UNICEF’s 6th Annual Gala In Houston Raises Key Funds

By Jennifer Roosth    Photography by Gregg Harrison and Bob Levey/Getty Images

 

THE SETTING: Nearly 400 Houstonians recently packed The Post Oak Hotel as the Southwest Regional Office of UNICEF USA hosted its sixth annual UNICEF Gala Houston. Black-tie attired guests sipped on cocktails, enjoyed a seated dinner, and celebrated outstanding humanitarian leaders who make UNICEF’s work possible. Susan and Dan Boggio were honored with the Helenka Pantaleoni Humanitarian Award and Sue Smith and Lester Smith (posthumously) with the Margaret Alkek Williams Humanitarian Award.

THE STYLE: The evening was as fabulous as it was lively. The live auction packages included a week-long safari in Kenya, earrings from NINI Jewels and tickets to the legendary Elton John Oscars Party in Los Angeles, which was sold twice for almost six figures each. The paddle raise for UNICEF Kid Power was matched with a generous $100,000 from The Alkek and Williams Foundation. The gala also featured a vibrant performance by The Garden State Guys performing a special tribute to Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons. Then, UNICEF’s Young Professionals NextGen hosted a silent disco after party. Afterward, Lester Smith’s book, You Gotta Dance Like No One Is Watching, was a take-home gift for all the guests.

THE PURPOSE: The evening’s gala, emceed by Deborah Duncan, raised over one million dollars, which will support UNICEF’s lifesaving work for children around the world. The gala chairs were Cheryl Byington, Mary Ann McKeithan, Beth Wolff, and Hallie Vanderhider (who also served as the lead benefactor of the event). Shelly and Brian Hendry, Leela and Nat Krishnamurthy, Limor and Stuart Smith, Margaret Alkek Williams, and Randa and Charles Williams served as the honorary co-chairs, while Anika Jackson and Catherine Clarke Murphy served as the NextGen Chairs.