Nearly 110 guests gathered at the downtown Dallas headquarters of Hunt Consolidated Inc. on Thursday, October 10, for New Friends New Life‘s 2019 Platinum Dinner. It was an exclusive, celebratory event, held upstairs in the skyscraper’s “Commons” space, in advance of the nonprofit’s annual luncheon the next day.
NFNL, whose mission focuses on empowering trafficked and sexually exploited women, teens, and their children, always attracts an influential crowd, and the Platinum Dinner was no exception. Among the evening’s guests were Honorary Luncheon Co-Chairs Amy Simmons Crafton and Joe Crafton, Sheila and Jody Grant of Klyde Warren Park fame, Nancy and (educational-software mogul) Randy Best, Keana and (state Rep.) Morgan Meyer, NFNL Co-Founders Pat Schenkel and Gail Turner (with her husband, SMU President R. Gerald Turner), and Katie and Grant Moise (he’s publisher of The Dallas Morning News).
Other mover-and-shaker types turning out for the event were retired U.S. Rep. Ted Poe, Helen and Frank Risch, Joy Duncan and Ashlee and Chris Kleinert.
The group was welcomed to the dinner by NFNL CEO Kim Robinson. Kim pointed out that, during the last year, the group’s new women’s program saw a 90 percent increase in enrollment, its therapists led more than 960 counseling sessions, and more than 1,400 drop-in visits were recorded at its Youth Resource Center.
A heart-rending video was then played, cueing the return of a tearful Kim, who introduced the blessing by Scott Dyer, a board member of NFNL’s Men’s Advocacy Group. While guests enjoyed their meal—Roasted Butternut Squash Bisque, Roasted Beef Tenderloin Filet with Creamy Potatoes and Vegetables Provencal, followed by an Apple Walnut Tart and Cinnamon Ice Cream—a Denver-based, four-female string group called Spinphony provided the musical accompaniment.
With that, it was time for Kim and NFNL Chief Development Officer Bianca Jackson to present the nonprofit’s annual ProtectHER awards. Those awards recognize individuals and organizations making an impact on the issue of human trafficking. The 2019 honorees were Texas First Lady Cecilia Abbott, for her work on a statewide anti-human trafficking campaign, and Methodist Health System. Methodist was recognized for the medical staff of its emergency room and the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program.
Chelsea Holden of the First Lady’s staff accepted the award for Mrs. Abbott, who was unable to attend. Dr. Brad Sellers, medical director of the Methodist ER, accepted for the hospital system.
* Photo credit: Tamytha Cameron