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Marisa Tomei, featured speaker

The Family Place 20th Anniversary Texas Trailblazer Awards Luncheon chairs Michaela Dyer and Layne Pitzer along with Honorary Chair Debbie Taylor are thrilled to announce the award recipients for the luncheon on Thursday, October 1st at the Hilton Anatole, which features Academy Award-winning actress Marisa Tomei as the keynote speaker.

Nancy A. Nasher will be honored as the Texas Trailblazer. This award recognizes someone who has accomplished a “first” and opened the doors of opportunity for other people and made significant contributions either in their community, business or profession. No matter what the accomplishments, however, the Trailblazer is someone who has blazed a trail for others to follow.

As co-owner of NorthPark Center along with her husband, David J. Haemisegger, Nancy is a dedicated philanthropist, serving on numerous boards and in cultural and educational leadership positions. She has been a champion of the arts and a leader in making art accessible to the community. Her commitment to improving the quality of life in Dallas through her support of numerous charities has made a tremendous impact and has changed countless lives for the better.

The event will also honor Robert “Bob” Miller as the Real-Life Hero for his lifetime of contribution to philanthropic and fundraising news. He spent 64 years at The Dallas Morning News, retiring in June of this year. He started writing obituaries, then was promoted to night city editor, assistant city editor and city editor. He started writing his widely read column in the Business Section in 1984 and it became the place for philanthropic and fundraising news. His column publicized both old and new Dallas charities, giving them the attention that helped create services to help Dallas become an event greater city.

The United Way of Metropolitan Dallas has been named recipient of the Advocacy Award. This vital organization not only strengthens the mission of The Family Place but for 90 years has been bringing people together to improve lives and create lasting change in North Texas by focusing on education, income, and health—the building blocks for strong families and thriving communities. The United Way galvanizes and connect all sectors of society—individuals, businesses, nonprofits, and government—to create long-term change through investing in solutions that produce healthy, well-educated and financially stable individuals and families. The United Way raises, invests and leverages more than $50 million annually in community-focused solutions serving Dallas, Collin, Rockwall and southern Denton counties. The Family Place has been fortunate to have United Way support for more than 30 years.

Erin Baptiste and Julissa Figueroa are The Family Place Youth Service Award and Scholarship winners. These students are recognized as outstanding leaders at the Texas Trailblazers Luncheon for their contribution and participation in The Family Place Be Project program, acting as mentors to educate their peers about healthy relationships in an effort to preventing bullying, teen dating violence and sexual assault. Erin will be attending University of Colorado at Boulder and Julissa is going to The University of Texas at San Antonio.
Marisa Tomei continues to bridge the gap between rich, dramatic performances and smart, comedic turns.  Whether working with large studios or independent houses, Marisa consistently brings her independent spirit to every project with which she is involved.  Marisa won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Mona Lisa Vito in My Cousin Vinny.  Marisa also traveled to Ethiopia to direct a short film based on the Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s book Half the Sky.  The film, which was also her directorial debut, focuses on a thirteen year old girl’s struggle with the institutionalized oppression of women in Ethiopia. She will make a presentation and also have a conversation with the luncheon’s moderator. “I am thrilled to be a part of the 20th Anniversary Texas Trailblazer Awards Luncheon as we honor those whose philanthropic efforts have made a long-lasting impact on the Dallas community” Marisa says.
Since its inception 20 years ago, the Texas Trailblazer Award Luncheon has been recognized as a premier event in the Dallas community. Tickets start at $175 and underwriting tables start at $1,750. Sponsorships are available. Last year’s event was a complete sell-out, so now is the time to reserve your table or ticket. For questions, visit the website at or contact Shivangi Pokharel directly at (214) 443 – 7708 or    

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