VIRTUALLY TOASTING

VIRTUALLY TOASTING

St. David’s Toast Of The Town Star-Studded Party Series Goes Virtual

By Rob Giardinelli     Photography courtesy of St. David’s Foundation

THE SETTING: St. David’s Foundation’s Toast of the Town, one of Austin’s most anticipated party series of the year, recently completed another star-studded round of soirées with a twist. This year’s events were hosted virtually due to the pandemic. Despite toasting from afar, guests were treated to the same fun, engaging parties with interesting speakers as in years past. The result was virtually the best Toast party series ever.

 

THE STYLE: Those who attended the party series were still treated to the same white-glove  experience they’d always had for the in-person events. In advance of each of the events, a welcome kit featuring multi-course meals from some of Austin’s best and most beloved venues, along with program details and a special thank you gift, were delivered to guests for them to savor and enjoy their five-star experience at home. In addition, prior to the launch of each event, guests were provided a special welcome on their screens by St. David’s Foundation CEO and President Dr. Ed Burger, allowing them to feel a part of the action in person.

 

The evenings began with words from St. David’s leadership before moving to the main programs. This year’s parties provided something for everyone. Those passionate about food engaged in separate events, including the Taste’s of Japan with celebrity chef Tyson Cole and barbecue with Daytripper Chet Garner. While, history buffs were treated with several options, including a conversation with Presidential historians Douglas Brinkley, Mark Updegrove, and H.W. Brands, as well as a national security discussion featuring Gen. Vincent Brooks, William Inboden, and Robert Chesney. Lastly, no Toast party series would be complete without music. This year exceeded expectations with separate evenings featuring music from legends of multiple music genres. These performances included country music legend Clint Black and Society Texas’ own Lance Avery Morgan and Rob Giardinelli, who interviewed pop and punk rock icon Kathy Valentine about her new book All I Ever Wanted…she even serenaded the audience with The Go-Go’s iconic song, Vacation.

 

THE PURPOSE: The event, chaired by Mary Katherine Stout, with Ellen Troxclair serving as vice-chair, raised over $1.7 million for the Neal Kocurek Scholarship Program. Since the program’s founding, nearly 600 students have received annual scholarships of $7,500 to pursue health-related careers at Texas colleges and universities.

A LIFELINE FOR CHILDREN

A LIFELINE FOR CHILDREN

Dell Children’s Medical Center Virtual Gala Raises Over $1.6 Million

By Rob Giardinelli     Photography by Ben Porter Photography and Dell Children’s Foundation

THE SETTING: The top philanthropists in Austin and beyond recently enjoyed an evening of fundraising for one of the capital city’s most influential and beloved organizations. This year’s Dell Children’s Ball went virtual and featured over 2,000 philanthropists from 96 Texas cities and 42 states who accessed the occasion. The event included touching tributes and dazzling musical performances, which resulted in an incredible experience that those on hand will not soon forget.

 

THE STYLE: The fun commenced before the event even began courtesy of the city’s celebrity florist David Kurio, who provided a gorgeous Ball in a Box to the sponsors’ homes and VIP attendees. Guests dressed for the evening with a wide array of styles from Austin casual to fine cocktail attire that allowed revelers to bring the ballroom to them, even in a virtual environment.

 

The evening began with a virtual cocktail hour followed by the evening’s main program. Due to the generosity of the event’s lead sponsor, AT&T, guests were able to view the program from their homes at no charge, which created a welcoming space for all who attended. Highlights of the event included testimonials from two families whose children’s lives were saved due to Dell Children’s Medical Center care and a spirited fundraising appeal. The evening was capped off by a soulful, inspiring performance by Grammyâ award-winning artist, Lukas Nelson.

 

THE PURPOSE: This year’s event, steered by a committee featuring 21 of Austin’s most influential and philanthropic couples, raised over $1.6 million for Dell Children’s Medical Center. At Dell Children’s, 70% of children who receive care are uninsured or underinsured. The funds raised from the event help ensure that no child, regardless of income level, is turned away from receiving the world-class care Dell Children’s offers.

UP, UP, UP: KATIE JAFFE & JENNIFER LAWSON LAUNCH FLY, FLY AGAIN CHILDREN’S BOOK

UP, UP, UP: KATIE JAFFE & JENNIFER LAWSON LAUNCH FLY, FLY AGAIN CHILDREN’S BOOK

By Jake Gaines   Photography courtesy of Katie Jaffe and Jennifer Lawson

We love a good book for all ages. That in mind,Austin-based author Katie Jaffe along with her mother, Jennifer Lawson, just launched their first children’s book, Fly, Fly Again and it is a delight.

We feel that Fly, Fly Again is an entertaining and educational book that introduces young readers to the concepts of flight–lift, gravity, thrust, and drag.  Jenny and Jude accompanied by their pets, Kitty and Hawk, work together to build a flying machine. The fun story of adventure, teamwork, and perseverance that begins to lay a foundation for aerodynamics in an adorable picture book format. It also happens that the foreword for the book is written by famed NASA Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, and the beautiful illustrations are by Tammie Lyon, an award-winning illustrator known for her work on the Eloise series.

Co-author Katie Jaffe

This book is the first in a series of educational and fun books for children through the authors’ company, Liftoff Learning Studios, and a portion of the proceeds of Fly, Fly Again benefits children’s education programs through UNICEF and Buzz Aldrin Ventures. Additionally, the authors worked with Double A Labs to combine the physical and digital world to help extend and build on the life of the book. They created an augmented reality application that can highlight areas of the book which will pull out additional educational information and 4-D imagery when used with an iPad or iPhone (these can be shown on TV). How cool is that?

For more on the book visit Barnes & Noble and Amazon.