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.



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.



Paige Fertitta, Santa, Patsy Fourticq and Greg Fourticq

Sixteenth Annual Santa’s Elves Event Benefits The University of Texas MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital

By Jennifer Roosth         Photography courtesy of The University of Texas MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital

Tilman Fertitta and Blayne Fertitta

A festive group of Houstonian holiday partiers, more than 350 in attendance, got in the holiday spirit for the 16th annual Santa’s Elves party benefiting The University of Texas MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital. In fact, it’s the first in-person Santa’s Elves since 2019.

Nick and Angeliki Vrakas & Michael Fertitta

Of course, Santa Claus himself was in attendance as well as event’s founders, Patsy Fourticq and Gregory Fourticq, Jr., and the entire Tilman Fertitta family. The Fertitta children, Michael, Patrick, Blayne, and Blake, took the stage to welcome MD Anderson Cancer Center and guests as part of the welcome.

Neera Patidar and Amanda Abiassi

Guests grazed on a massive charcuterie board complete with all the accoutrement before moving onto to a buffet of BBQ shrimp, decadent macaroni and cheese, Chicken a la Paige, roasted vegetables, and more. Festive Christmas trees and garland dotted the entry way and carried guests through the living room and kitchen, then out onto the Fertitta’s massive outdoor entertaining space.

Gregg Harrison and Jennifer Roosth

The entertainment? The Houston Children’s Chorus sang Christmas carols on stage while guests mingled and stopped by the Galleria Giving Tree. The evening wasn’t complete without a signature Fertitta Christmas cookie. It was a wonderful evening a great time to reconnect with MD Anderson supporters. The event raised nearly $130,000 for this very worthwhile cause.


Hallie Vanderhider and Santa






Eduardo and Maria Morales, Dierks Bentley, Valentina Morales & Victoria Morales

Shriners Hospital Houston 100th Anniversary With Performer Dierks Bentley

By Jennifer Roosth    Photography by Wilson Parish and Jacob Power

Lisa Rydman Lindsey and Eric Lindsey

The Minute Maid Park crowd of a thousand guests were dancing, laughing, applauding, and celebrating in support of Shriners Children’s Celebration of the Century, 100 Years of Care event. Chairpersons Maria and Eduardo Morales were applauded along with the Host Committee members, for the success of the evening that raised over $1.5 million (with donations still coming in for the event).

Kenny and JJ Craven

Chairman of the Board of Directors Kenny Craven, and his wife Jennifer Craven, greeted everyone and thanked sponsors for supporting the organization that helps ensure children the world over will receive excellent specialty medical care. The entire evening on the floor of the stadium was filled with high energy. Adding to the fun were guests taking pictures in the dugout with freshly-won World Series signs above them.

Rania Edlebi and Elia Gabbanelli

Testimonials from parents and families that personally experienced the impact of programs and treatments delivered by Shriners Children’s touched the crowd. Shriners has treated more than 1.5 million children since 1922, and their dedication to changing and improving lives is a commitment they will continue for the next 100 years. The Cowboy Auctioneers took over for the appeal and live auction which had paddles flying high.

Sean and Cheryl Stanko & Megan and Adam Rowe

Then, the highlight of the night was a special performance by acclaimed multi-platinum entertainer singer-songwriter Dierks Bentley. The guests surrounded the stage signing along, dancing and sheering to each song he played. Departing guests received a sweet special treat: a cowboy hat-shaped chocolate. The Centennial sponsors were Mexcor, Specs and others.




Mike and Carol Linn, Susan Sarofim, Alvin Abraham, Cody Johnson & DeeDee and Wallis Marsh

Grand Champions For TEACH Wrangles Big Win for To Educate All Children (TEACH)

By Jennifer Roosth                Photography by Priscilla Dickson, Daniel Ortiz and Jacob Power

Tim and Tammy Andreas & Donna and Norman Lewis

Applause, Applause…for Grand Champions for TEACH! The annual fundraising event celebrated its 10th year with more than 700 guests packed into the ballroom at The Post Oak helping raise a record-breaking $1.9 million to advance To Educate All Children (TEACH)’s mission of creating positive learning environments for all children.

Shaun and Natalie Hodge

The Texas-chic-themed gala had everyone decked out with boots and bling to support TEACH, the locally based independent nonprofit that works with more than 1,800 educators and serves more than 20,000 children. Wildflower arrangements upon all the tables, along with murals from the legendary Gruene Hall and Luckenbach, were the perfect backdrop for photo opportunities. An intimate concert by award-winning country-music superstar Cody Johnson had supporters singing along and tapping their boots. A short interview, led by event Co-chair Wallis Marsh, showcased some of Johnson’s career, which has included competing on the rodeo circuit as a bull rider. A standing ovation at the end of his performance capped the night.

Brady and Zane Caruth

Co-founders Susan D. Sarofim and Mary Yenik and Co-chairs DeeDee and Wallis Marsh and Carol and Mike Linn were cheering to the event’s huge success. The organization will net the entire amount raised, thanks to the late Fayez Sarofim, a generous, long-time TEACH supporter, who underwrote the entire event with a surprise check received the week after he passed away.

Kristina Somerville, Cody Johnson and Paul Somerville

This year’s event honoree was the Houston Livestock and Show and Rodeo, which for more than 90 years has been an ardent supporter of public education in Houston. Brady Carruth, chairman of the board, and Chris Boleman, president and CEO, accepted the honor on behalf of the organization, which also received the inaugural annual Fayez Sarofim Champion for TEACH 2022 award. A fast-paced video on the rodeo garnered more applause to complete this festive evening.