* Photo provided by Jonathan's Place
No wonder! Just some of the VIP types in attendance will be enough to have cell-photos being taken nonstop. Co-Chairs Julie Bagley and Rachel Stephens have arranged to have Tiffany Cuban, Jessica and Dirk Nowitzki, Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones, Meredith Land and Dillard’s Corporate Beauty VP Gary Borofsky tableside.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the darling of the 2016 Olympics Simone Biles will be the keynote speaker. Her life story reflects Jonathan’s Place’s mission to provide a safe, loving home and specialized services to children who have been abused, abandoned or neglected.” Let’s hope that she doesn’t get eliminated on Monday night’s “Dancing With The Stars.” That would mean her taking the red-eye to NYC for Tuesday morning’s “Good Morning America.” But the money’s on Simone remaining as part of the cast and overnight flying to North Texas. And who knows? Maybe her dancing partner Sasha Farber will be with her at the lunch.
Remember, just 10 seats are left, so get that reservation in now.
* Photo provided by Jonathan's Place
JUST IN: Jonathan’s Place Adds Tiffany And Mark, Dirk And Jan And Trevor To “A Chance To Soar Luncheon” Namedropping Lineup
Boy, talk about name dropping! As if the Jonathan’s Place’s “A Chance To Soar” luncheon on Tuesday, April 25, at the Hilton Anatole wasn’t gangbusters enough with Olympian Simone Biles as the featured speaker, an impressive array of nationally known locals have been added to the lineup.
According to Jonathan’s Place CEO Allicia Graham Frye, “We are so grateful to Tiffany and Mark Cuban for their continued support of Jonathan’s Place and are very proud to have them serve as honorary chairs for the luncheon this year.”
In addition to Simone chatting it up with NBC 5’s Meredith Land, the following distinguished Jonathan’s Place supporters will be recognized:
- Award of Compassion: Dirk Nowitzki (Dirk Nowitzki Foundation)
- Award of Service: Dillard’s
- Award of Excellence: Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones (Trevor Rees-Jones Foundation)
At this date the following sponsors have already signed up:
- Champion Sponsor: Insperity and Mohr Partners
- Hero Sponsor: Al G. Hill Jr.
- Guardian Sponsors: Julie and Scott Bagley, Allison and John Carlisle, Tracy and Ben Lange, Macy’s, Larissa and Mitchell Milby, Kay Sim, Rachel and Brad Stephens, Strategic Dealer Services and Stacey and Reid Walker
- Defender Sponsors: At Home, Dana and Brad Ayres, Barbie and Bill Borlaug, Keri Brookshire and Susan Mattox, Kimberly and Christopher Cocotos, ConnectThree, Serena Simmons Connelly, Suzie and Bunker Curnes, Mary and Ted Fredericks, Icon Partners, Amy Mahoney and Nikki Wolff, Jenny and Jason Lichty, Alexandra Lovitt, Beth Maultsby and Goranson Bain PLLC, Jennifer and Bradley Norris, Josephine C. Olson, Kerry and Don Peterson, Stephanie and Todd Phillips, Marcellene Malouf and Royal Furgeson, Julie and Eliot Raffkind, Katherine and Eric Reeves, Cordelia and David Rendall, Republic National Distribution Co., Randa and Doug Roach, Southern Enterprises LLC, Verner Brumley Mueller Parker PC, April and John Willingham and Linda and Ken Wimberly
She may itsy bitsy, but gymnast Simone Biles has become a giant among the spectrum of legendary athletes thanks to her many accomplishments including the recent Rio Olympics sweep. There are those who swear that she’s “The most talented gymnast of all-time.”
But she also has an incredible back story of how as a youngster, her parents were MIA due to their addictions. Simone and her siblings were “in and out of foster care,” until she and “her sister Adria were adopted by their grandparents at a young age.” It was a major turning point for the girls. They discovered gymnastics and as they say, “the rest is history.”
That’s just a Reader’s Digest version of Simone’s story. The real one will take place on Tuesday, April 25. Sixth Annual A Chance to Soar Co-Chairs Julie Bagley and Rachel Stephens have arranged to have Simone as the keynote speaker for the Jonathan’s Place fundraiser.
According to Jonathan’s Place CEO Allicia Graham Frye, “Jonathan’s Place is over the moon to have Simone Biles share her story of courage to overcome a tumultuous childhood. We are grateful for her sincerity and condiment her story will be an inspiration to all supporters — old and new — of Jonathan’s Place.”
The question on the table is where the event will take place. Stay tuned. In the meantime, sponsorships are available and table sales begin at $2,500. But don’t wait for the location to be announced. This one is going to be a sell-out.
* Photo provided by Jonathan's Place
On Tuesday, April 26, two leading organizations that are solely focused on protecting children had fundraising lunches in different parts of the city. While Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center gathered folks at the Sheraton Dallas, Jonathan’s Place’s “A Place to Soar” celebrated its 25th anniversary at the Dallas Country Club. Priscilla Garcia filed this report from the DCC:
For 25 years Jonathan’s Place has been “protecting and caring for the previous children of North Texas, who have suffered from abuse, abandonment and neglect.” Just this past year they added to their services the Girls Transitional Living Program for young women ages 18-23 who have aged out of the foster system. Through the program these young women learn to be responsible and how to care for themselves.
On Tuesday, April 26, Jonathan’s Place celebrated its 25th anniversary at its annual “A Chance To Soar” luncheon at the Dallas Country Club. Luncheon Co-Chairs Allison Carlisle and Rachel Stephens arranged to have Caren and Peter Kline serve as honorary co-chairs and for NBC’s Meredith Land to have a sit-down conversation with Dr. Lara Johnson. Through her heartfelt story, Lara revealed that she had a very rough childhood. Her mother was a heroin addict. Her father was an alcoholic. Lara focused on school and was a very good student. Luckily, her Woodrow Wilson High School teacher, Pat Faherty, encouraged her to fill out college application forms even though it was passed the deadline. Pat saw something in Lara. Through Pat’s help, Lara was able to go to college.
As Pat sat in the audience, Lara told how their efforts paid off. Lara became a doctor. The reason? After going to various doctor appointments with her parents, she felt if she became a doctor, she might be able to help them in some way. Later in life her dad was diagnosed with HIV and passed away. Her mother recently died and wanted forgiveness before she passed. Lara said she had already forgiven her.
It was a very touching story, one that she wasn’t really planning on sharing because she is so private. But she changed her mind when an article was written about her in D Magazine after a chance conversation with a friend. Today she volunteers her medical services for the kids at JP and loves the organization. She is married with two children and likes for them to give back as well. Great Q&A!
Another highlight of the luncheon was the recognition of JP Board Chair Jennifer Norris and Meredith and Jason Cockburn, who have fostered over 50 kids through JP, and the presentation of the awards to the following:
- Award of Compassion — Christina and Michael Benge
- Award of Service — Nationwide Insurance
- Award of Excellence — Dallas Association of Health Underwriters
CEO Allicia Graham Frye spoke about the children at the cottages and gave a very genuine speech about her experiences there and how the donors are helping daily at the facility. She was very appreciative of all the support the donors give. She had a picture on the screen showing the where the teenage girls spend their free time. This space had recently been renovated by donors and she wanted to share a piece of the facility with the crowd. Currently, there are 77 children at the campus.
To celebrate this landmark year for Jonathan’s Place, the following sponsors were on board:
- Presenting Hero Sponsor ($25,000) — ORIX Foundation
- Platinum Champion Sponsor ($15,000) — Al G. Hill Jr.
- Gold Protector Sponsors ($10,000) — Mohr Partners and Scopus Asset Management
- Silver Guardian Sponsors ($5,000) — Macy’s, Allison and John Carlisle, Marianne and Roger Staubach, Rachel and Brad Stephens, Stacey and Reid Walker and Kay Sim
- Bronze Defender Sponsors — Akin Gump Strauss Hauer and Feld LLP, Beth Maultsby and Goranson Bain LLC, The Stacy and Tyler Burke Fund, Freeman Group LLC, Kline Family Foundation, The Rosewood Corporation, Wick Phillips Gould & Martin LLP, Mr. and Mrs. Scott Bagley, Barbie and Bill Borlaug, Kim Cocotos, Marcellene Malouf and the Honorable Royal Furgeson, Dr. Greta Kerwin-Kopp, Wes Lambard, Amy and Tom Mahoney, Jennifer and Bradley Norris, Mr. and Mrs. Todd Phillips, Julie and Eliot Raffkind, Katherine and Eric Reeves, Randa Roach, Nan S. White and April and John Willingham.
* Photos provided by Jonathan's Place
While November seems ages ago, the Dallas Chi Omega Alumnae have been adding up the dollars earned through their annual Chi Omega Christmas Market. When the total was finalized, the checks were handed out at Chi O alumna Amy Mitchell’s fabulous home on Turtle Creek on Tuesday, February 16. Here’s a report from the field:
More than 100 Dallas-area Chi Omega Alumnae and beneficiary representatives gathered at the home of Amy and Malone Mitchell for a check presentation of funds raised from the 2015 Chi Omega Christmas Market, which was held November 18-21, 2015, in Centennial Hall in Fair Park. The 38th annual market drew a record crowd of 10,500 shoppers.
Co-Chairs Amanda Escobedo and Amy McAleavey announced that the total amount to be distributed from the market was $330,000, providing critical funds for local beneficiaries including Association for Independent Living, Attitudes & Attire, AVANCE- Dallas Inc., Camp Summit, Dallas Services Low Vision Clinic, DME Exchange of Dallas, Hope Cottage, Jonathan’s Place, Make-A-Wish Foundation of North Texas, ManeGait Therapeutic Horsemanship and Chi Omega Educational Corporation.
Beneficiary Committee Chair Jenny Kaiser and Beneficiary Liaison Barb McCluer presented checks to representatives from these local beneficiaries, as well as collegiate scholarship recipients and their families.
Guests included Chi O Alumnae President Sue Bailey, ManeGait’s Danna Hamann, LeAnn Aubuchon and Kelly Waterman, AVANCE-Dallas’ Will Hornberger, Anne Thomas and Mack Campbell, Betsy Keith, Julie and Mikes Karnes, Carolyn Peck, Suzanne Caruso, Bitsy Carter, Kelly Hosch, Nancy Leonard, Cindy Robinson, Gayle Chapman, Jenny Kaiser, Denise Jernigan, Barb McCluer, Arlene Manthey, Leah Keeter, Christine Platt, Kathy Martin and Laura Rohrman.
* Photo credit: Rhi Lee
Jonathan’s Place has made the difference for so many children who could have easily been passed from place to place. Instead it has provided “the place” to learn, grow and be embraced with hope.
That was not the case for “A Chance To Soar” keynote speaker/Walgreen’s executive Steve Pemberton. He was a child who rose above the musical chairs of a nightmarish foster home system.
This story was revealed at the Jonathan’s Place fundraiser on May 14 at Brook Hollow.
Except for an off-again, on-again, off-again sound situation, the filled ballroom decorated with four ballroom columns was just right for the event.
Following a VIP reception on the patio, guests squeezed into the ballroom for the lunch and program.
Honorary Chair Lisa Troutt joined Luncheon Chairs Connie Miles and Kathy Jeffrey on stage to thank the guests for supporting the event.
But the message proved to be a little rough due to the audio. Adding to the problem was the music playing in the background. A guest at table #31 got fed up and sought a staffer to stifle the music. Her request was quickly handled.
By 12:30 the audio had improved for Host Committee Chair/last year’s honoree Pam Busbee to salute Mohr Partners for their “outstanding support of Jonathan’s Place.”
Then three young women took their places on stage and each took her turn describing how Jonathan’s Place had indeed made life-changing differences in her life.
Emcee Scott Murray introduced Steve at 12:54. It appeared that the event was not going to be over as planned at 1 p.m. The sounded returned to a lackluster status.
What could be heard throughout the room was the sound of chairs being moved around to get a better view of the tall, handsome man, who was impeccably attired. Looking a bit like George P. Bush, Steve told of his present life like any proud pop — living in northern Chicago with his wife Tonya and their three children (Kennedy, Quinn and Vaughn). He was an executive with Walgreen’s. What he didn’t mention was his past positions with Monster.com and his being on “Fortune”’s 2007 list of the Top 20 Chief Diversity Officers in corporate America or “Savoy”’s 2008 Top 100 most influential African-Americans in corporate America.
But his life didn’t start that way, not by a long shot. His father, Kenny Pemberton, was an African-American amateur boxer and drug addict, who was killed at 26. His mother, Marian Klakowicz, was an alcoholic and too unstable to raise her children. Results: Steve Klakowicz and his siblings became wards of the state.
Due to his dark skin and blue eyes, a social worker who was involved with Steve’s foster home placement said they didn’t “know whether he belonged in a white family or a black family.”
Steve didn’t care” what the color of the house was,” he just wanted security and safety.
It didn’t happen. Instead he was adopted by a family, who “took him for the money” and left major gaps in his care.
His escape was sitting in a secluded outdoor area and reading a book. It was here that a woman happened upon the youth. She spoke to him and surprised him by noting that he was reading the same book day after day. It was a brief conversation, but it was one that made the boy feel like someone had finally noticed him. It was also a conversation that would be a turning point in his life.
That same woman showed up at his house with a box full of books. That box opened his world to a world of hope via “Watership Down, “ “Lord of Rings,” etc. What he learned was that “people had the opportunity to turn back but they didn’t.
Reading showed him the way and enabled him to escape a dismal future.
He spoke about the reason for writing his book, “A Chance in the World: An Orphan Boy, A Mysterious Past, and How He Found a Place Called Home” and other highlights, like his eventually changing his name to match his father’s last name, “Pemberton,” and searching for his brothers and sister. That search was both gratifying and disappointing, but time didn’t allow for details about the reunion and his sister Joni’s reaction.
In concluding, Steve said, “There’s nothing special about me. . . I refuse to retreat.”
At 1:16 the event was over. While the sound could have been better, Steve’s message was loud and clear — whether it’s a stranger with a box of books or an organization like Jonathan’s Place, kids like Steve are not doomed to a hopeless fate.
Despite this Tuesday being the day for lunches (Dallas Can! at the Dallas Renaissance Hotel honoring Ruth Ryan and Ruth Sharp Altshuler Tocqueville Society Circle at the Mansion), the Jonathan’s Place gathering at Brook Hollow is so close to being a done deal.
So, if you’re not headed to a friendly frisking at the airport for far-away places or having your annual physical, then try to grab one of the last spots.
Can’t wait to hear Wes Moore tell his story about what separated his greatness from his in-name-only cousin who is in prison.
If you’re too late, then you might want to check with the others or just sit at home chowing down on Jenny Craig or counting your Weight Watchers points.
The Other Wes Moore Rainchecked Barbara Bush, But He’ll Be Front And Center For Jonathan’s Place And Pam Bus(y)bee
It’s not everyone who begs out on Barbara Bush, but Rhodes Scholar/ author Wes Moore had to last November. It was her “Celebration of Reading” and he was on the program. But not to worry. The amazing war hero who time-and-time again has proved himself to be the other Wes Moore. . . the same name, the other face. . . will be here for Jonathan’s Place for “A Chance to Soar” on Tuesday, June 5 at Brook Hollow Golf Club.
Confused? We were until it was learned that two men bore the name of “Wes Moore” from a tough neighborhood in Baltimore. One was a Rhodes Scholar. The other was serving time for murder. The Rhodes Scholar/White House Scholar fella learned about his counterpart when his mum notified him that there were posters being circulated in their neighborhood about “Wes Moore,” who had killed a police officer. The good-guy Wes was nowhere near the scene of the crime. He was in South Africa
Over time the two Weses exchanged correspondence and visits. Rhodes Scholar Wes learned that there were parallels between their lives. What separated their lives? His book “The Other Wes Moore” published in 2010 addressed the very issues that made one a hero and the other a social outcast. Needless to say, it became a “common read” and instant best seller.
In addition to being a decorated Afghan veteran, the author is an articulate advocate for education and how it makes a difference in life.
If you want to witness a captivating talk, you’ll want to check out the Jonathan’s Place fundraiser.
In addition to benefiting Jonathan’s Place, it’s also honoring Pam Busbee, who tends to live up to the latter part of her last name. . . “bee.” Busy, busy, busy bee. Pam chaired the 2011 Salvation Army Fashion Show and Luncheon is scheduled to co-chair Celebrating Women this fall.
Sorry, but if you had plans to duck out for the summer after Memorial Day, let’s rethink that one. This luncheon has all the signs of being a life-changer.