JUST IN: While Barbara Daseke Splashes As Addison Magazine Cover Girl, Husband Don Daseke Is Named 2018 Horatio Alger Awardee

The name “Daseke” is familiar to locals for Barbara and Don Daseke‘s support of all types of nonprofit. From WaterTower Theater in Addison to the Dallas Zoo just south of Dallas’ CBD, they’ve made their paw/foot print on fundraising. Why Addison The Magazine of the North Dallas Corridor just featured platinum, spiky Barbara as their cover girl this month.

Don and Barbara Daseke (File photo)

Ah, but word has just arrived that Don has been busy building his empire to gargantuan levels as well as his philanthropic levels.

Word just arrived that Don will receive the prestigious Horatio Alger Award on Thursday, April 5, thru Saturday, April 7, during the Association’s 71st Horatio Alger Award Induction Ceremonies. Gee, hope Barbara and Don can schedule it into their “Must Attend” agenda. The twosome will be joining fellow awardee Reba McEntire and others in Washington D.C. for the ceremony.

According to the Horatio Alger Award committee, “This annual award recognizes exceptional leaders – all with a commitment to philanthropy and higher education – who have overcome significant personal challenges to achieve success. Horatio Alger Award recipients solely fund the Association’s scholarship programs, which provide education opportunities to promising students who, like the Award recipients, have faced adversity in their young lives.”

Don will join such locals as the late Ebby Halliday Acers, Jody Grant, T. Boone Pickens, Jeff Rich and Bob Schlegel.

Follow the jump for all of Don’s accomplishments including his marriage to Barbara. [Read more…]

Early Birds Flocked To The Annual Zoo To Do Fundraiser As The Dallas Zoo Residents Grazed On

Sometimes it pays to be an early bird at an event. And Zoo To Do was such an occasion on Saturday, November 4, at the Dallas Zoo. While the official start time for the expected 700 guests was 6 p.m., some VIP types like Joan and Alan Walne and Diane and Mike Gruber arrived at 5:30.

Joan and Alan Walne

Diane and Mike Gruber

The cheetahs were already striking poses on the hill in their compound like cover girls. One of them appeared to be eyeing a zebra in the Giants of Savanna. Abacus’ Chris Patrick claimed that one of the spotted cats had just minutes before sat next to the setup up on the other side of the glass.

Lisa Martel, Cessy Mendoza, Dennis Egert and Chris Patrick

Across the way, a couple of giraffes were accepting lettuce handouts. Over in the Giants area, Ajabu was making his Zoo To Do debut. Not all the herd got to party, though. The adult bull elephant was in a separate area, chilling near the elephant waterhole. Seems he’s been feeling his oats lately and was a bit frisky.



On the other hand, one of the female elephants that had experience in raising youngsters was trumpeting from the elephant barn. She and Ajabu’s mama, Mlilo, aren’t best buds, it seems. The backstory was that when Ajabu was an infant, Mlilo wasn’t happy when the other females tried to take charge of Ajabu. Evidently she thought she would be a better, more experienced mom. Since elephants are known for not forgetting, Mlilo still remembers the dis. Talk about Real House Elephants of the Dallas Zoo! 

And speaking of shenanigans, the Simmons Hippo Outpost has been a sources of whispers throughout the zoo campus. No confirmation yet, but Adhama and Boipelo have been playing hippo house. If wishes come true and the gestation period for a hippo is 243 days, there might be some hippo baby showers in the spring.



Meanwhile, the always-cool gorillas seemed to be teasing the guests in the VIP Lounge. As Subira, the silverback, and his gal pals ambled to different spots in the Gorilla Trails, the guests moved throughout the lounge to ooh-and-ah and snap cellphone shots. As one guest noted, “The silverback knows he’s cool.” Guess so. After becoming an internet sensation with his “Dancing Machine” in June, Subira’s become the John Travolta of the gorilla set.

After posing for a photo with baby crocodile Gimli, Event Co-Chair Barbara Daseke confided that she told husband/Co-Chair Don Daseke to take off his alligator belt.

Don and Barbara Daseke

Amy and Jim Severson

In the meantime, the chefs were setting up for an evening of feeding the herd of guests. There were familiar faces like Sevy’s Amy and Jim Severson, Salum’s Abraham Salum and Janice Provost of Parigi, as well as Empire Bakery’s Meador Ozarow and Shinsei/Lovers Seafood and Market’s Aaron Staudenmaier.

Janice Provost and Abraham Salum

Aaron Staudenmaier and Meaders Ozarow

Janice reported having a busy fall, what with the Meat Fight party in a few days, as well as an upcoming trip to assist her pal Nikky Phinyawatana, head chef at Asian Mint, at the big James Beard Event in New York. Aaron also had some exciting news, disclosing that he would be leaving his post with Shinsei/Lovers Seafood and Market to join the Front Burner restaurant group as corporate chef for Whiskey Cake.

JUST IN: 2017 Zoo To Do Co-Chairs Barbara And Don Daseke Reveal Fundraiser’s Plans

While the two-legged critters wore shades as the sun set slowly over the Dallas Zoo’s Highland Hippo Hut, the two showstoppers chilled in the Simmons Hippo Outpost lagoon last night. The twosome were Adhama and Boipelo that almost stole the show from the reveal of plans for the 2017 Zoo To Do.

Dallas Zoo’s “hip” kids

But more about that at a later date.

In the meantime, here are the deets: Zoo To Do Co-Chairs Barbara and Don Daseke have arranged to have Diane and Hal Brierley in charge of the live auction; Barb and Steve Durham as host committee co-chairs; Cindy Gummer handling decorations; Kate and Lane Britain as underwriting co-chairs; Anatole Brett Krafft as wrangler and ZaZa Chef Dan Landsberg as head chef.

The date is set for Saturday, November 4. It’s going to be a great one with the Dasekes, the committee heads, the chefs cooking all over the place and the multitude of newborns that are cropping up all over the zoo.

JUST IN: Barbara And Don Daseke To Co-Chair 2017 Zoo To Do’s “Animal Gathering” Under A Full Moon

Don and Barbara Daseke (File photo)

On Saturday, November 4, there will be a full moon in the sky. That should have an estimated 700 folks howling at the 2017 Zoo To Do.

News just arrived that the twosome who will be co-chairing the event will be those animal-loving critters Barbara and Don Daseke.

This year’s Dallas Zoo fundraiser should be quite a hip-hip hurray event with the added attraction of the soon-to-open Simmons Hippo Outpost, plus all the new babies that have been born this year. And that’s not to mention the more than 25 chefs cooking at various stations around the Giants of the Savanna, hand-feeding the giraffes, and Party Machine providing music late into the night. As for the attire, stow the ties and ball gowns. This one is strictly a walk-about in khaki slacks, cheetah prints, and safari hats.


According to Barbara, they’re already working on the live auction items that seem to get better and more intriguing each year. Just this past year, Barbara was the 2016 Zoo To Do Live Auction Chair and that one still has folks clucking about the amazing zoo-oriented experiences that went for sky-high bids. 

While individual tickets start at $750, the VIP Ticket Package of $3,000 is a top-dog offering with all types of goodies. To find out the details, call 469.554.7445.

Stay tuned for developments as they take place.

Lee Park Junior Conservancy Friends Tried On Chapeaus And Adult Beverages Prepping For 8th Annual Day At The Races

After the brutal beating parts of North Texas took the night before, it was amazing that anyone but insurance adjusters would be busy or collision centers would be celebrating on Thursday, March 24.

But leave it the nonprofits to keep hustling on Good Friday eve.

The WaterTower Spotlight Gala patrons were sipping grown-up beverages with a spectacular view of the Addison Natural beauty thanks to WaterTower supporters Barbara and Don Daseke.

Over at NorthPark’s The Theodore patio, about 100 of the Lee Park Junior Conservancy members and friends checked out all types of Derby fashions from NorthPark merchants. After all, the “Eighth Annual Day At The Races” will be taking place on Saturday, May 7, to celebrate/watch the 142nd Kentucky Derby. To still the chill of the cold front that landed in town, patio heaters and glasses of wine kept guests warmed.

Smart Hats

Smart Hats

In the farthest part of the patio, Stefani McMurrey had a pop-up hat boutique of her Smart Hats for guests to try on Derby-friendly chapeaus for possible wear at Lee Park’s Arlington Hall.

When asked if Stefani’s hats would be showing up at the Arboretum’s Mad Hatter’s Tea on Thursday, April 21, Stefani said, “Probably not.” Her reason was the Mad Hatter’s headwear tended to be of a different shape and size than Derby fashion.

On this evening, Co-Chair Wendy Messmann tried on a pink fascinator that went with her pink and white lace dress. It so impressed Wendy that she said the fascinator size would probably be her pick for the Saturday event.

Boyd and Wendy Messmann, Kirsten Williams and Peter Swanson

Boyd and Wendy Messmann, Kirsten Williams and Peter Swanson

Her Co-Chair Kirsten Williams in a black fascinator was getting more look at her ring finger. She and Peter Swanson had just gotten engaged the week before. Had they set a date? No. According to Peter, they were adjusting to being engaged.

Lee Park and Arlington Hall Conservancy President/CEO Gay Donnell reported that in addition to having NorthPark as the sponsor of the Lee Park fundraiser, Doris Jacobs would be the honorary chair and the Jordan Kahn Band would be returning to entertain.

Last year more than 500 broke past records for attendance, so you just know Wendy and Kirsten are out to have another record broken. Tickets start at $150.

WaterTower Theatre Wants To Give Due Credit For Addison Theatre Centre Main Stage’s New Custom Seats

It’s always nice to give credit where credit is due. Recently another media outlet published a story that reported new custom seats at Addison’s WaterTower Theatre were made possible “thanks to Barbara and Don Daseke and the town of Addison. The Dasekes gave the lead gift of $75,000.”

Good for them! But it seems something was left out of the report. So WaterTower representatives issued the following right-official statement to set the record straight:

“WaterTower Theatre recently completed a capital campaign to install new theatre seating in the Addison Theatre Centre Main Stage. The campaign raised more than $125,000 to pay for custom seating in the 200-seat theatre located inside the Addison Theatre Centre. Lead donors Barbara and Don Daseke with Janiece and Jimmy Niemann with additional support from The Town of Addison made the installation of new seats possible.”

Why, they even sent along a photo showing the two happy couples, city officials and WaterTower leadership.

Todd Meier, Mary Carpenter, Barbara and Don Daseke, Janiece and Jimmy Niemann, Derek Blount and Ben Cunningham*

Todd Meier, Mary Carpenter, Barbara and Don Daseke, Janiece and Jimmy Niemann, Derek Blount and Ben Cunningham*

Just wanted to make sure that pats on the back were distributed to all who made the installation possible. Now, all the patrons will have comfy seats to take in the WaterTower productions.

* Photo credit: Kelsey Leigh Ervi

DSO AT&T Gala Powers Barbara And Don Daseke And Anna-Sophia Know How To Warm Up For September 17

You’ve got to hand it to the Dallas Symphony Orchestra AT&T Gala crowd. They know how to prepare for the Saturday, September 17th gala. Since they have Todd Fiscus and his merry staff putting all the magic together to transform the Meyerson for the big night, they’re in other parts of the world getting in shape.

DSO Gala chairs Barbara and Don Daseke have been hiking around Peru. According to Barbara,”We have hiked 7 of our 9 days in Peru. Very remote. No access to anything whatsoever. Hardest thing we’ve ever done. Today came DOWN 4000 ft to Machu Picchu. Made it to 17,000 but with tough hiking, I could barely breathe. Even the many mule trains who passed us on a narrow trail were gasping!!!”

On the other side of the world, After-Party chair and DSO first daughter Anna-Sophia van Zweden was Miss Popularity with the bluest blooded bold faces.

Joshua Bell

Ah, where to start? How about the royal concert attended by newlyweds Prince Albert and Princess Charlene? Anna-Sophia ran into DSO Gala featured artist Joshua Bell, aka People Magazine‘s “50 Most Beautiful.” No, Joshua was not just another party guest. He was performing with the Orchestre Philhamonique de Monte-Carlo for the royal celebration. And whom do you think was conducting the orchestra? Ah, we just knew that you would know. You’re absolutely right. Anna-Sophia’s always talented papa, Jaap van Zweden.

Alas, the beautiful Anna-Sophia in her Dolce & Gabana outfit admitted to tearing up, “Joshua Bell made me cry. . . so beautiful!”

And her review of Monaco’s new princess? She reminded Anna-Sophia of Princess Grace.

Isle de Marguerite

As if that wasn’t enough to send our girl to a spa for recovery, she attended a birthday party for a Dutch multi-millionaire. Can’t name him because he’s too darn shy. No, it wasn’t one of those Dom Perignon dinners in a quaint little restaurant in Paris.  Oh, no, not at all! The birthday gent rented the entire Isle de Marguerite near Cannes. The dress code was white and glamorous.

Anna-Sophia van Zweden

Our Anna-Sophia was a knockout as usual. Dressed in white Grecian-style, she highlighted her look with gold accessories including Yves Saint Laurent jewelry that she had bought in Monaco a few days earlier.  Around 200 guests from the Netherlands, Russia and U.S. — including Nicky and Paris Hilton — were picked up by speedboat at Cannes and taken to the Carlton hotel on the island.  The party was catered by Bruno, a restaurant famous for its truffles in the  Cote d’Azur. DJ Jacky of the famous nightclub Les Caves in the Byblos hotel played before Sheryl Cole sang “Happy Birthday” to the birthday boy Marilyn Monroe-style. When dinner was over, the crowd moved to the dance floor where the Black Eyed Peas (without Fergie) played all night long! Everyone at the party was dancing like there was no tomorrow

Nicky Hilton, Anna-Sophia van Zweden and Paris Hilton

Now, you know what to talk about with Barbara, Don, Anna-Sophia and Jaap when you see them at the gala. Better get your tickets now. Got a feeling that thanks to Todd’s decorations, Joshua’s performance with Jaap and the DSO, Anna-Sophia’s after-party and some other surprises, the DSO fundraiser is going to compare very nicely to the mysterious Dutch millionaire’s birthday party.

Joshua Bell photo provided by Dallas Symphony Orchestra