Mother’s Day gift locked down! The value of the necklace is $1,400 with raffle tickets going for $25 each or 5 for $100. The raffle winner does not need to be present to win, and there is no limit to ticket purchase. Raffle tickets are available here.

There’s an added incentive to buy those raffle tickets online. There will be a drawing prior to the event to have a VIP meet-and-greet photo opp with keynote speaker Brown.  The Photo-Opp winner must be present to win. Each raffle ticket purchase serves as one entry into the contest.

In addition to a silent auction, there will be a live auction including:

Darren McGrady (File photo)

  • A Royal Dinner Party by Eating Royally Owner/Chef Darren McGrady (Value: $5,000) — Chef Darren will prepared a three-course dinner for ten at your home, just like he did for Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Diana. After dinner, he’ll regale guests with stories about the good old days at the palace.
  • A Week in Kauai, Hawaii (Value $3,000) — With plenty of time to plan, four guests will enjoy the luxury lifestyle at the Kauai Marriott Resort and Beach Club’s oceanfront digs from April 14 thru 21, 2018. Whether it’s just taking it easy lounging on the beach or checking out the sites where major Hollywood films have been made, Kauai has everything.
  • Western Artist/Member of Cowboy Artists of America Martin Grelle Artwork — Two pieces of art by the renowned Western art master will be up for bid.
    • The first piece is a 13” by 10” original drawing in custom frame of a Native American on horseback. (Value $3,800)
    • The second is a 33” by 38” giclée of “Prayers of the Pipe Carrier,” which Grelle created a few years ago.  It is an artist personal proof, No. 4 of 5. BTW, the original won the Buyers Choice Award at the 46th Annual Cowboy Artists of America exhibit in 2011. (Value: $1,750)
  • Two-Night Hunting Trip at Giesecke Ranch (Value: $2,500) — For the hunter, the Giesecke Ranch outside of Llano is the perfect place to hunt deer, turkey and wild boar. In addition to having the use of a crew cab pickup, the winner will have ranch owner Dick Giesecke himself assist in finding the spots to explore.

(This offer expires December 31, 2018, and does not include Thanksgiving, Christmas or opening weekend of hunting season.)

Building Bridges*

Regarding this year’s theme — “Building Bridges —  Just Say Yes Development Director Marissa Leach explained, “Just Say Yes is ‘Building Bridges’ this year because we recognize the need for connection. Our youth can set the stage for a stronger connection with each other, their families and ultimately our community. With your support, we can further the Just Say Yes cause by building connection in our youth, ultimately creating long-lasting connectedness within our community.”

While individual tickets are $250, $1,000 will get two tickets plus the photo opp with David B.

* Photo provided by Just Say Yes

North Texas Food Bank Makes Changes In Its Annual Food Raising Event With Cowboys And Chefs

Change is in the air. The North Texas Food Bank has made changes for its fundraising “Taste of the NFL.” First, the name has readjusted. It’s now known as “Taste of the Cowboys.” And they don’t mean rodeo types.

Taste Of The Cowboys*

Second, the location has been moved from AT&T Stadium (the home turf for the Dallas Cowboys) to The Ford Center at The Star in Frisco (aka the new home base for the Dallas Cowboys).  

But what stays the same is the involvement of past and present Dallas Cowboys, entertainment (Reckless Kelly) and top-area restaurants and chefs participating Shinsei, The Capital Grill Plano, Seasons 52, Asador, Lockhart Smokehouse, Texas de Brazil, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House, Bistro 31, Kent Rathbun, Taverna, Toulouse, The Common Table, Perry’s Steakhouse And Grille, Cane Rosso, Howard Wang’s China Grill, il Calabrese Ristorante And Bar, Yucatan Taco Stand, Mayfield Ice Cream, The Oceanaire Seafood Room, Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen And Bar, Legends Hospitality, Cowboys Club, Off the Bone Barbeque, Frosted Art, Omni Frisco Hotel/Neighborhood Services, Rye. Craft Food And Drink, La Duni and Mi Cocina.

Reckless Kelly*

The shindig takes place on Sunday, May 7, with the Main Event taking place from 6 to  10 p.m. For a few bucks more, the VIP Event (5 to 6 p.m.) is available.  Tickets are online now!

Presented by Caliber Collision, all proceeds from the tasty event will benefit NTFB’s child programs.

* Graphic and photo provided by North Texas Food Bank

JUST IN: Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Dak Prescott To Be Keynote Speaker At After-School All-Stars’ 2nd Annual Rising Stars Luncheon

Dak Prescott (AP Photo)*

With all the rumbling about Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo‘s probably being released, there’s also news about the “presumed” (wink, wink)  starting quarterback Dak Prescott off the field. 

The too-good-to-be-true former rookie, who rallied the team and North Texas to Super Bowl dreams, is going to be the keynote speaker for the 2nd  Annual After-School All-Stars Rising Stars Luncheon on Wednesday, May 17.

Yup! Luncheon Chair Gina Betts knows all the ingredients for a sell-out event and she’s done it once again. In addition to have bowtie-wearing Dak at the podium, she’s arranged for Nancy C. and Richard R. Rogers to be the presenting sponsor.

The question is, “How quick will the luncheon at the Dallas Country Club sell out to benefit After-School All-Stars North Texas?”

BTW, this is one of those splurge events meaning splurging on a VIP-type ticket will have perks like a VIP reception before the luncheon. Tickets and sponsorships are available now!

* Photo courtesy of After-School All-Stars North Texas

Klyde Warren Park’s 2017 Park And Palate To Coincide With Longhorns And Sooners Get Together

The folks at Klyde Warren Park have just revealed the dates for the third annual Park And Palate. It’s that two-day food fest at the downtown oasis featuring “top chefs from throughout Texas, a variety of wineries, breweries, distilleries and musical entertainment.”

Klyde Warren Park (File photo)

The Friday night is a VIP Down To The Roots, followed the next days with the Grand Taste all day.

Before getting that plastic out to buy a ticket, hold off because the Early Bird tickets won’t go on sale until April.

Longhorn (File photo)

What’s that? Oh, the dates? Now, that’s an interesting question. The organizers have picked Friday, October 13, and Saturday, October 14. Hmm, isn’t that Texas-OU weekend? There will be no excuse to complain about having nothing to do that weekend.

JUST IN: NFL Star/America’s Got Talent’s Jon Dorenbos To Keynote DCAC’s 10th Annual Appetite For Advocacy

Jon Dorenbos has scored fame on two entirely different fronts. He’s a two-time NFL Pro Bowler, having just completed his 11th year with the Philadelphia Eagles as a long snapper. And just this past year, his talents in magic placed him third “with his mind-blowing magic performances on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.”

Jon Dorenbos*

But that is today. Back in October 1992, he was a 12-year-old boy who should have been outdoors playing sports. After all, he and his family were the picture-perfect version of “Father Knows Best” living in Woodinville, Washington. Instead he was in a courtroom with his brother, Randy Dorenbos, and sister, Krissy Dorenbos, watching their father, Alan Dorenbos, on trial for the second-degree murder of their mother, Kathy Dorenbos. The reason the former Little League president gave police for beating his wife to death with a grinding tool: He “lost it.”

During the trial the children sat in the courtroom listening to the testimony and testifying.

As a relative told The Seattle Times, “The children have lost a father and mother. This is really very difficult for everyone.”

After their father was sentenced to less than 14 years in prison, Randy stayed in Woodinville to finish high school, while Jon and Krissy “moved in with an aunt and uncle in Garden Grove, California.”

Jon Dorenbos*

For some this tragedy and turning point would have been an opportunity to find escape in drugs and crime, but Jon went down a different road. And that story will be provided for those attending the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center’s 10th Annual Appetite for Advocacy Luncheon on Wednesday, April 19, at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel.

Appetite for Advocacy*

Chairing the event will be the father-daughter team of Dick Collins and Genevieve Collins.

Warning: This one is going to be a sellout, so don’t go slo-mo in locking down those tickets.  

* Graphic and photos provided by Dallas Children's Advocacy Center

 

Children’s Donor Reception Was Prepared For A Cowboys-Packers Showdown With A Flatscreen In The Dallas Country Club Ballroom

Sundays are usually sorta ho-hum. There are church services and brunches, but otherwise it’s rather calm. And on Sunday, January 15, it should have been especially so, since it was the Martin Luther King Jr. three-day weekend.

That’s why “the Christophers” (Children’s Health President/CEO Chris Durovich and Children’s Medical Center Foundation President Brent Christopher) figured it would be ideal for the 2nd Annual Thank You Donors reception at the Dallas Country Club.

What wasn’t predicted was Cowboys wunderkind rookies Dak Prescott and Zeke Elliott. Thanks to the Cowboys making it to the NFL playoff and the game being played at AT&T Stadium starting at 4 p.m., the snoozy Sunday was no longer so sleepy.

Then there was the Liener Temerlin’s memorial service at Temple Emanu-El’s Stern Chapel at 3 p.m.

Chris and Christina Durovich

This Sunday was truly going into uber drive.

But then, of course, Mother Nature had to add her two cents with rain.

Luckily, Chris and Brent were prepared for the situation. As Brent chatted in the lobby area, Chris and Christina Durovich officially welcomed guests and let them know that a TV was broadcasting the Cowboys-Packers game at the back of the ballroom just past all the tables filled with goodies.

Randy Muck, Carol Bieler and Brent Christopher

When one guest asked Brent, Carol Bieler and Randy Muck about the Cowboys game, Randy quickly corrected the guest saying it was a “Packers game.” Bow-tied Brent smiled, “Randy’s a Packer’s fan.”

Among the early arrivals were new Communities Foundation of Texas President/CEO David Scullin with his wife Susan Scullin, Fran and Bill Carter and Caroline Rose Hunt with Bob Brackbill. Katy and Ken Menges arrived reporting the latest score as they checked in. Katy will be having hip surgery and is glad to have it over with. Annette Leslie sans 25 pounds reported that the Carson Leslie Foundation had ramped up with greater structure.

David and Susan Scullin and Fran and Bill Carter

Katy and Ken Menges

Bob Brackhill and Caroline Rose Hunt

Magda and Dr. Halim Hennes told former Children’s Medical Center Foundation President Kern Wildenthal that the Children’s ER was on its way to being open. 

Kern Wildenthal and Magda and Halim Hennes

Kern had been an honorary pallbearer at Liener’s services, which were simply flawless with three generations of Temerlins recalling “Papa.” Despite the eloquence of daughter Lisa Temerlin Gottesman and grandson Blake Gottesman, it was great-granddaughter Avery Johl’s telling the story of “The Invisible String” with Rabbi David Stern that was the true memory maker.

In attendance at the service were Gail and Gerald Turner, Marnie Wildenthal, Martha Tiller (sans husband David Tiller, who was preparing for back surgery), Nancy Dedman, Nancy Halbreich, Barbara and Stan Levenson, Melina McKinnon and Michael Cain and Wick Allison.

But back to the Children’s reception. As the party closed down with a hair-pulling end to the Cowboys-Packers game, Ma Nature took over the spotlight with tornado warnings and severe thunderstorms. While disappointed Cowboy fans found themselves holed up at AT&T stadium, the Children’s guests were safe at home.

Gratitude Has Been The Main Dish Over The Centuries On Thanksgiving Day

The tradition of Thanksgiving began in 1621 when two groups from different backgrounds (the Wampanoag Indians and the Plymouth pilgrims) came together to break bread. Any school child can tell how the Indians had literally helped the newcomers survive the challenges of the new frontier.

Robbie and Nancy Briggs (File photo)

Robbie and Nancy Briggs (File photo)

The colonists created the meal with “fowl” to show their gratitude to the Indians for helping them settle in this foreign land. In turn, the native Americans brought five deer to add to the meal. Due to a lack of microwaves and Wolf ovens, there were no pumpkin pies.

Today is such a day when people of different backgrounds come together. It’s people like Nancy and Robbie Briggs, who will be serving meals to the homeless. It’s an occasion when most will have their eyes on the annual Thanksgiving Parade and/or The Boys and the Redskins. It’s the morning that loads of folks will hit the stores as early as possible for bargains. It’s, unfortunately, for far too many calling a car “home.” 

May your blessings be many and shared with all you know and need to know.

Seasonal Dip In Temperatures Approaches

Some folks have been complaining about temperatures hitting the upper 80s this month. After all, it is November and it just seems downright unnatural to wear shorts when you have a herd of woollies in your closet bleating to come out.

February 2015

February 2015 (File photo)

Well, pack up the shorts and pull out the cashmeres because today the temps are going to be dipping like a debutante on stage. Word has it that Saturday night, it just might hit the upper 30s. But this first cold front of the season ain’t going to be anything like the freezers of 2011 or 2015. Still, why not prepare now for what probably lies ahead in the weeks to come?

For oldtimers, you know the drill. For newcomers, here are some suggestions:

Snow covers neighborhoods (File photo)

February 2011 (File photo)

  • Bundle up with gloves, caps and jackets, if you’re going to catch a Friday night lights game.
  • Remember to take care of the three P’s — pets, plants and plumbing. It’s not going to freeze, but why not prepare those pipes now?
  • Put a blanket and some water in your car. Who knows? If you get stuck, you just might want a gulp of water and a wrapper until you get a tow.
  • Have your HVAC checked. It’s been a while since you turned on the heating element.
  • Check on your senior buds and physically challenged folks. Cold weather seems to hit them harder than you hardy types. See if their windows and doors are sealed to keep out the cold. And while you’re at it check yours, too.
  • It’s not too late to have a chimney sweep check your fireplace. You might also want them to clean your clothes dryer, too. After all, you don’t want the holiday glow to be your home going up in smoke.
  • Stock up on all those comfort foods. Homes just seem to handle the chill when hot chocolate is served or brownies are in the oven.
  • Remember those old blankets that you replaced with brand new ones? Why not donate the older ones to Goodwill or Dallas Animal Services?
  • Stock up on batteries, candles and matches.
  • Get a book and a couple of board games and/or jigsaw puzzles. If you lose electricity, you’ll find high tech goes down the drain and these old-timers can come in handy to handle the boredom.
  • Buy a toy. No, it has absolutely nothing to do with staving off the cold, but you just know you’re going to want to donate to a toy drive, so why not buy something now!

“The Tonight Show’s” Jimmy Fallon Is Being “Cued” Up For The Boys And Girls Club’s Billiard Ball Live Auction

"The Tonight Show" with Jimmy Fallon*

“The Tonight Show” with Jimmy Fallon*

Just last night “The Tonight Show’s” Jimmy Fallon seemed to take special delight in featuring the Dallas Cowboys in his NFL Superlatives segment. Even the most diehard Boys’ fans couldn’t help but giggle. Don’t you just wonder if someone in The Star locker room is gonna present Offensive Lineman Joe Looney with a gerbil?

But as funny as the clips are, there’s nothing quite like being in the audience when Fallon does his shtick live and Billiard Ball Co-Chairs Laura and Dennis Moon and Honorary Co-Chairs Helen and Clint Murchison know that.

Dennis and Laura Moon

Dennis and Laura Moon

Just last night they revealed that they had arranged to have two tickets to “The Tonight Show” added to the Saturday, November 12th Boys and Girls Club of Dallas fundraiser auction.

In addition to taking in the show at 30 Rockefeller Centre, the winners of the package will also have a three-night stay accommodations and roundtrip air transportation.

But even if Fallon has never replaced Carson in your life, there will be so many more items on the auction roster to pick from including exotics trips (Jamaica, Waikiki, Argentina, Sonoma, Los Cabos), entertainment and sports packages and even a customized billiard table from Universal Billiards Inc. And, of course, the evening at the Hilton Anatole will include cocktails, dinner, dancing and games of billiards. So, get your place reserved and practice up on your game or just watch “The Hustler,” “The Color of Money” or a match between Minnesota Fats and Willie Mosconi.

* Graphic provided by the Boys and Girls Club of Dallas

Texas Trailblazer Awards Luncheon Speaker Ronan Farrow Described Domestic Violence as A Form Of Terrorism Within The Home

Noontime on Tuesday, October 4, had something for everyone. But, alas, along with the plethora of choices, decisions had to be made. For more than a thousand, the answer was The Family Place’s 2016 Texas Trailblazer Awards Luncheon at the Hilton Anatole.

After all, Luncheon Co-Chairs Lisa and Marvin Singleton had arranged for an all-star lineup — honorees Antioch Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church, Dallas Cowboys First Daughter Charlotte Jones Anderson and Dallas Police Chief David Brown along with Honorary Co-Chairs Pat and Emmitt Smith and keynote speaker Ronan Farrow.

With that cast of headliners, it was understandable that some didn’t make it. They had very good excuses. Pat Smith was with her dad, who was undergoing surgery, and since it was his last day as Dallas police chief David Brown was back at headquarters spending his last few hours with his comrades.

But the MIAs were hardly noticed in the VIP meet-and-greet with loads of guests including Lynn and Allan McBee (he’s been rehearsing with the Dallas Opera), Ros Dawson, Underwriting Co-Chair Carol Seay and Phyllis Comu who reported that she relieved not to be waking up in the middle of night in preparation for last month’s Fur Ball.

At 11:10 the man-of-the-hour Ronan slipped and looked like any very cool 20-something. But among this stiletto and silk skirt crowd that type of fella couldn’t make it by totally unnoticed, so word quickly made the rounds the “he” was in the room.

Sure, he had famous genes, but on his own Ronan had accomplished so much in his 28 years. Having graduated from college at the age of 15 and was accepted by Yale Law School at when he was 16. He deferred attendance “to work as special adviser to former U.N. Ambassador Richard Holbrooke.” Ronan did earn his law degree before he was 24. Named a Rhodes Scholar in 2012, he was leaving after the luncheon for Oxford London to defend his dissertation on violence. And that was just a smidgen of his credentials.

Regarded by many within the national media as the spokesperson for the millennial generation, he was asked his opinion if the flood of aging baby boomers might overwhelm the millennials. Without hesitation, Ronan didn’t hesitate and responded, “We don’t have the problems that say China has. There are a lot of parts in the world where there’s going to be this massive imbalance of generations and it’s going to cause all sorts of social tension. I think we’re going to be okay in the United States.”

Marvin and Lisa Singleton, Ronan Farrow, Charlotte Jones Anderson and Emmitt Smith

Marvin and Lisa Singleton, Ronan Farrow, Charlotte Jones Anderson and Emmitt Smith

Ronan Farrow, Lisa and Marvin Singleton, Charlotte Jones Anderson and Emmitt Smith

Ronan Farrow, Lisa and Marvin Singleton, Charlotte Jones Anderson and Emmitt Smith

Then taking his place in front of The Family Place backdrop, Ronan looked a bit bewildered by the grip-and-grin setup. One photographer had the VIP type shot in front of the backdrop and a second one would have step to the far left to be shot in front of a curtain. The explanation was that a lot of the media didn’t want shots in front the sponsor board. Oh.

At times the meet-and-greet seemed a bit unorganized. Unlike other photo opps where one staffer/volunteer stood at the front of the line advising guests to place their purse on the table and move quickly, this one was a little more casual. While the lineup of guests waiting their turn for a photo with Ronan stretched the length of the room, some were a little surprised to see others standing nearby and hopping into additional photos “with friends.” Wonder if Emily Post had a section on cutting in line?

Nevertheless, Ronan showed his cool factor and good naturedly went with the flow. However, he did perk up like a kid when he saw Charlotte approach. They hugged and he congratulated her on the award. Then they posed for photos with Emmitt Smith adding to the cool factor.

Erin Young Garrett, Cindy North and Angela Batra

Erin Young Garrett, Cindy North and Angela Batra

As the photo session wound down, guests headed to the Chantilly Ballroom. Snapshots around the room: Cindy North was taking a break from being with her dad at UT Southwestern following a double lung transplant. She was lunching with her plan Erin Young Garrett and Angela Batra … 2017 Cattle Baron’s Ball Co-Chairs Sunie Solomon and Anne Stodghill reported that they were focusing on the next ten days of supporting 2016 CBB Co-Chairs Cara French and Andrea Weber’s American Cancer Society fundraising on Saturday, October 15, at Gilley’s… and others including Annette Simmons, Anita Arnold, Sandy Chapman, Kimber Hartmann, Kelli and Jerry Ford, Joyce Fox, Sally Hoglund and Distinguished Co-Chair Julie Turner.

Kelli and Jerry Ford

Kelli and Jerry Ford

Annette Simmons and Anita Arnold

Annette Simmons and Anita Arnold

Sune Solomon and Anne Stodghill

Sunie Solomon and Anne Stodghill

Joyce Fox

Joyce Fox

The guests settled down because they had a full agenda starting off with Lisa and Marvin welcoming the guests, Rev. Abe Cooper Jr. of Antioch Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church providing the invocation and a video address by Mayor Mike Rawlings “officially welcoming” and thanking attendees for supporting The Family Place and recognizing the honorees and his hero The Family Place CEO Paige Flink.

Following the video, Paige provided a state of the union for the organization that has been on the forefront of providing assistance for victims of domestic abuse. Among the developments is the new 40,000-square-foot Ann Moody Place that is currently under construction. It has been specifically designed for victims of family violence. Among the many offerings that Paige listed, it was interesting to note that the facility’s ability to accept family pets received applause from the audience. It seems, according to Paige that there are families that will not seek help if it means leaving their pet behind.

Paige Flink, James Dondero and Sally Hoglund

Paige Flink, James Dondero and Sally Hoglund

She then reported that they were in the final $2.8M stretch of their capital campaign’s goal of $16.5M. This news was a perfect lead in for the introduction of Highland Capital Management Co-Founder/President Jim Dondero, who announced “the firm has awarded a $1-million challenge grant to help The Family Place raise the final $2.8 million for its Legacy Campaign in the next six months.”

In other words as Paige explained, Highland Capital Management was offering $1M, if The Family Place could raise $2M. Immediately, Paige told all to pull out their phones and instructed on how to submit their donation. The place looked like a Pokemon Go convention.

After lunch, Paige was back at the podium with ugly statistics about domestic abuse including 158 women killed in the state of Texas. That was an increase of almost 20% over 2015. On the screen were the names of 16 women, who were murdered in Dallas and Collin counties. None of these women had services at The Family Place.

Recent developments by The Family Place have been the opening of a counseling facility in McKinney and on Sunday, October 30, the state’s first shelter for men will be opened. In the past, The Family Place has had to put these male victims of domestic abuse in hotels which was not therapeutic nor cost effective.

In recognition of those making a difference, the awards were presented with Major Alfred Diorio of the Domestic Violence Unit standing in for Chief Brown.

Marvin Singleton, Alfred Diorio and Lisa Singleton

Marvin Singleton, Alfred Diorio and Lisa Singleton

In accepting her award as Texas Trailblazer of the Year, Charlotte eloquently told how the Cowboys and the NFL were taking the situation of domestic abuse to heart. As part of their effort, she has had Paige involved in working with the Dallas Cowboys to “face this issue together.”

It was then time for Ronan to speak to the group and that he did. He started of saying, “I am very, very nerdy.” Highlights of his talk were:

Ronan Farrow

Ronan Farrow

  • His visiting The Family Place that morning and talking with a hotline operator by the name of Maria. She told him that it is sometimes so hard to get callers to openly speak about their abusive situation. “They say they’re only being yelled at, when in fact what’s happening is brutal abuse.”
  • He came to the lunch in two respects: “As a reporter who has tried in earnest to cover this issue and also, of course, I come to you as a sibling and as a son, whose life has been profoundly shaped by family abuse. In both respects I’ve seen two things. One, how far we have come and how the conversation around this issue is changing. And, two, how much farther we still have to go.”
  • Charlotte Jones Anderson: “It is fitting that The Family Place is honoring Charlotte Jones Anderson here today. She has been at the center of the firestorm over the league [NFL]. But she has also been in the transformation of how they approach this issue. I was talking with her about it yesterday and saying that I was going to mention some of my reporting on this. And she told me that, ‘You know the media often exclusively focuses on the negative and not progress being made. I work at basic cable. This is not news to me. She’s right. There is progress.”
  • His own family experiences: “It was also two years ago in that same time frame (during the Ray Rice episode) that my sister Dylan Farrow wrote about her own experiences with domestic abuse alleging that our father Woody Allen had groomed her as a young girl with inappropriate touching and had eventually sexually assaulted her when she was seven years old. It’s a story not unlike experienced by women at the shelter I was at today. Whether you are famous or live a completely private life, whether you are rich or poor, I learned firsthand that this can happen in any family.”
  • The media’s treatment of Dylan’s story: “At the time, many newspapers refused to run my sister’s story. She tried to speak out, but the issue was just too hot and editors told me privately the alleged perpetrator was just too powerful for them to touch it. Nicholas Kristof, the Pulitzer Prize winning reporter and a longtime advocate for victim’s rights, put it on his blog. Soon afterwards The Times gave her alleged attacker twice the space and a prime position in the print version of their paper. It laid bare just how differently we treat vulnerable accusers, particularly women, as opposed powerful men who stand accused. After she went public, too, my sister faced a campaign of shaming, of character assassination orchestrated by our father’s powerful PR firm. Those around her, my mother, me were tarred as well though we weren’t involved…just easy targets. This is one reason why so many families stay silent for so long. And why so many abuse survivors find themselves left all alone. At the time… I hate to admit it, but I even hesitated and kept as quiet as long outside of a single brief statement of support for my sister. And my sister had to look on as the press quickly swept her story under the rug. She was retraumatized by every lifetime achievement award, every golden profile. But in Hollywood as well something began to change. Just a few days after my sister’s story ran, Gawker used that story as their lead in reviving another set of allegations against another beloved comedy icon, Bill Cosby. What followed were two years of painful cultural re-examination about how we talk about this issue, about how we confront abuse when the alleged perpetrator is powerful. So much so that when the Hollywood Reporter ran the latest of those glowing profiles this year, people were actually angry. The tone changed. Women especially, but increasingly as often men, too. And when the Hollywood Reporter approached me asking for a follow-up assessing the issue as a reporter and as a member of that family, I finally made the tough choice to embrace speaking out about this as well.
  • Current situation: “My sister and my mother still face public shaming. My own Twitter feed is still razed by daily death threats from angry fans. But there is also an outpouring of support by thousands of people saying, ‘I have been there, too. My family has been there, too.’”
  • The future: “There is more to be done, but how far we have come. Domestic abuse is not an NFL problem. It is not a Hollywood problem. It is an American problem. It is a global problem. And it is an urgent one. As all of us in this country lived out the shock and the horror of The Pulse nightclub shootings this past summer, we learned that the murderer had beaten his wife, as had the gunman behind the fatal hostage crisis in Sydney two years ago. In fact 16% of perpetrators in mass shootings between 2009 and 2015 had previously been charged with some kind of domestic violence.
  • Terrorism: “These acts are a form of terrorism. They are the embodiment of the worst and most destructive human impotence to control others through fear and violence. And with other forms of terrorism, allowing this one to fester hurts and threatens all of us. It threatens our cultural integrity, our ability to insure all of our freedom. That’s why I felt I had that obligation to speak here today in support of my own family and to try to keep the conversation going whatever small way I can through my reporting.” But speaking is not enough. We all know that.”
  • The Family Place website: “It is so inclusive. Inclusive of the many LGBTQ youth who face abuse. Of the men who face abuse.”
  • His family: “Rewind for a moment to my childhood. I’m about 12 years old, sitting down for dinner at the family dinner table. To my left are Quincy and Isaiah, African American, both born to drug-addicted mothers in American inner cities. Across from me are Tam and Minh, both blind and adopted from Viet Nam and a teenager in mine, who has been with this family most of her life. She was adopted as a young girl. We are all having a heated debate as is usual the case at the Farrow family dinner table.  And Quincy goes, ‘Well, as a black woman…’ And Minh stops her and says, ‘Whoa, whoa, wait. Quincy is black?’ … Every night was like that. We were a mini-United Nations or, at least, a United Color. Fourteen siblings adopted from around the world and reflecting the world’s worst problems. Siblings with cerebral palsy, with polio, blind, paraplegic, learning disabled. The people I loved most in the world were the people the world left behind. Many had faced years of abuse before I ever met them or they became a part of my family. The kind of abuse that leaves scars physical and emotional that you can never outrun sometimes.”

In closing he told how Maria admitted that hardest things she has to tell a caller, “Sorry, but we’re full.” With that Ronan made one last plea for guests to support The Family Place in providing shelter. “When my mother started adopting kids in the 70s, people called her crazy. When she faced her most vicious attacks after my sister’s allegations more recently, they called our family a commune, a shelter, not a home. But my family was both a home and a shelter. And I am so deeply proud of that. I have been so grateful to have seen the value of giving someone shelter when they need it most. I cannot think of anything more powerful and precious to give someone.

24th Annual Cabaret Gala To Take Place In “Refreshed” Venetian Room On Texas-OU Saturday With Songbird Maxine Linehan

Marisa Huckin (File photo)

Marisa Huckin (File photo)

You’ve got to hand it to the Dallas Children’s Theater team. Over the past 24 years, their Cabaret Gala has collided with Cattle Baron’s on the same night. But this year the stars were literally in alignment for folks to attend both totally different fundraisers. Unlike the boot-wearing guests at Cattle Barons at Gilley’s, the Cabaret folks don their nicest cocktail attire for an intimate evening in The Fairmont’s Venetian Room, which has gone through some major “refreshing.”

 Maxine Linehan*

Maxine Linehan*

But the date this year may still surprise locals. It’s October 8th. Yup, that’s the Saturday of Texas-OU. While it may seem like a busy weekend to be holding a fundraiser, it makes perfect sense. By Saturday night, most of the Longhorns and Sooners have packed their bags and headed home, or they’re too pooped out to party anymore.

Dallas Children’s Theater’s Artie Olaisen and Event Co-Chair Marisa Huckin (this is her fourth one to chair) and Sharon Niebuhr have arranged for Irish transplant Maxine Linehan to be on the Venetian stage. Sure, she’s been described as “versatile, multi-talented and fiercely talented” and performed at NY’s Town Hall, Lincoln Center, 54 Below, The Metropolitan Room and Birdland. But Maxine’s also smart, having graduated from “the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts and also just happens to be a Barrister,” having studied at The Inns of Court School of Law in London.

Still another highlight will be the honorary chairs — “steadfast supporters” Jennifer and Peter Altabef and their “son Will, who literally grew up on-stage at DCT.”

In keeping with the annual raffle, Raffle Chair Kerrie Forbes has five trips lined up for such places as Cancun, Costa Rica, New York City, Telluride and St. Martin.

Since tickets are limited and won’t be sold at the door, hop to it now for an evening of champagne, dessert and delightful tunes.

* Photo provided by the Dallas 
Children's Theater

Trojans Discovered True Tex-Mex Happiness At Mia’s With Mama In The House Benefiting The American Heart Association

Trojans at Mia's

Trojans at Mia’s

Little did most locals realize that North Texas was being invaded Labor Day weekend. Sure, they’re used to the usual take-over by Longhorns and Sooners in October and Cotton Bowl fans over New Year’s that result in overcrowded restaurants. But on Friday, September 2, the natives found out all too late that University of Southern California and University of Alabama boosters had overwhelmed their favorite venues for the Saturday game at AT&T Stadium.

Mariachi Espuelas de Plata

Mariachi Espuelas de Plata

Why, Al Biernat’s was going to handle over 600 on that night and, much to the chagrin of some regulars, there just wasn’t room.  A few blocks away, the legendary Tex-Mex Mia’s Friday night crowd also found themselves being turned away at the parking lot for a closed party. Shocker! But USC lovers Vicki and Bob Chapman had booked the place for a gathering of Trojans, who were met at the patio by Elaine Agather’s favorite mariachi band.

Curtis Good, Natalie Shaw, Jennifer Good, Elyse and Zach Smith, Lauren Chapman and Daniel Pike

Curtis Good, Natalie Shaw, Jennifer Good, Elyse and Zach Smith, Lauren Chapman and Daniel Pike

Just inside the door, Garden Gate’s Junior Villanueva had created a ginormous arrangement of Trojan red-and-yellow roses with a USC helmet placed strategically in the center.

Lauren Chapman, Bob Chapman, Ana Enriquez, Mia Enriquez and Vicki Chapman

Lauren Chapman, Bob Chapman, Ana Enriquez, Mia Enriquez and Vicki Chapman

And, a very special treat for the locals and out-of-towners like Lauren Chapman, Daniel Pike, Jennifer and Curtis Good, Natalie Shaw and Elyse and Zach Smith was the presence of Dallas’ First Mama of Tex-Mex, Ana ”Mama” Enriquez, all decked out in black gown and jeweled necklace. Everyone wanted to have their photos taken with Mama and her daughter Mia Enriquez.

Trisha Orta, Karen Sanchez, Ramon Ochoa, Abel Uresti, Luis Mora, Gabriel Ochoa, Ana Enriquez, Herminia Garcia, Diana Villarreal, Mia Enriquez, Tony Luna

Trisha Orta, Karen Sanchez, Ramon Ochoa, Abel Uresti, Luis Mora, Gabriel Ochoa, Ana Enriquez, Herminia Garcia, Diana Villarreal, Mia Enriquez, Tony Luna

Little did Mama know that the party was also providing a donation to the American Heart Association in her honor.

DIFFA Dallas’ 8th Annual Burgers And Burgundy Is Moving To Ron Kirk Pedestrian Bridge On Texas-OU Friday Night

While most folks believe that Texas-OU weekend closes down everything not Longhorn- or Sooner-related, DIFFA Dallas is planning on testing this theory. Instead of like years past, when the organization held its Burgers and Burgundy outdoor fundraiser at a private estate on a Saturday or Sunday, they set their GPS and daytimer for a different location and day.

Burgers smoking on the grills (File photo)

Burgers smoking on the grills (File photo)

This year’s event will take place on the Ron Kirk Pedestrian Bridge from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Friday, October 7. Yup, you guessed it. That’s the Friday when local restaurants, bars and hotels will be brimming with Red River revelers.

Ron Kirk Pedestrian Bridge (File photo)

Ron Kirk Pedestrian Bridge (File photo)

In addition to having Chef John Tesar once again hosting the B and B, Event chair Aileen Roach and Honorary Chair Simona Beal have given a theme to the event — DIFFAcella. It will “feature three live art installations by Jason Reynaga, Anthony Gonzales and Matthew Brinston, as well as three caricature artists and a henna artist.”

John Tesar (File photo)

John Tesar (File photo)

According to John, “It’s always a great time when I get to bring together my good chef friends, but this event is made even better by the fact that it’s for a great cause. It’s been an honor to work with DIFFA/Dallas for eight years to put on this event and watch it grow year after year, with last year being our most successful. We have even higher goals set for this year!”

There will be plenty of entertainment, Pawkitecture live auction and, of course, food and libations.

And the big news of the night will be the reveal of the 2016-2017 Style Council Ambassadors, who will serve as DIFFA/Dallas representatives “charged with the task of helping DIFFA/Dallas raise awareness about the organization’s cause, as well as continue efforts in the education and prevention of HIVAIDS throughout North Texas.”

Tickets for the 8th Annual Burgers and Burgundy are $150.

MySweetCharity Opportunity: Fantasy Football Draft Night

According to The Warren Center 23rd Annual Fantasy Football Draft Night Chairman Mike Austin,

Mike Austin*

Mike Austin*

“We are excited to raise money for The Warren Center. It has provided over 15,000 families with needed tools, including individualized therapy for their child’s developmental delay, critical information and resources on developmental milestones, and guidance as parents become advocates for their child’s future.

“Former Dallas Cowboys Randy White will serve as our celebrity host and help our guests draft their own Fantasy Football team. This year’s draft night will host a cocktail reception, dinner buffet, live and silent auction, live surprises, Heads or Tails game and opportunity to win Dallas Cowboys 2017-2018 season tickets.

Randy White and Timmy Newsome*

Randy White and Timmy Newsome*

“We hope you will grab your football loving family and friends, and join us for this special night.”

“The 23rd Annual Fantasy Football Draft Night will be held on Friday, August 26, from 6:00pm-10:30pm at the Hotel Intercontinental Dallas (15201 Dallas Parkway Dallas, TX 75001). Table sponsorships begin at $3,000 with underwriting opportunities beginning at $2,500.  For more information, please contact Tara Null at 972.490.9055 or 214.709.8901.

* Photos provided by The Warren Center

Genesis Women’s Shelter’s Jane Doe Award Dinner Dazzled With Roger, Serita And LeAnn Thanks To Doug, Gina, Molly And Nancy

In the past the featured speaker of the Genesis Annual Luncheon has attended The Jane Doe Award Dinner the night before for a small gathering of major supporters. This year’s speaker, Tyler Perry, was upfront and regretted that he wasn’t gonna make it for the event scheduled for Thursday, May 5. Now, such a development might send some fundraising chairs into a tizzy. Ah, but Genesis Annual Luncheon Co-Chairs Gina Betts and Nancy Rogers are far from your everyday co-chairs.

Nancy Rogers, Gina Betts and Molly Barnes

Nancy Rogers, Gina Betts and Molly Barnes

They rolled up their silk sleeves and made a couple of calls to folks who make big things bigger. The result was a no-sit-down, napkin-in-your-lap and ever-so-proper affair. No, siree. The reception took place in the entertainment center at Molly and Doug Barnes’ estate. Just making it past the security chap with the clipboard at the front gate gave a whole new layer to the expression, “You have arrived.”

Once inside the doors, there was the reception room that’s bigger than some condos. Just behind the check-in table was a marvelous view of the outdoor patio that looked so inviting with pool and umbrella-shaded tables. Still, most everybody stayed indoors with Cassandra and her staff passing all types of yummies and libations in addition to a side buffet of goodies. And then there was talk about a surprise that had been making the rounds. Nobody was supposed to know that Betts-Rogers had arranged for “special entertainment” to follow the presentation of the awards, but it seemed that everyone knew. Only they weren’t admitting it.

Nancy and Richard Rogers

Nancy and Richard Rogers

T.D Jakes

T.D Jakes

Marianne Staubach and Nancy Ann Hunt

Marianne Staubach and Nancy Ann Hunt

S.M. Wright II

S.M. Wright II

Ron Corning and Tanya Foster

Ron Corning and Tanya Foster

Genesis Executive Director Jan Langbein greeted all at the front door…At times it appeared to be a Mary Kay Ash family reunion as Richard Rogers walked in and directly headed to Nancy for a hug…Mary Kay great granddaughter Jessica Blair was on the scene, as well as MK’s granddaughter Gena Tadewald, who came into town from her place in Lucas, where she has horses, cows, dogs, sheep and all types of critters…Driving in from Fort Worth were Olivia and Jeff Kearney. Olivia recalled how Doug had told her, “It took me longer to build this house than it took Jerry Jones to build ‘The Star’ in Frisco.”…Genesis Raffle Co-Chairs Katy Bock and Tanya Foster were on hand with their fellas Lawrence Bock and Pete Foster, respectively…Others filling the room and spilling into the adjoining theater’s lobby were Ken Betts, Nancy Ann Hunt, Ashlee and Chris Kleinert, Kathleen Hutchinson, Michael Flores, Dallas Snadon, Doug Carney, Tracy and Ben Lange, Mary Crosland, Cara French, Lisa Ogle, Beth and Charles Thoele, S.M. Wright II, Genesis Annual Luncheon Emcee/WFAA anchor Ron Corning, Shane Allen, Jane Doe Awardee Serita Jakes with her husband T.D. Jakes, HeRO Award recipient Roger Staubach and wife Marianne Staubach. Roger, who has four daughters, admitted to Jan that “When I was growing up, I would have said it was one [case of domestic violence] in 10 million.” Jan said, “No, it’s one in three.” BTW, it was just a couple of years ago that Staubach daughter Jennifer Staubach Gates received the Jane Doe Award.

Kathleen Hutchinson

Kathleen Hutchinson

Michael Flores and Doug Carney

Michael Flores and Doug Carney

Ben and Tracy Lange

Ben and Tracy Lange

Ken Betts

Ken Betts

Running a little behind schedule, the group finally moved into the cabaret-style theater with tables and chairs. Due to the SRO crowd, more chairs were assembled, but even then the SRO status remained.

On stage, Jan told about the Rogers’ $1M challenge and if it was met, Genesis Women’s Shelter would receive $2M. She introduced Mary Kay VP Crayton Webb, who heads up Genesis’ HeROs Men’s Auxiliary. Admitting to a definite case of “hero worship,” he did a great job introducing and presenting the award to Roger. Crayton recalled that when he asked Roger about former Dallas Cowboy Greg Hardy, who had made headlines regarding “an incident” of domestic violence with his then-girlfriend Nicole Holder, Roger responded, “We don’t root for him. I’ll root for the Cowboys, but I won’t root for him.”

Crayton Webb

Crayton Webb

Roger Staubach

Roger Staubach

Upon receiving the award, Roger added, “If I ever run into Greg, I hope Randy White is with me… Don’t we believe in second chances? Yes, but I’d rather give a second chance to a bank robber than a domestic violence person.” He then thanked Jan for bringing the issue to his attention.

Then Jan presented Serita with the Jane Doe Award for her “Starting Over Ministry,” an 8-week course which offers a curriculum with hands-on practical applications” for women “who are transitioning through some of life’s greatest challenges.” The award is presented to “individuals or groups who display extraordinary commitment to standing alongside those seeking safety, shelter and support.”

Serita Jakes

Serita Jakes

LeAnn Rimes*

LeAnn Rimes*

Following the presentation of the awards, Jan sprung the surprise entertainment — LeAnn Rimes, who sang much longer than her arranged schedule. It was hard to imagine that it’s been 20 years since a 13-year-old Rimes made history with the release of “Blue.” The voice and delivery still amaze.

* Photo credit: Dana Driensky

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.

Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Tony Romo Is Star Attraction At Just Say Yes’s 6th Annual Celebration

The pool house at Lisa and Kenny Troutt’s sprawling Preston Hollow manse was buzzing with excitement Tuesday, April 12, for the Just Say Yes group’s 6th Annual Celebration, officially titled “Missing Puzzle Piece.” The reason: Candice and Tony Romo were down at one end posing graciously for photos, and all the VIP guests wanted to get close to the Dallas Cowboys quarterback and his wife.

Candice’s mother, it turns out, had been instrumental in introducing Just Say Yes founder and president Dan Bailey to potential donors at a coffee some 15 years ago. And tonight, the 350 attendees—including Annette Simmons and Jerry Fronterhouse, Ed Franklin, Lee Ann and Alan White, and Tiffany and Paul Divis—would listen to Romo being interviewed by Bailey at the dinner fundraiser. Just Say Yes (Youth Equipped to Succeed) empowers youth to attain their dreams and goals—and say no to destructive choices—by educating them through student-assembly speakers and classroom curriculum.

While honorary chairs Gena and Chuck Norris weren’t able to make it, Cassandra and Avery Johnson flew in from California for the evening. Avery, the former Dallas Mavs coach who now coaches men’s basketball at the University of Alabama, presented the Avery Johnson Youth Impact Award to Lisa and Kenny. During brief remarks, Avery joked that his son Avery Jr.—a basketball player who will be transferring from Texas A&M to Alabama—is “obsessed with Tony Romo.”

Avery’s son would have been in good company at this event. During a wide-ranging conversation with Dan, Tony:

  • Said that his broken clavicle is mending nicely, and that “I think I’m gonna make it through the season, so we should be fine.”
  • Disclosed that his parents were his most influential role models growing up. He was reared in modest circumstances as a “little bit of an outcast,” Tony said.
  • Advised today’s high school students to resist peer pressure from the “cool” kids: “It doesn’t matter. Don’t let them affect you day-to-day. Don’t let them control you. Just give it to God and live your life.”
  • Criticized the often-negative effects of social media. “This social media world is so not real life,” Tony said. “I would say, a.) don’t read it. But b.), if you do, be unemotionally attached. People don’t really care about you that much. Life will go on. Just do your job and everything will be fine.”

“Missing Puzzle Piece” also featured a dinner by Chamberlain’s and an auction and raffle, with Louis Murad calling the shots. The fundraising aspect was important, Bailey explained, because Just Say Yes is aiming to triple its annual budget in three years, from $900,000 currently to $2.7 million. With the larger amount, he said, Just Say Yes would be able to reach 250,000 students a year.

2016 Art Ball Auction Item #3: VIP Front Row Experience

In North Texas, not all art is confined to the AT&T Performing Arts District. There is a large number of folks who swear that Dallasites consider sports to be an art form. So, naturally 2016 Art Ball Live Auction Chair Trisha Wilson whipped up a live auction package that is strictly top-drawer sports for this Saturday’s Dallas Museum of Art fundraiser.

VIP Front Row Experience (Value: Priceless)

_MG_5714 Gene and Jerry Jones File photoEven if you don’t like sports, you’ll love making your friends envious as they see you where they only dream of being. For the Dallas Cowboys, the winner of this package will be joined by three guests in Gene and Jerry Jones’ personal box. And you just know what that means. Loads of top-notch food and beverages, pre-games festivities and appears by the Cowboys cheerleaders. And, of course, there will be exclusive access to the field, so you can wave at all of you buds in the stands.

For a Texas Rangers game, there will be box seats for 12. And instead of just taking home a program and selfies, the winner will have a Rangers shortstop Jurickson Profar autographed jersey and baseballs autographed by retired Rangers battling champ Michael Young, Rangers’ Manager Jeff Banister and retired Rangers catcher Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez.

As for the Dallas Mavs, no box seats here. No, siree. There will be four courtside seats and, of course, a lot of folks up in the stands wondering, “How come?”

The only problem with this package is that it will totally spoil you for future games. But why not spoil yourself or your favorite sports aficionado?

Compliments of Gene and Jerry Jones (Dallas Cowboys), Julie and Jim Turner (Dallas Mavericks) and Taunee Taylor (Texas Rangers)

* Graphics provided by the Dallas Museum of Art

JUST IN: Troy Aikman Dissolves His Foundation And Redirects Funds To United Way Campaign

Editor’s Note: This news was embargoed until 7:00 p.m. tonight. Unfortunately, somebody didn’t get the message. The results: the embargo is broken, so here is the news.

Dallas Cowboys legend Troy Aikman is dissolving his foundation and committing $1M from it to the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas’ Unite Forever campaign. The campaign, an effort launched 14 months ago to bolster North Texas education, income, and health, has attracted more than $35M toward its $100M goal so far.

Troy Aikman (File photo)

Troy Aikman (File photo)

The money from Troy’s foundation will establish United Way’s first-ever donor-advised fund, the Troy Aikman Foundation Fund in the United Way Foundation of Metropolitan Dallas. With donor-advised funds, donors are able to make irrevocable contributions and then recommend grants from the fund to qualified charities over time.

“The world is changing rapidly. And so are we,” said Jennifer Sampson, president and CEO of the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas. “Providing more, and more meaningful, opportunities for donor engagement for social impact is [United Way’s] mission. Donor-advised funds are a promising vehicle for us. We are in conversation with others and hope this effort … will inspire more.”

Troy echoed Jennifer, saying, “I’m proud of this partnership, and hope my commitment will be a catalyst for others to invest in brighter futures for the next generation.”

An NFL Hall of Fame quarterback and Emmy-nominated broadcaster, Troy established The Troy Aikman Foundation for Children in 1992. Its activities over the years have included creating colorful recreation areas in children’s hospitals called Aikman’s End Zones. These interactive playrooms feature state-of-the-art home theaters and computers networked to other children’s hospitals. In 1997 Troy won the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, in part for his support of children’s causes.

Jennifer Sampson and Charlotte Jones Anderson (File photo)

Jennifer Sampson and Charlotte Jones Anderson (File photo)

Troy has a long history with United Way, having appeared in a public service announcement for the agency during his playing days with the Cowboys. He joined the United Way Foundation of Metropolitan Dallas board of directors this year, after serving on the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas board from 2012-2015. He’s also served as co-chair of the $25,000 Aikman/Staubach level of the Ruth Sharp Altshuler Tocqueville Society, and as co-chair of the United Way’s 90th Anniversary Celebration alongside Charlotte Jones Anderson.

“Troy is one of the nation’s most respected figures in the business of sports, and certainly one of Dallas’ most beloved citizens,” said Jennifer. “He is actively committed to the causes he champions, and his catalytic gift will unite this community in creating secure futures for generations to come.”

JUST IN: Lisa And Marvin Singleton To Co-Chair 2016 Texas Trailblazer Award With Charlotte Jones Anderson Receiving The Award

Before everyone starts packing for spring break, more local fundraising good news just flew in. It comes from The Family Place about the 2016 Texas Trailblazer Award.

The co-chairs for the event that raises funds to “help survivors of domestic violence by providing safe housing, counseling and skills” are that public relations couple Lisa and Marvin Singleton.

Marvin and Lisa Singleton (File photo)

Marvin and Lisa Singleton (File photo)

Charlotte Jones Anderson (File photo)

Charlotte Jones Anderson (File photo)

And what smart PR people they are! They’ve arranged for Dallas Cowboys Executive VP/ Chief Brand Officer Charlotte Jones Anderson to receive the Texas Trailblazer Award.

In addition to her day job, Charlotte is also chairman of the NFL Foundation and serves on the Conduct Committee of NFL Owners.

Her professionalism even had longtime sports-pert Brad Sham declared that she should be the next NFL Commissioner.

Until tickets go on sale for the Tuesday, October 4th luncheon at the Hilton Anatole, sponsorship and underwriting information can be obtained by checking with The Family Place’s Melissa Sherrill.

JUST IN: Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Tony Romo To Be “Just Say Yes” Keynote Speaker

Kenny and Lisa Troutt (File photo)

Kenny and Lisa Troutt (File photo)

So exactly what does Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo do during the off season? Play a little golf? Work out? Post on Facebook? Perhaps, but he’ll definitely be at Lisa and Kenny Troutt’s home as the guest speaker for the Just Say Yes’ “The Missing Puzzle Piece” on Tuesday, April 12.

Due to Tony’s schedule, the annual gathering is going to be a night-time supper instead of a lunch.

Adding to the importance of the evening, 20 of Just Say Yes’ STARS Peer-To-Peer Mentor students will be featured.

But the extra-oomph doesn’t stop there. Chef Richard Chamberlain will be in charge of the evening’s feast in the Troutts’ indoor basketball court.

If you’ve been curious about the organization that “provides speakers, peer-to-peer mentoring, parent programs and teacher trainings to enable at-risk students to break through the barriers in their lives and excel inside and outside of the classroom,” just want to say that you’ve been to the Troutt estate or want to hear Tony, here’s how to be there!

Roger Staubach And Troy Aikman Get Together With Children’s Cancer Fund Kiddos For Photo Session At Children’s Medical Center

So, the Dallas Cowboys may be staying put for the upcoming Super Bowl. That’s the bad news. The good news is that the team has a pretty nice spot in the upcoming draft. They also still have Cowboys legends like Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman living in the hood and supporting the North Texas community. One of their favs is the Children’s Cancer Fund.

As a matter of fact, the two Super Bowl quarterbacks were at Children’s Medical Center on Tuesday, January 12, just after lunch. The reason wasn’t to talk sports. As co-chairs of the 2016 Children’s Cancer Fund Gala, Rog and Troy were there for a photo session with some of the CCF children to promote the Friday, April 22, fundraiser at the Hilton Anatole.

Lisa Cooley, Roger Staubach and Giora Barker

Lisa Cooley, Roger Staubach and Giora Barker

While Event Co-Chairs Lisa Cooley and Giora Barker looked quite adorable in their Louboutins, the boys were equally fashionable. Roger noted Troy’s “new look suit.” Troy responded that it was indeed a new suit. In his navy blue suit, Rog shrugged, admitting that wife Marianne had “wanted me to get a new suit.” Still a Heisman trophy and Super Bowl ring trumps any fashion trends.

Troy Aikman

Troy Aikman

In a wink Troy had been herded to the corral of sports photographers and KDFW’s Mike Doocy to give his opinion on the upcoming Super Bowl, while Roger happily stayed put with Lisa and Giorga. Across the room from the lights and cameras, the CCF kids were busily at a table with crayons and paper. They seemed sorta nonplussed by all the commotion. Perhaps they knew their moment in the spotlight was just minutes away. Besides, they were the heroes for all those in the room. They were the ones battling cancer.

For Lisa and Giora, the evening fundraiser is very personal. Giora’s son Jack Barker had conquered T-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia thanks to Children’s. It was back in 2010 that Jack had been one of the CCF kids.

On the other hand, while none of Lisa’s three kids had had cancer, Children’s resources and compassion had seen the Cooley family through life-threatening issues with each of the now-healthy children. As she watched the CCF children at the table drawing, she shook her head imagining what the kids and their families had been going through.

Maxwell Matlock, Kern Wildenthal, Trip Rowley and Stephen Skapek

Maxwell Matlock, Kern Wildenthal, Trip Rowley and Stephen Skapek

In the middle of the room, Children’s Medical Center Foundation President Dr. Kern Wildenthal and Chief of the Pediatric Hematology-oncology Division at UT Southwestern Dr. Stephen Skapek were chatting. Stephen admitted that thanks to fundraising efforts like CCF, incredible developments had taken place in cancer research. Having studied at Duke and Harvard, he seemed a bit humbled by the developments in battling cancer. He attributed it ti the combination of funding, technology, research and dedicated professionals.

Children's Cancer Fund group photo

Children’s Cancer Fund group photo

Someone directed Troy and the videographers that the CCF kids had finished their drawings, and it was time for the photo session to take place. Photo setups were created with all types of combinationa — Roger and Troy; Roger, Troy, Lisa and Giora; Roger, Troy, Lisa, Giora and the kids; Roger, Troy, Lisa, Giora, the kids, Kern and Steve; etc. By the final round, the kids were ranging between blasé to scene stealing.

Hayden Ritchie and Troy Aikman

Hayden Ritchie and Troy Aikman

It was then that the duo were able to have some one-on-one conversations with the kids.

Next Roger and Troy took their places at a table to sign all types of paraphernalia. An old hand at autographing footballs, Roger suggested that the supplied pens were not quite meeting the need. Immediately a search was out to find just the thing—a Sharpie.

BTW, with the theme for the evening fundraiser being “An Evening In Oz,” guess what will be the featured entertainment. Yup, Emerald City. Natch!

Tickets for the event are $300 per person, but a table of ten can be had for $2,750!

Round Robin November 19: Mad Hatter’s Reveal, Art Of Film Patron Party And Vine And Dine

With Thanksgiving just one week away, the evening of Thursday, November 19, seemed like a Republican debate with all types of fundraising activities vying for attention. And, boy, did they get it!

The Lee Park Junior Conservancy was doing a very happy hour for the young professional crowd at Texas Ale Project on N. Riverfront. A percentage of sales was going to the group’s support for “the care and conservation of Lee Park and Arlington Hall.”

Mad Hatter’s Tea Reveal

Jocelyn White, Renee Farren, Connie Carreker and Nerissa Von Helpenstill

Jocelyn White, Renee Farren, Connie Carreker and Nerissa Von Helpenstill

And speaking of care and conservation, the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum was filling Tootsie’s to sip champagne and more importantly to learn 2016 Mad Hatter’s Tea Chair Jocelyn White’s plans for the Thursday, April 21st fundraiser.

Connie Carreker hat

Connie Carreker hat

First off, the honorary chair should have been nobody’s surprise — Connie Carreker. And already living up to honorary responsibilities, Connie was wearing a hat that promoted the event reading, “Wish You Were Here” on the white sunhat brim.

With typical sparkling personality, Jocie revealed the theme for the event at the Arboretum would be “Steel Magnolias” with fashions on the runway in Rosine Hall from Tootsie’s and produced by Jan Strimple. Well, duh!

Tootsies fashions

Tootsies fashions

Steel Magnolias logo designed by Rongrong Devoe*

Steel Magnolias logo designed by Rongrong Devoe*

But she wasn’t finished. Unveiling the logo by Houston illustrator Rongrong Devoe for the heady affair, she announced that Linda Spina would be in charge of the judges, who would include Gary Riggs; “floral engineer” Shane Walker would be creating the luncheon centerpieces and Patricia Armstrong would be chairing underwriting.

With the announcement of the theme, smoke was seen arising from the heads of Women’s Council President Reneé Farren, Mary Lee Cox and Nancy Labadie on how their chapeaus would vie for prizes in the hat competition. The clock is ticking. Get those designs going.

The Art Of Film Patron Party

Brett and Lester Levy

Brett and Lester Levy

Brett and Lester Levy Jr.’s love of the late artist Andy Warhol was obvious to all as they entered the Levy home. In the entry of their Highland Park residence were the Warhol portraits of Marilyn Monroe and Chairman Mao.

Was this interest new? No, according to Lester, who’s also a photographer, he started collecting art when he was in his 20s.

And exactly what was the connection between the Levys’ Warhols and their hosting The Art of Film patron party the night before the Dallas Film Society’s fundraiser? Simple. The dinner and conversation with featured actress Isabella Rossellini would be taking place at The Space, where an incredible collection of Warhol drawings and photos would serve as a backdrop for the film lovers.

Seems so right, since Isabella was one of the late artist’s muses and friends.

Stan Levenson, Stacy Girard and Lee Papert

Stan Levenson, Stacy Girard and Lee Papert

In the crowd was Honorary Co-Chair Stan Levenson telling Art of Film Co-Chair Stacy Girard and Dallas Film Society President/CEO Lee Papert that wife/Co-Chair Barbara Levenson was under the weather, but she would definitely be showing up the next night fit as a fiddle.

Vine and Dine

At the Neiman Marcus flagship store in downtown Dallas, meantime, about 145 guests gathered for the eighth annual Vine and Dine event benefiting Ability Connection Texas, which provides a range of services for people with physical and intellectual disabilities.

Piper and Mike Wyatt and Margaret Stafford**

Piper and Mike Wyatt and Margaret Stafford**

The fundraiser, co-chaired this year by Piper and Mike Wyatt and Margaret Stafford, provided the nonprofit group with money to “empower individuals to live the best life possible by removing barriers that inhibit independence and autonomy.”

Now that Margaret has “retired” from her duties at PaperCity, she’s turned her sights to supporting various efforts like Ability Connection Texas in addition to watching son/Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford playing football on Sundays.

DeeDee Lee, Kayla Roughton and Inette Brown**

DeeDee Lee, Kayla Roughton and Inette Brown**

Pam and Vin Perella**

Pam and Vin Perella**

Among those enjoying the festive evening were new Uptown residents DeeDee and Jim Lee (they sold their big old home and decided to downsize and revitalize in the Uptown neighborhood), Debbie and Chuck Wilson, Lynn McBee, Meredith and Jack Woodworth, Kayla Roughton, Inette Brown, Kristin and Quintan Cockerell and Vin Perella with wife Pam Perella, who was receiving congrats on being announced just a couple of days before as the chair for the 2017 Crystal Charity Ball.

Jack Woodworth, Jeffrey Woodworth and Meredith Woodworth**

Jack Woodworth, Jeffrey Woodworth and Meredith Woodworth**

Following a cocktail reception on the store’s ground level, the guests moved up to the sixth floor Zodiac Room for a wonderful dinner prepared by NM Chef Kevin Garvin, complete with wines. Then there was a live auction.

* Graphic provided by the Women's Council of the Dallas Arboretum 
** Photo credit: Andy Keye + Whitney Photography