Grovel Alert: 2017 Chick Lit Luncheon

Let’s hope the Anatole Grand Ballroom has its Spanx on for Friday’s Chick Lit Luncheon. The annual Community Partners of Dallas fundraiser is busting with folks to hear Bethenny Frankel at the podium.

Bethenny Frankel*

According to insiders, there are just a couple seats left. Hurry and get one or two of those last places because ya just know that Bethenny is gonna be quotable and memorable.

And don’t worry about setting Bethenny up on a dating apps blind date. According to her chat with People Magazine, “I wouldn’t have enough time to date online. I thought about it, but I haven’t actually done it because I wouldn’t have the time.”

“If it gets there and it’s a dry country, maybe I’ll think about it — but it hasn’t gotten to that point,” Frankel adds. “At my age I got game, who knew?”

But that was a couple of weeks ago. Who knows? Perhaps Bethenny has changed her mind about online dating.

BTW, ticket sales close Thursday at 5 p.m. Hustle, hustle, hustle!

Skinny Girl Sangria And Margaritas Plus Peanut Butter Balls Were On The Menu For Community Partners Of Dallas’ Chick Lit Toast

Skinny Girl beverages and Chick Lit glassware

Like a glamorama pep rally, the Community Partners of Dallas Chick Lit Luncheon crowd held forth at Chick Lit Honorary Chair Gail Fischer’s Preston Hollow estate for the Skinny Girl Toast on Tuesday, March 21.While Skinny Girl Founder/Chick Lit Headliner Bethenny Frankel was ways away from the ZIP code making headlines, she was well represented thanks to pitchers filled with Skinny Girl drinks — Grapefruit and regular margarita, White Cranberry Cosmo, White Sangria and Chardonnay — at the bar and making the rounds.

As one gal said, “The sangria is healthy. Just look at all the fruit.”

Cassandra’s peanut butter balls

Across the way on a buffet table loaded with edibles was the star of the yummies — Cassandra Tomassetti’s peanut balls smothered in dark chocolate. A couple of those would fatten up even skinny Bethenny. One gal looked as if she was going put one or two in her purse for a late-night snack.

Jana Nobles, Mary Moore and Paige McDaniel

For the toasting occasion, CPD masterminds Paige McDaniel and Joanna Clarke had the drinks served up in stemless glasses boasting the Chick Lit Luncheon logo. Little did the guests know that they would have similar glasses and mints to take home. 

Laura Pickens, Mary Martha Pickens and Gail Fischer

As the 100 guests Like Luncheon Co-Chair Mary Martha Pickens with her niece Laura Pickens, Cindy Turner, Suzy Gekiere, Susan Farris, Jan Nobles and Mary Moore filled the home, Gail fiddled with her remove control navigating the Smart TV’s music categories. She wanted to play the right music, but husband Cliff Fischer, who is usually the one in charge of remoting, was out of town on business. With a try at jazz, Carol Seay played advisor, suggesting to move on to something a little more upbeat.

Cindy Turner, Suzy Gekiere and Susan Farris

Tickets for the Friday, April 21, CPD fundraiser presented by Lara and Dr. Robert Tafel at the Hilton Anatole are available here. Proceeds from the event will help CPD serve “more than 20,000 of Dallas County’s abused and neglected children this year.”

Plans Announced For Grown-Ups-Only 3rd Annual yCPD Field Day At The Rustic

Perhaps the Community Partners of Dallas brain trust realized that adults were envious of the organization’s annual “Change Is Good” providing a plethora of kid-oriented activities in the fall. After all, that bounce house and bungee jumping looked pretty inviting even in wet weather.

The CPD Young Friends Group came up with the perfect solution — yCPD Field Day in 2012. It had teams of six competing in three-legged and wheelbarrow relay races. Overtime, the activities got more off-the-wall as the number of teams grew.

Jennifer Myers (File photo)

Hershey Kiss Relay (File photo)

Booty Shaking (File photo)

Word just arrived from yCPD Field Day Co-Chairs Tanner Hartnett and Crystal Lightbody that this year’s games will return to The Rustic from 2 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 13, with KDFW red-curled meteorologist Jennifer Myers emceeing. In addition to the grown-up libations and live music, the competition will be just made for people watching. Just imagine trying to unwrap a Hershey’s kiss wearing mittens!

According to insiders, game-mistresses Paige McDaniel and Joanna Clarke are threatening to come up with some new outlandish games just made for cell-photoing.

Sponsorships start at $500 and teams are $350.

MySweet2017Goals: Mary Martha Pickens

Mary Martha Pickens (File photo)

According to Chick Lit Luncheon 2017 Co-Chair Mary Martha Pickens,

“One of my goals for 2017 is for the community to join my Co-Chair Tricia George and me for the 11th annual Chick Lit Luncheon presented by Dr. Robert and Lara Tafel benefiting Community Partners of Dallas (CPD) on Friday, April 21. This year’s event will feature best-selling author, natural foods chef, reality TV star, self-made businesswoman and mom, Bethenny Frankel, as the keynote speaker – you will not want to miss it!

Lara and Robert Tafel (File photo)

Gail Corder Fischer (File photo)

“Tricia and I, along with our underwriting chairs Katy Bock, Marybeth Conlon and Lori Anna Dees, are planning an unforgettable luncheon, whose proceeds will support the abused and neglected children served by CPD. To that end, we are so excited to announce Gail Corder Fischer as this year’s honorary chair. We are so grateful to Gail for her ongoing dedication to the children in our community and her support of the Chick Lit Luncheon.

“As well, CPD will be presenting the ‘2017 Partners for Children Award’ to the Peacock Alley Bitzer and Needleman families for their longtime support of Community Partners of Dallas. The Partners for Children Award is presented annually and celebrates the recipient’s commitment to the philanthropic needs of our community and their years of service meeting the needs of abused and neglected children.

“The 11th annual Chick Lit Luncheon will be held on April 21, at 10:30 a.m., at the Hilton Anatole. The event will include a wine reception followed by a seated luncheon and remarks by Ms. Frankel. Tables begin at $1,750 and are on sale now; individual tickets will go on sale in early April if space permits. For more information, visit communitypartnersdallas.org.  We look forward to seeing you on April 21st!”

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

Chick Lit Luncheon*

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

Bethenny Frankel*

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mary Martha Pickens (File photo)

Tricia George (File photo)

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

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

* Graphic and photo provided by Community Partners of Dallas

The Gingerbread Stroll Nears The End Of The Road, But There’s Still Time To Bid And Vote On A Confectionary Cottage

Thursday may be the first day of December, but, alas, it’s the last day of the 5th Annual Gingerbread Stroll in Highland Park Village. If you haven’t made it yet, stop pussyfooting around and check out the marvelously decorated cookie cottages at Betta Gallery, Bistro 31, Kiehl’s, Leggiadro, Market Highland Park, Robert Talbott, Roberta Roller Rabbit, Royal Blue Grocery, Stella McCartney, Trina Turk and Village Barber Shop.

The Gingerbread Stroll*

The Gingerbread Stroll*

The cuisine builders include A Sweet Life, Architecture Demarest, artist Evelyn J. Fallgren, Charlies, Chef Winter Lockwood-Frank, Chocolate Secrets, Hilton Anatole, Hotel Crescent Court, Hyatt Regency Dallas at Reunion, Omni Dallas Hotel and Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek.

And since it is the last day of the stroll, put your bid in for one of the houses… except for one. 

Just heard from Gingerbread founding sweetie Christine McKenny that Evelyn’s  confectionary delight at Leggiadro is off the market. Seems someone snatched it up for the buy-it-now bid of $1,000. Perhaps the Dave Perry Miller folks should post a “Sold” sign out front!

Evelyn J. Fallgren's sold gingerbread house*

Evelyn J. Fallgren’s sold gingerbread house*

But Evelyn has another masterpiece over at Robert Talbott that is still up for bid. It’s quite a looker, too!

And Christine also revealed there has been a late arrival from Chef Julie Price to the gingerbread development. It’s at Nasiba Adilova’s and Miroslava Duma‘s The Tot pop-up shop. Since it is the holiday season, Christine has decided to let this adorable home stay on the auction bloc after Thursday night. But don’t wait too long to check it out and put a bid in.

Remember, all bids and votes for your favs (except the one at The Tot) end Thursday night when the stores go dark.

Since its inception in 2011, the Stroll has provided more than $40,000 for area children in need through organizations like this year’s recipient Community Partners of Dallas.

* Graphic and photo courtesy of The Gingerbread Stroll

MySweetWishList: Community Partners Of Dallas’ Annual Toy Drive

According to Community Partners of Dallas President/CEO Paige McDaniel,

Paige McDaniel (File photo)

Paige McDaniel (File photo)

“Community Partners of Dallas’ annual Toy Drive is now underway! I wish for the community to help us in providing 11,000 gift wishes for abused and neglected children in the care of Child Protective Services. CPD is accepting donations of toys through Friday, December 9.

“For thousands of abused and neglected children in Dallas County, the holidays are just another day; one more day that they are reminded that no one cares. By supporting Community Partners of Dallas’ Toy Drive, individuals, organizations and companies can grant specific gift requests to children most in need of holiday joy.

“Community Partners of Dallas’ Toy Drive is unique in that the wishes are brought to the agency by CPS caseworkers on behalf of the children in their care, and those same caseworkers will have the wonderful opportunity to deliver the gifts personally. For many of the children, these might be the only gifts they receive, and for some the first gift they have ever been given.

“A significant need this Christmas is gift cards, valued at $25 or more, for the teens we serve.  Every teen should have the experience of shopping and selecting something for themselves.  Gift cards from retailers such as Target, Walmart, Bath & Body Works, Forever21, GameStop, Academy, Old Navy or Best Buy are always appreciated. As well, popular wishes for kids of all ages include bikes, African American Dolls, learning toys for toddlers, bath and body gift sets, ANYTHING from Disney’s Frozen, light up toys, MP3 players, LEGO Sets, remote control cars, toddler push toys, small tablets, LeapFrog toys and basketballs/footballs/soccer balls.

Community Partners of Dallas Toy Drive*

Community Partners of Dallas Toy Drive*

“Toys and gift cards can be provided by companies, churches, scout troops, business offices, or individuals. Organizations and individuals can also organize a new toy drive for the undesignated toy collection used to serve additional children who come into CPS’ protective care after the wish list deadline and to fill wishes not selected by donors.

 “All gifts should be new and not wrapped. Toys must be delivered to the Community Partners of Dallas’ Toy Drive Warehouse at the Peacock Alley Warehouse located at 2050 Postal Way, Dallas 75212 no later than 1:00 p.m. on Friday, December 9.  For more information on participating in the Toy Drive or for warehouse hours, contact Corinne Karp, 214.624.7588 or [email protected] or visit www.communitypartnersdallas.org.” 

-By Paige McDaniel, Community Partners of Dallas president/CEO

* Graphic provided by Community Partners of Dallas

Change Of Plans For Stiletto Strut Slated To Benefit Community Partners Of Dallas

Remember back  in April 2014 when Community Partners of Dallas’ Paige McDaniel pulled out a couple of gorgeous stilettos from a gift box at the annual Chick Lit Luncheon? The reason was the announcement that CPD would be the recipient of the 2015 Stiletto Strut at NM Downtown. The response to the announcement was cheers. And, of course, everyone want those heels.

Jennifer Morris and Paige McDaniel (File photo)

Jennifer Morris and Paige McDaniel (File photo)

However, the 2015 Strut had to be put off due to construction on the street and other issues. Now, with CPD in the middle of its big push to complete funding for the new facilities, there just ain’t time to wedge in the Strut.

And besides the downtown traffic is so bumper-to-bumper, the days of stiletto strutting may have marched into the sunset.

Even Rainy Weather Couldn’t Take The Bounce Out Of Community Partners Of Dallas’ 10th Annual Change Is Good

North Texas is the Super Bowl for meteorologists and event planners. With all of Mama Nature’s children (northers rolling down from the Rockies, Arctic chills coming down the Midwest corridor, moist winds from the Gulf Coast and Canadian blowhards), the North Texas region is a mix master of weather.

That’s why Sunday, September 25, put the area activities to the test as wet weather, threats of thunder and promises of cooler weather hit.

The Plano Balloon Festival smartly cancelled early, but the Community Partners of Dallas had the Change Is Good prepared for whatever. And whatever was put to the test.

Mason Park and Beth and Larence Park

Mason Park and Beth and Larence Park

As the doors opened for the 10th Annual Change is Good at Brook Hollow, the weather looked promising for the event to be outdoor/indoor. Still the bungee cord jump stayed still, while the outdoor bounce house and inflated obstacle course had short ones lined up. Toddler Mason Park decided to take a pass on the obstacle course and stayed in the arms of his grandparents/Honorary Co-Chairs Beth and Larence Park.

Inflatable obstacle course

Inflatable obstacle course

Inside the smell of popcorn filled the Verandah, while palm readers got handy and Rad Hatter created millinery masterpieces.

DJ Bill Cody

DJ Bill Cody

Rad Hatter

Rad Hatter

Fortune teller

Fortune teller

In the ballroom, DJ Bill Cody had both kiddos and adults dancing underneath a netted gathering of balloons. At one side of the room was a balloon creation of “10”.

In addition to the “10,” there were families who have been sponsors since its beginning including Shonn and Clarence Brown, Jessica and Jeff Burrow, Sally and George Dutter, Elizabeth and Eric Gambrell, Heather and Malcolm Hicks, Christie and Chris Linebarger, Francie and Steve Mancillas, Emily and Todd Massey, Christina and Tim Norris, Katherine Reeves and Jody and Grant Swartzwelder.

Alas, Elizabeth Gambrell feared that this one just might be her swan song for Change Is Good. Her older two kids had outgrown the event and her baby girl Sarah Rose Gambrell was starting to look like one of the oldies despite the painted face.

Sarah Rose Gambrell and Elizabeth Gambrell

Sarah Rose Gambrell and Elizabeth Gambrell

Jack Landon and Chris Landon

Jack Landon and Chris Landon

On the other hand, those with toddlers found it easier to get around with child in arm like Lindsay and Chris Landon with one-year-old Jack Landon.

Across the room was the near-to-the-ceiling bounce house. At one point there was a group gasp as the house seemed to be tilting on its side. But the kids who were old hands at bounce houses shifted to the other side and all was right.

Still as usual the ultimate popular, line ‘em up was the face painting in the ballroom. Okay, so some fellas like William Spence weren’t so keen about the cosmetic fru-fru. But others like Co-Chair Caroline Ballotta looked right at home with her painted face and Rad Hatter. Brother William Ballotta was one of the little ones who initially was a bit overwhelmed by all the commotion.

Ray Ballotta, William Ballotta, Caroline Ballotta and Lindsay Ballotta

Ray Ballotta, William Ballotta, Caroline Ballotta and Lindsay Ballotta

An hour into the festivities, the feared rain that had hit the rest of the area found Brook Hollow. And despite the overload of kids, parents and grandparents, nobody really seemed to mind. Thought one single-child parent admitted that she was grateful just to have one kidlet.

Energized by the sugary delights of Book Hollow, the kids were in overdrive. In the ballroom where debutante parties had properly taken place and the ever-so-civilized Sweetheart Ball had raised funds, the too-young-to-have-drivers-license set scampered, danced and partied.

Lisa Catravas, Aiden Catravas and Jimmie Catravas

Lisa Catravas, Aiden Catravas and Jimmie Catravas

Shelly Slater, Hutcheson Huffstutter, Hawkins Huffstutter and Clay Huffstutter

Shelly Slater, Hutcheson Huffstutter, Hawkins Huffstutter and Clay Huffstutter

Snapshots: Aiden Catravas with a white streak in his brown hair broke from the herd and dined on carrots and veggies… While juggling her two sons Hawkins Huffstutter and Hutcheson Huffstuffer with husband Clay Huffstutter, Shelly Slater reported that she was still doing parttime work for WFAA as well as advising nonprofits and organizations. But, no, rumors that she was doing PR were so very wrong… Poor Spider Man. Upon seeing the comic superhero, two tykes burst into tears. Hey, it’s rough to be a rejected comic strip hero.

Despite the super-duper sugar high, the party wound down and just as the end came, the net holding the green and white balloons was let loose with balloons falling on the waiting guests.

BTW, the final count for the kids’ collection of change? How about a whopping 87,582 coins adding up to $19,617.55! That means that in its 10 years, 922,526 coins have been turned in resulting in $147,830 for Community Partners of Dallas. What is done with money? It goes to buying supplies, toys and clothes for children who are removed from neglectful and harmful situations.

But Change Is Good does even more than support the Community Partners of Dallas mission. It also is an opportunity for youngsters to learn about fundraising. This year’s efforts resulted in awards being given out including:

  • Most online — Harper Hinds and Haven Hinds ($1,195)
  • Most quarters — Brooke Gray, Cate Gray and Caroline Gray (1,383 quarters)
  • Most change collected —
    • 1st place — Harper Hinds and Haven Hinds ($1,598.01)
    • 2nd place — Brooke Gray, Cate Gray and Caroline Gray ($1,033.63)
    • 3rd place — Sydney Bonfield and Lola Bonfield ($953.25)

For more photos, head over to MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2016 Change Is Good

Those folks at Community Partners of Dallas don’t let pending rain warnings dampen their plans. That was the case for their 10th Annual Change Is Good at Brook Hollow Golf Club on Sunday, September 25. While other events might suffer due to drizzle, these kids and their seemed to thrive.

Inflatable obstacle course

Inflatable obstacle course

The outdoor inflatable obstacle course was even more slippery-slidy; bounce house went in-house; the face painters had ’em lined up; the sugary delights filled tables; and, of course, there was a drop of green and white balloons.

Ray Ballotta, William Ballotta, Caroline Ballotta and Lindsay Ballotta

Ray Ballotta, William Ballotta, Caroline Ballotta and Lindsay Ballotta

Kennedy Moore, Sandy Moore, Ryan Moore and Barry Moore

Kennedy Moore, Sandy Moore, Ryan Moore and Barry Moore

While the post is being prepared, check out some pretty cute folks at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

10th Annual Change Is Good Kick-Off Party Turned Work Into A Birthday Celebration with Green Cupcakes, Crayons And Checks

One local nonprofit group that subscribes to the Tom Sawyer philosophy of making work seem like fun is Community Partners of Dallas. To launch its 10th anniversary of Change is Good along with prepping supplies for young clients, they held a kick-off party on the afternoon of Saturday, August 20, at CPD headquarters complete with green birthday cupcakes, loads of crayons and checks. Here’s a report from the field:

Ray Ballotta, Caroline Ballotta, Lindsay Ballotta and Williams Ballotta*

Ray Ballotta, Caroline Ballotta, Lindsay Ballotta and Williams Ballotta*

Community Partners of Dallas kicked off the 10th Annual Change is Good on Saturday, August 20, with a celebration and day of volunteering for event sponsors and members of the event’s host committee.

Chair family Lindsay and Ray Ballotta with kids Caroline and William, welcomed nearly 100 attendees for a day of fun. As families arrived, they were encouraged to create their own design for the annual t-shirt, which will be unveiled at the upcoming Sunday, September 25th event.  With “10th birthday” as the theme, participants of all ages showed their artistic talents with their original designs.

Barry and Sandy Moore, Ryan Moore and Kennedy Moore*

Barry and Sandy Moore, Ryan Moore and Kennedy Moore*

Grayson Porwell, Valerie Prowell and Noelle Prowell*

Grayson Porwell, Valerie Prowell and Noelle Prowell*

Gracie Kong, Sarah Kong and Owen Kong*

Gracie Kong, Sarah Kong and Owen Kong*

Paige McDaniel, Henry Horvat and George Horvat*

Paige McDaniel, Henry Horvat and George Horvat*

Midway through the event, President and CEO Paige McDaniel welcomed everyone and thanked event sponsors, then gave special recognition to the Change is Good chair family, the Ballottas, as well as honorary chairs Beth and Larence Park. She also thanked all the kids for working so hard over the summer as they collected change to help change the lives for other kids – whether they emptied their own piggy banks or raised money online or through other activities. As a surprise, George Horvat (age 10) and his brother Henry Horvat (age 8) made a special presentation to Paige…a check for $300, which they raised from hosting a summer day camp, which benefited CPD.  Paige wrapped up by leading the kids in singing “Happy Birthday” to Change is Good, as well as Calum Taylor who was celebrating his 14th birthday on Saturday!

Birthday cupcakes*

Birthday cupcakes*

Attendees were then separated by age to help CPD put together hygiene kits and back to school supplies for the abused and neglected children they serve.

The 10th annual Change is Good will be held on Sunday, September 25, from 3 – 6 p.m. at Brook Hollow Golf Club. The fun-filled day will feature activities for all ages, including bungee jumping, obstacle courses, a prince/princess station, a paper airplane zone, a GameTruck, the Rad Hatter, balloon artists, face painting, bounce houses, a DJ dance party and an array of fun birthday activities to celebrate Change is Good turning 10. Participating children and teens will turn in the change they collected over the summer in exchange for chances to win exciting prizes. This year’s prize for most change raised is a 3D printer!

Sponsorships begin at $550 and are on sale now; tickets are $75 per adult and $35 per child.  For more information visit communitypartnersdallas.org.

* Photo provided by Community Partners of Dallas

JUST IN: More Than 4,000 In-Need Dallas Kids Start The 2016-2017 School Year In Great Shape Thanks To CPD And DCAC

Since SMU is now officially back in session, the Bed Bath and Beyond staff has been in recovery mode. Seems the place was busting as parents and their collegiate kids shopped for dorm room necessities. As for the Office Depot team, they’re still under siege as area students and their folks are buying everything from pens to binders.

Community Partners of Dallas' Back-To-School 2016*

Community Partners of Dallas’ Back-To-School 2016*

One group that is taking a deep breath is Community Partners of Dallas (CPD). As part of their 23rd Annual Back-To-School drive, they surpassed their goal of providing more than 3,100 Dallas public school students with uniforms and supply-laden backpacks.

In addition to FFA’s kick-off contribution, The Container Store really gave a helping hand by raising $57,000 for the program. Remember that for each dollar donated, CPD was able to buy $5 worth of supplies and uniforms. Translation: The Container Store’s contribution resulted in supplies and uniforms worth a comfy six figures.

Dallas Children's Advocacy Center's Back To School**

Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center’s Back To School**

Thanks to CPD and the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center (DCAC), more than 4,000 in-need kids started the 2016-2017 school year in stellar condition. Both were record breaker campaigns!

Pats on the back for CPD, DCAC and all the individuals and companies that came together for the children.

* Graphic provided by Community Partners of Dallas 
** Graphic provided by Dallas Children's Advocacy Center

Take Advantage of Tax-Free Weekend For Community Partners Of Dallas’ 23rd Annual Back-To-School Program

Where did June and July go? That’s the thought starting to bubble in the brains of area school kids with the realization that school is just around the corner. For the Dallas Independent School District students, the very first day of the nine month education march is Monday, August 22.

Community Partners of Dallas' Back-To-School 2016*

Community Partners of Dallas’ Back-To-School 2016*

Another group that is all too well aware of that date is the Community Partners of Dallas. Their 23rd annual Back-To-School got off to a great start. Thanks to the FFA, 1,400 backpacks with schools supplies were donated. But that surge was needed because CPD President/CEO Paige McDaniel and her team had created a record-breaking goal of more than 3,000. Why so high? Because there are that many Dallas County abused and neglected children in need of appropriate school supplies and uniforms.

Here’s an interesting fact provided by CPD:

“Sometimes the only difference between an A+ student and a failing student is having basic supplies to do homework and participate in class. Because 69% of the children served by Community Partners of Dallas live on a family income of less than $14,000 annually, after the most basic of needs of the family are met, school supplies may not fit into that budget.”

Pencils (File photo)

Pencils (File photo)

So, why bring this up when CPD’s Back-To-School runs through Friday, August 19? Because it’s “tax-free weekend!” That means that those items on the CPD wish list (markers, glue bottle, construction paper, manila paper, binders, backpacks, pink erasers, Kleenex, calculators, compasses, pencil pouches and other school-oriented items) can be snatched up without being taxed. Why not purchase a nifty backpack, fill it with supplies and drop it off at CPD at 1215 Skiles Street. It’s located in one of Dallas’ most treasured neighborhoods — the Wilson Historic District. Your reward will be a big old smile from the staff and a “thank you” to boot.

What’s that? You’re in Aspen and can’t get back in time for the taxless weekend? No problem. Make a donation. Thanks to CPD’s buying power, “every $1 donated is equal to $5 worth of school supplies and uniforms. With a gift of only $25, you can ensure a child starts the school year off with the right tools for success!”

Yes, you’re weary of hearing about the various back-to-school programs. After all, what’s the big deal about a pink eraser? But something as small an eraser is a big deal to a child, who’s known a life of neglect and abuse. Their way out of this situation is education, but they need the tools. You can provide it with a donation of items and/or funds.

* Graphic courtesy of Community Partners of Dallas

Community Partners Of Dallas’ 23rd Annual Back To School Drive Got A Big, Old Surprise Thanks To Texas FFA

The North Texas nonprofits are not letting summer vacations or the heat slow them down. With schools starting up in just a handful of weeks, efforts are in high throttle to help get kids all decked out. While the Dallas Children’s Advocacy’s Back-To-School program is providing 1,000 kids with two school uniforms, those gals over at Community Partners of Dallas are focused on the 23rd Annual Back To School Drive to provide both backpacks and uniforms for nearly 2,500 Dallas County kids.

With the drive just being kicked off last week, the 88th Annual Texas FFA Convention gave them a helping hand. On Wednesday, July 13, CPD President/CEO Paige McDaniel and CPD Corporate Relations Director Corinne Karp found themselves on stage with Texas Commissioner of Education Mike Morath and Texas SFFA State VP Kaylyn When.

Kaylynn When, Paige McDaniel, Corrine Karp and Mike Morath*

Kaylynn When, Paige McDaniel, Corrine Karp and Mike Morath*

While Paige and Corinne would have appreciated any number, they were overwhelmed by the donation of more than 1,400 backpacks filled with school supplies donated by the convention attendees as part of their Texas FFA Backpack Initiative.

Texas FAA donations*

Texas FAA donations*

After recovering from the delicious surprise, Paige and the rest of her team got back to work to raise funds for the remaining 1,100 backpacks plus the much-needed uniforms.

FYI: Thanks to being very thrifty and bulk purchasing, CPD is able to obtain $5 worth of school supplies and uniforms for each dollar donated. “With a gift of only $25, you can ensure a child starts the school year off with the right tools for success!”

Oh, you’re wondering what the heck is Texas FFA Association. Besides being the largest youth-led convention with 12,000 members and guests, this organization is focused on developing agricultural youth leadership. During their week in Dallas, they attended leadership workshops, participating in events and activities, being recognized for their achievements and serving as the legislative body for the Texas FFA Association.” And, of course, the Texas FFA Association is the “nation’s largest state FFA Association” thanks to having more than 115,000 members.

A pat on the back to convention organizers for having participants from around the state help a Dallas nonprofit.

* Photo credit: Joanna Clarke

yCPD Field Day Had Hershey Kiss Relaying And Booties And Bobble Heads Shaking For Community Partners Of Dallas

Forget camps Longhorn and Waldemar. The summer camp action was at The Rustic on Saturday, May 21, and the campers were of voting age. Leave it to Community Partners of Dallas to take its annual kids-friendly “Change For Good” and create an adult version — yCPD Field Day. Only there were no bounce houses or bungee jumping.

Paige McDaniels and Joanna Clarke

Paige McDaniels and Joanna Clarke

Taking place in the heat and humidity of Saturday, May 21, mist fans were in high roll and icy beverages were just a hand off away. Funny as it may seem, the coolest millennials were gangbusting the are-you-serious activities which were dreamt up by CPD Funmeister Joanna Clarke and Event Chair Sarah Carbonnet. Adding to the off-the-wall antics was KDFW (FOX) meteorologist Jennifer Myers at the mic. (Folks didn’t realize that red-haired Jenny was at the mic-helm. She had doffed her straight auburn wig to let loose her glorious “Annie” red curls and donning Jackie-O shades.)

Jennifer Myers

Jennifer Myers

Another head-turner was the A-Team that may not have won the games, but they sure knew how to pose!

Angela Edgell, Karie Kieffer, Diana Leach, Crystal Lightbody, Bobby Martin and Paige Martin

The A-Team team members Angela Edgell, Karie Kieffer, Diana Leach, Crystal Lightbody, Bobby Martin and Paige Martin

Here’s an eyewitness report from the shenanigans:

As they checked in, the 102 participants shopped the Mystery Bag station, which featured a variety of “mystery” prizes valued at $50 or more. For $25 each, purchasers were surprised with items including Texas Rangers and Dallas Mavericks tickets; a four course meal for 6 people in your home by The Cuisine Counselor; gift cards to Dallas favorites spots, such as Neiman Marcus, Javier’s Gourmet Mexicano, The PilatesBarre, Trinity Groves and St. Bernard Sports; Fossil Smart Bracelets; and bottles of liquor and wine.

Sarah and Cameron Carbonnet

Sarah and Cameron Carbonnet

Emcee Jennifer welcomed participants before introducing Field Day chair Sarah Charbonnet followed by CPD President/CEO Paige McDaniel, who thanked all for their support of the 2nd annual event, which is hosted by the organization’s young professional’s group, yCPD. She then shared a recent example of the incredible work CPD does in partnership with Child Protective Services, made possible by the support from the community, including those in attendance.

After Jennifer reviewed the format of the day, the competition began with 17 teams of six competing for the title of “yCPD Field Day Champion.” DJ Andrew Figueroa of Everlasting Sounds provided the vibe as competitors took the field.

Booty Shaking

Booty Shaking

After the initial Qualifying Round, where all teams competed at 10 different games, including, Egg Race, Suck it Up, Wheel Barrow Relay, Booty Shaker, Gatorade Flip Cup, Bobble Head, Hershey Kiss Relay, Face the Cookie, Noodle Toss and Social Media station, scores were tallied to whittle down the field to the top 10 teams. The top 10 teams then competed in a Potato Sack Race to identify the top 5 teams, but the initial race was too close to call between 7 of the 10 teams and so a “sudden death” potato race was conducted in order to confirm the top 5.

Bobble Heading

Bobble Heading

Hershey Kiss Relay

Hershey Kiss Relay

The top 5 teams lined up for a classic field day game – the Three-Legged Race. Teams “Beer Pressure” and “McGuire, Craddock & Strother” took the top two spots for a place in the final.

Beer Pressure Team from the left (front row) Tara Callahan, Brianna Riddell and Katie McDaniel; (back row) Nic Waldron, Kevin Allen and Ron Johnson*

Beer Pressure team members from the left (front row) Tara Callahan, Brianna Riddell and Katie McDaniel; (back row) Nic Waldron, Kevin Allen and Ron Johnson*

Where last year’s final round, Tug of War, showed who had the most brawn, this year’s round, the Obstacle Course, required a different set of skills. The round started with a Brain Teaser, where teams had to solve a word puzzle before moving to the next station. Station 2 called for each team member to leap frog over the other to the 3rd station – Tunnel Crawl. After each member of the team crawled through the tunnel to the other side, the team moved to the final station, which brought back one of last year’s favorite qualifying round activities – Sponge Relay. Both teams rushed to fill up sponges full of soapy water and wring them out in an adjacent bucket, but “McGuire, Craddock & Strother” quickly took the lead and finished well ahead of “Beer Pressure.”

McGuire, Craddock and Strother team from the left (front row) Claire Carroll and Jack Gannon; (back row) Grant Blair, Jon Mitchell, Michael Trecha, Erin Dowell, Clair Gannon and Walt Prudhomme*

McGuire, Craddock and Strother team members from the left (front row) Claire Carroll and Jack Gannon; (back row) Grant Blair, Jon Mitchell, Michael Trecha, Erin Dowell, Clair Gannon and Walt Prudhomme*

The 2016 winning team (and last year’s champions as well) was McGuire, Craddock & Strother (Claire Carroll, Jack Gannon, Grant Blair, Jon Mitchell, Michael Trecha, Erin Dowell, Clair Gannon and Walt Prudhomme).

Championship prizes for each team member: $50 gift card to The Container Store, a massage at COREhealth Wellness Center, a 2-week pass and swag bag from Orange theory Fitness, 2 class passes from Flywheel Indoor Cycling and trophy.

With the final round complete, all participants stayed for the after party featuring the Rustic’s cocktails and savory fare including double queso, brisket quesadillas, boar meatballs, onion-y rings and French fries.

2nd Annual Field Day sponsors were:

  • Blue Ribbon Winner ($2,500) – Brunswick Group and Apex Clearing;
  • Red Ribbon Runner UP ($1,000) – Orange Theory Fitness, Riveron Consulting and Shackelford;
  • White Ribbon ($500) – Embassy Suites Dallas Park Central, The Hartnett Law Firm, Sarah and Cameron Charbonnet, McGuire Craddock & Strother, Greg Beane Family Law, Premier Transportation and Paige McDaniel and
  • DJ Sponsor – COREhealth Wellness Center.

Despite the heat and humidity, this event was one that proved fundraising is cool.

* Photo credit: Tamytha Cameron Smith

10th Annual Change Is Good Is Going To Have Piggy Banks Busting For Community Partners Of Dallas

One of the favorite, extremely family-friendly events is Community Partners of DallasChange Is Good, where kids can be kids and so can their parents. Every year organizers have to coordinate the fundraiser at Brook Hollow with the Dallas Cowboys’ schedule. For those years when The Boys play an afternoon game, TVs are set up throughout the club with dads keeping one eye on the screens and the other on their munchkins, who will be having their faces painted, bungee jumping, playing giant Jenga and Twister, playing in the bounce house and getting major sugar highs on all the goodies.

Bounce house (File photo)

Bounce house (File photo)

Caroline Ballotta, Lindsay and Ray Ballotta and William Ballotta*

Caroline Ballotta, Lindsay and Ray Ballotta and William Ballotta*

This year there will be no need for the split-eyed pops. The 10th annual Change Is Good will take place on Sunday, September 25, from 3 to 6 p.m. and the Cowboys won’t be facing the Bears until 7:30 p.m. Whew!

As for the co-chairs, those duties will be handled by Lindsay and Ray Ballotta and their kids Caroline Ballotta and William Ballotta.

One of the greatest aspects of the event is the opportunity it provides youngsters to learn about fundraising. Young guests are not only encouraged but can compete by “collecting change over the summer by emptying their own piggy banks, going door-to-door, setting up lemonade stands or starting their own online campaigns.” At the event the change is turned in to earn chances to win prizes.

Tickets will go on sale starting Friday, August 26, but sponsorship starting at $550 are available now!

* Photo provided by 
Community Partners of Dallas

 

2016 Crystal Charity Ball Advisory Board And 7 Beneficiaries Get Better Acquainted At Heather And Billy Esping’s Estate

Linda Secrest, Heather Esping and Beth Thoele

Linda Secrest, Heather Esping and Beth Thoele

While their magnificent pool house was still in the construction stage of life, Heather and Billy Esping hosted the 2016 Crystal Charity Ball Advisory Board and Beneficiary reception at their Preston Hollow home on Thursday, April 14.

Advisory Board member/Communities Foundation of Texas President/CEO Brent Christopher, who said that since his announcement of heading up Children’s Foundation he had been in overdrive, admitted, “Nobody replaces Kern Wildenthal. They just carry on.” When asked if he would stay on the CCB Advisory Board, Brent conceded that he would probably have to resign, since his new assignment would put him on the other side of the fundraising world. Instead of doling out grants, he would be seeking funds.

Kent Eastman

Kent Eastman

With 2016 CCB Chair Christie Carter standing by his side, Capital One Bank Texas State President Kent Eastman graciously told the crowd that Capital One’s underwriting of the event was to salute the CCB’s support of the 2016 beneficiaries including Captain Hope’s Kid/Hope Supply Co., Community Partners of Dallas, Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas, Notre Dame School, Parkland Foundation, Teach for America and The Family Place.

While his wife, Claire Emanuelson, twinkled in a gold blouse, Dwight Emanuelson stood by the fireplace sporting a new haircut and was fresh back from a fishing outing up north.

Jerry Meyer and Annette Simmons

Jerry Meyer and Annette Simmons

Anne Reeder and Susan McSherry

Anne Reeder and Susan McSherry

Others in the crowd of advisors and beneficiaries included newlyweds Annette Simmons and Jerry Fronterhouse, SuSu and Jerry Meyer, Cynthia and Brice Beaird, Pam and Vin Perella, Linda Secrest, Beth Thoeloe and the evening’s Co-Chairs Susan McSherry and Anne Reeder.

Fashion Guru Tim Gunn, Who’s In ‘Awe’ Of Dallas Women, Attracts Huge Crowd To CPD’s 10th Anniversary Chick Lit Luncheon

Anyone doubting the popularity in Dallas of “Project Runway” co-host/producer Tim Gunn should have checked out the scene at the Friday, April 1, Chick Lit Luncheon at the Hilton Anatole. The event benefiting Community Partners of Dallas and featuring the author and TV star drew a crowd of 1,100—up from the annual luncheon’s 650 or so that it’s usually drawn at its longtime venue, Brook Hollow Country Club.

This was Chick Lit’s 10th anniversary luncheon, but surely the huge crowd wasn’t due only to that? “I give credit to our chairs—and to Tim,” CPD President and CEO Paige McDaniel said before the luncheon at the VIP reception in the Anatole’s Stemmons Ballroom. “All girls like fashion, and he’s just … well, when Joanna [Clarke, CPD’s development VP] and I used to talk about guests at our fantasy dinner party, we each had two people in common: Tim Gunn and Jesus!

“So, it was easy this year,” McDaniel went on. “Everybody wanted to come.”

Tim Gunn, Lara and Robert Tafel*

Tim Gunn, Lara and Robert Tafel*

At that moment, the star of the day was demonstrating his charisma across the room at the step-and-repeat, where guests were lined up to meet Gunn and have their photos taken with him. Among them were Elizabeth Gambrell (she’s a CPD director), Anne Stodghill, Dee Simmons, D’Andra Simmons, and Lara Tafel, who was once again the luncheon’s presenting sponsor along with her husband, Dr. Robert Tafel.

Megan Flannagan, Fasi Boltchi, Roz Colombo and Samantha Wortley*

Megan Flannagan, Fasi Boltchi, Roz Colombo and Samantha Wortley*

Jennifer Evans Morris, Krissy Turner and Lauren Reed*

Jennifer Evans Morris, Krissy Turner and Lauren Reed*

Soon Dr. Bob joined his wife for a photo with Gunn, who promptly remarked on the doctor’s colorful pocket square. The TV star pulled the handkerchief out of Tafel’s suit coat, demonstrated another way to fold such an adornment, and then stuffed it back into Bob’s breast pocket—much to Bob and Lara’s delight.

Soon enough, the 1,100 guests including CPD Board Chair Krissy Turner, Jocelyn White, Lee Bailey, Lisa Cooley, Faisal Halum, Holly Davis, Lori Williams, Alissa Gearing, Jennifer Evans Morris, Lauren Reed, Megan Flanagan, Fasi Boltchi, Roz Colombo, Samantha Wortley, Katherine Coker and Simona Beal began making their way into the Imperial Ballroom upstairs.

Kristi Hoyl*

Kristi Hoyl*

Nancy Rogers and Brian Bolke*

Nancy Rogers and Brian Bolke*

Luncheon Chair Kristi Hoyl made the welcoming remarks, thanking the Tafels, Honorary Chair Brian Bolke, Underwriting Chairs Cindy Stager and Jill Tananbaum, and Paige and Joanna (“they are angels walking on the earth”). Then Kristi brought up Rev. Elizabeth Moseley from Highland Park United Methodist Church, who delivered the invocation. (Rev. Moseley, BTW, was introduced as a “minister of discipline,” rather than with her actual title, “minister of discipleship.” Hmmmm. Maybe Queenie needs to hire a minister of discipline for misbehaving elves.)

Paige McDaniel and Jill Bee*

Paige McDaniel and Jill Bee*

After lunch was served—a delicious Mediterranean chicken salad and a strawberry “Happy Birthday” cupcake—videos were played honoring Jill C. Bee with the 2016 Partners for Children Award and the Tafels, who were presented with the 10th Anniversary Champions of Hope Award. Then Paige took the stage, telling how all the guests had “agonized over our outfits” trying to impress Gunn, before launching into a tearful talk about children who’d been helped by CPD, like two toddlers nicknamed Princess and King. Paige gave way to Bolke, who introduced the featured speaker as one of two people who’ve had a profound recent influence on the fashion world (the other, he said, was Sarah Jessica Parker of TV’s “Sex and the City”).

Kimberly Schlegel Whitman and Tim Gunn*

Kimberly Schlegel Whitman and Tim Gunn*

With that, Gunn—a former chief creative officer at Liz Claiborne Inc. who’s written four books—mounted the stage along with Kimberly Schlegel Whitman, who would interview him. Kim began by asking the fashion guru what led him to write books (his latest is titled “The Natty Professor: A Master Class on Mentoring, Motivating, and Making It Work!”). Gunn, the son of an FBI agent, grew up with words and books, he replied, and developed an interest in fashion history as an academic at the Parsons School of Design. “Most of the books [about fashion] are giant snoozefests,” he said. He set out to take a livelier approach, crediting the success of such works as “Tim Gunn’s Fashion Bible and “Gunn’s Golden Rules in part to his editor and co-writer, Ava Calhoun.

Kim asked next what’s behind Gunn’s “kind but firm” approach to young designers on Lifetime’s “Project Runway,” now entering its 14th season. “I can’t want you to succeed more than you do,” Gunn said he tells the fledgling designers. In lieu of direct criticism he peppers them with questions about their design choices, hoping they’ll eventually see what he sees. What’s his favorite of Gunn’s “golden rules”? “The world owes you absolutely nothing!” he replied quickly. “Even though young people don’t like it. … We each have to make our own way and establish our value.” Gunn also explained his “TEACH” philosophy with students and mentees, using an explanation for each letter in the acronym: Truth-telling; Empathy; Asking lots of questions; Cheerleading; and Hoping for the best.

Tim Gunn*

Tim Gunn*

Prompted by his interviewer, Gunn said that when it comes to fashion, “I’d rather work with women than with men. Women are more open to experimentation, and men are so ridiculously intractable. I’ll tell them, ‘Good heavens, it’s a shirt. Put it on!’ ” He also complimented Dallas women on their fashion sense, adding, “I’m in awe of you! … I’d like to take you home with me!” Expanding on fashion in general, he said most people wear their clothes too big. (“Never use the phrase, ‘I only dress for comfort’ with me,” he said. “If you want to feel like you’re in your pajamas, don’t get out of bed.”) He also ripped the current “athleisure” trend including yoga pants, tights, and leggings worn as pants. “It’s an excuse to be a slob,” he said, calling leggings “a form of underwear.”

Wrapping up with a few questions from the audience, Gunn was asked his advice for budding designers. Since designers are barometric measures of our culture, he answered, they should watch TV and movies, read blogs and newspapers, and “assimilate it all” in order to “have a point of view and know who you are. [Knowledge of] construction is important, too,” Gunn said in conclusion, “as are perseverance and tenacity.”

The thunderous applause from the big crowd that followed was a testament to the fashion guru’s tremendous popularity, as mentioned by Paige at the VIP reception. But so, too, was the long wait for their cars that some in the huge crowd had to endure in the lengthy valet line. Although the luncheon wrapped up by about 1:15, some 50 guests were still standing outdoors in the cold breeze, scanning the horizon hopefully for their vehicles, nearly an hour later. There were just too darn many cars, it seems, for the valets to easily handle.

* Photos provided by Community Partners of Dallas

Fashion Guru Tim Gunn Packed ‘Em In At Forty Five Ten’s T Room For Community Partners Of Dallas’ Chick Lit Patron Party

Tim Gunn

Tim Gunn

Not since Rob Lowe and Kevin Costner hit the North Texas area has a man been swarmed like New York Times best-selling author and overall fashion arbiter Tim Gunn was at the 10th Annual Chick Lit Luncheon Patron Party.

Laverne Nieberding and Greg Nieberding

Laverne Nieberding and Greg Nieberding

Yipes! Taking place at Chick Lit Honorary Chair Brian Bolke’s Forty Five Ten, the place should have been big enough for the guests, the fashions and Tim. But with Tim meeting-and-greeting guests like Luncheon Chair Kristi Hoyl, Melissa Sherrill, D’Andra Simmons, Anne Stodghill and Greg Nieberding with his mom Laverne Nieberding in the T Room, the place was as tight as a stamp on an envelope.

What made it more challenging was Tim somehow managed to locate himself against one of the bars. Goodness, bubbly and Tim together resulted in celebration and selfie-action as everyone wanted a flute of champagne and a photo with Tim.

One lovely evidently was new to celebrity get-togethers and decided that she was Tim’s one-and-only, resulting in more than her fair share of special time with him. But Tim proved as proper and charming as his attire, chatting it up with the gal until someone suggested that others might like some quality time with Tim, too.

Lara and Robert Tafel

Lara and Robert Tafel

Organizers were amazed at how generous Tim was. His contract limited his time at the patron party to 45 minutes, but he stayed way beyond the time limit.

Paige McDaniel and Juilette Coulter

Paige McDaniel and Juilette Coulter

Another couple of Chick Lit celebs were Lara and Bob Tafel, who have been on board in supporting the Community Partners of Dallas fundraiser since its inception. But their involvement is more than being the presenting sponsor of the annual get-together. In the midst of all the partying, Bob voiced genuine concern that recent legislative developments were increasing the need for CPD’s efforts.

And speaking of the 10th anniversary, CPD President/CEO Paige McDaniel proudly wore a new piece of jewelry, a necklace spelling out sparkly Chick Lit in its signature font. She told how she and CPD Director of Development Joanna Clarke had had the necklaces especially made for those like Lara, Juliette Coulter and Kristi Bare who have attended all 10 years of the CPD fundraiser.

And while the guests kept coming and coming, it was still an early night because the luncheon was the next day at the Hilton Anatole.

Two Great Fundraisers Were Victims Of A Head-On Collision

An unfortunate situation took place Friday, April 1. It wasn’t an April Fool’s joke. It was the taking place of two fundraising luncheons that divided the efforts for those in need. At the Hilton Anatole, Community Partners of DallasChick Lit Luncheon was celebrating its 10the anniversary with 1,100 and Tim Gunn on stage.

Tim Gunn

Tim Gunn

Hoda Kotb

Hoda Kotb

Over at the Dallas Country Club, Today Co-Host Hoda Kotb was the featured speaker for more than 350 at the Interfaith Dallas – Family Services‘ (formerly known as Interfaith Housing Coalition) Interfaith Auxiliary Luncheon.

Both speakers were beyond remarkable, with guests from each event swearing theirs was the best in ages. But one has to wonder, “What if….?”

What’s that? “What if….what?” It’s, “What if they had been held 24 hours apart?” The guests probably could have squeezed enough money out of their budgets and time to attend both, thereby supporting CPD as well as Interfaith. In turn, they would have been the recipients of two memory-making programs.

Sure, organizers are at the mercy of speakers’ and entertainers’ schedules, but if such a collision of fundraising can be prevented, it really benefits all.

One way to avoid similar situations is to check the MySweetCharity Calendar. If a fundraiser is already on a particular date, then it might be wise to pick another date. Basic MSC Calendar listings are absolutely free to provide the information for one and all. Bells and whistles can be added for a minimal cost.

Grovel Alert: 10th Annual Chick Lit Luncheon With Tim Gunn

Joanna Clarke and Paige McDaniel (File photo)

Joanna Clarke and Paige McDaniel (File photo)

Community Partners of DallasPaige McDaniel and her sidekick Joanna Clarke just sent word that Friday’s 10th Annual Chick Lit Luncheon at the Anatole is within a feather of being sold out. Well, but with tastemeister Tim Gunn as the center attraction, what else would you expect?

So, the scant remaining tickets will be available until 5 p.m. Thursday. Yipes! That’s tomorrow!

Suggestion: get your ticket pronto and even if you have one, upgrade. Why? Because the patron types are gonna have a party Thursday night and you just know you would have a blast.

JUST IN: 10th Annual Chick Lit Luncheon Featuring Tim Gunn Tickets Are On Sale Now!

Tim Gunn*

Tim Gunn*

Word just arrived that tickets for Community Partners of Dallas‘ “10th Annual Chick Lit Luncheon” featuring best-selling author/ man-with-fashion-sense Tim Gunn at the Hilton Anatole on Friday, April 1, are on sale now! Individual tickets start at $175.

Kristi Hoyl is chairing the event with Honorary Chair Brian Bolke and Lara and Dr. Robert Tafel returning as presenting sponsor.

Strong suggestion: Hustle. This one is gonna be a sell-out. And remember, gentlemen are more than welcome to attend.

* Photo provided by 
Community Partners 
of Dallas

2016 Crystal Charity Ball Bus Tour Checked Out Beneficiaries’ Future Sites And Plans To Help Dallas Children

Weather guessers insisted that Thursday, February 18, was going to be a lovely, sunny day with temps in the 70’s. Evidently Mother Nature didn’t get the memo. The morning was cloudy, windy and in the 60s. It would have been no big deal for the Crystal Charity Ball committee members on the bus tour of the 2016 beneficiaries. After all, they would be in a bus and visiting the sites of Captain Hope’s Kids/Hope Supply Co., Community Partners of Dallas, Girl Scout of Northeast Texas, Notre Dame School of Dallas, Parkland Foundation, Teach for America and The Family Place. Still, wise were the ones who opted for the Dallas tradition of layer dressing. One gal in an adorable wrap skirt and blouse bravely took a stand as she prepared to board the bus at 8:15 a.m. in Turtle Creek Village’s parking. “It’s gonna be in the upper 70s,” she said shivering. As others wrapped in jackets, boots and scarves heard her comment, they had to think, “It’s North Texas in February.”

Alex Hales

Alex Hales

But once in the bus, the focus turned from the weather to the purpose of the day, with 2016 CCB Chair Christie Carter and Underwriting Chair Claire Emanuelson seated behind the driver and Charity Selection Chair Helen Holman introducing each beneficiary. First of the day was in the parking lot with Teach for America Dallas Executive Director Alexandra “Alex” Hales handing out materials including a map showing where Teach for America schools were. Taking the mic to explain the program’s purpose, Alex explained that Teach for America is providing “game-changing teachers” for students in 28 high-need, low-income elementary schools. The goal is to end educational inequity so that a ZIP code does not predict a child’s future.

Thanks to the CCB’s $500,000, 80 teachers will be able to help 4,400 youngsters in South Dallas annually.

Mary-Elizabeth Carrell

Mary-Elizabeth Carrell

As soon as Alex exited the bus, Tour Coordinator Mary-Elizabeth Carrell gave some suggestions for the day (like “silence cellphones”) and the bus headed to the first stop of the day — the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas’s 98-acre Camp Whispering Cedars, where “approximately 3,000 girls in grades K through 12 will be served annually.” Multi-generational GSNETX CEO Jennifer Bartkowski played tour guide as the bus managed to make the tight turns through the property. Let’s face it: the pre-World War II camp’s roads built in the 1920s were not made for today’s mega-buses.

Jennifer told how first donor Jan Rees-Jones realized that a first impression was paramount for young people who were entering a new world of education and experience. So, Jan arranged for the Rees-Jones Foundation to donate $1M to create the Rees-Jones Foundation Welcome Center.

But Jennifer stressed that, alongside the traditional scout activities like hiking, sitting around the campfire, sports and leadership activities, there will be the addition of the camp’s crown jewel — the “STEM Center of Excellence, a $13M living laboratory where girls in kindergarten through 12th grade can explore science, technology, engineering and math programs, activities and careers in a unique, girl-centered outdoor leadership environment.”

Jennifer Bartkowski and Audrey Kwik

Jennifer Bartkowski and Audrey Kwik

Inside the Welcome Center, GSNETX STEM Center of Excellence Director Audrey Kwik showed an illustration of what the new facility would look like and directed everyone’s attention to a scale model of the entire camp.

As a 2016 CCB beneficiary, GSNETX will receive $976,000 that will be “used for the construction of the 4,936-square-foot Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Center of Excellence Girl Exploration Center.”

To see them on their way, the Girl Scouts staff was on the spot handing out boxes of Thin Mints.

En route to the second site visit, new CCB members (Lisa Cooley, Michaela Dyer, Libby Hegi, Stacey McCord, Alison Malone and Layne Pitzer) were introduced by Heather Esping and Kim Miller via a guessing game. The newbies were described by answers they had provided during their orientation. Old-timers had to guess which freshmen had provided which answers.

Kay Berry

Kay Barry

Next on the itinerary was Notre Dame of Dallas. For some it was a surprise. They remembered the old building where children and young adults with “mild to moderate intellectual disabilities” attended classes. Lo and behold, Development Director Kay Barry and Notre Dame Principal Theresa Francis took the crowd through the new two-story facility. They saw how, from a young age, the students learn all aspects of living. Kay told how her daughter Amanda, who was a Notre Dame student, had learned to wash her clothes at the school. Kay admitted that her other kids were lacking in that knowledge. Then she told how when her older kids return home for a visit, Amanda folds their clothes for them.

Notre Dame of Dallas students

Notre Dame of Dallas students

At Notre Dame, students have a gym to play basketball as well as a cafeteria to provide skills for jobs after Notre Dame. For the CCB-ers, it was a great visit due to the presence of the children, who are part of the program.

The CCB’s $676,020 will provide “over three years to purchase two passenger buses to safely transport students from satellite locations to and from school.”

Future home of The Family Place Center

Future home of The Family Place Center

Debbi Alves

Debbi Alves

When the bus stopped at a vacant lot surrounded by a tall chain-link fencing topped off with razor wire adjacent to a vacant building just a block or two away from Parkland Hospital, there was no need to leave the bus … at least yet. This location was the future home of the new Family Place Center. Since The Family Place staff was attending an all-day meeting, The Family Place Board Member Debbi Alves hopped on board the bus to explain how the CCB’s $750,000 would be “used to build and furnish the 3,000-square-foot Children’s Counseling Center space, including three counseling rooms, two play therapy rooms, a family waiting area and a children’s computer lab.”

Following Debbi’s explanation, the CCB-ers disembarked the bus for the annual group photo in front of the bus.

2016 Crystal Charity Ball Bus Tour

2016 Crystal Charity Ball Bus Tour

Running ahead of schedule, they got back on board and headed for a nearby parking lot on the Parkland Health and Hospital System campus, where two mammoth buses were parked. One was a mobile clinic that CCB had funded 10 years ago. The second was a new model. Despite the older bus having been maintained meticulously, it was overdue for retirement.

Parkland mobile clinics

Parkland mobile clinics

As Parkland Foundation’s David Krause, Latisha Blair and Dr. Susan Spalding explained the importance of these mobile clinics, the committee sanitized their hands according to protocol, toured the full-service facilities, and then sanitized their hands again upon departing.

Now, don’t go thinking this hand cleansing was unusual. In this day and age of healthcare, hand sanitizers are as routine as a politician’s handshake.

David Krause and Christie Carter

David Krause and Christie Carter

Stacey McCord and Tiffany Divis

Stacey McCord and Tiffany Divis

But back to the tour. The committee members were told that the CCB’s $789,002 would “be used to replace and upgrade the Pediatric Mobile Medical Van serving homeless children at 13 homeless shelters and three juvenile detention centers.” In addition to the van, “funds will be used over threes year to replicate the Healthy and Ready to Learn program which offers comprehensive pediatric screenings for vision and hearing loss, dental pain, hunger, behavioral problems, asthma, sleep disorders and social stress.” The hope is that “approximately 2,000 children ages infant to 18 will be served annually.”

Shepard Faircloth

Shepard Faircloth

Barbara Johnson

Barbara Johnson

Captain Hope's Kids warehouse

Captain Hope’s Kids warehouse

Next stop was nearby Hope Supply Co. Formerly known as Captain Hope’s Kids, it was going through a name change, but its mission hadn’t changed one iota. Recognized as the largest diaper dispersing agency for nonprofits, this to-the-ceiling warehouse boasted Huggies, Cutie Pants and Pampers, as well as birthday gifts and toys. Donning green vests, the CCB-ers were led for a tour by President Barbara Johnson, Warehouse Manager Sam Mattox and Operations Manager Shepard Faircloth of the mammoth warehouse that reminded one of Citizen Kane’s storehouse with the supplies reaching to the ceiling.

But Barbara confessed that Hope was still in need of volunteers to provide elbow grease. Looking at the thousands of cases of diapers, it was overwhelming—as was the realization that such a simple necessity could be out of reach if it weren’t for “hope.”

The CCB’s $600,000 will be “used over three years to provide additional staff, inventory, a delivery van and driver,” as well as enhanced communications between the nonprofit and their partner agencies.

As the ladies departed, each was given a going-away gift. No, not a box of diapers. Rather, a Hope T-shirt.

While the final stop of the day was near the Parkland camp, it was as different as its predecessors. Like fireworks, Community Partners of Dallas President/CEO Paige McDaniel, Development and Communications VP Joanna Clarke and their team exploded with delight at the arrival of the CCB bus at CPD’s future home. Having been located at the Meadows Foundation’s Wilson District for years, it was now time for CPD to leave the nest and settle in its own home. The two-story, 47,000-square-foot office building had housed engineers, but its future would be providing resources for Child Protective Services caseworkers in need of items for the approximate 20,000 children annually removed from their homes.

Paige McDaniel

Paige McDaniel

Typical of CPD, their goal was to provide warehousing for supplies from which CPS workers could tap. But they had a grander plan in mind. According to Joanna, their new facility would also have office space for other organizations with similar goals to call home.

Community Partners of Dallas floorplan

Community Partners of Dallas floorplan

The CCB’s $1,359,236 will be directed to three key areas that occupy 12,636-square feet in the building:

  • the Rainbow Room, where CPS caseworkers can shop free-of-charge for clothing, shoes, hygiene products, diapers, formula, car seats and other items needed for children whose lives are in immediate crisis
  • the Rainbow Room Warehouse, where the inventory is stored and
  • the Reception Atrium, where children will feel welcomed during their transition.

Boarding the bus for the last time, the CCB team had their marching orders and the inspiration to raise a total of $5,650,258 to help change the lives of Dallas children for a better future.

For additional photos, please check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2016 Crystal Charity Ball Bus Tour

2016 Crystal Charity Ball Bus Tour

2016 Crystal Charity Ball Bus Tour

Dallas-area restaurants were lacking more than 50 of their favorite customers on Thursday, February 18. No, the flu had not swept through. Rather, it was the 2016 Crystal Charity Ball bus tour which took a crammed bus full of the committee members for a tour of the 2016 beneficiaries like Captain Hope’s Kids/Hope Supply Co., Community Partners of Dallas, Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas, Notre Dame School of Dallas, Parkland Foundation, Teach for America and The Family Place.

Captain Hope's Kids/Hope Supply Co.

Captain Hope’s Kids/Hope Supply Co.

Camp Whispering Cedars

Camp Whispering Cedars

From diapers to STEM, it was nonstop education from 8:15 a.m. to nearly 3 p.m. with no breaks. Even lunch was in transit. While the post is being prepped, check out some of the photos from the tour on MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.