Austin History Center Hosts Annual Angelina Eberly Luncheon

By Rob Giardinelli       Photography by Jim Innes and Anne Wheat

THE SETTING: Pre-COVID-19, over 260 of the Capital City’s most notable philanthropists and business leaders, descended upon The Austin Club for the Angelina Eberly Luncheon. One of the most popular annual luncheons in Austin, the afternoon was full of fun and storytelling, creating a history-loving experience. 


THE STYLE: The business-chic crowd began the afternoon in the foyer of the venue with a coffee reception against the backdrop of piano music, which added to the sophisticated elegance in the air. Guests then ascended the staircase to the main ballroom for the next phase of the festivities.


While dining on a delicious multi-course meal, attendees were treated to an engaging program.  Highlights included celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Austin History Center Association, with remarks from AHCA president and former mayor Lee Cooke. The event was capped off with a presentation where attendees learned about Austin’s origins and Mirabeau B.  Lamar’s vision for how Austin would be the seat of Texas.


THE PURPOSE: The event, chaired by Charles Peveto, raised funds for the Austin History Center, which seeks to enrich the memory of Austin and Travis County. Proceeds from the event went towards the funding of the Austin History Center, which is located inside the world-renowned Austin Public Library. 


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Make-A-Wish Of Central And South Texas Celebrates 35 Years In The Region


By Rob Giardinelli     Photography by Emmy Baysden, Rick Cortez Photography, Mary Holguin, Belinda Lee and Lexie Yut

THE SETTING: Before COVID-19, the Four Seasons in Austin was the setting that celebrated a notable milestone of one of the city’s most beloved philanthropic organizations. Close to 400 of Austin’s most notable sociables and V.I.P.’s were on hand for the Make-A-Wish of Central and South Texas’ 35th-anniversary gala. The theme of the evening’s event, Beyond The Glass Slipper, was the perfect way to describe a magical, memorable night in Texas’ Capital City.


THE STYLE: The cocktail-chic crowd began the evening in the ballroom foyer and patio, where after posing for pictures on the red carpet, they were treated to a lively cocktail hour. Guests mingled and sipped spirits while perusing an impressive array of live auction items. Then, the action moved to the ballroom for the main program.


Inside the main ballroom, as attendees dined on a delectable multi-course meal, they listened to a series of heartwarming testimonials of critically ill children, who had received wishes beyond their wildest dreams. The evening continued with a spirited live auction, which included bidding on a piece of artwork, by Jaylah Martinez, a Wish Kid, who recently succumbed to a rare form of cancer. The fun concluded with a lively after-party where guests danced the night away, perfectly capping off a fairytale night.


THE PURPOSE: The event, chaired by Abby Argo and Kendell Kelton, raised over $640,000 for the Make-A-Wish Central and South Texas organization. The mission of Make-A-Wish is to grant wishes to children with critical illnesses, which research has shown can give them a higher chance of survival.


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Austin Opera Guild Hosts Annual Serenata Wine Dinner & Auction Gala

By Rose Betty Williams                Photography by Marjorie Kamys


THE SETTING: Pre-COVID-19, Austin Opera Guild and Austin Opera celebrated the 10th annual Serenata Wine Dinner & Auction at the Four Seasons Hotel Austin with dinner, dancing, and live performances in an evening glittered with Viennese music, cuisine and a memorable tribute to event honorees Elisabeth and Steffen Waltz. 

THE STYLE: Television personality Ron Oliveira emceed Serenata that began with a red carpet welcome replete with eye-catching human statues posed as opera characters, hors d’oeuvres, a cocktail hour and bidding on the silent auction. Once guests were seated in the ballroom, two professional dancers wowed the crowd with a dramatic and colorful waltz. Austin Opera’s General Director & CEO Annie Burridge, Austin Opera Board President Jeff Kodosky and Austin Opera Guild President Cathy Collins thanked event co-chairs Suzanne Breitbach, Paula Damore, Michael Garza and Roger Kahlbau, Austin Opera supporters, event sponsors, underwriters, auction donors, Guild members, and attendees for their tireless efforts and generosity. Serenata featured a stunning performance by opera soprano Alexandra Loutsion followed by a four-course wine dinner, the presentation honoring the Waltzes, the live auction and dancing to the music of The Grooves. 

THE PURPOSE: In addition to the event chairs, the 2020 Serenata committee was comprised of committee chairs Tina Barrett, Megan Bjorkman, Kim Cade, Jennifer Davis, Jim Green, Sue Hoke, Barbara Johnson, Jessica Jones, Monica Servidio and Sharon Sneed and more than 30 Austin Opera Guild volunteers. This is Austin Opera’s largest fundraiser, each year raising more than a quarter-million dollars in support of AOs goal to produce live opera performances for the community and to provide excellent music education to school children. Austin Opera reaches 30,000 community members annually, including 14,000 children through in-person programming, plus thousands more through new digital offerings.


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 Helping Hand Home Hosts Annual Crystal Ball Presentation And Gala

By Rose Betty Williams     Photography by Jetter Photography

THE SETTING: Before COVID-19, the Helping Hand Society celebrated the 77th annual Crystal Ball with a brunch and fashion show and the black tie Debutante Presentation Gala 2020 at the Palmer Events Center. Thirty-four debutantes, their escorts and junior escorts were presented along with 151 ninth grade Helping Hand Girls and Boys and 39 First Grade Princesses.

THE STYLE: Julian Gold and Webber Productions presented the fashion show at the luncheon. Emcee Jim Spencer introduced the Princesses, HH Girls and HH Debutantes. HHH Executive Director Ted Keyser and HH Society President Becky Roche welcomed and thanked the HHH supporters, event sponsors, underwriters, auction donors, the participants, their families and HH Society members for their talents, tireless efforts and generosity. The capacity crowd applauded loudly when nine former HH presidents made a surprise appearance, modeling the latest fashions on the runway. The gala featured the debutante presentation, a silent auction, a buffet dinner by Catering by Rosemary and dancing to the music of Blind Date.

This year’s Helping Hand Crystal Ball debutantes are: Catherine Amlar Adams, Kathryn Paige Anderson, Saylor Grace Barton, Larson Lane Beck, Lara Reyne Bell, Eloise Jane Breckbill, Emma Rose Breckwoldt, Caroline Merritt Pasfield Brigham, Jennifer Sara Chafizadeh, Caroline Alexander Daniel, Allison Spencer Durrett, Megann Simms Ehrlich, Hailey Elizabeth Gove, Ann Campbell Griffin, Julie Morgan Howden, Katherine MacLeod Huffstutler, Mary Claire Kemper, Avery Elaine McCall, Julia Barnes McIntyre, Louisa Michelle Nash, Mary Margaret Oden, Jillian Renee Perry, Isabella Grace Porter, Caroline Avery Ryan, Sallie Ann Seiders, Kathryn Alexis Shirley, Samantha Larke Smith, Avery Paige Smitheal, Rachel Elizabeth Stewart, Mary Caroline Taaffe, Zoë Michelle Taylor, Evelyn Clara Voelter, Anna Elinor Whitehead, and Rory Suzanne Williams.

THE PURPOSE: The 2020 Crystal Ball was co-chaired by Julie Baselice and Ginnie Wilcox, along with a gala committee comprised of more than 70 Helping Hand Society member volunteers. It is the largest fundraiser for the Helping Hand Home for Children, raising more than $1.4 million 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.

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Center For Child Protection’s PlayBingo Raises Funds

By Rob Giardinelli         Photography by Christina Murphy and Haley Plotkin

THE SETTING: Pre-COVID-19, Austin’s JW Marriott Hotel was the setting for one of Austin’s most anticipated annual events. Over 1,200 of the Capital City’s most influential female voices gathered at the PlayBingo ladies luncheon for an unforgettable afternoon of fun and fundraising…with a few dazzling prizes thrown in for good measure.

THE STYLE: The welcoming spirit of the event was felt the second guests stepped off of the escalators and into the ballroom foyer, where one could find the crowd delightfully swept up in the spirit of the occasion. While perusing over 140 silent auctions, one could spot quite a few cohesive looks, which was done by design. Most of the tables of 10 dressed thematically in complementary ensembles of white, black, and pastel colors, with several sporting feathers, which gave the event an added punch of fun. The festivities continued in the grand ballroom of the JW Marriott for the main event–bingo. As the games were played, several winners claimed their prizes, capping off the afternoon with a final award, which was a raffle ticket for a car courtesy of Mercedes Benz of Austin.

THE PURPOSE: PlayBingo, put on by the Friends of Christopher Guild, raised over $885,000 for the Center for Child Protection, which is a nationally accredited children’s advocacy center offering services such as forensic interviews, counseling, and medical exams to children who have witnessed violent crimes or are suspected victims of physical or sexual abuse. For the first time ever, the PlayBingo Ladies Luncheon is going virtual. Join them on October 24 for a fabulous afternoon benefiting the Center for Child Protection. Individual and House Party tickets start at $150 and are available, until sold out, through October 1. For more information, visit

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CASAblanca Gala 2020 Smashes Fundraising Records

By Rob Giardinelli Photography by Chad W. Adams

THE SETTING: The Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa was the recent setting for the annual CASAblanca Gala 2020. In total, a sold-out crowd of over 1,000 V.I.P.s, sociables, and community advocates took part in an evening of fun and fundraising that those fortunate enough to be a part of will not soon forget.

THE STYLE: The warmth of the event was evident the moment guests arrived for the V.I.P. pre-party in the Omni Barton Creek’s Hill Country Pavilion. Here, against the backdrop of gorgeous, twilight Hill Country views–the dapper, black tie patrons enjoyed their favorite spirits while perusing the impressive array of live and silent auction items up for bid during the evening.

The action then moved to the main ballroom for the evening’s program. As patrons dined on a delicious multi-course meal, they were treated to touching mission moments from several of CASA’s most prominent supporters and advocates. Next came a spirited live auction and fund-a-need that raised over  $1 million. The evening was capped off with a casino after party where revelers celebrated well into the night the success of another fabulous CASAblanca gala.

THE PURPOSE: The event, co-chaired by Holly Mace Massingill and Gavin Massingill, raised a record $1.7 million for CASA of Travis County. Standing for Court Appointed Special Advocates, CASA provides dedicated advocates to abused and neglected children to speak out for their best interests in court. This year’s gala proceeds will allow 850 children the powerful voice of a CASA volunteer in the coming year.

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