Darrell K. Royal Alzheimers Foundation’s 4th and Goal Gala Raises Breaks Fundraising Record.

By Rob Giardinelli – Photography by Ben Porter

THE SETTING: The Moody Theatre at ACL Live in Austin was recently the setting for the annual 4th and Goal gala. Several hundred of Texas’ most notable philanthropists and sociables were treated to an special evening that combines sport, music and philanthropy like no other in the state and the result was a magical evening those on hand will not soon forget.


THE STYLE: The fun began in the foyer of the ACL Theatre with a cocktail hour where partygoers were able to mingle, socialize and sip spirits while perusing an impressive array of sporty silent auction items that included among other things a private tour of Jay Leno’s one-of-a-kind car collection.

The festivities then moved inside for the main program. Against the backdrop of replay highlights commemorating the silver anniversary of the legendary 1969 game where Texas defeated Arkansas 15-14 en route to their 1969 NCAA championship, guests dined on a multi-course meal that was capped off with individual chocolate cakes in the shape of Texas. The evening continued with an impressive live auction that included a BMW X7, which fetched $127,000 and a bucket list experience with Andrea Bocelli in Italy that scored $195,000. The night was capped off in style by a performance from The Doobie Brothers, who brought the crowd to their feet, as they sang along to new songs and legendary tunes by the iconic band.


THE PURPOSE: The evening raised over $1.6 million for the Darrell K. Royal Research Fund for Alzheimer’s Disease. The mission of the DKR Fund is to provide excellence in research and care for Texas to attempt to cure Alzheimer’s in our lifetimes.




The Rise School Austin’s Travel The Vine Event Raises Key Funds

By Rob Giardinelli – Photography by Tyler Schmitt and Nostalgia Photo Booth

THE SETTING: The Hotel Van Zandt in Austin was the recent setting for The Rise School’s annual Travel the Vine event. The evening featured over 300 of the city’s philanthropists and wine lovers for an evening of food, wine, and conversation.


THE STYLE: The Austin-chic crowd kicked off the night with a cocktail hour in the ballroom foyer of the Van Zandt where VIP’s sipped their favorite spirit, and many wines of choice, while searching through the impressive array of silent auction items up for bid.

The action then turned to the main ballroom for the evening’s program. As guests dined on a scrumptious multi-course meal, they were treated to words by Chris Wilbratte, the board co-chair, and Hannah Bricker, the organization’s program director. The evening was capped off with the main event, the annual wine auction. Bidders had the opportunity to purchase one of thirteen luxury wine packages, which included a getaway to Telluride, Nestled in Napa, and The Best of Sonoma wine experiences and a seven-night getaway for eight in Siena, Tuscany.


THE PURPOSE: The event raised over $460,000 for The Rise School Austin. The mission of The Rise School is to provide an education of the highest quality for all children ages 12 months to five years–gifted, traditional, and developmentally delayed in an inclusive environment to allow all children to reach their fullest potential.




SAFE Austin’s Annual Storybook Gala Was Sweet Perfection

By Rob Giardinelli – Photography by DeAnn Hoeft and Ruben Morales

THE SETTING: Austin’s JW Mariott hotel was the recent setting for the annual SAFE Storybook gala. This year’s Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory theme ensured there would be yet another great chapter to one of the most anticipated social events of the fall season in the Capital City. In total, the 750 in attendance were treated to a sweet evening of fun and fundraising.

 THE STYLE: The black-tie partygoers began the evening in the ballroom foyer of the JW with a cocktail hour, which included children who played the roles of the Golden Ticket Winners from the iconic movie, along with Oompa Loompa characters, who effortlessly mixed and mingled with the crowd. As the doors opened to the main ballroom, patrons connected with their inner child complete with table displays of lollipops and other confection goodies that ensured even more good times were ahead.

Guests were treated to a multi-course meal that was capped off with a dessert that featured cracking a golden egg in the middle of each table to reveal delicious candy bites for all to enjoy. The evening continued with a spirited live auction that included a host of items perfect for  world travelers with trips to Italy, Sri Lanka, France, and Thailand among the items that captured everyone’s Pure Imagination. The festivities continued when the Guardian Award was presented to Dr. Upali Weerasooriya for his continued and unwavering support of SAFE. The festivities were capped off with two raffles, from Calvin’s Fine Jewelry and  Mercedes Benz of Austin, which were the cherries on top of a perfect evening.

 THE PURPOSE: The event, co-chaired by Jay and Kelley Lamy, raised over $1.1 million for The SAFE Alliance. SAFE provides stability and healing to all of those who have lived through violence and abuse through housing, prevention programs, and support services to help stop the cycle of abuse.




Seton Development Board’s Paint The Town Pink Gala Dazzles

By Rob Giardinelli – Photography by James French Photography

THE SETTING: The Four Seasons in Austin was the recent setting for the 42nd annual Seton Development Board gala. The evening featured over 400 of the capital city’s most notable philanthropists and sociables who were on hand for an evening full of fun and fundraising.

THE STYLE: The black-tie crowd began the evening with a cocktail hour in the ballroom foyer that spilled  onto the terrace, which was lovely on such a picture-perfect evening. Women were spotted in elegant ballgowns in  an eclectic array of black, metallic, and solid colors, including several who took the Paint the Town Pink theme to heart in many shades of the lovely hue. The men looked dapper as well in a mix of traditional tuxedos as well as ensembles featuring white, blue, and velvet dinner jackets.

The festivities then moved into the main ballroom where celebrity florist David Kurio transformed the space into a lush, pink oasis that had everyone in awe. As guests dined on a delectable, multi-course meal, they were treated to the evening’s main program. Highlights included the presentation  of the Daughters of Charity Mission Award to Mary Ann and Andrew Heller, a heads or tails auction that included a gift certificate to The Menagerie jewelry store, and a Tito’s tailgate package including a Traeger grill and a Tito’s cooler full of goodies. The night was capped off with dancing to toast the success of an evening that left everyone tickled pink.

 THE PURPOSE: The event, co-chaired by Acia Moody and Leigh Richards, raised over $450,000 for the Seton Development Board. Proceeds from this year’s event will benefit capital projects, patient care, and technology at the Ascension Seton Breast Care Center. Since it was founded in 1977, the Seton Development Board has raised over $15 million for an array of Seton services and projects.




Women’s Symphony League 65th Annual Jewel Ball And Luncheon Features Brooke Shields

By Rob Giardinelli  –  Photography by Darcie Westunderland


THE SETTING: The Palmer Events Center in Austin was the recent setting for the Women’s Symphony League’s 65th Annual Jewel Ball and Luncheon. Over the course of two days, nearly 1,700 of Austin’s social, fashion and philanthropic dynamos were a part of the festivities, which included the presentation of this year’s debs with a special appearance by fashion icon Brooke Shields.

THE STYLE: The first day of events commenced with the fashion show luncheon featuring over 600 of Austin’s top fashionistas. The cocktail-chic patrons began the festivities with a VIP reception where adoring guests had the opportunity to take their photo with the guest of honor, Brooke Shields. The fun then moved into the main auditorium for lunch and the afternoon program. Highlights of the luncheon included a fashion show featuring the season’s top looks from Julian Gold as well as a conversation with Brooke Shields that was effortlessly moderated by Rank & Style CEO Jamie Chandlee.

The pageantry continued into the second day of events culminating with the 65th Annual Jewel Ball presentation. Over 1,000 black-tie patrons began their evening with a cocktail hour where  conversations flowed and families mingled, while also bidding on their favorite  silent auction items. The fun time continued as the crowd took to their seats for the main jewel ball presentation, which in addition to the Austin debs featured eight visiting Jewels from Texas and beyond. The evening concluded  as the Jewel’s and their families danced the night away, capping off an incredible two days that those on hand  will not soon forget.

THE PURPOSE: The Jewel Ball Fashion Luncheon was co-chaired by Lisa Barton and Kerri Ann Chambless, while The Jewel Ball was co-chaired by Christy Merritt and Christy Werner. Proceeds from the events benefited the Women’s Symphony League of Austin  and the Austin Symphony Orchestra, the oldest continually performing symphony in Texas, with a presence in the state for over 100 years.



Harry Ransom Center Launches Modernist Networks: The Annette-Campbell White Collection Exhibit

By Rob Giardinelli  –  Photography by Pete Smith and Chad Wadsworth


THE SETTING: Austin’s Harry Ransom Center on the University of Texas Campus recently hosted the opening of Modernist Networks: The Annette-Campbell White Collection exhibit. The event drew 350 of the city and state’s most passionate artistic and literary patrons for an evening of creativity, fun and most importantly, the rare opportunity to view letters, books and manuscripts from some of the world’s most notable Modernist writers.

THE STYLE: The Austin-chic crowd began the evening with a VIP cocktail reception on the mezzanine level of the Harry Ransom Center where patrons mingled with the guest of honor, Annette-Campbell White. The reception included remarks by Campbell-White, who also debuted her memoir Beyond Market Value: A Memoir of Book Collecting and the World of Venture Capital, which provides the back story to the selection and highlights of her collection.

Upon completion of the reception, the action moved downstairs to view the opening of the exhibit. Guests had the opportunity to be the first to see the exhibit, which includes manuscripts of such literary icons  such as T. S. Eliot, Stéphane Mallarmé, Virginia Woolf, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Joseph Conrad, and many others. It is a must-see for anyone interested in Modernist authors and works.

THE PURPOSE: The exhibit is on display at the Harry Ransom Center through January 5, 2020. Featuring nearly one million books, 42 million manuscripts, five million photographs and 100,000 works of art, The Harry Ransom Center preserves the worlds’ most important literary and artistic collections and makes them accessible to researchers from around the world.