Just a week before Thanksgiving and a whole lot of nonprofits were squeezing in events before folks headed out of town or shut down for the holiday. Thursday, November 20, had everything from basketball stars to debs.
Tyson Chandler Delivers
When Dallas Maverick Tyson Chandler makes a home delivery, he does it in a big way and he brings along the entire Chandler clan. Need proof? How about his pulling up to the Vogel Alcove to deliver full-fledged Thanksgiving dinners for single-parent families in the Mavericks bus? And he was in the driver’s seat. Well, he was squashed into the seat. After all, the driver isn’t normally 7’1” tall.
Tyson specifically wanted the meals provided for single-parent families because he had been raised in such a family headed up by his mother Vernie Threadgill.
According to Tyson, “I watched my mom struggle to provide and just keep our heads above water. So, for someone in my situation, there’s so much pleasure to give back to families who are there, too. I’m just as thankful as they were for the opportunity. Meeting them was my favorite part.”
Along with him was his sharper-than-a-stiletto and gorgeous wife, Kimberly, and their munchkins — Sacha, Tyson II and Sayge. It was important for the parents that the children come along to distribute the food. They wanted the kids to understand that such things as Thanksgiving dinners were important to families who might not have all the advantages that the Chandler children enjoy.
Evidently, the adult Chandlers have little to worry about. All three schlepped the bags, along with the Mavs Dancers, Mavs Man and Champ and ManiAACs, to the third floor, where the recipient families waited. Just watching Tyson slightly bend over to make it through the doorway amazed children and parents alike. But after the initial photos were taken, the Chandlers got about the handing out of food with Kimberly at one end of the lengthy table and Tyson at the other end.
Debs Sip And Slip On Slippers
With the holidays comes the battle royale for parking at Highland Park Village. But the sparkling lights in the trees and the lights glowing from the shops ease the search for a parking spot.
According to 2014 Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Deb Chair Dixey Arterburn, she had gotten her destinations mixed up and mistakenly marched up to the Goop party. Giving her name and saying that she was meeting So-And-So inside, she gained entry. Once inside, she didn’t recognize any of the 20- and 30-something gals and got that feeling that something just wasn’t right. Then she realized the DSOL party was taking place across the way at Louboutin.
Talk about a change in atmosphere. The 2015 Dallas Symphony Orchestra League debs, moms and past participants like Honorary Co-Chairs Cynthia and Brice Beaird and 2013 DSOL deb Annabel Toole and her mom Catherine Toole were happily sipping champagne while trying on Cinderella-style slippers that feet dream of, thanks to the Louboutin team of Amita Singh and Jennifer Hudson.
A Night of Lights
Though it was “downsized” from a three-course dinner for a large crowd at the Hilton Anatole last year to “family-style” grazing at the Meyerson Symphony Center, the Center for Nonprofit Management’s 2014 Awards of Excellence program on Nov. 20 was received no less enthusiastically by the evening’s 400 or so guests.
Before the 2014 “A Night of Light” event, the program—which recognizes and celebrates nonprofit excellence in North Texas—had given out $375,000 to 75 nonprofit agencies and the people who lead them. The totals swelled by $25,000 with the 2014 excellence awards, which honored five winners in categories including Nonprofit of the Year, Nonprofit CEO of the Year, Nonprofit Communicator of the Year in Honor of Robert Miller, Corporation of the Year, and Nonprofit Board Leader of the Year.
Following a reception attended by the likes of Yvonne Crum, Bobby Lyle, Jan Langbein, and Nikki and Crayton Webb, the program got underway with Dave Lieber of the The Dallas Morning News serving as master of ceremonies. Leiber called the Awards of Excellence the “Oscars of the nonprofit world,” and said he had learned the essence of being a Texan: “It’s not what kind of car you drive, but what charity do you volunteer with?”
Following brief talks by Cass Robinson, the CNM board chair, and Dana Beckman of Alliance Data—Alliance was the presenting sponsor—Honorary Chair Catherine Cuellar took the stage. Cuellar, who’s executive director of the Dallas Arts District, told the crowd that they could see “effective nonprofit management” everywhere they turned in the Arts District, from Klyde Warren Park and the Dallas Performance Hall to the Dallas Opera and the AT&T Performing Arts Center.
Then, after a video featuring Tina Weinfurther, the CNM’s president and CEO, it was finally time for the awards. This year’s winners, who each received a $5,000 cash award, were:
- Nonprofit of the Year — The Concilio;
- Nonprofit CEO of the Year — Larry James of CitySquare;
- Nonprofit Communicator of the Year — Fort Worth Opera;
- TXU Energy (Corporation of the Year); and
- Nonprofit Board Leader of the Year — Tim Durst, Leukemia & Lymphona Society.
Vine And Dine
And finally, a report from the field, or rather Neiman Marcus Downtown,
“The seventh annual Vine and Dine dinner and charity auction supporting Ability Connection Texas was a delightful success! The intimate setting of the Zodiac Room at Neiman Marcus downtown combined with wonderful wine provided by Brenda and Clay Cockerell, Coquerel Family Wine Estates and delicious cuisine, was one of the must attend events in Dallas.
“Event chair couples Suzanne and Don Laidlaw and Christie and John Reniger, along with honorary chairs Sue and Bill Knudsen, President and CEO, Ability Connection Texas, greeted everyone at the VIP reception where hors d’oeuvres of pizzettes eggplant caviar, baby stuffed purple potatoes with caviar and sour cream and more accompanied a Le Petit Coquerel Sauvingnon Blanc, Napa Valley 2012 and the specialty drink of the evening, spiced appletinis.
“Don and John welcomed the crowd, thanking Neiman Marcus for their longtime support, having hosted the event since its beginning seven years ago and especially Neva Hall and Marjon Henderson, for achieving excellence in every detail. The room was dazzling elegance as tables were dressed in mint satin cloths, topped with white hydrangeas and roses overflowing in their vases and silver service matching the silver and mint holiday wreaths and the Zodiac décor.
“Special recognition went to Meredith and Jack Woodworth for their major sponsorship and special thanks to the Ability Connection Texas team, including Mark Denzin, incoming President and CEO.
Brenda announced the wines for the evening, sharing the story behind the name of the dessert wine La Douce Revanche, meaning “sweet revenge.” In 2008 a frost killed the fruit and the Cockerells recreated it. And a very special surprise, she and Clay will donate 15% of each case of wine purchased that evening back to Ability Connection Texas.
“Jack Woodworth a member of the board, shared the news of Bill Knudsen leaving ACT, saying Bill has always been the clients’ best friend. During his ten year tenure the number of people served has increased 640%. For the past 25 years, he has put clients and their families first.
“Bill took the stage, saying he had to put on his reading glasses – huge clown glasses and a red rubber nose and toasted the crowd to cheers! With heartfelt gratitude, he recognized current and past board members and ended saying, “On behalf of everyone we serve, you are the wind beneath their wings,” to a standing ovation.
“Mark thanked Bill saying for the past seven and-a-half years he has helped him to grow and be ready for the next step in his life. Clients served have grown from 200 to 1,500 each day and ACT is now regional in four states with 2.4 million hours provided by the ACT team.
“Jay, a client who resides in Jubilee House, told how since he moved there, this is his first time to be independent and through the Impact program, he grows each day, ending with an enthusiastic, ‘It’s a wonderful place.’
“Neiman Marcus Corporate Director and Chef Anita Hirsch and Zodiac Executive Chef David Crow served a fabulous gourmet three course dinner and as the name suggests, luscious wines. A Terrior Coquerel Chardonnay, Napa Valley 2011 accompanied the first course of seared day boat scallops, parsnip puree, brussels sprouts leaves, apple and kohlrabi salad. Second course included grilled filet mignon, wild mushrooms and autumn vegetable succotash, potato gnocchi and a caramelized shallot demi-glace with a Coquerel La Petite Sirah, Napa Valley 2010. Topping it all off was a dessert of flourless chocolate cake and amaretto crème brulee gelato with a Coquerel La Douce Revanche, Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc 2009.
“The lights went up and Mike Sadler of Heritage Charity Auctions took the stage and began the exciting live auction as guests snapped up fabulous items including a Givenchy handbag, Brioni custom suit, U.S. Capitol trip, Parigi Prepared Evening, Cucinelli Shopping Spree, Kevin Garvin Personal Chef Experience, Custom Made Lukken Leather Boots and more.
“The mission of Ability Connection Texas is to provide a full range of services for people with physical and intellectual disabilities as they strive to achieve their highest level of independence. Whether advocating for the rights of people with disabilities, teaching the letters of the alphabet to a child with autism, or training an adult with a head injury to re-enter the workforce with the use of adaptive technology, Ability Connection Texas is the preeminent organization leading the way for people with any type of disability.
“As a regional health organization, Ability Connection Texas takes pride in its excellent stewardship of funds raised with 90 percent of contributions going directly to programs and services. The important work of Ability Connection is supported by tax-deductible contributions from individuals, companies and organizations.
Visit the website for more details about Ability Connection Texas and their mission at www.AbilityConnectionTexas.org”
* Photo credit: James Edward ** Photo credit: Andy Keye and Whitney Keye