Tiffany Cuban was there, while her husband Mark Cuban was said to be unavoidably detained elsewhere. But Mark was in attendance in spirit at least on Tuesday, September 26, when Family Gateway presented its sixth annual Gateway to Opportunity Luncheon at the Omni Dallas hotel. The fundraiser’s featured guest was entrepreneur and branding expert Daymond John, who appears as a panelist with Cuban on ABC’s popular “Shark Tank” show. And Tiffany and Mark were the luncheon’s honorary chairs. “I like to give him crap, but he’s somebody I really love dearly,” Daymond said about the owner of the Dallas Mavericks.
Dressed in blue jeans and a black blazer, black shirt, black tie and black boots, Daymond captivated the roughly 780 attendees from the moment he showed up for a meet-and-greet in a room outside the Omni’s big ballroom. There, guests including Kara and Randall Goss, Tracy Lange, Susan Walton and David Osborne and Paula and Bay Miltenberger with their boys Brady Miltenberger and Bo Miltenberger lined up to be photographed with the founder of FUBU, a pioneering hip-hop apparel company that’s grossed more than $6 billion in retail sales. Also posing for photos with Daymond were Event Co-Chairs Selwyn Rayzor and Juanita Harris.
Inside the ballroom, attendees like Heather Hayes, Tiffany Divis, Christie Carter and Pam Busbee soon sat down for lunch and learned more about Family Gateway, which provides services to children and families affected by homelessness. They found out, for example, that the nonprofit now operates a call center, and will soon open the Simmons Family Gateway Resource Center for all its “non-shelter services.” Last year, data derived from the group’s helpline determined that 2,000 families with children — about 6,000 children, in fact — were literally or imminently homeless. Guests also learned that, since 1990, DMN Charities had given more than $2 million to Family Gateway, making it the organization’s top lifetime donor.
“Thank you, and now enjoy your great chicken!” Selwyn concluded from the stage, and everyone laughed.
After everyone did enjoy their chicken, Family Gateway President and CEO Ellen Magnis took the stage with Daymond and began interviewing him. (Or, more accurately, she began asking the reality-TV star a series of questions she’d written down.) Daymond explained how important it is for young people to have mentors who believe in them. One told him that he could be “whatever I wanted to be,” he recalled, which encouraged him to explore entrepreneurship — selling pencils, for example — at an early age.
He never saw his father after his 10th birthday — his parents divorced then — and his mother worked three jobs. Daymond said his white Jewish stepfather taught him that “love don’t come in colors,” and that “white people are just as screwed up as black people!” It was a lesson he remembered when he started FUBU, he said, vowing to “always be pro-black, but not anti-anybody else.”
Daymond also talked about “the power of goal-setting,” explaining that he reads 10 goals every night before he goes to sleep. While those goals will work on the subconscious mind during the night, he added, “at some point, you have to take action.”
With that, it was time to auction off a coveted experience calling for four people to enjoy a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Shark Tank in Los Angeles, compliments of Tiffany and Mark. Daymond served as auctioneer, expertly pushing the bidding for the special item to a whopping $30,000. Then Daymond showed his appreciation for the Cubans — and for Family Gateway — by ponying up another $30,000 himself. That meant eight people, not just four, would be making the trip to California.