Not everyone was stitching up their Halloween costumes on Thursday, October 30. Heck, fundraisers ranged from a very proper seated dinner in a Park Cities mansion to a graze around with chefs everywhere.
Crystal Charity Ball Circle of Angels Dinner
There could not have been a more magnificent setting for this year’s Circle of Angels Dinner than the brand-new home of Joyce and Larry Lacerte. On October 30 the Lacerte manse on Lexington Avenue hosted nearly 110 guests—the most ever—for the ultra-exclusive, 16-year-old event honoring those who’ve given $25,000 or more to Crystal Charity Ball.
Just hours before the guests began arriving, workmen were still putting in the fireplace and painting, Larry said. The home has been under construction for three years, he added, and this was the first of “hopefully many” charity events to be held there.
Before repairing for dinner to a grand “great room” with beamed ceilings worthy of a British castle, guests including Cynthia and Tom Mitchell, Claire and Dwight Emanuelson, Barbara and Ralph Babb, Marilyn Augur, Margaret and Barry Hancock, Patty and Mark Leyendecker, Nancy and Robbie Briggs, Aileen and Jack Pratt, Jeri and David Kleiman, Angie and Kevin Kadesky, Alicia and Scott Wood, Mary Martha and John Pickens and Mary Clare Finney milled about the other impressive rooms, catching up.
Mary Clare was bubbling about an upcoming trip to Florence with her mother and siblings, for example. Stacy and David Blank were trying to recall how many years they’d been involved with Circle of Angels. They finally settled on seven.
As the partygoers prepared to tuck into their delicious, Cassandra-prepared meal (roasted butternut squash soup with blue crab fritter with chive oil; herb crusted beef tenderloin with carrot mustard puree and brussels sprout leaves with fig demi-glace; and winter spiced molten cake with run ginger ice cream), CCB 2014 Chair Robyn Conlon welcomed and thanked everyone, as did Jason Downing of dinner sponsor Deloitte. Robyn, a huge baseball fan, said she had purposefully scheduled the dinner so as not to conflict with the recently completed World Series. “You’ve hit a grand slam,” she told the donors, continuing the baseball theme. “You knocked it out of the park.”
Signature Chefs Auction
Over at the Omni Dallas, meanwhile, Kent Rathbun was the man of the hour at the Signature Chefs Auction Dallas, the country’s No. 1 Signature Chefs Auction site this year for March of Dimes.
It was Kent, after all, who snagged the nonprofit’s 2014 Dr. Leonard and Pauline Graivier Giving Each Child a Healthy Start in Life Award. For the 17th year in a row, Kent also served as Lead Chef for the Dallas Fundraiser, arranging for a high-profile lineup of 18 top chefs including Richard Chamberlain, David Holben, Abraham Salum, and Jim Severson. And, as if all that weren’t enough, the big man’s Masters Tournament package for six guests drew $67,500 in the live auction. That was the highest bid in the event’s history.
And, that’s saying something, as this was the 20th anniversary year for Signature Chefs. An estimated 750 people turned out for the event, which was chaired by Laura and Ian MacNeil. During Fund the Mission, Ambassador Family Celeste and Byron Sanders shared their story about the premature birth of their son Bryce, raising approximately $150,000. Organizers were confident about topping the total raised last year, when Signature Chefs corralled $735,000.
All the proceeds benefit March of Dimes, which aims to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality.
* Photo credit: Dana Driensky ** Photos provided by the March of Dimes