Category: Philanthropy

Esteemed chefs prepare unique dishes at Symphony of Chefs fundraiser

Jane McGarry, left, tries a bite from Top Chef Finalist Tiffany Derry's menu. (Photo credit: Thomas Garza)

The 7th annual Symphony of Chefs benefiting KidLinks was held on Feb. 27 at the newly renovated and renamed Eddie Bernice Johnson Union Station.

The culinary evening was led by Honorary Chairs D’Andra Simmons-Lock and Jeremy Lock, Event Co-Chairs Georgia and Marc Lyons and Bonnie and Nathan Shea and Honorary Chef Chair Salvatore Gisellu with Urban Family Restaurants.

Funds raised from the event will support KidLinks' efforts to provide healing experiences for the special needs of children through the therapeutic power of music - a unique mission that seeks to enrich the lives of children everywhere through songs of health, healing and happiness.

Happy Kitchen Cooks Up More than Healthy Meals


Every year as fall and spring roll around, 15 women meet at Wesley-Rankin Community Center for a cooking class where they learn how to create healthy meals.

The West Dallas cooking classes at Happy Kitchen empower women by giving them confidence in the kitchen. (Photo courtesy GROW North Texas)

The West Dallas cooking classes at Happy Kitchen empower women by giving them confidence in the kitchen. (Photo courtesy GROW North Texas)

At the end of each class, the women take home several ingredients so they can recreate those same recipes with their families. Though the ingredients change with each class, one ingredient in particular remains a staple of the cooking course: newfound confidence in the kitchen.

La Cocina Alegre (Happy Kitchen) provides West Dallas women a hands-on culinary and nutritional education that they otherwise may not have had access to. Many face socioeconomic challenges when trying to feed their families a nutritious meal. However, the curriculum at La Cocina Alegre is proving that eating healthy doesn’t have to cost more.

The classes are provided by GROW North Texas, a nonprofit dedicated to connecting North Texans with local and sustainable resources that inspire a healthy lifestyle. While Happy Kitchen and its curriculum stemmed from the Sustainable Food Center in Austin, members of GROW North Texas quickly discovered that certain pockets of the Dallas community could also benefit from community cooking classes.

“Mystery Friend” Surprises Salesmanship Club with Anonymous Donation

Senior Director of Finance Patty Pickard (left) and Senior Director of Development and Strategic Partnerships Jessica Slie Trudeau held back tears while reading the letter from an anonymous donor. (Photo courtesy of Momentous Institute)

Two anonymous guests wearing Santa hats surprised the Salesmanship Club of Dallas at their offices in Oak Cliff on Dec. 19 with a check for $10,000 from a "Mystery Friend."

In the letter attached, the donor wrote, "You should know this gift was made possible by your friends at Educational FirstSteps."


The donor had asked personnel at EFS, a nonprofit that works with daycares in at-risk neighborhoods, to name of a local agency whose work they admired, and they selected the Momentous Institute, the lab school founded by the Salesmanship Club of Dallas. 

Crystal Charity Ball Committee Continues Mission to Serve Area Children

2016 Crystal Charity leaders: Ola Fojtasek, Silent Auction Chairman; Kristina Whitcomb, Children’s Book Chairman; Susan Farris, Foundations Chairman; Claire Emanuelson, Underwriting Chairman; Christie Carter, Ball Chairman; and Elizabeth Gambrell, Special Gifts Chairman. Courtesy of Crystal Charity Ball.

The annual Crystal Charity Ball returns Dec. 3 at the Hilton Anatole and its fundraising legacy is getting bigger than ever.

“We didn’t raise near the amount back then that we do now,” 2016 ball chair Christie Carter said. “It’s grown so much over the years.”

Donors have contributed more than $130 million since the ball’s inception in 1952. This year’s total sum of $5,650,258 will be split among seven local children’s charities.

This year’s beneficiaries include Captain Hope’s Kids/Hope Supply Co., Community Partners of Dallas, Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas, Notre Dame School of Dallas, Parkland Foundation, Teach For America, and The Family Place.

Service Rewarded at National Philanthropy Day Luncheon


‘Tis the season of giving, so it’s fitting that a pair of longtime Park Cities residents were honored recently for their numerous local philanthropic efforts.

On Nov. 18, in honor of National Philanthropy Day, the Greater Dallas chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals hosted its 31st annual luncheon at the Hyatt Regency Dallas, where they presented their Outstanding Philanthropist award to Mike A. Myers and their Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser award to Holly Mayer.

Strike Out Crohn’s and Colitis


The North Texas chapter of Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America will host its fifth annual dinner at the Belo Mansion on Nov. 9. The reception will begin at 6:30 p.m. and dinner will begin at 7 p.m.

Texas Rangers' pitcher Jake Diekman will be this year's featured speaker. Proceeds will benefit CCFA's programs of research, education, and support for children and adults affected by Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.

Tickets can be purchased here.


Diversifying Options: SMU Cox Partners with Finance Foundation


After the success of his book I Am Supposed To Be Here—The Art of Dealing With Perception, which was released in July 2015, Dr. Donald Arnette decided he wanted to do more to improve the lives of impoverished and at-risk youth in Dallas and surrounding areas.

That fall, he set up the Doc Arnette Foundation. The foundation provides financial literacy tools to high school seniors from Dallas, Cedar Hill, and DeSoto, and is in talks with other area districts to expand their program.

As the first African-American to obtain a Ph.D. from UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Arnette knows what it takes to become successful. He says kids have to “see it to believe it,” so, through a partnership between his foundation and SMU Cox School of Business, he shows students what their futures can look like by helping them build financial skills.

Momentous Institute Honors UP Couple for Leadership in Mental Health

Jan Trevor, Rees Jones, Bill McClung, and Guy Kerr at Dinner. (Photo: Lara Bierner Photography)

Momentous Institute’s 5th annual Changing the Odds Conference kicked off this year with the Changing the Odds Dinner at Sixty Five Hundred on Oct. 5, where University Park residents Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones were honored with the first-ever Changing the Odds Leadership Award in recognition of their significant contributions to the health and wellbeing of children in the community.

Trevor Rees-Jones, a UP native and graduate of Highland Park High School, founded the Rees-Jones Foundation with his wife Jan in 2006 to work with nonprofits across North Texas to defend children who have suffered abuse or neglect or face mental health challenges. The foundation’s work with Momentous, a lab school in Oak Cliff run by the Salesmanship Club of Dallas that focuses on students’ social emotional health, has included $350,000 of funds raised for mental health services and training to provide for children and families.