Saturday, April 25, 2015

Recap: Orphan Outreach Children's Hope Dinner {Society Pics}

The second annual Children’s Hope Dinner benefiting Orphan Outreach was a joy-filled evening featuring a performance by New York Times best selling author, acclaimed country music artist and child advocate Jimmy Wayne, and honoring philanthropic activist and Children’s Hope Award recipient Cindy Brinker Simmons.
David Madeleine and Orphan Outreach Director of Programs, Amy Norton with her daughter
Receiving the esteemed Champion of Hope Award, four local surgeons were honored for their heroic efforts in helping Gersi Ordonez, a young orphan woman, smile again. The event supported Orphan Outreach’s unique programs providing vulnerable children around the world with basic survival needs and education.
We are excited to celebrate this year’s Children’s Hope Award recipient, Cindy Brinker Simmons, and other honorees for their tremendous work impacting the lives of less fortunate children,” said Michael Douris, Orphan Outreach president. “With approximately 163 million orphans needing help around the world, this event is supporting our mission to provide for their critical needs, allowing them to attend school, receive a daily meal and, ultimately, lead full, hopeful lives. The proceeds from each ticket purchased for this event is making a tremendous difference, providing six children with vital resources for a month.”
Orphan Outreach President, Michael Douris, Betty Lovell and Children's Hope Award Recipient Cindy Brinker Simmons
Cindy Brinker Simmons, dedicated philanthropic activist, business woman, speaker, and author, was honored for her life-long devotion to serving others, including the more than 18 orphans and vulnerable children that Cindy and her son William sponsor and consider part of their family.
New York Time best-selling author and musician Jimmy Wayne performing
This event would not have been possible without event co-chairs Susan Griffiths and Dee Velvin, honorary event chair Carol Seay and event founder Jimmy Westcott.
Preston Hollow residents, Bev Berry Vuvkovich, Beth Shanafelt, Polly Campbell, Chey Fleming

Friday, April 24, 2015

On the {Charity} Scene: NFNL WINGS Luncheon Recap with Kevin Costner - Pics

Two-time Academy Award-winning actor, director, and producer Kevin Costner was the keynote speaker of the New Friends New Life (NFNL) 12th Annual WINGS Luncheon, raising $1.1 million to support victims of sex trafficking and commercial exploitation, at the Hyatt Regency Dallas on April 10.
The sold-out crowd of 1,600 was treated to a “Conversation with Kevin Costner” as he joined local movie producer Gary Cogill on stage. 
Ray Hunt, Nancy Ann Hunt, Kevin Costner, Jeanne Johnson Phillips
The day’s activities began with a VIP Reception where top donors and special guests had a chance to meet Costner and take pictures, followed by a few brief remarks by Costner on stage, facilitated by Jeanne Johnson Phillips, event chair. Costner commented on how movies “can bring us together” and that “each of you feel like you know me from my movies.” He highlighted some of his movies to a captive audience including Ann Barbier, Nancy Best, Suzy Gekiere, Nancy Ann and Ray Hunt , Ashlee and Chris Kleinert, Bobby Lyle, Christina Lynch, Sandy Nachman, Lisa Schlachter, Marianne Staubach, Sue Strauss, Gail and Gerald Turner, Lisa Trout, and a couple hundred more.
Ashlee and Chris Kleinert
Coinciding with Costner’s participation, NFNL launched a men’s advocacy group, consisting of an 18-member governing board, to mobilize area men to personally and collectively act against human trafficking by raising awareness through advocacy and volunteerism.
Elaine Pearlman, Cindy Turner, Dr. Honor Franklin, Gail Fischer
“New Friends New Life is about protecting the most vulnerable citizens of our city – our children,” said Jeanne Johnson Phillips, luncheon chair. “With an estimated 400 teens on the streets each night as targets of human traffickers, it is incumbent upon each of us who care about Dallas to send a message that Dallas is a no tolerance zone for human trafficking.”
Keana Meyer and State Representative Morgan Meyer, Karen Borta, Florence Shapiro
Referencing the statistics on human trafficking highlighted at the luncheon, Costner said, “These numbers are bothering people, the numbers bother me. And I can tell they bother the room…so we’re kind of in this together. I have three daughters, and I have told my children every day since the day they were born they are special. But I never fail to end that sentence with “that does not make you better than anybody.”
Kevin Costner, Katie Pedigo
Costner and Cogill discussed his movies, the effect the movie Giant had on him as a young boy, and his love of cowboy movies. Costner shared some personal and meaningful stories including the filming of JFK and a day that began with hanging out with Cal Ripken and the Baltimore Orioles, which turned into golf with President H.W. Bush and Andre Agassi, and ended with dinner at the White House – an experience Costner referenced as a great and very memorable day in his life.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

ACM Recaps and Photos: Great Outdoor Archery Event with Team Luke and Team Justin

On Saturday, April 18th Luke Bryan and Justin Moore returned to host the 3rd Annual ACM & Cabela’s Great Outdoor Archery Event at the Rangers Youth Ballpark in Arlington, during the ACM Party for A Cause Festival.
Event hosts Luke Bryan and Justin Moore pose for photo at the ACM & Cabela's Great Outdoor Archery Event
Photos by Larry Busacca, Getty Images
Country music stars including Josh Abbott, Rhett Akins, Luke Bryan, Casey Donahew, Tyler Farr, Brantley Gilbert, Lucas Hoge, Dustin Lynch, Justin Moore, Eric Paslay, Chase Rice, Jamie Lynn Spears, and Austin Webb along with Dallas Cowboys offensive guard Zack Martin, “Duck Dynasty” stars Jep Robertson and Willie Robertson, plus Cabela’s pro staff archers Wade Middleton and Kristy Titus participated in this archery exhibition featuring 3D and traditional targets.
Team Luke poses with trophy
Team Luke and Team Justin competing head-to-head as Team Luke won by a score of 519 to 459.  Team Luke artists included Luke Bryan, Lucas Hoge, Austin Webb, Kristy Titus, Tyler Farr, Dustin Lynch, Rhett Akins, Willie Robertson and Jep Robertson.  Team Justin included Justin Moore, Brantley Gilbert, Chase Rice, Casey Donahew, Zach Martin, Josh Abbott, Jamie Lynn Spears and Eric Paslay.
Jamie Lynn Spears participates in the ACM & Cabela's Great Outdoor Archery Event
Rhett Akins beat Cabela’s Pro Staff Archer Kristy Titus by one point to win the Top Archer trophy.
Make-A-Wish North Texas partnered with Cabela’s to bring young adults Emily (Team Luke) and Bryson (Team Justin) to the event pairing them each with the teams to participate in the event.
Luke Bryan and Make-A-Wish participant Emily Kemper discuss strategy.

11th Annual Taste of the NFL Moves to AT&T Stadium

Party with a purpose for the first time on Dallas Cowboys home turf of AT&T Stadium as you help the North Texas Food Bank tackle hunger! Dallas Cowboys offensive line led by Travis Frederick, 2015 NFL Hall of Fame inductee Charles Haley, and Cowboys legends Chad Hennings and Preston Pearson are joining Abacus executive chef and proprietor Kent Rathbun and 19 of the area’s hottest celebrity chefs for this 11th annual event. So dress in your favorite tailgate chic attire and enjoy gourmet tailgate fare, signature cocktails, live country music by The Rusty Brothers, and a chance to bid on exclusive, luxury prizes at the live and silent auctions, all benefiting NTFB's child programs.
Sunday, May 3, 2015
6:009:00 PM
AT&T Stadium
For tickets:
Event Hosts: Dallas Cowboys offensive line led by #72 Travis Frederick, NFL Hall of Fame inductee Charles Haley, former Cowboys Chad Hennings and Preston Pearson, as well as Chef Kent Rathbun
Participating Chefs & Restaurants: Kent Rathbun of Abacus, David Holben of Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse, Jeramie Robison of Shinsei, Richard Chamberlain of Chamberlain’s, Ernie Mendoza of Suze, Skyler Gauthier of Pappas Bros., Braden Wages of Malai Kitchen, James Williams and Beverly Eskirdge of NTFB Community Kitchen, Scott Gottlich of The Second Floor Restaurant, Luciano Salvadore of il Calabrese Ristorante, Dunia Borga of La Duni, Tony Sinese of Legends Hospitality at Cowboys Stadium, Ben Fossman of The Oceanaire Seafood Room, Evandro Caregnato of Texas de Brazil, Patrick Russell of Max’s Wine Dive, Bronwen Webber of Frosted Art, Dwight Harvey of Off the Bone, Taylor Kearney of Nick & Sam’s, Diego Comparin of Paciugo and Spork!
Taste of the NFL: The Ultimate Dallas Cowboys Tailgate Party, presented by Nationwide, has provided more than four million meals to hungry North Texas children since its inception in 2005, by raising vital funds for the North Texas Food Bank’s more than 1,000 feeding and education programs.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

ACM Lifting Lives Gala Kicks Off ACM Weekend in Dallas - See photos from last night's star-studded event

Last night, ACM Lifting Lives®, the Academy of Country Music’s® philanthropic arm, celebrated its first-ever fundraising gala, hosted by country music luminaries Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood, at the Omni Dallas Hotel.
Hosts Trisha Yearwood (L) and Garth Brooks perform onstage during the ACM Lifting Lives Gala at the Omni Hotel on April 17, 2015 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Larry Busacca/ACM2015/Getty Images for dcp)
Credit: Larry Busacca/ACM2015
The gala, co-hosted by Nancy O’Dell and Montel Williams, kicked off the 50th ACM Awards weekend with a supersized line-up of performances beginning with Hunter Hayes, Little Big Town, The Band Perry, Lady Antebellum, Keith Urban, and closed with Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood.
Recording artist Kimberly Perry of music group The Band Perry performs onstage during the ACM Lifting Lives Gala at the Omni Hotel on April 17, 2015 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Larry Busacca/ACM2015/Getty Images for dcp)
Credit: Larry Busacca/ACM2015
 The Band Perry treated attendees with a special surprise performance of “Bright Eyes” with the campers from the ACM Lifting Lives Music Camp, who wrote the song during a songwriting session with The Band PerryThe camp is a partnership between ACM Lifting Lives and Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, which has the dual purpose of studying Williams syndrome while providing music enrichment through performance and education.
Host Garth Brooks closed the show with an epic performance of his classic hit “The Dance” with Keith Urban and Hunter Hayes.
Keith Urban, Nancy O'Dell, Garth Brooks, and Trisha Yearwood on the red carpet at ACM Lifting Lives Gala.
Additional attendees included: Jerry Jones (Dallas Cowboys Owner, President, General Manager), David Yurman (jewelry and timepiece designer), Charlotte Jones Anderson (Dallas Cowboys EVP, Chief Brand Officer), Josh Dorr (country music artist), Courtney Kerr (TV personality), and more.
Bob Romeo, Jerry Jones, and David Yurman at the ACM Lifting Lives Gala
Proceeds from the gala will benefit ACM Lifting Lives and Garth Brooks’ charity, Teammates for Kids – specifically the Child Life Zones in Children’s Health of Dallas and Cook Children’s of Fort Worth.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Nexus Recovery Center - Women's Auxiliary Spring Luncheon

Nexus Recovery Center announced Koren Zailckas, New York Times best selling author of Smashed:  Story of a Drunken Girlhood and Mother, Mother, as the featured speaker for the Women’s Auxiliary of Nexus Spring Luncheon on Thursday, April 23, 2015 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Belo Mansion located at 2101 Ross Avenue in Dallas. 
The luncheon benefiting Nexus Recovery Center will be chaired by Liz Pasquinelli with honorary chairperson Diane Sealy, who is long-standing Nexus supporter and past president of the Nexus Women’s Auxiliary.  Luncheon highlights include a VIP reception and seated lunch followed by remarks from Ms. Zailckas as she shares her personal experiences as written in her book with an emphasis on youth and addiction. 
“We are so honored to have Koren Zailckas as our guest speaker for the Nexus Women’s Auxiliary luncheon.  I had the pleasure of hearing Koren speak five or six years ago at a parent event at my children’s school.  As a mother of three teenage daughters her story certainly resonates with me and I know that all in attendance will benefit from hearing her experiences as a young woman battling alcoholism,” remarked Liz Pasquinelli, luncheon chair.  “My hope for this year’s luncheon is that we continue the dialogue about addiction and alcoholism and its prevalence in our society.”
Koren Zailckas is the author of the New York Times Bestseller Smashed:  Story of a Drunken Girlhood, a riveting account of her experiences with alcohol abuse as a teenager and college student, at its follow-up, Fury.  Barnes and Noble selected Smashed for its 2005 Discover Great New Writers program and Entertainment Weekly named it “one of the best accounts of addiction, let alone the college experience, or even what it means to be an average teenage girl in America.”  Zailckas’ latest book, Mother, Mother:  A Novel is her debut work of fiction about a family torn apart by a deeply flawed mother.
Individual seats for the luncheon are $150 each and can be purchased at or contact Abi Erickson at

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

MTV ReDefine

My sisters and I had such a blast as co-chairs of this year's MTV ReDefine!  It was a treat to get to work together and an honor to work with Joyce Goss and Kenny Goss to raise money for two worthwhile causes, MTV's Staying Alive Foundation and The Dallas Contemporary.

My sisters and I with my dear friend, Franklin Boyd, who came to town from New York to celebrate with us. 
With Ed Bartlett and our amazing art chair, Elisabeth Karpidas, who put together an incredible auction!

With my friend Kimberly Chandler and her brother, Brown Andrews.  It was so nice to have the support of so many friends and family!

The tables were set with Veuve Cliquot and food from The Joule Hotel's new restaurant, Americano which hasn't even opened yet!  They donated all of the food and service so that we were able to give more back to the beneficiaries.

The parking lot of the Goss Michael Foundation was tented and transformed into this magical ballroom.
Our auctioneer was the charming and talented Alexander Gilkes of Paddle 8 who helped us raise over 2.2 Million Dollars!  So exciting!  Thank you to everyone who donated a piece or placed a bid!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Guest Post from The Y Group's Joanne Yurich

Community Partnerships in Big D – a winning relationship for businesses and non-profits alike

I started my career in what most would consider an “it” job but after almost eight years and having my first set of twins (yes, I have two sets, plus one more!) I realized that I wanted more balance in my life – personally and professionally. How could I continue to do what I love while spending more time with my family AND feel good about what I’m doing for the community? Enter my business The Y Group, now in its ninth year, which combines all of these things. In addition to out-of-the-box PR and marketing, I’ve also found my niche in partnering my clients with local charities in what I consider win-win relationships.

Maybe you own a boutique or you are on the board of a local non-profit and you’re wondering how you can take your community partnerships to the next level.  Here are my quick tips to make it happen:

1.     Find meaningful connections.
Learn the story of the leaders of the business and find out what matters the most to them. Does the CEO have a mother suffering with Alzheimer’s? Do they have a heart for giving back to the communities where their products are made?
2.     Create mutually beneficial relationships.
You want to choose organizations or businesses that are just as excited about a partnership as you are. Don’t be afraid to ask how they can help you during the partnership, whether it’s through social media, newsletters or emails.
3.     Think outside of the box.
Have a brainstorm session and write down all of your ideas – sometimes the most far-fetched are the most successful. A book drive on Dr. Seuss’ birthday could get you lots of attention and bring in hundreds of books for a children’s hospital.

Two of my clients have events coming up that highlight what a good community partnership should be in my opinion (what’s a good blog post without a shameless self plug?). 

We launched a new program for Bikram Yoga Dallas called Positive Postures where we partner with a local charity each quarter to be the recipient of 100 percent of the class fee on the second Tuesday of each month.  The first quarter we raised more than $1,200 for Girls Inc. and the owners also taught yoga classes for the girls at their campus. This quarter we are partnering with Attitudes and Attire ® and the next class will be on April 14 at 6:30 p.m. at our West Village studio – join us!

Sonny Bryan’s Smokehouse is hosting its 2nd Annual ‘It’s in the Sauce’ competition on Saturday, April 25, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at LOOK Cinemas, and it puts local celebrity chefs head-to-head in a cook-off using Sonny Bryan’s famous sauce.  Each celebrity chef chose a local non-profit to benefit from the event, including Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, Susan G. Komen, Vogel Alcove and Youth Village Resources of Dallas. The event is emceed by Clarice Tinsley who is tirelessly committed to a number of non-profits in DFW. Tickets are available online here.

I feel so lucky to be able to create programs and events for clients that make a difference in our community.  Imagine what Dallas would look like if every business found a non-profit organization to partner with on initiatives small and large. We live in an amazing city – let’s build on that and start a movement to make ‘Everything bigger and [even] better in Big D.’

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Hot Ticket: ACM Events - Dierks' Charity Motorcycle Ride & Darius' Celebrity Golf Classic

The excitement of the 50th Anniversary of ACM Awards weekend continues with these TWO star-studded charity events in town -- both on Saturday, April 18th.  With a charity motorcyle ride and a golf classic, there's something for everyone!
Dierks Bentley will host the ACM Charity Motorcycle Ride & Concert, Country Music’s Biggest Ride™, on Saturday, April 18 – the ride will begin at Strokers Dallas in and Longhorn Harley-Davidson in Grand Prairie and will conclude at Maverick Harley-Davidson in Carrollton with a post-ride concert. 
Concerts by Dierks Bentley, Clare Dunn, Will Hoge, Joey Hyde, James Otto, Dee Jay Silver, Montgomery Gentry, Thompson Squareand more to be announced. 
Fans can register to ride and purchase general admission ticketsNOW on for$75.
Proceeds from the event to benefit ACM Lifting Lives, the philanthropic arm of the Academy of Country Music, local child abuse advocacy groups and military philanthropies.
Local Charities:
    • Children’s Advocacy Center for Denton County
    • Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children
    • Bikers Against Child Abuse
    • 444 Angel
Today, ACM Lifting Lives® announced that chart-topping country music star Darius Rucker will return to host the ACM Lifting Lives Celebrity Golf Classic presented by G. Debbas Chocolatier and GoPicnic for the fourth consecutive year on Saturday, April 18, 2015 at Brookhaven Country Club in Dallas. The ACM Lifting Lives Celebrity Golf Classic, the ninth held since 2004, brings together country music artists Kix Brooks, Charles Kelley, Chris Young, Branch & Dean, and more artists to be announced as well as other members of the music community in a scramble tournament to raise funds and awareness for ACM Lifting Lives’ Diane Holcomb Emergency Relief Fund.
This fund enables ACM Lifting Lives to respond quickly to unforeseen, immediate financial needs ofmusic related organizations and individuals.Funds are disbursed at the discretion of a select committee made up of ACM Lifting Lives Board Members. The fund’s resources cover a wide range of financial, medical and personal emergencies, and each case is treated with integrity and confidentiality.