I had the pleasure of joining 700 Houstonians with their hearts in the right place at the American Heart Association’s 36th annual Houston Heart Ball on February 16th. American Heart Association raised $2.3 million to fund its research and education programs that will change communities and ultimately save lives from heart disease and stroke. The magical evening included a gourmet dinner, cocktails and luxury live and silent auctions featuring unique packages ranging from a four-day trip to New York City to experience Hamilton on Broadway to an exclusive dinner deemed the Diamond Dinner by Tenenbaum Jewelers. Entertainment by Georgia Bridgwater Orchestra kept party-goers on their feet as they danced the night away.
Over 650 guests gathered on Saturday, January 19, 2019 at the Hilton Americas for 2019 Crystal Ball Winter Ball, chaired by Cyndy Garza Roberts, Dr. Sippi Khurana, Shawntell McWilliams, all former Women of Distinction and Honorary Chairmen Mary Ann and David McKeithan. The Winter Ball was the culmination of ABC13’s Women of Distinction presenting the class of 2019. Everyone was celebrating as the evening brought in over $760,000. All the major sponsors including Tootsies, Gittings and Tenenbaum were thrilled with the results. Benefiting the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, the Winter Ball honors 10 Women of Distinction and one Ambassador who have supported the community through volunteerism. This year’s honorees were Farida Abjani, Marilyn DeMontrond, Gaynell Drexler, Jo Lynn Falgout, Carolyn Faulk, Melissa Juneau, Dr. Kelly Larkin, Sneha Merchant, Claire Thielke, Jerre Williams and Merele Yarborough, the 2019 Ambassador. Honored Hero Sarah Cornelius shared her journey with Crohn’s demonstrating the importance of the funds raised at the event and generated a standing ovation from the crowd. The evening was led by emcees Art Rascon and Melanie Lawson, herself a former Woman of Distinction. The evening was orchestrated by event producers Ellie Francisco and Niki Smith.
Lots of high fives for Chairmen Wallis Marsh and Hallie Vanderhider for successful first-time event, Conversation with GridIron Greats with over 350 people at the Post Oak Hotel on Friday, January 25, 2019. Wrapped into the night was the presentation of the 2018 Lombardi Award, presented to an NCAA Division 1 football player, regardless of position, based on performance and leadership honed by character and resiliency. The highly anticipated naming of the Lombardi Award winner from the seven finalists was presented by two-time Super Bowl Champion Tony Casillas. The announcement brought the crowd to their feet cheering for Ugo Amadi, Safety from the University of Oregon. NFL Hall of Fame Quarterback Joe “Joe Cool” Montana and NFL Hall of Fame Defensive Back Ronnie Lott were both inducted as Lombardi Fellows. Montana and Lott, players on multiple San Francisco 49ers Super Bowl Champion teams were joined by Co Captain of the Super Bowl XXIV team, Spencer Tillman in a lively conversation led by award winning Fox Sportscaster Tim Brando. Sports Radio 610 talk show host Sean Pendergast emceed the evening. Football star power continued following the interview as awards were presented to one of the most recognizable voices in college sports Legendary Broadcaster, Tim Brando, Legendary Coach Bob Stoops, whose 18 year record of 190 and 48 at the University of Oklahoma made him winningest coach in school history, and College Coach of the Year Jeff Monken of Army for his leadership in building a successful team with integrity, honor and respect. The Lombardi Foundation is recognized for leadership, commitment and determination on the football field and in the medical field for victory over cancer through research and treatment especially for children. The event raised over $300,000. Proceeds support cancer research and treatment organizations including Texas Children's Cancer Center, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Harris Health Cancer Treatment Centers.
Junior League Charity Ball
The Junior League of Houston hosted its 71st Annual Charity Ball, Fire & Ice, and raised $750,000 over the course of two nights to fund the Junior League’s Community Program and volunteer initiatives. Guests enjoyed each elegant evening featuring incredible decor, food, drinks, fabulous live and silent auction items such as an eight-day wintry getaway to Telluride at a home located in Mountain Village that sleeps up to 10 people with a $500 Southwest Airlines credit; an in-home private dinner in Houston for 10 with acclaimed chef Drake Leonards of the Cajun-Creole brasserie, Eunice; and a three-night getaway in an ocean view, two-bedroom villa overlooking white sandy beaches and beautiful sunsets at Las Verandas Hotel & Villas in Roatan, Honduras. Partygoers also danced to live music from The Guzzlers.
Lupe Tortilla Fundraiser
Lupe Tortilla, founding sponsor of the Clays Classic, hosted its annual fundraiser for the fourth consecutive year on Tuesday February 5th at the Greater Houston Gun Club and raised over $165,000 in proceeds. Lupe Tortilla owners Judson and Peter Holt hosted guests for some friendly competition for a good cause, and the day was locked and loaded full of shooting games and a multi-course clay shooting competition. Attendees were treated to a Tex-Mex lunch and silent auction with items like a custom William Henry knife, a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle 12-year-old Bourbon “Lot B” and a George Strait signed guitar. After the games, guests enjoyed a cocktail reception with live mariachi music and bites and libations from Houston favorite Agricole Hospitality and Roma, as well as nitrogen ice cream from The Freezing Point. Since its inaugural year, the Clays Classic has raised over $750,000 for the PTSD Foundation of Americaand Camp Hope.