Leave it to Resource Center to always be a step ahead of the rest. While World AIDS Day is annually celebrated on December 1, the Center opted to start the festivities plus fundraising at the Red Ribbon Bash on Wednesday, November 30, at the Le Méridien Dallas, The Stoneleigh. In addition to the partying, the event also served as a reminder that AIDS continues to devastate the people of the world. Here is a report from the field:
In commemoration of World AIDS Day, Resource Center held a Red Ribbon event at Le Méridien, The Stoneleigh on Thursday, November 30, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Observed on the first of December each year, World AIDS Day is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to honor those who have died from the disease. Red Ribbon provided the community an opportunity to kick off the holidays while coming together for a cause in a beautiful and historic setting. For more than 30 years, the Center has served the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community as well as all people affected by HIV/AIDS and all proceeds from the event support the Center’s services and programs.
Along with staff and volunteers, Resource Center’s Chief Executive Officer Cece Cox welcomed over 75 sponsors, guests and board members to the festively decorated penthouse of Le Meridien, Stoneleigh Hotel which overlooks the Dallas skyline. After a fun photo opportunity in the foyer, attendees adorned in red ribbons and holiday apparel enjoyed music while mixing and mingling in the lavish living room and library originally designed by Dorothy Draper. Built in 1923, The Stoneleigh has a rich history of haunted tales and secret passageways and was a perfect venue for the Red Ribbon event.
Tasty signature cocktails such as a Basil Gimlet and Ruby Slipper were provided by Stoli and contained flavored vodka such as blueberry, raspberry, citrus and vanilla. Scrumptious hors d’oeuvres created by Stoneleigh’s in-house chefs were offered such as Wild Mushroom and Beef Wellington, Cheese Corn Cakes with Avocado, and Chili Rubbed Shrimp on a White Cheddar and Jalapeno Grit Cake. The formal dining room was dedicated to delicious sweets from The Original Cupcakery and were paired with a hot cocoa and coffee bar complete with toasted coconut, mini marshmallows, candied orange peels, peppermint, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg and whipped cream.
Party-goers also had the opportunity to purchase beautiful glittered Christmas ornaments to decorate their own Christmas tree and each ornament was available at a different sponsor level. The purchase of a $30 ornament represented a gift of a daily hot meal for a client living with HIV for one month from the Center’s food pantry. The purchase of a $60 ornament represented the gift of vital, fresh groceries for a person living with HIV for an entire month from the Center’s food pantry. The purchase of a $90 ornament represented the gift of an educational guest speaker and lunch for one HIV support group meeting.
Holiday gift-giving ideas were met with a silent auction that included fabulous home and gift ideas including 30,000 American Airlines miles, a two-night stay for two at The USA Grant, a luxury hotel in San Diego, California, a one-night stay in a King Suite at The Highland-Dallas with complimentary valet and complimentary room service for two, a one-night stay at The Warwick Melrose Dallas, tennis lessons for 1-2 people by Harlan Tennis, and a signed Dragon Lady, 3 1/2 inch crystal Aurora Borealis rhinestone with gold finish brooch covered in Swarovski stones.
In attendance at the Red Ribbon event were longtime Resource Center supporters and advocates James Lester, Jay Maggio, Chuck MarLett, Kate Newman, Jay Oppenheimer, Chris Parker, Michael Matthews and Michael Pugh, Mary and Matt Waller, Connie White and Kay Wilkinson. Several supporters who made the Red Ribbon a successful event included
- Platinum Sponsors — Ethan Killgore, McDonald’s and Texas Instruments
- Gold Sponsors — Dana Barber, Charles D. MarLett and Jay Oppenheimer
- Silver Sponsors — Avita Pharmacy, Cece Cox, James Lester, Michael Matthews and Michael Pugh, Steven Pounders, MD and Jimmy O’Reilly and Mary and Matt Waller
- In-Kind Sponsors — Bartech Services, Kurt S. Adler, Le Meridien Dallas, The Stoneleigh, Lion Ribbon, MarceloMedia, Mickey Briggs, The Original Cupcakery, Stoli and Sam S. Tucker
$10,000 was raised at the Red Ribbon event with all proceeds from the ornaments and silent auction benefiting the services and programs of Resource Center. World AIDS Day and the Center’s Red Ribbon event reminds us that HIV has not gone away; there is still a vital need to expand awareness, combat prejudice, and improve education. For more information about Resource Center, please visit myresourcecenter.org.
* Photos provided by Resource Center