For some new to Grant Halliburton, the idea of holding a fundraising event on Friday, November 18, in such a party venue as The Factory (formerly The Bomb Factory) in Deep Ellum might have been a bit curious. After all, a festive evening of silent auction gazing/bidding, a seated dinner, entertainment and dancing seemed a bit at odds with the Grant Halliburton’s mission of dealing with the loss of young people.
Perhaps the timing of the Grant Halliburton’s Hope Party on Friday, November 18, was perfect as the holidays were just around the corner. For some it would be a depressing time of the year when expectations were disappointed or the idea of an empty place at the table would serve as a reminder of a guest lost.
But as 2022 Hope Party Co-Chair Diana Hamilton explained, the Hope Party was an opportunity to let people understand the need for mental health and the realization that grieving was a natural journey for family and friends suffering from such a death.
For Diana it was two-fold. In addition to one of her son’s friend’s dying from an accidental overdose and another committing suicide just a year apart, she relished her own son’s staying healthy. But she also admitted that the grieving process was different for each person. Some appreciated the condolences offered; others had managed to accept their loss and felt the words of sympathy only reignited a painful emotion.
She and her Cattle Baron’s cohort Jennifer Burns were determined to resurrect that annual fundraiser that like other fundraisers had been forced to go virtual the last year due to the pandemic.
Despite weather guessers using the phrase “snow flurry” in their forecasts and valet parkers along Canton hauling out shake-and-bake handwarmers, guests like Sally and Ralph “Red Dog” Jones, Bela Cooley, Cara French, Lora Farris and Melissa and Ross Martin wandered the darker than a black hole interior of The Factory reception area with some VIP types grasping handrails to head upstairs to the VIP Lounge. Unfortunately, what lighting was available was as blinding as a Klieg light.
Once the curtains were pulled back and guests took their places at tables, FOX Consumer Reporter/longtime Grant Halliburton Emcee Steve Noviello told the group, “What started out as a small fundraiser 13 years ago has turned into this, a fun event with dinner, dancing and fundraising to raise vital funds for the Foundation’s youth mental health programs.”
Foundation Co-Founder Vanita Halliburton and President Kevin Hall reviewed the milestones achieved just in the past year:
- The Foundation’s mental health education programs are growing exponentially and have reached nearly 300,000 students and adults.
- Its Thrive program, which helps schools change the way they address mental health, has grown from 56 to 119 schools in the past year.
- The Hope Squad program, a student-led peer-to-peer group that promotes mental health and suicide prevention in schools, has grown from 16 to 49 schools in the past year.
- Grant Halliburton Foundation co-hosted the first-ever Hope Squad conference, drawing more than 1,500 Hope Squad students from across North Texas.
- The Foundation launched a young professionals group, GHF YP, with more than 90 members.
- In April, the nonprofit moved to Pegasus Park–a brilliant vision from Lyda Hill Philanthropies to create a community of nonprofits working collaboratively.
Showing their support for the Foundation’s mission, Honorary Co-Chairs Lael and Peter Brodsky “talked about their personal experience with mental health and the importance of helping with mental health and suicide prevention.”
As Lael put it, “All people, whether grieving or not, want to be seen and understood and feel like they are not alone. And if we can show our children how to be okay when things are hard or situations are uncomfortable, maybe their anxiety will go down, too, which is really the most important goal of all.”