Scrambling through the 2015 fall season requires juggling event coverage. On Friday, September 18, recruits were put into play to provide coverage of a couple of fundraisers benefiting tummies and gray matter. Here are a couple of reports from the field:
Dallas Farmers Market’s Shed 1 was once again the site for Harvest benefiting the North Texas Food Bank. Event chair Blake Stephenson, with husband Tom, were joined by honorary chairs Steve and Anne Stodghill and over 400 guests for the second annual event.
As guests arrived, DJ Lucy Wrubel set the vibe as she departed from her signature music mix, choosing instead country music befitting of the open-air venue decorated with warm fall hues complete with “farm” tables, mini pumpkins and votives.
Many partygoers were delighted to see NTFB’s Jan Pruitt at the event after hearing earlier in the week that she was out of town seeking medical treatment at MD Anderson.
With the Shed’s giant fans keeping the space cool, guests headed immediately to sample the small plates featuring fare from some of Dallas’ favorite chefs and restaurants. Some highlights included Princi Italia Chef Kevin Ascolese’s south Texas wild boar tortellini, The Ritz-Carlton Chef Chris Southwick’s ahi tuna tartar with pickled jicama, sunflower seeds and cilantro chutney, Savor Gastropub Chef John Coleman’s chili braised short ribs with fall squash puree, charred apple and smoke pecan gremolata, Parigi owner and chef Janice Provost’s eggplant parmesan. A couple of chefs brought out their soups with Stocks & Bondy’s owner and chef Joanne Bondy serving burgundy beef broth with perigord truffle tartalli and The Porch’s Chef Adam West offering cucumber-buttermilk soup with pickled local vegetables. Sweets were not forgotten with Haute Sweets Patisserie’s gourmet cookie bar and Remedy’s caramelized coconut ice cream with smoked almonds and dark chocolate.
Those not dining could be found in the silent auction bidding on an array of fashion, sports, dining and beauty packages, as well as opportunities to provide meals for NTFB clients.
Around 8:30, a small stage was moved to the center of the room so Stephenson could welcome attendees and thank them for their support of HARVEST. While the open-air shed made the acoustics a bit challenging, long-time NTFB supporter and board member (and last year’s honorary co-chair) Katherine Perot Reeves then took the stage to extend her thanks to Stephenson and the Stodghills for their part in making the evening possible, as well as recognizing the chefs, sponsors and in-kind donors. She also announced that on North Texas Giving Day, which was held the day before, over 2400 donors had contributed to NTFB making 1.44 million meals possible for the clients the agency serves.
Mike Jones then took the stage to get the live auction going with “fund the need” – asking patrons to provide funds for specific programs and needs such as providing nutritious food for students for an entire year through the Food 4 Kids Program at the $500 level or providing twenty seniors with groceries, fresh produce and pet food for one year for $2,500. Then it was time to bid on the three live auction packages — a Pinehurst Resort Golf Package; five course dinner for ten with wine pairing at the home of renowned chef Kent Rathbun and a one-of-a-kind basketball fan experience with 18 luxury suite tickets for a Mavs or Stars game as well as the opportunity for four adults and two kids to shoot baskets with former Dallas Mavs point guard Derek Harper.
As guests went back for a final round at the food stations, DJ Lucy then switched gears – keeping the party going on the dance floor for a couple more hours.
Upon leaving, everyone received a burlap NTFB goodie bag with a trio of Pendery’s Spices, Paula Lambert’s “Cheese, Glorious Cheese!” cookbook, an NTFB T-shirt and the current issue of Modern Luxury.
HARVEST guests also included Eric Reeves, Jennie and Stuart Reeves, Tiffany and Paul Divis, Barbara Buzzell, Joyce Goss, Lynn and Allan McBee, Nancy Gopez, Michelle and Bill Lockhart, Kristie Ramirez, Jennifer and Tom Karol, Rachel and Chris Trowbridge, Heather and Malcolm Hicks, Heather Randall, Christina and Allen White and Mary Martha and John Pickens.
Center For Vital Longevity Anniversary Dinner
UT Dallas’ Center for Vital Longevity held a five-year anniversary dinner party at the Highland Hotel that included many party-goers who have supported the Center since its inception in 2010. Just five years ago, CVL opened its doors with a kick-off that included Gov. Rick Perry as well as many Center community supporters and University officials.
Joining in the celebration of the Center’s anniversary and its national stature as a leader in the study of the aging mind was Dr. Reisa Sperling, a world-renowned researcher in Alzheimer’s Disease from Harvard University, who is leading a national study on early intervention for still-healthy individuals at high-risk for Alzheimer’s.
A cast of supporters turned out, too, to recognize the accomplishments of a Center that has quickly achieved impressive marks for scientific achievements.
Members of the CVL Director’s Research Circle who attended the anniversary dinner included Circle Chair Bill Booziotis with Nancy Shutt, as well as Jannah Hodges, Steve and Linda Ivy, Nancy O’Neil and Dr. John Stilwell, Mary Susan Barnhill and Norm and Chela Abdallah. UT Dallas President ad interim Hobson Wildenthal also made remarks.
To name a few of the Center’s achievements: CVL scientists have published over 126 scientific articles in the past five years and the publications of its faculty have received more than 30,000 citations in scientific literature; CVL’s faculty together have won a total of 15 highly competitive grant awards from the National Institutes of Health; and two of its postdoctoral fellows have each received a generous “Path To Independence” award in a single year, when a total of only eight awards nationally were given by the National Institute on Aging in 2014.
“The Center has achieved rapid international visibility based on a series of fantastic hires of prominent scientists – most of who are in the early stages of their career. Every single faculty member has a research program funded by competitive research grants. The fact that all share the common research goal of discovering how healthy aging minds work and discovering interventions to help maintain cognitive vitality for life adds to the Center’s impact,” said the Center’s Founding Director Dr. Denise Park, who came to Dallas from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.
A team of dedicated scientists at the Center, with the help of this federal funding, is using advanced brain imaging technology to uncover how the brain can adapt and remodel its function to resist some of the inevitable neural deterioration that comes with age, which for some includes the devastating changes associated with Alzheimer’s. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 5.2 million Americans had Alzheimer’s in 2014, with a cost to healthcare of $226 billion. By 2050, 13.5 million are predicted to suffer from the disease as the U.S. population increases and reaches older ages.
In the spirit of giving in-the-moment, after the award was presented to Reisa, Dallasites at the Highland stepped up to potentially lower the number of future cases and defray the public health cost, by reaching into their own pockets for donations to CVL. The chairman of the advisory council, Larry Warder, retired CFO for the U.S. Education Dept., and now the COO of the O’Donnell Foundation, kicked things off with a generous gift from him and his wife, Emily.
* Photos provided by Center for Vital Longevity