JUST IN: Golden Globe’s Nominee “This Is Us” Chrissy Metz To Be Keynote Speaker At The Elisa Project’s Life Lessons Lunch On February 28

The Golden Globe nominees were revealed Monday and Chrissy Metz is once again nominated for her role as Kate Pearson on NBC’s “This Is Us.” But her success and fame didn’t come overnight or easily. Chrissy’s life story is one that screenwriters dream of. Sure, she went through the trials and tribulations that many actresses face like being out of work, surviving thanks to friends and family, watching roles won by others and learning to accept rejection.

Chrissy Metz*

But Chrissy dealing with a literally “bigger” issue — her weight. Admitting that she was born chubby, she was just 11 when she went to Weight Watchers. Her weight jumped up and down the scales at one point losing 50 pounds only to “gain back 100 pounds due to depression and ‘eating my feelings.’”

Then the moment came when all the stars were in alignment and she landed the role of Kate, whose storyline was so akin to Chrissy’s. But even more than the role, Chrissy’s popularity has been due to her being so open about her dealing with her weight issues.

For that reason, The Elisa Project organizers are thrilled that they have just gotten word that Chrissy will be at the 13th Annual Life Lessons Luncheon on Wednesday, February 28, at Brook Hollow Golf Club for a conversation with Kimberly Schlegel Whitman.

Kimberly Schlegel Whitman (File photo)

Kim Bannister (File photo)

According to Luncheon Chair Kim Bannister, “As an organization dedicated to the development of healthy children and adolescents by raising awareness of body image and self-esteem issues and the prevention of life-threatening eating disorders, we know Chrissy will truly captivate attendees as she shares her own inspirational stories of courage and self-acceptance. This year’s luncheon is not to be missed!”

Honorary co-chairs will be Sandra Estess and Elizabeth Estess Hughes.

Starting at $2,000, tables are available for purchase now. If space permits, individual tickets will go on sale in early February. Suggestion: Gather up pals and get a table locked down now. Don’t depend on those individual spots coming available.

* Photo provided by The Elisa Project

Star 102.1 Personalities To Broadcast “Miracle Day Radiothon” Friday From Children’s Medical Center Dallas From 6 a.m. To 7 p.m.

Lacey Parker and Renee Parker (File photo)

Friday is going to be a bit warmer, but there’s still going to be a holiday chill in the air. That translates into the taste of hot chocolate at the desk and the aroma of homemade bread baking away. But what would be the ideal sound to go with all these senses of the holidays?

It’s “Miracle Day Radiothon”! Presented by Neighborhood Credit Union, iHeartRadio  Star 102.1’s Leigh Ann, Amanda Flores and Rick O’Bryan will be broadcasting from Children’s Medical Center Dallas. From 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., there will be patients like Kristin Alcaraz, Shantisa Anderson, Julissa Garcia, Sadie Granberry, Emmy Kaighan, Maddox Kindiger, Katie Kramer, Braden McCollum, Jacob Mowl, Samantha Raack, Makenna Rodolph, Sim Scott, Ace Shelton and Miguel Soto and their families telling memorable stories about their relationship with Children’s.

Tom Thumb’s Connie Yates (File photo)

In addition to reminding listeners of the true meaning of the holidays, the hope is that listeners will reach in their pockets to support program at Children’s Health, in partnership with Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) Hospitals. Donations can be made online or by calling 800.800.7277.

Factoid: Last year the Children’s Health system provided care for more than “278,000 unique patients at its hospitals, specialty centers and pediatric group practices. It is the second-busiest pediatric health system in the nation in terms of admissions and pediatric emergency department visits.”

Joining the effort to provide health care for children will sponsors Albertsons/Tom Thumb, Granite, AT and T, Cisco and The Residences at Rough Creek Lodge.

JUST IN: Emmy Award Winner/Former WFAA “PM Magazine’s” Leeza Gibbons Returns To Dallas As Go Red For Women Keynote Speaker

And the news keeps rocking and rolling in today. Go Red For Women Luncheon Co-Chairs Lisa Cooley and Janelle Walker have just announced Emmy Award winner Leeza Gibbons will be returning to familiar surroundings for the American Heart Association – Dallas fundraiser.  

Leeza Gibbons*

It was back in the late 1970s and early 1980s that Leeza appeared with Bill Ratliff on WFAA’s “PM Magazine,” before heading on to other programs like “Entertainment Tonight,” “Extra” and “Leeza.”

In addition to her television career, Leeza has made quite a reputation for herself regarding children’s causes and health issues. One of them being heart disease. She knows all too well that one can survive a heart attack. Her father Carlos “Pops” Gibbons was diagnosed with coronary heart disease. Not one to sit around and do nothing, Leeza insisted that her dad get a media alert system, Philips Lifeline. Three years later Carlos fell to the floor having a heart attack. Thanks to the device, an ambulance arrived in time.  

Leeza was so impressed with the lifesaving device, she became a spokesperson for it and an advocate for heart healthiness.

According to Leeza, “While heart disease doesn’t discriminate, we do know there is a need to make more women aware of their risk. Heart disease and stroke cause 1 in 3 deaths among women each year – more than all the cancers combined. Go Red For Women is a movement I am happy to stand behind to help drive change through advocacy, research and education.”

On Friday, February 23, Leeza will be at the Omni to join 1,300 women and men to raise funds to battle heart disease.

Sponsorship opportunities are available by calling Liz Robinson at 214.441.4258.

* Photo provided by American Heart Association of Dallas

Texas Trailblazer Keynote Speaker Gretchen Carlson Connects The Dots Between Domestic Violence And Sexual Harassment In The Workplace

Since being a little girl in Minnesota with a love of playing the violin, Gretchen Carlson has made the rounds. From being embarrassed … no, make that humiliated … when a sales clerk announced, “We need the biggest little girl bra for the chubby girl,” to taking on one of the country’s mega-media powerhouses, she’s not only rounded the track, she’s landed in the winner’s circle.

That was the feel for the Texas Trailblazer Awards Luncheon crowd on Friday, October 6, at the Anatole.

But first, the backstory. Gretchen, who had landed in Dallas back in the late 1990s as a reporter and anchor at KXAS, was the keynote speaker for The Family Place‘s annual fundraising luncheon that celebrated Elizabeth Grandell and Lamisa Mustafa as the 2017 Verizon Scholarship Recipients, TexProtects as Advocacy Awardee, and Lynn McBee as Trailblazer of the Year, who received a standing ovation.

Initially the day was sort low-key with the VIP meet-and-greet in the Peacock Terrace. Unlike last year’s line around the room for the grip-and-grin with Ronan Farrow, this year started off a bit slow. One guest, who arrived 10 minutes into the by-invitation event, had a touch of a shock in his/her voice, “Where are all the people?” This answer was, they were chatting it up in the opposite side of the room.

Cindy Stager, Lynn McBee, Gretchen Carlson and KJ Sanger

But Co-Chairs Kristen “KJ” Sanger and Cindy Stager and Lynn McBee as well as Nancy Gopez were on hand as well as Jan Miller in a new haircut and a touch of tear in her eye. It seems that the legendary Miller-Rich household beagle Schumacher had suffered a stroke a couple of weeks before and crossed the Rainbow Bridge.

Jan Miller and Gretchen Carlson

In the meantime, the Chantilly Ballroom was being set up with an open feeling. As one person pointed out, there were generous aisles between the tables. Still, the count of 680 was down from the jam-packed TFP luncheon of 2016 with Ronan. On the screen were names of sponsors including Trammel (sic) S. Crow. That second “l” in Trammell is a tricky one.

At 11:46 a.m., a big voice announced that the program was going to start. He was a man of his word. The lights dimmed and a video was shown followed by Co-Chairs KJ and Cindy welcoming the group and Rev. Susan Robb providing the invocation.

Before Gretchen talked to the crowd including Connie O’Neill, Claire Emanuelson, Joanna Clarke, Paige Flink, Jill Tananbaum, Travis Hollman, Carol Seay, The Family Place CEO Paige Flink told of “Naomi,” who just the day before had met with her for a one-on-one. It seems that Naomi’s abusive situation had driven her to the breaking point. Her suicide note was written; she was going to take her five kids to the fire station and then she was going to a bridge from which to jump. After talking with Paige and understanding that the newly opened Ann Moody Place would provide shelter for her family, Naomi and Paige finished their chat, tearing up the suicide note.   

Paige added that had it not been for Ann Moody Place, Naomi might have become part of the statistics like the 194,000 violent acts and 158 murdered last year. That latter number was an increase over the year before. On a light noted she announced that the facility had received its first dog, Buddy, with his family. She finished her report on a positive note, saying that thanks to The Family Place, more than one-half million people had been saved thanks to the community’s support.

In addition to Paige’s celebrating her 26th anniversary with The Family Place, she had another 26-year Family Place vet, Betty Regard, join her on stage. Betty issued a $25,000 match challenge at 11:58 a.m. By 12:20 p.m., the challenge had already hauled in $15,948.

At 12:38 p.m., Gretchen arrived at the podium and showed her Stanford education smarts by telling the group of her days at KXAS back in 1998 when she did a 30-part series on domestic violence. While she admitted that a lot has changed, it hasn’t been enough.

Seamlessly, she transitioned into the eye-opening connection between domestic violence and sexual harassment in the workplace that she knew all too well from her 20s, when a man accosted her, to her headline-making split with the Fox News network. Both domestic violence and sexual harassment continue due to fear, embarrassment, and a lack of support, she said.

Highlights of her talk included:

  • Her mother suggested that she enter the Miss America pageant. Gretchen told her mother there was no way she would win because she was short, played a violin and “Minnesota is not a pageant state.” She entered anyway and won, despite pageant judge William Goldman’s describing her as Miss Piggy and admitting that he hated the violin.
  • After winning Miss America, she was interviewed by a reporter [Editor’s note: New York reporter Penny Crone], who quizzed her with such questions as which presidents were on the $5 and $20 bills. Ten years later, Gretchen spotted the reporter and asked if she recalled her when she was Miss America. Then Gretchen gave it to her, saying, “When I was Miss American, you tried to take me down. I just want you to know I’m a correspondent for CBS and you’re not.”
  • She was stalked for four years.
  • Her first encounter with sexual harassment was when she was in her 20s, when a TV cameraman asked her if she liked it when he put her mic on her breast.
  • 70% of women never report sexual harassment.
  • Misconceptions about sexual harassment include: women can just leave; women bring it on themselves; women make it up; women who do report it are after money or fame.
  • She has become an advocate about sexual harassment because of her children — “It’s all about the next generation.”
  • All proceeds from her book — “Be Fierce: Stop Harassment and Take Your Power Back,” which was coming out the following week, will go her “Gift of Courage” effort.
  • She pointed out three things that were needed to end such treatment:
    • Bystander support
    • Education
    • Government legislation

In closing, Gretchen made a surprise announcement: she was giving $10,000 to The Family Place.

But Gretchen isn’t gone. Come November, she’ll return to the area as part of the across-the-nation launch of workshops to empower women.

BTW, Gretchen didn’t talk about her headline-making situation with the late Roger Ailes. But just a few days later, women in the entertainment industry started following Gretchen’s lead, according to an article by Ronan about Harvey Weinstein‘s sexual harassment. They, like Gretchen, were not going to be silenced.

Self-Made Millionaire/”Shark Tank”‘s Barbara Corcoran To Be Guest Speaker For The Legacy Senior Communities Yes! Event In November

Barbara Corcoran*

Barbara Corcoran is a very busy, busy gal nowadays. Well, she always has been with all her real estate deals that transformed her from waitress to “self-made millionaire.” Then there’s a little TV show, called “Shark Tank,” where she has held her own with the likes of Mark Cuban, Robert Herjavec, Kevin O’Leary and Daymond John

She’s had so many balls to juggle, it’s no wonder that the 68-year-old’s gig on “Dancing With The Stars” was just one too many, resulting in her being eliminated this past week. However, she proved her spunk and class by accepting her elimination with humor.

But leave it to the The Legacy Senior Communities Yes! Event to snag her as the guest speaker for the annual fundraising luncheon at the Meyerson on Thursday, November 2. But then what else would you expect from a committee including Carol Aaron, Dawn Aaron, Sandy Donsky, Linda Garner, Zona Pidgeon, Jody Stein and Karla Steinberg?

The plan calls for her to “share her personal story, as well as insight into what motivates her today.”

Benefiting The Legacy Senior Communities Financial Assistance Fund, the event will provide support for The Legacy Midtown Park’s rental continuing care retirement community currently under development in Dallas, to help supplement the cost of their care and provide the extra amenities that enrich the quality of their life.”

According to Carol, “A community is judged by the way it cares for its elders, and I feel it is our collective responsibility to provide a wonderful lifestyle and exemplary care to seniors in Greater Dallas. We encourage everyone to step up and help us continue to not just meet but exceed the needs of seniors and their families now and in the future.”

In addition to Barbara, The Carmen Miller Michael – Legacy Senior Communities Award will be presented to “pay tribute to a member of the Greater Dallas community who displays the special qualities which Carmen Miller Michael possessed: a pioneering spirit and an unshakeable sense of justice and compassion.”

The Legacy Senior Community Board of Trustees Chair Marc R. Stanley said, “We will honor a truly inspirational individual and trailblazer who shares our commitment to serving others, and we will hear from a motivational entrepreneur during this captivating event. We are thankful to all of our donors whose support assists us in providing thriving communities and high-quality care. We find it truly rewarding to provide seniors with dynamic and enriched lives.”

Single tickets are $200 with various levels of sponsorship available.

* Photo credit: ABC/Patrick Ecclesine

MySweetCharity Opportunity: One Childhood One Chance Luncheon

According to Merry Munson Wyatt, Kathryn Munson Beach and Meg Munson McGonigle,

As sisters, we are excited to co-chair the Friday, November 17thOne Childhood One Chance Luncheon,” which brings Dallas an impressive opportunity to join Educational First Steps (EFS) in launching at-risk young lives into promising futures.

This is the fifth year of this shining event presented by an organization we’ve seen making inroads and creating quality early education centers in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods since 1990.

EFS has been a family affair for 27 years. It was founded by our great uncle, David Munson Sr., on his belief that every child, regardless of their economic circumstances or their zip code, deserves and needs a quality education.

We will join our cousins, David Munson Jr., Charles Munson and John Munson, who are serving as honorary co-chairs for the event.

Sonia Manzano*

Held at the Omni Dallas Hotel, the luncheon will feature Sonia Manzano, who inspired, educated and delighted children and families as “Maria” on Sesame Street for over 30 years. Named among the “25 Greatest Latino Role Models Ever” by Latina Magazine, Manzano broke ground as one of the first Hispanic characters on national television.

Her latest book, “Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx,” is Manzano’s tale of perseverance and courage in overcoming countless obstacles to become one of the most influential Latinas in television. She will inspire us as a community committed to supporting common sense, real-life solutions for narrowing the disparities among us in early childhood chances.  

Today, EFS partners with 93 daycare centers in at-risk neighborhoods, carrying out a results-driven plan for becoming nationally accredited preschools, at no cost to the centers, teachers or parents. These centers progress from daycares providing little more than babysitting to nationally accredited early education centers that become anchors in their neighborhoods while preparing more of our children for school and life success.

EFS, which started in south Dallas, has grown to serve Tarrant, Denton, Johnson, Collin and Grayson counties, collaborating across 17 school districts. They are continually pushing the boundaries and aggressively scaling programs to place more students in quality learning environments. We are excited to invite you to be part of furthering their work.

We have found this luncheon to be smart, streamlined, elegant and mission-critical in so many ways. Once you’ve been, you’ll find yourself returning each year!  

For information about underwriting opportunities or tickets, contact Judy Schecter at 214.824.7940. Table for ten starts at $2,000, with six levels of increasing opportunities. Corporate and naming opportunities are also available. The event is open to the public, with single tickets priced at $175. More at www.educationalfirststeps.org.

* Photo credit: Richard Termine 
** Photo provided by Educational First Steps

JUST IN: Crayton Webb Reveals His Last Day As Mary Kay Inc. VP, But Remains Tight-Lipped About Future Plans

Nikki and Crayton Webb (File photo)

In the North Texas nonprofit world, Mary Kay Inc. VP of Corporate Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility Crayton Webb has established quite a stellar reputation as a major champion in the war against domestic violence. Besides chairing HeROs, Genesis Women’s Shelter‘s men’s auxiliary, and co-chairing the recent Genesis Luncheon with wife Nikki Webb, he has served on the board of the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

An example of his blending his professional life with his personal advocacy has been his being front and center for the annual “Suits for Shelters” program, providing clothes for area domestic violence shelters.

What some folks don’t realize is that his involvement and leadership have not been limited to Mary Kay Inc. and domestic violence. Need proof? Since landing in North Texas in 1998, he has been part of a vast variety of organizations and programs, including the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas Board, the Communications Council for the Dallas Regional Chamber, the Executive Forum of the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship, Communications Studies at SMU, the Junior League of Dallas, Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity, Leadership Dallas Alumni Association and Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau to name a few.

Prior to joining Mary Kay Inc., he was an award-winning reporter for KTVT-TV (CBS) from 1998 to 2001, as well as chief of staff for former Dallas Mayor Laura Miller from 2002 to 2005.

In the past 19 years, he has received the 2015 Leadership Dallas Distinguished Alumni Award, was named to the Dallas Business Journal‘s class of “40 under Forty,” was named one of the “Five Outstanding Young Dallasites” by the Dallas Junior Chamber of Commerce and one of the “Five Outstanding Young Texans” by the Texas Junior Chamber of Commerce.

It was just learned that Crayton announced that he has given his notice to Mary Kay. Ironically, his final day with the Dallas-based mega-company will be on the 54th anniversary of the founding of Mary Kay Inc. — Wednesday, September 13.

What’s in his future? Crayton is tight-lipped on that question. However, the answer will be revealed in September. But never fear. He and Nikki are still staying true to North Texas and its nonprofit world.

Stay tuned.

Families, Friends And Four-Legged Types “Step Up For Hope” Cottage’s Centennial Celebration Kick Off

Starting back in 1918, Emma Wylie Ballard launched what would be Dallas’ oldest non-profit, non-faith based adoption agency — Hope Cottage. And while it may be celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, Hope Cottage is still known for being for the young and the young-at-heart. That’s why it kicked off its 100-year celebration on Saturday, June 3, with a walk around it new digs in the Wilson Historic District with families, friends and the four-legged types. Here is a report from the field:

Carmyn Neely, John Dickey, Melissa Tamplin Harrison, Scott Sams and Brooks Quinlan*

The damp weather on Saturday, June 3, did not deter stalwart families, fans and supporters from turning out for the 1st Step Up for Hope charity walk kicking off Hope Cottage’s yearlong centennial celebration. Participants began their walk at the agency’s spiffy new home in the Wilson Historic District.  Moms, dads, kids, friends and pets ambled along a scenic path winding through the bucolic streets of the Wilson, past turn of the century homes, lovingly restored and maintained by the Meadows Foundation. KRLD anchors Melissa Tamplin Harrison and Scott Sams, Adoption Ambassadors for Hope Cottage’s centennial year celebration, served as celebrity MC’s.  Both Melissa and Scott are adoptees and Melissa was adopted from Hope Cottage at the age of 16 months. 

Ranger*

Nathan “stepping up for Hope”*

Team BKD was the team raising the most funds with Team Stevens raising the most funds as a family.  Ranger and his sassy bandana won the award for the Best Dressed Pooch at the Pooch Parade.  Sponsors for the event included BKD, LLP (Premier Sponsor), RGT Wealth Advisors (Water Sponsor), Gensler (Pooch Parade Sponsor), Bioworld (T-Shirt Sponsor), Carlotta Rhoades (Breakfast Sponsor) and Jenny L Womack, P.C. (Entertainment Sponsor).

Hope Cottage is Dallas’ oldest nonprofit, non-faith based adoption agency. Since 1918 Hope Cottage has been building and nurturing families through education, counseling and adoption services. Those interested in learning more about upcoming centennial celebration events, should contact Hope Cottage Chief Development Officer Leslie Clay at [email protected] or 469.917.2535. 

* Photo provided by Hope Cottage

WFAA Provides $46,000 With Melted Crayons And Ringing Phones For Community Partners Of Dallas’ “Back To School Drive”

WFAA was on a tear the past week. Last Thursday they wanted to do something different to showcase North Texas three-digit weather. Sure, they could have tried cooking some food product on the sidewalk, but that’s been so overdone (no pun intended). Somebody got the bright idea of positioning a 22” by 28” white canvas against a wall in the afternoon sun between a clock and a thermometer. At the top of the board were 64 crayons pointed downward. As the clock ticked and the mercury rose, the crayons drooled down the board creating a waterfall of rainbow colors.

So, that was nice, but what do you do with this hot (okay, so this pun was intended) artwork? The WFAA brain trust decided to auction off the artwork with the proceeds going to help Community Partners of Dallas’ Back to School Program that provides school supplies for children who are in the Dallas County Child Protective Services.

WFAA’s melted crayons masterpiece*

The winning bid of $3,150 came from Create Church, but when they arrived to pick up their new masterpiece, they pumped the number up to $5,150!

Then word arrived that the Friends of Wednesday’s Children was shutting down operation on Monday. The folks at WFAA realized that the timing was right to rally viewers to pick up where the Friends had left off in providing for children in need. So, they held a phone bank on Monday at their 4, 5 and 6 p.m. newscasts to start the wheels turning for the CPD drive that would officially start on Friday, August 4. The receivers rang off the hooks to the tune of $40,850!

Cynthia Izaguirre (File photo)

Those two undertakings brought in a total of $46,000, all of which will be used to provide backpacks, construction and manila paper, colored pencils, folders, pencil sharpeners, block erasers, glue sticks, highlighters, markers, pencil pouches, red pens and scissors.

According to CPD President/CEO Paige McDaniel, “We are so grateful to WFAA, and especially to Cynthia Izaguirre, for their longtime commitment to and tireless advocacy on behalf of the foster children in our community. Additionally, to everyone who called in with their generous donations, thank you! We had so many wonderful donors support this cause — with gifts from a grandmother on a fixed income to people with charitable foundations. Dallas really stepped up to help children in foster care and we are appreciative!”

Congratulations to WFAA for connecting the dots to provide assistance for children in need. In the wake of the Friends closing, WFAA managed to help fill a void financially and spread the word.

If you would like to join the supply-the-kids program, here is a list of what they need. But if you don’t have time to shop, you can always donate money.

* Photo courtesy of WFAA

 

Kristen Sanger And Cindy Stager To Co-Chair The Family Place’s Texas Trailblazer Luncheon With Gretchen Carlson As Keynote Speaker

While all the recent headlines have been about The Family Place’s brick-and-mortar successes (the new Ann Moody Center and Texas’ first men’s shelter), behind the scenes work is continuing to raise funds for the organization’s various programs.

In addition to the Partners Card fall fundraiser celebrating its 25th anniversary from October 27-November 5, the annual Texas Trailblazer Luncheon has lined up a couple of tested fundraising co-chairs — Kristen Sanger and Cindy Stager.

Kristen Sanger (File photo)

Cindy Stager (File photo)

Between the two of ‘em, they’ve held various leadership roles for events benefiting Community Partners of Dallas, Housing Crisis Center, Heroes for Children, The Retina Foundation of the Southwest, Dallas Habitat for Humanity, American Heart Association, TACA and, of course, The Family Place, to name a few.

Interestingly, they both co-chaired the annual Cattle Baron’s Ball, but at different times. Kristen co-chaired the American Cancer Society fundraiser in 2012 and Cindy in 2014.

With all the expertise, it’s no surprise that the two ladies are co-chairing the 2017 Texas Trailblazer Luncheon on Friday, October 6, at the Hilton Anatole. For the keynote speaker, they’re having former FOX News Channel host Gretchen Carlson. In addition to being Miss America in 1989 and having recently made headlines about sexual harassment in the workplace, the 5’3” blonde used to work at KXAS-NBC from 1998-2000.

Also on the luncheon agenda will be the annual Trailblazer Awards that are presented to “those who create positive change and contribute to the quality of life in our community.” As for this year’s awardees, stay tuned.

PS — You might want to send Gretchen a birthday card on Wednesday.

33rd Annual Care Dallas Breakfast To Feature Actress/Author Mackenzie Phillips And Breathe Life Healing Center Founder Brad Lamm

Perhaps Mackenzie Phillips was the first one to spot Harrison Ford as a hunk in 1973 when she and Paul Le Mat drag raced with him back in “American Graffiti.” She was just 14 years old and already part of the celeb universe being the daughter of The Mamas and The PapasJohn Phillips. The hit movie had hardly made the rounds before Mackenzie was in the TV comedy “One Day at a Time.”

By the third season of the show, the 19-year-old Mackenzie was already in hot water that included arrests for disorderly conduct, drug and alcohol abuse, two near-fatal overdoses and various stints in rehab. Despite efforts to deal with her addictions, she relapsed time and time again even admitting to using cocaine when she was pregnant with her son Shane Barakan.

While she appeared to have cleaned up her act by 2010, she also made headlines in 2009 with her telling Oprah Winfrey that “she was raped by her father in a hotel room when she was 18 while passed out after a drug binge but continued to use drugs and have consensual sex with him for years.”

Since that time Mackenzie’s life has gained a sense of normalcy. In 2013 she became a Primary Substance Use Counselor and began working in the addiction field as a counselor. Just last year she joined the Breathe Life Healing Center’s staff.

Mackenzie Phillips*

Brad Lamm*

According to Breathe Life Healing Centers Founder Brad Lamm, “We are thrilled to have Mack join the Breathe family. Our clients will no doubt benefit from her expertise in the field and her personal journey to recovery. She has recovered so much – a life rich in value and substance and I cannot wait to collaborate with her. She is a brave warrior who has trudged a long road, and has built a true bridge back to life. Plus, she’s not a glum gal!”

33rd Annual CARE Dallas Breakfast Chair Mary Martin just reported that both Mackenzie and Brad will be the featured guests at the Care Dallas fundraiser at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, November 15, at the Dallas Country Club. Honorary Event Co-Chairs are Lindsay and George Billingsley.

In addition to the talk by Mackenzie and Brad, Charles Carneal will receive Margaret Sharpe Award and JDs Chippery will be presented the Community Partner Award.

While individual tickets are not available now, tables and sponsorships are. Check here to get your spot.

* Photo provided by Care Dallas

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2017 Chick Lit Luncheon

Nancy Rogers and Bethenny Frankel

After waiting for what seemed like eons, reality TV and Chick Lit fans gathered at the Hilton Anatole on Thursday, April 20, to hear from that lightning rod personality/author/business woman Bethenny Frankel.

Mary Martha Pickens, Mary Ella Bitzer and Tricia George

From the Cristal served at the VIP pre-luncheon meet-and-greet to the chatter during the presentation of the Community Partners of Dallas’ 2017 Partners for Children Award, the CPD fundraiser ran the gamut from class to crass. And then there were a couple of Bethenny comments that earned giggles and grumbles.

While this post is being finalized, check out the MySweetCharity Photo Gallery for the peeps who were part of one of the most talked-about luncheons this season.

Not Even Traffic Hassles Could Discourage Chick Lit Patrons From Meet And Greeting Luncheon Keynoter Bethenny Frankel

Lara and Bob Tafel

Twas a perfect storm that valet parkers dread on Thursday, April 20, at Preston Center East. Construction had limited parking, and rush hour at the juncture of Preston and Northwest Highway had cars playing dosey-doe. And to add to the mayhem, Bachendorf’s was the site of the Community Partners of Dallas Chick Lit Patron Party.

Chick Lit Presenting Sponsors Lara and Bob Tafel moseyed up the sidewalk. They had opted to bypass the valet, park a block away and stroll. Bob’s outfit was highlighted by a colorful pocket square. Lara claimed it was the result of last year’s speaker Tim Gunn.

Lawrence Bock, Bethenny Frankel and Katy Bock

Mary Martha Pickens, Bethenny Frankel and Tricia George

So, a patron party in itself is a full load, but in this case the keynote speaker Bethenny Frankel was on hand. Looking at times like a swarm around a queen bee, the party was a bee hive of cellphone snaps. Nonchalance was not the order of the day.

Dan Houchard, Bethenny Frankel and Maura Houchard

Wendy and Boyd Messmann

Guests on hand included Bachendorf’s Katy and Lawrence Bock, Wendy and Boyd Messmann, Maura and Dan Houchard, Anne Stodghill, Chick Lit Co-Chairs Tricia George and Mary Martha with husband John Pickens and CPD energizer bunnies Paige McDaniel and Joanna Clarke.

But it was an early evening, because the main act — the Chick Lit Luncheon — was the next day at  the Hilton Anatole.

WFAA’s Sonia Azad To Fill In At yCPD Field Day For KDFW’s Jen Myers

Well, darn it! KDFW‘s Jen Myers isn’t gonna be handling the emcee duties at Saturday’s yCPD Field Day. Ah, shoot! She’s always so much fun. But the red, curled meteorologist has a note from her doctor ’splaining why. Her planned cataract surgery was moved up a week. So, she’s definitely good for the excuse.

Jennifer Myers (File photo)

Jenny Anchondo (File photo)

Normally, Jen would have her besty morning pal/KDFW anchor Jenny Anchondo fill in for her. Not so. She has a doctor’s excuse, too. Jenny is due to deliver her first-ever munchkin any day now.

Booty Shaking (File photo)

Not to worry. The Community Partners of Dallas crew has gone across the channels and will have WFAA medical reporter Sonia Azad doing the play-by-play at The Rustic. Hope someone has warned her that the event is a combination of the Olympics and the pie fight in “The Great Race.”

Doesn’t matter. It’s more fun than having Six Flags all to your own and still helps the kids in need through CPD. Festivities start at 2 p.m. and, if you can’t pull a team together, why not just show up and watch the fun!

“Good Morning America’s” Robin Roberts Shared Her 3Ds At The Sold-Out 2nd Annual Interfaith Auxiliary Luncheon

There were those who swore on their iPads that the Interfaith Family Services could not possibly top last year’s inaugural Interfaith Auxiliary Luncheon with “Today Show’s” Hoda Kotb at the Dallas Country Club. But on Friday, March 31, the 2nd Annual Interfaith Auxiliary Luncheon returned to the DCC with “Good Morning America’s” Robin Roberts for another sold-out event and home run. Here’s a report from the field:

Anna Moss, Molly Thomas and Megan Filgo*

Interfaith Family Services held a successful and sold-out luncheon to fight family homelessness in Dallas. The 2nd Annual Interfaith Auxiliary Luncheon took place on Friday, March 31, at the Dallas Country Club with Megan Filgo, Anna Moss and Molly Thomas as the event co-chairs and Francie Moody-Dahlberg serving as the honorary chair. The luncheon was able to net $109,183.34 to help families and children escape the cycle of poverty.

Missy Leon, Francie Moody Dahlberg and Ashley Rupp*

Kimberly Williams and Whitney Tolliver*

The keynote speaker for the afternoon was Robin Roberts of ABC’s “Good Morning America.” Roberts took the podium after Whitney Tolliver, an Interfaith graduate who shared her testimonial. The entire room was teary-eyed as Tolliver told her story of becoming homeless with her 1-year-old son after she lost her home in the 2016 tornadoes, then lost her job the following month. On the day of the luncheon, Whitney was moving in to her own apartment, having graduated from Interfaith that week and ready to continue her journey towards self-sufficiency.

Robin Roberts*

As Roberts approached the stage, she thanked Whitney for her strength and courage to tell her story. She then began to lighten up the mood with words of encouragement. Roberts showed her humorous side when she opened her speech by sharing the 3 D’s she lives by: Discipline, Determination and “Da Lord.”

Roberts emphasized trusting God to lead you to the right path. She also spoke about how her initial dream of becoming a sports broadcaster took a detour and how she learned the importance of trusting her journey.

Roberts gave both a heartfelt and thought-provoking speech of the life lessons she continues to learn through her struggles with illness and adversity. When Roberts was diagnosed with breast cancer, she remembered what her mother told her: “Make your mess your message.” Roberts carried that motto throughout her recovery and decided to publicly share her story in order to save others.

By calling attention to dreaming big but focusing small, Roberts was able to leave the audience with the key message “Everybody’s Got Something.”

Proceeds from the luncheon supported Interfaith’s Hope and Horizons Children’s Program as well as Interfaith’s Home and Hope Transitional Housing Program that provides housing and support services for nearly 100 families in crisis each year.

Sponsors included:

  • Give Families Hope ($15,000) — Katy and Kyle Miller, Robyn and Don Conlon and The Hegi Family
  • Give Families Hope For A Home ($10,000) — Anna and Ryan Moss, Benchmark Bank and Benchmark Title, Nancy Carter and The David B. Miller Family Foundation
  • Give Families Hope For A Hand Up ($7,500) — Kamela and Kenneth Aboussie and Mrs. Wilson Johnson
  • Give Families Hope For Stability ($5,000) — Lincoln Property Company, Melinda and Jim Johnson, Nancy and Neil West, Prairie Creek Partners, Southwest Kia, Susie and John Adams and The Moody Foundation

For almost 30 years, Interfaith Family Services (Interfaith) has been a leading resource for working poor families and a haven for homeless children who long for stability and hope. Today, we are even more committed to our mission to empower families in crisis and break the cycle of poverty.  At the core of our work is a simple yet effective program formula: Stability + Self-Worth + Skills = Self-Sufficiency. First, we stabilize about 100 homeless families (nearly 90% of them female-led) each year by providing them with fully-furnished housing for up to a year in one of the 26 units that we own debt-free, and we offer daily children’s programs tailored to the unique needs of homeless children. Next, we increase their self- worth through on-site counseling for parents and play therapy for children. Finally, we develop their skills via career coaching, financial coaching, and life-skills classes for parents and daily homework assistance and individualized tutoring for children. These comprehensive holistic services lay the foundation for the families’ long-term self-sufficiency. Our outcomes prove that our model works.

Interfaith families earn more ($13.51/hour), save more ($1,631 on average), reduce more debt ($1,167 on average), and remain self-sufficient longer than the members of any other transitional housing providers that report their outcomes publicly.

For more information on Interfaith Family Services or to discover other ways you can support Interfaith’s work, please contact Marketing and Media Coordinator Destiny DeJesus or visit www.interfaithdallas.org.

* Photo credit: Michelle Oesterricher

JUST IN: Attorneys Serving The Community Luncheon To Benefit Junior Players With “Hamilton”‘s Renée Elise Goldsberry As Keynote Speaker

Cancel any and all plans for summer vacation. Well, at least, plan on being in town on Friday, June 23. Attorneys Serving the Community have such a reason for staying put on that Friday for lunch.

They’ve really tied things together for the 31st Attorneys Serving the Community Luncheon fundraiser at the Hilton Anatole. First, this year’s beneficiary is the award-winning Junior Players, which is the oldest non-profit children’s theater organization in Dallas. Originally offering “traditional children’s theater productions performed entirely by children and teenagers,” it changed its direction in 1989 by “providing free programming accessible to all the children of North Texas.”

Attorneys Serving the Community beneficiary Junior Players*

According to Dallas Morning News theater expert Nancy Churnin, Junior Players is “not just the play that’s the thing at Junior Players. It’s the way the company puts kids first by making quality lessons and performances free for 4,000 kids a year.”

Great pick, but who would be the on-target speaker for such an event benefiting young theatrical types by legal experts? Hold on to your petticoats and breeches. Luncheon Co-Chairs Beth Bedell and Kara Altenbaumer-Price managed to land Tony Award-winner Renée Elise Goldsberry, who originated the role of Alexander Hamilton’s sister-in-law Angelica Schuyler Church in “Hamilton: The Revolution.” Just this past fall, she took leave of the Linn-Manuel Miranda hit.

Renée Elise Goldsberry*

But don’t think Renee is a one-note actress. This multi-talented and gorgeous gal is a perfect role model for young, aspiring performers. In addition to Broadway successes (“The Lion King,” “The Color Purple” and “Rent”) and numerous flat screen appearances, (“Ally McBeal,” “One Life To Live,” “Law And Order: Special Victims Unit,” “The Good Wife,” etc.), she’s now headed to the 25th century for Netflix’s 10-episode sci-fi drama “Altered Carbon” as Quellcrist Falconer.  In addition to theatrical and screen productions, she’s even been in the Super Bowl, where she and her Broadway sister updated “America the Beautiful.”

Outside of the theater and studio, Renee has a real life with attorney-husband Alexis Johnson and her two kiddos Benjamin and Brielle.

Trivia: The luncheon will have a tinge of irony. It will be a get-together for onstage Alexander Hamilton’s sister-in-law (aka Renée) with U.S. Vice President Aaron Burr’s descendant Jennifer Burr Altabef. If you skipped American History 101, Hamilton was killed in a duel with Burr nearly 213 years ago.

According to Jennifer, who along with her husband, Peter Altabef, are serving as luncheon honorary co-chairs, “Peter and I are thrilled to be honorary chairs for this event benefiting Junior Players, a vital arts resource for young people and a treasure in our community. We are looking forward to the event featuring Renée Elise Goldsberry, whose electrifying performance in ‘Hamilton’ brought to life the incredible story of the birth of our country. Aaron Burr was a part of that story, and in ‘Hamilton,’ the audience learns so much about him and his complex relationship with Alexander Hamilton.”

Mark Friday, June 23, as a “must-stay-in-Dallas” to see and hear from this lady, who “kicked failure’s ass.”

Sponsorships and tables are available here. Individual tickets, if there are any, will be up for grabs in May.

* Graphic and photo provided by Attorneys Serving the Community

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

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

Kim Bannister, Ariana Luterman, Nancy Kerrigan and Allana Luterman

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

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

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

Nancy Gopez and Tiffany Divis

Carlotta Lennox and Pamela Graham

Lisa Cooley, Jenny Anchondo and Bela Pjetrovic

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

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

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

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

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

Stephanie Setliff

Andrew McGarrahan

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

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

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

Whitney Kutch

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

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

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

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

Nancy Kerrigan

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

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

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

Louise Herrington School of Nursing’s Going for Gold Gala Raised Funds For Scholarships With TV Producer Derek Haas Keynoting

In this world of high technology and ever-changing development in the health care world, the mainstay of the medical world is the legion of nurses who daily provide the personal and professional care so needed by patients. Needless to say, their education and training doesn’t come cheap. That is why the 6th Annual Going For Gold Gala’s “Coming Together To Make A Difference” benefiting Baylor University’s Louise Herrington School of Nursing (LHSON) on Saturday, February 25, at the Fairmont Hotel was so important.

Kristen and Jim Hinton, Shelley Conroy and Greg and Susan Pendleton Jones*

With 600 guests including Baylor Scott And White Health CEO Jim Hinton and his wife Kristen Hinton,  Baylor University Louise Herrington School Dean Dr. Shelley Conroy, Baylor University Executive Vice President Dr. Greg Jones and his wife Susan Pendleton Jones and Louise Herrington Ornelas, it was an occasion to “recognize and honor those who serve our communities — both the nurses who care for our sick and wounded and our selfless public servants in the police and firefighting communities.”

Two of those people were LHSON grad 1997 Jessica Haas and LHSON grad 2006 Annie Young, who work in the Richardson Independent School District as school nurses and saved two lives last fall.

On Monday, November 14, Jessica rescued a mom, Sarah Maupin, who had suffered a heart attack at Wallace Elementary just blocks away from the junior high. In addition to being featured in a report by WFAA (ABC) on Monday, November 14, and a story on KTVT (CBS) on Monday, December 5, Jessica was a guest on the Harry Connick Jr. Show on Wednesday, December 21.

During the week of December 5, a student collapsed on the track at Lake Highlands Junior High and Annie provided AED/CPR rescue.

Mary Ann Hill and Louise Herrington Ornealas*

Ray Vaughn*

In addition to celebrating Jessica and Annie, Gala Chair Mary Ann Hill arranged Baylor alumna/NBC-5 Co-Anchor Bianca Castro to serve as emcee. Adding to the special occasion were Dallas Police Officer Ray Vaughn’s singing “Be The Change,” and LHSON alumna Bailey Harrison Moore, BSN 2015, providing “a compelling testimony.”

Derek Haas and students*

With the help of volunteer Gala Task Force members and LHSON Student Ambassadors, Mary Ann also had silent and live auctions, as well as having Baylor graduate Derek Haas (no relation to Jessica) be the keynote speaker. In addition to co-creating and producing NBC’s hit television series “Chicago Fire,” “Chicago PD” and “Chicago Med,” his newest show, “Chicago Justice,” was just days away from premiering.

Past Going for the Gold Galas have featured champion athletes and celebrities such as: Noah Galloway, a wounded Operation Iraqi Freedom U.S. Army war veteran hero and finalist on “Dancing with the Stars” along with Dallas Cowboys Wide Receiver Terrance Williams in 2016; Heisman Trophy winner and NFL Quarterback Robert Griffin III (RGIII) and former Baylor linebacker and NFL Hall of Famer Mike Singletary in 2015; America’s gold medal legend Mary Lou Retton in 2014; former Dallas Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith in 2013 and Baylor’s championship-winning women’s basketball coach Kim Mulkey, who joined former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman in 2012.

LHSON is passionate about preparing exemplary nurses for the 21st century, and the key to doing that is recruiting and retaining outstanding students. Proceeds from the gala provide scholarships as well as funding for the new nursing school building in the Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas.

The evening was made possible thanks to the generosity of Louise Herrington Ornelas, Elizabeth and Drayton McLane Jr. and the following patrons and sponsors:

  • Golden Gran Gala Hosts — The Ginger Murchison Foundation, Suzanne and Tom Martin and Donna and Scott Miller
  • Gold Benefactor — Marie and John Chiles, Dr. and Mrs. J. Stuart Crutchfield, Shari and Terry Hill, Pam and Mike Jones and Martha and John Minton
  • Gold Patron — Dr. D.M. Edwards
  • Golden Sponsor — Jay and Jenny Allison, Susan Key and Gary E. Baker, Barnabas Foundation Inc./Anita Jones, Ruth and Don Buchholz, Sue and Rex Jennings, Laurie and Mark Nielsen, Alice and Ken Starr and Lois and Dexter Ward
  • Golden Friend — Rita and Carl Bonds, Mr. and Mrs. C. Robert Byrd, Joy (Helm) and Steve Cobb, Chris and Michael Felton, Karen and Paul McDonald, Cheryl and Ron Hylse Murff, Mr. and Mrs. Stephen D. Reynolds, Dr. and Mrs. David L. Ring, Dr. Lisa Stepp, Dr. Kathryn and Don Tinius and Terri Heard and Nancy Withrow
  • Sustaining Member — Dr. and Mrs. C. Brad Bowman
  • Video Underwriter — Brenda and Bob Barkley
  • Invitation Underwriter — Marie and John Chiles
  • Special Underwriter — Suzanne and Martin
  • Table Host — Prosperity Bank and Leisa and Jimmy Winters
* Photo credit: Mary and Michael Hammack

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

 

MySweet2017Goals: Jody Dean

Jody Dean (File photo)

According to 98.7 KLUV’s The Morning Team ringmaster Jody Dean,

“Just found out my first grandchild is due in April. A little girl. My goal is to not turn into a complete mush.”

JUST IN: Actor, Businessman, Thorn Co-Founder Ashton Kutcher To Be New Friends New Life 14th Annual Luncheon Speaker

Tanya Foster and Lisa Cooley (File photo)

This spring’s lineup of luncheon speakers/special guests was sorta looking like a girls-only situation (Simone Biles for Jonathan’s Place, Bethenny Frankel for Community Partners of Dallas, Robin Roberts for Interfaith Family Services, Rachel Zoe for Mad Hatters Tea, Nancy Kerrigan for The Elisa Project and Arianna Huffington for Genesis).

But leave it to New Friends New Life’s 14th Annual Luncheon Co-Chairs Lisa Cooley and Tanya Foster to provide someone smart, influential, successful and of the male gender to serve as guest speaker — Ashton Kutcher.

Ashton Kutcher*

Whoa! Why Ashton? Yes, he’s hot. Yes, he’s a movie star. Yes, the last time he was seen in this neck of the woods was for the iced-over Super Bowl with then-wife Demi Moore. And, yes, he’s now happily married to Mila Kunis and the very cool father of two.

So, what does he have to do with New Friends New Life’s mission of restoring and empowering formerly trafficked and sexually exploited women, teens and children?” A heck of a lot and it ain’t no recent undertaking!

Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore (File photo)

When he was married to Demi, the couple founded Thorn, an organization that develops innovative technology solutions to fight the sexual exploitation of children.

According to Ashton, “Technology has completely changed the landscape when it comes to the abuse and exploitation of children. We created Thorn as a way to turn the tables and leverage technology to be a part of the solution, instead of a part of the problem.”

While the marriage didn’t last, Thorn did. It has “helped law enforcement identify and recover over 6,000 domestic human tracking victims to date (with 474 of those victims being received in the state of Texas).”

And Dallas is a major point of interest for his work.

Tanya pointed out that “In Dallas alone, sex trafficking is a $99 million criminal enterprise. Enlightened by so many staggering statistics and stories from survivors, Lisa and I are committed to rallying the support needed to bring an end to this injustice. There is much work to be done. ”

The luncheon will take place on Wednesday, May 10, at the Omni Dallas Hotel with Gail and Gerald Turner serving as honorary co-chairs. Sponsorships are now available ranging from $2,500-$100,000. Individual tickets will be available in March, but don’t wait. Splurge and become a sponsor by calling Jennifer Yarbrough at 214.965.0935.

* Photo credit: Nigel Parry/CPI Syndication

JUST IN: Multi-Talented Bernadette Peters Will Headline The Dallas Summer Musicals 2017 Gala In November

Bernadette Peters*

She’s the favorite of Stephen Sondheim, best buds with Mary Tyler Moore and has more curls than a bushel of rotini. She’s been in show biz since she was 3½ and got her Actors Equity Card at the ripe old age of 9. She’s appeared on TV, Broadway and the silver screen.  She’s written children’s books, dated Steve Martin and appeared in Playboy Magazine in lingerie designed by Bob Mackie.

She is multi-talented Bernadette Peters and she will be headlining the Dallas Summer Musical fundraiser at Fair Park’s Music Hall on Saturday, November 4.

Since “An Evening With Bernadette Peters” will benefit the Dallas Summer Musicals and its education and community outreach programs, it’s especially poignant to have TI executives Andy Smith and Paul von Wupperfeld co-chairing the event.

Andy Smith and Paul von Wupperfeld**

Each has childhood memories of attending the Dallas Summer Musicals and the long-lasting impressions they took away.

According to Paul, “Going to Dallas Summer Musicals at Fair Park with my grandmother was my first exposure to ‘real’ theatre on the big stage. Learning the stories and hearing the music instilled a love for the stage in me that endures to this day. I am thrilled at the opportunity to help another generation experience that same magic.”

As for Andy, he recalled, “My 16th birthday present was a trip from Tyler to see the DSM production of ‘Camelot.’ We (Paul and Andy) both fell in love with musical theater through DSM, and we’ve also seen how DSM has touched the lives of youth in our community through their outreach and education programs.”

While individual tickets are not available (drat!), sponsorships and underwriting opportunities can be discovered by calling the DSM Development office at 214.426.6333.

* Photo credit: Andrew Eccles 
** Photo provided by Dallas Summer Musicals

News 8 Daybreak’s Alexa Conomos May Be Leaving WFAA And News 8 Daybreak But Not The Nonprofits

Alexa Conomos (File photo)

For those nonprofits who worried their botoxed brows about word that WFAA’s News 8 Daybreak’s Alexa Conomos was leaving WFAA’s morning show, take a chill pill.

It was 16 or so years ago that Alexa’s journey from California brought her to North Texas and TXCN. Then, as TXCN went bye-bye in 2002, Alexa transitioned to co-anchoring with Ron Corning to wake folks up from 4:30 a.m. to 7 a.m.

Over the years, Alexa personally went from adorable single girl to glowing married lady to multi-tasking mama of three. In recent months, Alexa realized that her priorities needed a revisit and that making breakfast for her kidlets and having date nights with her hubby Bradley trumped all.

Luckily knowing Alexa, her support of the North Texas nonprofit world will continue beyond her days at the conclusion of her contract with WFAA in June.

JUST IN: Bethenny “Skinnygirl” Frankel To Be Keynote Speaker At Community Partner’s Of Dallas’ 11th Annual Chick Lit Luncheon

Chick Lit Luncheon*

There were naysayers who doubted that Community Partners of Dallas could actually come up with an author/speaker for their annual Chick Lit Luncheon to top their 2016 speaker Tim Gunn.

Bethenny Frankel*

Well, it looks like they’ve gone and done it — Bethenny “Skinnygirl” Frankel!

According to CPD President/CEO Paige McDaniel, “We are absolutely thrilled to announce Bethenny Frankel as the featured speaker for this year’s Chick Lit Luncheon. Following last year’s record-breaking tenth anniversary event, we know Bethenny’s straight-forward and witty approach to relationships, nutrition, business, parenting and all things-‘Real Housewives’ will certainly keep our devoted attendees entertained. This year is not to be missed!”

If you’re new to Bethenny world, hold on to your gelled nails. A week in her life is the stuff that keeps “Page Six” reporters salivating. In addition to creating the Skinnygirl brand of cocktails, chocolates, etc., she shot to fame thanks to reality TV (Bethenny Ever After, Bethenny Getting Married?, The Real Housewives of New York City and you know the drill).

But long before she became the reality boob tube darling/diva, her childhood was fraught with drama. When she was four, her father left her mother Bernadette Birk. A year later her mom remarried. Bethenny has described Bernadette as “trying to commit suicide in the kitchen in front of me. We had abuse, we had alcohol, we had gambling. What mother would ever do that to their child?” That may explain their 12-year estrangement.

But wait, there’s more. Just this past year she divorced husband #2 Jason Hoppy after battling in the divorce courts for four years, got depressed this past year and found happiness six months ago with multimillionaire Dennis Shields, who is married to a high school chum of Bethenny. You can’t make this stuff up!

In her spare time, she has written books with the most recent book seeming appropriate — “I Suck at Relationships So You Don’t Have To: 10 Rules For Not Screwing Up Your Happily Ever After.”

Mary Martha Pickens (File photo)

Tricia George (File photo)

Chances are that by the time Bethenny hits Dallas for the Friday, April 21, luncheon at the Hilton Anatole, she’ll have even more tantalizing tales to tell about her life as the “skinnygirl.” The luncheon is being co-chaired by Tricia George and Mary Martha Pickens with Katy Bock, Marybeth Conlon and Lori Anna Dees co-chairing the underwriting.

Table sales and sponsorships are available now! As for individual tickets, they will be available in April… “if space permits.” Translation: Get your buddies together and lock down that table pronto.

* Graphic and photo provided by Community Partners of Dallas