STORY OF SONG

STORY OF SONG

Change Sings At The SAFE Storybook Gala

By Rob Giardinelli Photography by Konstantin Belyshev and Justin Rouhier

THE SETTING: The Omni Barton Creek Resort in Austin was the recent setting for a night of fun and fundraising. Over 600 attendees were on hand for the annual SAFE Storybook Gala. The cocktail-attired crowd began the evening with drinks in the foyer outside the venue’s ballroom. Guests were encouraged to wear their favorite attire to showcase their musical flair as a nod to the theme of the evening, Change Sings. As partygoers sipped on their favorite spirits, they had the opportunity to peruse silent auction items, receive a personalized poem courtesy of Typewriter Rodeo, and mingle with other revelers.

 

THE STYLE: The festivities then moved into the ballroom for the main program. As guests dined on their delicious multi-course meals, they were treated to highly impactful testimonials from the organization’s leaders and those who have benefitted from SAFE’s services. Next came a spirited live auction with many fabulous items, the highlight of which was a private in-home dining experience with Uchiko’s Tyson Cole, which sold twice for $30,000 each.

 

The evening was capped off by giving the SAFE Guardian Award to Frankie Fowler, who was recognized for her tireless contributions to the organization. Upon receiving the award, she was surprised by an onstage performance by the Austin Chapter of the Texas Gospel Choir, whose beautiful songs brought tears to the eyes of many, and the crowd to their feet, ending the evening on a high note.

 

THE PURPOSE: The event, co-chaired by Pamela Benson Owens and Diane Land, raised over $900,000 for The SAFE Alliance. Funds raised from the event will provide services for children and adults of abuse, including shelter, face-to-face and digital support, advocacy, prevention, and educational programs.

WILD KINGDOM

WILD KINGDOM

Houston Zoo’s Centennial Ball Is Smashing Success

By Jennifer Roosth Photography by Daniel Ortiz

THE SETTING: A record-breaking crowd of more than 700 Houstonians dressed in black tie, gowns, and glamour joined together for a once-in-a-lifetime celebration of 100 years of the Houston Zoo. Guests met and mingled among live animals, including a North American porcupine, a tarantula, and an American alligator, before entering the tented Masihara Pavilion, which had been turned into a gorgeous and elegant al fresco ballroom. City Kitchen served a delectable, multi-course dinner, which was followed by a spirited live auction.

 

THE STYLE: The evening was filled with sentiment and animal love as Houston Zoo President and CEO Lee Ehmke expressed how truly remarkable it was for the Houston Zoo to reach its centennial anniversary and, above all, to celebrate the momentous occasion with the zoo’s closest friends and supporters. He honored Kathrine McGovern for always seeing the Zoo’s potential and turning dreams into reality. He emphasized how the smiles and laughter of Zoo visitors, especially children, are a powerful reminder that her generosity will bring joy and inspiration for generations to come. The after party was chaired by Chita and Lane Craft, with the Georgia Bridgewater Orchestra keeping revelers dancing past midnight.

 

THE PURPOSE: This year’s sold-out event, hosted by co-chairs Kelli and John Weinzierl and Kelley and Stephen Lubanko, and honoring Kathrine McGovern, raised $2.3 million to support the Houston Zoo. Highlights of the live auction included naming rights for the Zoo’s Galapagos tortoise, which sold twice for $47,000 after a lively bidding war.

WESTERN FLAIR

WESTERN FLAIR

Witte Museum Hosts 52nd Annual Witte Game Dinner

By Jake Gaines Photography by Trisha Lindsey Photography and Parish Photography

THE SETTING: More than 850 of San Antonio’s community leaders and philanthropists, dressed in their finest western attire, gathered to enthusiastically support the Witte Museum at the 52nd Annual Witte Game Dinner, presented by Embrey. The event’s theme, A Prickly Pear Affair, reflected a bountiful return, represented by the sumptuous pear of the cactus, from the prickly period of the pandemic. And it was a bountiful evening indeed, with an abundance of delicious South Texas game cuisine by The RK Group, cocktails, and spirited conversation.

THE STYLE: Attendees entered through the Valero Great Hall at the Witte Museum, adorned with cacti and bathed in hues of pink and green, where they had photos taken and socialized with friends during a cocktail hour that filled the museum campus. As they sipped on prickly pear margaritas, available throughout the galleries, the attendees re-connected with friends and enjoyed passed hors d’oeuvres and the famous Gordita stations to whet their appetites for what was to come.

The celebration continued to the Mays Family Center for the main event. Susan Naylor, The Feik Family Foundation, and SWBC were honored with Texas Heritage awards for their transformational support of the Witte Museum and visionary leadership in the city and across the state of Texas, as attendees enjoyed a multi-course meal including chicken fried quail, venison enchiladas and bison sliders. A robust live auction followed, with guests enthusiastically bidding before Cory Morrow provided the live music as the event’s revelry continued into the night.

THE PURPOSE: The event, chaired by Margaret and Ryan Pape and supported by a superstar committee, is the Witte Museum’s largest annual fundraiser, providing funding for the museum’s education programs, operations and exhibitions. SWBC announced a significant gift to underwrite the Land Stewardship Ambassador program, and other funds raised will support the Witte’s efforts to care for irreplaceable collections, advance new research and help ensure nearly 350,000 school-aged children and their families can experience all the museum has to offer, both in person and remotely.

PERFECT PARK-ING SPOT

PERFECT PARK-ING SPOT

Mumford & Sons Headlines Waterloo Greenway Conservancy’s Gala

By Rob Giardinelli Photography by Tyler Schmitt, Mill Photography Studio

THE SETTING: A picture-perfect fall evening at Waterloo Greenway Park in downtown Austin was the recent setting for a fabulous night of dining and music al fresco for a worthy cause. Over 700 of the city’s most notable sociables, philanthropists, and community leaders were on hand for the second annual Glow in the Park, which has quickly become one of the most anticipated events of the fall social season.

 

THE STYLE: The attire? It was “cocktail with a twist” as partygoers mixed cocktail gowns and suits with sneakers that were ideal for the evening’s festivities. The cocktail hour was held on the concourse of the Moody Amphitheatre under a beautiful and shaded tree canopy, where patrons mingled as they brimmed with anticipation for all the fun ahead.

 

The festivities then moved down to the lawn of the Moody Amphitheatre for the main program, where partygoers gasped as they descended the stairs onto the lawn, which had been transformed into a stunning al fresco ballroom. As guests dined on a delectable family-style meal courtesy of MML hospitality, they were treated to words by the organization’s leaders, as community leaders Gary Farmer and Chris Mattson were honored for their dedication to the venue.

 

Next came a live auction and paddles up that raised over $500,000 and included such notable items as a Party Like a Rockstar experience at the Moody Amphitheatre, an International Foodie Lovers trip, and a dinner with world-renowned chef Mathew Peters, being among the most popular. The evening was capped off with a show-stopping performance by Mumford & Sons, whose tunes brought the crowd to their feet and ensured the fun lasted well into the night.

 

THE PURPOSE: The event, co-chaired by Sabrina Brown and Jamie Chandlee, with Susan and Gary Farmer and Chris Mattson serving as honorary chairs, raised over $1.9 million for the Waterloo Greenway Conservancy. Funds raised from the event provide free programs and access to the 11-acre public greenspace located in downtown Austin, which includes one and a half miles of scenic trails, playscapes, and the world-class 5,000 seat capacity Moody Amphitheatre.

BRIGHT FUTURE AHEAD

BRIGHT FUTURE AHEAD

Seton Development Board’s Hosts 45th Annual Gala

By Rob Giardinelli Photography by Ben Porter

THE SETTING: The Four Seasons in downtown Austin was the recent setting for one of the Capital City’s most beloved and anticipated fall events. It was the 45th annual Seton Development Board gala, where over 300 philanthropists, sociables, and community leaders turned out for an evening of fun and fundraising.

 

THE STYLE: The black tie optional crowd sported an elegant mix of tuxedos and suits, ballgowns, and cocktail dresses with many vibrant colors spotted in the crowd. The Create the Future theme perfectly accented the cheerful color palette of whites, oranges, yellows, and pinks that dazzled the patrons on hand. The festivities began with a lively cocktail hour where guests posed for photos against a gorgeous floral step and repeat upon arrival. Conversations were had both inside and out as many partygoers opted to have their libations al fresco while enjoying the crisp autumn air.

 

The action then moved inside to the Four Seasons ballroom for the main program. As the attendees dined on their multicourse meals, they were treated to a series of touching tributes and words from organizational and community leaders on how much the Seton Development Board has positively impacted Central Texas in the past and how it will continue to do so in the future. After the program concluded, guests returned to the ballroom foyer and terrace for a nightcap reception.

 

THE PURPOSE: The event, co-chaired by Caroline Trube and Ashli Knust, raised over $580,000. Funds raised from this year’s gala will go toward providing support for women’s healthcare needs in Central Texas and beyond. Over the past 45 years, this storied event has raised over $15 million for a variety of Ascension Seton Healthcare projects and initiatives.

LIKE CHILD’S PLAY

LIKE CHILD’S PLAY

Children’s Museum of Houston Hosts Viva Las Vegas Theme Gala

By Rob Giardinelli Photography by Alexander’s Fine Portrait Design

THE SETTING: The Corinthian in Houston was the recent setting for one of the most anticipated social events of the fall season. The Children’s Museum of Houston’s Viva Las Vegas gala attracted over 500 philanthropists and sociables for an evening of fun and fundraising that those fortunate enough to be a part of will not soon forget.

 

THE STYLE: The black tie crowd began the evening in style as guests ascended the grand staircase to the venue’s mezzanine level for cocktails. Partygoers had the opportunity to pose with Vegas performers, including an Elvis impersonator himself, for a photo to commemorate the evening. Once inside, as guests mingled, they perused the impressive array of silent auction packages generously donated by local merchants.  

 

The festivities then moved to the ballroom level of the venue for the main program. As guests dined on their delectable, multi-course meal, they were treated to words from the organization’s leaders. Next was the live auction where patrons bid on an array of items, including a week in Aspen, a Houston Astros game day experience, and a private overnight party at The Children’s Museum of Houston, which sold twice. The fun continued well into the night as revelers took part in a casino, which capped off the fabulous evening experience.

 

THE PURPOSE: The event, co-chaired by Disney and Max Harris, Lexi and Michael Marek, and Liz and Crosby Scofield, raised over $950,000 for the Children’s Museum of Houston. Funds raised from the event will go towards an array of innovative exhibits and bilingual learning programs for children 12 years of age and under.