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Karen Wald, Alliance Data; Kathryn Parsons, CEO, LaunchAbility

The 13th Annual A Special Evening hosted by Alliance Data and benefiting LaunchAbility® will feature R&B legend and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Smokey Robinson as the entertainer on Monday, March 31, 2014, 8 p.m., at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center. The 2014 A Special Evening Event Co-Chairs are Piper and Mike Wyatt and this year’s Honorary Event Chair is Caroline Rose Hunt.

During A Special Evening, LaunchAbility® will present the Milton P. Levy, Jr. Outstanding Volunteer Award to two individuals for the first time this year: Sharon Herrin and Roy Pendergrass; and AT&T will receive the Alliance Data Corporate Champion Award.  Guests will be entertained by a live auction, as well as Robinson’s live performance.

For more than 50 years, LaunchAbility® has been expanding worlds for children andadults with disabilities by providing services to help them reach their maximum potential.  Over the past 13 years, A Special Evening has raised more than $2 million, allowing the ongoing expansion of LaunchAbility’s® programs and training, which continue to gain state and national recognition. The proceeds from A Special Evening directly benefit LaunchAbility®’s Adult Service and Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) programs.

“Piper and I have been involved with A Special Evening from the beginning and are honored to have the opportunity to serve as co-chairs this year,” said Mike Wyatt, president, LaunchAbility® Community Advisory Board. “We have been so impressed with the work of LaunchAbility®, which helps children and adults with developmental disabilities gain the independence and confidence they need to lead fulfilling lives. We want to see the continued success of this organization and invite the community to join us for an extraordinary night on March 31!”

“On behalf of LaunchAbility®,  words cannot express how thrilled we are with the support and dynamic leadership of Piper and Mike Wyatt and Caroline Rose Hunt, who are all playing a major role in this year’s fundraiser,” said Kathryn Parsons, CEO, LaunchAbility®. “We are off to a running start and look forward to one of our most successful events on record.” 

Past entertainers of A Special Evening include the following legends: Tony Bennett, Ray Charles, k.d. Lang, Tom Jones, The Doobie Brothers, Dionne Warwick, Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons, Bonnie Raitt, The Pointer Sisters, Willie Nelson, Kenny Loggins and Vince Gill.

Past honorary chairs are Margot & Ross Perot, Ruth & Kenneth Atlshuler, Linda & Bill Custard, Caren Prothro, Georgia & Doug Smith with Jessica Smith, Anne & Steve Stodghill, Sara & Glen Agritelley, Marinelle &Kip Sowden, Ebby Halliday, Laura & Ellison Hurt, Stacey & Nicholas McCord, Brill & Jason Garrett, Marianne & Roger Staubach, and Beth & Steve McGaw.

Past event chairs have included Anne & Steve Stodghill, Kate Rose Murphy Marquez, Laura & Ellison Hurt, Stacey & Nicholas McCord, Jenny Wolf & Jay Fox, Kristi & Jody Bare, Nicole Kapioltas & Angie Hubach, Leigh Anne Haugh & Kristen Johnston, Diana Hamilton & Lauren Maggard, Elizabeth & Eric Gambrell, Laura Johnson & Wendy Messmann, Susan & George Kelly, and Cecily & Scott Gooch.

Tickets are available on the LaunchAbility website:; or by calling 1-800-595-4-TIX.  Sponsorships for A Special Evening with Smokey Robinson hosted by Alliance Data, begin at $750 for individual sponsorships and $2,500 for corporate sponsorships. Individual tickets range from $35 - $150. The event is sponsored by 98.7 KLUV and PaperCity Magazine.



LaunchAbility’s® Early Childhood Intervention program provides teams of therapists and specialists to work with babies and toddlers with developmental disabilities and delays to give them a greater chance for success in school.  Supported Employment helps capable people with cognitive disabilities (such as Down syndrome, Cerebral Palsy and Autism) find, train for and keep good jobs.The LaunchAbility®Academy program provides training that gives adults with disabilities the opportunity to build careers in growing industries and is a collaborative effort with LaunchAbility®, Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) and our host partners. Currently there are Academy programs located at UT Southwestern Medical Center, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas and our newest location AT&T.  For more information about LaunchAbility®, visit or call (972) 991-6777 ext. 7111.

LaunchAbility® is a registered trademark of LaunchAbility.