When the Association of Fundraising Professionals of Greater Dallas scheduled its 32nd Annual National Philanthropy Day Awards Luncheon for Friday, November 10, at the Hyatt Regency, it was all systems-go without a hitch in sight.
However, just weeks before the big award presentation the Veterans Day Parade leadership announced that instead of holding the parade on Veterans Day (Saturday, November 11), it would be held the day before (aka Friday, November 10). Still that shouldn’t have been a problem. But then the route was presented with the starting point across the Reunion Boulevard from the Hyatt in Reunion Park. To add pepper to the mix, the parade’s start time coincided with the arrival of the philanthropists for lunch.
But wait! It got more tangled up. Like the date and place being on the calendar for months for the awards luncheon, so was Scott Murray. It was a no brainer, since Scott and his company Murray Media have been heavily involved with the program for years. But for Scott it was going to be a busy weekend because he had promised to be part of the parade that he thought would be on Saturday. Then when the parade was literally moved to Friday, Scott had a bit of a predicament — How to be in two places at the same time? But the parade organizers promised him that his part in the parade would be over by the time he was needed at the luncheon and they would get him there.
While Scott was with the vets parading, the pre-luncheon reception carried on with a cute red-haired chap charming one and all. It was 13-year-old Outstanding Youth In Philanthropy Micah Pinson. He was right at home with people like Gae Whitener, Karen Waller, Jay McCauley, Deborah Montonen, Doug Hawthorne, Brent Christopher, Katherine Krausse, Chris Culak, Kathleen Gibson, fellow awardees like Outstanding Philanthropists Sandra and Henry Estess, Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser Lynn McBee, Outstanding Foundation representatives Julie and Ken Hersh, Outstanding Fundraising Executive Pagett Gosslee and the Terry Simmons family (Karen, Jordan, Adam and Shannon Simmons) on hand to receive the Special Recognition Award for the late attorney.
Following a group photo, the VIP types joined the rest of the guests like Jamie Williams, Katherine Wagner, Frank Risch, Becky Bright, Kit Sawers, Mimi Sterling, Jody Grant and Michael George, in the Landmark Ballroom. However, a couple of the folks were doing the swivel head searching the room. Kevin Hurst was looking for Neiman’s President/CEO Karen Katz. He was hoping that her busy schedule would allow her to accept the award for the Outstanding Corporation. No problem. Karen was there along with NM Downtown GM Tim Adair.
On the other hand, Carole Murray, as well as National
Philanthropy Day Chair Meagan Burton, was trying to find out what Scott’s status was. Just minutes before the noon start, Scott arrived looking like a kid who had the time of his life. He explained that despite the Veterans Day program had run longer than planned, the organizers assured him that they would get him to the Hyatt on time. And they did complete with Scott being driven through the crowds with a police escort complete with lights flashing and sirens blaring.
Following the presentation of the flags, Donte Ford’s providing the invocation, luncheon and remarks by Greater Dallas Chapter AFP President Mary Freeman and South Texas Money Management CEO/Chief Investment Officer Jeanie Wyatt, AFP International Interim President/CEO Jason Lee admitted that due to the recent hurricanes there was a concern about donor fatigue?” His answer was positive — Despite the division within the country, philanthropy is something that can bring all together.
Then it was time for the presentation of awards in which the recipient tape their acceptance speeches ahead of time, so there are no “I’m going to go off script” hiccups.
However, there were hiccups. When Scott introduced the video for Sandra and Henry Estess, all eyes turned to the mammoth screens. Nothing happened. And nothing continued to happen, except Scott’s looking back at the production table. Finally, the video appeared.
The rest of the videos went up perfectly until 1:11 p.m. when foster mother and past Philanthropy Day Chair Pagett Gosslee’s video was to be shown for the Outstanding Fundraising Executive. Instead of the attractive brunette, it was red-haired Micah on the screen. Scott could be heard telling the production table that they had the wrong one showing. The screen went dark and immediately Pagett was accepting her award.
Next up was Micah, who had been born without three finders and had become a patient at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital at the age of six. The next year he decided he launched “Helping Hands One Step At A Time” to give back.
After he received his award, Scott asked him what he wanted to be when he was older. Micah didn’t hesitate. He wanted to be a sport agent because he “likes people and want to make money.” When asked who was his hero, Micah said, “My Dad. He’s always been there for me.” With a little nudging from Scott, Micah added that he liked his mom, too.
Scott then told Micah that he was going to have him on “The Scott Murray Show” the following Sunday on KLIF.
For a look at more of the people at the luncheon, check MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.