Sometimes the best intentions have a glitch or two. And when you’re dealing with animals, it usually ends up bringing smiles to the face or chuckles. Such was the situation at the SPCA of Texas’ Fur Ball on Saturday, September 24, at the Omni Dallas Hotel. It seems that the evening’s emcee offered to be photographed wearing a faux donkey’s head with the winning bidder. The price? A four-figure number. Alas, things didn’t go as planned as the offer dwindled down eventually to a lower three-figure number. While that “asinine” situation didn’t make it to the following report from the field, the evening was indeed memorable anyhow, thanks to Chair Phyllis Comu:
The SPCA of Texas’ Fur Ball 2016, “Shedding Light on Their Future,” was held on Saturday, September 24 from 6:30 p.m. to midnight at the Omni Dallas Hotel. The elegantly futuristic, totally sold-out, black-tie evening included dinner, dancing and live and silent auctions for over 1,100 guests. Chair Phyllis Comu announced that thanks to the generosity of sponsors, patrons and guests, Fur Ball 2016 raised funds to help the SPCA of Texas serve 50,000 animals and their people in 2016 and beyond.
Guests were greeted with passed bubbly and savory hors d’oeuvres as they made their way up to the Omni’s Dallas Ballroom. During cocktail hour, elegantly clad ladies and gentlemen walked the purple carpet and chatted with Emcee/Real Housewives of Dallas LeeAnne Locken and America’s Sassiest Lifestyle Guru Steve Kemble about everything from what they were wearing to why supporting the animals is so important.
Also, a three-piece combo from Limelight jazzed it up and a whole passel of puppies from the SPCA of Texas’ iFoster program (all spayed and neutered!) romped and played as they were cooed over and petted by the glittering guests. Competition was fierce at the over 300-item silent auction, which featured everything from sports memorabilia, fabulous spa packages, high-end jewelry, dining experiences (from the fun to the fine) and so much more.
Each beautifully appointed table was graced with gorgeous, glowing floral centerpieces thank to Flower Reign by Shane Walker. The delightful dinner included the Space Station Stack Salad with heirloom tomatoes, Buffalo mozzarella and basil with a balsamic drizzle and an herb-seared petite filet of beef and prosciutto as well as a spinach- and mushroom-stuffed chicken breast with sweet potato, broccolini, baby carrot, acorn squash and blistered cherry tomato with bourbon sauce. The delicious dessert, the Galaxy Tartlet, was blackberry-filled shortbread with sage mint gel, peppercorn Chantilly and was dusted with edible glitter.
Emcee LeeAnne put the fun into fundraising with her energy and love of animals. SPCA of Texas President and CEO James Bias welcomed guests, staff and volunteers, thanked sponsors and shared with guests the important work the SPCA of Texas will be bringing to South Dallas in the future to help transform the community for people and animals, improving public safety and providing for the welfare of animals. SPCA of Texas Board Chair and Chief Financial Officer for A. H. Belo Corporation Katy Murray thanked the board of directors for their guidance and spoke about how the SPCA of Texas’ staff, volunteers and partners are intently focused at all times on saving lives, making a difference and never resting until the organization makes our community a better place for people and their pets.
The SPCA of Texas also presented the 2016 Spencer Humanitarian Award during Fur Ball. Named for warm-hearted entrepreneur and long-tenured, past SPCA of Texas Board member Mary Spencer, the Spencer Humanitarian Awards recognize an individual, company or group whose extraordinary efforts have made a positive difference for animals. Mary presented the 2016 recipient of the Spencer Humanitarian Award to Karen Urie, a dedicated SPCA of Texas volunteer, board member and animal advocate. Karen’s voice for animals speaks loud and clear, and the SPCA of Texas is indeed fortunate to have her support. Karen Urie is currently a real estate agent and internal marketing consultant with Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate.
Senior Vice President for Development Debra Burns wrapped up by thanking guests, celebrating the generosity of North Texans for their gifts to the SPCA of Texas on North Texas Giving Day, just two days prior, and bringing home why supporting the SPCA of Texas is so important to change the lives of thousands of animals, especially those living in poverty.
Guests then bid often and bid high on the evening’s nine fabulously over-the-top live auction items and “Pony Up for Paws” raise the paddle feature. High-rolling patrons won delicious dining experiences, glamorous getaways, a stunning black diamond ring, decadent cases of wine and more. The top three live auction items of the evening were all once-in-a-lifetime experiences. One of these was a two day, two-night package for four to the world-renowned animal sanctuary, the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch in Murchison, Texas, complete with personalized tours and more.
Another was a total surprise! Michael “Mico” Rodriguez generously, and on the spur of the moment, gave a 100-guest dinner, complete with tequila tasting and more, to the auction, and the package just about brought the house down! And, the biggest wow of the live auction came when Auctioneer Mike Jones announced the final package of the evening: 12 luxury suite tickets to Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Adele’s sold-out performance on November 2nd!
Fur Ball 2016 then brought the high-voltage fun with headline entertainment by Dallas’ ultimate party band, Limelight. Guests rushed the dance floor and partied under a stunning, purple-lit chandelier that twinkled like a thousand stars until after Midnight.
Fur Ball 2016 was a tail-wagging success thanks to honorary chairs D’Andra Simmons and Jeremy Lock, Anne and Steve Stodghill and Drs. Wendy and John Vandermeer; Chair Phyllis Comu; Co-Chair Kristen Greenberg; Auction Chair Sandra Fite; and event emcee LeeAnne Locken. The evening’s production was provided by Nomad Productions and RSC Show Productions. Photographers for the evening were Bret Redman and Gregory Martin.
The SPCA of Texas sincerely thanks special partners, including
- Rescuer sponsor: Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones.
- Defender sponsors: Linda Genneken, Marsha Pendleton-Gray and Richard Gray, Stacey and Don Kivowitz, Katy Murray, Patricia Villareal and Tom Leatherbury.
- Patron Party Sponsor: Northern Trust.
- Liberator sponsors: Diane and Hal Brierley, H-E-B/Central Market, Hill A. and Rene Feinberg, Hillary Hurst, Anne and Steve Stodghill and Sandra Urie.
- Advocate sponsors: Alphagraphics at Market Center, Andrea Alcorn, BKD, LLP, CityVet, Earthwater/Phyllis & CJ Comu, Gwen and Leldon Echols, Sandra and Colin Fite/TEAM FITE-O, Gay and Lesbian Fund for Dallas, Robert Goldberg, Grand Spa, Kristen and Scott Greenberg, Dean Gresham and Caleb Hernandez, Ken Hatley, Teresa Henderson, Hollywood Feed, Robert C. Horne, Jimmy Choo, Jeri Kleiman, Jack Knox, Suzanne and David Palmlund, PwC, Joseph Quinn, Pam Ragon, Residences at the Stoneleigh, Steven Rivard, Law Office of Claire Collins Schwarz and Mary Spencer, U.S. Trust, Bank of America and Drs. John & Wendy Vandermeer.
- Exclusive Print/Digital Media Sponsor: PaperCity Magazine.
- Proud Official Wine Sponsor: Barefoot Wine and Bubbly and Edna Valley Vineyard.
Guests included Andrea Alcorn, Heidi and Bill Dillon, Fox 4’s Jenny Anchondo and Jennifer Myers, WFAA-TV Channel 8’s Wex Houx and Monica Hernandez, Angie Barrett, Jocelyn White, Pamela Thompson Moayedi, Pamela Martin, Cynthia Smoot, Cathy and Tommy Vieth, Tricia Sims, Shane Walker and Billy Fulmer, Betsy Orton and Sharon Fancher, Brian Walker, Gus Hinojosa, Teresa and Chic Henderson, David and Carolyn Kubes, Pam Ragon, Danny Tobey and Patricia Villareal and Tom Leatherbury.
Fur Ball is DFW’s salute to the bond between people and their pets and a celebration of the SPCA of Texas’ important mission to provide every animal exceptional care and a loving home. All money raised through Fur Ball 2016 will go directly to the SPCA of Texas to help rescue, heal and find homes for thousands of animals.
Next year’s event is already in the works. Fur Ball 2016 will be held on Saturday, September 30, at the Omni Dallas.
* Photo credit: Bret Redman