St. David’s Foundation Celebrates 35th Season Of Toast of the Town

By Rob Giardinelli Photography by Matthew Fuller, Robert Godwin and Matt Lankes


THE SETTING: St. David’s Foundation recently celebrated a milestone in its annual Toast of the Town party series. Over the past 35 years, each Toast season has featured a series of intimate experiences at many of Austin’s most celebrated and exclusive event venues. This year’s Toast party season featured a record-setting 23 events that showcased the various interests and capped off another fabulous social season in Texas’ capital city.

THE STYLE: This year’s series of events featured a wide range of fun experiences ranging from intimate dinners for 12 to cocktails for 40. Sports enthusiasts were able to have lunch and a sideline conversation with UT Football Coach Tom Herman, while those wanting to learn about presidential history could experience an evening with the LBJ Foundation’s Mark Updegrove. Attendees who wanted to let down their hair were able to socialize and cut a rug on the dance floor at the Real Housewives of Lake Austin event, or learn more about what it is really like behind the scenes of the hit NBC series The Voice with contestant and Austinite, Reid Umstattd. Lastly, a series of curated, five-star events wouldn’t be complete without experiencing food and wine at some fabulous dinner parties. The Toast party season began with an intimate dinner for 12 atop the Austonian and concluded with dinner for 20 featuring Master Sommelier, Ian Cauble.

Each of the 23 experiences, while unique in theme, have a cohesive aesthetic that is evident the second you walk into any of the events. Each party features Austin Sociables donning their finest Austin-chic attire that perfectly complemented the warm, late-spring air. The intimate events are always highlighted and featured a warm welcome from one of the party hosts and a brief message from one of the scholarship recipients on how the St. David’s Foundation has positively impacted their life.

THE PURPOSE: St. David’s Foundation Toast of the Town, chaired by Ellen Troxclair with Cassie Bale serving as vice chair, raised $1.65 million for the St. David’s Neal Kocurek Scholarship Program. Since it’s founding, over 550 students have received scholarships, currently set at 7,500 dollars per year, for those seeking to pursue health-related careers at Texas colleges and universities.



Fifth Annual Global Wildlife Conservation Event Dazzles

By Rob Giardinelli Photography by Georges Schemagin and Michael Kovac, Getty Images for Global Wildlife Conservation 


THE SETTING: Austin City Limits Live at the Moody Theater was the recent setting for the fifth annual Wild Night for Wildlife gala supporting the Global Wildlife Conservation. The event drew over 550 of the top sociables, philanthropists and community leaders from Austin and around the country for a night of epic fun and fundraising.

THE STYLE: The excitement was palpable for attendees as they ascended the steps to the second floor exterior mezzanine for the VIP cocktail reception. After posing for pictures on the red carpet, guests, dressed in their finest Austin-chic attire, mingled about the friendly crowd. The festivities moved inside to the Moody Theatre for the evening’s program where emcee Tate Donovan effortlessly kept the patrons entertained as they dined on a delectable, multi-course vegetarian menu. Highlights of the program included a spirited live-auction, a fireside chat with UN Goodwill Ambassador for Biodiveristy Edward Norton and Global Wildlife Conservation board chair Brian Sheth discussing the importance of conservation and saving endangered species. The festivities were capped off by a show-stopping performance by Austin’s own Queen of Soul, Temeca Jones.

THE PURPOSE: The event, chaired by Kelly Green and Julie Jumonville, and hosted by Brian and Adria Sheth, raised over four million dollars for the Global Wildlife Conservation. The mission of the GWC is to support the diversity of life on Earth through scientific research, biodiversity exploration, habitat conservation, protected area management, wildlife crime prevention, endangered species recovery and conservation leadership.


Elizabeth Ann Seton Board’s Live From ATX! Gala Dazzles

By Rob Giardinelli Photography by Ben Porter  


THE SETTING: A picture perfect evening at Austin’s Camp Mabry was the recent setting for the 28th Annual EASB Live from ATX! event. This year’s gathering attracted over 1,200 of Austin’s sociables, philanthropists and community leaders for an evening of fun and fundraising.

THE STYLE: Dressed in their finest chic spring attire, the revelry began with a cocktail hour under the beautiful early evening sun, creating a welcoming and festive environment where old friends reacquainted and new friends were made. Partygoers were then asked to proceed inside the large, open aired tent on the Camp Mabry grounds for the evening’s program.

Once inside, guests dined al fresco at their tables where the conversation continued to flow as beautifully as the gentle breezes that wafted throughout the tent. The program featured a live auction where guests robustly engaged in bidding on an array of luxury packages and VIP experiences. The program concluded with a show-stopping performance by musician and Texas native, Shinyribs. The fun continued well into the night with an after party where partygoers danced the night away under the stars to the tunes of LC Rocks.

THE PURPOSE: The event, chaired by Lisa Miller and Ann Townsend, raised over $1.4 million for the Marialice Shivers Regional NICU and Mother Baby Services for the Ascension Seton Medical Center. Since 1992, the event has raised over 16 million dollars for support programs and community health centers in Central Texas.



ZACH Theatre’s Annual Red, Hot & Soul Gala

By Rob Giardinelli Photography by Charles Quinn Photography 


THE SETTING: The grounds of the Zachary Scott Theatre in Austin played center stage for one of Austin’s most anticipated annual events, ZACH’s Red, Hot and Soul gala. Amid the backdrop of a picture perfect late spring evening, over 420 of Austin’s most notable patrons of the arts enjoyed a memorable evening of fabulous performances and fun.

THE STYLE: The black-tie crowd began the evening in the grand lobby and Serra Sky Lounge of the Topfer Theatre for cocktails. The Naughty, But Nice theme of the event was evident in the attire as partygoers sported nice monochromatic black or white ensembles with pops of red to showcase a dash of naughty. The festivities then moved to the Bobbi Pavilion for the evenings program where guests were treated to a multi-course meal as they applauded a series of performances from current and upcoming ZACH works. Then, the spirited live auction that featured items including a private villa in Acapulco and Ski Week at the St. Regis in Aspen went into full action mode. Capping off the evening was a Happiest Ever After after-party where guests ventured onto the Topfer Theatre stage where the crowd danced the night away and toasted a successful evening of fun and revelry.

THE PURPOSE: The event, chaired by Jeremy Guiberteau and Dan Jackson, and Bobbi Topfer serving as honorary chair, raised over $730,000 for Zachary Scott Theatre’s educational programs, which service over 55,000 students and children annually.



Helping Hand Home Hosts Annual Crystal Deb Presentation And Gala

By Rose Betty Williams Photography by James French Photography

THE SETTING: The Helping Hand Society recently celebrated the 2019 Crystal Ball Brunch And  Fashion Show and black tie Debutante Presentation Gala at the Palmer Events Center. Thirty-two debutantes, their escorts and junior escorts were presented along with 165 ninth grade Helping Hand Girls and Boys and 41 First Grade Princesses.


THE STYLE: The fashion show was presented by Julian Gold and Webber Productions, and the brunch cuisine was provided by Catering by Rosemary, which also catered the Presentation Gala dinner. The debutantes and their fathers enjoyed the first dance followed by the capacity crowd of participants and Helping Hand Society member families, Helping Hand Home supporters, event sponsors, underwriters and friends dancing to the music of the Blind Date.


The 2019 Helping Hand Crystal Ball debutantes are: Lily Balagia, Julia Breeden, Ellie Brumley, Ellen Campbell, Abby Chambless, Marilee Cowden, Cate Davis, Abigail Downing, Carlisle Dunnam, Merritt Fish, MaryAlex Frishman, Tucker Garrison, Claire Gill, Grace Gilmour, Elle Hansen, Suzanne Huff, Sophie Johnson, Mary Frances Kocurek, Olivia Late, Olivia Mansour, Susie McCartt, Libby McFarland, Marina Monsivias, Frances Newton, Carter Nokes, Molly Pitts, Anna Louise Sanders, Anna Claire Smith, Ellie Strehli, Cameron Thompson, Josie Turlington and Cate Von Dohlen.


THE PURPOSE: This year’s gala was co-chaired by Stacy Turlington Dollar and Susie Meserole with a committee of more than 70 Helping Hand Society member volunteers, including HHH President Julie Metzger. The Crystal Ball is the largest fundraiser for the Helping Hand Home for Children. It raised more than 1.3 million dollars in support of the Helping Hand Home’s mission: to provide a nurturing and therapeutic home for children and to restore each child to a healthy family setting. The goal of the organization is to protect and restore the lives of victimized children so that those without hope may reclaim their futures.



Fashion X Austin Features Showcases Designers From Both Sides Of The World

By Rob Giardinelli          Photography by Gregg Cestaro, Charles Linn and Fashion X

THE SETTING: Fashion X Austin recently held its annual Austin Fashion Week, with nearly a dozen events around Austin, over the course of ten days. In the process, several thousand of Austin’s most stylish were on hand to celebrate fashion and philanthropy. The week’s festivities were capped off with three runway nights that honored three stylish women, each of whom make a tremendous impact on Austin by giving back to the city they love.

THE STYLE: The fashionistas attending the three main runways shows on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening sported their best Austin-chic attire with those wearing fashion-forward looks blending perfectly with those who wore timeless pieces. In addition to a Style Setter being featured each night, Thursday featured a show of emerging designers who competed in the Bernina Fashion Showcase. Friday’s theme, Celebrate Texas, showcased a slate of top designers from around the state. The festivities concluded on Saturday night with Moda X Australia featuring collections of eight designers from Austin’s Sister City Down Under: Adelaide, Australia.

THE PURPOSE: A portion of the proceeds honoring Thursday Style Setter Natasa Valocchi benefited Ballet Austin. A portion of the proceeds honoring Friday Style Setter JK Baxter Hunt benefited ARC of the Capital Cities. A portion of the proceeds honoring Saturday Style Setter Lesa Rossick benefited Relay for Life.