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

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

Dallas Zoo’s “hip” kids

But more about that at a later date.

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

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

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery: 25th Annual Zoo To Do

So, what does one get when Hal Brierley, Don Glendenning and John Levy put their heads together with Mary McDermott Cook for a fundraiser for the Dallas Zoo? A heck of a lot of stripes, dots and dollars!

Hal Brierley, Mary McDermott Cook, Don Glendenning and John Levy

Hal Brierley, Mary McDermott Cook, Don Glendenning and John Levy

For the Zoo To Do’s 25th anniversary, the Zoo Boys plus Mary McD even arranged for Mother Nature to play nicely, the gorillas to hang out for photos and the giraffes happily being handfed Romaine lettuce by guests.

GOrilla

Gorilla

Giraffe

Giraffe

While the post is being finalized, photos of the Silver Safari can be found at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Zoo To Do Guests Had A Hoot Of A Time At Escada

There are party animals and then there are party animals. And when the Zoo To Do crowd makes up the guest list, there are bound and determined to be some of the Dallas Zoo’s ambassadors among the group.

Carol Glendenning, Diane Brierley, Cassie, Carol and John Levy

Carol Glendenning, Diane Brierley, Cassie, Carol and John Levy

Flighty fella

Flighty fella

On Tuesday, May 17, the two-legged types and critters gathered at Highland Park Village’s Escada salon. Since husbands/Zoo To Do’s Silver Safari Co-Chairs Don Brierley and Don Glendenning had other commitments, their better halves (aka Diane Brierley and Carol Glendenning) joined fellow Co-Chair John Levy and his wife Carol Levy and other guests like Lee Bailey and former Escada GM Melissa Rathke to check out the fashions and food benefiting the zoo.

While the humans arrived via the front door, the ambassadors snuck in through the back entrance. Don’t you just know those celeb types are always sneaking in side doors to avoid the paparazzi?

One of the literal highlights of the occasion was the owl, who upon spying the table of appetizers decided to take flight for the spread. Thanks to his handler Cassie’s leash, his airborne antics didn’t ruffle any food, fashions or feathers except his.

The Party Animals Overcame Traffic Woes For Zoo To Do’s 25th Anniversary “Silver Safari” Kick-Off Party

Evidently no one told the internet map services that there had been some reconfiguring of I-35 leading from Dallas to the Dallas Zoo. During evening rush hour on Tuesday, May 10, it seems the old familiar lanes just weren’t headed in the right direction anymore. Some drivers looked like homeless puppies as they begged for others to allow them to swap lanes at the juncture of I-35 and I-30.

Linus the possum

Linus the possum

Owl ambassadpr

Owl ambassadpr

Despite the inconvenience, zoo-loving devotees found their way to the Zoo To Do kick-off party at the Zoo’s the Simmons Family Base Camp overlooking the Giants of the Savanna. As the two-legged humans sipped and sampled and got chummy with the resident owl and possum (okay, so when Tom Leppert got a wee bit too close to Linus the possum, the former Dallas mayor was advised that Linus might find Tom’s nose tasty), the elephants had their own happy hour themselves and could have cared less about guests’ trekking. Of course, it didn’t hurt that thanks to the fundraisers’ gathering, the pachyderms’ happy hour had been extended. Instead of two-for-one drinks, it was extra trunk time at the gurgling water features, green grass and hanging out at hay towers. While it was the same-old, same-old for vets of the herd, it was OMG for newbie African arrivals that had just left the drought conditions of their native Africa.

Elephants hanging out at the hay tower

Elephants hanging out at the hay tower

When asked how to tell the new kids on the block from the old-timers, a Zoo staffer said the African newbies were the thinner ones.

Dallas Zoo VP of Guest Experiences Sean Greene, when asked about the complaints regarding the “bring over” of the elephants from Africa to the states, admitted that he appreciated the concerns, but that comparing the Giants of Savanna’s protected environment to the natural predators, poaches and lack of food in Africa, he couldn’t help but feel a sense of comfort as he watched the elephants chowing down in their new digs. Sean’s hope was that the Dallas Zoo would be a prototype of how to provide better conditions for animals that only knew suffering in their native Swaziland.

Sean Greene

Sean Greene

John Levy

John Levy

Tom Leppert and Diane and Hal Brierley

Tom Leppert and Diane and Hal Brierley

But the evening’s attention soon shifted from the heavyweight types to the heavy hitters like Zoo To Do Co-Chairs Hal Brierley, Don Glendenning and John Levy, who will be heading up the 25th Anniversary of Zoo To Do with “Silver Safari” on Saturday, October 1, at the Zoo (naturally) with Party Machine providing the music. Future plans like the names of the participating chefs and live auction packages will be revealed in the weeks ahead.

Amy and Michael Meadows

Amy and Michael Meadows

The host committee is made up of  Christy Berry, Committee Co-Chairs Christy Berry and Ruth O’Donnell Mutch, as well as Stacey and Dan Branch, Janet and Crawford Brock, Connie and Denny Carreker, Ana and Don Carty, Taylor Conway, Barbara and Don Daseke, Holly Bock, Monica and Jesus Delgado-Jenkins, Barbara and Steve Durham, Kara and Randall Goss, Kathryn and Craig Hall, Jan and Fred Hegi, Jennifer and Doug Houser, Margo and Jim Keyes, Matrice Ellis-Kirk and Ron Kirk, Ashlee and Chris Kleinert, Sarah and Alan Losinger, Amy and Michael Meadows, Deborah and David Michel, Caren Prothro, Nancy and Doug Rabe, Sylvia and Hernan Saenz, Patty and Dennis Stone and Lori and Chuck Whitten.

Everything is moving right head with tickets started at $750 and sponsors already lining up including

  • Anniversary Level ($100,000) — The Eugene McDermott Foundation
  • Platinum Level ($50,000) — Diane and Hal Brierley, Carol and Don Glendenning / Locke Lord LLP, Carol and John Levy, Ruth O’Donnell Mutch and Gayla and Jim Von Her
  • Silver Level ($25,000) — Serena & Tom Connelly, Jennifer and John Eagle, Melissa and Trevor Fetter / Tenet Healthcare Corporation and Kara and Randall Goss
  • White Gold Level ($15,000) — Barbara and Don Daseke, Cindy and Chuck Gummer, The Craig and Kathryn Hall Foundation, Al G. Hill Jr., Lyda Hill, Jennifer and Doug Houser, Overhead Door Corporation, Edgar A. Robinson Family, Lori and Chuck Whitten, Ellen and Don Winspear and Wendy and Gary Wojtaszek/CyrusOne
  • Sterling Level ($7,500) — Bank of America (Photo Opportunity Sponsor), Gilian and Steve Baron, Susie and Joel Carp, Hegi Family Foundation, Dana and David Kleiman, Vicki and Brian Miller, Elaine and Trevor Pearlman, Stephen Penrose, Caren Prothro, PwC, Dr. R. Lynn and Cynthia A. Rea and Friends, Texas Capital Bank, Turner Construction Company, Walne Family/Herb’s Paint and Body Shops, David R. Weinreb, Westwood Trust and Jane Williams.

Luckily, there are still some great sponsorship opportunities still available. But better hustle.

Hal, Don And John To Tri-Chair 25th Anniversary Of Zoo To Do’s “Silver Safari” Presented By The Eugene McDermott Foundation

It was 25 years ago that Zoo To Do was created, turning the Dallas Zoo into a festival of food, silent auctions and entertainment, much to the fascination of the critter residents. The giraffes love it because there are always guests who give them extra helpings of munchies.

Giraffe (File photo)

Giraffe (File photo)

And speaking of the food, it’s a showcase of chefs impressing one and all with edibles.

To celebrate its 25th anniversary, a trio of fellas will co-chair the outdoor “Silver Safari” on Saturday, October 1, for an estimated 700 guests. And what a threesome it is — Hal Brierley, Don Glendenning and John Levy!

Don Glendenning (File photo)

Don Glendenning (File photo)

Hal Brierley (File photo)

Hal Brierley (File photo)

With the past two years of hitting the million-dollar mark, the boys have a challenge ahead. But they’ve already signed up The Eugene McDermott Foundation as the presenting sponsor, as well as putting together a top-notch team including Mary McDermott Cook coming on board as honorary chair, Ruth O’Donnell Mutch as host committee chair, Diane Brierley and Cindy Gummer as past chair committee co-chairs, Kevin Hanrahan as underwriting chair, Barbara Daseke as live auction committee chair and Denise Zook-Glazer as silent auction chair.

Gorilla (File photo)

Gorilla (File photo)

And what about the chefs? The honorary chef will be the Hotel ZaZa’s Dragonfly Chef Dan Landsberg, who will be joined by Chef Chair Sarah Barr of Hotel ZaZa and Chef Wrangler Brett Krafft of the Hilton Anatole.

Following dinner, the live auction for “rare zoo experiences, travel and more” will take place in the Wilds of Africa. Then the guests will dance away the night with Party Machine providing the sounds. Hope it doesn’t keep the animals up past their bedtime.

Individual tickets start at $750.

The Gummer Gang’s Zoo To Do Was A Roaring Success With Flappers, Food And Fun

October was at the halfway point on Saturday, October 17 and North Texas was rocking. Taylor Swift was concerting at AT&T Stadium. The Arthritis Foundation moved their 10th Annual Bonz Bash up a week at the Omni Dallas, and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra was playing at NorthPark with Maestro Jaap van Zweden at the helm as part of the NorthPark50 celebration.

But, a lot of gangsters and their molls headed south of town.

Perhaps the spirit of Halloween was already in the air, but hundreds of the Zoo To Do guests costumed it up for the Dallas Zoo fundraiser. Co-Chair Cindy and Chuck Gummer had put folks on notice that the Gummer Gang (Alisha and Chris Gummer, Cameron and Jay Gummer and Michelle and Ryan Gummer) was meaning to raise some big bucks and they were going to do in style… Roaring 20’s style, that is.

Randall and Kara Goss, Chuck and Cindy Gummer and Peggy Marshall and Mike Andereck

Randall and Kara Goss, Chuck and Cindy Gummer and Peggy Marshall and Mike Andereck

Admittedly Cindy had been involved with the zoo, but it was Chuck who took his decades of CEO-ing to work to rev up the bucks and tap talent like Mike Andreck to handle the fundraising.

But, getting there proved to be a bit of a challenge for anyone taking Woodall Rodgers, with three lanes blocked due to an accident. But it was well worth the effort.

As Kara and Randall Goss arrived, a flamingo spread its wings and scampered around the zoo entrance. Someone was heard to say, “Now, there goes a flapper.”

Lynn Dealey and Daniel Holguin

Lynn Dealey and Daniel Holguin

Guests like Lynn Dealey and Daniel Holguin posed in front of a vintage car like gangsters and their molls. At another point along the way, a gangster was seen guarding a vintage bathtub where no doubt his gin had been brewed.

Cearan Henley, Barbara Daseke, Ben Fischer, Laree Hulshoff and Allan Knight

Cearan Henley, Barbara Daseke, Ben Fischer, Laree Hulshoff and Allan Knight

Ruben and Alina Esquivel

Ruben and Alina Esquivel

Pat and Charles McEvoy

Pat and Charles McEvoy

Getting in the swing of the 1920’s era, Barbara Daseke, Laree Hulshoff, Ben Fischer, Alina and Ruben Esquivel and Pat and Charles McEvoy heeded the Gummer “suggestion” and went vintage. Okay, so Pat admitted that she had just bought her flapper hat that day at Neiman’s.

Gabby Gutierrez and Gunnar Rawlings

Gabby Gutierrez and Gunnar Rawlings

It was like an anniversary for Gabby Gutierrez and Gunnar Rawlings. It was just two years ago that they met thanks to Mike Gruber and had their first date at Zoo To Do.

Brent Christopher showed up in his trademark bowtie, but kidless. The reason? They had homework.

Nico Sanchez

Nico Sanchez

Kendrick Smith

Kendrick Smith

Jonathan Espinoza and Tara Cheney

Jonathan Espinoza and Tara Cheney

Jim Severson

Jim Severson

The chefs were having as much fun as the guests. While those near the entrance of the Giants of the Savanna and the silent auction got hit by the first waves of guests, others further down the walk near the Base Camp and  Predator Talk were able to accommodate one and all with ease. Everything was served up: from the Dallas Zoo’s garbanzo bean mash with sous vide pork belly and sherry lacquer and apple slaw to Meso Maya’s chicken pozole verde.

Gorilla

Gorilla

As for the zoo residents, they had mixed feelings about the whole affair. The gorilla was harrumphing on top of a hill. Evidently the ape was not happy about not being part of the festivities in the Gorilla Research Center for the VIP party. After all, the hedgehog and penguin got to attend. While the hedgehog slept through part of the affair, the unhappy gorilla further showed his unhappiness by mooning some of the guests.

Elephant

Elephant

Over in the Giants of Savanna, the elephants were having a trunk show and didn’t even notice the two-legged peeps. A cheetah walked to a certain spot high atop his grounds and lounged watching the humans wandering and staring back.

Boa constrictor

Boa constrictor

The boa constrictor wrapped around Zoo Staffer Shannon C. without squeezing too tight. But holding 35 pounds of snake can be a bit of a handful, so Zoo Staffer Hayley P. was nearby to relieve her. On the other hand, Joan Walne was keeping her distance from the slithering reptile.

Alan and Joan Walne and Kelly and Paul Gittemeier

Alan and Joan Walne and Kelly and Paul Gittemeier

The giraffes had absolutely no problem at all with the celebration as guests gave them treat after treat. It was the perfect way to get an eyeful of their 18-inch black tongues. Why, they’re so used to being popular, they know how to strike a perfect pose when a camera is in sight.

Giraffe

Giraffe

Spock

Spock

Giving the giraffes a run for their money when it came to tongue dynamics, Spock the Argentine Tegu didn’t even need food to show off his forked, pink tongue.

And as for the Warthogs and Red River Hogs, they took the night off. They didn’t want to hog all the fun.

For more photos, check MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2015 Zoo To Do

The party animals were in fine fettle on Saturday, October 17, for the Dallas Zoo’s Zoo To Do. The weather could not have been more perfect for folks and critters to graze and gaze. And there were loads of chef stations set up throughout the park.

Randall and Kara Goss, Chuck and Cindy Gummer and Peggy Marshall and Mike Andereck

Randall and Kara Goss, Chuck and Cindy Gummer and Peggy Marshall and Mike Andereck

Giraffe

Giraffe

Spock

Spock

Before setting off for Halloween parties and trick and treating, check out the MySweetCharity Photo Gallery to take a gander at the Roaring 20’s costumes on the two-legged types and the four-legged residents showing off their tastebuds.

Zoo To Do Party Animals Licked The Hands That Fed Them, Dipped In The Pool And Gave Zoo To Do Patrons “The Eye”

North of LBJ, Dallas honcho-types looked more like Justin Bieber groupies on Tuesday, September 15. The reason: the Dallas Zoo residents were garnering cellphone salutes at Barbara and Don Dasekes’ home overlooking a woodland for the Zoo To Do patron party.

Dallas Zoo Ambassador Kruger

Dallas Zoo resident Kruger

Dallas Zoo Ambassador South American three-banded armadillo

Dallas Zoo resident South American three-banded armadillo

Dallas Zoo Ambassador alligator

Dallas Zoo resident alligator

In one room was Kruger the owl giving everybody “the eye.” In another was a South American three-banded armadillo that unlike its Texas relatives can roll up in a shell looking like a blonde coconut. As the littler alligator was brought in, one gal commented, “I’ll never buy another pair of alligator shoes.”

Kathy and Richard Holt

Kathy and Richard Holt

Joan Walne

Joan Walne

Michael Meadows

Michael Meadows

Cindy Gummer

Cindy Gummer

Kathy and Richard Holt were still trying to acclimate to the Texas heat after returning from the Russian River with its cooler temps…. Joan Walne was solo. Husband Alan Walne was out of town, but she wasn’t going to miss seeing the zoo ambassadors…While leopard prints were the design of the night, Jennifer Houser wore a pair of red heels with gold cheetah heads on them. She had planned to wear them last year when she co-chaired Zoo To Do, but something came up. So, she pulled them out for the 2015 patron party along with her cheetah necklace and faux leopard print jacket. BTW, no one was so tacky as to wear real furs or leathers.

Winspear

Winspear

Winspear and Alyssa

Winspear and Alyssa

As the crowd grew including Diane and Mike Gruber, Diane and Hal Brierley, Gregg Hudson, Michael Meadows and Jennifer and Doug Houser, inside the Dasekes’ teak house word was passed that the “main man” was on his way for a see-and-shoot opportunity. It was two-year-old cheetah Winspear, complete with his own personalized harness and entourage of handlers. Before making his way through the house to a table on the back deck, the two-legged guests were held at bay. While the humans looked in awe at the lean, spotted big cat, Winspear strolled through, nonchalantly hopping up on the table for photo opps which were countless. Despite wishing, no selfies were allowed for guests with the Winspear.

Though cheetahs are typically shy, Winspear proved that he had adjusted to the limelight. He also had learned how to get treats from his “assistants.” With guests aiming cellphones at him, he turned his head away. Chief handler Alyssa pulled out a treat and placed it strategically on the table so he faced the guests. After devouring the treat, he gave Alyssa a lick, purred and posed for the cameras. Then he turned his head away again, resulting in a second treat for Winspear and another photo opp. In other words, Winspear has got his handlers trained.

It was then time for Winspear to retreat to his “green room.”

Chuck Gummer

Chuck Gummer

Before the next zoo ambassadors appeared, Zoo To Do Co-Chairs Cindy and Chuck Gummer with their kids and kids-in-law announced they were aiming to meet last year’s fundraising total of $1M. Already just from underwriting, they’d passed the $700K mark and Chuck said they still had the live and silent auctions to go on Saturday, October 17, at the zoo. With a twinkle in his eye, Chuck suggested that the “man cave” that was in the auction lineup was really something to consider.

Penguins taking a dip

Penguins taking a dip

The Gummers’ comments were brief because the next team of Dallas Zoo residents were waiting in the “wings.” These two had required some preparations for the Daseke household. They were African penguins. The idea was for the penguins to splash around in the pool overlooking the backyard. However, penguins and chlorine-treated pools don’t mix. So, Barbara had the pool drained and refilled with spring water. When she asked her pool man how much it would cost to do such an operation, he said he would do it for free, if he could bring his son to see the twosome. Barbara laughed, saying that she would have had them come regardless.

Well, the penguins took to the Daseke pool like ducks to water. They showed off their various swimming strokes — splashing, submarining, breast strokes, etc. Barbara walked to the edge of the pool looking like she was going to join them.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: Zoo To Do Patron Party

The party animals were literally the hit of the Zoo To Do patron party at Barbara and Don Dasekes’ teak home. Betcha you didn’t know the difference between a South American armadillo and its Southwestern cousins. When having penguins over for a dip in the estate pool, did you know what you had to do? That and how to get Winspear the cheetah to purr were just part of the lessons learned on Tuesday, September 15.

Dallas Zoo Ambassador Kruger

Dallas Zoo Ambassador Kruger

Winspear

Winspear

As the post is being completed, there are some pixs over on the MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

The Gummer Gang Announces Plans To Bring The Roaring ’20s To 2015 Zoo To Do

While I-30 was jammed up because of a tipsy truck that blocked two lanes throughout Thursday, June 10’s rush hour, 145 Zoo To Do-ers managed to make it to the Dallas Zoo for the ZTD Kick-Off. This was the second try for the kick-off. The previous one had to be postponed due to May’s stormy weather.

Cathy Burkey, Sean Greene and Greg Hudson

Cathy Burkey, Sean Greene and Greg Hudson

Before the program commenced, Dallas Zoo President/CEO Gregg Hudson reported that May’s torrents of rainfall hadn’t created a problem except for some mud clogging up a system or two. Everything else had not just been fine, it had been great. Gregg attributed it the Giants of the Jurassic, as well the births of Kipenzi the female giraffe and Mateo the male ocelot. When asked about the two male giraffes — Willie and Waylon — born at the Fort Worth Zoo and the possibility of their meeting up with Kipenzi, Gregg wasn’t prepared to play matchmaker.

Kara and Randall Goss

Kara and Randall Goss

John Wayne Film Festival Co-Chairs Kara and Randall Goss told friends about their May 26th trip to Austin, where Gov. Greg Abbott made the late Wayne an honorary Texan and declared May 26th to be John Wayne Day in Texas. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick had been instrumental in making it all happen. Seems Dan is a huge Duke fan and has the festival on his schedule to attend.

Diane and Mike Gruber

Diane and Mike Gruber

Michael Meadows

Michael Meadows

But it was Cindy and Chuck Gummer in flapper-style outfits that had people wondering what was up. With Zoo friends like Diane and Mike Gruber, Diane Brierley and Michael Meadows gathered, ZTD Co-Chairs Cindy and Chuck had their family/co-chairs Alisha and Chris Gummer, Cameron and Jay Gummer and Michelle and Ryan Gummer join them as they told how Cindy had been on the zoo’s board for six years. When she decided to take on the Zoo To Do, Chuck notified her, “I’m retired.” In wifely fashion, she told him, “Not yet!” Within two days of organizing and fundraising, they got 20 yes’es.

Alisha and Chris Gummer, Jay and Cameron Gummer, Chuck and Cindy Gummer and Michelle and Ryan Gummer

Alisha and Chris Gummer, Jay and Cameron Gummer, Chuck and Cindy Gummer and Michelle and Ryan Gummer

Alas, poor Chuck in his black fedora. As he prepared to reveal deets about the October 17th event, eyes were directed at the Giants of Savanna exhibit just behind Chuck. The impalas had upstaged him at that moment by scampering across the Giants of Savanna followed by a couple of lumbering elephants.

Ruben and Alina Esquivel

Ruben and Alina Esquivel

As Ruben Esquivel put it, “That’s Mother Nature.”

After the impalas had disappeared, Chuck and Cindy announced the theme would be “The Roaring 20’s” and they were expecting around 700 for the event. Chuck explained that to have an event success, it takes three “legs of the stool.” One leg is good organization. In this case, they had landed Micki and Mayor Mike Rawlings to be co-chairs and Dan Landsberg for the honorary chef presiding over 25 chefs cooking up dishes. After dinner there would be a live auction in the Wilds of Africa plaza for “rare Zoo experiences, travel and more!”

Emerald City’s Party Management will be handling the entertainment “with non-stop music, lights and motion from the moment they hit the stage.”

Mike Andereck

Mike Andereck

Second leg of the stool is having a great party. And the third is fundraising. As part of that last leg, Chuck thanked Mike Andereck, who would be handling the underwriting efforts.

Chuck reminded the group that last year’s fundraiser hit the $1M mark. A last minute entry in the live auction helped them achieve that goal. It was the right to name the boy giraffe born just days before the auction that went for $50,000. The winner of that bidding match in turn allowed the name to be decided by a popular vote.

Chuck then said they were trying to be strategic about such a reoccurrence. Unfortunately, there was not enough time left for a baby lion or tiger to be born, but, “if we only have 30 days to raise it, we might name a newborn gerbil!”

With that Chuck concluded, telling guests, “Enjoy!”

In keeping with the theme announcement, the evening’s food reflected just that — “Roaring 20’s Salmon Canapes”, “Welcome to the Waldorf Salad”, “White Castle Burger, Martini Ailoi”, “Fruit And Please Platter Cheese”, “Tini-Potato Bar”, “Bathrub Gin and Juice Sorbet”.

Kruger

Kruger

Robin Ryan and Fitz

Robin Ryan and Fitz

To showcase the educational programs offered by the zoo, the zoo’s ambassadors were literally on hand. Rosie the Owl was nowhere to be seen, though. In her stead was Kruger, the Eurasian eagle owl, who had replaced Rosie. Seems Rosie was now part of the children’s program. On this night Kruger was showing off his “talons” on Robin Ryan’s very thickly gloved hand. It was the first time for many to see a “robin” handling an owl.

At another point Robin traded Kruger in for a demonstration that had Fitz the trumpeter hornbill flying past the giraffes, elephants, zebras and impalas and landing on her arm. After a couple of leaps for grapes, Fitz was on his way back home.

When asked about the flamingos, who have always been more than accommodating for photo opps if the treats are available, officials said the flamingos had sent their regrets. Seems the deck was way too hot for their flat feet.

Tickets are available now, as well as sponsorships and underwriting opportunties.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery: Zoo To Do Kick-Off Party

Alisha and Chris Gummer, Jay and Cameron Gummer, Chuck and Cindy Gummer and Michelle and Ryan Gummer

Alisha and Chris Gummer, Jay and Cameron Gummer, Chuck and Cindy Gummer and Michelle and Ryan Gummer

Kruger the Eurasian eagle owl

Kruger the Eurasian eagle owl

Where else would the Zoo To Do Kick-Off Party take place, but at the Dallas Zoo overlooking the Giants of the Savanna? And that’s just what happened on Wednesday, June 10, with ZTD Co-chairs Cindy and Chuck Gummer and their Gummer Gang in charge. Despite it being a tad bit warm, it was nice to be drying out after May’s deluge.

One guest who had his feathers ruffled was Kruger the Eurasian eagle owl. He wasn’t too keen about the Gummer Gang’s boas.

But more about that later. In the meantime, check out some photos at the MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Thanks To A Newborn Giraffe And Loads Of Human Critters, Zoo To Do’s Jewels Of The Kalahari Busted A Million

Those flaunty flamingos were in fine feather (many apologies for the pun) to greet guests as they arrived at the Dallas Zoo for the Zoo To Do fundraiser, Jewels of the Kalahari, on Saturday, November 1. There is a real difference between the ones that are “stuck” in front yards and the Zoo’s flock. This group is definitely not static. As one group of guests headed to the trams bound for the main festivities, the pink birds with the scrawny legs followed along until their handlers reminded them of their duties of greeting all 670 guests including Honorary Co-Chairs Lynn and Allan McBee, Brandy and Will Taylor, Ruth O’Donnell Mutch, Connie and Denny Carreker, Mary McDermott Cook, Diane and Hal Brierley, Barbara and Don Daseke and Diane and Dallas Zoo Chairman of the Board Mike Gruber.

Allan and Lynn McBee, Craig Glatthaar and Brandy and Will Taylor

Allan and Lynn McBee, Craig Glatthaar and Brandy and Will Taylor

Mike Gruber and Sharon and Gregg Hudson

Mike Gruber and Sharon and Gregg Hudson

And while the chill may have been a wee bit brisk for some, the penguins were in seventh heaven. Even the snakes rose to the occasion, slithering on the arms of their handlers. While some guests recoiled (dadgummit, another pun) at the offer to touch the boa constrictor across the way from the registration desk, other guests took a chance and were amazed at the uniquely smooth feel of the scales.

Laura and lesser anteater

Laura and lesser anteater

Angela and arrmadillo

Angela and armadillo

Chispa the two-year-old lesser anteater showed her dexterity clutching the limb, while slurping up goodies from a cup held by handler Laura. On the other hand, the nearby armadillo was bored with the whole affair and curled up for a good snooze, looking more like a textured bowling ball in handler Angela’s hands.

Jennifer Houser, Ruth O'Donnell Mutch and Tiffany Divis

Jennifer Houser, Ruth O’Donnell Mutch and Tiffany Divis

Co-Chair Jennifer Houser reported that the evening’s goal was to beat last year’s total of $918K. It would depend on the outcome of the live auction. Co-Chair Tiffany Divis said that a late addition to the live auction was the right to name the newborn giraffe.

In the Gorilla Lounge (aka Jewel Lounge), a mammoth light wall featuring a gorilla towered behind the bar. Zoo ambassador vet Rosie the owl had a “been-there-before” blasé attitude. On the other hand (sorry about that), Kimye the ball python was more than accommodating to be stroked in the hands of handler Cassie.

Gorilla bending tree

Gorilla bending tree

At one point the guests gathered at the lounge windows overlooking the gorilla compound to watch the gorillas make a brief showing. One even decided to effortlessly bend a small tree over to nibble at a tasty leaf. Well, after all, it was the cocktail hour. After they had made their personal appearance, the apes returned to their enclosure. Too chilly for them and nobody was going to debate their staying to entertain the gawking humans.

Afterwards came a strolling dinner provided by Abacus, Asador, Barter, Becks Prime, Blosa, Casa Rubia, Dallas Zoo Catering, Dragonfly at Hotel Zaza, Empire Baking Company, Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck, Margaux’s, Meso Maya, Mozzarella Company, Neiman Marcus, Nothing Bundt Cakes, Parigi, Savor Gastropub, SER Steak + Spirits, Sevy’s Grill, Sissy’s Southern Kitchen and Bar, Suze, Tillman’s Roadhouse and Two Sisters Catering.

As for the live auction, it was a gangbuster making national headlines. Seems that the last-minute addition of naming rights for the baby giraffe went to an anonymous donor for a cool $50,000. Even big spenders slowed down their paddle-raising when that number neared. The donor’s generosity only was heightened when it was announced that s/he would allow the final decision of the naming to be left to the public via an online vote. The outcome? The vote named him “Kopano”, meaning “united” in Botswana. And that’s exactly what happened at Zoo to Do as people united to raise $1.085M for one of the country’s leading zoos in one night.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: Zoo To Do

Laura and lesser anteater

Laura and lesser anteater

While the folks like TV weather guessers Dan, David, Pete and Larry are trying to figure out if sleet or snow is in tomorrow’s wake-up call, settle back with the MySweetCharityPhoto Gallery for the million-dollar Zoo to Do.

Jennifer Houser, Ruth O'Donnell Mutch and Tiffany Divis

Jennifer Houser, Ruth O’Donnell Mutch and Tiffany Divis

Alas, the fellow who caused the $50,000 bid wasn’t around. Guess it was past his bedtime.

Baby Giraffe Needs A Name

“Anonymous” is one of the fav philanthropists around. Recently one of the “Anonymous” types won the bidding for the naming rights of the newborn giraffe at the Dallas Zoo’s Zoo To Do Saturday. As the bidding reached $50,000, other zoo enthusiasts quietly put their paddles aside.

But this winner outdid themselves in the practice of philanthropy. Instead of picking a name of their high school sweetheart or their pooch, they wanted the naming to be a participatory opportunity for the entire area.

The following three names have been selected:

  • Kopano – “United” (Botswana)
  • Usawa – “Equality” (Swahili)
  • Shingo – “Neck” (Swahili)

The final pick will be decided by popular vote that ends this Sunday at 5 p.m. You can vote online. When you do vote, you can submit a DFW-area school that will win a free animal visit by the Dallas Zoo ambassadors. “The winning school will be randomly selected.”

The MySweetCharity elves were wanting to name the little fellow, “Dirk.” Unfortunately, write-in votes won’t be allowed.

And here you thought the voting process ended Tuesday. Silly!

Party Animals Of All Types Converge On Kara and Randall Goss’ Home For Zoo To Do Patron Party

Some of those charming Preston Hollow roads that remind you of a New England country path can be downright confusing. The one in front of Kara and Randall Goss’ columned mansion was a perfect storm on Wednesday, October 22. It had some guests parking their cars on the side streets and huffing it to the front door. Others entered the Goss estate up the exit.

Kate Peterson, Kara and Randall Goss

Kate Peterson, Kara and Randall Goss

So, what was the draw? It was the Zoo To Do patron party with wildlife rock star Jack Hanna in safari gear on the patio.

Jack Hanna

Jack Hanna

Ah, but Jack, who has eons of experience working crowds, was used to two-legged, two-flippered and four-legged critters trumping him despite his ageless good looks and “Ah, shucks” personality.

When asked about the Dallas Zoo, Hanna summed it up by saying it was a great zoo.

As the Dallas Zoo ambassador penguin headed to the fabulous pool with handlers trying to herd it back to the party, the flamingos were pecking guests’ palms for handouts.

Flamingo enjoying appetizers

Flamingo enjoying appetizers

Zoo To Do Co-chairs Tiffany Divis and Jennifer Houser, Ellen Winspear, Barbara Daseke, Cindy Gummer and Kate Peterson opted for jackets, blouses and dresses ala leopard prints, while Tanya Foster discreetly went for a spotted clutch. Diane Brierley went in a totally different animal direction. She was in a black-and-white striped jacket.

Beside fashion notes, Don Daseke was headed to Palm Spring to compete in the national Entrepreneur of the Year competition…Despite having her car broken into and wallet stolen that morning, Lisa Ogle was happy to report that her Citibank Visa took care of everything with just one call. The car burglars didn’t just pick on Lisa. They hit eight other cars on the block… Chuck Gummer revealed that he and wife Cindy would be co-chairing next year’s Zoo To Do…Ellen and Don Winspear were just back from Napa.

Tiffany Divis, Diane Brierley and Jennifer Houser

Tiffany Divis, Diane Brierley and Jennifer Houser

While Dallas Zoo President/CEO Gregg Hudson told the group about the Dallas Zoo’s being hailed as one of the top ten zoos in the nation and having a record year, Winspear the cheetah cooled his paws in the back of the Goss property. Seems he doesn’t party well with the other zoo residents. It just wouldn’t do to have one of the Dallas Zoo ambassadors gobbling up another ambassador.

Cindy and Chuck Gummer

Cindy and Chuck Gummer

Randall reported that he had already visited with Winspear, and “he’s in a good mood.” Whew!

If you didn’t make it to the Zoo To Do patron party or the fundraiser on Saturday, November 1, you might want to put on your calendar that on Wednesday, November 26 (the day before Thanksgiving) the zoo will be hosting another Dollar Day. Love those bargains right before the holidays!

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: Zoo To Do Patron Party

Tiffany Divis, Diane Brierley and Jennifer Houser

Tiffany Divis, Diane Brierley and Jennifer Houser

When it comes to conversation pieces, the Dallas Zoo knows how to provide. At the Wednesday, October 22, Zoo To Do patron party at Kara and Randall Goss’ Preston Hollow estate, the human tried their best to fit in with leopard, cheetah and zebra prints.

Jack Hanna

Jack Hanna

None of that for zoo-keeping rockstar Jack Hanna. He just wore his signature safari gear and a smile.

On the other hand, the Dallas Zoo ambassadors wore their same old feathers and flippers.

Check out the MySweetCharity Photo Gallery to see the party animals.

There’s Just Nothing Like A Million Dollars

In this day and age when thin is in, don’t you just love an occasional round, plump something. Now, just think about it. The full moon? A glorious, pink peony in full bloom? A juicy, ripe plum?

Well, for the last couple of weeks the ultimate round, plump things have been hitting Dallas fundraisers full blast.

Lisa Longino, Maggie Kipp, Robin Robinson and Daffan Nettle

Lisa Longino, Maggie Kipp, Robin Robinson and Daffan Nettle

First, the Baylor Health Care System Foundation’s Celebrating Women scored a major coup the day before the October 24 lunch benefiting efforts to rid the world of breast cancer. The Baylor crew held their breath and their silence until the luncheon and then Foundation President Robin Robinson announced that the Spangenberg Family Foundation had gifted $1M for the battle. More about that in a later post.

Zoo To Do invitation*

Zoo To Do invitation*

Then word just arrived via Co-Chairs Tiffany Divis’ and Jennifer Houser’s carrier pigeon that the Zoo To Do scored $1M Saturday at the Dallas Zoo fundraiser. More about that in a later post.

Still another million plus was raised at the Dallas Holocaust Museum‘s annual “Hope for Humanity” on Thursday, October 30. This record-breaking year was honoring Stan Rabin.

If you don’t think $1M fits the round, plump description, rethink. A one followed by six zeroes seems pretty darn round and plump around here, especially when it’s benefiting North Texas charities.

Sold Out Alert!: Zoo To Do

Doug and Jennifer Houser and Tiffany and Paul Divis (File photo)

Doug and Jennifer Houser and Tiffany and Paul Divis (File photo)

Party animals, word just arrived from Zoo To Do Co-Chair Tiffany Divis,

“The Jewels of the Kalahari will be sparkling with no extra room on the dance floor… because as you would expect, ZTD is Sold Out:) Be ready to Partaaaaay with the animals!!!”

Understand the weather Saturday evening may have a bit of chill, so pull out that precious cashmere sweater and those boots that have been hibernating in your closet. Tis time to free them from isolation!

Suggestion: Leave the furs at home Saturday night.

 

Critters Pitch In For Zoo To Do Live Auction Items

There are auctions and then there are auctions. Zoo To Do Co-Chairs Jennifer and Doug Houser and Tiffany and Paul Divis and Auction Co-Chairs Nancy and Prater Monning have arranged for such a live auction of a dozen items that it may send other fundraisers back to the drawing board of bidding.

Okay, so you want examples. Of course, you do. Try these samplings provided by Zoo To Do-ers:

  • Angama Mara Kenya Safari For Two (Value $17,000) — You and a guest will enjoy five nights at Angama Mara in the luxurious Maasai Safari Lodge, meals and game drives included. This safari adventure is planned by renowned wildlife photographer and filmmaker Will Taylor, owner of Khashana Bespoke Adventure Travel. Three are few others reserves in Africa Where visitors experience such an abundance of permanent game. Angama Mara is situated on the northwestern boundary of the Mara Triangle, which forms part of Kenya’s famous Maasai Mara National Reserve. Every tented suite shares a 180-degree view of the Mara below, possibly the nest-known game reserve in the world, and one that consistently delivers extraordinary viewing of all Africa’s great mammals, and “The Great Migration” from July to October each year. The “Out of Africa” backstory adds romance and nostalgia to the guest experience.
  • Breakfast With The Tigers*

    Breakfast With The Tigers*

    Dallas Zoo Breakfast With The Tigers (Priceless) — Wake up and smell the tigers! Spend your morning with the Dallas Zoo tiger keepers as they prepare and place breakfast in the Endangered Tiger Habitat for our Malayan and Sumatran tigers. Then retreat to the Thai Viewing Building in our tiger village, where your group will watch the tigers searching their habitat for their morning meal. Includes a behind-the-scenes tiger tour and a catered breakfast for your group to enjoy. A rare and priceless opportunity!

  • AFI Fest Red Carpet Package For Two (Value: $12,500) — Join the American Film Institute’s (AFI) annual celebration of the best of the year in cinema from modern masters to emerging filmmakers. AFI FEST in sunny Los Angeles features nightly red carpet gala premieres, special screenings, conversations and tributes. AFI Fest 2015 Red Carpet Packages includes two first-class, round-trip tickets on American Airlines; two Gold Patron Passes including admittance to festival parties and award events; two tickets to all gala screenings with reserved seats and VIP Lounge access at after-party, access to the red carpet arrival lane for one vehicle, access for two to walk all of AFI FEST’s Gala red carpets, designated AFI Fest concierge for gala reservations through AFI Advancement office and two official AFI Fest program guides.
  • Dallas Zoo elephant (File photo)

    Dallas Zoo elephant (File photo)

    Dallas Zoo VIP Party With The Pachyderms (Value: Priceless) — It’s a party with the pachyderms in the Giants of the Savanna exhibit! You and your seven guests will enjoy a tour of the elephant barn and watch as one of the Golden Girls creates her own work of art on canvas right before your eyes! You’ll also be treated to a private keeper talk and have the opportunity to fire off the water cannon in the elephant exhibit! Finish your experience with cocktails in the Fig Tree and a specially catered dinner in the Simmons Safari Base Camp. Winner of this item gets to keep the elephant artwork! (Hmm, have you ever seen so many exclamation points?)

These plus the other packages, silent auction, raffle and partying to Emerald City will be on hand Saturday. And naturally, there will be loads of food thanks to the area’s most talented and generous chefs (Kent Rathbun, Brad Phillips, Andrew Dilda, Andrew Bell, Omar Flores, Meaders Ozarow, Patton Robertson, Kay Agnew, Nico Sanchez, Paula Lambert, Kevin Garvin, Kathy Rogers, Janice Provost, John Coleman, Anthony Van Camp, Jim Severson, Lisa Garza, Gilbert Garza, Cody Brandt and Jonathan Stirnweis) and restaurants (Becks Prime and Dallas Zoo Catering) under the leadership of Honorary Chef Dan Landsberg.

Oh, where is it taking place? At the Dallas Zoo starting at 5:30 p.m. Better hustle and get your tickets. The animals are waiting to see you.

* Photo courtesy of Zoo To Do

MySweetCharity Opportunity: Zoo To Do

According to Zoo To Do Co-Chairs Jennifer and Doug Houser and Tiffany and Paul Divis,

Doug and Jennifer Houser and Tiffany and Paul Divis (File photo)

Doug and Jennifer Houser and Tiffany and Paul Divis (File photo)

“Without a doubt, Zoo To Do is one of the best parties of the year! The Dallas Zoo has been one of Dallas’ most beloved attractions for more than 100 years. Just recently, the Dallas Zoo was included in a local magazine poll as one the best ‘Best Family Attractions’ in Dallas.

“The Dallas Zoo provides 106 acres to explore, thousands of animals to visit, and a wide variety of family activities. The Giants of the Savanna exhibit as well as Soar, A Festival of Flight presented by Kimberly-Clark in our Wildlife Amphitheater, guarantees to establish the Dallas Zoo as one of America’s best.

“Zoo To Do is a major source of funding for the Dallas Zoological Society. With the proceeds from the event, the Society is able to continue in its mission to support the Dallas Zoo as an outstanding center of education, entertainment, and wildlife conservation.

“The party on Saturday, November 1, will be in the Giants of the Savanna exhibit at the Dallas Zoo. The evening begins with cocktails, a stroll through the Savanna, and the opening of the silent auction. It continues with more than 25 of Dallas’ finest chefs and restaurants providing food at different stations throughout the event.  It is a true ‘grazing’ event.

“Music, dancing and other live entertainment continues throughout the evening and is followed by a spectacular live auction and late night dancing under the stars.

“Visit DallasZooToDo.com for additional information!”

Are You Ready For A Laugh With The Animals?

Wanna see one of the best evites to hit the MSC email box? It’s a great way to close out the week. BTW, it’s extremely family friendly, so you might want to share it with the kids.

Zoo To Do invitation*

Zoo To Do invitation*


































* Invitation provided by Zoo To Do

Zoo To Do Kick-Off Had Impalas Highstepping, Elephants Moseying, Giraffes Gawking, Flamingos Tapping And Fitz Fluttering

Like snails slow-moing up a mountain, Zoo-To-Do guests drove I-35 during afternoon rush hour to reach the Dallas Zoo for the rescheduled Zoo To Do Kick-Off Party.

It was so well worth the effort.

With the weather absolutely perfect, the humans sipped wine and shared the relief the event had been rescheduled from May 8 when Dallas got pummeled by straight-line winds.

High-stepping impalas

High-stepping impalas

Once leaving their vehicles, guests were trammed to the Simmons Safari Base Camp overlooking the Giants of Savanna, where impala, elephants and giraffes interacted. On cue the impalas like Las Vegas showgirls tossed their legs effortlessly in the air and went leaping across the terrain. One little elephant tried its best to follow the flighty antelopes, but s/he came in a very distant last. Well, after all the poor thing probably weighed more than the whole herd of hooved critters.

Dallas Zoo elephant

Dallas Zoo elephant

No sooner had the impalas exited the area than a flock off giraffes could be seen coming into view, neck first, of course. They had just finished snacking at the Diane and Hal Brierley Giraffe Ridge, where visitor can get eye-to-eye looks and feed lettuce to the graceful herbivores.

Dallas Zoo giraffes

Dallas Zoo giraffes

Speaking of the Brierleys, Hal proudly told friends that in addition to the Dallas Zoo recently being named one of the nation’s best ten zoos in the country by USA Today, its Giants of Savanna was the only one in which many different species of animal are grouped together. Then he added that the San Diego Zoo was interested in copying Dallas after learning of our successful program.

Gregg Hudson

Gregg Hudson

Zoo CEO Gregg Hudson went on to say that the exhibition was “a game changer for us.” Visitor counts went from 500K to 1M.

Keith Schumann, Diane Brierley and Matthew Simon

Keith Schumann, Diane Brierley and Matthew Simon

A voice over the PA advised guests like Barbara Brice, Matthew Simon, Keith Schumann, Pat and Charles McEvoy, Gregory Dunbar, Jenne Hargrove, Martha Fordyce, Patty Jo and John Turner and Jill Rowlett to gather on the deck for the arrival of a Trumpeter Hornbill. From the same area that the giraffes had appeared, Fitz the trumpeter hornbill flew in and landed on zoo staffer Alyssa’s arm. Guests were then invited to toss food up in the air for Fitz to fetch. But unlike a pooch, Fitz wasn’t about to return the food. Hey, he doesn’t work cheap, don’t you know?

Alyssa and Fitz

Alyssa and Fitz

And speaking of non-cheeping beaks, a couple of flamingos appeared on the deck just as Fitz headed home. Like tap dancers, they pecked the floor for grain. The only things thinner than their necks were their skeletal legs.

Candice D., Jennifer Houser and Tiffany Divis

Candice D., Jennifer Houser and Tiffany Divis

Zoo To Do Co-Chairs Tiffany Divis and Jennifer Houser were thrilled at the prospect of handfeeding the flamingos, who eagerly took to the handout relationship.

Lynn and Allan McBee

Lynn and Allan McBee

In between making buds with feathered friends, Tiffany and Jennifer with husbands Paul Divis and Doug Houser revealed that the Highland Capital Management-sponsored fundraiser will have Lynn and Allan McBee as honorary co-chairs.

According to Jennifer, this year’s theme is going to be “’Hunger Games,’ because we eat, eat, eat!”

The flamingos really like that way of thinking!

For more photos of of the two- and four-legged critters, check MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: Zoo To Do Kick-Off Party

Dallas Zoo elephant and giraffe

Dallas Zoo elephant and giraffe

You have to wonder what the animals at the Dallas Zoo were thinking when they saw a crowd of humans chatting, sipping and pointing on Thursday, May 15, just before dinner time.

Actually, the animals were party animals all on their own. The giraffes strutted elegantly like fashion models with their long legs and necks. The impalas resembled track stars as they lept and ran with one little elephant attempting to keep up. The flamingos did a tap dance with their beaks as they picked at treats on the deck.

It was all to the delight of the guests at the Dallas Zoo To Do kick-off party.

You know the drill. The write-up is being pecked out, but there are photos of two- and four-legged critters at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery for your inspection.

JUST IN: Thursday’s Zoo To Do Kick-Off Party Postponed A Week

Lola (File photo)

Lola (File photo)

Due to circumstance beyond their control, the humans involved in the President Circle Savanna Sundowner/Zoo To Do Kick Off party Thursday night have postponed the event until Thursday, May 15.

The reason? Mother Nature is bristling with scary weather, and one just doesn’t want to chance an outdoor event when the sky is going to fall, don’t you know?

So, the Dallas Zoo residents and their trusty fundraisers are going to chill for a week.