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Linda Spina, President, Women's Council; Terry Irby and Sharla Bush, Mad Hatter's Tea chairs with the logo and theme: The Golden Age of Hollywood

TOOTSIES Hosts Reveal Party for Mad Hatter’s Tea Celebrating its 31st Year benefiting the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum and A Woman’s Garden

Mad Hatter’s Tea Fashion Show sponsored by TOOTSIES

TOOTSIES in Preston Center hosted the Reveal party for Mad Hatter’s Tea celebrating its 31st year benefiting the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum and A Woman’s Garden.
         

Terry Irby, co-chair with Sharla Bush, thanked Nerissa von Helpenstill and Dustin Holcomb of TOOTSIES, Mad Hatter’s Tea fashion show sponsor and host of this wonderful event. She then introduced Women’s Council president Linda Spina who welcomed the crowd and said that the Women's Council, founded in 1982, supports the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden and A Women's Garden, one of the principal gardens at the Arboretum. All financial support for A Woman's Garden comes from fundraising efforts of the Women's Council, which is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. A Woman's Garden is the only public garden in the nation conceived by women, funded by the efforts of women, and dedicated to the universal spirit of women.        
         

Sharla announced Kristina Bush Whitcomb as honorary chair, which drew a fabulous round of applause. Then it was time for the big reveal! Slowly drawing away a curtain from the poster, Terry and Sharla announced the theme for the 2019 Mad Hatter’s Tea: The Golden Age of Hollywood to a cheering crowd. One can only imagine the exciting fashions we’ll see next spring!
         

Slated for Thursday, April 11, 2019 at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, Mad Hatter’s Tea attracts over 450 guests from all over the nation who plan their trips to Dallas not only to take part in the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party – many in wild and wonderful over-the-top hats - but to view the glorious springtime azalea displays and flowers that grace the Dallas Arboretum.
         

The morning begins with a champagne reception in Ginsburg Plaza, followed by a professionally staged and choreographed fashion presentation produced by the inimitable Jan Strimple and sponsored by TOOTSIES, followed by a seated luncheon under elegantly draped tents. Hats are judged in different categories. Winners are announced at the fashion show and strut the runway.
         

Individual patron tickets begin at $350 and will be available for purchase via the website at www.womenscouncildallasarboretum.org  A limited quantity of regular admission tickets at $250 each will be available in Spring 2019. Underwriting opportunities and naming sponsorships are available. Check the website for updates. Underwriters and sponsors should contact Sharla Bush, co-chair at 469-450-4680 or sharlabush@yahoo.com.
          

Beneficiary:  Since its inception in 1982, the Women’s Council has supported the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden overall and through the creation, development and on-going funding of the world-renowned A Woman’s Garden and now, through funding the garden’s enhancements that will continue to draw visitors to our great city from all over the world.  A Woman's Garden is the only public garden in the nation conceived by women, funded by the efforts of women, and dedicated to the universal spirit of women.    

About TOOTSIES: Housed in a vast 20,000 square foot space in the Plaza at Preston Center, TOOTSIES is a modern full line specialty store offering the very best dresses, denim, ready to wear, shoes, handbags and jewelry.  They are a one stop shop known for exceptional service and on site personal styling in addition to their curated collection of designers including A.L.C.  Aquazurra, Brandon Maxwell, Cinq a' Sept, Self Portrait, Ulla Johnson and Veronica Beard. 

For photos from past Mad Hatter’s Tea parties and more information, visit the website at www.womenscouncildallasarboretum.org

Updates:      For updates and photos, visit the Mad Hatter’s Tea Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MadHattersTeaLuncheon    

Photos by Dana Driensky  

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Brian Wildes, Marcella Wildes, hosts

Members and guests of the Park Cities Historic and Preservation Society (PCHPS) joined together to celebrate the holidays at the Highland Park home of Marcella and Brian Wildes a few weeks ago.       

PCHPS president Venise Stuart welcomed guests along with her husband, Larry, including event organizer Tish Key, Marla and Mike Boone, Lucinda and Barry Buford, Glenda Cotner, Betsy Crousen, Joan Clark, Erin and Bobby Geary and more.
       

Membership in PCHPS is open to the public and includes such benefits as educational meetings in private homes, opportunities to become involved in the events each spring including the Distinguished Speaker Luncheon happening on Wednesday, April 10, 2019, chaired by Shelby Fuqua and Julia Fuqua and featuring Candace “Candy” Evans as the keynote speaker; the Historic Home Tour on Saturday, April 13, 2019 chaired by Suzie Curnes, and the Classic and Antique Car Show, on Saturday, April 27, 2019 chaired by Polly and Dan McKeithen; participate in the annual July 4th parade and more. Visit the website at pchps.org for tickets, underwriting opportunities and more information.

           

Park Cities Historic and Preservation Society’s mission, the central purpose and mission of the Society, is to preserve and promote the history, architecture, aesthetics and cultural traditions of the Park Cities, “Shaping the Future of Our Past.”  PCHPS vision, the desired future vision for the Society, is to inspire passionate community support for the preservation of historic homes, buildings, parks, landmarks and traditions of the Park Cities.   

 

Photos by Rob Wythe/Gittings.

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Sarah B. Smith and her mom, "Beauty."

Sarah B. Smith’s New Book Broken BeautyPiecing Together Lives Shattered by Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Now Available

  Park Cities resident Sarah B. Smith’s new book Broken Beauty – Piecing Together Lives Shattered by Early-Onset Alzheimer’s is now available everywhere books are sold, including Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com and Logo’s Book Store in Snider Plaza. It is a story of Sarah’s mother – known as “Beauty” to her family – and her family’s journey in navigating the devastating world of Early-Onset Alzheimer’s.           

Sarah was a young mother in her thirties, just finding her own way and in need of a mother as much as ever before, when her own mother’s illness struck. The family’s shock and pain at the disease’s manifestations has at times proven unbearable. Not only is Beauty still young and fit, she is also Sarah’s best friend. This powerful and personal story about a daughter facing the unthinkable and the love she found to carry her through will touch the hearts of everyone who reads it.
         

The sole focus of the book is not on death, but on a family that has taken a firm hold of life and celebrates victory over tragedy. It is NOT a clinical, how-to book, but a personal account – a compelling God-ordained walk through one family’s experiencing loss, dying. Wit is a love story between a husband/wife and a mother/daughter. Written in narrative form, it puts the reader in Sarah’s shoes, as well as those of her father and is uniquely written to penetrate the heart of the reader and allow them to accompany them on this extraordinarily personal and heartbreaking – yet inspiring and encouraging – journey.
         

Sarah is a housewife, a mother of three, a lifelong Texan and a woman of deep faith. Her childhood was anchored by her family’s faith and their participation in church activities. A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, she worked in the software and high-tech industry before marrying and moving to Dallas. They have served on various boards and committees, including the Greer Garson Gala, the Presbyterian Hospital Healthcare Foundation, East-West Ministries, AWARE Dallas and the Providence Christian School of Texas. They actively serve with their children in assisted living and memory care facilities and support organizations such as Council for Life, the Alzheimer’s Association, the Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement and Community Bible Study.
         

Sarah is co-chairing the AWARE Affair CELEBRATE THE MOMENTS Blooms of Hope gala with her dear friend, Ginny Bond Fein, happening on Friday, April 5, 2019 at Sixty Five Hundred. The event benefits AWARE – Fighting Alzheimer’s disease since 1989 and its grant recipients: Texas Winds Musical Outreach:, Juliette Fowler Communities, C. C. Young, Dallas Museum of Art, The Senior Source, Center for Brain Health, Dallas Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, Jewish Family Service, Center for Vital Longevity and Baylor Healthcare System. The Dallas Foundation, a 501(c)(3) publicly supported charity, is the fiscal sponsor of AWARE. Sponsorships, underwriting and tickets can be found on the website at AWAREDallas.org

 

The photo below of Tavia Hunt, Sarah B. Smith, Ginny Bond Fein and Sharon Ballew, president of AWARE, was taken at the Announcement Party hosted by Tavie and Clark Hunt in their home last fall. Photo by Dana Driensky.           

Keep up to date with Sarah’s journey, book signings, interviews and appearances through her social media at Facebook:/beautyinalzheimers, Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/beautyinalzheimers/  and website www.brokenbeautybook.com.

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Karen Hughes, President and CEO, Vogel Alcove; event chairs Graham Merriman and Regina Bruce

Design & Dine presented by Tower Club Dallas benefiting Vogel Alcove
Featured Exciting Elements from the Worlds of Art, Food and Music


Regina Bruce
and Graham Merriman, Chairs

 

 Design & Dine presented by Tower Club Dallas was an exciting event that combined elements from the worlds of art, food, music and fun for a great cause - helping homeless children in Dallas benefiting Vogel Alcove.
           

Chairs Regina Bruce and Graham Merriman began the evening with a VIP reception and the Ambassadors of Hope Awards Ceremony which featured entertainment by World Piano Man Martyn Lucas.  Martyn was a striking figure in his formal tuxedo jacket covered in gold sequins that was given to him by Sir Elton John.  Martyn is an exceptionally talented performer who sang at Prince Harry and Meagan Markle’s wedding this past summer and wowed this crowd with his renditions of songs in the voices of Sir Elton John, Pavarotti, Michael Jackson, Bryan Adams, Richard Marx, Axel Rose, Sir Paul McCartney and Louis Armstrong.
         

Karen Hughes, Vogel Alcove’s president and CEO, began the awards ceremony by welcoming past board chair Rick Lacher, who assisted in presenting the awards celebrating the people and companies that have gone above and beyond to help Vogel Alcove succeed this year. They were:  Susan Hirsch who received the Doris Budner Award for leadership in advancing the Vogel Alcove mission; Jamie Perkins was honored with the Thelma Vogel Award for vision and collaborative efforts in advancing services to homeless children and families; Colliers International, Corporate Champion; Read Gendler, Volunteer Award; Ann Marie Painter, Board Excellence; Anna de Haro, Media Partner; Truman Wilson, Kids Helping Kids and Dallas Psychoanalytic Center, Community Partner Award was accepted by Gail Marshall on behalf of the Center.

         

The live artist performances in the Design Showcase room spotlighted Chris Adams, Shayema Rahim, Toni Martin and SAL who created artworks as guests looked on. Local art was on display in partnership with local artists from Frisco Fine Arts and decorative birdhouses were created by the Collin College Art Club. As Martyn continued to entertain everyone in the lounge, guests also enjoyed the photo booth sponsored by Yelp Dallas, which was a very popular feature.
         

Party goers made the social rounds with friends and enjoyed delicious food with complimentary beer and wine, a raffle/silent auction with a variety of unique prizes and entertainment by Dallas’ premier party band, Emerald City Band, which had the crowd on its feet and dancing until the lights came on signaling the end of a fabulous evening!

         

A special highlight of the evening was a dramatic presentation by Empressive GeoDesigns, which included the owner, Micah Gilbert, and the founder, Empress, who installed an entirely separate vignette of stunning minerals and fossils. Their display included a pair of huge amethyst and pink quartz geodes that naturally form the appearance of wings and were the perfect Instagram photo op, as well as a giant mosasaur skull that formidably displayed its powerful jaws and deadly teeth. There were also multiple minerals and fossils up for bid in the silent auction, along with over 100 smaller geodes for purchase. They generously donated 100% of the proceeds to Vogel Alcove in support of its mission. 
         

Heisman Trophy Award winner and Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Tim Brown and his wife, Sherice, chairs of the Purple Purse Challenge, joined us at Design & Dine where they drew the raffle ticket for the Purple Purse designed by Serena Williams.  Tim is a graduate of Woodrow Wilson High School in Dallas. While at Notre Dame he earned the Heisman Trophy Award and had an illustrious career for the Oakland Raiders in the NFL. It was all part of the Allstate  Purple Purse Challenge to bring awareness and support for nonprofits serving victims of domestic violence.  Vogel Alcove was chosen as a recipient of the purse to use as a fundraiser during the Purple Purse Challenge.

         

Visit the Vogel Alcove FB page to see pictures from the event, learn more about the artists, Purple Purse Challenge:  https://www.facebook.com/vogelalcove/  

And here is more info.: https://www.purplepurse.com/   
         

All proceeds from Design & Dine benefit Vogel Alcove, an early childhood education center that is working to Break the Cycle of Poverty for homeless children and families in Dallas. Vogel Alcove provides educational, developmental and therapeutic services to children and families affected by homelessness. All of these services are free to the families and are provided in a safe and nurturing environment to learn and grow.  To learn more, visit the website at www.vogelalcove.org

 

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About Vogel Alcove:

Vogel Alcove is a 501c3 nonprofit agency which provides therapeutic early childhood services, school-age programs and family support services for homeless children ages six weeks to 12 years old, and their families. Since 1987, the agency has served more than 16,000 Dallas-area homeless children. We’re on a mission to help young children, and their families, overcome the lasting and traumatic effects of homelessness. It is our vision that every child in our community has a home, a self-sufficient family and a foundation for success in school and life.

 

Photos by Danny Campbell and Dana Driensky

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Nearly 700 homeless children and families from Dallas-area shelters experienced the magic of the holidays  at Rainbow Days’ annual Saturday with Santa event as Rainbow Days was delighted to host families from 17 different shelters, transitional living sites and motels in our community for a  meaningful holiday family bonding experience held at Lovers Lane United Methodist Church.

 

Saturday with Santa was a jovial day for families to celebrate the holiday spirit outside of the shelter environment. Participants played fun carnival games, enjoyed a delicious lunch provided by Chuy’s (Knox-McKinney location) and got to spend time with Santa Claus himself! Each child left with a stocking filled with presents and a brand new toy for Christmas, and all parents also received necessities and holiday treats in stockings of their very own.

 

“Saturday with Santa enables us to bring the joy of the holidays to children in our community who are experiencing challenges no child should have to face,” Rainbow Days CEO Sherri Ansley says. “We are so grateful to be able to meet this need with the help of many generous supporters who continue to invest in Rainbow Days and the children and communities we serve.”

 

Many individuals, corporations and local organizations helped make this day possible through financial gifts, in-kind donations and volunteer hours. Rainbow Days is especially grateful for the support of: Lovers Lane United Methodist Church; The Rees-Jones Foundation; Chuy’s (Knox-McKinney location); Citi; PepsiCo; National Charity League; Young Men’s Service League; Texas A&M DFW Hispanic Network; Heart of Texas Therapy Dogs; Nicole Williams; Diane Oxley and Christian Stringer; Susan O’Suilleabhain and Clare Ni’Shuilleabhain; Liz Case Pickens; and countless other kind-hearted donors, volunteers and supporters.

 

This year, children, youth and adult family members from 17 local shelters and transitional living sites participated in Saturday with Santa. Housing partners include: Family Gateway; Salvation Army; Family Place; Reconciliation Outreach; Hope’s Door New Beginning Center; Nexus Recovery Center; Family Gateway Permanent Supportive Housing at Meadow Lane, Cedar Crest and Pemberton Hill; Dallas Life; Under 1 Roof; Interfaith Family Services; Shared Housing Center; Mosaic Family Services; Brighter Tomorrows; and Genesis Women’s Shelter. Several families experiencing homelessness and living in Budget Suites motels were also present at the event.

 

ABOUT FAMILY CONNECTION: Saturday with Santa has been a key activity offered within Rainbow Days’ Family Connection program since the early 1990s. Family Connection is Rainbow Days’ award-winning collaborative model for meeting the critical needs of children ages 4-12 who are experiencing homelessness. Each year, Family Connection positively impacts more than 1,000 homeless children through support groups, summer camps, family outings and tangible goods. Through these effective services and local partnerships with around 50 partners and shelter sites, Rainbow Days brings hope, coping skills and resilience to these children to help them overcome life’s challenges.

 

ABOUT RAINBOW DAYS: Saturday with Santa is a program of Rainbow Days, a 501(c)(3) Dallas-based nonprofit organization. Founded in 1982, Rainbow Days has a mission to help children and youth in adversity build coping skills and resilience to create positive futures. Through support groups, camps, mentored events and tangible items, Rainbow Days serves over 11,000 at-risk children and youth in the Dallas area annually. For more information, please visit our website, www.RainbowDays.org, or call our office at (214) 887-0726.

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Nita Hudson, Director of Wildlife Conservation at EarthX and Cheetah toy plush

Trammell S. Crow and EarthX host the Cheetah Conservation Fund and Ambassador Cheetah Winspear from the Dallas Zoo

 Event sponsored by EarthX, Dallas Zoo and Cheetah Conservation Fund

 

 

EarthX founder Trammell S. Crow hosted the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) and Ambassador Cheetah Winspear from the Dallas Zoo at a reception in his home inviting everyone to be a CATalyst for Conservation.
         

Dr. Laurie Marker, Founder and Executive Director, Cheetah Conservation Fund, welcomed the crowd and thanked Trammell for his generous hospitality in hosting the event. She introduced Winspear and shared information about the fastest land mammal in the world and the serious threats facing them in Africa. Populations have dwindled to less than 7,000 individuals in Africa mainly due to habitat loss and human-wildlife conflict. She said CCF has many partners and collaborators across the world – these are organizations that have contributed significantly to the fund’s mission to save the cheetah in the wild. She stressed that land conservation in Africa is the future of wildlife and that CCF deals with all aspects of cheetah survival, including helping and educating the African community about wildlife management. Stressing that everyone can help – no matter where they live – everyone’s support has an impact.
         

Gregg Hudson, President and CEO of the Dallas Zoo, said the Zoo is honored to be a partner with CCF and EarthX. The Zoo is dedicated to creating a better world for animals and is working hard every day to make that happen. With the help of cheetah Winspear, the Zoo is able to introduce children and adults to Africa’s most endangered cat, and get them to care while there’s still time. As an ambassador species, Winspear travels across North Texas to schools, hospitals and more, educating the public about the plight of the wild cheetah.
         

Nita Hudson, Director of Wildlife Conservation at EarthX, dressed up her young daughter and two friends to participate in this event. During the event, beanie-toy cheetahs were sold by these three adorable girls (Claire Hudson, Phoebe Rupp and Alexis Moody-Dahlberg) dressed in cheetah outfits for a chance to win a door prize.     

         

Prizes included an original artwork depicting a running cheetah by James Garde.  Winners were drawn after the presentations.
         

Showing their support for EarthX, Cheetah Conservation Fund and the Dallas Zoo were Trevor Ahlberg, Alex Arellano, Diane Brierley, Jean-Patrick Bonny on behalf of EarthX; Darryl Griffin on behalf of the Dallas Zoo along with Kari Streiber; Jan Raines, Henry Raines, Cindy and Jack Waldrip, Lori and Chuck Whitten, Courtney Kennebeck, Chris Hudson, Lane Britain and more.
           

Find out more about the Cheetah Conservation Fund at www.cheetah.org; EarthX at www.earthx.org and the Dallas Zoo at www.dallaszoo.com 

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About EarthX:
         

EarthX is an international environmental nonprofit organization founded by Trammel S. Crow to provide a platform for connecting a global community to create a sustainable world for all life and future generations.  The annual EarthX event is held at Fair Park in Dallas, Texas and is the largest environmental expo, film festival, and conference in the world, attracting over 137,000 attendees over a weekend centered around Earth Day.  EarthX 2019 will be held April 26-28, 2019.

         

EarthX is rapidly becoming the leading global connector and environmental forum, providing a platform to positively impact our world for a sustainable future. www.earthx.org

 

About the Cheetah Conservation Fund:
         

Founded in Namibia in 1990, Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) is the global leader in research and conservation of cheetahs. CCF is dedicated to saving the cheetah in the wild.

         

The vast majority of wild cheetahs are outside protected areas, in areas populated by humans. Saving this magnificent animal from extinction requires innovative conservation methods that address the welfare of both cheetah and human populations over large landscapes. CCF has developed a set of integrated programs that work together to achieve this objective. CCF’s programs have effectively stabilized and even increased the wild cheetah population in Namibia.

         

CCF’s mission is to be the internationally recognized center of excellence in the conservation of cheetahs and their ecosystems. CCF will work with all stakeholders to develop best practices in research, education, and land use to benefit all species, including people.

         

CCF is an international non-profit organization headquartered in Namibia, with operations in the United States, Canada, Australia, Italy and the United Kingdom, and partner organizations in several other nations.  www.cheetah.org

 

About the Dallas Zoo:
The Dallas Zoo is dedicated to creating a better world for animals. Named one of the nation’s Top 10 Zoos by USA Today, it is the largest zoological experience in Texas. The zoo has been accredited continuously by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums for 33 years, and features a 106-acre park, thousands of animals, and an education department that offers programs for all ages. The zoo is located at 650 S. R.L. Thornton Freeway (I-35 at Marsalis) and is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, visit DallasZoo.com or call 469.554.7500.

Photos by Daniel Driensky.

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Event co-chairs and co-founders Don and Mari Epperson and Kay and Duncan Fulton.

A Sold-Out Crowd Filled 3015 Trinity Groves at the Inaugural A Taste of West Dallas benefitting Wesley-Rankin Community Center presented by Texas Capital Bank

 

It is every chairman’s dream to sell out a first-time event and that’s exactly what happened with the inaugural  A Taste of West Dallas benefitting Wesley-Rankin Community Center, chaired by Mari and Don Epperson along with Kay and Duncan Fulton with Texas Capital Bank as presenting sponsor. The event brought in $106,000 to benefit Wesley-Rankin and their mission.

         

Over 400 supporters gathered in World Master Chef Sharon Van Meter’s fabulous event veue 3015 at Trinity Groves recently to savor sips – beer, wine and tequila -  and savory bites from these West Dallas chefs, restaurants and breweries:  3015 at Trinity Groves, Amberjax Fish Market Grille, Beto & Son at Trinity Groves, La Estrella Bakery, LUCK – Local Urban Craft Kitchen, Oak Highlands Brewery, Odom’s Bar-B-Que, Pura Vida Tequila, Saint Rocco’s New York Italian at Trinity Groves, Snappy Catfish, and Steam Theory Brewing Company.

         

Mari Epperson took the podiumand welcomed the crowd, thanking the host committee and media sponsors The Park Cities News and My Sweet Charity. Co-chair Duncan Fulton introduced Shellie Ross, Wesley-Rankin’s executive director who gave heartfelt thanks to everyone for their support and shared an overview of the organization’s mission and their programs which create an intelligent pathway for students to achieve their ambitions in education, regardless of their financial circumstances.  In addition to children and youth, Wesley-Rankin supports adults through Adult Academy courses and senior citizen programming.   Together, the Center bridges gaps in the inequities of education, the arts and mental health. The Center believes that everyone deserves a fair chance to reach his/her potential.

         

Some very exciting news is the new Wesley-Rankin Scholars Program, in partnership with the June Shelton School.   The Shelton School is the largest independent school worldwide for intelligent students with learning differences. Volunteers and staff meet students for three hours each Saturday to use teaching techniques in audiology, speech and reading.

         

Joining inthe tasteful gathering were presenting sponsor Texas Capital Bank and an anonymous Angel Sponsor, Diamond Sponsors Kathryn and Stephen Arata, Jane and Pat Bolin; Platinum Sponsors  Elizabeth and Carl Cross and Kay and Duncan Fulton; Gold Sponsors Deanna and Jack Brown, Pam and Philip Bush, Jan and Tom Daulton, Mari and Don Epperson, Alicia and Steve Harris, Martti Benson/Benson Hlavaty, Laura Steen-Patterson and Tom Patterson, Erin and Billy Young.

         

For more information about Wesley-Rankin Community Center and its programs, visit the website: http://www.wesleyrankin.org

Wesley-Rankin Community Center History:
In 1902, the “Devil's Doorstep” was in need. Known today as West Dallas, this area was once ruled by the Bonnie and Clyde gang. When most people chose to never enter the neighborhood, Hattie Rankin did not think twice. Her presence with the mother of a gangster during his execution led to the future of a community center. She walked the streets of the neighborhood, grieving with those in crisis and celebrating victories. Hattie's belief in West Dallas, combined with her unwavering support, connection and enrichment has continued for 116 years through the life of the United Methodist mission, the Wesley-Rankin Community Center.

 

Photos by Dana Driensky.

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Event co-chairs and co-founders Don and Mari Epperson and Kay and Duncan Fulton.

A Sold-Out Crowd Filled 3015 Trinity Groves at the Inaugural A Taste of West Dallas benefitting Wesley-Rankin Community Center presented by Texas Capital Bank

 

It is every chairman’s dream to sell out a first-time event and that’s exactly what happened with the inaugural  A Taste of West Dallas benefitting Wesley-Rankin Community Center, chaired by Mari and Don Epperson along with Kay and Duncan Fulton with Texas Capital Bank as presenting sponsor. The event brought in $106,000 to benefit Wesley-Rankin and their mission.

         

Over 400 supporters gathered in World Master Chef Sharon Van Meter’s fabulous event veue 3015 at Trinity Groves recently to savor sips – beer, wine and tequila -  and savory bites from these West Dallas chefs, restaurants and breweries:  3015 at Trinity Groves, Amberjax Fish Market Grille, Beto & Son at Trinity Groves, La Estrella Bakery, LUCK – Local Urban Craft Kitchen, Oak Highlands Brewery, Odom’s Bar-B-Que, Pura Vida Tequila, Saint Rocco’s New York Italian at Trinity Groves, Snappy Catfish, and Steam Theory Brewing Company.

         

Mari Epperson took the podium and welcomed the crowd, thanking the host committee and media sponsors The Park Cities News and My Sweet Charity. Co-chair Duncan Fulton introduced Shellie Ross, Wesley-Rankin’s executive director who gave heartfelt thanks to everyone for their support and shared an overview of the organization’s mission and their programs which create an intelligent pathway for students to achieve their ambitions in education, regardless of their financial circumstances.  In addition to children and youth, Wesley-Rankin supports adults through Adult Academy courses and senior citizen programming.   Together, the Center bridges gaps in the inequities of education, the arts and mental health. The Center believes that everyone deserves a fair chance to reach his/her potential.

         

Some very exciting news is the new Wesley-Rankin Scholars Program, in partnership with the June Shelton School.   The Shelton School is the largest independent school worldwide for intelligent students with learning differences. Volunteers and staff meet students for three hours each Saturday to use teaching techniques in audiology, speech and reading.

         

Joining in the tasteful gathering were presenting sponsor Texas Capital Bank and an anonymous Angel Sponsor, Diamond Sponsors Kathryn and Stephen Arata, Jane and Pat Bolin; Platinum Sponsors  Elizabeth and Carl Cross and Kay and Duncan Fulton; Gold Sponsors Deanna and Jack Brown, Pam and Philip Bush, Jan and Tom Daulton, Mari and Don Epperson, Alicia and Steve Harris, Martti Benson/Benson Hlavaty, Laura Steen-Patterson and Tom Patterson, Erin and Billy Young.

         

For more information about Wesley-Rankin Community Center and its programs, visit the website: http://www.wesleyrankin.org

Wesley-Rankin Community Center History:
In 1902, the “Devil's Doorstep” was in need. Known today as West Dallas, this area was once ruled by the Bonnie and Clyde gang. When most people chose to never enter the neighborhood, Hattie Rankin did not think twice. Her presence with the mother of a gangster during his execution led to the future of a community center. She walked the streets of the neighborhood, grieving with those in crisis and celebrating victories. Hattie's belief in West Dallas, combined with her unwavering support, connection and enrichment has continued for 116 years through the life of the United Methodist mission, the Wesley-Rankin Community Center.

 

Photos by Dana Driensky.

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Gabel Mesa, Moises Rico,Chef chair and Host Executive Chef William Koval, Lakewood Country Club; Eusebio Camacho

Bring your friends and join in the 9th Annual Bonne Santé, a Wine and Food Showcase presented by The Westin Galleria, Dallas benefiting the National Kidney Foundation happening on Saturday, February 2, 2019.
         

Bonne Santé is the premier culinary and wine event featuring celebrity chefs from around the country raising funds to fight kidney disease and features  Food and Wine Showcase, unique tastings with wine pairings, silent and live Auction and live entertainment.
         

Bonne Santé was launched in the summer of 2010 by the National Kidney Foundation Serving Texas and William Koval, Executive Chef, Lakewood Country Club.  Each year this event has continued to grow with the support of our chefs and the community.   Chef Koval leaned on the National Kidney Foundation during a trying time when his son was born with only one kidney.  Today, with his healthy son, Nathan, by his side in the kitchen, Chef Koval is an avid support of the National Kidney Foundation.  The National Kidney Foundation is honored to be associated with Chef Koval in launching Bonne Sante’ and thanks him for his untiring efforts in making it a reality.

           

Two awards will be given at the event: The 2018 Burl Osborne Awareness Award which recognizes individuals and organizations which have helped advance awareness and understanding of kidneys, kidney disease, and organ donation and the 2018 Gift of Life Award which honors those involved in the ultimate “gift of life,” a lifesaving transplant. Those award recipients will be announced soon along with the listing of participating chefs and restaurants.
         

Sponsorships and underwriting are available starting at $3,000. The Westin Galleria, Dallas offers a Deluxe Package for $440, which includes two tickets to Bonne Sante’, one sleeping room at the Westin Galleria, and overnight valet parking. Individual tickets are $200. All underwriting opportunities and tickets are available through and can be purchased online at www.nkft.org  or by calling the National Kidney Foundation office at 214-351-2393 x652.

         

Contact for sponsorships and underwriting at The National Kidney Foundation is Tiffany Archibald, Director of Development, She can be reached at 214-649-2081 or tiffany.archibald@kidney.org

 Photos by Daniel Driensky.

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Allie Beth Allman, SM Wright II, Pierce Allman

25th Annual Christmas in the Park Happens on Saturday, December 15

 

S.M. Wright Foundation Helps Make Holidays Merry and Bright for Less Fortunate Families at Dallas’ Largest Holiday Charity Event Serving over 44,000 in 2017

 

         

Join honorary chairs Heather and Ray Washburne, along with Cullum Clark, board chair, event co-chairs  Allie Beth and Pierce Allman, Gina and Ken Betts, Julie and Darren Blanton, Deni and Kevin Bryant, Doug Deason, Ola and Randall Fojtasek, Heather and Todd Furniss, Suzanne Bock Grishman and Michael Grishman, Brooke and Jeff Jackson, Natalie and Mike McGuire, Lisa and Jeff Rachor, Michael Watson, Carrie and John Willding, local business leaders and community volunteers and their families, in supporting the 20th Annual Christmas in the Park.
         

Slated for Saturday, December 15th , thousands of southern Dallas families gather at the Fair Park Automobile Building for this fabulous event which helps meet great needs where families struggle every day to provide basic necessities.  Over 44,000 people were served in 2017 with basic necessities like clothes, coats and food while others found toys, bikes and more to help make a child’s Christmas wish come true.

         

For some, the holiday season is not a time to rejoice, but a period met with hardship, heartache and disappointment.  Sponsors, underwriters, volunteers and supporters of Christmas in the Park work every year to make Christmas dreams come true for these families. Everyone is welcome to join in!
         

Organized by the S.M. Wright Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit organization providing support and stability to inner-city underprivileged children and less fortunate families in the South Dallas/Fair Park community, Christmas in the Park is perhaps Dallas’ largest holiday charity event, which has grown from serving less than 200 underprivileged kids in 1998 to over 44,000 residents in 2017.
         

The following is a personal story from Pierce Allman, a co-chair with his wife, Allie Beth.
Q:   How did you first become involved. What is your personal experience?

Answer from Pierce:  It started back in the ‘90s. Allie Beth and S.M. [Wright] met and part of the conversation was about meeting basic needs. We helped organize a program with support from friends and fed families at Thanksgiving. Then with their continued support and volunteers at Christmas, we all served about 300 to 400 people.   After that we used the house across the street as a clothing center. One thing led to another as everyone thought about meeting basic needs of the neighborhood. You see, many folks are in dire straits and truly want to be self-sufficient and self-reliant. They have a strong desire to learn and get back on their feet. We want to help.
         

Meeting the families and talking with them gives a fresh perspective on the true meaning of Christmas. It is so personal when you guide a child or a family through Christmas in the Park and they get to pick something, a jacket, bike, toys, something to eat and in their eyes, you realize, as one child said to me as he just grinned, "I've got Christmas like everybody else."
         

The first few times we were at the church in the old kitchen and activity rooms. Then we realized we had to take over the sanctuary and turn it into a toy land. Then we started looking at other locations and the Automobile Building at Fair Park was mentioned. At first, intimidating because it is so cavernous, but it is perfect.
         

The beautiful part is it's a faith-based enterprise. All of the money goes to Christmas in the Park or one of the other programs, which are all successfully run - putting beds in rooms, giving families furniture, meeting people’s needs. And the church attendance has grown. People are supporting his [S.M. Wright’s] mission.
         

This seems to have a synergistic effect where people understand you can support this because it works.

The McGuire Family:

One of the highlights is Coats for Kids, which is a program created by Maddy McGuire, a Highland Park High School (HPHS) student. She has been participating with her parents, Natalie and Mike, along with her sister Sophie in Christmas in the Park since she was three years old, making 2017 her 14th year to volunteer. She also founded the S. M. Wright Club at HPHS and along with approximately 50 volunteers, seeks donations of new warm coats all year long to give hope and happiness to kids in desperate need. Funds raised by the club purchase new Coats for Kids through Burlington Coat Factory’s community program and HPHS awards service hours for students. Since Maddy graduated last spring, her sister, Sophie, has taken on the leadership of the SM Wright Club at HPHS.

 

Q: If we wanted to donate, what would Christmas in the Park need and how can we participate?

Answer from the Foundation: Sponsors, underwriters and volunteers are always needed for Christmas in the Park and the other programs served by the S. M. Wright Foundation, including the Community Food Center, Education Center, Clothing and Resource Center, Foundation Furniture Bank, Beds for Kids, Thanksgiving Day Feast and the South Dallas Entrepreneurship Center.
         

Join S. M. Wright II, co-founder, President and CEO of the S. M. Wright Foundation along with his mother, co-founder Debra D. Wright and his brother, co-founder The Reverend Calvin Wright, and many of Dallas’ business and community leaders.
         

All of these supporters and their families have long-time traditions of volunteering to disburse toys, food, other necessities and help with managing the event. Over 1,800 volunteers will join to share the holiday season with their families.
         

The foundation also provides hunger relief, educational support, health, social service assistance and economic empowerment. The foundation’s goals are to move these families from a position of dependency to self-sufficiency and to restore stability to families and the community. 

For more information on Christmas in the Park and the S. M. Wright Foundation and how you, your corporation and business can become involved, visit the website at http://www.christmasatfairpark.com/                   

 

Photos by Dana Driensky