Category: Philanthropy

Dallas CASA’s Cherish the Children

Guest speaker Laura McBride gives her speech at the Cherish the Children luncheon. (Photos: Sylvia Elzafon)

On April 5, Laura McBride, author of the best-selling debut novel “We Are Called to Rise,” was a guest speaker to than 400 guests at Dallas CASA’s Cherish the Children luncheon at the Dallas Omni Hotel.

Dallas CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) provides volunteers for children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect. Volunteers gather information that helps judges decide where children can safely and permanently live.

The Cherish the Children luncheon, hosted by the Dallas CASA Children’s Council, annually raises funds and awareness for Dallas CASA. This year’s luncheon raised more than $200,000, which will allow Dallas CASA to recruit, train and supervise more volunteers to serve children in need.

Let Them Eat Cupcakes For a Cause


(Courtesy Cupcakes For a Cause)

(Courtesy Cupcakes For a Cause)

Bakers from across Dallas will gather at University Park United Methodist Church on April 30 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. to feed the masses at Cupcakes For a Cause.

The event supports LEAP Global Missions, a Dallas-based nonprofit providing surgical care to impoverished children around the world. Highland Capital and the Okada Family Foundation have pledged to match all funds raised at the event, according to the organizers.

Boston Marathon Bombing Survivor Speaks at DJF Spring Event


Boston Marathon bombing survivor Rebekah Gregory, with event co-chair Gay Nassri, event co-chairman Lexia Allen, and DJF president Mary Cartwright. (Photo: Alan Beane)

Boston Marathon bombing survivor Rebekah Gregory, with event co-chair Gay Nassri, event co-chairman Lexia Allen, and DJF president Mary Cartwright. (Photo: Alan Beane)

By Elaine Paniszczyn
Dallas Junior Forum Historian

Life is messy, and sometimes, it blows up in your face.

In Rebekah Gregory’s case, life blew up when the first of two bombs detonated three feet behind her at the 2013 Boston Marathon.

Gregory spoke at Dallas Junior Forum’s Spring Event at Belo Mansion Wednesday, two days before the third anniversary of America’s second largest terrorist attack. She described the scene as she and her son watched for a friend to cross the finish line.

“It was my 26th birthday weekend, my first time (in Boston), and I was watching a friend run,” Gregory said. “I was on the sideline eating chocolate covered pretzels wondering why anybody in their right mind would ever, ever run 26.2 miles for fun.”

“We started out that day at the 17 mile marker, and someone in our group wanted to get closer to the finish line so we could see our runner cross,” she said. “As we made our way closer through the crowd … my little boy started to get really bored.

“I told Noah to sit on my feet and play in the rocks like … a scientist. There were so many people there, and I didn’t want Noah to get lost in the crowd.”

That is where Gregory’s five-year-old was when the bomb went off.

Baylor Foundation Celebrates Breast Cancer Survivor


Baylor Health Care System Foundation's Celebrating Women Luncheon this October will feature Rita Wilson as speaker. Wilson is an actress, producer, writer, and singer. She has also survived breast cancer.

Wilson was diagnosed in March 2015 - but not during her first round of tests. The cancer was only found when she sought a second opinion.

At the luncheon, she will speak about her experience with the disease and the importance of early detection and multiple screenings.

“You have nothing to lose if both opinions match up for the good, and everything to gain if something that was missed is found, which does happen. Early diagnosis is key,” said Wilson.

Elizabeth Toon Charities Celebrate 10 Years

Justin Toon, Mary Margaret Toon, Wade Bowen, Phil Pritchett, Patti Toon, Larry Toon, Laura Toon Brooks, and Taylor Brooks celebrate the success of the 2015 ETC Concert and Shootout. (Courtesy photo)

Don't forget to add the 10th annual Elizabeth Toon Charities Concert and Shootout to your probably already full April calendar. The concert starts at 7 p.m. on April 28 at Gilley's Dallas. Tyler Dial will open for a surprise headliner. The shootout will be the next day at the Dallas Gun Club.

At the concert there will be plenty of live auction and raffle items to bid on and mystery Kendra Scott boxes to purchase for $100. The boxes will contain mystery jewelry and gift cards.

Toon was a 2002 Highland Park High School grad who was killed in 2006 by a hit-and-run driver in Los Angeles. Her parents, Larry and Patti, founded the nonprofit the following year to support organizations that comfort and aid to those impacted by abuse, grief, poverty, disabilities, and terminal illnesses.

Sewing Together a Community

Through the Charitable Sewing For Others Initiative, each of the women that Gina Gary has taught how to sew has earned her own sewing machine to take home. (Photo: Courtesy)

Holding an armful of colorful textiles, Highland Park resident Gina Gary enters the Vickery Meadow Food Pantry. More women quickly follow. Arriving in pairs and trios, they begin to set up their work and select fabrics. A mechanical hum fills the room.

Gary thought her skills as a seamstress would lead to a job. Instead, they led to Sew Sincerely, a group of women that meets twice a month to learn how to sew.

She got the idea when her friend Terri Heard invited her to a sewing event through Park Cities Baptist Church in January 2015. Gary, who had been collecting sewing machines at garage sales over the years, showed up with enough for everyone there.

When she met women who wanted to learn how to sew, Gary saw a chance to give back instead of a job opportunity.

“There are people around the world who live in poverty,” she says. “Then you realize it’s actually at your back door. We’re so close to it. I don’t think people realize that about the Vickery area.”

Save-the-date: Pot of Gold Luncheon


Leigh Anne Tuhoy (Courtesy Rainbow Days)

Leigh Anne Tuohy (Courtesy Rainbow Days)

You can hear author Leigh Anne Tuohy at the 19th annual Pot of Gold Luncheon, benefiting Rainbow Days, at noon on April 15 at the Omni Dallas.

Rainbow Days is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing at-risk children and youth a community to break negative cycles through support groups, teaching coping skills, and fostering positive experiences and environments. Last year, the luncheon raised over $250,000 through tickets, auctions, and donations and helped about 11,000 families and children facing adversity.

Tuohy is the author of Turn Around: Reach Out, Give Back, and Get Moving and The Blind Side, which inspired the Oscar-winning film of the same name. Her most recent book, Turn Around, challenges readers to re-think how they can give and live in their own communities.

Tickets start at $150 and can be purchased at Rainbow Days, Inc.

Partners Card Co-Chairs Announced

Elizabeth Dacus, Samantha Wortley, and Jane Rozelle (Photo: Courtesy)

The Family Place has announced that Elizabeth Dacus, Jane Rozelle, and Samantha Wortley will be the 2016 co-chairs of Partners Card, its annual shopping fundraiser presented by Bank of Texas.

Partners Card, now in its 24th year, will run from October 28 through November 6. Cards will go on sale September 1.

With the purchase of a $70 Partners Card, cardholders are invited to shop, dine and save with a twenty-percent discount at more than 750 participating retailers and restaurants throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area. All proceeds from the card sales go to The Family Place, Dallas' largest family violence agency.

Reconciling Lives One at a Time

Reconciliation Outreach has residential treatment programs, summer camps, after-school programs, job training, and transitional housing. (Courtesy Photo)

Bryn May was stuck. She was stuck in a manipulative relationship, and a cycle of drugs and despair.

“I got introduced into another world than anything that I had ever before,” May said. “My life really just started falling apart. I started pulling away from my family, isolating myself, and I was just very broken.”

The Dallas native’s parents knew about Reconciliation Outreach — the ministry-based nonprofit that works with both adults and children to nourish the body and soul — because its CEO, Tim Chapman, was a family friend. They knew that’s what she needed.