The Family Place’s 10th Anniversary Gala Raised $260K To Support Survivors Of Family Violence

By Cynthia Smoot     Photography by Tamytha Cameron and Celeste Cass

THE SETTING: ReuNight co-chairs Brooke Hortenstine, Margaret Stafford and Piper Wyatt, with honorary chair Joyce Goss, welcomed more than 180 attendees to the recent 10th anniversary gala, ReuNight, benefiting The Family Place at the Dallas Petroleum Club.

The Ray of Light theme dazzled the partygoers were escorted to the 13th floor, transformed into a stylish lounge, for cocktails, where they posed for photos at the BuDhaGirl step and repeat before taking in the beautiful view of the Dallas Arts District. Guests enjoyed cocktails, including a Caipirinha specialty cocktail, and canapés, such as black pepper profiteroles with fois gras mousse, Reglis Ova caviar tarts with hearts of palm and chives, and tapioca fritters, as they mingled and enjoyed the cool vibe by DJ RomiQ. At 7:45, the Gospel of Light Choir entered the room singing Oh Happy Day to lead guests to the 14th floor for the seated dinner and live auction. The doors were opened to the Constellation Room, which featured stunning décor by Todd Events and inspired by the event theme, Ray of Light.

THE VIBE:  Tables were dressed in midnight blue linens with floral centerpieces in white and various hues of purple, while black lacquered bars with gold accents sprinkled throughout the space–all under the room’s signature hand-painted ceiling. Guests took their seats and began the first course of the three-course dinner curated by James Beard Semifinalist Chef Junior Borges, which included cured scallops with bonito cream, pickled ginger and finger lime vinaigrette, and laminated brioche, accompanied by Chloe Pinot Grigio.

The ReuNight co-chairs then took the stage for brief remarks followed by The Family Place CEO Mimi Sterling and Board Chair Harold Ginsburg. Patrons began their duo-entrees of Rosewood Wagyu tenderloin and King Crab “Oscar” served with asparagus, ramps and shishito peppers, along with Imagery Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, followed by a yuca and coconut cake with lime ganache, vanilla diplomat and coconut sable, inspired by Chef Borges’ grandmother, served with Mumm Brut Prestige. It was now time for the much-anticipated live auction! The Gospel of Light Choir returned to enthuse the audience with a soulful rendition of We Are Family. Partygoers then bid generously on seven fabulous packages offered with the live auction.

Following that, an inspiring video highlighting The Family Place’s Supportive Living Program was shared, with the program director taking the stage after the viewing, asking donors to dig deeper and support necessary services like the Supportive Living Program A spirited paddle raise ended the program to secure the evening’s goal of $260,000 raised during the night of the event.

THE NON-PROFIT: Funds raised at ReuNight will allow The Family Place to continue empowering survivors of family violence by providing safe housing, counseling, and skills that create independence, while building community engagement and helping families progress from fear to safety.




KidneyTexas Celebrates 21 Years Of The Runway Report

By Cynthia Smoot       Photography by Dana Driensky, Daniel Driensky, Danny Campbell, Sharon Adams, Maurice Ballew



THE SETTING: Sandy Secor, the president of KidneyTexas, Inc., event chair Sharon Ballew, and honorary chair Jolie Humphrey, shouldered the responsibility to take this year’s event virtual, and their gamble paid off with the latest incarnation of The Runway Report. The video opened with a nod to the meaning of the theme Our Sole Mission: Transformations that featured butterflies, having transformed from caterpillars, fluttering away, symbolizing a fresh perspective on life. Scott Murray kept the energy alive as the program’s emcee.


The event’s honorees and award-winners, included Lorraine Meenan, Mary Miller, and Richard Dickerman, M.D.  Also recognized were Barbara Bigham, Patricia Cowlishaw, Emilynn Wilson, Patty Jo Turner, Carole Murray, Patty Caolo, and Nancy Carter.


THE STYLE: The entire event was virtual and streamed to all ticket holders, underwriters, and sponsors. Table hosts at certain levels had champagne, a floral table centerpiece, and lunch provided by Preston Hollow Catering delivered to their home or business for their guests. Teams of society photographers dropped by many host’s homes and captured photos of the fun, virtual event.


The PURPOSE: Funds raised at the KidneyTexas event will provide funding to improve methods of treatment, the search for a cure and prevention of kidney disease, and other kindred or contributory diseases, as well as develop adequate provisions for the care of persons suffering from such conditions.


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The Power of Prevention Shares Inspiring Stories

By Cynthia Smoot         Photography by Thomas Garza



THE SETTING: K&L Gates presented the Power of Prevention, an in-person program featuring former LPGA golfer, Laura Baugh, that benefited the Recovery Resource Council. The enthusiastic supporters gathered at the Hyatt Regency to hear Baugh share her experiences as a young mother touring with the LPGA, her struggles with fame and alcoholism, and her recovery journey to today’s 24-years of sobriety.


THE  STYLE: This was one of the very first in-person events to be held since the pandemic shut down the social scene earlier this year. From temperature-taking to hand sanitizing stations, every precaution was taken to ensure the safety of guests, including theater-style seating to allow attendees to socially distance. Tilda and Ty Beasley, the event chairs, welcomed the event’s attendees and shared the reasons for their leadership. Michael Molthan, host of M2 the Rock, was the program’s emcee. Robin Bagwell and Lauren Gillette issued a challenge for donations.


THE PURPOSE: The Power of Prevention event supports the services the Recovery Resource Council provides to North Texans who struggle to afford and access high-quality mental healthcare, including outpatient and referral services for addiction and substance abuse disorders, counseling for veterans and their families, housing and basic needs assistance for the homeless, and prevention education for at-risk children and youth.


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Star-Studded UNICEF Gala Dallas Dazzles To Set Fundraising Record Of $1.5 Million

By Jake Gaines     Photography by Rick Kern/Getty Images

THE SETTING: Pre-COVID-19, the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Dallas hosted the annual UNICEF Gala Dallas, where 430 guests were on hand for an evening of fun and, more importantly, fundraising for a very worthy cause. The evening featured VIPs from around the world, including former UNICEF President & CEO Caryl Stern, who is now the executive director of the Walton Family Foundation 

The night’s honorees were former Dallas Maverick champ and UNICEF Germany Ambassador Dirk Nowitzki, along with his wife, Jessica Nowitzki, founders of the Dirk Nowitzki Foundation. They have partnered with UNICEF to create and fund a new mental health training module to better evaluate and treat children in trauma cases, and have developed a monthly mentorship program for families, as well. Former Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings presented the Spirit of Compassion Award to the Nowitzkis.

THE STYLE: UNICEF’s adage, For Every Child, was on full throttle during the evening. The festivities began with a cocktail hour where jet setters in for the event mixed with locals to engage in lively conversation before the action began in the ballroom with the main program. After guests dined on a multi-course meal and listened to moving speeches, and a performance by the Texas Boys Choir, followed by a live auction that was full of fantastical items, went underway. The event was capped off by a performance from the band, King Calloway, whose show brought the crowd to their feet. Then, DJ Lucy Wrubel spun for the party-focused crowd. 

THE PURPOSE: The event, co-chaired by Moll Anderson and Jan Miller Rich, with Nancy C. Rogers serving as the honorary co-chair, raised a record-breaking $1.5 million for UNICEF. Advocating for the rights of children around the world to ensure their basic needs are met as well as expanding opportunities so they can reach their full potential is UNICEF’s primary mission.

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Mad Hatter’s Tea Celebrates 32 years Of Fundraising For The Dallas Arboretum

By Cynthia Smoot          Photography by Dana Drienski

THE SETTING: Before COVID-19, MIcah Gilbert, owner of Empressive Earth Gallery, along with his mother, Empress Gilbert, opened the gallery’s stunning showroom to host the Mad Hatter’s Tea’s The Art of Chic Judges and Hat Categories Reveal Party. The Women’s Council President, Venise Stuart, and Patti Flowers, the Mad Hatter’s Tea chair, welcomed guests as everyone wandered through the lavish gallery, which showcased fabulous minerals, fossils and corals.

THE STYLE: Celebrating its 32nd  year, the organization’s main event was canceled due to the COVID- 19 virus shelter-in-place order. It has been an ongoing fundraising affair sponsored by the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. The Mad Hatter categories are: The Art of the Garden: Botanical Beauty; The Art of Music: Sounds of the Season; The Art of Dance: Magical Movement; The Art of Fashion: Fabulously Fashionable; The Art of Chivalry: The Most Elegant of Gentlemen; The Chic Chapeau: Simply Chic: The Marilyn Hailey Award. It’s always a fan favorite and this occasion evoked the spirit of the annual garden party.

THE PURPOSE: The event was chaired by Regina Bruce and Joni Krieg, and Robin Carreker served as the honorary chair. As in the past, Tootsies continued their sponsorship of the Mad Hatter’s Tea fashion show that is produced by the Jan Strimple. The funds that were raised grow and maintain A Woman’s Garden, a nationally acclaimed garden at the Dallas Arboretum. In the spirit of the Mad Hatter’s Tea and to support A Woman’s Garden, a flashback was created, including photos and a video.

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Fashion Group International Dallas Toasts Rising Style Stars

By Cynthia Smoot         Photography by Danny Campbell

THE SETTING:  Fashion Group International of Dallas (FGI Dallas) celebrated its annual Rising Stars gala at the mid-century icon, Statler Dallas Hotel. This year’s event honored the fashion makers in Texas who are achieving notoriety in their region…and beyond. The evening of glamour and excitement praised the community’s individuals and business leaders for their contributions within fashion and its related industries.


The honorees of the evening included Lela Orr of FERRAH (fashion), Barbara Kaiser Harvel and Stephanie Harvel of Kaiser Atelier (accessories), Matt Alexander, proprietor of Neighborhood Goods (retail), Marsi Hubbard of Brite Bar Beauty (beauty), Lea Fisher (art and design), and Samantha Stewart of Style of Sam  (fashion blogging).


THE STYLE:  The evening, emceed by Courtney Kerr, began with many of Dallas’ most fashionable as they mixed and mingled over cocktails and light bites. Guests also had the opportunity to support the nominees at specially created pop-up shops and enjoyed a beauty activation sponsored by Toni & Guy. During the ceremony, guests enjoyed runway shows featuring fashions from the 2020 Rising Star’s fashion nominees, produced by Jan Strimple Productions. It was the place to be to celebrate and admire the state’s thriving fashion scene.


THE PURPOSE:  Fashion Group International, Inc. provides a high-profile forum to promote the fashion business by hosting events that educate and facilitate the exchange of ideas by giving back to the community.


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