Fifth Annual Can Do! Luncheon Brought Out Stories From All Walks Of Life For The Wilkinson Center Fundraiser

The Fifth Annual Can Do! Luncheon not only ran on time, it sliced off ten minutes with guests scurrying on their way to the valet ten minutes earlier than planned at the Dallas County Club on Tuesday, May 9.

It was a sell-out crowd for The Wilkinson Center fundraiser and it was a heady crowd, thanks to Co-Honorees Ashlee and Chris Kleinert, The Real Estate Council and Wilkinson Center supporters.

Regina Montoya

Craig Innes

Sara Martineau and Nelda Cain Pickens

In the crowd filling the DCC ballroom were Nancy Ann Hunt, Carolyn and David Miller, Ros Dawson Thompson, Gail and Gerald Turner, Angie Kadesky, Marsha and Craig Innes, Kristi Francis, Ellen McStay, Pam Perella, Tucker Enthoven, Stacey Walker, Cheryl Joyner, Suzy Gekiere, Leslie Diers and Sara Albert with their mom Cynthia Melnick, Jan Langbein, Sara Martineau, Nelda Cain Pickens, Regina Montoya, Jeanne Marie Clossey and Jennifer Swift.

Ros Dawson Thompson and Nancy Ann Hunt

Jennifer Swift

Marsha Innes

In keeping with other fundraisers, there was emphasis placed on text messaging donations. Whether it was Event Chair Beth Thoele or stand-up signage on tables, the message was strong to text. The problem with the text donating is that while the younger members of the audience know how to donate via their cellphones, the older crowd and the ones with the most ka-ching shied away from the idea.

Luckily, the Wilkinson message was delivered thanks to The Wilkinson Center Executive Director Anne Reeder with testimony from Bank of America’s Maria Padilla, who told of her coming to the U.S. when she was 9 years old with her mother and siblings. The purpose was to get an education. She recalled the days when she had to translate for her mother and go to McDonald’s and eat while her mother didn’t, because there just wasn’t enough money. Today her brother is an architect, her sister is a teacher and Maria has not only graduated from college but has earned a saster’s degree from SMU.

Robin Minick and Kelcey Hamilton

Following a video, the first award of the day was presented to The Real Estate Council. In accepted the award, TREC VP and Foundation Director Robin Minick spoke briefly about the similarities between The Wilkinson Center and TREC, which share a mission “to improve the lives of the people of Dallas.”

Next up were the Kleinerts. Chris started off admitting that he had been impressed by the Can Do containers with flowers on the table near the stage and had told their son to grab one after the lunch, so they could give it to Ashlee for upcoming Mother’s Day. Oops! He hadn’t realized that the containers were the awards.

Then he pointed out that the spirit of the Can Do Luncheon is about encouraging entrepreneurship and used as an example a recent news story about a youngster in Rockwall. It seems 7-year-old Kaden Newton had recognized the fact that many food pantries were in short supply when it came to healthy and kid-friendly food. So he created a program for Mac and Cheese and Pancakes to meet that need. Within the first two weeks, he had raised more than 10,000 items.

Ashlee and Chris Kleinert, Beth Thoele, Anne Reeder and Monique Weber

The Wilkinson Center’s Monique Weber also received a standing ovation for her story of surviving heart-rending challenges. She told how she had lost her son to a murder in Chicago and moved to Dallas, only to find herself homeless. She turned to Wilkinson Center’s Food Pantry, where she found a family of support in its staff. They not only provided food but also helped her earn her diploma and receive a scholarship to attend a community college, where she is training to become a surgical technician.

Can Do Luncheon Patron Party Brought Out Guests In Spring Colors And Honorees Ashlee And Chris Kleinert And Texas Real Estate Council

With winds blowing skirts and leaves every which way as a norther trumpeted it the weekend nearing on Thursday, March 23, The Wilkinson Center’s Can Do Luncheon Patron Party wasn’t ruffled at all at Tootsies.

Chris and Ashlee Kleinert and Helen Hunt and Harville Hendrix

As Luncheon honorees Ashlee and Chris Kleinert received a bouquet of flowers from Ashlee’s aunt Helen Hunt and her husband Harville Hendrix, other family get-togethers were taking place.

Kristi Francis, Chris and Ashlee, Beth, Kelcey Hamilton and Anne Reeder

In another part of Tootsies, Kelcey Hamilton, who was repping honoree the The Real Estate Council, was being congratulated by Can Do Underwriting Chair Kristi Francis.

Chuck and Beth Thoele

Luncheon Chair Beth Thoele greeted husband Chuck Thoele and admitted that she was torn between going bright or black. Evidently bright won out, since she was wearing a turquoise jacket.

The Wilkinson Center Executive Director Anne Reeder’s daughter Laura Reeder reported that the EarthxGlobal Gala had had a change of plans. Originally, organizers had scheduled the gala for Saturday, April 22 at the Women’s Center at Fair Park. Then they discovered that the Art Ball was taking place on that Saturday. So, they moved both the date and the location to Friday April 21, to the Texas Discovery Garden.

Laura Reeder and Dana Fay

But on this evening the Kleinerts were receiving congrats from Chela Moros, Dana Fry, Missy Quintana, Linda Secrest, Heidi Meier, Annie Wang, Kay Weil, Meridith Myers, Angela Jones, Ann Francis, Chrystie Trimmell, Melanie Myers, Darlene Ellison, Tucker Enthoven, Bianca Sterling and Dorothy Amin Modabberi.

Tickets for the luncheon honoring the “can-do” spirit on Tuesday, May 9, at the Dallas Country Club can be gotten here. This event is one that runs right on schedule and leaves guests smiling about the accomplishments of both friends and strangers who have experienced the Wilkinson Center program.

Round Robin: Les Femmes Du Monde, TACA Silver Cup Announcement And TREC’s “Giving Gala”

Once again Thursday proved to be a test of making the rounds at Dallas area fundraisers. Here’s the rundown of what happened where with whom.


Nancy Cain Marcus

The cars were backed up in the driveway at Nancy Marcus’s fabulous estate Thursday for the Les Femmes du Monde patron party.  When you’ve got a draw like Les Femmes’ 2012 Woman of the Year/Trinity Trust President/Executive Director Dr. Gail Thomas, you’re going to have an amazing turnout.  Of course, just having the Thomas clan is sizeable. This time it was Gail in a marvelous taupe and brown Ralph Lauren cocktail jacket with  husband Bob Thomas, daughter Electra Harelson, son Stewart Thomas and daughter-in-law Michelle Thomas. Dotter Tori Mannes was on her way.

Michelle and Stewart Thomas, Gail and Bob Thomas and Electra Harelson

Bob was sporting a black splint under his jacket after a fall on Monday. Initially they thought he’d broken his arm, but after a second look it appeared that it was a nasty sprain. So, don’t be surprised if he opts for not shaking hands at the Tuesday night Les Femmes du Monde dinner at Belo Mansion.

While some thought Gail would take the year off after the opening of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, they totally misjudged Gail. She’s been concentrating on getting work started on the conversion of the Continental Bridge into a pedestrian bridge. Construction gets underway in December.

Martha and Bob Gillikin

Speaking of her Trinity Trust mission, folks like Martha and Bob Gillikin and River Rat Ramrod Tierney Kaufman were on hand to honor Gail.

Talk of the night varied from the presidential debate the night before and the cold front preparing to invade Dallas this weekend.


Nancy Carlson, Roger Nanney and Peggy Sewell

The art lovers, both visual and performing types, gathered at Jennifer and John Eagle‘s home to learn who the 2013 TACA Silver Cup recipients would be. As reported earlier, they will be Peggy Sewell and Roger Nanney.

As guests drove the circular driveway, they couldn’t help but notice the :Ode to Matisse” sculpture by Tom Friedman in the elevated round grassy terrace. Jennifer revealed that, yes, it was made of steel but wrapped in roasting pans.

Maxwell Anderson and Jeremy Halbreich

With a “lifeguard”” posted on the dining room island warning guests not to fall in the pool/moat, everyone stayed dry. A couple recalled post occasions when an “oops” took place. Jeremy Halbreich told of a very very “proper” local attorney who was one of the Eagle pool victims.

Lee Papert, Jennifer and Doug Houser

Dallas Film Society’s Lee Papert was poolside with Jennifer and Doug Houser, who will be chairing the November 16th “Art of Film.” And who will be this year’s headliner guest? Even the threat of a splash in the pool couldn’t pry the news out of Lee, but he did reveal that Elvis Mitchell would be returning as the interviewer.

In the back of the Eagle home, John told Maxwell Anderson of the two eye portraits by John Holt Smith of his daughters Amanda, 15, and Alexandra, 28. When a nearby portable keyboard was draped with a sheet, John kidded that it was another piece of the family collection.

Actually, it was part of the surprise entertainment. TACA Executive Director Becky Young had arranged for members of the Turtle Creek Chorale to stand around and down the home’s spiral staircase and serenade the group.

Since TACA Chairman of the Board was unable to attend the event, Chair-elect Nancy Carlson took over the microphone to announce the recipients. She admitted that she had to refer to notes, since the accomplishments of both were so lengthy.

The lunch is at the Hilton Anatole on February 22, and chaired by perfectionists Jan Showers and Sharon Young.


Live auction for playhouses

Unlike Cattle Barons, The Real Estate Council‘s “Giving Gala” held its own in dealing with the weather. There was no rain nor mud, but there was wind and a lot of it.  How strong was the wind in the Hilton Anatole Sculpture Park? The huge screens on either side of the stage rippled throughout the speeches and the live auction of “pint-size playhouses” that sold for scads of money. At one point the lips of one poor woman in the video looked as if she was going to kiss the entire front row of tables in one massive sweep.

Pint-size Playhouse

The mini-mansions were built by members of TREC for the sole purpose of raising funds for the TREC Foundation. As each went up for bidding, so did the bidding with the Mousetrap going for $4,000, Jenga for $4,500, Jumanji for $7,000 and Candyland for $12,000.

Mark Gibson

Even headliner Chris Cagle came on stage early and got into the auction action: “If this goes for $5,000, I’ll take a picture in my underwear and my boots. … I’ll do the double-check dance.”

It went for $5,500 to TREC Chairman Mark Gibson, who was front and center but took a pass on the underwear, boots and double-check dance.

Chris Cagle

Then Chris and his crew took hold of the stage and the party continued into the night raising loads of money for The Real Estate Council Foundation’s good works in four key grant areas–housing, education, job creation and the environment.

Nonprofits Can Get Real About Real Estate Thanks To The Real Estate Council And Center For Nonprofit Management

Believe it or not real estate is an issue for nonprofits. No, they’re not buying and selling houses in the M Streets. As Solender/Hall President Eliza Solender put it, “Real estate is typically the second largest budget item for a nonprofit, and it needs to be made a priority for the staff and its board of directors.”

Because of this expense that be costly without some education, The Real Estate Council and the Center for Nonprofit Management will be holding Real Estate 101 for a third year. Designed by Eliza, the five interaction sessions will cover important real estate issues during lunch from August through December.

  • Session 1 (Wednesday, August 29) — Real Estate Overview
  • Session 2 (Wednesday, September 26) — Becoming a Savvy Tenant, Buyer or Seller
  • Session 3 (Wednesday, October 31) — Demographics, Geography & Politics
  • Session 4 (Wednesday, November 14) — Lessons Learned from Construction
  • Session 5 (Wednesday, December 12) —Finding the Money

“If you are a nonprofit executive director, senior staff, a board member or involved in real estate decisions for an agency, we encourage you to apply.”

Oh, and it’s free to nonprofits, if you’re accepted into the program. Deadline for applications to be submitted is Friday, August 3, for the limited number of spots.


Despite Some Tough Years The Real Estate Council Rebounds With FightNight 24’s Food, Fun, Females And Knockouts

Rick Perdue and Michael Krywucki

After the beating that real estate has taken in the past few years, it was showing all the signs of “comeback time” at the 2012 Fight Night 24 at the Hilton Anatole on May 3. Munsch Hardt Kopf Harr/Fight Night Chair Michael Krywucki said things were a little different this year. In addition to the national anthem being played on an electric guitar, the 1,100 guests and the ring announcer being curvaceous Amy Hayes instead of good old boy type, Michael reported that The Real Estate Council had “spent 10% less on expenses” this year. And yet, the net would get a “nice bump” over the past couple of years. How did they do that? Instead of the same old/same old, they got “good cooperation” out of their partners like the production company, Fauxcades. And you just know if there’s anyone who can negotiate a deal, real estate pros are the ones who can.

Dancer in ball

Looking at the sea of tuxedoes at the reception. . . wait, who looked at the guys? Instead the object of visual attention was the two-tier stage with two sparkly clad gals who danced, danced and danced to the tunes of Lucy Wrubel. The top one looked like an exotic fairy from “Lord of the Rings” in a crystal ball. It was actually fun to chat with the fellas and watch their eyes wander to the dancing lasses while trying to maintain the conversation. Bless their hearts.

Randy Rogers

But then another eye catcher was Tri-Tex Construction’s Randy Rogers, who shunned the black tie look for baby blue formal dress.

Herb Weitzman

And then there was newlywed Herb Weitzman. Folks were lined up like customers at a Baskins Robbins on a July night. Take a number and wait your turn. One fellow came up to the retail real estate wizard and feigned “kissing Herb’s ring.” Earlier in the day Herb had attended a meeting at MD Anderson in Houston, caught a plane back to Dallas to attend the big hoop-la for the new Krogers (formerly Elliott’s Hardware) and stopped by FightNight 24. But it was only a momentary stopover. He was meeting his bride, Donna Arp, at the Mavericks game.

Mike Rawlings and Bill Hutchinson

Dunhill Properties’ Bill Hutchinson in a white Canali double-breasted jacket reported that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was returning to Dallas on June 5. Bill ought to know, since he’s Romney’s finance bigwig in Texas.

Veronica Kirksey

As for the gals in the crowd, they were divided into two camps — guests in long gowns and 65 “service models” in short, tight black cocktail dresses with tattoos visible. So why not? Afterall who was “casting director” Veronica Kirksey to frown on tattoos. Her leggy tattoo stopped pedestrian traffic almost as quickly as the dancing girls.

Once the doors to the Chantilly Room opened, the evening’s main event of gambling, dining and boxing were apparent. Emcee Mark Elfenbein of 105.3 The Fan recognized the city officials present including Mayor Mike Rawlings, City Councilpersons Dwaine Caraway, Tennell Atkins and Pauline Medrano, County Judge Clay Jenkins, Rep. Dan Branch and Sen. Royce West.

Then it was dinner time and what a dinner it was. Let it never be said that the real estate types don’t know good cuisine. Highlight was the dessert. Word was passed that a new pastry chef was showing brilliance in the Anatole kitchen. One person claimed, “This is the best dessert I’ve had in three years.” No one else commented. They were too busy snarfing down their desserts.

Amy Hayes

Ringside Amy in her blue sequin gown with major back cutout was helped into the ring. Someone in the audience muttered, “I think she needs to get her hair up a little higher.” Overhead video screens showed the Mavs losing to the Thunder. The action in the ring wasn’t looking all that stellar for Luther Miller of Carthage either. He was knocked out in little more than a minute by Luis Ambriz.

Luther Miller

On the other hand, TREC Foundation netted more than a half-million dollars for its 24th Fight Night. It’s nice to see the real estate world rebounding from the past years’ slug fest and raising funds for TREC Foundation.

Quickie Reminders

Just in case your social secretary is home battling allergies (so, who isn’t?), we just wanted to remind you of a few of things:

  1. For shoppers: The Salvation Army Wearhouse Sale (9216 Harry Hines) ends today at 3 p.m.
  2. For FightNight guests: Don’t worry about missing the Mavericks game. Monitors will be available for viewing.
  3. For Friday night’s TACA’s Party on the Green and Chihuly Gala guests: Tomorrow is going to toasty (92 degrees being predicted) and no rain in sight. So leave the pashminas at home and think sheer. . . but not too.
  4. For all: Today is National Day of Prayer.

Watch Out, Boys — Amy Hayes Will Be The Real Estate Council’s FightNight’s First Lady Ring Announcer

Ringside (File photo)

So most people think The Real Estate Council‘s “FightNight” is such a guy event. True, the crowd of guests tends to the predominantly tuxedoed, but the ladies are growing in numbers and are real standouts. Well, this year for the 24th Annual FightNight, they’re going to have a first-ever — a female ring announcer. Yup, you heard it. . . make that, read it. Amy Hayes is “the first female ring announcer in boxing, being the first to announce world title fights.”

In addition to the four bouts of boxing, casino gambling, great food and wine, Vegas-style entertainment, there is of course the networking. After all, what is the favorite indoor/outdoor activity of real estate types?

“Where else can you have a night of high-level celebration networking among the most influential decision makers in the real estate industry and generate more than a half-million dollars that goes right back into the Dallas community?” FightNight Chairman Michael Krywucki of Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr said.

Since 1988, The Real Estate Council’s FightNight has raised more than $20 million to support the projects and efforts of its foundation.

BTW, if you’re really into the boxing in’s and out’s, then you’ll be interested in the pro’s who will be mixing it up in the ring. They’ll include:

  • Bout #1 Cruiserweights: Luis Ambriz (Tyler, Texas) vs. Luther Miller (Carthage, Texas).
  • Bout #2 Super Lightweights: Blake Franklin (Shreveport, La.) vs. Joel Baglio (Lake Charles, La.).
  • Bout #3 Cruiserweights: Medzhid Bekteminov (Houston, Texas, originally from Russia) vs. Harry Gopaul (Sacramento, Calif.).
  • Bout #4 Light Heavyweights is for the World Boxing Council (WBC) U.S. Championship Title.

It’s next Thursday and only a few tables are left.

The Real Estate Council’s Giving Gala Raises Funds With Taco Pies, Clint Black and Playhouses

Giving Gala balloon

Even though times are tough the folks at the Real Estate Council rise above the fray. Last Wednesday their annual “Giving Gala” in the Sculpture Park of the Hilton Anatole proved that point. With the Cattle Baron’s Ball less than 10 days away, the 19th annual fundraiser for The Real Estate Council Foundation set the pace for stylish boots and nice toppers.

Speaking of Cattle Baron’s, TREC managed to have CBB’s VIP entertainer Clint Black as their featured entertainer, much to the approval of the ladies.

Herb Weitzman and Donna Arp

But before Clint took to the stage at the “Cantina Fiesta,” there was partying to be done and playhouses to auction off. At the VIP reception  newly-engaged Donna Arp and Herb Weitzman arrived to congratulations. . . Event Chair Willie Hornberger looked like a man who had a check list totally completed. . .  Sally Stephenson revealed that she’s hunkering down with Steely Dan’s legendary producer Gary Katz on a possible book about the L.A. music scene during th3 1970’s. . . Libby Allred reported that she wouldn’t be at CBB this year due to another

Mark Gibson

Hunt wedding. . .Deciding to go the citified dress route was TREC Chairman Mark Gibson. . .  Presenting sponsor Deloitte’s Blaine Nelson arrived in western fare with wife Patti. Known for his love of symphony music, Blaine also appreciates a good western tune.


Just across the bridge under a moon that was competing with the Giving Gala balloon were the TREC playhouses built by teams made up of Corgan, Hill & Wilkinson, Pacheco Koch, Beck, Mycon, O’Brien, Centerpoint and Valhalla. These little houses showed creativity and real building mastery.

Speaking of creativity and real building mastery, the Giving Gala’s invitation has to get a nod of approval. It was a polished piece of engraved chocolate-colored leather with teal highlights. Good enough for framing, it was.

Cantina Fiesta bar

This year lines at the bar and buffet line moved quickly and had to be refilled a number of times. These real estate folks were mighty hungry. One gent in the crowd strolled around crowing, “The taco pies are fabulous!”  Claimed that he had asked for a bag of 20 to take home. Another fellow who took the advice and took a pie back to his place refused to share it with his table companions because it was so good.

Clint Black and the gals of TREC

While the masses were chomping away under a perfect sky with a slight breeze, about 40 or 50 VIP-types including Underwriting Co-chair Tanya Little headed to the lobby outside of the Wedgewood Room for a photo opp with Clint.

During the photo session, Clint was asked which show he liked appearing on more — “The Apprentice” or “Las Vegas.” Clint’s response: “One was a lot easier than the other!”

Karl Zavitkovsky

Then it was time for the action on the stage to take place. One of the highlights in addition to the auction of the playhouses was the presentation of the Community Spirit Award by Ernst & Young to TREC founder, past chairman and former Director of the City of Dallas’ Office of Economic Development Karl Zavitkovsky.

In accepting the award he said, “Maybe this will bring me a modicum of respect from my family. Now, it only comes from the dog.”

Clint Black

Following that, Clint took the stage performing “Killin’Time,” “A Better Man,” “Nothin’ But the Tailights,” “A Good Run of Bad Luck” and “Summer’s Comin'” with “a group of dancers doing their thing down front.”  Showing that his talents included a touch of humor, Clint asked: “Would you like to sing along? OK! That makes 10 of you!”

Share-A-Date: The Real Estate Council’s Giving Gala

Thursday, October 6: In October Clint Black is going to be a very familiar face around town. Yup, he’ll be performing at the ultra-exclusive VIP Barons party at Cattle Baron’s Ball on Saturday, October 15. But just 9 days before on Thursday, October 6, he’ll be the main attraction in the Hilton Anatole’s Sculpture Garden for The Real Estate Council‘s Giving Gala presented by Deloitte.

Needless to say, it’s a western theme with plenty of food, fun and refreshments. After all, it’s real estate people. They know how to party even during the worst of economic times.The folks responsible for this one are chair Willie Hornberger (Jackson Walker LLP), vice chair Mitch Paradise (Corgan), underwriting chair Tanya Little (Hart Advisors Group), table sales chair Ryan Thornton (Thackeray Partners), logistics chair James Adams (Corgan), playhouse chair Nick Jarke (Beck) and publicity chair Kim Hogan (HOK).

In addition to enjoying cute Clint, guests will be able to bid on wonderful playhouses that are showstoppers themselves.

Tickets start at $360.50 to raise funds for The Real Estate Council Foundation’s good works in four key grant areas–housing, education, job creation and the environment.

The Real Estate Council’s FightNight Slugs It Out In Tough Times And The Ring

Sure, commercial real estate has been taking a beating the last couple of years, but then it’s never been known for being a profession for the weak of heart.  Perhaps that’s why The Real Estate Council‘s 23rd Fight Night at the Hilton Anatole Thursday night was more appropriate than ever. Welcomed by long-legged beauties Megan and Cassandra at the front door, the 1,000 black-tie gents and handful of gowned gals were in for a night of pugilism watching and heavy-duty networking.

Splash of color

In a sea of tuxedos, it’s hard for a fellow to stand out. Sorta like being a member of a pack of foxhounds or a gaggle of Canadian Geese. While some just naturally stood out, others used a little flair to separate them from the rest. There were some who opted for the long black tie instead of the traditional bowtie, while others wanted a splash of color. And there

Wingtip collar and bowtie

were the poor souls who didn’t realize that bowties go in front of wingtip collars. All right, so that’s not that big a deal unless you’re addicted to Gentleman’s Gazette, which gave Prince a critical review for the shoes he wore to his wedding evening’s reception.

But speaking of deals, that’s exactly what kept the action going during the reception.

Herb Weitzman

Always natty Herb Weitzman (Weitzman/Cencor) was talking about joining with MGHerring Group to buy Denton’s Golden Triangle Mall and redeveloping it — “We’re going to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.”

When asked if having longtime experience is an advantage, Herb who is considered the go-to-retailing-guy in commercial real estate, answered, “Are you kidding?” The silver-haired Herb added that he was “still learning things,” and that’s what keeps things interesting and challenging.

And what would a gathering of commercial real estate pros be without some politicos. Yup, they were there.

Present Dallas Mayor Dwaine Caraway was buddying it

Dwaine Caraway

up with Dallas City Councilman Sheffie Kadane, who was doing the re-election handshake throughout the crowd.

Gregory B. Calhoun and Edward Okpa

Dallas mayoral candidate Edward Okpa evidently didn’t know he was trailing way behind in the polls because he was having such a great time hanging out with folks like Gregory B. Calhoun, who represents  Evander Holyfield.

Mike Rawlings

On the other hand, Mike Rawlings, who was leading in the Dallas mayoral polls, looked right at home with all these business types. After all, this group had endorsed both him and Sheffie in the May 14th election.

When asked who was responsible for the Happy Trails saga playing out in the media, Mike responded, “It’s just politics. The opposition trying to stir something up.”

David Cain

Former State Sen. David Cain, who has become a real estate lobbyist, had just arrived in Dallas to say, “Hi!” and “Bye!” to the TREC-ers before heading back to Austin to “fix a bill for a local developer.”

As said before the politicos were front and center during the reception, but when the doors to the ballroom opened, the real estate folks celebrated raising $945,000 for The Real Estate Council Foundation.

Serving staff

As guests entered the faux-smoke-filled ballroom with the boxing ring dead center, they weren’t so blinded that they couldn’t see the adorable “extra wait staff” in tighter-than-tight white jeans, tailored white shirts, Carribean blue ribbons for belts and walk-on-your-tip-toe heels.

From the ring TREC chair Mark Gibson (HFF) reported that the event was a sellout thanks to the efforts of the three FightNight chairs: Will Mundinger II (Archon), Will Mundinger III (Crow Holdings) and Elizabeth Malone (HFF). He added that Sarah Hinkley (Peloton Commercial Real Estate) had personally sold more than $15,000 worth of raffle tickets.

But perhaps Will the elder put it best, “We’ve suffered through a very difficult period. Let’s celebrate tonight to better times.”


Then it was time to settle back with another drink served by a lass in white jeans and watch the boxers slug it out.


2010-2011 Associate Leadership Council Cuts Ribbon At Promise House

Promise House expansion ribbon cutting

Thursday the 2010-2011 Associate Leadership Council of The Real Estate Council celebrated. As part of their leadership training program, the 29 young men and women selected Promise House as their leadership, philanthropy and fundraising project. Using 2,000 volunteer hours, they renovated and expanded the second floor  storage area into a multi-purpose room by project planning, moving, painting, carpeting, construction, site clean-up and landscaping. Valued at more than $100,000 including financial and in-kind donations of materials and services, it was a massive undertaking. Yet when they had gotten that completed, they tackled other an exterior R&R area.

Just to prove that they kept their eyes on the ledgers, the ALC leaders announced that they came under budget and were returning $10,000 to Promise House that had been committed by the PH. Elation filled the room.

Delia Jasso

In setting up the room for the press conference, Promise House facilities manager Randy Lewis admitted that he should have set up more chairs as he

Meredith Small

viewed the crowded room including City Councilperson Delia Jasso, ALC Class Chair Michael Krywucki, TREC Government Affairs Chair Manny Ybarra, Promise House VP Judy Wright and ALC members Brack Bryant, Meredith Small and Chris McNeer.

If you are new to Promise House, just ask any of the TREC ALC team. They’ll tell you how not only did they physically get involved with the facility’s improvement, they also emotionally learned of how needed the efforts of Promise House are.

Ross Perot Jr. Delivers With Minutes To Spare For The Real Estate Council

In an effort of smart economic budgeting, The Real Estate Council decided to move this year’s “Real Estate: North Texas + Community” breakfast to a smaller venue, Belo Mansion. Oops! Little did the organizers realize that you don’t super-minimize when you have a guest speaker like Ross Perot Jr. (pictured), chairman of The Perot Group and Hillwood and one of the founding board members of TREC.

Despite frigid temperatures last Thursday, the Belo’s garage was used to the max by 7:30 before anyone knew it. Getting off the elevator to a convention of suits, one wedged through the jam to the line up to pay-for-your-parking-space line. Slight confusion. Rumors floated that there different lines for cash and credit. Wrong! Reminder: Don’t believe rumors. Melissa Eastman (pictured), former TREC vice chair, saw a bud and got a place up in the line. No problem. That’s what networking is all about.

Word went through the high-octane crowd that Ross had arrived just as folks were making their way to their place for the 8 o’clock breakfast start. Someone says, “He has a nice suit.” Gotta check out his suit.

In his Clark Kent look complete with glasses, Ross takes his place at the lead table next to Kate Alpert (pictured),  who chaired the breakfast. He’s so calm and reassured.

Mark Gibson (pictured)of Holiday Fenoglio Fowler/TREC chairman, welcomes the group.

Next up is Holt Lunsford of Holt Lunsford Commercial and TREC vice chair, who recognizes the 2011 Community Initiatives recipients (ACCION Texas Inc., Builders of Hope CDC, City Square, Dallas Faith Communities Coalition, Family Gateway, Green Building Curriculum Program, Jubilee Park and Community Center, Operation Relief Center Inc., Real Estate 101, The Dallas  Foundation Zero to Five Funders’ Collaborative Fund Uplift Education) and partnerships (Bank of America Foundation, BBVA Compass Foundation, Citi Foundation, Embrey Family Foundation, Frost, Jackson-Shaw Foundation, JPMorgan Chase Foundation, Meadows Foundation and Union Bank Foundation). As part of the recognition, Holt asks them to stand. Alas, the breakfast servers were hustling to tables, so it was hard to distinguish the servers from the honorees.

Then before you knew it, Ross (pictured) is up at the podium. He promises to have the group out of there by 9 a.m. because real estate folks are eager to get to business. He tells the group how the housing issues of the past would soon be rectified due to low supply. He talks about the Super Bowl’s impact on the community. He gigs Boeing by saying that it would interesting to see if management had made the right decision ages ago to locate the company’s headquarters to Chicago instead of Dallas. (That comments causes many veterans of the Boeing “rejection” to smile and nod.)

Then he asks for questions from the audience. None come. TREC President Linda McMahon (pictured) presents Ross with a gift and he takes his chair.

The jammed event is over. Time: 8:35 a.m.

The Real Estate Council Will Provide $300,000 Plus Services At 2011 Community Breakfast With Perot Jr. As Speaker

Despite the real estate professionals facing a challenging year, The Real Estate Council is going to be giving $300,000 plus services away Thursday, January 20, at the

In addition to having Ross Perot Jr. (pictured) as the keynote speaker at the Belo Mansion, they’ll be presenting the grants along with professional services to the following groups:

  • ACCION Texas, Inc./ACCION Texas Loans for Dallas Entrepreneurs ($20,000) focusing on job creation
  • Builders of Hope CDC/Westmoreland Masters Plan ($30,000) focusing on housing and environment
  • CitySquare (formerly Central Dallas Ministries)/Center of Hope ($50,000) focusing on job creation
  • Dallas Faith Communities Coalition/The Young Developers’ Project ($45,000) focusing on education
  • The Dallas Foundation’s The Zero to Five Funders’ Collaborative ($25,000) focusing on education
  • Family Gateway, Inc./New Headquarters/Campus ($15,000) focusing on housing and education
  • Jubilee Park & Community Center/Jubilee Park Senior Housing Project ($50,000) focusing on housing
  • Operation Relief Center, Inc./Park Place Apartments ($35,000) focusing on housing and education
  • Uplift Education’s Heights Preparatory Green School ($30,000) focusing on education and environment

Linda McMahon, president of The Real Estate Council, said, “The Real Estate Council’s Research and Development Committee has reviewed every proposal and researched each organization to make sure that these initiatives fit within our program areas as well as provide a professional assistance component for our members. We look forward to working with each organization, some new and some longtime partners.”

The Real Estate Council To Be Honored by Dallas Regional Chamber Momentum Awards

The Real Estate Council has just been named to receive the Dallas Regional Chamber’s Community Catalyst Award for its involvement in the development of Woodall Rodgers Deck Park. TREC, along with seven other organizations will be honored at the Chamber’s Momentum Awards at the Fairmont on Friday, November 12.

The other groups receiving awards will be: [Read more…]

Deja Vu Evening At The Real Estate Council’s “Giving Gala”

Déjà vu moments happen. But when it’s an entire evening, then you know you’ve entered a Groundhog Day situation. That’s what happened last Thursday for The Real Estate Council‘s “Giving Gala” at the Anatole. The theme was western much to the liking of cowboys like Carl Ewert (pictured) , the sky was clear and the adorable Pint-Size Playhouses looked outstanding in the Anatole Sculpture Park amid all the rows of tables and festive decor. Why as you entered the park the first thing that caught your eye was a ferris wheel. Hmm, that must be the hot item of event planners this season. Wasn’t there a ferris wheel at Cattle Baron’s the week before? It even had that star design on it like this one. What a coincidence!

Then over there was . . . no, it couldn’t be . . . but, yup, it was a huge popcorn box with four mega-cotton candy cones just like the one at Cattle Baron’s.

Ring! There was a familiar sound. Over to the side was the ring-the-bell, just like. . . well, you know.

Strolled over to the ferris wheel (pictured) that had been so popular at Cattle Baron’s and only one couple was riding it. Asked the operator if he and his ferris wheel had been at Cattle Baron’s. His affirmative answer confirmed suspicions and reported that he had transported the big wheel down from Chicago for the Dallas events.

After a little investigation, it was learned that CBB Chair Kristi Sherrill Hoyl and TREC Gala Chair Debby Hansen are good friends and compared notes and smartly shared some of the decor. In these days when fundraising is really being challenged, creative relationships pay off.

Ah, but don’t think this cozy relationship is new to the two groups. It seems that last year a similar POA was in place until the poor Cattle Baron’s Ball was a “wash out.”

For the 900 at the TREC event, it couldn’t have been better. Well, perhaps it could have used a little lighting along the buffets. One gent in line picked up a description card beneath a steam pan to see what it contained. Alas, he couldn’t read it and chuckled that next time he was going to bring along a flashlight.

The good news was regardless of what you put on your plate, it was mighty tasty. Many guests were seen going back for seconds of the unknown dishes.

Just as folks were returning to their tables with dessert, it was time to auction off the playhouses that sold for more than the original asking price but less than Champ d’Or. Thanks to the playhouse auction and the efforts of TREC, a half million dollars was raised for its various projects.

To close down the perfect evening for the real estate professionals who have really taken a beating of late, they had Robert Earl Keen perform “under the Texas stars.”

TREC Pint-Sized Playhouses Are A Real Estate Boon At The Giving Gala

Despite the fact that Thursday night’s Giving Gala at the Anatole is sold out, The Real Estate Council has arranged for folks to participate in the auction of this year’s Pint-Sized Playhouses. Last year one real sweetie actually bought one of the houses and turned around and gave it to a non-profit.

According to sources, if you were to step up with a bid of $7,500 before the auction, you could clinch the deal.

In case you’re brand new to TREC, you need to know that the “Pint-Sized Playhouses” are the results of the TREC members using their noggins and their skills. Here are the official descriptions and photos provided by TREC:

  • MYCON Playhouse: The team has designed and constructed a literal “play” house, a modern structure serving as a blank canvas for children to perform. The construction is traditional wood framing clad in finished boards with a metal roof. The side panels that enclose the space are also moveable and pivot along steel columns so children can expand the stage size. Writable surfaces are incorporated into the design so children can draw backdrops and scenery for performances.
  • Freese & Nichols/Pacheco Koch/Hill & Wilkinson Playhouse: This playhouse is a fan structure with activities inside and outs. Features include ladder rungs that lead to a slide, an interior chalkboard wall, an exterior climbing wall, a tic-tac-toe game, sand box, garden and hummingbird feeder. There is also a garden planter alongside the structure.
  • Corgan/Austin Commercial Playhouse: Transformer was the concept behind this playhouse. A simple cube design is meant to expand and transform with a child’s imagination. The structure is comprised of stained wood framing articulated with lightly washed wood slats. The transformation begins with a pivot hinged door and provides numerous other evolutions including a sliding monkey bar and loft space.
  • Beck: This Little Castle Pop Up Playhouse captures the imagination of youth and adventure by letting children climb inside a book. The outside features a storybook opening, and the book is shaped like a gothic-style castle with wrought iron window framed windows, a bell, decorative light fixtures, a wooden deck and a ladder. The  playhouse interior also features writing/drawing surfaces.

The auction will take place before singer-songwriter Robert Earl Keen takes to the stage.

Presenting sponsor Deloitte is joined by the following greats:

  • Limelight Sponsor: Schwob Building Company.
  • Spotlight Sponsors: CMC Commercial Realty Group, Comerica, Corgan, Ernst & Young, Goldman Sachs, Holliday Fenoglio Fowler LP, Holt Lunsford Commercial, Jackson-Shaw and Thackeray Partners.
  • Paramount Sponsor: Encore Enterprises.
  • Platinum Sponsors: Archon Group L.P., Balfour Beatty Construction, Granite Properties, Hillwood, KeyBank and KPMG.
  • Gold Sponsors: American National Bank of Texas, Austin Commercial, Bank of America, Beck, Behringer Harvard, Bodman LLP, Butler Burgher Group, CB Richard Ellis, Corgan, Freese and Nichols, Hart Advisors Group LLC, Haynes and Boone, Hill & Wilkinson, Hunt Realty Investments Inc., Jones Lang LaSalle, JPMorgan Chase, Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr P.C., MYCON General Contractors, Pacheco Koch, Regions Bank, Republic Title of Texas, Rosewood Property Company, Stewart National Title Services, US Bank and Workplace Solutions/Teknion.

Linda McMahon Named President Of The Real Estate Council

Good news: The Real Estate Council‘s President Michelle Corson‘s husband Larry just accepted the CEO position for Crescent Resources. Yahoo!

Bad news: The new position is forcing him to relocate to Charlotte, N.C. And can you believe it — Michelle is moving there with him.  Alas, even Michelle (pictured) can’t handle presidential duties from that far away.

Good news: After a thorough search conducted by TREC Chairman Jim Berry of Deloitte, TREC Chairman-elect Mark Gibson of Holliday Fenoglio Fowler L.P., former TREC Chairs Tony Dona of Thackeray Partners, Michele Wheeler of Jackson-Shaw and Will Mundinger of Goldman Sachs, Michelle’s replacement was name — Neighborhood Strategies LLC Founder Linda McMahon.

Photo provided by The Real Estate Council

“Linda McMahon (pictured) has an impressive real estate background and is a great fit for us,” said Berry . “She knows this community and has worked with a wide array of for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. She brings essential knowledge of our industry and experience within our organization having served as chair of The Real Estate Council Foundation.”

Congratulations to Larry, Michelle, Linda and TREC!

TREC Young Guns Land On A Winning Streak

MySweetCharity’s strategizing Thursday night forced the management team to stay hunkered down and miss the fourth annual Young Guns’ Casino Night. However, because it is of vital importance that you stay on top of the action, the following report was filed by the gracious and multi-tasking Juliette Coulter:

TREC Young Guns Hosted Fourth Annual Casino Night

About 350 of The Real Estate Council’s Young Guns and their guests knew that their lucky number was 17—as in the place for the annual Casino Night, 17Seventeen McKinney on the 17th floor in downtown Dallas.

Photo credit: Steve Foxall

TREC Young Guns Casino Chairman Kyle Wisdom (pictured with Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders Laura Beke, left, and Andrea James) welcomed guests with Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders. Complete Music DJ spun lively tunes in the space, while guests enjoyed casino gaming to raise funds for TREC.  BBQ bacon-wrapped shrimp, chicken sandwiches, quesadillas and artichoke nachos were plentiful, thanks to Hully & Mo, where the after-party continued.

While Wisdom looked dressed by Ralph Lauren in a light blue dinner jacket with paisley pocket square, most young men preferred their dark suits.  The young women wore fashionable, short cocktail dresses and stilettos.

Photo credit: Steve Foxall

In addition to Wisdom, other TREC Young Guns included Aaron Bidne (pictured far left with Holland Morris and Will Themer) with hobnobbing with friends as his company Granite Properties developed this space. Twins De’On and De’Juan Collins networked as they are building their business, Collins Investments. Missy Hodges of Henry S. Miller Brokerage talked shop with Leah Ekmark of C. Pharr and Company as both are in marketing and PR.  Young Guns President Gary Sanchez of Beck welcomed guests downstairs in the lobby, and worked the room upstairs like a pro. Will Themer of Munsch Hardst Kopf and Harr posed for photos and sampled libations from the bar.

TREC Young Guns is comprised of young commercial real estate professionals motivated by a common purpose to promote TREC involvement and to encourage participation in social, political and civic issues that affect the city of Dallas and North Texas.

TREC Young Guns kicked off the first Casino Night in 2007 as a way to help raise money for the TREC Foundation while promoting TREC’s good works in the community. TREC Young Guns has raised a substantial amount of donations from this annual event to help fuel community involvement.

This year’s sponsors included: returning High Roller Sponsor, ZOM; Venue Sponsor, Granite Properties; and Entertainment Sponsor, Architectural Lighting Associates (ALA). Other sponsors include: Magellan Commercial Realty, Jones & Carter, NE Construction, Sunridge Management, Cross Architects, Love Funding, Stewart Title, Beck, Thackeray Partners and Henry S. Miller Brokerage.

Share-The-Date: The Real Estate Council’s Giving Gala

Photo provided by TREC

Wednesday, Oct. 14 at 6:30 p.m. — The Real Estate Council’s annual Giving Gala will take place at the Hilton Anatole with none other than Robert Earl Keen (pictured) handling the entertainment. The western-styled event featuring “cowboy grub, mingling and bidding on three playhouses that TREC members designed and built” is presented by Deloitte.

Other sponsors include: Limelight Sponsor: Schwob Building Company; Spotlight Sponsors: CMC Commercial Realty Group, Comerica, Corgan, Ernst & Young; Holliday Fenoglio Fowler, LP, Jackson-Shaw, Thackeray Partners.

Trey Morsbach of Holliday Fenoglio Fowler, LP, and TREC Giving Gala Chairman, said, “The Giving Gala will focus on The Real Estate Council Foundation’s initiatives in four key grant areas—education, housing, jobs and the environment.  It’s a fun evening both to celebrate what we have accomplished and to raise funds to support our ongoing community initiatives.”

You Can Bet On Young Guns Having Fun This Thursday

The summer of 2010 doldrums is officially coming to an end this Thursday evening when things start revving up for the fall season. Leading the parade of activities will be The Real Estate Council Young Guns Casino Night at 1717 McKinney Ave. on the 17th floor from 7 to 11.

Photo provided by TREC

“This is the perfect time to meet other young professionals and learn more about how to become a part of this rapidly growing group of commercial real estate executives,” says TREC Young Guns casino chair Kyle Wisdom (pictured).

The after party will be at Hully & Mo’s Restaurant Tap Room.

Last year’s gathering had 400 guests at the “casino-style gambling tables, dancing, networking” and taking a chance on the raffle items.  Speaking of which, this year’s prizes include an iPad among others things.

Sponsors include: returning High Roller Sponsor ZOM; Venue Sponsor Granite Properties; and Entertainment Sponsor Architectural Lighting Associates (ALA). Other sponsors include: Magellan Commercial Realty, Jones & Carter, NE Construction, Sunridge Management, Cross Architects, Love Funding, Stewart Title, Beck, Thackeray Partners and Henry S. Miller Brokerage.

Word around the casinos is that tickets may still be available.

Attention, Nonprofits: Wait Til You Hear This One!

The Real Estate Council and the Center for Nonprofit Management got together and realized how tough the nonprofits have it . . . especially now. They’ve come up with a solution that does not require money, longterm commitments or your first born thanks to Chase underwriting the program and TREC’s Eliza Solender‘s donating her time to develop it.

It’s a five-part series on the “most important real estate issues facing nonprofit agencies and how to address these needs.” Designed for nonprofit executive directors, senior staff and board members, the series takes place once a month from September to January 2011.

TREC VP of community services Beth Lambert Saul says, “Real estate is typically the second-largest budget item for a nonprofit and a high priority for decision makers.  TREC, along with member Eliza Solender of Solender/Hall, has created a curriculum to help educate those in charge of real estate decisions.”

Even after the course is complete, mentor volunteers from TREC will be “assigned to each nonprofit to provide ongoing support and problem solving as needed.”

Here’s the catch:  Space is limited to 25 agencies and the deadline for applications is August 27.

Would someone please thank TREC, the CNM and Chase for (a) being very creative and (b) putting together a brilliant program?


Despite Summer And Graffiti, TREC Keeps Trekking

Yup, just as reported — the graffiti gremlins created havoc at Lee Park last Thursday. But everything was perfectly normal within Arlington Hall for The Real Estate Council’s membership open house that evening.

Sponsored by Aguirre Roden, Beck/Corgan, Gaedeke Group, Granite and Thompson & Knight, the place was jumping with the sounds of deal makers comparing notes and making plans for the future.

Among them was former Dallas County Commissioner Margaret Kelliher (pictured with Betsy de Monte) who was catching up with Central Dallas Ministries’ John Greenan.

TREC's FightNight 22 Adds $725,000 To Multi-Million $$ Efforts

The Real Estate Council evidently had a knockout of a FightNight 22 (pictured) on May 6 at the Anatole. They brought in a whopping $725,000 thanks to the 1,000 guests. This night’s take translates into TREC’s having raised more than $19 million since it started FightNight back in 1989.

No, the money does not go to buying foreclosed highrises. It will benefit “distressed neighborhoods by enhancing the quality of life and stimulating economic development in the region.”

Sponsors who helped TREC achieve their

  • Super Heavyweight Sponsors — Archon Group, Goldman Sachs and Republic Title
  • Casino Sponsor — Matthews Southwest
  • Prize Fight Sponsors — Architel, Behringer Harvard, Deloitte., Granite, KPMG, Regions and Thackeray Partners
  • Platinum Sponsors were Crow Holdings, Metlife, NorthMarq Capital, LLC and Rosewood Property Company
  • Media Sponsors included Bisnow and The Dallas Morning News.

Attention, Nonprofits: Opportunity For $$$ And Services

Let’s all be calm. Yes, The Real Estate Council Foundation (TRECF) has money and services that it wants to give away to nonprofits. It’s all a part of its 2011 Community Initiatives program.

TREC President Michelle Corson said, “Throughout our 20-year history, we have provided numerous philanthropic causes in excess of $75 million dollars of pro bono professional services supported by more than $8 million dollars.  We are seeking projects from agencies that complement our mission and can utilize our members’ professional expertise to increase our positive impact on the community.”

It’s all the more amazing when you realize how tough things have been for those in real estate.

But, as you suspect there is a catch. No, you don’t have to enroll in their Facebook Fan Page nor pick up cans on the side of the road. So, what do you have to do? Follow the jump, read the criteria and please apply, if you can fit the requirements. The deadline for pre-applications is Tuesday, June 1, so hop to it.

[Read more…]