Society / The Seen

Dinner at Houston Billionaire’s River Oaks Home, Powerhouse Education Luncheon Raise $1 Million for Charter Schools

Barack Obama's Former Secretary of Education Continues to Make an Impact

BY // 10.28.19
photography Priscilla Dickson

What: YES Prep Public Schools third annual Leading Houston Forward luncheon

Where: The Grand Foyer of Wortham Theater Center

PC Moment: There were two moments actually — dinner for top donors in the River Oaks home of billionaires Susan and Fayez Sarofim and the luncheon. Guest of honor and speaker at both gatherings was John B. King Jr., the 10th U.S. Secretary of Education under President Barack Obama and current president and CEO of The Education Trust. That organization works “to close opportunity gaps that disproportionately affect students of color and students from low-income families.”

During the dinner King and YES Prep board member Luis Elizondo-Thomson held a fireside style chat with guests as they discussed educational inequities and the increasing demand for an educated workforce.

In addition to King’s keynote during the luncheon, the Chris Barbic Legacy Award, named for YES Prep founder, was presented to Vitol for the energy and commodities company’s on-going commitment to the charter school system. And YES Prep CEO Mark DiBella noted that the charter entity will add 10 feeder elementary schools over the next five years. To date, YES Prep has 19 campuses.

As noted in Jordan Marye’s comments, YES Prep “is the only major charter district solely focused on Houston and that consistently delivers unmatched student achievement results.” Marye chaired the luncheon with his wife Emily Marye, an effort that raised close to $1 million with $72,000 of that coming in during the luncheon thanks to an anonymous donor’s dollar for dollar match of up to $100,000.

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