Ballet Austin’s Fête And fête*ish Features Dazzling Crowd

By Rob Giardinelli

Photography by John Pesina

The W Hotel in Austin was the recent setting of one of the Capital City’s most anticipated annual social events. Over 500 sociables, philanthropists, and VIPs who were on hand to support Ballet Austin’s Fête gala and fête*ish after party were treated to a dazzling evening of both fun and fundraising.


THE STYLE: The black tie crowd’s evening began in the ballroom foyer with a splashy cocktail hour in honor of the evening’s theme, Swan Lake. Guests sipped spirits while brimming with anticipation of the fun to come as the festivities then moved into the ballroom for the main program.


As the attendees dined on a delectable multi-course meal, they were treated to words from event leaders and Austin’s Mayor Steve Adler, followed by tributes and testimonials on how much Ballet Austin has positively impacted the community. The Fête festivities were capped off with a live auction featuring a custom kitchen package that garnered over $100,000.


After the live auction, the patrons poured back into the ballroom foyer of the W, where the bustling fête*ish after party was taking place. One of Austin’s most popular and well-attended after parties, the guests had the opportunity to take advantage of several unique experiential areas set up throughout the entire ballroom level of the W to revel in the fun. One could be seen dancing the night away to the tunes of DJ Max or tucked away into a smaller room on the ballroom floor posing for caricatures. Others enjoyed a nightcap with friends on the W Terrace, capping off a fabulous evening on a beautiful spring night.


THE PURPOSE: While there were no designated chairs for Fête, Mallory Miller and Stephanie Gossen co-chaired the fete*ish event. The event raised over $500,000 for Ballet Austin. Proceeds from this year’s Fête and fête*ish will support Ballet Austin’s mission of providing exceptional arts education and artistic programming to the Central Texas community.



Mack, Jack & McConaughey 10th Anniversary Gala Raises Over $10 Million

By Rob Giardinelli     Photography by Tyler Schmitt of Mill Photography Studio

THE SETTING: The Moody Theatre at the Austin City Limits Live venue was the recent setting for the 10th annual Mack, Jack & McConaughey gala. The star-studded evening featured close to five hundred of Austin’s most notable philanthropists, VIPs, and music lovers who turned out for a night for the ages, which included tributes, showstopping performances, and an eye-popping fundraising amount.


THE STYLE: The gala’s supporters, who scored an orchestra-level seat at the Moody Theatre, began the evening with an exclusive VIP cocktail party on the terrace. After posing for photos on the red carpet, guests sipped spirits while perusing a beautifully curated array of silent auction items that showcased the ever-popular sports collectibles and art categories.


The festivities then moved to the orchestra level where guests dined on a delicious multi-course meal, while they were treated to the main program, which featured touching tributes and words from the event’s leaders. The action turned into a highly spirited live auction where the top-grossing items included a golf trip throughout Ireland with legendary golfer Sergio Garcia (raising $350,000) and a private stay at a ranch in Cibolo Creek near Marfa (raising $3 million).


An additional 2,000 guests poured into the mezzanine level of the performance space for the evening’s entertainment…a concert by country music superstar Kenny Chesney. Music lovers rejoiced as they danced to his top hits, capping off an unforgettable evening those fortunate to be a part of will not soon forget.


THE PURPOSE: The event, hosted by Mack and Sally Brown, Jack and Amy Ingram, and Matthew and Camilla McConaughey, raised an astounding $10 million for a series of non-profits serving children in Texas that included Dell Children’s Medical Center, HeartGift, Just Keep Livin’ Foundation, and The Rise School Austin. To date, the Mack, Jack & McConaughey event has raised over $20 million and provided over 250,000 children with education, health, and wellness services.



St. David’s Foundation Toast Of The Town Party Series Dazzles With Twenty Events


By Rob Giardinelli     Photography by Matthew Fuller Photography

THE SETTING: A score of Austin’s stunning venues were the recent settings of the Capitol City’s most beloved and popular spring social benefits. This year’s St. David’s Toast Of The Town featured twenty intimate gatherings at a delightfully eclectic mix of popular dining and entertainment locations…as well as in beautiful homes and estates. The happenings attracted over 600 of Austin’s most notable philanthropists and VIPs and featured delightful company, engaging conversation, and unforgettable moments.


[PG 2]: THE STYLE: Guests donned their favorite Austin-chic attire for a diverse series of events that would satisfy even the most discerning sociable. Sports fanatics could attend different athletic-themed events with The University of Texas head football coach Steve Sarkisian and his wife Loreal, the UT Baseball Coach David Pierce, or a private experience at the new Q2 Stadium. Music lovers could spend the evening with either Austin Symphony Orchestra Conductor Peter Bay, legendary Austin musician Roy Benson, or Texas-based GRAMMYÒ Award-winning musician SaulPaul.


Additionally, foodies had the chance to enjoy a champagne dinner featuring Jeffrey’s Sommelier Anthony Schlotzhauer at a home on Lake Austin or a fabulous dinner at Canje in East Austin. Fashionistas could discuss couture fashion with Project Runway alum Sergio Guadarrama. History enthusiasts had the opportunity to spend a one-of-a-kind evening with LBJ Foundation President Mark Updegrove or The University of Texas Chancellor James Milliken. And the legendary journalist Neal Spelce held court while hosting a conversation al fresco, sharing stories of his time in the press pool during the presidency of Central Texas native Lyndon Baines Johnson.


[PLACE ON PG 3:]Each individual party featured two common threads. The first was to hear from a Neal Kocurek Scholarship Alumni, who shared how the scholarship has positively impacted their life. Many of the scholarship recipients have been the first in their families to attend college. All the parties were capped off with a moderated chat with the guest of honor. The guests were able to ask questions after the talk, which kept the interesting conversations flowing well into the evening.


THE PURPOSE: The Toast of the Town party series, chaired by Chandra Hosek with Mary Katherine Stout serving as vice chair, raised over $577,000 for the St. David’s Neal Kocurek Scholarship Program, which, thanks to a matching grant by St. David’s Foundation, raised the total to over $1.7 million. Each year the Neal Kocurek Scholarship Program, Texas’ largest healthcare scholarship program, awards $7,500 scholarships per year for up to eight years to Central Texas high school seniors looking to pursue careers in the medical field.



The Contemporary Austin Hosts Dinner Al Fresco At Waterfront Residence
By Rob Giardinelli Photography by Ben Porter

THE SETTING: The stunning mid-century style Lake Austin home of philanthropist Charles Attal was the recent setting of an al fresco dinner that raised funds for a very worthy cause. Over 120 of the city’s most notable art patrons and VIPs attended the event and were treated to great conversation, food, and musical performances.


THE STYLE: The Austin-chic crowd, wearing their best summery cocktail attire, were wowed the second they arrived at the Attal residence. Guests entered the garden overlooking Lake Austin and descended the staircase that perfectly complemented the beautiful grounds where cocktails and conversations awaited them. As attendees sipped on their libations, they toured the beautiful grounds while getting reacquainted with old friends and making new ones in the process.


Patrons then enjoyed a delectable buffet dinner where guests had their choice of dozens of al fresco bistro-style tables to savor the food and take in the fabulous water views. The festivities then moved to another area of the grounds where several colorful, artistic seating areas awaited them for the entertainment portion of the evening, all designed by Panacea Collective. Austin-born musician Calder Allen captivated the audience with a showstopping performance, capping off a phenomenal evening those fortunate enough to be a part of will not soon forget.


THE PURPOSE: The event raised funds for The Contemporary Austin museum. Proceeds from the event will go towards providing cutting-edge programs and art experiences serving tens of thousands of people in Austin, and beyond, each year.



Helping Hand Home Hosts Annual Crystal Ball Presentation And Gala

By Rose Betty Williams     Photography by Jetter Photography

THE SETTING: The Helping Hand Society celebrated the 79th annual Crystal Ball with a brunch and fashion show, followed by the black tie Debutante Presentation Gala at the Palmer Events Center that evening. More than 2000 guests attended the event. Thirty-eight debutantes, their escorts, and junior escorts were presented along with 151 ninth grade Helping Hand Girls and Boys and 30 First Grade Princesses.


THE STYLE: Dillard’s and Webber Productions presented the fashion show with the Helping Hand Home forever families modeling the latest fashions. Emcee Jim Spencer introduced the Princesses, HH Girls, and HH Debutantes. Then, HHH Executive Director Ted Keyser and HH Society of Austin President Julie Ballard welcomed and thanked supporters, event sponsors, participants and their families, gala co-chairs Kathi Haralson and Tina McCutchin, their committee, and HH Society member volunteers. The gala featured the debutante presentation, a silent auction, a plated dinner by Catering by Rosemary, dancing to the music of Blind Date, and spectacular floral décor created by Westbank Flower Market.


This year’s Helping Hand Crystal Ball debutantes are: Mia Ann Arriaga, Claire Elizabeth Baxter, Evelyn Caruth Berry, Annabel McKenzie Briggs, Lucile Read Brocato, Emma Beth Wilson Brydson, Olivia Claire Chester, Ava Gail Clark, Morgan Adeline Ehlinger, Ella Grace Hicks, Eleanor Kathryn Hutcheson, Miriam Rose Alexander Kessler, Ava Emelia Kizer, Margaret Louise Lee, Bailey Lynn Liverman, Paige Chenault Liverman, Madison Lizabeth Mansour, Grace Cannon May, Amelia Marie McConnico, Daisy Louise McDowell, Meghan Sloane Meserole, Helena Faith Monsivais, Javrey Ann Morales, Margaret Maxine Newton, Barbara Hunter Nokes, Aidan Elizabeth Perry, Mollie Day Richards, Ramsey Ann Richards, Ashley Ellen Settle, Sophia Gant Stokes, Amelia Catherine Strehli, Abigail Masee Szygenda, Elizabeth McFaddin Taylor, Maria Anne Tobias, Elaine Gracen Trotter, Siena Grace Welsh, Brooke Madison Williams, and Kathryn Elizabeth Yonge.


THE PURPOSE: The 2022 Crystal Ball, co-chaired by Kathi Haralson and Tina McCutchin, along with the gala committee of more than 75 HHS members, is the largest fundraiser for HHH. The evening raised more than $1.4 million in support of its mission to provide a nurturing and therapeutic home for children and to restore each child to a healthy family setting. The goal is to protect and restore the lives of victimized children so that those without hope may reclaim their futures. President Ballard noted that HHH is in the final stages of constructing the newly expanded campus. It will include eight new children’s homes, a conference and learning center, a permanent charter school facility, the capacity to double the foster care and adoption program, and the renovation of the current campus facilities.



Ascension Seton’s EASB Havana Nights Breaks Fundraising Record

By Rob Giardinelli       Photography by Ben Porter

THE SETTING: Camp Mabry in Austin was the recent setting for the Elizabeth Ann Seton Board’s Havana Nights event. One of the city’s most anticipated spring social events, this year’s gala included a bevy of sociables and philanthropists. Guests were treated to an evening of food, music, and fun in the evening that had a tropical atmosphere.


THE STYLE: The Austin-chic crowd sported a fun mix of bright, beautiful colors and classic white ensembles that created a vibrant, welcoming environment for all. As guests arrived during the cocktail hour, partygoers sipped spirits from one of the many generously stocked bars and sampled bites from several Havana-inspired food stations featuring delectable bites including empanadas and Cuban sliders.


The action then moved to the open-air tent that was erected on the grounds of Camp Mabry for the main program. As the attendees continued to sample the delicious Cuban fare, they were treated to words from the organization’s leaders like EASB President Caroline Smith, as well as touching tributes and testimonials, including a mission video that highlighted a year in the life of an NICU nurse. Emcee and media personality Anne Hudson Andrews effortlessly kept the evening moving along at a brisk pace and foregoing a live auction, helmed a mobile give to raise more funds. The night was capped off with an after party where revelers danced the night away to the tunes of popular, Texas-based band, Memphis Soul.


THE PURPOSE: The event, co-chaired by Lauren Smith Ford and Katie Owen, raised a record $1.5 million. The proceeds that were raised from the event will support programs, building and equipment needs for Mother/Baby services, and The Marialice Shivers and Dell Children’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at The Kathryn Frances Walker Center for Neonatal Intensive & Family Support at Ascension Seton Medical Center Austin.