Austin Street Center is using its 21st Annual Humble Beginnings Luncheon “Come Together” to “celebrate the way in which the Dallas community rallied to support its neighbors over the past 18 months, including the Center which provides safe shelter and basic necessities for the city’s most vulnerable homeless.”
Taking place on Friday, October 15, at the Omni Dallas Hotel, the keynote speaker will be actress/singer/songwriter Cynthia Erivo, whose own story inspires those encountering incredible odds much like the Center’s clients.
Cynthia faced and overcame challenges in her road to success to earning Emmy, Grammy and Tony awards and her getting rave reviews for her National Geographic’s “Genius: Aretha Franklin” performance.
Born in London to a Nigerian immigrant mother, Cynthia recalled, “I grew up in Stockwell, south London. We had a humble upbringing and my mum raised my sister and I on her own.”
Another couple of luncheon highlights will be the awarding of the Norm Hitzges Distinguished Service Award to the late Maryann Mihalopoulos and her husband Frank Mihalopoulos “for their lifelong example of service above self, not only to Austin Street — but to the many other organizations they have championed.”
Also being recognized for its “steadfast support of the wider Dallas community, and in particular their servant leadership during the coronavirus pandemic and Winter Story Uri this past February” will be the Dallas Mavericks, who will receive the first-ever Austin Street Center Corporate Service Award.
According to Event Co-Chair Jeanne Phillips, “This year’s Luncheon, ‘Come Together,’ recognizes the contributions of many who work tirelessly to create the dynamic community in which we live. We are thrilled to be part of an event that will honor those who serve and help raise funds for our most vulnerable.”
Joining Jeanne and her daughter/Co-Chair Margaret Phillips in the fundraising will be a host committee of 400 including former President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush.
To strengthen the fundraising and to honor her father, the late David Phillips, who had been a “devoted support and former board member of Austin Street,” Margaret has created a match challenge — Maggie’s Challenge. Thanks to a generous supporter, the $50,000 challenge is “tailored to engage younger professionals [35 years and younger], with specific sponsorship levels to encourage and foster their involvement in Austin Street’s work.”
As Austin Street Center CEO Daniel Roby explained, “After the unprecedented year-and-a-half we’ve experienced as North Texans, the stars are perfectly aligning, allowing us to ‘Come Together,’ in person for this year’s luncheon. Having Jeanne Phillips and her daughter Margaret Phillips lead an extraordinary host committee, along with our special guest, emboldens our team at Austin Street to continue its commitment to help the most vulnerable homeless across our community.”
While sponsorships are available now, preferred ($300) and individual tickets ($125) will go on sale on Wednesday, September 1, with virtual tickets going for $60.
* Photo credit: National Geographic/Terrell Mullin