Despite the challenges of online presentations, the Texas Women’s Foundation‘s livestreamed 36th Annual Luncheon on Thursday, September 30, not only inspired nearly 4,000 viewers near and far, it also netted a sweet $825,000. To hit that number Co-Chairs Lindsay Billingsley and Debra Hunter Johnson had some help from The Dallas Mavericks CEO Cynt Marshall and Southwest Airlines Community Outreach Director Laura Nieto. Here’s a report from the field:
Held online for the second year on Thursday, September 30, Texas Women’s Foundation’s 36th Annual Luncheon, presented by The Dallas Mavericks, raised more than $1 million and netted $825,000. About 4,000 people watched the program themed “My Voice. My Story. Every Woman’s Power to Build Compassion and Community.”
Across Texas, groups convened to watch the livestream in person, including 96 Early College High School Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD students and teachers who watched from Brookhaven College.
The Annual Luncheon is the Foundation’s principal fundraiser in support of its work to advance women’s economic security, leadership, education, health and safety in Texas through research, advocacy, programs and grantmaking.
Texas Women’s Foundation Board Chair Hilda Galvan welcomed and thanked Luncheon Co-chairs Debra Hunter Johnson and Lindsay Billingsley. “Texas Women’s Foundation is the only foundation in Texas focused on the well-being of women and girls, their economic security and opportunities to become leaders. We work for women and families across Texas to build strong, equitable communities for all. And it takes all of us to do this work. We hope you’ll join us.”
Galvan, Hunter Johnson and Billingsley thanked the major sponsors for their tremendous support:
- Presenting Sponsor: The Dallas Mavericks
- Speaker Sponsors: Target with ongoing support from the Suzanne Ahn, M.D. Speaker Endowment Fund at Texas Women’s Foundation
- Book Club: Perkins Coie
- Ripple: Southwest Airlines
- Investor: Lindsay Billingsley and Debra Hunter Johnson, Lucy C. Billingsley, CBRE, Hunt Consolidated Inc. and Thomson Reuters
- Leader: Galleria Dallas, Jones Day, PepsiCo, Kimberly-Clark, Reciprocity Consulting Group and Toyota
- Advocate: Deloitte, Ernst and Young, Dr. Arlene Ford, Katherine Glaze Lyle, NexBank, Gwendolyn A. Parker and Vizient
- Media: D CEO, Local Profile and MySweetCharity
Billingsley introduced the speakers Angie Thomas and Cleo Wade, who discussed the power of women’s storytelling. Author, producer and activist, Angie Thomas is the author of The New York Times bestseller and major motion picture, The Hate U Give. Her other books include On the Come Up and Concrete Rose. An accomplished artist, poet, author and activist who has been called the “Millennial Oprah” by New York Magazine, Cleo Wade has written Heart Talk: Poetic Wisdom for a Better Life, Where to Begin and a new children’s novel, What the Road Said. Target EVP/Chief External Engagement Office Laysha Ward moderated the impactful discussion.
Thomas and Wade shared inspirational stories about how they grew up, how they became writers and who and what inspired them. Wade looked to the great writers – Alice Walker, Toni Morrison and Gloria Steinem – for inspiration. “Because I had those templates, I knew where to start (writing)…Eventually, your voice does start to become louder and louder within you, and becomes louder than the voices you’re almost imitating or being influenced by. As you step into that, you realize that you are naturally or hopefully creating a template for the next generation to do the same.”
Thomas remarked, “It all begins with realizing that your voice matters; your story matters. If you can get to that point, you’ve made true progress towards hopefully bringing on real change and making real impact. It begins with validating your story, validating yourself within. And recognizing that what I think has value, what I have to say has value. My story has value.”
Ward concluded and thanked the speakers. “You are inspiring us to use our voice and our stories to nurture and build community.”
Next came the appeal to support Texas Women’s Foundation from two luncheon sponsors. Dallas Mavericks CEO Cynt Marshall and Southwest Airlines’ Laura Nieto spoke in front of the Dallas Galleria community wall that was displayed throughout the month of September. The wall featured TXWF information and a chance to win fun items, including a jersey signed by Mavs star Luka Dončić. Marshall and Nieto announced a surprise: people who donated at least $500 would receive two tickets to a Mavs game and a Southwest roundtrip airline ticket.
TXWF President/CEO Roslyn Dawson Thompson concluded the event: “I can’t tell you how powerful and inspirational today has been for me, and I hope it was for you too! We are deeply grateful for the amazing talent and profound insights of our keynote speakers Angie Thomas and Cleo Wade.” She added her thanks to the co-chairs and key sponsors and asked people to text VOICE4ALL to donate to the Foundation.
For more information on the event, visit https://www.txwfluncheon.org/.
* Graphic/photo provided by Texas Women's Foundation