Honoree Reverend Bill Lawson with Rodney Ellis at The Rothko Chapel Gala. Lawson will be honored at the Kinder Institute annual event. (Photo by Jenny Antill Clifton)
Dachau concentration camp liberator Brigadier General Felix L. Sparks will be honored posthumously at the Holocaust Museum Houston Moral Courage Award virtual dinner. (Photo courtesy of the Sparks family)
Stephen Klineberg, pictured with his wife Peggy, will present the Houston Area Survey at the Kinder Institute virtual luncheon. (Photo by Priscilla Dickson)
The first look at the Holocaust Museum Houston Lester and Sue Smith Campus. (Photo Courtesy Holocaust Museum Houston)
David & Heidi Gerger are among the chairs of the Holocaust Museum Houston Moral Courage Award virtual dinner.(Photo by Alex Barber, Laura Burlton)
Andrea & Bill White are among the chairs of the Holocaust Museum Houston Moral Courage Award virtual dinner. (Photo by Michelle Watson/CatchlightGroup.com)
Moez and Sultana Mangalji are among the chairs of the Holocaust Museum Houston Moral Courage Award virtual dinner. (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)
It seems as if all things in the time of the coronavirus are going virtual. Education, shopping parties, happy hour, church services, and family reunions. With little hope of the stay-at-home edict ending anytime soon, more and more fundraisers are turning their otherwise silk-and-satin galas into online celebrate-from-afar events.
Two of the city’s leading nonprofits are going forward with special events that had been planned for May, both honoring remarkable individuals, by turning to technology to solve the social-distancing problem.
Holocaust Museum Houston
The most recent to join the virtual happenings is Holocaust Museum Houston‘s 25th annual Lyndon Baines Johnson Moral Courage Award dinner, which had planned to posthumously honor Brigadier General Felix L. Sparks on May 11, at the Hilton Americas-Houston. (Sparks led one of the first Allied forces to enter Dachau concentration camp and liberate its prisoners.) The dinner has been rescheduled and re-envisioned as a virtual event set to stream at 7 pm Thursday, May 7.
“This event is vital every year,” HMH CEO Kelly J. Zúñiga says in a statement. “This year, there are no words to describe its importance, for the funds it provides and for the meaning it will have. The whole focus of the event is about Moral Courage — it is the very courage we are experiencing from family to family every day in this current reality. It is about survival for all of us and the institutions we hold dear.”
The program will feature a virtual conversation with WWII historian and The New York Times bestselling author Alex Kershaw and Holocaust survivor Pinchas Gutter, as well as the presentation of the Moral Courage Award to the family of General Sparks.
Dinner chairs are Heidi and David Gerger, Sultana and Moez Mangalji; Andrea and Bill White. Erica and Benjy Levit serve as host committee chairs.
The Kinder Institute
Even before invitations were sent, the Kinder Institute reprogrammed its annual luncheon, set for May 18, as a “Lunch-Out.” When the invitations arrived in mailboxes, recipients were invited to tune in rather than step out.
“Recognizing the value of our research for the city’s business, nonprofit and civic communities, the Kinder Institute has re-envisioned its 2020 luncheon as a virtual Lunch-Out — accessible at no cost to all who wish to participate. Digital registration begins at 11:30 am on that Monday, with the program beginning at noon.”
The program will feature Stephen Klineberg‘s celebrated Kinder Institute Houston Area Survey and will honor the Rev. William A. Lawson with the 2020 Stephen L. Klineberg Award for his 60-plus years of service to the city.
Registration and information on the Lunch-Out can be found here.