On Mother’s Day A Box Of Chocolates Is Nice, But A Piece Of Jewelry Would Be Sweeter For More Than Just Your Mum

Kendra Scott Gives Back Party*

Mother’s Day is up ahead. Of course, brunch is a must on Sunday, but what about a little “trinket” to commemorate the occasion? Jeweler designer Kendra Scott and Children’s Medical Center Foundation may just have the sparkle to add to the lady of the day.

On Wednesday, May 10, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., the six area Kendra Scotts will host a Kendra Gives Back Party with a three-fer. The three parts are you not only can purchase “a beautiful piece of jewelry,” but 20% of every sale will benefit Children’s Health and if your “purchase ads up to more than $100, you’ll be entered to win a piece from the new Summer Collection.

Seriously, wouldn’t a little bling be so much better than a box of chocolates or a toaster? Plus, your gift will benefit mothers with children at Children’s.

* Graphic courtesy of Children's Medical Center Foundation

2017 Crystal Charity Ball Committee Honored Its Advisory Board And Beneficiaries With A Reception At Jennifer And Richard Dix’s Digs

Jennifer Dix, Christie Carter and Mary-Elizabeth Carrell

The wine and the conversation flowed freely on Wednesday, April 5, when Crystal Charity Ball‘s friends and supporters gathered at the magnificent, Preston Hollow home of Jennifer and Richard Dix. And, why not? The event, after all, was being held to honor to group’s advisory board and the 2017 CCB beneficiaries.

Anna Hundley, Brent Christopher and Mary Pat Higgins

Guests such as Jan and Fred Hegi, Vinnie Reuben, SuSu Meyer, Michael Teeter, Tucker Enthoven, Leslie and Bryan Diers, Beth Thoele, Anna Hundley, Mary Pat Higgins, Mary-Elizabeth Carrell, Pam Busbee and Patti Flowers and Tom Swiley swarmed happily into the home’s kitchen area, where they found the likes of Christie Carter and Lisa and Clay Cooley. Christie, who’s a big supporter of Dallas CASA, was still talking about that group’s Cherish the Children luncheon held earlier in the day, where entrepreneur Casey Gerald had given an inspiring talk. Commented Christie: “It was a powerful luncheon.”

Nickey and Debbie Oates

Tom Swiley

Sandra Helton

Michael Teeter

On the business front, luxury home builder Nickey Oates and car dealer Clay Cooley both reported that their businesses were in overdrive… For Brent Christopher, it was a switch of roles. In the past as president/CEO of Communities Foundation of Texas, he had served on the advisory board. Having just taken over Children’s Medical Center Foundation this past year and its being selected as a 2017 CCB beneficiary, he was on the other side of the CCB spectrum.

Pam Perella

Finally, it was time for 2017 CCB Chair Pam Perella to address the group, and what better place was there to do it than in the crowded kitchen, where Cassandra Tomassetti‘s crew had been creating mini-feasts much to the delight of folks like Santa Clara of Assisi Catholic Academy Stephanie Matous and Sister Sandra Helton.

Standing on the stairway, Pam said, “I might be a little biased, but I’m really thrilled with our beneficiaries this year,” referring to the Autism Treatment Center, Big Brothers Big Sisters Lone Star, the Children’s Medical Center Foundation, the Dallas Holocaust Museum, Hunger Busters, the Presbyterian Communities and Services Foundation, Rainbow Days, and the Santa Clara of Assisi Catholic Academy.

Vin Perella, Beth Thoele, Tucker Enthoven, Leslie and Bryan Diers

“Our goal this year is to raise $5.83 million,” Pam went on. “We’re almost there, so no big deal!” With that, the crowd laughed heartily as Pam gave way to longtime CCB supporter/patron Chuck Thoele of RGT Wealth Advisors. “Crystal Charity Ball is really good at three things,” Chuck said, beginning to chuckle. “Picking their beneficiaries. Raising a lot of money. And throwing a good party!”

No one at the Dix home that night would argue with that.

For more photos from the party, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Children’s Medical Center Foundation Is Prepared For Weather Questions About Saturday Morning’s Red Balloon Run And Ride

Wouldn’t you just know that the weather-guessers have been as fickle as Scarlett O’Hara filling out her dance card. Some are saying that tomorrow morning is going to be wet, windy and wild. Others are swearing that it will hit tonight and Saturday morning will be as dry and crisp as a nice bottle of Pinot Blanc.

Red Balloon Run And Ride*

Luckily, the Children’s Medical Center Foundation’s Red Balloon Run And Ride organizers are on top of developments. Yes, they’re in negotiations with Mother Nature, but they’re also prepared to communicate any changes.

According to the Foundation’s Heidi Cannella, “We will provide updates (any delays, cancellations, etc.) from now through tomorrow. Our primary concern is safety.” Those updates will be available at www.childrens.com/runandride.

Red Balloon’s corporate sponsor WFAA will also be providing information about the weather conditions and how they’ll be affecting the annual fundraiser.

* Graphic courtesy of Children's Medical Center Foundation

49th Annual Family Night At Six Flags Over Texas Raises Funds And Fun For Children’s Medical Center Letting Early Birds Save Some Money

What’s better than a bargain? A bargain and a night at Six Flags! That’s exactly what’s available until Friday, April 7, thanks to the Children’s Women’s Auxiliary’s 49th Family Night at Six Flags Over Texas.

Tweety Bird, Joanna Clark, Sylvester, Sally Dutter and Bugs Bunny*

How about some questions?

  • What kind of bargain? The tickets at the gate will be $74.99 plus tax on the night of the event. If tickets are purchased online or at DFW-area Tom Thumbs beforehand, they’re only $40! Yup! That’s a $30 discount.
  • What do you have to do to get the discount? No need to give your social security number or your firstborn. If you decide to purchase via online, just go here.
  • Are there any freebies? Yes, but you have to be two years old and younger.
  • Are sponsorships available? You need ask. Want proof? Here!
  • So, have fun, raise funds and save yourself some fivers.
* Photo provided by Children's Medical Center Foundation

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

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

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

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

Big Brothers Big Sister Lone Star — $500,000

Bill Chinn

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

Rainbow Days — $500,000

Tiffany Beaudine

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

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

The Autism Treatment Center — $582,020

Neil Massey

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

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

Autism Treatment Center

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

Presbyterian Communities & Services Foundation — $541,098

Presbyterian Communities and Services Foundation board member Mary Ann Hyde

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

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

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

Presbyterian T. Boone Pickens Center guest suite

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

Faith Presbyterian Hospice Child and Family Bereavement Program play room

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

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

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

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

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

Dallas Holocaust Museum and Center for Education and Tolerance

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

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

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

Comprehensive Gait and Mobility Program aquatic facility under construction

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

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

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

Pam Perella, Angela Cupp, Britt Cupp and Brent Christopher

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

Hunger Busters — $1,192,500

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

Iron fences topped with razor wire at Hunger Busters

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

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

Hunger Busters volunteers

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

Santa Clara of Assisi Catholic Academy — $850,000  

Sandra Helton

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

Santa Clara of Assisi Catholic Academy

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

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

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

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

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2017 Crystal Charity Ball Bus Tour

Just when you think you’re the source of all knowledge regarding North Texas area nonprofits, those Crystal Charity Ball gals bring you down to earth thanks to a bus tour. The annual bus tour provides firsthand knowledge of how the funds raised will be put to use and introduces new programs and organizations that in many cases have gone under the radar.

At some places there are children going through their daily routine. At others, work is in place for facilities that will help countless youngsters in need.

Neil Massey

Claire Emanuelson, Cheryl Joyner, Pam Perella, Leslie Diers, Tucker Enthoven, Trey Hoobler and Lisa Longino

This year’s tour included eight beneficiaries (Autism Treatment Center Inc., Big Brothers Big Sisters Lone Star, Children’s Medical Center Foundation, Dallas Holocaust Museum, Hunger Busters, Presbyterian Communities and Services Foundation, Rainbow Days and Santa Clara of Assisi Catholic Academy).

Pam Perella, Angela Cupp, Britt Cupp and Brent Christopher

While the post is being…. ah, shoot! You know the drill. Head on over to MySweetCharity Photo Gallery to see what was on the tour that brought tears, laughter and inspiration CCB Chair Pam Perella and her ladies.

Rachael And Bob Dedman Have Drs. James Baker And Drew Bird Provide Updates For Children’s Food Allergy Center Supporters

For many parents, the sight of a scape on the knee or full blow hit at a soccer game may seem devastating. For other folks, those childhood nicks and bumps would almost seem like a cheek kiss. Those are parents whose children suffer from life-threatening food allergies.

For some, it can be just a simple peanut that can send their child to the grave. And the threat is very democratic. It knows no difference in race, creed, color or financial standing.

Bob and Rachel Dedman, Nancy Dedman and Brent Christopher

Alicia and Scott Wood

This lesson was well known to Rachael and Bob Dedman, Bob’s mom Nancy Dedman and Alicia and Scott Wood, who spearheaded the Food Allergy Center at Children’s Health. It was when Rachael’s and Bob’s daughter, “Little Nancy Dedman, had her first allergic reaction that snapped the Dedmans’ attention to the amazingly unappreciated medical condition. The result was their gathering up friends and funds to create the Food Allergy Center at Children’s and having Dr. Drew Bird head up the department.

Brett and Cindy Govett

Kern and Marnie Wildenthal

On Tuesday, January 24, the Dedmans opened up their palatial home in Preston Hollow to re-energize the program, complete with Pat and Charles McEvoy, Baxter Brinkman, Cindy and Brett Govett, Dr. Becky Gruchalla, Katy Miller, past Children’s Medical Center Foundation President Kern Wildenthal and his wife Marnie Wildenthal and Christina Durovich.

Chris Durovich and Brent Christopher

Greeting the 50 or so guests at the entry hall was Children’s Health CEO Chris Durovich and Children’s Medical Center Foundation President Brent Christopher. The pair but especially Chris were remarkably relaxed greeting the attendees, with Chris referring to himself and Brent as “Ping and Pong.” Chris also recalled how, when he was a young man, Ben and Jerry would hand out free ice cream in his Vermont hometown.

Speaking of food, the micro-doubled-baked potatoes placed on silver trays of beans were such a hit that even the most diet-conscious types couldn’t resist ‘em.

Bob Dedman desk

Bust in hallway

Pat and Claude Presidge, like others, wandered back to Bob’s office and discovered the most marvelous desk. In addition to the inlaid leather desktop, there was a fabulous elevated building that extended the full length of the desk that had secret compartments. No surprise. After all, guests had been greeted on either side of the entry hall by TK-foot tall busts of the Dedman daughters (“Little Nancy Dedman and Catherine Dedman).

When the living room was filled to capacity, Rachael introduced Fare (Food Allergy Research and Education) CEO/Chief Medical Officer Dr. James Baker, who told how his organization’s purpose was to fight for the rights of those suffering from food allergies. Just days before, Fare had filed a federal complaint against American Airlines about “the airline’s not allowing passengers with severe nut allergies to pre-board its planes along with other passengers with disabilities.” The reason for the pre-boarding is to allow the passengers “to wipe down their seats and tray tables,” according to Jim.  

Becky Gruchalla and Jim Baker

(Editor’s note: It should be noted that while American does not serve nuts on board, it does serve other nut products and other passengers are allowed to bring nuts on board.)

When the subject of the EpiPen price hike was mentioned, grumbling and not-happy-faces were noted in the crowd.

Drew Bird

  • Brent talked next very briefly, noting that Dallas County has one of the highest populations of children with food allergies in the country. Then Dr. Drew Bird spoke to the group, including his wife Brenda Bird, and introduced his new associate Dr. Christopher Parrish before announcing the opening of a food allergy center branch in Plano.

Points of interests about food allergies from Children’s Health included:

  • Eggs, milk and peanuts are the most common causes of food allergies in children, with wheat, soy and tree nuts also included.
  • Peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish commonly cause the most severe reactions.
  • Nearly 5% of children under the age of 5 have food allergies.
  • One in every 13 children in the U.S. — or about two in every classroom in America — has a food allergy.
  • Dallas County has one of the highest rates of food-allergic children in the country.
  • Food-induced allergic reactions send some to the emergency room every three minutes.

Currently, the Food Allergy Center is working with UT Southwestern on such clinical trials as:

  • Miles — The milk patch study is a two-year desensitization study in which patients are randomized to one to three doses or a placebo and wear a small patch between their should blades.
  • Palisade Phase 3 — The peanut oral immunotherapy study is a one-year desensitization trial in which patients are randomized to either an active or placebo group. They being with 3 mg. of peanut protein that is gradually increased over 20 weeks to 300 mg.
  • Pepites Phase 3 — The peanut patch epicutaneous immunotherapy study randomizes patients to one to three doses or a placebo delivered via a small patch worn between the shoulder blades.
  • Slit — In this three-year peanut desensitization study, patients are randomized to either an active or placebo group. Patients takes very small doses of peanut protein under the tongue daily, gradually increasing the dose to a maintenance level.

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.

JUST IN: 2017 Crystal Charity Ball Beneficiaries Announced

Alas, there was nary a Crystal Charity Ball gal in sight on Thursday, February 2. The ladies had hunkered down at Communities Foundation of Texas for the presentation of the 2017 beneficiary finalists.

Pam Perella (File photo)

Lisa Longino (File photo)

Leslie Diers (File photo)

According to 2017 CCB Chair Pam Perella, Charity Selection Chair Lisa Longino and Underwriting Chair Leslie Diers, the recipients of the 2017 fundraising efforts will be:

  • Autism Treatment Center Inc. — $582,020
  • Big Brothers and Big Sisters Lone Star — $500,000
  • Children’s Medical Center Foundation — $1,111,735
  • Dallas Holocaust Museum — $526,770.35
  • Hunger Busters — $1,192,500
  • Presbyterian Communities and Services Foundation — $541,098
  • Rainbow Days — $500,000
  • Santa Clara of Assisi Catholic Academy $850,000

That means the CCB 100 gals have a goal for $5,804,123.35 to haul in for the eight children’s nonprofits. Thanks to the fall CCB Fashion Show, the CCB Ball on Saturday, December 2, and a heck of a lot of elbow grease, that goal will be met for the children of Dallas.

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

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

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

Jody Dean (File photo)

Jenny Q (File photo)

El Chiquilin (File photo)

Chris Sommer (File photo)

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

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

Lacey Parker and Renee Parker

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jody Dean, Jenny Q, Lacey Parker and Renee Parker

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

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

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

Give yourselves a pat on the back.

Radiothon Revealed A Story How Lacey Parker’s Half Heart Was Made Whole At Children’s Medical Center 12 Years Ago This Month

Jody Dean, Lacey Parker, Renee Parker and Jenny Q

Lacey Parker and her mom Renee Parker came from DeSoto to chat with KLUV’s Jody Dean and Jenny Q this afternoon at Children’s Medical Center for the fundraiser Radiothon, joining folks like Tom Thumb’s Connie Yates, Children’s Medical Center Foundation’s former President Dr. Kern Wildenthal and ADT’s Jessica Short and Dolly Lynch.

Lori Wagoner, Kern Wildenthal and Heidi Cannella

Jessica Short and Dolly Lynch

Connie Yates

That doesn’t seem like such a big deal. Only it wasn’t DeSoto, Texas. The pair came 200 miles from Stonewall, Louisiana, where Lacey attends North DeSoto Middle School.

But the trek wasn’t new for the two. They’ve made the trip twice a year for the past 12 years.

It was in 2004 that Renee discovered that she was six months pregnant and ended up giving birth to Lacey two months later. The moment she saw her daughter, she knew Lacey had Down’s Syndrome. No problem for the Parker family.

But there was a problem. The infant was blue. The doctors at the first hospital more or less told the parents to love Lacey as much as they could, because she probably wouldn’t last three weeks.

Upon hearing the news, Renee was so upset, she went to the bathroom and cried. So much so that the janitor had to remove the door to get Renee out.

Luckily, the Parkers sought a second opinion at Dallas’ Children’s Medical Center and learned that the bottom of Lacey’s heart was missing. So, at the age of six months, she had open heart surgery at the hands of Dr. Stephen Leonard.

But before the delicate, six- to eight-hour-long surgery took place in December 2004, Dr. Leonard and the Parkers made an agreement: if it appeared that they were losing Lacey, he would call them to the “back door” to say “good-bye.”  

After four hours, they got the call. Arriving at the doors and prepared for the worst, they saw Dr. Leonard with Lacey in his arms. For the first time ever, their little girl had a healthy pink color. She went home four days later.

Lacey Parker and Renee Parker

Since that time, Lacey has been picked for her middle school cheerleading team and was named Miss Amazing for Louisiana and then Miss National Princess for Miss Amazing.

Her reaction at becoming a cheerleader was taped and went viral and was viewed by millions. The result? Lacey was featured on “Good Morning America,” CNN and the “Ellen DeGeneres Show.”

That story had those in Children’s Medical Center’s Butterfly Atrium spellbound. But then Jody, Jenny Q and Lacey broke the moment with the question of, “What’s your favorite professional football team?” Louisiana Lacey replied, “The Saints.” Jenny Q pushed the envelope and asked what Lacey’s second favorite team was … “Perhaps a Texas team?” Lacey didn’t hesitate: “No.”

La Grande team

Those are the kind of stories that are being broadcast Friday over KLUV 98.7 and La Grande.

The hope is that donations will be made for little ones like Lacey to have a chance to cheer.

Christmas Is For Children Radiothon Is On Air Thursday And Friday

No sooner was the Children’s Health Holiday Parade’s cancellation in the rear-view mirror, then the Children’s team focused their attention on Children’s Medical Center becoming a radio station Thursday and Friday. No, they’ll still be handling the patients’ needs, but Children’s Medical Center will also be part of the 11th annual Christmas is For Children Radiothon. Broadcasting on 98.7 KLUV in English and La Grande 107.5 in Spanish, local celebrities and kids like Abel Escamilla Jr., Ace Shelton, Lacey Parker, Maddie Smith, Makenna Rodolph, Matthew Maurer, Rina Cantrell, Russell Vitrupp, Serene Zimmerman, Sim Scott, the Sutton Family and Tatum Teague will come together to raise funds benefiting Children’s.

2015 Christmas is For Children Radiothon results*

2015 Christmas is For Children Radiothon results*

Why last year Morning Drive Anchor Jody Dean and the crew provided a check reading $1,003,236 for Children’s Medical Center Foundation.

So while you’re driving around town, switch you radio to KLUV or La Grande and learn about the miracles that happen at Children’s. Who knows? You just might want to add your two cents to the efforts. And if you’re desk-bound, you can always listen via your computer.  

* Photo provided by Children's Medical Center Foundation

Nancy And Herbert Hunt Become Les Femmes Du Monde’s First Couple Of The Year With Tributes, Laughter And Saved Ribbons

Nancy and Herbert Hunt

Nancy and Herbert Hunt

It seemed like the local fundraisers were in overdrive on Tuesday, October 25, evening. Over at the Dallas Country Club, Children’s Medical Center Foundation’s Brent Christopher was johnny-on-the-spot when the doors opened for Les Femmes du Monde’s 2016 Couple of the Year Awards Dinner. It was the first time that the organization had honored a couple, let alone a man. And that couple was Nancy and Herbert Hunt, who have been married 65 years resulting in six children, 16 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren.  

No sooner did he congratulate Les Femmes on their selection, than he was off to the Crescent for another Children’s event. Luckily, Children’s Bill Braem and his bride Kathy Braem were on the scene representing Children’s, which one was of the evening’s beneficiaries.

Bill and Kathy Braem

Bill and Kathy Braem

Marj Waters

Marj Waters

Barbara Hunt Crow, Jan Ward, Mary Lee Cox and Therese Rourk

Barbara Hunt Crow, Jan Ward, Mary Lee Cox and Therese Rourk

Caroline Rose Hunt

Caroline Rose Hunt

Venise Stuart

Venise Stuart

Also on hand was the other beneficiary, World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth represented by President/CEO Jim Falk, Marj Waters, Venise Stuart, Ramona Jones and loads of Hunts.

At one point in the reception, Event Chair Mary Lee Cox recalled to Barbara Hunt Crow how she had also chaired the fundraiser when Herbert’s sister, Caroline Rose Hunt, was honored in 1988.

To get the program underway Mary Lee, who could hardly be seen behind the podium, introduced emcee Scott Murray. Despite protests from Scott, Mary Lee reeled off his numerous awards and accomplishments.  When Scott finally got hold of the mic, he asked, “Do you all know my agent — Mary Lee?”

Following the invocation by Highland Park Presbyterian Church Senior Pastor Rev. Bryan Dunagan and dinner (Caesar salad, panko herb crusted chicken with garlic mashed potato, baby carrots, broccolini with boursin lemon cream and desserts of chocolate caramel cake or lemon meringue cake), Scott read a proclamation from Highland Park Mayor Joel Williams III making October 25 Nancy and Herbert Hunt Day.

Jim Falk

Jim Falk

Washington and Lee alumnus Jim Falk told the group how fellow Washington and Lee alumnus Herbert had offered to step in for a fraternity brother who was unable to drive to Hollins College for a blind date. Herbert volunteered because he had heard the date was cute and sharp. It turned out to be Nancy…”and the rest is history.”

Keeping on schedule, the award was presented to the Hunts, but opening it proved to be a challenge thanks to the gift wrap, ribbons and tape. At one point, Herbert told the audience, “My wife always saves the ribbons. We’re not going to save the paper tonight.”

Finally a piece of crystal was produced with the inscription, “Les Femmes du Monde to Nancy and Herbert Hunt, Couple of the Year 2016.”

Herbert then told the guests, “One of the great things about having children and family is you get a lot of advice. And on the way to the restroom, the advice from Bruce Hunt was, ‘Keep it short.’”

And that he did saying, “Thank you, thank you, thank you and I appreciate all of your coming.”

He stressed that family was all important to Nancy and himself, but with a twinkle in his eye, he added, “Even though I can’t remember all those great-grandchildren’s names.”

Joe Barton

Joe Barton

Keynote speaker/Congressman Joe Barton started off by telling Herbert, “I can top what Bruce Hunt told you. Doug Hunt told me, ‘You don’t have to talk if you don’t want to.’ So, this isn’t going to be long.”

Having known Herbert over the years, Joe admitted that he had to do a bit of research on Nancy, who prefers to stay out of the limelight. In asking her what she was most proud of, Nancy replied her family. He also discovered her love for dogs, especially Yorkshire Terriers.

Joe decided to delve a little deeper and checked with the kids, learning that she was known as “Grand Nana.” He also found out that years ago, she was having a rough time teaching her three-year-old daughter to read. After checking with medical experts, she discovered the youngster had dyslexia. That led her to find out that Herbert also had it.

As for Herbert, Joe had wondered why the son of oilman H.L. Hunt chose to go to Washington and Lee instead of Texas A&M, the University of Texas, or even the University of Arkansas. Herbert told him that his late mother, Lyda Hunt, had been on the board of Mary Baldwin and the girls there dated the Washington and Lee boys, “So that’s where you’re going to go.”

Following his mother’s orders, Herbert arrived at Washington and Lee prepared to major in geology. The only problem was that there were only two geology professors on staff, and they were strong on coal but not so regarding oil. That became evident when H.L. started questioning the professors, who were stumbling with their answers. Herbert interrupted with the right information, to which H.L told his son to “shut up,” because he wanted to find out what the professors knew.

For his class project, Herbert was to go to Louisiana and survey a site that his dad would drill. Following his legwork, he went to H.L. with the information and asked him about drilling. H.L. asked Herbert if he had the money for the operation and Herbert told his father that it would cost his entire life savings. H.L.’s response: “Welcome to the oil business.”

Joe said that of all the leaders and millionaires he had met during his 30 years in Congress, he had never met a more down-to-earth or self-effacing man than Herbert Hunt. The congressman concluded his remarks saying that neither Herbert, his late brother Bunker Hunt, nor any of the Hunt children had ever asked to do anything that wasn’t right for America.

Thanks To Spirit Halloween, Children’s Ghouls And Goblins Had Their Pick For Halloween Garb

Racks of costumes

Racks of costumes

Despite trailing mobile IVs or being chauffeured in red wagons, the Children’s patients were just typical kids warming up for Halloween in the Children’s Medical Center Dallas’ Butterfly Atrium on Thursday, October 13.

There were racks of brand new costumes just ripe for the pickings. The children were able to shop for the ultimate perfecto costume just in time for trick and treating. They also had a chance to pick up backpacks, play games, have their faces painted and, of course, test out treats.

Andrea

Andrea

Payslea

Payslea

While some like Andrew hit the tables to apply crayons to paper, others like Payslea got a new look thanks to the face painters.

Even the Children’s therapy dogs got into the spirit of the day giving licks instead of tricks to fellows like Jesus.

Jesus

Jesus

It was all made possible by Spirit Halloween’s fundraising arm Spirit of Children. In addition to providing and hosting the party for the kids, the company has provided a total of $670,816 for Children’s Medical Center Foundation. The Spirit of Children was established in 2006 to help “make hospitals less scary for kids and their families by providing fun during Halloween and funding all year long.” Joining the Spirit Halloween volunteers and staffers were members of Child Life, too.

Spirit of Children representatives

Spirit of Children representatives

To be very honest, it was hard to tell who was having more fun — the youngsters or oldsters.

BTW, the voting on the Children’s Medical Center Dallas’ cutest Howl-oween pooch is still going on. Just check out the Children’s ad on the right side of this page before it’s too late.

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

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

North Texas Giving Day

North Texas Giving Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

It Was All Painted Hands On Deck For Hyundai Hope On Wheels Presentation For Children’s Medical Center Foundation

The cancer-battling kids at Children’s Medical Center are such incredible troopers. Having faced daunting treatments, loss of hair and being hooked up to mobile IVs, they take it all in stride. With their families at their side, they trust the wisdom and advice of their doctors and the team of healthcare providers without hesitation.

But on Friday, September 2, a handful of the young patients were wondering if these wise professionals had gone a bit batty.

But more about that later.

Brent Christopher and Kern Wildenthal

Brent Christopher and Kern Wildenthal

With chairs in the Butterfly Atrium filled, Children’s Medical Center Foundation President Brent Christopher welcomed all to the Hyundai Hope On Wheels presentation that included area Hyundai dealers and former Children’s Medical Center Foundation President Kern Wildenthal. Brent reported how in the state of Texas, one in five children diagnosed with cancer is treated at Children’s.

Stephen Skapek

Stephen Skapek

Division of Pediatric Hematology-oncology chief/Dr. Stephen Skapek told of the advances that were being made at Children’s in partnership with UT Southwestern, thanks to generous financial support. Proudly he showed off his “lab coat of Hyundai” honor that he keeps hanging in his office.

Then Hyundai South Central Regional Manager Tom Hetrick told how this event “was the best part of [his] job.” Since 1998 Hyundai nationally has provided a total of $115M to pediatric cancer research. This year the goal was $13M, with $150,000 provided by local Hyundai dealers for Children’s.

Tom Hetrick

Tom Hetrick

This year’s contribution will support the work of Dr. Kenneth “Kenny” Chen, who gratefully thanked the Hyundai team and told how 40,000 children are annually diagnosed with pediatric cancer and one in eight will not survive. He added that “only 4% of the national cancer budget goes to childhood cancer research.” It was just four years ago that Kenny and “his colleagues at Children’s Medical turned surgically removed kidney tumors — once threats to life — into new sources of information on cancer. They sequenced the genes of dozens of tumors.” Thanks to the $150,000 grant from Hyundai, Kenny will be to build on their discoveries.

This undertaking is especially important to pediatric cancer research. The 44 genes were from Wilms tumors, “a rare kidney cancer that primarily affects children under the age of five. Also known as nephroblastoma, Wilms tumor is the most common cancer of the kidneys in children. Studying mouse models and human cells. Kenny plans to investigate whether using drugs designed for adults that put microRNAs back into cells can stop or even reverse Wilms tumor cell growth.”

Kenny then introduced “the main event”: 12-year-old cancer patient Jack Maurer, who had a Wilms cancer tumor removed surgically in 2007, came to the podium. With his mother Amy Maurer smiling on the front row, the brown-haired Coppell seventh grader, whose tumor may have been one of those used in the program, briefly told the group about his stay at Children’s and thanked the Hyundai dealers for their donation. He added later, “It’s neat to think I might have been part of that. It’s like I left a legacy at the hospital that took care of me.”

Following a standing ovation, Hyundai Van General Manager George Donaldson admitted that Jack was “a tough act to follow for sure,” but he rose to the challenge saying, “This is not a day about selling cars or promoting our businesses. This is an issue that is truly at the core of who we are… We are proud to be part of this community and even more proud to have an institution like this one serving our children every day. Children are our future. They should have a chance to grow, play and learn in a world that is cancer-free. This is why we are so committed to this cause. It is for the kids.”

Following a photo session with Hyundai fellows, the Children’s team of professionals and kids all were invited upstairs to the driveway. While the adults knew what was going to happen, the kids were a bit mystified. They knew it had to do with a car and something about paint.

Once in the driveway, they spied a white Hyundai with colorful mini-hand prints. Then they were ushered to a table with bowls of paints. Once there, the adults painted the kids’ hands with the paint and had them hand-print a large piece of paper. Hmm, this was so not the usual “adult-approved” situation.

Mackenna Rodolph

Mackenna Rodolph

Then they were taken to the white Hyundai and told to go at it. Frisco third-grader Mackenna Rodolph was the first and laughed as she was actually urged to lay her red-painted hands on the vehicle. She was soon joined by eight-year-old Conner Sides, five-year-old Tatum Teague and Jack.

Hyundai dealers and from the left Jack Maurer, Tatum Teague and Mackenna Rodolph

Hyundai dealers and from the left Jack Maurer, Tatum Teague and Mackenna Rodolph

As if that wasn’t a little unusual, the kids also were pointed to hand-print Kenny’s pristine white lab coat. One kiddo looked at the adults as if to ask, “Are you serious?” But once again the adults and Dr. Chen were all beaming as the kids got handy.

Tatum Teague, Mackenna Rodolph, Kenny Chen, Conner Sides and Jack Maurer

Tatum Teague, Mackenna Rodolph, Kenny Chen, Conner Sides and Jack Maurer

The children decided that they weren’t being punked and got into the occasion, sporting colored hands and smiles. It was a day when the best cancer treatment was kids mixing it up with paint.

Still another photo session was set up with the Hyundai dealers in front of the car. But they wanted the children in the photo. As one of the dealers put it, “This is about the kids.”

As for Jack, he was destined for even more to celebrate his conquest of cancer, thanks to the Hyundai locals. They had arranged with Children’s to have Jack throw out the first pitch at Sunday’s Texas Rangers’ game against the Houston Astros to commemorate Children Cancer Awareness Month.

Communities Foundation Of Texas Holds A Two-For-One Reception For Departing President/CEO Brent Christopher

Tuesday, June 28, was not only to be a farewell reception for Communities Foundation of Texas’ outgoing President/CEO Brent Christopher, it was also his 50th birthday.

But before all the brief remarks were made, the CFT reception area filled with bigwigs like Amy and Michael Meadows, Jeanne Tower Cox, Mike Rawlings, Rena Pederson, David Johnson, Cheryl Hall, Molly Bogen, Kevin Hurst, Jane Pierce, Bill Holston, Katherine Wagner, George Ellis, Gail Thomas and Jim Bass.  So, who said the boldfacers had evacuated North Texas for the 4th of July holiday?

Bill Holston, Rena Pederson and Larry Sall

Bill Holston, Rena Pederson and Larry Sall

David Johnson and Carol Goglia

David Johnson and Carol Goglia

Asked how the search for Brent’s successor was going, CFT Board Chair Frank Risch reported that it was going amazingly smoothly. Leaving the next day for the holiday weekend at the Risch home in Cape Cod, he admitted that the summer hiatus would not slow down the search efforts.

Frank Risch

Frank Risch

But Frank was soon at the podium recalling Brent’s 11-year tenure, which had accomplished the following:

  • the number of funds have grown 30+%
  • assets have grown 43%
  • CFT has received $900M in gifts
  • and granted close to $900M
  • his 11 years represents over half of the total grant giving we’ve done in the past 63 years
  • trained 46 social service agencies in data-driven decision making
  • nine agencies implementing our working families success model with over 1,000 clients
  • 50% increase in discretionary grant-making
  • the staff has tripled
  • has grown Educate Texas, and much more

He also told that when he assumed leadership of the Board, Frank had been directed to check out an envelope left in the CFT library by his predecessor, Fred Hegi. The enveloped contained a piece of paper reading, “Don’t lose Brent.”

But typical of Frank, he eloquently summed up Brent’s departure as both leaving CFT in very good shape and moving ahead in supporting North Texas as CEO of Children’s Medical Center Foundation.

Brent Christopher

Brent Christopher

On cue, a birthday cake in the shape of a mammoth bow tie with 11 candles (one for each year that Brent had worked at CFT) was rolled out. With a deep breath, Brent blew out the candles, thanked the guests and emphasized the importance of philanthropy in the North Texas community. In closing he quoted Teddy Roosevelt,

“Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”

Brent Christopher

Brent Christopher

Wearing a bow tie reflecting CFT’s colors, he went on to say, “This is a community that dares mighty things. We don’t live in the gray twilight here in Dallas. It’s an extraordinary place to call home and it’s an extraordinary community to be part of. Thankfully, I’m not moving. I’m just going to be at another institution and look forward to being with you in countless ways for years to come. But for now I am standing between you and cake.”

Brent then returned to farewell handshakes and hugs.

Children Medical Center Foundation’s Kern Wildenthal Farewell Tribute Dinner Was Filled With Friends, Fans And Family

It was billed as a farewell tribute dinner to Children’s Medical Center Foundation President Kern Wildenthal hosted by Children’s Health System of Texas CEO Chris Durovich and his wife Christina Durovich. But the dinner in the Pecan Room at Harlan Crow‘s Old Parkland on Tuesday, June 7, was more of a love fest for more than 80 members of the Kern fan club. They ranged from philanthropists (Mary McDermott Cook, Margot and Ross Perot and Gay and Bill Solomon), brainiacs (Sean Morrison  and wife Theo Ross), business types (Mark Zacheis and Anne Motsenbocker), fundraising champs (Randi Halsell, Barbara Stuart, Connie O’Neill and Ann Corrigan), community leaders (Dan Branch and Joel Williams) to friends (Shirley and Bob Miller and Cyndi and Mark Bassel) and family, like big brother Hobson Wildenthal.

Christina Durovich and Dan and Stacey Branch

Christina Durovich and Dan and Stacey Branch

Mark and Cyndi Bassel

Mark and Cyndi Bassel

Ed and Randi Halsell

Ed and Randi Halsell

Mark Zacheis

Mark Zacheis

Mary McDermott Cook

Mary McDermott Cook

Sean Morrison

Sean Morrison

The waves of guests kept coming, and Christina and Chris greeted each like an old friend. Upon arriving, Brent Christopher, who will be following Kern as head of the Foundation, immediately sought out the man of the hour.

Kern Wildenthal and Hobson Wildenthal

Kern Wildenthal and Hobson Wildenthal

Marnie Wildenthal and Shirley Miller

Marnie Wildenthal and Shirley Miller

But it was the beginning of summer, so talk during the pre-dinner reception was travel-oriented. Kern and wife Marnie Wildenthal were leaving the next day for a 16-day trip to London, Tuscany and New York. Brent was taking his brood of kids to Japan. He admitted that his son envisions Japan as an entire world of Nintendo. Little did father or son know about the upcoming Pokémon Go craze.

Others like Stacey Branch and Susan Williams were chatting up the marital status of the kids.

But Chris eventually called the guests to their tables for an excellent dinner that was followed by brief but poignant remarks about Kern’s accomplishments by Chris and Children’s Medical Center Foundation Chairman of the Board John Eagle.

John Eagle and Marnie Wildenthal

John Eagle and Marnie Wildenthal

Chris Durovich and Kern Wildenthal

Chris Durovich and Kern Wildenthal

John told how, under Kern’s tutelage, the Foundation had enjoyed a record number of new gifts in 2015, including 15 donations of $1 million or more. Kern also slashed Foundation fundraising costs by 25 percent, John pointed out. Then he added: “Kern raises as much money in his sleep as most fundraisers do in a lifetime.”

In his remarks, meantime, Chris recalled how Kern had raised $160 million over three years, boosting the Foundation’s annual fundraising average to $50 million to $70 million from $15 million to $20 million previously. “Kern, you have been such a huge friend to the kids and families in this community,” Chris said. “And Marnie, thank you for the example that you’ve been.”

Kern Wildenthal and his gift

Kern Wildenthal and his gift

Following the bestowing of gifts upon the Wildenthals—he got a black leather briefcase, she got a black leather valise—Kern and Marnie graciously thanked all for the support, and told how Children’s had been an important part of their lives. Admiring his new briefcase, Kern said, “This is a very good sign. I thought [the gift] was going to be a wheelchair!” With that he turned serious and, as usual, self-effacing: The money raised for the Children’s Foundation “was not the result of me. It was the result of years of service and excellence. No one person could do anything like that.” Then he concluded the evening, perhaps with a tip for his successor: “You don’t persuade people to be generous. People are generous, and you match them up with their passions.”

For more photos of the evening’s festivities, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: Kern Wildenthal Farewell Tribute Dinner

John Eagle and Kern Wildenthal

John Eagle and Kern Wildenthal

Marnie Wildenthal and Shirley Miller

Marnie Wildenthal and Shirley Miller

Just weeks before turning over the leadership of Children’s Medical Center Foundation to Brent Christopher, Dr. Kern Wildenthal was feted by Christina and Chris Durovich on Tuesday, June 7. The gathering of stellar types took place in the Pecan Room with laughter and good wishes.

Christina Durovich and Dan and Stacey Branch

Christina Durovich and Dan and Stacey Branch

While the post is being prepared, check out the folks who were in attendance at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Inaugural Kidstruction Had Architectural, Construction And Engineerin Firms Providing $57,000 For Children’s

Architectural, construction and engineering types have made North Texas amazing. Need proof? Look around. Their talents and materials have had the brainiacs like Mark Lamster impressed and brain scratching.

But these folks have also put their dough where the future lies. And that future is the well-being of North Texas children. Of course, you need proof. So, Children’s Medical Center Foundation‘s Kidstruction is the perfect example.

It seems that architectural, engineering and construction industry leaders challenged their peers to “donate a portion of their paychecks to Children’s during the month of March, depending on their companies’ pay schedules.”

Thanks to more than a dozen companies, 129 staffers participated to the tune of $57,000 that “will support essential Family Support services such as social work, pastoral care and Child Life, which includes clown, art, art, music and pet therapies.”

Donor(D160621R): KIDstruction event with check presentations from participating architecture firms that raised funds for CHST.*

Kidstruction event with check presentations*

Why, some of these companies like McCarthy Building Co. and Schwob Building Co. even rose to the occasion by matching “their employees’ gifts, while others contributed direct donations and sponsorships.”

According to Children’s Medical Center Foundation President Kern Wildenthal, “Our inaugural Kidstruction Week campaign’s success was fueled by the support of a highly engaged steering committee representing some of the most respected construction, design and architectural firms in North Texas. The active participation and support of the companies’ executives and employees – in Kidstruction Week and through many other events – continues to help us expand our philanthropic footprint in the region.”

Originally, the effort was just a few key folks like Texo CEO Meloni McDaniel, who took the lead and got others on board like committee members Adam Panter, Mark Stewart, Whitney Bietendorf, Jason Hale, Wendy Hatchell, Joe Jouvenal, Shelby Adams, Kimberly Burke, Brent Archer, Nick Hasty, Whitney Teague, Hattie Peterson and Michael Beal.

They in turn got the following companies to participate: Skanska USA, McCarthy Building Co., Schwob Building Co., HDR, WHR Architects, Spring Valley Construction Co., TDIndustries, Datum Engineers, Walter P Moore, Chamberlin Roofing and Waterproofing, Alpha-Barnes Real Estate Services, PRDG and HKS.

For some who participated, the effort was more than a corporate project, it was a personal involvement like Spring Valley Construction Co. Marketing Manager Whitney Teague, whose daughter was treated for leukemia at Children’s and released in January.

According to Whitney, “I never thought my own daughter would be a patient at Children’s, but after what we have been through, I understand, like I never could have before, the value of this hospital and its place in the community.”

Plans call for meetings to begin in August to organize Kidstruction 2017 with a goal to double the number of participating companies and individuals. Interested? Children’s Medical Center Foundation’s Audra Cozart can help you get involved.

* Photo provided by Children's Medical Center Foundation

Children’s Medical Center Foundation Provides Stories About The Family Hero

Children's notice

Children’s notice*

At a time when heroes seem to be needed more than ever,  this upcoming Father’s Day couldn’t come at a better time.

Okay, let’s be very honest. Not all fathers represent the ideal paternal figure. Too often headlines report cases of abuse and neglect by men, who should be on the frontline for the children in their care.

That is why this Sunday is so important to give credit and a pat-on-the-back for the men who nurture and serve as positive role models for kids. Sure, at times these fellas seem to be preoccupied with work and they may spend a bit too much time on the golf course or the couch. But when it comes to their kids, their priorities are right in order.

There are many great stories about these guys. The folks over at Children’s Health have firsthand knowledge of them, having witnessed and worked with those dad-type heroes. As the countdown to Father’s Day is underway, Children’s Medical Center Foundation has provided stories about some of these men, who have been through gut-wrenching times with their kids.

Just look over to the right side of the MySweetCharity page and check the Children’s notice like the one pictured here. A different story will be provided there every other day until Sunday.

BTW, the stories, like the best things in life, are absolutely free for the reading.

* Graphic provided by Children's Medical 
Center Foundation

JUST IN: Kohl Backs Children’s Medical Center Foundation’s 2016 “Play Well Stay Well Program” To The Tune of $330,817

Just ask any kiddo and they’ll probably know exactly how many hours and minutes until school’s out for the summer. That means there will be plenty of munchkins out and about. But not all of that free time is so great. Each year way too many youngsters end up overdoing and/or having accidents that result in everything from bandages to emergency room runs.

Christopher Durovich (File photo)

Christopher Durovich (File photo)

To cut down on those “oops”, Kohl has once again stepped with a donation to Children’s Medical Center Foundation for its “Play Well Stay Well Program.” This year’s contribution is a whopping $330,817 that brings its financial backing of the program since 2001 to a tidy $4.3M.

“The Play Well Stay Well Program” is designed to provide families with information on “how to lead a healthy, safe and active lifestyle.”

According to Children’s Health System of Texas President/CEO, Christopher Durovich, “We greatly appreciate Kohl’s for its continued generosity to Children’s. The company’s dedication and support of healthy recreation and wellness has been of great importance in advancing our mission of making life better for children.”

The funding is the result of the Kohl’s Cares cause merchandise program where Kohl sells $5 books and plush toys with 100% of the net profits benefit children’s health programs nationwide.

JUST IN: Communities Foundation Of Texas’ Brent Christopher To Replace Retiring Kern Wildenthal At Children’s

Don’t you just love a secret? Well, there’s one that has been so stealth that when it broke today, folks thought it was a belated April Fools’ joke. Actually, it was a win-win and a twofer situation!

First, Children’s Medical Center Foundation President Dr. Kern Wildenthal is retiring come June. Well, sock-erooni. It was just three years ago that Kern took over the reins of the Foundation after being skewered by The Dallas Morning News investigative team over expense reimbursements. Alas, the end results were that Kern owed something that amounted to a heavy lunch at Abacus and the reporters and editors are no longer with the News.

When asked what his plans for retirement were, Kern pulled a Stanley Marcus. He said that he would start consulting. For those who need the translation, when Mr. Stanley “retired” to consult, he admitted that he made more money and had oodles more fun as a consultant. That’s because he was tapped by international corporations for his experience, knowledge and connections.

Kern Wildenthal (File Photo)

Kern Wildenthal (File Photo)

Christopher Durovich (File photo)

Christopher Durovich (File photo)

Brent Christopher File photo

Brent Christopher (File photo)

The second part of the news is Kern’s replacement. Smart Children’s Chris Durovich when alerted to Kern’s decision to “retire” recalled a young whipsnapper, who had worked with him when Chris replaced George Farr. It was a fella by the name of Brent Christopher. But after leaving Children’s, Brent had headed up Communities Foundation of Texas and walloped the local nonprofit fundraising with his bowtie and North Texas Giving Day. But come on. Brent had done so much more behind the scenes than the obvious.

When approached about the transitions, all types of platitudes from Kern and Brent were exchanged. It was sorta like the Miss America winner of Miss Congeniality. But the reality was that come the end of CFT’s fiscal end, Brent would no longer be officing at CFT and Kern would be a treasure trove of advice.

Would that affect the killer North Texas Giving Day? Nope. According to Brent, no one would notice his MIA. After all, the staff was so in place and face it — he was just the pretty face with bowtie.

As for his replacement, a search committee was in place to find that person. Good luck.

If you want to have a pity party, have it at CFT for the time being. If you want to have a homecoming, have it at Children’s. If you want a brainiac consultant, contact Kern.