Society / Featured Parties

Wrapping Up Houston’s Party Season — 11 Society Events That Captured Attention Before the City’s Great Summer Exodus

So Many Parties, So Few Free Nights

BY // 06.06.22

So many parties, so little time. It’s the same story every April/May when nonprofits scurry to lasso every dollar they can manage before the great summer exodus, when those with pockets deep enough to make major contributions are also wealthy enough to head to their vacation homes, leaving  Houston fundraisers to aim at another tier of benefactors.

Since the start of May this scribe has told the tale of more than 50 charity events. Some were as wildly successful as the JDRF Promise Ball and Memorial Hermann Foundation gala, both of which raised $3.7 million. Some were as hip-hop trendy as the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston’s Secret Underground gala. Several targeted the city’s young professionals such as Houston Botanic Garden’s The Secret Garden Party.

While we simply couldn’t write a full story for every fundraiser that took place this spring, a number of them definitely captured PaperCity‘s attention. This is your Houston party season wrap-up roundup:

Sky High for Kids

Sky High For Kids, supporting children undergoing cancer treatment and other life-threatening conditions, raised $920,000 via its annual Houston Banquet and Sporting Clays Tournament at the Briar Club and Greater Houston Sports Club, respectively. Applause, applause for chairs JW Wright and Amanda Fenn and honoree Joe Briers, president of Southwest Pipe Services. Leading the charge was Sky High founder Brittany Hebert Franklin.

Emerge

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Emerge’s Build the Village luncheon chairs Ann Chao & Mia Mends (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)

The River Oaks Country Club ballroom was filled with more than 400 guests supporting the fifth annual “Build the Village” to raise funds for Emerge, which aids high-performing students in underserved communities to attend and graduate from colleges and universities. With Ann Chao and Mia Mends serving as chairs, the event pulled in more than $530,000 for the worthy cause.

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Be an Angel

Bobby socks, polka dots, pink satin jackets and black leather jackets were the fashion musts when Be an Angel held its Grease themed sock hop fundraiser at The Revaire. More than 400 spirited guys and dolls joined the party that raised more than $600,000 for the mission of improving the quality of life for children with multiple disabilities or profound deafness.

Key players on the evening were chairs Dot and Walt Cunningham, dinner chairs Jan and Dan Patrick, and executive director Marti Boone. The 2022 Angel Award was presented to Oticon, a life-changing technology company that provides hearing technology for the special needs children. The award accepted by Oticon director Dr. Laura Shiplet.

The Puranik Foundation

Bhakti Salunkhe Puranik, Sharayu Salunkje Puranik, Rekah Puranik Revati, Rani Puranik (Photo by Priscilla Dickson)

The ballroom at The Post Oak Hotel welcomed more than 400 guests for the Puranik Foundation‘s Lotus Innovation Awards gala where founders Rekha and Sudhir Puranik were honored. Rani Puranik, event chair and Global CFO and executive vice president of Worldwide Oilfield Machine, wowed guests with her voice during a singing performance that included a fusion of “Colors of the Wind” and an Indian classical raga called “nahi punyachi mojani” which means celebration of life. She then asked guests to light their candles in a show of unity.

Guest speakers included Bobby Tudor via video and Stanford University professor Ariel Raz discussed the foundation’s widely regarded Energy Project.

Menninger Clinic luncheon

Members of the Harris County Sheriff’s Department at the Menninger Clinic luncheon with Melanie Lawson, Charles Haley, and Armando Colombo (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)

The Menninger Clinic‘s 12th annual Signature Luncheon, held at the Hilton Post Oak Hotel, featured NFL Hall of Fame inductee and former Dallas Cowboys star Charles Haley, who was interviewed on stage by KTRK Channel 13 news anchor Melanie Lawson. Theme of the event was Rewriting the Mental Health Playbook. Dr. Kathy Flanagan and Susan Sportsman, Ph.D, R.N., chaired the event which honored the Harris County Sheriff’s Department for setting new standards in how law enforcement responds to people with mental health needs.

Portraits of Perseverance

Melanie Lawson and chair Nancy Dinerstein cheer as special guest Marlee Matlin reeives a stetson during the Houston Methodist luncheon. (Photo by Jenny Antill)

Actress, author and Academy Award winner Marlee Matlin captivated the 370 guests attending Houston Methodist’s Portraits of Perseverance luncheon celebrating the Women’s Health program at Houston Methodist. Maitlin spoke on the importance of collaboration with like-minded colleagues, of dedicated perseverance and the noisemaking it took to win the Oscar for best actress for Children of a Lesser God. The luncheon was chaired by Nancy Dinterstein and featured KTRK Channel 13 news anchor Melanie Lawson as the emcee who conducted an interview with Matlin.

The Brookwood Community

Ryan & Lana Ruxh, Allison Hill, Shawn Koonce (Photo by Priscilla Dickson)

The biennial fundraiser, this year a luncheon held at the Hilton Americas-Houston hotel, brought in $1.1 million for The Brookwood Community which provides a God-centered educational environment that creates meaningful jobs while building a sense of belonging for adults with special needs. This benefit for the 485-acre campus in Brookshire was chaired by Patty and Richard Hoban and Lana and the Reverand Ryan Rush of Kingsland Baptist Church. Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale was the inaugural recipient of the Victoria Lee Streit Inspiration Award.

Great Age Movement

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Kirin Wells, honoree Irma Galvan, Joe Wells at the Great Age Movement annual Jazz Brunch held at the Health Museum

With more than 200 guests attending the Great Age Movement’s fourth annual Jazz Brunch — a sell-out held at the Health Museum — $81,000 was raised to build its second adult playground for seniors. The event was chaired by Kirin and Joe Wells and honored famed restaurateur Irma Galvan with the Great Age Movement Award and Robert Hale as volunteer of the year. Tianna Hall & The Houston Jazz Band provided the music. Retired KTRK Channel 13 news anchor Art Rascon served as emcee.

Coastal Prairie Conservancy

Zachry & Mimi Brown and Molly & Grant Butkus chair the Coastal Prairie Conservancy (formerly the Katy Prairie Conservancy) dinner evening (Photo by Tom Dubrock)

It was a surprise to the 250 prairie advocates and supporters at the annual dinner to learn that the Katy Prairie Conservancy has been renamed the Coastal Prairie Conservancy to reflect the broadening scope of the land trust. In fact, the event was themed “Here We Grow Again.” The announcement was made by the group’s president and CEO Mary Anne Piacentini.

The nonprofit currently protects more than 30,000 acres of land throughout the region, including 18,500 acres on the historic Katy Prairie. Longtime corporate partner ConocoPhillips was recognized as honoree. Mimi and Zachry Brown and Molly and Grant Butkus chaired the event.

The Periwinkle Foundation

Dr. Mary Nell Suel, Dr. Paul Gerson and Bill Boone at the Periwinkle Foundation gala (Dave Rossman photo)

No question, it was all things Western when the Periwinkle Foundation held its annual fundraiser at the Royal Sonesta Houston. Amid the entertainments of a live longhorn, a trick roper, mechanical bull, whiskey pulls, a boot shining station and the sounds of the Brian Black Band, partygoers raised more than $600,000 for the foundation’s program of providing a community of healing for children with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses through camps, arts and survivor programs. Applause, applause for the board of directors, which chaired the event.

Mission of Yahweh

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Hostesses for the 11th annual Houston Sweethearts celebration tea Warner Roberts, Sylvia Forsythe, Deborah Duncan, Alicia Smith, and Kim Moody (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)

The 11th annual Houston Sweethearts tea at 51Fifteen Cuisine and Cocktails at Saks Fifth Avenue honored six accomplished women — Dr. Amita Bhalla, Kristy Bradshaw, Brigitte Kalai, Dr. Kelly Larkin, Amy Pierce and Pastor Mia Wright. Cheers could be heard throughout Saks Fifth Avenue when it was announced that Brigitte and Bashar Kalai are contributing $100,000 for naming rights for a new dormitory to be added to The Mission of Yahweh campus which provides lodging and care for homeless women and children.

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