18th Annual Mission Ole Guests Got All Painted Up To Raise Funds For Trinity River Mission At Chicken Scratch And The Foundry

That first wave of winter chill really hit North Texas on Saturday, October 28. But thousands still rallied for area walks/runs in the morning. By evening the brisk temperatures had nonprofits pulling portable heaters out of storage and guests releasing their furs, cashmeres and leathers from closets.

The Trinity River Mission’s 18th Annual Mission Ole held forth in jeans, boots, cowboy hats and day of the dead painted faces at Chicken Scratch.

Margaret Spelling

Ann Kellogg Schooler and Matt Schooler

Lisa Cooley, Cindy Turner, Gail Fischer and John Corder

Earlier in the day, Mission Ole C0Chairs Ann Kellogg Schooler and Margaret Spelling and Advisor Extraordinaire Cindy Turner had a tent installed over the outdoor picnic tables and stage just in case the rain continued. There was no need. The rain had stopped and the reception took place in the open area around the fire pit and near the portable heaters. For those in need of greater heat, there was the shed with the silent auction items and the never-ending buffet.

Ciara Cooley and Katekyn Fletcher

Clay Cooley and Aaron McWhorter

Hillary Turner and Chris Calandro

Tanya McDonald and Paige McDaniel

As guests like Honorary Co-Chairs Lisa and Clay Cooley, Ciara Cooley with Chi O sister Katekyn Fletcher, Tanya McDonald, Paige McDaniel, Carole and Scott Murray, Hilary Turner, Chris Calandro and Luanne McWhorter arrived, mariachis and painted faced models proved the perfect selfie backdrops.

Mission Ole models

Yatzil Rubin and Thomas Surgent

Web Pierce

Lesley Lanahan

Lauren Thedfor

Face artist at work

While some guests like Yatzil Rubin, Thomas Surgent, Lauren Thedford and Webb Pierce arrived with faces ready made, others like Lesley and Michael Lanahan and Matt Schooler got in line to have customized painted faces.

Charles Haley

Honorary Chair Gail Fischer arrived late in the night. Husband Cliff Fischer was in India on business. As for Gail, she had a couple of reason for the delayed arrival. First the electricity in the family digs had gone out. Just as Gail had set up lit candles to see her way around, the electricity came back on. Then she took a wrong turn on her way to Chicken Scratch resulting in her heading to Fort Worth.

An hour into the event Gail arrived and immediately set about locating longtime Fischer bud Charles Haley. Someone told her that he had arrived early and left. But, no. Gail spotted the tall former Dallas Cowboy surrounded by fans and friends at the far end of the shed. She also laughed that another guests was also sporting the same black shirt with day-of-the-dead accents that her brother John Corder was wearing.

Other points of interests included Sunie Solomon reporting that monies were still being counted for the week-before Cattle Baron’s Ball; Greg Nieberding and Eddie Ortega telling how the night before they had hosted the past chairs and president of the Junior League of Dallas; rancher Aaron McWhorter preparing to head to Las Vegas with some of his bulls for the bull riding competition.

Steve and Sunie Solmon

Greg Nieberding and Eddie Ortega

For more looks are the faces in the crowd, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Dallas Symphony Gala’s Grand Finale For Maestro Jaap Van Zweden Bloomed With Color Thanks To Boldfacers’ Gowns And Bowties

Holy moly, the 2017 fall//winter season got off to a topsy-turvy start within the first two weeks of September. The TACA Custom Auction Gala got off to a rocky start on Friday, September 8. But a week later things picked up with the Crystal Charity Ball Fashion Show that turned out to be more than a homecoming back to the flagship store with a parade of fashions by designer Zac Posen. It was a true celebration of fashion and faces.

Just a day after the CCB fashion extravaganza, the 2017 Dallas Symphony Gala was to kick off Maestro Jaap van Zweden‘s farewell year, with more-than-god-given-talented YoYo Ma at his cello on stage at the Meyerson. In years past this first blowout gala of the season has had everything from politico bigwigs, belly dancers and British royalty to gargantuan floral displays that served as backdrops for the black-tie set.

Dennis and Laura Moon and Wendy and Boyd Messmann

But perhaps the organizers were keeping costs close to the vest by replacing the breathtaking decorations at the entrance of the past with a huge white board with “DSO Gala 2017” behind plastic flowers dangling on see-through cords from the ceiling. Instead of looking like a shower of flowers, it reminded one of a vinyl shower curtain with flowers. Photographers scrambled to rearrange guests so the beautiful people didn’t appear to have the lilies and leaves sprouting from their coiffed heads. 

Clay Cooley, Margaret McDermott and Lisa Cooley

But, heck, most guests didn’t even notice the welcome display as they headed straight to the reception in the lobby. Interim DSO President/CEO Michelle Miller Burns stationed Co-Chairs Lisa and Clay Cooley to greet guests just to the left of the check-in lines. Downstairs in the lower lobby, meantime, the Capital One VIP reception was underway. When DSO Communications Manager Chelsey Norris was asked how they could have a VIP event without Co-Chairs Lisa and Clay, she  suggested that the Cooleys would join the VIPs afterwards. But that opportunity didn’t happen. As soon as the chimes rang to call the black-tie guests to their places, all were table-bound, where the table settings reflected the grand finale season for van Zweden, with cool emerald greens from the table linens to the Elephant ears and malachite.

Kara and Randall Goss

MiChel and Dan Hagood

Betsey Urschel and Ross and Margot Perot

Jody and Sheila Grant

Nancy Nasher’s Pradas

But who needed all the flourish of flowers and out-of-town celebs when the real scene stealers were the local boldfacers and fashions galore? In addition to Lisa and Clay (she was in a raspberry Michael Faircloth, he in Chris Despos, complete with a white feathered bow tie) and Honorary Chair Margaret McDermott, there were Rhonda and Fraser Marcus (Rhonda said her burgundy gown was by “a British designer” and her earrings were by Boucheron); Kay and Brent Franks (she in Catherine Deane, he in a Belvest tux); Anne Davidson in Monique Lhuillier gold; Sheila and Jody Grant (she was in silver-and-white Alexander McQueen, with a Chinese pearl necklace, while Jody said of his tux, “I’m a Tom Ford guy”); Nancy Nasher and David Haemisegger (Nancy’s green bejeweled kicks were by Prada); Barbara and Bob Sypult (she was in a Connie Roberson gown); Donna and Herb Weitzman (she was wearing a Christian Lacroix gown with Prada shoes and a Kara Ross handbag); Sara Lee and Stan Gardner (Stan’s tie matched her gold dress); Kara and Randall Goss (her off-the-shoulder gown was by Maticevski, and her gold earrings were from Alighieri, while Randall was in a Zegna tux); MiChel and Dan Hagood (she couldn’t remember her designer, but thanks to Kara Goss’ sneaking a peak, the name on the label was Talbot Runhof); Jolie and Bart Humphrey (her low-cut gown was by Herve Leger, and he was in an Armani tuxedo); Sherwood Wagner (in a Carolina Herrera gown “with a Sherwood twist”); Betsy Crousen (she was in Fendi, with a Judith Lieber bag); and Laura and Dennis Moon (she in Carolina Herrera with Jimmy Choo shoes and bag, he in a tuxedo from Culwell and Sons).

Melissa Lewis

Tiffany Divis

Betsy Crousen

Bart and Jolie Humphrey and Nancy and Mike Bierman

But it wasn’t just the ladies who provided the splashes of brilliance. No, siree. Some of the gents (Clay, Paul Divis, Blaine Nelson and Dan Patterson) showed their true colors thanks to their bow ties. Why, Ford Lacy‘s tiny-cherries-festooned cummerbund and tie were made from an Hermes scarf!

Clay Cooley

Paul Divis

Dan Patterson

Blaine Nelson

Cece Smith and Ford Lacy

Niki and Ryan Anthony

Principle trumpet Ryan Anthony arrived on the scene with his wife Niki Anthony. Was Ryan taking a pass on the night’s concert? Nope, he was going to grab a bite to eat and then head to the stage for the performance.

Other guests included Wendy and Boyd Messmann, Tiffany and Paul Divis, Margot and Ross Perot, Marnie and Kern Wildenthal, Patti and Blaine Nelson, Melissa and Paul Stewart, Myriam and Randall Graham, Diane and Hal Brierley, Nancy and Mike Bierman and Micki and Mike Rawlings (said one guest of the mayor: “He’s probably looking around to see if there are any statues in here he can remove”).

For more photos of fashions, faces and flowers, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2017 Dallas Symphony Gala

Clay Cooley, Margaret McDermott and Lisa Cooley

With sweeping gowns and bow ties ranging from feathers to colorful prints, the 2017 Dallas Symphony Gala officially kicked off the mega-gala fundraising season on Saturday, September 16, at the Meyerson. Joining the leadership team of Co-Chairs Lisa and Clay Cooley was Honorary Chair Margaret McDermott.  

Kara and Randall Goss

Cece Smith and Ford Lacy

Jody and Sheila Grant

In addition to being a lavish show of swell-egants, it was also the final gala performance by Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala Maestro Jaap van Zweden. To add to the special occasion, cellist Yo-Yo Ma joined Jaap and the orchestra on stage following a seated dinner and just before the evening’s after party.

While the post is being prepped, the fashions and boldfaces of the night can be seen at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

2017 Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala Decorations Revealed Reflecting Maestro Jaap Van Zweden’s Farewell Celebration Season

Todd Fiscus and Adele Ichilian

Event guru Todd Fiscus had just returned from a break in Mexico. The weeks earlier had had him in Sonoma, Calif., and a ranch in Wyoming and everywhere but Mars. But thanks to NDA (non-disclosure agreements), all he could show for his handiwork was a tan.

Before presenting the sneak preview of the 2017 Dallas Symphony Gala lookey-lookey on Tuesday, August 15, at the Meyerson Symphony Center, he did fess up to Culinaire Catering Director Adele Ichilian about the newest event trend — cellphone check-ins. Seems that folks who are hosting big-time weddings, birthdays, whatevers don’t want to be in the swamp of social media. As Todd put it, social media has become the four horsemen of the apocalypse: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and SnapChat.

To solve the problem, Todd has created cellphone cubbyholes like yesteryear’s hotel key cubicles. Guests hand over their phones before entering the event, receive a receipt for the phone, and pick it up when leaving the occasion. While the guest is partying, Todd has arranged for the cellphones to be charged up.

Made sense. Example: For wedding photographers trying to capture the “money shot” of the newlyweds having that first kiss, the main aisle has been filled with guests’ arms stretching out with cellphones to also capture the moment.

Jana Etheridge and Clay and Lisa Cooley

Michelle Miller Burns and Randy Wilhoit

But on this night, Todd was laid back in shorts at the Meyerson for the DSO Gala décor presentation for guests including Jana Etheridge, Randall Wilhoit and Katherine and Key Coker.

According to Todd, DSO interim CEO Michelle Miller Burns and  DSO Gala Co-Chairs Lisa and Clay Cooley, there were “still a few tables available” for the Saturday, September 16, Gala, which will launch Farewell Celebration Season for departing  DSO Music Director Jaap Van Zweden, who’s decamping to lead the New York Philharmonic.

Therefore the Gala at the Meyerson will have a sort of “grand finale” look and feel, Todd said, with cool emerald greens (from the table linens to the Elephant ears from Brazil!) and malachite reflected throughout.

2017 Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala table setting

Joining Jaap and the DSO musicians will be the world-famous cellist Yo-Yo Ma, who is always a North Texas music lover’s favorite.

The concert will be preceded by a cocktail reception and seated dinner in the Renaissance Foyer with Honorary Chair Margaret McDermott.

Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala After-Party seating

As for the much-anticipated after-party, by contrast, it will be a “fun, sexy version of an after-party,” all aquas and hot pinks with a DJ providing the music.  

Tickets for the season’s first formal gala range from concert-and-after-party tickets to full-blown Gala packages.

 

MySweetCharity Opportunity: Dallas Symphony 2017 Gala

Clay and Lisa Cooley (File photo)

According to Dallas Symphony 2017 Gala Co-Chair Lisa Cooley,

My husband, Clay and I, are honored to serve as co-chairs of the Dallas Symphony 2017 Gala on Saturday, September 16th at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center. Arguably, the world’s greatest living cellist Yo-Yo Ma will perform with Dallas Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Jaap van Zweden to the Farewell Season for the conductor.  We are thrilled to have philanthropist Margaret McDermott to serve as gala honorary chair. 

The black-tie evening, under the wizardry of designer Todd Fiscus, will include cocktails, the concert, seated dinner, After Party and dancing.  The After-Party is chaired by Graeme Ross and Lara and Brian Pryor.  After-Party honorary co-chairs are Wren and Benji Homsey.

Funds from the event will benefit the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s education and community programs that reach more than 250,000 North Texas residents annually, including 30,000 children. Capital One is the gala concert sponsor.

For tickets or sponsorship opportunities, please visit Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala.

First Ladies Of Children Charities Fundraiser Were Feted And Photographed At The Annual Former Crystal Charity Ball Chairs’ Dinner

Clay and Lisa Cooley

It was the gathering of vets on Wednesday, May 24, not the military type, but rather the fundraising variety. As the golf carts sped guests from the street past the tennis court, the bridge, the fountains and the manicured grounds of Lisa and Clay Cooley‘s estate, the occasion was the annual former Crystal Charity Ball chairmen’s dinner. Each of these gals had headed the CCB in providing more than $137M for Dallas County children’s charities since its founding in 1952.

The evening Chair Jennifer Dix had earlier in the day had all the furnishing in the sunken living room overlooking the lush lawn, pool and creek removed. Flawlessly, roundtables were put in place complete with place cards and centerpieces by Garden Gate.

As guests arrived via the mini-limos, they were directed for a couple’s photo shoot and then past the open kitchen and the formal dining room to the great room, where a mammoth table was set up with a feast of food. And that was just for the cocktail party.

Cynthia Mitchell, Bob and Jill Smith and Gloria Martindale

Becky Bright and Rob Adair

Margo and Bill Goodwill

Barbara Stuart, Tincy Miller and Bette Mullins

Tucean Webb

Caren Kline

In between takes, the talk was about  Cynthia Mitchell’s pooch having to possibly have eye surgery following a mishap at the groomers… Nickey Oates arriving sans 2009 Chair/wife Debbie Oates, who was grandma sitting… 1976 Chair Lindalyn Adams was a no-show due to a fall.

While this crowd of former chairs, their spouses/dates, the 2017 CCB executive committee and representatives of the evening’s sponsors from Bank of America, US Trust Private Wealth Management and Merrill Lynch, could have easily spent the night ooh-ing and ah-ing the Cooley estate or just catching up, they finally took their places with pianist Tommy deSalvo playing the Star Wars theme.  

Pam and Vin Perella

After 2017 CCB Chair Pam Perella welcomed the crowd, she invited the guests to settle back and enjoy the evening. But just as servers starting placing plates on the tables, Pam flashed her Mary Tyler Moore smile and asked the former CCB chairs — Christie Carter (2016), Michal Powell (2015), Caren Kline (2013),  Aileen Pratt (2012), Connie O’Neill (2011), Cynthia Mitchell (2010), Gloria Martindale (2008), Debbie Snell (2006), Jill Smith (2005), Margo Goodwin (2004), Karen Shuford (2000), Becky Bright (1999), Tincy Miller (1997), Barbara Stuart (1994), Tucean Webb (1992), Linda McFarland (1979) and Sally Bos 1960) — to gather in front of the mansion’s fountain in the driveway for the annual group photo. (Bit of CCB historic trivia: When Sally Bos chaired the 1960 gala, she was still in college.)

 

Linda McFarland, Debbie Snell, Tincy Miller, Margo Goodwin, Jill Smith, Sally Bos, Caren Kline, Christie Carter, Gloria Martindale, Cynthia Mitchell, Michal Powell, Aileen Pratt, Tucean Webb, Connie O’Neill, Karen Shuford, Becky Bright and Barbara Stuart

In front of the fountain, the photo was taken and the ladies returned to their chairs for a Cassandra dinner of baby green salad with madeira port poached pear, goat cheese, celery and honey pearls; pan-seared beef tenderloin, twice backed potato, crispy onions and saved Brussels sprouts; and warm gala apple crisp and cinnamon ice cream.  

More photos of the evening can be found at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

JUST IN: First-Day Sales Of Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala Single Ticket Sales Astounded Even DSO President/CEO Jonathan Martin

Jonathan Martin (File photo)

Despite Dallas Symphony Orchestra President/CEO Jonathan Martin disappointing many with his recent announcement of leaving North Texas for Cincinnati, he also shared some good news about the upcoming DSO Gala. It seems that the day that the single tickets for the DSO Gala went on sale, they really blew the DSO circuits.

When asked the cause for this DSO history-making situation, Jonathan said that it was three-fold: the amazing leadership (Co-Chairs Lisa and Clay Cooley and Honorary Chair Margaret McDermott), featured cellist Yo-Yo Ma and the final gala concert under the direction of DSO Music Director Jaap van Zweden.

Make sure that your reservation is in for the Saturday, September 16, black tie fundraiser at the Meyerson.

JUST IN: Philanthropist Margaret McDermott To Serve As Honorary Chair For Dallas Symphony Orchestra 2017 Gala

The fall season of fundraising is already making news. Dallas Symphony Orchestra 2017 Gala Co-Chairs Lisa and Clay Cooley have just announced that North Texas matriarch of philanthropy Margaret McDermott will serve as the honorary chair for the Saturday, September 16, fundraiser at the Meyerson with world-famous cellist Yo-Yo Ma as the featured musician.

It will be a reunion of sorts. Just five years ago Yo-Yo performed with DSO Music Director Jaap van Zweden for the first time. Afterwards the two mega-stars joined Margaret at the post-concert reception.

Yo-Yo Ma, Jaap van Zweden and Margaret McDermott (File photo)

Alas, this performance may well be the final time Yo-Yo and Jaap will make beautiful music in the McDermott Hall, since Jaap is making his farewell tour as music director.

Tickets and sponsorships for the black-tie gala are available here!

In the meantime, why not check out the Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger Soluna? It’s going on now through Sunday, June 4.

JUST IN: Lisa And Clay Cooley To Chair 2017 Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala With Yo-Yo Ma As Featured Musician

The day is already starting with breaking news. This announcement comes from the Dallas Symphony Orchestra about its 2017 DSO Gala on Saturday, September 16. DSO President/CEO Jonathan Martin just revealed that Lisa and Clay Cooley will be co-chairing this year’s black-tie gala at the Meyerson.

Clay and Lisa Cooley (File photo)

According to Jonathan, “We are delighted that Lisa and Clay have agreed to chair this year’s gala. Their philanthropic work in Dallas is strongly recognized in our community, and we know they will lead an event that will be a night to remember.”

Among the Cooleys’ numerous philanthropic involvement are The Crystal Charity Ball, The Cattle Baron’s Ball, The American Cancer Society, The Family Place, New Friends New Life, Family Gateway, American Heart Association, The Dallas Opera, Callier Center for Communication Disorders, St. Mark’s School of Texas, The Hockaday School and Southern Methodist University.

The gala event is considered the fall season opener for black-tie fundraising with photographers hustling to snap the elegant crowd during the reception preceding the seated dinner in the Meyerson lobby and the concert in the Eugene McDermott Concert Hall.

But there’s still more news from Jonathan! Internationally renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma will be the guest musician performing the Dvořák Cello Concerto with DSO Music Director Jaap van Zweden and the DSO. 

Japp van Zweden and Yo-Yo Ma (File photo)

Jonathan said, “There is no bigger soloist in classical music than Yo-Yo Ma. He is revered for his musicianship as well as his commitment to education. We are so pleased that he will be the Gala guest artist to kick off and celebrate the 10th and Farewell Celebration Season of Music Director Jaap van Zweden.”

Yo-Yo is a perfect pick. In addition to being over-the-top brilliant with a bow, he’s incredibly fun and, like the Cooleys, has a killer smile.

There are three opportunities to join the fun:

  • For full blown gala tickets, table purchases and gala sponsorships, contact Tab Boyles at 214.871.4045.
  • If you’re a season subscriber or were thinking about it, you can purchase concert/after-party tickets starting Saturday, February 11.
  • Single tickets for non-subscribers will go on sale Wednesday, April 12.

For a complete read of all the deets, follow the jump for the full release. Then get your reservations in and go shopping for that pretty new frock. [Read more…]

St. Valentine’s Day Luncheon Chair Heather Randall Revealed Plans For February Event, As Leukemia Survivor Bennett Williams Made Funny Faces

Having recovered from Halloween and heading toward the fall/winter final fundraising period, the St. Valentine’s Day Luncheon crowd gathered some 75 strong at Lisa and Clay Cooley’s sweet estate. Thanks to a delayed start by the rain gods, the golf-cart shuttle moved seamlessly across the bridge and to the main house.

Lisa Cooley and Jill Rowlett

Lisa Cooley and Jill Rowlett

Dee Wyly

Dee Wyly

There, such folks as Jill Rowlett, Dee Wyly, Kris Sanger, Elizabeth Gambrell, and Claire and Dwight Emanuelson settled in the living room to hear the plans, except for Angela Nash, who hunkered down in the balcony overlooking the first floor.

Clay Cooley and Dwight Emanuelson

Clay Cooley and Dwight Emanuelson

Heather Randall

Heather Randall

St. V-Day Luncheon Chair Heather Randall reported that the presentation of Highland Park Village fashions would take place on Valentine’s Day itself (aka Tuesday, February 14) at the Meyerson Symphony Center. This year’s theme would be Affair Of The Heart with Tracy and Ben Lange serving as honorary co-chairs, Gina Betts and Michael Flores as advisory co-chairs and Daffan Nettle and Yvette Ostolaza as underwriting co-chairs.

Kirsa Willliams, Bennett Williams, Keith Williams, Ava Williams and Ellie Williams

Kirsa Willliams, Bennett Williams, Keith Williams, Ava Williams and Ellie Williams

She then reeled off some of the sponsors (the fundraising goal is $1M) and introduced Spirit of Tom Landry Character Awardee Bennett Williams. While his mom, Kirsa Williams, thanked guests for making funds available for leukemia and lymphoma research and development, Bennett sat on a couch with his dad, Keith Williams, and his sisters, Ava Williams and Ellie Williams. Kirsa’s sincerity was so moving as she described her son’s being diagnosed at 13 months (imagine: 1,207 days of chemotherapy). Still, she was a bit upstaged by Bennett’s making funny faces. Hey! He’s just a kiddo surrounded by a room full of adults, and the hour was getting late. And, like his predecessors, who have also managed to conquer the blood disorder, he’s still a youngster at heart.

Big surprise for some was the presenting sponsor news — Nancy C. and Richard Rogers. The surprise was due to Nancy’s claiming that she was officially retiring. However, if you read between the lines, she probably meant that she was just backing off of chairing events, but would still support certain fundraising with her attendance and support.

Tickets are already available starting at $300 and, of course, sponsorships run the gamut.

2016 Crystal Charity Ball Theme Revealed There Is A Season For Everything

It almost seemed surreal. On Tuesday, May 3, Lisa and Clay Cooley’s estate could have easily given Versailles or the Dallas Arboretum a run for glory. With fountains flowing on one side of the bridge and a tennis court on the other, pink, white and red flowers highlighted the Bluffview estate. Trams breezed the guests from the valet at the front gate to the Cooleys’ front door. For those who wished to take in the beauty of the grounds, it was perfect weather to stroll to the scene of the 2016 Crystal Charity Ball theme announcement party.

Lisa and Clay Cooley estate

Lisa and Clay Cooley estate

Early arrivals Dwight Emanuelson and Gregory Dunbar talked with Clay, who joshed about having spent the day planting the hundreds of flowers. Later Clay told how he just followed the marching orders from General Lisa. When asked about the upcoming nuptials of son Chase Cooley to Bela Pjetrovic, he admitted that his input was not gonna be necessary. As for high school graduating son, Chance Cooley, Clay said the youngest Cooley had scatted in his white Jeep when he saw the lineup of cars arriving at the front gate.

Violinists

Violinists

Along with the guests, a handful of violinists arrived and were soon located under the winding staircase to provide music. On the other side of the stairway was a decorative easel with a plaque bordered with beautiful flowers. In the center was written, “To everything there is a season.” A clue of things to come.

Plaque

Plaque

When the two-story living room filled with guests, the great room filled the bill for the overflow. Everywhere one looked were food, flowers and flickering candles in votives. Upstairs it was another story entirely. Designer Nardos Imam was literally sewing willowy Jan Strimple into a gown specifically created for the occasion.

Then word was passed downstairs to gather in the living room, where the announcement of the 2016 Crystal Charity Ball theme would be announced by CCB Chair Christie Carter, who was now on the stairway introducing the evening’s sponsor Bank of Texas Dallas Market President Ryan Suchala, who graciously thanked the CCB-ers and then turned the focus on the seven beneficiaries including the Paiges (Flink and McDaniel).

Christie Carter, Jan Strimple and Ryan Suchala

Christie Carter, Jan Strimple and Ryan Suchala

Christie then returned to reveal that Tom Addis would be the event producer, with Junior Villanueva providing the floral highlights and Lambert’s the greenery. As for the  theme, Christie announced it would be, “To everything there is a season.”

On cue, Jan in gown and a floral headdress created by Junior serenely descended the staircase. In her right hand was a silvery gray folder with flowers that matched those on her gown. Looking at the crowd of men and women who were mesmerized by the tall red-haired spring nymph, Jan opened the book and read the verse from the Book of Ecclesiastes.

No sooner had Jan closed the book and the applause had died down than she was surrounded by guests wanting to have their photo taken with her or asking about her gown and head dressing.

JUST IN: 2016 Crystal Charity Ball’s Theme Announced

Jan Strimple demonstrates the season of spring

Jan Strimple demonstrates the season of spring

The news that will determine the gowns and gems that will scene steal at the 2016 Crystal Charity Ball was just announced a few minutes ago at Lisa and Clay Cooley’s breathtaking Bluffview estate. It’s the mega-fundraising gala’s theme!

With CCB Chair Christie Carter revealing the theme would be “To Everything There is a Season,” czarina model Jan Strimple read the verses of the theme after doing a jaw-dropping strolled down the Cooley stairway wearing an amazing floral headpiece and a killer gown especially created for the announcement.

With a goal of $5.6M to benefit Community Partners of Dallas, Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas, Hope Supply Co., Notre Dame School, Parkland Foundation, Teach for America and The Family Place, the black-tie gala will take place at the Hilton Anatole on Saturday, December 3. The fundraiser will be orchestrated by veteran event producer Tom Addis and supported by The Garden Gate’s Junior Villanueva and Lambert’s Landscape Design’s Paul Fields.

The announcement party was underwritten by Lisa and Clay and was sponsored by Bank of Texas.

Designers, get your creative juices going to come up with knock-out looks for the December ball.

More deets to follow, but gee-whiz. Let’s see. So many seasons to pick. Spring blossoms? Summer’s red-white-and-blue? Fall’s golden colors? Hmm. The wintry season glistening ice (aka diamonds)? Can’t wait to see the picks of the season in fashion.

A Super-Duper Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport 4×4 Is Being Raffled Off For Children’s Cancer Fund’s “An Evening in Oz” Gala

Recently a cluster of kids and their moms headed to Clay Cooley Chevrolet in Irving. They weren’t going to buy a car or trade one in. No, they were there for a photo shoot.

As one mom and her kids left their car in the parking lot, she brushed her teenage daughter’s hair to be picture perfect. The daughter, Carsyn Sapp, looked smashing in black printed leggings and matching boots.

As they headed into the mammoth showroom, they were greeted by other mothers and their pre-teen munchkins. Some, like pretty-in-pink Kamryn Rakestraw, had bows in their blond hair. There was a whole gaggle of red-haired tykes including Reese Skelte, who was ready to rock and roll in multi-colored socks. But they all had one thing in common — each family had had a youngster who had emerged victorious in the battle against cancer.

The gathering was to promote the Children’s Cancer Fund Gala raffle of a very hunky Jeep. While the moms acted like everybody’s mom fussing with their kiddos, these moms were proven vets in the hand-holding department. Each had held the hands of one of their children through tests, diagnoses and treatments for cancer. And while a lot of parents may complain about waiting for ages in the car pool lane, these moms had held their breath too many times in waiting rooms.

Lisa Cooley, Kamryn Rakestraw, Carsyn Sapp, Reese Skelte and Clay Cooley

Lisa Cooley, Kamryn Rakestraw, Carsyn Sapp, Reese Skelte and Clay Cooley

As for Carsyn, she was the senior member of the cancer survivors at the shoot. Perhaps that’s why her smile seemed both youthful and ages old.

And what about the Jeep that is being raffled off at the Friday, April 22ndAn Evening In Oz” gala at the Hilton Anatole? Well, hold on to your steering wheel. This “customized 2016 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport 4×4 valued at over $60K” is not some grocery-shopping SUV. Thanks to NTX Auto Master and Epic 4×44 Off Road, it is fully tricked out and a traffic stopper. The only thing missing is a microwave.

And how did CCF Gala Co-Chair Lisa Cooley manage to get the Jeep as the raffle prize? Well, it helps to have “friends” in the car business. You know…friends like husband Clay Cooley and his Clay Cooley Automotive Group that donated the fully-equipped Jeep.

If you want a gander at this sweetheart on wheels, it will be on display on NorthPark Center’s lower level between Nordstrom and Macy’s from Friday, April 1 through Monday, April 11. Raffle tickets are going for $100 per ticket or six for $500.

Thanks to funds raised at the April 22nd gala and by raffling off the Jeep, more research and treatments will help handholding moms and their kids like Carsyn, Kamryn and Reese.

BTW, if you see Carsyn, Kamryn and Reese on the runway at the gala, wave at them. They just might wave back.

2016 Children’s Cancer Fund Will Be A Nighttime Soiree And Roger Staubach Wants “To Beat The Hell Out Of This Disease”

The calm before the storm. That was Wednesday, November 4. By evening WFAA’s Pete Delkus still had his jacket on. It would soon to be removed. But before all heck broke loose for another bout with Mother Nature’s rocky personality, lucky fundraisers took a deep breath and filled the day with activities. It started just after 7 a.m. and ended past 9 p.m. Face it — fundraising doesn’t know an eight-hour day.

The launch of the Children’s Cancer Fund Kick-Off breakfast at Lisa and Clay Cooley’s wasn’t supposed to start until 7:45 a.m. But folks were showing up at 7:15 a.m. and the Cooleys were ready.

Lisa had been up at 5 and the crew of caterers and valets were in place at 7 for the near 200 to hear about plans for the 2016 fundraiser.

Jack Barker and Chance Cooley

Jack Barker and Chance Cooley

One of the guests in the crowd was Jesuit student Jack Barker, who was also a former classmate of Chance Cooley. Sure, his mom Giora Barker was co-chairing the 2016 Children’s Cancer Fund event with Lisa, but there was more to his being there and that would be revealed later.

Speaking of Chance, he couldn’t stay for the presentation. Had to head off to school in an ultra-cool car. As he prepared to drive off, Clay advised his son to drive safely.

Another cute fella in the crowd was Luke Lange, who posed with his folks Tracy and Ben Lange and Children’s Cancer Fund Honorary Co-Chair Roger Staubach.

Clay Cooley, Luke Lange and Ben Lange

Clay Cooley, Luke Lange and Ben Lange

With guests having business commitments at 9, the program ran like an atomic clock.

Lisa thanked folks for coming and Roger recalled how 28 years ago, when they held the first Children’s Cancer Fund event, “It was beautiful women in lingerie. Boy, we used to have a great turnout for that luncheon…and they still have a great turnout.”

He admitted that over the years there have been some very sad stories, but there have also been some great stories as a result of the Children’s Cancer Fund’s efforts.

Stephen Skapek

Stephen Skapek

Roger then turned the program over to Dr. Stephen Skapek and Dr. Patrick Leavey, who provided updates on children’s cancer.

Despite the barrage of statistics and facts that have been reeled off in the past, the cold reality of Stephen’s voice when he said, “I’m sick of children dying of cancer.”

To put a face with the situation, Giora and Jack took their places in front of the fireplace in the living room that was packed with people. They told of Jack’s successful battle against cancer and how it was due to the funding of research and treatments. Jack, who was diagnosed with T-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at the age of 12, spent the next three years with Children’s Health healthcare professionals and his family to beat the cancer. In 2010 he was one of the Children’s Cancer Fund’s artisans, who had an army supporting him. Today the 18-year old is on the Jesuit crew team, loves to scuba dive and ski and is his mother’s inspiration. He quickly became an inspiration for the early-morning risers in the room that included Children’s Cancer Fund Board President Karen McClard, Children’s Cancer Fund Executive Director Brittney Bannon, Coley Clark, Scott Murray and Children’s Cancer Fund Co-Founder Fred Shapiro.

Karen McClard, Lisa Cooley, Roger Staubach, Giora Barker and Brittney Bannon

Karen McClard, Lisa Cooley, Roger Staubach, Giora Barker and Brittney Bannon

Patrick Leavey and Fred Shapiro

Patrick Leavey and Fred Shapiro

Unlike years past, The Children’s Cancer Fund Gala fundraiser will be a nighttime affair on Friday, April 22, at the Hilton Anatole. Lisa explained that by having it at night, it would allow more men to attend and there wouldn’t be the problem of having to leave for an afternoon meeting.

In addition to the fashion show and auction, there will be dinner and entertainment by Emerald City. Tickets start at $300 per person.

According to Roger, they’ll be raffling off “a Clay Cooley car — a 1952 Plymouth.” No, that was just Roger joshing about the Plymouth, but he was right about a Cooley care being raffled off.

But Roger was serious when he said, “We need to beat the hell out of this disease.”

True to their promise, the breakfast meeting was a done deal in time for peeps to be off to those 9 o’clock commitments.

Lisa And Clay Cooley Host Cattle Baron’s Ball Research Reception With Hospitality, Golf Carts And Cancer Experts

Lisa Cooley knows her Texas weather. As she said on Tuesday, April 21, there are just a couple of perfect days when you can open the doors and let folks enjoy the great outdoors. And when it comes to spreads, Lisa and her Clay Cooley brood have quite a place.

Clay and Lisa Cooley, Chance Cooley and Ciara Cooley

Clay and Lisa Cooley, Chance Cooley and Ciara Cooley

Originally scheduled for Thursday, April 9, the weather boded end-of-the-world conditions with hail, winds and flooding against Cattle Baron’s Ball holding its research reception. But on this evening everything was as perfect as the Cooley grounds.

Why, shoot! There are country clubs that are smaller than these palatial digs.

Just transporting guests from the front gate past the tennis court and fountains to the mansion, the Cooleys arranged for golf carts. Hey, Clay’s an expert when it comes to transportation, don’t you know!

Lisa and Clay Cooley estate

Lisa and Clay Cooley estate

One guest quipped as they wandered the property, “This isn’t a house. It’s a resort.”

Alex Laurenzi and Elizabeth Tripplehorn- Laurenzi

Alex Laurenzi and Elizabeth Tripplehorn- Laurenzi

Chase Cooley

Chase Cooley

While the property was amazing, the people watching held its own. Elizabeth Tripplehorn-Laurenzi and Alex Laurenzi arrived with Alex on crutches due to hip surgery…Cooley kids Ciara (her dad claims she rules the roost), Chase and Chance were on hand…Chick Lit Chair Wendy Messmann was preparing for the luncheon featuring author Stacey Ballis.

And that combination of incredible surroundings and boldfacers held things up a bit and a bit more. Just trying to get everybody together was a challenge. The Cooley hospitality was just too inviting to settle down, but they eventually did because of the cause — learning about developments in the battle against cancer.

Mary Martha Pickens and Amy Schisler

Mary Martha Pickens and Amy Schisler

But before the crowd came together in the two-story living room, CBB Co-Chair Mary Martha Pickens was apprehensive. She was concerned about sharing her personal story in such an open venue. But it was necessary. Too often cancer is about someone in a video or another person, who is just passing through town. In this case, Mary Martha had lived from childhood with cancer on her life story. It was a time before emails, cellphones and major developments in children’s cancer. Thanks to a loving family that went beyond the extra mile and doctors committed to saving a 12-year-old, Mary Martha survived with a glorious smile. But the battle cost her right leg. One on one, she doesn’t shy away from talking about her three prosthetic legs — one for athletics like hiking and running, one for scuba diving and one  is her “pretty leg” for dress up occasions like this one. Now, she was having to tell friends and potential supporters about her successful battle against cancer thanks to the dollars donated to research.

The good news is that she was perfectly eloquent and touching. As husband Dr. John Pickens watched on, Mary Martha said that too many times the families of cancer patients are forgotten. She recalled how her parents and brothers were vital to her treatments and recovery. Still — “It is totally devastating for all.”

She added that despite the prosthetics and years of having them, she still falls many, many, many times, “just as those suffering with cancer have setbacks over and over.”

Tia Wynne

Tia Wynne

Rene Galindo

Rene Galindo

Yonghao Yu

Yonghao Yu

To emphasize the progress that has been made thanks to funding, she and Co-Chair Tia Wynne had Dr. Yonghao Yu and Dr. Rene Galindo discuss the developments being made in cancer research. To say that the two noted experts used language that may have been over most folks’ heads is an understatement. Still the promise of advancing the war against cancer was obvious, especially when Yonghao said to go out and “Kick cancer’s butt.”