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The Junior League of Dallas (JLD) has the distinct pleasure of announcing Olympic gold medalist Venus Williams as the keynote speaker of The Milestones Luncheon, presented by The Kohl Foundation. The Luncheon will take place Wednesday, November 16, 2016, at the Hilton Anatole Hotel, and will also recognize the 2016-2017 Sustainer of the Year, Linda McFarland, and 95th Anniversary Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Caren Prothro.

The first African-America woman to reach world number one in the Open era, Venus has become an international tennis champion with over 20 career titles to her name and four Olympic gold medals. In addition to her athletic accolades, she authored a book Come to Win, launched athletic clothing line, EleVen, and owns an interior design company in Florida. As an advocate of women’s leadership and equality, Venus strives to empower women and is a role model for many. 

“We are honored to have Venus Williams at The Milestones Luncheon. As a woman who promotes excellence and strives to empower others, there is no one more fitting to fill the role as featured speaker,” said Bonner Allen, president of the Junior League of Dallas. “Venus has defied the odds to reach her dream and is now using her platform in a positive way. Her message directly aligns with the League’s mission of developing the potential of women, and we hope it will inspire those in attendance to make a difference in their communities.” 

The Milestones Luncheon is an annual fundraiser benefiting the Junior League of Dallas Community Service Fund and is a platform to raise awareness for the programs and issues supported by the JLD, as well as to recognize the impact and achievements of its volunteers. Proceeds from The Milestones Luncheon allow the JLD to annually grant $1 million dollars to the Dallas community.

Each year at the Luncheon, an esteemed JLD member is recognized as Sustainer of the Year, honoring her commitment and dedication to the League. This year, the JLD is proud to recognize Linda McFarland as the 2016-2017 Sustainer of the Year. Using the skills she acquired through League training, Mrs. McFarland founded Community Connection, a for-profit fundraising and special event company. As a League member, she has held numerous leadership positions including President of the Junior League Sustainers and continually reflects the mission of JLD through her philanthropy and volunteer work in the community with organizations like The Dallas Woman’s Club, The Salvation Army DFW Metroplex Command, Communities Foundation of Texas and Child Care Group.

In addition to Sustainer of the Year, Sustaining member Caren Prothro will be presented with the 95thAnniversary Lifetime Achievement Award for exemplifying the JLD’s goal of promoting voluntarism and improving the community through service, effective action and leadership. Mrs. Prothro’s involvement in the community and support of programs that address the needs of at-risk youth is an outgrowth of her Junior League placement at the Dallas County Juvenile Department. In 1990, she helped establish the Letot Center and in 2009, co-chaired a campaign to construct the Letot Girl’s Residential Treatment Center, a first-of-its-kind long-term counseling and residential center supporting victims of trafficking and abuse. She is also an active supporter of the arts and higher education. She has served as Chairman of Southern Methodist University and the “Campaign for the Second Century,” Dallas Center for the Performing Arts (now the AT&T Performing Arts Center), Letot Girls’ Center, The Salvation Army DFW Metroplex Command Advisory Board and The Dallas Foundation. She currently serves on the board of The Hoblitzelle Foundation, Southwestern Medical Foundation and The Letot Capital Foundation. 

The Milestones Luncheonwill take place Wednesday, November 16, 2016, in the Chantilly Ballroom at the Hilton Anatole Hotel. Check-in will begin at 11:00 a.m. and the Luncheon will start at noon.

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