MySweetCharity Opportunity: Dream Builders Dinner

Diane and Mike Gruber (File photo)

Jennifer and Tom Karol (File photo)

Lynn and Allan McBee (File photo)

According to the Dream Builders Dinner Co-Chairs Diane and Mike Gruber, Jennifer and Tom Karol, and Lynn and Allan McBee,Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity’s first annual Dream Builders Dinner is a not-to-be-missed evening! Come hear how Habitat is doing more than ever to change the landscape of Dallas’ most deserving neighborhoods. Dallas Habitat will also announce its five-year goal of new homes it will build. 

The dinner will be held at the Belo Mansion on Thursday, October 19 at 6:00 p.m. and will feature a conversation between Houston Texans rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson, who lived in a Habitat for Humanity home as a child, and legendary WFAA Sports Anchor Dale Hansen. There will also be live entertainment and a playhouse auction. We are thrilled to have Amanda and Brint Ryan serve as honorary chairs of the event. 

Dale Hansen (File photo)

Amanda and Brint Ryan (File photo)

Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity is the largest nonprofit homebuilder in Dallas, constructing more than 50 homes per year. Over the last 30 years, Dallas Habitat has built 1,600 homes in more than 25 neighborhoods in the Dallas community. Dallas Habitat transforms families, revitalizes neighborhoods and is working to build a better Dallas through strategically bringing together public and private funding, community leadership and vision and thousands of volunteers to break the cycle of poverty and transform the city of Dallas.

Underwriting levels, event sponsorships, tables and individual tickets for the dinner are available. We look forward to seeing you at the Dream Builders Dinner! For more information, please visit or call 214-678-2378.

Houston Texans Rookie Quarterback Deshaun Watson Brings His Life-Changing Story To Dallas Habitat For Humanity’s Dream Builder’s Dinner

While there appears to be no doubt who will be the starting quarterbacks for the Dallas Cowboys this year, down in Houston it’s a different story. The decision is making headlines whether it will be first-round pick rookie Deshaun Watson or veteran Tom Savage. Houston Texans coach Bill O’Brien suggested that Savage has the edge after working with the team for the past three years. But perhaps O’Brien was too busy last year to notice what happened up I-45 when the Cinderella story took place in North Texas.

And while a showdown between Deshaun and Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott would be a ticket well worth the purchase, only time will tell if that ever happens.

Deshaun Watson*

Dale Hansen (File photo)

However, Deshaun will be in North Texas and he’ll be facing someone who intimidates even the hardiest athlete — WFAA’s Dale Hansen. The newbie NFL-er and the seasoned pro interviewer will get together at Belo Mansion on Thursday, October 19, for Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity’s first annual Dream Builder’s Dinner. But chances are they may talk about more than passes, touchdowns and predictions.

It’s because of something that happened just before Thanksgiving in 2006, when Deshaun was just 11 years old. For the first ten years of his life, he and his mother and siblings had lived in public housing. But his mother Deann Watson was bound and determined to get her family into their own home with a backyard. While holding two jobs, she put in hundreds of hours of volunteer work, made an application and received a brand new Habitat for Humanity house.

As Deshaun and his family approached the door of their new home, there was former NFL star running back Warrick Dunn with keys to hand over to the Watsons. Immediately, Deshaun headed straight to his new bedroom. That first night all was in place including furniture and food provided by Warrick.

According to Deshaun, “The home gave him a chance to get out of difficult surroundings and start moving toward the goal of being in the NFL.”

For Warrick, it was a pay-it-forward moment. He “knew from experience how important it was to give a helping hand, but not a handout, to single mothers and their children.” His own mother, who had been a police officer, had been murdered when she escorted a businesswoman to a bank to make a nighttime deposit. At the age of 18, Warrick became the head of the family. He would also be a leading force in NFL players supporting charities. When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, he “challenged all NFL players, except those who play for the New Orleans Saints, to donate at least $5,000 to the effort.” It resulted in more than $5M in contributions.

Over the years, Deshaun embraced the pay it forward. During his years at Clemson, he and his teammates were part of the Habitat for Humanity program.

Just this past October he was presented with the Lowe’s AFCA Good Works Team Award for his Habitat for Humanity efforts in college.

Now, as a professional football player, Deshaun’s using his “celebrity” to help families achieve their homes by supporting Habitat for Humanity.   

And that’s why Deshaun is making time during the football season to be at Belo Mansion to support Habitat for Humanity. It should be quite a night and quite a chat.

Diane and Mike Gruber (File photo)

Jennifer and Tom Karol (File photo)

Lynn and Allan McBee (File photo)

In addition to DeShaun and Dale, the evening will honor Phil Wise and the Carpenters for Christ of Highland Park United Methodist Church. Co-Chairing the event will be Diane and Mike Gruber, Jennifer and Tom Karol and Lynn and Allan McBee.

* Photo provided by Dallas Habitat for Humanity


Round Robin February 27: LaunchAbility Sponsors Party, Habitat For Humanity Builder’s Circle And Fashion Stars For A Cause Patron Party

As the countdown for spring break neared, the non-profits were in high gear to squeeze everything in on Thursday, February 27. Communities Foundation of Texas was hosting One Crisis Away at City Performance Hall. The Salesmanship Club of Dallas was hosting cocktails and conversation with Dr. Tina Payne Bryson at the Nurses Quarters in the Old Parkland Campus. Amy Simmons was being honored at Orphan Outreach Children’s Hope Award Dinner at the Hilton Anatole.  Told ya it was a busy evening. Here are some brief recaps of three other fund- and awareness-raising events:

LaunchAbility Sponsors Party

Piper Wyatt and Lynn McBee

Piper Wyatt and Lynn McBee

Piper and Mike Wyatt’s three chocolate labs were held captive in the Wyatts’ bedroom. But don’t feel too sorry for them. Each (Godiva, Toby and Newton) had his/her own monogrammed cushy bed. Still, the party animals wanted out. Even Toby, who was going through bone-cancer treatment. wanted to squeeze through the door to visit with the LaunchAbility guests. Unfortunately, the house was filled with sponsors for the upcoming “A Special Evening 2014 with Smokey Robinson” on Monday, March 31, at the Meyerson.

With Smokey Radio playing in the background, Piper reported that the event was perfectly timed, what with the Motown sound having a resurgence recently. As proof, she pointed out that “Motown the Musical” was coming to the AT&T Performing Arts Center as part of the 2014/2015 Broadway Series.

As for ticket sales for the fundraiser concert, LaunchAbility CEO Kathryn Parsons said sales were “way ahead of our week-to-week goals.”

Blending Preston Hollow charm with marvelous antiques and framed photos of friends and family, the home was perfect for partying. Why, the moment one entered the door, they were told, “Head to the left where the kitchen and bar are. That’s where everyone is.”

Unfortunately, some like Lynn McBee didn’t make it farther than the library, due to having to rush off to other commitments like the reopening of Traffic LA.

Builder’s Circle Celebration

Just a few blocks south, the Habitat for Humanity Builder’s Circle was setting things on fire, despite a fire warning alert. But not to fear. There was a definite need for burning “the things.”

Velma Mitchell

Velma Mitchell

So, what was so important to burn on this evening? How about the names of those who had paid off their mortgages thanks to HfH?

According to HfH CEO Bill Hall, the evening at lawyer Andy Sommerman’s brand-spanking new home was a celebration for families that have purchased HfH homes and paid them off.

HfH client Velma Miller said, “I thank God for having a house. . . I think I was Bill’s first client. He put up with me. Bill is a godly man. Most of all I appreciate and thank God, because he cares and I don’t have a mortgage! Now when people say, ‘Do you own your home?’ I can say ‘Yes!’” Not only does Velma own her home, she is now the president of her homeowners association.

Juan Mercado

Juan Mercado

Another HfH client, Juan Mercado, told the guests, “I thank God, too. . . I’m just blessed.” Having been born in Florida, he was left with nothing after Hurricane Andrew. Then he and his family moved to Dallas. “We just trusted God.” But Juan got sick and depressed. He continued, “No income or credit, but we had God.. . . Sometimes we think that nobody cares, but Habitat cares!” A pastor with bilingual services, Juan summed his talk up saying, “My message to you is, don’t give up, because our reward is in heaven.”

Sarah Losinger

Sarah Losinger

Before heading outdoors to burn the names and addresses of homes that had been paid off in a portable fire pit, Builder’s Circle founding Co-Chair Sarah Losinger was presented with flowers. Her Co-Chair Kate Rose Marquez arrived just minutes later.

As the slips of papers became cinders, an HfH representative explained that HfH provides interest-free mortgages that usually take 20 to 25 years to pay off. But Velma and Juan had managed to accomplish this pay-off in just 10 years.

Fashion Stars For A Cause Reception

As the weather was cratering throughout the day back on Thursday, February 6th, Fashion Stars For A Cause Founder Yvonne Crum and Diamond Doctor’s David Blank made the gut-wrenching decision to postpone the champagne toast reception for the safety of the guests. No sooner had that decision been made and communicated than a new date was picked — February 27.

Luckily, this time around, Mother Nature cooperated and the guests filled the Diamond Doctor like carats were being handed out as favors.

As designer Darin Prejean, Tiffany Divis and Connie Miles were headed out for other commitments, Yvonne was extolling all who had helped her launch Fashion Stars for a Cause for Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas. Among the folks included were Diamond Doctor David and his lovely bride Stacy, “Beverly Drive”’s Carolyn Tillery, SCCNT’s Margie Wright, Sevy’s for providing the food and cocktails and FSFC’s Honorary Co-Chairs Melody and Rick Rogers. That last one — Melody and Rick — got a champagne toast from the crowd plus a whoop-and-a-holler.

Yvonne Crum*

Yvonne Crum*

The reception glittered with gems in the display cases and the glamorama guests in attendance. Unfortunately it was so crowded that you either huddled around Yvonne or settled back in comfy chairs along the wall, like Carolyn Lupton and John Clutts.

Carolyn Lupton and John Clutts

Carolyn Lupton and John Clutts

What was learned was the inaugural event is nearing “Sold-Out” status, but Yvonne was begging Dallas Country Club management to add just a couple more tables to accommodate late ticket buyers. She also hinted that some SCCNT supporters were “reselling some tables” since they were extending their spring breaks and not returning in time for the March 21 fundraiser.

Despite the official party-ending time being 8, by 8:30 Yvonne was like a mother flashing the porch light for errant teenagers parked in the driveway. But let’s face it, when you’re having a good time, who wants to call it a night?

* Photo provided by Fashion Stars For A Cause

May 23 Round Robin: Urban Revival Kick-off And Resource Center Capital Campaign Update

As many were preparing for graduations and getting away for the summer, others were beating the drum Tuesday, May 23, to raise money for Dallas’ Habitat for Humanity and the Resource Center Dallas.

Urban Revival Kick-off

The Granbury weather disaster seemed to target the Habitat for Humanity homes in particular. Luckily, the HfH program is so well planned that each homeowner had insurance and assistance in place to help rebuild.

While the Granbury rebuilding will be handled by another HfH chapter, the Dallas Habitat for Humanity is continuing with its mammoth undertaking of “Dream Dallas.”

Malcolm and Heather Hicks and Nikki and Crayton Webb

Malcolm and Heather Hicks and Nikki and Crayton Webb

But to achieve this goal of revitalizing areas of Dallas, it takes money. One fundraiser is the 2nd Annual Urban Revival that is being chaired by Heather and Malcolm Hicks and Nikki and Crayton Webb with Amanda and Brint Ryan as honorary chairs on Thursday, November 7, at Chef Sharon Van Meter’s culinary center at 3015 in the Trinity Groves development. To dress up the event, they’ve drafted Tom Addis.

Once again there will be signature cocktails, food stations, live entertainment and a silent auction of bird houses designed by local creative types. For shoppers, Commonwealth Couture will return with “amazing finds for men and women, such as vintage cowboy boots, clothing and accessories.”

The Nest

The Nest

At the kick-off party at The Nest, Crayton, who was HfH board chair in 2009 and 2010, explained how he got involved. “Habitat has been in our blood and in our family for a long time. When you consider the major issues facing Dallas — economic development in the southern sector, improving the schools, decreasing crime — Habitat, home ownership, helps solve them all.”

Crayton told of the Urban Revival’s goal. In addition to having 350 guests, “We’re shooting for a record. We hope to raise $150,000 for the ‘Build a block’ program.”

To help them in achieving that goal, The Nest donated 20% of the evening’s sales to HFH.

Lynn McBee

Lynn McBee

Totally off the subject but fashion note: Lynn McBee arrived wearing some very cool sunglasses. Seems she had been in Galveston and gotten something in her eye causing a blood vessel to break. Her eye had progressed from a deep merlot to a cabernet color.

So, the 10 Best Dressed fundraiser found a pair of glasses at a mini-mart that sells Chinese food. The cost of the glasses? $17, but Lynn talked them down to $11. See! You don’t have to spend big bucks to be stylish.

Resource Center Dallas

Philanthropist Faye Briggs was doing double duty. Earlier in the day she had hosted a sit-down reception for 75 gals to hear about Nancy Smith Beck’s new book, “Dallas International With J.R. Ewing.” It was so successful that it didn’t break up until around 3 instead of the planned-for 2 p.m.

Oops! The Resource Center Dallas group was supposed to be setting up their screens and sponsor backdrops around 2:30 for their reception that evening. Luckily, the transition went smoothly, so none of the 100 guests at the evening event knew the difference.

The purpose of the evening was to update key supporters on the Resource Center’s capital campaign for their new 30,000-square-foot facility at Cedar Springs and Inwood. It would replace their present location in a 12,000-square-foot “old church” on Reagan Street. It presently serves over 50,000 people each year with programs and services needed by the LGBT and HIV/AIDS communities. One of the services is the two HIV dental clinics that have made a vast difference for so many.

New Resource Center Dallas model

New Resource Center Dallas model

The new facility will allow the Resource Center to expand and update its medical clinic, hot meals program and food pantry and other family, community and education programs.

Cece Cox

Cece Cox

According to Resource Center CEO Cece Cox, they’ve gotten $4.2M and aim to raise $9M to $10M more. They launched the “public phase” of the campaign about three years ago.

Gregory Pynes

Gregory Pynes

Resource Center President Gregory Pynes said the new home would be a “community center” as well as the Resource Center Dallas’s headquarters. He went on to say that this project was an exciting new chapter for the group that has been around for 30 years.

In celebration of their 30th anniversary, they plan on “celebrity events” later in the fall.

In conclusion, Cece told the guests, “I’m not shy about asking for money.” She then asked folks to pledge to the capital campaign. Almost immediately, a guest pledged $25,000.

Urban Revival Kick-off At The Nest Requires An RSVP

Dallas downtown door ala Van Gogh (File photo)

Dallas downtown door ala Van Gogh (File photo)

Here’s another shop-opp! To kick off the second annual Urban Revival, Co-chairs Heather and Malcolm Hicks and Nikki and Crayton Webb are serving up cocktails and hors d’oeuvres at The Nest on Thursday, May 23, from 6 to 8 p.m. In addition to providing info on the November 7th  fundraiser at Trinity Groves for the Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity, The Nest is going to provide 20% of the evening’s proceeds to the nonprofit.

The one catch — you’ve got to RSVP to [email protected].

Urban Revival Raised The Roof At Trinity Groves For Habitat For Humanity

Like pioneers heading their prairie schooners west, locals put their BMW’s and Priuses in “Drive” to head over the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge Thursday, November 8.

Paige Slates

What could possibly draw over 240 all-types away from their usual hood for a largely uncharted territory? Urban Revival benefiting Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity. Co-chair John Slates said he and his fellow co-chairs (wife Paige and Ann and Trey Fielder) hoped to raise $100K, but Paige interjected, ” But it’s not so much about fundraising as about raising awareness. We want all our donors to feel loved and appreciated. We feel like we’re on the edge of something cool and hip … “

No, don’t go thinking that it was only Uptown hotties and plastic card millionaires. Heck, no! Like urban Dallas this group had all types making the party hearty like Kathy and David Boyett, Allan and Lynn McBee, Brooke and Aaron Shelby, Jill and Brent MagnusonAlan and Sarah Losinger and Charlene Howell.

Lynn McBee, Charlene Howell and Sarah Losinger

However, find the party at Trinity Groves was a bit of a challenge for newbies. GPS got mixed signals and signage was so subtle that some folks didn’t realize that they had passed the turn for a block or two or three or a mile.

Dallas downtown door ala van Gogh

Once there they discovered the Trinity Grove venue was filled with high-top tables with stools just perfect to show off long legs and short skirts, white leather banquets and reserved seating for the super-duper special people. But everybody got a chance to enjoy  loads of food, beverages, a pop-up boutique and unique auction items like painted doors. One door of downtown Dallas ala van Gogh’s “Starry Night” had a bid of $350 by 7:15. These doors could either be used a doors should be to open to room or they could be hung as pieces of artwork.

For entertainment the majority of the evening was the blend of music by DJs Jennifer Miller and Paul Parades. But when the event is titled Urban Revival, a gospel choir is a must. And in this case if was the Concord Baptist Church singers. Evidently, not everyone in the big space got the word, so some folks in the back missed out on the group performing “My God is Awesome,” “Hosanna. . . Hosanna!” and “Hallelujah!”  They also probably didn’t hear Habitat for Humanity CEO Bill Halltrying to thank everyone over the PA. But, hey, it was a party, not a thank you note.

Concord Baptist Church choir