The Omni Dallas Hotel proved how versatile it was on Friday, May 3. While hundreds of Visionary Women Luncheon guests gathered for the Juliette Fowler Communities fundraiser, at least one hotel guest stood out in an elevator for her unique scent that made passersby think of the heyday of Woodstock. She was headed for the Fan Expo over at the Convention Center.
While older supporters of Juliette Fowler like last year’s Visionary Woman Award recipient Claire Cunningham made the scene thanks to their wheelchairs, walkers and canes, the younger crowd supporting Juliette Fowler Faith and Service Award recipient TCU Student Body President Abbey Widick were making the rounds in adorable dresses and stilettos and holding flutes of champagne.
One of the most popular spots was the photo backdrop that looked like a Dallas Arboretum pop-up. As a matter of fact, flowers were the main look of the day, from Juliette Fowler President/CEO Nicole Gann’s floral print dress to the main stage in the Dallas Ballroom.
One person questioned the arrangement of tables in the ballroom. With the number of guests using walkers and wheelchairs, it might have been a bit of a challenge for guests if a quick departure had been needed. But, luckily, no quick exit had been required.
While Luncheon Co-Chair Michael Morin admitted that this was his first event to head up, his wife/Co-Chair Natalie Morin was a vet at being part of the Visionary Women Luncheon. She had been the recipient of the Erika McKenzie Volunteer Award last year.
This year’s Volunteer Award was appropriately going to the Master Gardeners, who work tirelessly to take care of the Juliette Fowler grounds including a recently opened monarch butterfly garden.
To kick off the fundraising, Nicole revealed on stage that an anonymous donor had provided a $50,000 matching fund. 2019 Visionary Woman Awardee/former Momentous Institute Executive Director Michelle Kinder accepted her award, sharing her personal journey that coincided with Juliette Fowler. Both had suffered personal grief. While in her 20s, Juliette had lost her husband and two children. Her grief became the foundation to provide help for orphans and widows. So great was her desire to help those in need, her sister took up her mission following Juliette’s death.
Like Juliette, Michelle told guests how she, too, had suffered personal loss — her father, Herb Billings, died at the age of 58 when she was 16; five years later, her 24-year-old sister Lisa had died; and her brother Marshall Billings had died at the age of 33. All had passed away from heart attacks. But Michelle, like Juliette, had transformed her grief into helping others. The result was her working with children.
In conclusion, Michelle said she hoped that the guests would support Juliette Fowler Communities and the work with everyone from residents at The Ebby House to the senior citizens, who are living at the East Dallas facility.
The group responded with a standing ovation.