‘Draft Day’ Celebrates Cristo Rey-North Texas Business Work Study Partnership

Bishop Edward J. Burns of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Dallas gave the invocation. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings served as emcee for a while. Mike’s son, Gunnar Rawlings, executive director of the Cristo Rey Corporate Work Study Program, also helped out. Sports personality Michael “Grubes” Gruber and Erin Hartigan, Fox Sports Southwest host, provided commentary. Even Rachel Lindsay, star of TV’s “The Bachelorette” series, put in an appearance.

Kelby Woodard, Rachel Lindsay, Edward Burns and Mike Rawlings*

The occasion: Cristo Rey Dallas College Prep‘s third annual, NFL-style “Draft Day,” presented by Frost Bank. The event, attended by more than 500 guests, was held at the school on July 28 to match the school’s 148 incoming freshmen and sophomores with their corporate work assignments for the 2017-2018 school year. The students earn more than 60% of their tuition by working one day each week at such iconic North Texas companies as Mary Kay, AT&T, Hunt Oil, Deloitte and Jackson Walker.

Mike “Grubes” Gruber, Erin Hartigan, Mike Rawlings and Gunnar Rawlings*

CEOs or senior leaders from these and more than 100 other companies turned up for the event at Cristo Rey, which is one of 32 Catholic prep schools in the Cristo Rey network. Under the work study program, the school’s economically challenged students receive work experience as well as leadership training.

David Leach and Melanie Duarte*

Noah Barron, Scott Moore and Daisy Garcia*

With top business luminaries in the audience including Greyhound CEO David Leach, PWC Managing Partners Scott Moore and CBRE Vice Chair Jack Fraker, the students were called to the stage one by one to meet their new employers. As they did so they exchanged high-fives and hugs and checked out a variety of “swag” items from their new companies, including logo t-shirts and ball caps.

“This year we are welcoming more than 35 new partners to the Corporate Work Study Program, with job teams now working in Downtown, Uptown, Richardson, North Dallas and beyond,” said Kelby Woodard, Cristo Rey Dallas’s president. “In addition to contributing more than $3 million toward the cost of tuition, the Corporate Work Study Program provides students with hands-on work experience in a real-world setting and a chance to develop leadership skills that will last a lifetime.”

BlueCross Blue Shield of Texas at Cristo Rey Draft Day*

Other companies participating in the school’s Draft Day program included HKS, BlueCross BlueShield of Texas and Tenet Healthcare.

* Photo credit: Tamytha Cameron Smith

Mad Hatter’s Tea Judges Scored With Some Pretty Heady Escorts For The Arboretum’s Fundraiser Patron Party At Amy And Kelsey Warren’s Estate

As Pat Green surveyed Mad Hatter’s Tea Honorary Co-Chair Amy and Kelsey Warren’s backyard, he laughed when someone asked him if it was bigger than his spread in Fort Worth on Tuesday, April 25. What brought the country-western singer to Dallas was the Mad Hatter’s Tea patron party. No, he wasn’t going to be entertaining at the tea the following Thursday. But his adorable blonde wife Kori Green was going to be one of the category judges and Pat was playing the role of escort for the evening.

Amy Warren

Pat and Kori Green

Still another escort was Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, who was also playing a secondary role to wife Micki Rawlings, who also was to be a judge.

Mike and Micki Rawlings

Tracy Rathbun and “her husband”

But wait! There was still another judge in the crowd overlooking the palatial grounds. It was restaurateur Tracy Rathbun with “her husband.” Tracy told “her husband” she had been amazed earlier in the day at how itty-bitty Simone Biles was at the “A Chance to Soar” benefiting Jonathan’s Place.

Amanda Hill and Melissa Lewis

Jocelyn White and Joani White

Others in the crowd were the Honorary Co-Chairs Amanda Hill, Women Council of the Dallas Arboretum President Melissa Lewis, evening’s chair Emilynn Wilson and husband Claude Wilson, Anne Stodghill, Phyllis and CJ Comu, Joani White and Jocelyn White, who would be emcee at Saturday’s Equest Gala as well as the Mad Hatter’s Tea.

Amid A Ballroom Of Orange, 2017 Linz Awardee Lyda Hill Graciously Accepted The Accolades And Inspired All Present To Get Involved

With the predictions of a major event collision, the Omni Dallas was ground zero on Wednesday, March 8. Perhaps it was to squeeze in one more fundraiser before North Texas emptied out for spring break. Or maybe it was just the “oops” ingredient for the fundraising recipe.

The problem was the schedule of two behemoth events for lunch — the Planned Parenthood fundraiser with Marcia Clark and the 88th Linz Award Luncheon on the same day. 

In the meantime, the Virginia Chandler Dykes Leadership Award Lunch fundraiser was across town at the Belo.

But the gods of planning smiled on the scheduling. Thanks to the Junior League of Dallas commandos, they had scheduled everything down to the second not to collide with the Planned Parenthooders.

Timing was imperative.

From the left: Tom Dunning, Ron Steinhart, Ruth Altshuler, Sheila Grant, John Scovell, Lyda Hill, Dolores Barzune, Walt Humann, Lindalyn Adams, Jody Grant, Debbie Branson, Forrest Hoglund, Bob Thornton and Bill Solomon

The Linz group’s past awardees (Lindalyn Adams, Bill SolomonSheila and Jody Grant, Debbie Branson, Ruth Altshuler, Forrest Hoglund, John Scovell, Ron Steinhart, Tom Dunning, Dolores Barzune, Bob Thornton and Walt Humann) gathered in a side room for a photo with the 2017 Linz Awardee Lyda Hill with the Dallas skyline in the background by 11:10. Then they were led to the VIP Reception outside the Trinity Ballroom.

With the timing of a prima ballerina, the Linz group was cloistered in the Trinity’s reception area just as the Planned Parenthood guests arrived for check-in at the Dallas Ballroom’s lobby.

In the meantime, men and women in blue stood watch. One Linzer wonder why all the security. It wasn’t because of the Linz Award. Rather, the recent protests at the Fort Worth Planned Parenthood had put the local first responders on alert.

When Lyda was complimented about how great she looked, the lady responded, “Take a good look, because it’s gonna be the last you’ll see me like this.”

Orange tableclothes

Despite the protests, Lyda did look great and, of course, was wearing an orange jacket. In fact that was the password color of the day. In the ballroom filled with hundreds of guests, everything from BBFs (Lynn McBee, Millie Cooper, Bobby Sue Williams, Diane Brierley, etc.) to table centerpieces honored Lyda’s love of orange.

Mike Rawlings and Lyda Hill

A couple of fellas like Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and Don Glendenning sheepishly admitted that their borderline reddish, yellowish ties were as close as they could get to the color of the day.

Speaking of the good mayor, Mike reported that son Gunnar Rawlings’ wedding to Gabby Gutierrez had gone off without a hitch in Mexico, except for the bridegroom’s limp. Seems Gunnar had fractured his leg and hobbled to the altar. However, Mike admitted that it was a beautiful occasion with the weather behaving marvelously.

While some guests hopped between the Linz Luncheon and the Planned Parenthood Luncheon, 2016 Linz Awardee Debbie Branson got things going in the Dallas Ballroom. No sooner had she gotten the attention of the group than Junior League of Dallas Sustainer President Kitty Peeler thanked The Dallas Morning News and Zales and welcomed Rev. Stephen Swann to provide the invocation.

Planned Parenthood check-in

Following official introductions and recognitions, guests lunched.

Following the lunch, it was time for the salutes and a couple of shots across the bow. Mayor Mike kicked it off welcoming all to the city-owned hotel. He then told how in reviewing the list of Linz Award recipients, he was surprised that only 10 women had received it.

Mike recalled that when the Ebola outbreak and the July 7 shootings took place, Lyda was one of the first to step forward offering help. He pointed out other endeavors in which Lyda was a rock: VNA, North Texas Food Bank, Perot Museum, etc. He finished up by describing Lyda as a “rock of our city and a wonderful gem.”

Jim Moroney

Across the stage in a chair, Linz Award Co-Sponsor Dallas Morning News Publisher/CEO Jim Moroney didn’t look all that happy at the comment about the Linz recipients. Following Mike, Jim said, “Mayor, on behalf of the two sponsors of the Linz Award, I would say that we are not proud of the number of women that have received this award—but I think we’re doing better than the mayors of Dallas… Just saying.” That “shade throwing” got a mix of laughter and hoots from the audiences.

Then Jim got on his bully pulpit, bringing up the problems making headlines — homelessness, police and firemen’s pension fund, renegade dogs in South Dallas, etc. 

Nicole Small

After Mike’s and Jim’s exchange, Linz Award Co-Sponsor Signet Chief Retail Insights and Strategy Officer George Murray along with Lyda Hill Foundation CEO Nicole Small lassoed the group back to the topic du jour — Lyda. Nicole went on and on providing insight about the woman, who prefers to provide for others rather than promote herself. A telling moment came when Nicole asked Lyda to stand. Then Nicole asked all who had known or been friends with Lyda for more than 30 years to stand. More than a third of the room stood. Nicole then asked for a board member or executive director of an organization that Lyda had spent her time with to stand. Another third of the room stood. Her next request was for anyone whose organization had received funding from Lyda to stand. Almost the rest of the room stood. Nicole’s final request was for anyone who just wanted to know Lyda to stand. That allowed the handful of folks who were left to stand. 

The rest of Nicole’s talk was a valentine for Lyda, including the revealing of her love for dark chocolate and her hidden stash in the upper left hand drawer of her desk.

At one point Nicole told how Lyda would clear the trail of branches to make it easier for those who follow. Throughout her various endeavors, that is what Lyda has done — cleared the way for those who follow.

Lyda Hill

Being called to the stage, Lyda started off in typical Lyda form, “I think I’d be smart if I turned around and left right now…. Nicole, you didn’t have to tell which drawer the candy’s in.”

Lyda admitted that she had “born into privilege and have been privileged all my life to live in a great city with generations of community-minded citizens. But I feel far more privileged today to be able to have an impact on the city that I love.”

Despite only knowing her childhood surroundings, she attributed the Junior League’s provisional program for showing her what needed to be done and how to do it.

She recalled that she has lived half of her life following her breast cancer diagnosis. “I’m trying to make the best that I can with my borrowed time.”

Ten years ago when the economy went down, Lyda made the largest grant that she has ever made. The result? “Nothing is more gratifying than being able to experience helping the abused, the homeless and the hungry.”

She pointed out that in reviewing the previous Linz Award recipients, three traits stood out:

  1. They looked ahead to what was coming.
  2. They were entrepreneurs with a can-do spirit.
  3. Collaborations allowed the winners to bring groups together to solve issues.

With the enthusiasm of a child on Christmas Eve, Lyda talked about what the future held.

She encouraged the audience to in turn encourage family and friends to get involved. Within her own family, Lyda not only takes her nieces and nephews on her Meals on Wheels deliveries. She has also established the “Aunt Lyda Grant.” When her nieces, nephews and grand nieces and nephews turn seven, she sends them a letter “offering to make charitable contribution to the charity of their choice for $50 times their age. As they get older, the charities get happier. But most important I asked them why they want that charity, to get them thinking about it. Then I have the charities send the newsletters directly to them. I have also taken all my nieces and nephews and most of my grands to deliver Meals on Wheels. Because I want them to be exposed at how much fun it is to be there and help people and see what it feels like when you’re helping people.”

She closed by saying, “We are lucky to live in Dallas. Spread this luck in your own way. Most people vote every four years, but donors and volunteers daily vote for the kind of action for the world they want to be through their actions. That same kind of world is available to all of us. A world that is full of hope and inspiration for the future.”

For more photos, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

2017 Soup’s On! Had Union Station Filled To The Rafters With Chefs, Advocates For The Dallas Homeless, Parkies Types And Gloria Campos Who Isn’t Dead

Ray and Margie Francis

As the Barack Obama Male Leadership Academy Jazz Band set up downstairs for the 10th Annual Soup’s On! Luncheon at the Eddie Bernice Johnson Union Station on Tuesday, January 31, early arrivals like Honorary Co-Chairs Margie and Ray Francis had a great opportunity to check out the items in the silent auction in the Stationmaster’s Lounge.

Over in the main ballroom, it was a totally different setup from years past. Luncheon Chair Heather Sauber and Stewpot Alliance President Julie Marshall had changed the arrangements. The stage was facing the window with two large screens on either side. Due to the setup there were a couple of tables that were going to have to rely on 52” flatscreens to see the action on the stage. After all, the event was so very sold out. Even the main service line between the rows of tables seemed on the thin side. Hopefully, the serving team was all a size two.

The same tight situation was slated for the parking to fit 300 projected cars in 150 spaces.

But Heather was bound and determined to make this Stewpot Alliance fundraiser a moneymaker. She even managed to save on the speaker’s fee by having a panel of local leaders address the homeless situation that has been making headlines with the closure of tent cities.

Mike Rawlings and Robert Wilonsky

Keven Ann Willey

Jeff Tooker

Florencia Velasco Fortner

For the panel discussion, there would be no table and stiff-back chairs. Instead the panelists (Mayor Mike Rawlings, Dallas Morning News VP/Editorial Page Editor Keven Ann Willey, The Concilio President/CEO Florencia Velasco Fortner and Dallas Police Sgt. Jeff Tooker) and moderator DallasNews.com Managing Editor Robert Wilonsky would be in comfy brown easy chairs on stage.

From the left: (standing) Andrew Swanson, Scott Girling, Andrew Chen, Andrew Dilda, Omar Flores, Dennis Kelley and Jeramie Robison; (seated) Danyele McPherson, Abraham Salum, Brian Luscher, Janice Provost and Melody Bishop

With the sun shining and the temperature in the early 60s, it wasn’t one of those must-have-soup days. But it was a day when the Dallas homeless situation was the main course with soup and salads at the tables thanks Soup Chief Chef Brian Luscher and his team of area Souper Duper Chefs (Melody Bishop and Dennis Kelley of Lark on the Park, Andrew Chen of Monkey King Noodle  Co. and Monkey King Banana Stand, Andrew Dilda of Independent Bar and Kitchen, Omar Flores of Whistlebritches and Casa Rubia, Scott Girling of The Graph, Danyele McPeherson of 80/20 Hospitality, Janice Provost of Parigi, Jeramie Robison of Uchi Dallas, Abraham Salum of Salum and Andrew Swanson of Wolfgang Puck).

Mike and Micki Rawlings

Robin Bagwell

David Nichols and Mike Allen

Allison Salas and Kelly Donohue

As Brian reviewed the final preparations and presentation of the soups and chefs in the kitchen, the activity out front was heaping. It was one of Micki Rawlings’ first outings since having back surgery on Friday, January 13. In four days, she and husband Mike Rawlings would be heading to Mexico for son Gunnar Rawlings’ wedding to Gabby GutierrezRobin Bagwell reported that husband Norm Bagwell had given her the best Christmas gift ever, despite agreeing not to do Christmas gifts. He created a charitable trust for her!…Jennifer Clifford had flown in from North Carolina for the lunch. Despite husband Joe Clifford’s taking his new role as head pastor at Myers Presbyterian Church in North Carolina back in August, Jennifer just completed her tenure with Communities Foundation of Texas in December… She also thanked Abraham Salum for making the Clifford son’s senior graduation dinner “so special”…Renowned for his Hermes ties, David Nichols was tieless. Since scaling back on his residential realty responsibilities, he was going for the more casual look…. Allison Salas and Kelly Donohue were receiving congrats on tackling the 2018 Soup’s On! as co-chairs.

As for the program, Rabbi Debra Robbins provided the invocation and was followed by emcee former WFAA anchor Gloria Campos who asked, “Remember me? I retired. I didn’t die.” The rest of the program was a bit overwhelming with a parade of speakers —Heather, Julie, Margie, Ray and Stewpot Executive Director Rev. Dr. Bruce Buchanan extolling their sincere commitment and admiration for The Stewpot.

Bruce admitted that one of the issues close to his heart is The Stewpot I.D. Program, which helps the homeless establish legal identities. The Stewpot provides “documentation assistance to more than 6,000 persons annually, which is essential for jobs and housing.”

They also recognized the founding board member of the Stewpot Alliance (Karen Ware, Jennifer Clifford, Catherine Bywaters, Marty Coleman, Margie Francis, Nancy Gillham, Jan Hegi, Kathy Jackson, Martha Lipscomb, Martha Martin, Joan Mason, Suzanne Palmlund, Micki Rawlings, Carolyn Walton and Trish Weigand). Thanks to these women launching the Alliance, $2,367,500 had been provided for The Stewpot’s mission of helping the homeless with meals, healthcare, counseling, case management and therapeutic and vocational activities.

Stewpot factoid: The Stewpot serves 364,792 meals a year.

The panel discussion eventually got underway, starting off with former Dallas Homeless Czar/Mayor Mike saying that he wanted to create an inter-governmental program that would be accountable for housing the homeless. In the coming weeks, he hoped that announcements would be made regarding such a government undertaking, but it had to go through the Dallas City Council and Commissioners Court. While he admitted that there are a lot of people working to solve the issue, “We don’t have an integrated strategy.” Having a City Council person, a County Commissioner, the head of Parkland and the head of the mental health provider network have a plan, instead of various plans, would be a major step forward.

Keven Ann shared her frustration about the situation, saying that the Commission on Homelessness came out with a report including “a variety of ideas…I’d kinda like to see two or three cases out of that report that could be accomplished in the next eight, ten months, so that we can begin to see tangible progress.”

Mike said that he would like to see the November bond election include a million dollars for housing. While he admitted that it would be a big step, he added that it would make a big difference.

(Editor’s note: While the call-out for support of the Dallas bond election was praised, it was interesting to note the number of Park Cities types who won’t be able to support the effort.)

Jeff admitted that putting the homeless in jail doesn’t help the problem in the long run. He told how officers drive around with clothes in their car to provide for the homeless, but he added that “We need to do more than just say, ‘Would you like a ride to The Bridge?’” He added that for the homeless, just making their way “through the system” on their own can be overwhelming. That’s why organizations like City Square can help provide the assistance and direction to get off the street. He also said that just placing them in an apartment was not always a solution. One homeless person told him that he felt safer on the streets than living in some apartment complex. He admitted that while the police need to enforce the law, “We could do better to create better relationships and a rapport with the homeless.”

However, Mike admonished the audience, recalling former Dallas Police Chief David Brown’s message that, “We ask too much of our police.”

Florencia said that The Concilio’s infrastructure was not made to serve the percentage of homeless Hispanics.

Mike told how the numbers reported by the Task Force on Poverty were “shocking.”

Kevin Ann returned to Mike’s bond election and asked what was needed. Mike responded that people needed to let their City Councilperson know that the homeless issue needed to be included in the bond election.

In conclusion, Robert asked for the panel’s wishes:

Florencia asked that people get more involved and to think of the homeless as real people.

Jeff said that you could have a bond proposal, but “there are so many people, so many of us that can make a difference. It’s not just about money…that’s a big part of it… it’s about service. There are a lot of great people who are homeless and we need to reach out to them.”

Keven Ann suggested leveraging current funds to hire more caseworkers, who really make the biggest difference and give people the services that they need. Also, to get landlords to be more receptive to programs that benefit the homeless.

Robert suggested people should get involved with the “Point In Time” Homeless Count next year.

For the closing remarks, International Human Rights Activist Peggy Callahan congratulated the number of folks who had been involved with The Stewpot for a couple of decades. She also made a case for financial support for The Stewpot and made the final request for donations for $100,000 that would help 25,000 people.

For more photos of the 2017 Soup’s On! champions, check out the MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

SPCA Of Texas’ Paws Cause “Fetches” $115,000 To Benefit Mary Spencer Spay/Neuter And Wellness Clinic At Village Fair And The South Dallas Initiative

Perhaps more than ever, the need for spay and neuter has been moved to the top of the list of longtime solutions for the area glut of stray animals. With such city officials as Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, City Councilperson Monica Alonzo and Dallas City Attorney Faith Johnson in attendance to drive the point home, the SPCA Of Texas‘ Annual Paws Cause — “Pawsitively Dallas Strong” — at the Jan Rees-Jones Animal Care Center on Sunday, January 29, took on an added importance in fundraising for the Mary Spencer Spay/Neuter and Wellness Clinic at Village Fair and the South Dallas Pet Initiative. The result was netting $115,000 for the program. Here is a report from the field:

Monica R. Alonzo*

Faith Johnson*

On Sunday, January 29, the SPCA of Texas’ Paws Cause, “Pawsitively Dallas Strong,” at the SPCA of Texas’ Jan Rees-Jones Animal Care Center saw more than 300 animal lovers come together to benefit the Mary Spencer Spay/Neuter and Wellness Clinic at Village Fair and the South Dallas Pet Initiative. The event attendees were welcomed with a purple search light, a purple carpet, dancing dog and cat mascots and actual dogs and cats galore.

2017 Paws Cause’s “Pawsitively Dallas Strong”*

Inside, guests enjoyed gourmet food from some of Dallas’ finest chefs, imbibed luscious libations–including the “Pawsitive Delight” signature drink, danced the night away to musical entertainment by Goga, took part in the Bone Appetite restaurant drawing and had their pictures snapped at the Flipbook photo booth. A raffle of high-end items tempted attendees with fine art, photography packages, pet care products, designer purses, fine jewelry and more. A highly successful live auction and Pony Up for Paws fundraiser completed the night.

Haute cuisine stations from several of the Metroplex’s best restaurants, including Salum, Parigi, Pink Magnolia, Cane Rosso, Whistle Britches and 3015 at Trinity Groves tempted guests with everything from  sumptuous savories to decadent desserts.

Paws Cause 2017 was a tail-wagging success thanks to 2017 Paws Cause Honorary Chair  Andrea Alcorn, and the Steering Committee, which included: Jane Arrington, Steve Atkinson, Rebecca Belew, Diane Brierley, Andie Comini, Phyllis Comu, Giana DePaul, Gwen Echols, Kristen Greenberg, Whitney Keltch, Christina Miller, Pam Ragon, Abraham Salum, Gloria Snead, Karen Urie and Cathy Zigrossi

At the pinnacle of the party, Mayor Mike Rawlings first addressed the crowd saying, “The spay and neuter initiative that the SPCA is taking on is the lynchpin of the plan…to solve the situation in South Dallas that is hurting neighborhoods. We’ve got tens of thousands of dogs that need to have this operation and I believe that when we do that we will not only make the lives of those dogs better, but the lives of the neighbors and the strength of Dallas will come with it.”

Andrea Alcorn and Karen Urie*

Then, SPCA of Texas Senior Vice President Debra Burns, Karen Urie, Andrea Alcorn, SPCA of Texas President/CEO James Bias and SPCA of Texas Board Chair Katy Murray took turns thanking the guests and encouraging them to give. Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson spoke in support of the partnership between the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office’s Animal Cruelty Unit and the SPCA of Texas.

The event netted $115,000 for the Mary Spencer Spay/Neuter and Wellness Clinic at Village Fair and the SPCA of Texas’ South Dallas Pet Initiative.

All proceeds from the Paws Cause event benefit the Mary Spencer Spay/Neuter and Wellness Clinic at Village Fair and fund spay and neuter efforts in the Dallas community. This includes the SPCA of Texas’ programs that aim to support the pets and people of South Dallas to help address the serious stray animal, pet homelessness and pet overpopulation issues, also supporting the preservation of the bond between pets and people and keeping pets and the community healthy and safe.

Angela Thompson, Mary Spencer and Ann Marcus*

James Bias and Jan Rees-Jones*

Attendees also included Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Monica Alonzo, Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones, Bobbi Snyder, Stacey and Arnie Verbeek, Bob Minyard, Angela Thompson, Candace Rubin, Ann Marcus, Hal Brierley, Leldon Echols, Marsha Pendleton-Gray and Dr. Richard Gray, Mary and Skip Trimble, Stacey and Don Kivowitz, Mary Spencer, Betsy Orton and Sharon Fancher, Mike and Catherine Merritt and Claire and Kurt Schwarz.

Event sponsors included:

  • Diamond Sponsors: Andrea Alcorn, Friedman & Feiger LLP and Dr. Richard Gray and Marsha Pendleton Gray
  • Gold Sponsors: Diane and Hal Brierley, the Durham Family Foundation, Forty Five Ten, Gwen and Leldon Echols, In Memory of Guy T. Marcus, Trinity Industries Inc. and Patricia Villareal and Tom Leatherbury
  • Silver Sponsors: Ralph Lauren – Highland Park and Skip and Mary L. Trimble
  • Copper Sponsors: Sharon Devereux, Stacey and Don Kivowitz, Katy Murray, Ray and Patricia A. Smerge, Pam Ragon, Redfin Real Estate, Claire and Kurt Schwarz and Sandra Urie and Frank Herron
  • Bronze Sponsors: MaryLynn M. Black, Karen and Phil Drayer, Cassie Evans and Hattie Pearl Decker, Hillary Hurst and Mark Schwarz, Bobby Minyard, Carol Orr, Penny Rivenbark Patton, Lucilo A. Pena, Candace Rubin, Mary Spencer, Susie Swanson, Chad West and Mr. and Mrs. David Yost.
* Photo credit: Thomas Garza Photography

Internationalism On The Menu At H. Neil Mallon Award Dinner

2016 H. Neil Mallon Award*

2016 H. Neil Mallon Award*

In a presidential-election year that essentially has globalism on the ballot, there was no doubting the commitment of more than 800 people to the concept when the World Affairs Council of Dallas-Fort Worth held its annual H. Neil Mallon Award fundraising dinner at the Hilton Anatole on Saturday, September 24.

The purpose of the event was to present the 33rd annual Mallon award to Doug Parker, chairman and CEO of Fort Worth-based American Airlines Group. But the evening was also a celebration of internationalism, with Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, where American dominates, at its dynamic heart.

DFW Airport CEO Sean Donohue was one of the dinner co-chairs, along with Robert L. Crandall, CEO of American from 1985 to 1998. The dinner chairs were CEO David T. Seaton of Fluor Corp., which depends heavily on international construction work, and Texas Capital Bancshares leader C. Keith Cargill, who’s also chairman of the World Affairs Council of DFW board. The honorary dinner chairs were Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, who couldn’t attend, and Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings.

Kay Bailey Hutchison*

Kay Bailey Hutchison*

Mike Rawlings*

Mike Rawlings*

During the pre-dinner receptions, old friends like Talmage Boston, Laura and Tom Leppert, Marvin Singleton and Richard Holt caught up with the latest news. Marvin, a bigwig with the local office of Hill & Knowlton Strategies, said that he’d just traveled 12,000 miles in the previous three weeks. Richard, the local Bank of America leader, said he’d been traveling a lot in the last month as well. Terrell Falk, wife of WAC/DFW President and CEO Jim Falk, revealed that she’d recently come out of retirement to be CEO/COO of a new arts incubator called The Cedars Union. (Seed money came from the Bowdon family foundation.)

Jim Falk*

Jim Falk*

A little later, as the dinner guests worked on their shrimp salads, braised short ribs, and caramel-and-chocolate truffle torts, Rawlings took the podium to congratulate Parker on “pulling our world together, and making DFW Airport your home.” The mayor then acknowledged that questions about globalism have arisen in the presidential campaign, adding, “Do you pull away, or do you lean in? Thank you for leaning in and supporting the World Affairs Council.”

After a video tribute to Parker—in it, Donohue called Parker the “dean” of airline CEOs, just as Crandall had been—Crandall himself helped Cargill present the Mallon Award to Parker. The 80-year-old retired executive, who now divides his time between Florida and his native New England, praised Parker for launching 18 new routes and adding 5,000 employees since American’s merger with US Airways in 2013.

Robert Crandall, Doug Parker and Keith Cargill*

Robert Crandall, Doug Parker and Keith Cargill*

During his remarks accepting the WAC award, Parker surprised the crowd by announcing that American would name its new Fort Worth headquarters campus—which should be ready for move-in by 2018—after Crandall. “I just told Bob about it an hour and a half ago,” Doug disclosed. Later, Crandall called the announcement “a great compliment, and a huge pleasure.”

The evening concluded with a keynote talk by David Ignatius, foreign affairs columnist for The Washington Post. Ignatius told the crowd that people everywhere are worried that America is becoming less willing to take a leadership role in the world. He then outlined three challenges that he sees: the threat posed by ISIS, the threat posed to the U.S. by Russia under Vladimir Putin, and the problem of China if America withdraws from its involvement in Asia.

David Ignatius*

David Ignatius*

“It really matters whether America remains persistent in the world and has the backs of our friends,” Ignatius said, adding: “Internationalism is strong in our country when it comes from the heartland—from Texas and Minnesota, from businesses and workers, not from the elites. Visiting with people here in Dallas makes me more hopeful that we’ll stay engaged in the world.”

You can bet that most everyone in the house agreed with the sentiment.

* Photo credit: Steve Foxall

Facing Dallas’ Dante Inferno, The Bridge Announces New Leadership To Help The Homeless And Support The Mayor’s Call For A United Effort

Say the word “homeless” and an array of feelings arise like guilt, apathy, helpless or not-my-problem. And those feelings have been in simmering for decades. For too long, well-intentioned people have driven over the highways oblivious that hundreds of people were living… no make that surviving… there in tents or makeshift shacks. After all, these taxpaying drivers had other concerns like paying bills, getting kids to school or making a meeting. Yeah, the homeless situation was unfortunate, but the thinking was if they wanted to get out, they could roll up their sleeves and get a job and work their way out of it. That’s what “normal” people would do.

But these aren’t your normal” people. They’re people who have fallen into a Dante’s Inferno of despair, drugs, isolation and fear.

For years the situation has only increased because, as one community leader said, “Nobody really cared about them.”

Mike Rawlings (File photo)

Mike Rawlings (File photo)

Yes, there have been loads of nonprofits that have struggled to help the North Texas homeless. But the situation got to an “out-of-the-closet” dilemma with the recent demolition of the area tent cities. The hope had been that the tent citizens would move from the streets and utilize the organizations and their programs. But that transition has not taken place. There are lots of reasons why — lack of funding, limited services, a lack of cohesiveness among the programs, etc.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings is all too aware of the homeless situation. Before becoming mayor, he was known as the Homeless Czar for his efforts to spearhead “The Bridge,” which opened in 2008. Over the weekend The Dallas Morning News reported that Mayor Mike is “calling for the creation of a cross-jurisdictional government agency — ‘like DART’ — that would focus solely on solving Dallas’ homeless crisis.”

Ironically, The Bridge was already ramping up its structure to meet this area-wide problem by announcing “new leadership positions on its board of directors.”

Community leader Lynn McBee, who has served as co-chair of the board, will assume the role as sole chair of The Bridge’s board of directors. She’ll continue in her capacity as CEO of Young Women’s Preparatory Network and as a member of the Dallas Commission on Homelessness.

Lynn McBee (File photo)

Lynn McBee (File photo)

According to Lynn, “I am honored to serve as chair of an organization that is leading the way in providing homeless recovery services to our community’s most impoverished citizens. The growing poverty in Dallas requires us to continue to be innovative in our approach to addressing this important part of our city’s health.”

Other changes will include Dorchester Minerals CEO Casey McManemin serving as the Administrative Committee’s chair; longtime supporter of The Bridge Jennifer Karol continuing as chair of the board’s Development Committee; and attorney Michael Peterson heading up the board’s Governance Committee.

Continuing on The Bridge’s executive staff will be President/CEO Jay Dunn, who has led The Bridge since its inception; COO Sam Merten, the former advisor to Mayor Mike before joining The Bridge staff two years ago; and Chief Development Officer Ashley Harris, who had previously been involved in the fundraising for Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity.

Dallas CASA’s Champions Of Children Award Dinner To Honor NorthPark Center With Author Antwone Fischer As Keynote Speaker

Parade of Playhouses (File photo)

Parade of Playhouses (File photo)

After 21 years of Dallas CASA filling the NorthPark Center with adorable cottages for auctioning, Champion For Children Award Dinner Co-Chairs Christine and Jonathan Bassham, Karen and Mark Carney, Jeanne and Joseph Manogue and Kristy Hoglund Robinson just announced that the renowned retailing center will be presented with the Judge Barefoot Sanders Champion of Children Award at the annual dinner fundraiser for Dallas CASA.

Dallas CASA*

Dallas CASA*

Joining the festivities on Tuesday, October 27, at The Fairmont Dallas will be Honorary Co-Chairs Micki and Mayor Mike Rawlings.

Karen Carney and Kristy Hoglund Robinson (File photo)

Karen Carney and Kristy Hoglund Robinson (File photo)

Micki and Mike Rawlings (File photo)

Micki and Mike Rawlings (File photo)

Another highlight of the event will be keynote speaker/film producer/director/screenwriter/author Antwone Fisher, whose “Finding Fish” resulted in a movie starring Denzel Washington.


According to Antwone, “I think back on a childhood of longing for belonging and see my life now as something created out of my dreams. I clung to that preposterous vision and with the force of those dreams willed it and made it happen. Not because I needed to be famous but because I needed a world that made me feel uninvited to be wrong. So I imagined myself free, I imagined myself loved, I imagined myself as somebody.”

Individual tickets start at $300 and are available now!

* Graphic courtesy of Dallas CASA

[Read more…]

A Morning Of Mourning

For baby boomers and other old-timers, the news of the sniper(s) in downtown Dallas killing people knee-jerked them back to the nightmare of November 22, 1963. They remembered the days and years of Dallas being damned as a “city of hate.” This time it was a victim of hatred.

It was hard to imagine that the spot where 800 had peacefully marched to protest shootings in Minnesota and Baton Rouge had become a war zone with police as the key targets. Despite the resulting chaos of civilians running for cover and an unknown number of assailants, city leaders immediately came together to resolve the situation.

For Mayor Mike Rawlings, it had been a rough week already. In addition to the torrential flooding that resulted in the loss of an off-duty officer on Tuesday, his mother-in-law, Willine Gunderson, who had lived with the Rawlings family, had died Monday. She had been more than an in-law for the mayor. At night after putting in a long day of running the city, he would go to her room and talk with her before joining the rest of the family. Just hours before the downtown ambush, he had attended her funeral in Canton. Now, just past midnight, he was mourning the loss of officers and consoling his city.

But he was also letting the world know that Dallas would not tolerate the assassinations. Backing him up was Dallas Police Chief David Brown, who was commandeering the fluid developments. Not only was the city under siege, the situation also provided a ripe opportunity for widespread vandalism. Luckily, the latter was stopped before it could take hold.

But even at this time when Dallas city and county leadership was rising to the occasion, there were some who evidently didn’t realize the gravity of the situation.

In the days ahead, there will be funerals and healing. In the weeks and months ahead, there will be revelations. In the years ahead, this nightmare will require patience, understanding and grit for Dallas and the rest of the country.

Big Mike Rawlings And Eddie V’s Are Teaming Up For “White Hot Summer Night” Dinner Wednesday To Battle Domestic Violence

Mike Rawlings*

Mike Rawlings*

Mayor “Big Mike” Rawlings may be facing hip surgery on Thursday, August 14, but his crusade against domestic violence doesn’t slow down one iota.

Tomorrow (Wednesday) he’ll carry the campaign to Eddie V’s Prime Seafood for the “White Hot Summer Night Celebrity Charity Dinner” benefiting the Dallas Men Against Abuse Campaign.

For $350, Executive Chef Brian Dietz will provide guests with a four-course dinner.

According to Eddie V’s Dallas Managing Partner Richard Lopez, “We are thrilled to partner with the mayor for the Dallas Men Against Abuse campaign as part of our second annual White Hot Summer Nights event. This year we wanted to host a dinner that supports a local charity that not only serves a great cause, but specifically the Dallas community.”

So, if you want a great meal, help support the battle against abuse and wish Big Mike well before his surgery, head to Eddie V’s.

Be forewarned: guests are asked to wear white, so don’t go showing up in your favorite print or madras.

Daddy-O’s Joel Allison, Dan Novakov And Mike Rawlings Honored At Father Of The Year Award Luncheon

The spring winds were flirting with a vengeance, giving hairstyles a fit at the Frontiers of Flight Museum. Now, normally it wouldn’t be a problem for guests. They would slip between their cars and the valet drop-off and walk just a few yards into the place. But, alas, there was no valet, so guests discovered the back world of parking at the museum.

Luckily, this was a hearty group with an equal number of gals and gents, so they braced follicles and skirts as they made their way around the filled parking to the entrance. It was well worth it.

The 39th Annual Father of the Year Awards Luncheon not only paid tribute to Dallas dads — Joel Allison, Dan Novakov and Mayor Mike Rawlings — it also benefited the honorees’ pet charities. This year those were Faith in Action initiatives at Baylor Health Care System Foundation for Joel, Bishop Dunne Catholic School for Dan and Genesis Women’s Shelter for Mike. Funds also went to the Father of the Year Scholarship recipient Noemi Rosales Santillan and Sylvan Landau Founder’s Scholarship recipient Paige Scott.

Noemi Rosales Santillan and Scott Murray

Noemi Rosales Santillan and Scott Murray

After a VIP reception on the upper level, lunch was underway. Well, sorta.

The first attempt at the video presentation of the beneficiaries looked great but there was no sound. Quick-thinking emcee Scott Murray quickly took control, saying that the video wasn’t quite right and for guests to settle back for lunching on salad, grilled chicken with cilantro cream sauce, glazed carrots and roasted garlic mashers. In the crowd were Robin Robinson, Jan Langbein, Susan Wells Jenevein, Debbie Oates, Louise Griffeth, Linda Secret, Tom Dunning, Cynthia and Brice Beaird and past recipients like Stan Levenson and Crawford Brock.

Jan Langbein, Robin Robinson, Susan Wells Jenevein

Jan Langbein, Robin Robinson, Susan Wells Jenevein

A few minutes later the video made a second try, but this time the video started where it had left off. Doug Murray hit a couple of buttons at the production table and all was right.

In the meantime, the honorees were joined by their families at front row tables. Joel had been prepared for his sons Blake Allison and Brent Allison but daughter/Austinite Celeste Allison surprised him.

Brent Allison, Celeste Allison, Joel Allison and Blake Allison

Brent Allison, Celeste Allison, Joel Allison and Blake Allison

As Dallas’ First Lady Micki Rawlings looked on, honoree Mike posed for photos with daughter Michelle Rawlings and son Gunnar Rawlings.

Michelle Rawlings, Mike Rawlings and Gunnar Rawlings

Michelle Rawlings, Mike Rawlings and Gunnar Rawlings

Over at the Novakov table, Dan was surrounded by three generations including mom-in-law Isabell Haggar, kids Isabell Novakov and Daniel Novakov along with Dan’s wife Lydia Novakov, whom Dan described as the quarterback of Team Novakov. When asked about her dad being named Father of the Year, Isabell N. smiled mischievously and replied, “That makes me the ‘Daughter of the Year.’”

Daniel Novakov, Dan Novakov and Isabell Novakov

Daniel Novakov, Dan Novakov and Isabell Novakov

If you’d like to see just who else has been honored since 1976, an exhibition of the FOTY portraits will be on display through Father’s Day weekend at NorthPark.

JUST IN: Perots And Rawlingses To Be Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala Honorary Co-Chairs For The Meyerson’s Silver Anniversary

As you probably know Jan Miller and Jeff Rich are chairing the Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala on Saturday, September 13. The twosome that just had a mega gathering at their Park Cities home Monday for Rob Lowe haven’t stopped.

Margot and Ross Perot (File photo)

Margot and Ross Perot (File photo)

Today they announced that in honor of the 25th anniversary of the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, Margot and Ross Perot will be honorary co-chairs. If you’ll recall it was back in 1984 that the Perots provided the $10M gift that “secured the building of the great hall. The following year ground was broken for the Meyerson and the opening took place in September 1989.”

According to Jan, “We are pleased to recognize Margot and Ross Perot at the Gala at this silver anniversary celebration. From dream to construction, the clear-sighted vision, steadfast leadership and unwavering support of Margot and Ross guided the creation of this home for the Dallas Symphony, a landmark achievement for the City of Dallas, the orchestra and a cornerstone of the Dallas Arts District.”

Mike and Micki Rawlings (File photo)

Mike and Micki Rawlings (File photo)

But because this silver anniversary is such a biggie, the Perots will be joined in honorary co-chairing duties by Micki and Mayor Mike Rawlings.

Jeff said, “A building is only as strong as its foundation, and the City of Dallas has always been a stalwart partner in the Meyerson Symphony Center, and in its support of the Dallas Symphony and all the Dallas Arts District. We commend Mayor Rawlings for his enthusiastic leadership in articulating the importance and relevance of the arts for all the citizens of Dallas.”

Carole and Scott Murray (File photo)

Carole and Scott Murray (File photo)

But the co-chairing isn’t over. Told ya this was a big deal. The Miller/Rich team has named Carole and Scott Murray as the honorary media co-chairs.

The reason for a honorary media co-chair is explained by Jan: “Scott Murray’s experience across the media landscape will add a new dimension to this year’s DSO AT&T Gala. His enthusiasm and initiative as a member of the Dallas Symphony Board of Governors has brought new and valuable perspectives as we forge the Dallas Symphony into an orchestra for the 21st century.”

Lucy Wrubel (File photo)

Lucy Wrubel (File photo)

Lucy Wrubel will be the honorary DJ Chair. No, just kidding about the honorary DJ chair title, but Lucy will be in charge of the music at the after-party.

Headlining the entertainment in addition to Maestro Jaap van Zweden will be Itzhak Perlman.

Tickets for the entire black tie evening (reception, dinner, concert and after-party) start at $1,250. If that’s  awee bit too steep for you, you can attend the concert and after-party for $156.

Trinity Trust Hosts Meet The Mayor “Big Mike” Rawlings and Dallas’ First Lady Micki

Vonciel Hill

Thursday the Trinity Trust hosted 70 real heavyweights from all segments of the community — nonprofit fundraisers (Mary McDermott Cook, Lynn McBee, Bobby Lyle, Lottye Brodsky, Bess and Ted Enloe, Sharon and Mike McCollough), city officials (Vonciel Hill, Tennell Atkins, Scott Griggs, Angela Hunt and Mary Suhm), community leaders (Craig Holcomb, Lois Finkelman and John Crawford) and corporate types like Holly Reed.

Micki Rawlings

The occasion was “Meet the Mayor” with the man of the hour being newly-elected, soon-to-be-sworn-in Mike Rawlings. While Mike very briefly made time for reporters in a backroom, the first lady of the Rawlings household, Micki, was handling the howdy duties for her husband.

Holly Reed and Craig Holcomb

But while the folks were waiting for Mike to emerge from media one-on-ones, there was plenty to talk about. Craig “Mr. Friends of Fair Park” Holcomb was being asked about the past weekend’s Electric Daisy Carnival that was associated with two deaths. He was relieved that out of the 23,000 attendees, only 30 people got “sick” this year. Last year’s event drew 11,000 with two arrests. Like a weary father, Craig admitted that you can’t control a kid who takes a pill in a parking lot before entering a venue. When asked if the rave group would be asked back, he said probably not. The reason? “There’s a lawsuit brewing, and you tend not to rent to people that are suing you.”

Across the room, Mary McDermott Cook was looking like a proud mother about the installation of the cables on the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge. Speaking of motherhood, Mary laughed at the confusion about the age of her mother, Margaret McDermott. Seems various dates are listed on Margaret’s driver’s license and other documents. The reality is that Margaret is 99-years young. Let’s face it. People live longer in Dallas.

Lynn McBee and Mary Suhm

Another guest who was thrilled about the progress of the bridge was Lynn McBee. She’ll be chairing the official launch of the bridge starting March 2 (aka Texas Independence Day). This date is of special meaning to Lynn. She’s the great-great-great-great-niece of Stephen F. Austin, the Father of Texas. (Editor’s note: MySweetCharity mistakenly reported that Sam Houston was a founding father/Father of Texas. MSC had to stay after school and write an apology to her Texas history teacher.)

But the group was there to hear Mike. Promptly at 6:45 p.m. Trinity Trust #1-er Dr. Gail Thomas called the group to order and prepared to introduce Mike, aka the tallest man in the room. But first she did a shout out to Micki: “You are going to work so hard!” To this comment, Micki bounced back, “For as long as the energy lasts!”

Mike Rawlings

Then it was Mike at the podium. Like any public speaker, he started off with a little humor. It dealt with a chicken and a pig and how the pig is committed to a breakfast of ham and eggs. Mike made a transition from the joke to the fact that he is now committed to being Dallas mayor. After all he had signed the official documents earlier in the day. “It was like getting married. It really was.”

He went on to say that one of his main goals as mayor, “Is to let the people know that the Trinity will get done.”

Many happy faces could be seen in the room. He didn’t need to say anything more to this crowd, but shoot — he did. . . “Someday people will say, ‘Dallas is the center of the Western Hemisphere!'”

Whoa, Big Mike thinks really big.

Park It Tonight At Saint Ann’s With Mike Rawlings And Friends

Mike Rawlings is a pretty fascinating person. Besides having a mega-successful corporate reputation, he earned the title, “Homeless Czar” and got The Bridge up and running. After that accomplishment, most folks would have retired to a nice beach in the Carribbean, but not Mike.

He took on the challenge of heading up Dallas’ Park and Recreation Board. One of the hot items on his “Must Do List” is the “The Park.” Yes, there are many parks in Dallas, but The park is the over-the-top of Woodall Rodgers park that is under construction.

Those very cool and active Friends of The Park are having a happy hour for current and potential members this evening at Saint Ann Restaurant. Co-chairs Missy Wyszynski and Glenn Singleton have arranged for guess who to be the featured keynote speaker. You guessed it. Why do you think we mentioned Mike in the first two graphs?

Mike will “share stories from his experience of private citizens making a real difference in Dallas. He will also discuss the specific goals he has set to run the Dallas park system.” Hey, Mike, is this going to be an all-nighter?

BTW, if you want to attend, you’ve got to RSVP to [email protected]