Society / Featured Parties

Major Celebrities (Including Dolly Parton) and Literary Stars Support Barbara Bush’s Life Changing Foundation

Jay Leno, Reba McEntire and More — This is No Ordinary Virtual Event

BY // 10.26.20

There was an interesting symmetry between the virtual Power of Literacy luncheon benefiting the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation and the goal of encouraging reading. Just as the virtual luncheon transported guests through a star-filled program, so the written word transports readers through the myriad worlds of literature.

Those scattered through homes across Houston for the midday event tuned in for entertainment and inspiration from Jay Leno, Reba McEntire, best-selling author Jon Meacham and surprise guests Dolly Parton and Lee Greenwood. They and others masterfully delivered treasured tales of the former first lady, who inspired the theme of the luncheon, “Beyond the Pearls: Wit, Wisdom and Wonder of Barbara Bush.”

Maria and Neil Bush took the screen to express their appreciation for the day’s effort with Neil Bush saying, “We continue to be amazed at and grateful for the incredible work of the Guild. Thank you, again, for keeping Mom’s legacy alive and for being points of light in the literacy cause.”

Adding to the colorful program were Andrew Card, White House chief of staff under President George W. Bush;  Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense under 43; Elizabeth and David Demarest, assistant to President George H.W. Bush; Ambassador Sichan Siv, who served at the White House as deputy assistant to President George H. W. Bush and at the State Department as deputy assistant secretary; Doro Bush Koch; and Jenna Bush Hager all sharing memories of the beloved First Lady.

Betty Hrncir and Sidney Faust chaired the event that raised more than $280,000 for the foundation‘s Ladies for Literacy Guild’s local literacy efforts. KTRK-TV Channel 13 news anchor, Melanie Lawson emceed the program that included input from guild president Trish Morille and the invocation by the Reverend Russ Levenson Jr. of St. Martin’s Episcopal Church.

Phillips 66 served as the title sponsor of the Power of Literacy Luncheon for the 5th year in a row while Janice McNair served as the Literacy Champion Sponsor and Memorial Hermann served as the Presenting Sponsor.

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Tuning in and enjoying lunch delivered from Catering by Culinaire were: Julie Baker Finck, Lisa Jakel, Jean Becker, Tony Bradfield, Elsie Eckert, Becky Cooke, Jan Duncan, Claudia Kreisle, Gina Saour, Trish Greaser, Jan Griesenbeck, Mary Sage, Ruth Ann Reyenga, Ellen Sheedy, Ellen Stough, Dodi Willingham, Nancy Hall, Judi McGee, and Carolyn Moody Drake.

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