There are oops and then there are “really oops”. That’s what happened on Tuesday, March 27, before the 2017 Crystal Charity Ball’s presentation of more than $5,804,123.35 to eight Dallas County children’s nonprofits took place. Unlike years past, this year’s presentation took place at Arlington Hall at Oak Lawn Park [formerly known as Lee Park].
With only expected 60 cars arriving for the event, the Oak Lawn Park staff had initially suggested that valet parkers were unnecessary. However, the CCB-ers insisted on three parkers due to concerns about the popular area’s parking availability and the forecast of rain. Alas, on the big hand-out night only two virile valets were on hand to tackle the show of recipients and CCB committee members in the rain.
But who cared once inside Arlington Hall where the year’s work would be reduced to eight priceless envelopes. 2017 CCB Chair Pam Perella opened the program by directing the attention of the SRO crowd to the two crystal chandeliers suspended from the ceiling. They were remnants of the Baker Hotel, where according to Pam, the CCB founders gathered for their first fundraiser. Looking at the beauty of the glimmering chandeliers, they decided to call their project “The Crystal Charity Ball.”
While an “Awe” was heard throughout the room, the focus was on Pam presenting the eight envelopes and 2017 CCB Underwriting Chair Leslie Diers handling the Texas-sized checks:
- Autism Treatment Center — $582,000
- Big Brothers Big Sisters Lone Star — $500,000
- Children’s Health — $1,111,735
- Dallas Holocaust Museum — $526,770.35
- Hunger Busters — $1,192,500
- Presbyterian Communities and Services Foundation — $541,098
- Rainbow Days — $500,000
- Santa Clara of Assisi Catholic Academy — $850,000
The acceptance talks were touching from helping children living in hotel rooms due to lacking of permanent housing, youngsters in need of meals when schools aren’t in session, little ones going through the loss of life of a family member to students being able to see the devastation of the lack of tolerance.
While the checks amounting to $5,804,123 was amazing, it was also gratifying to see the various children’s nonprofits learn about others with similar needs.
But that’s not to say there moments of humor like when Big Brothers Big Sisters Lone Star CEO Pierce Bush announced that despite having just gotten married over the weekend, he had left his bride to be on hand to be part of the presentation… Autism Treatment Center’s Executive Director Anna Hundley announced that they would be back in the years to come to submit for another grant…scored points for having the youngest guests in the crowd. They brought along some of their students to receive their check…. Holocaust Museum President/CEO Mary Pat Higgins revealed that it was their grant that got the 35 cents in addition to the $526,770.
As 2018 CCB Chair Claire Emanuelson and her fellow committee members watched, they were reminded by so many of the nonprofits that CCB’s naming them as recipients of the funding was worth much more than the dollar value. As one recipient told the group, passing muster by CCB had provided them with a level of accreditation that they had never had before.