Society / Featured Parties

Wrapping Up Houston’s Party Scene — A Record Breaking Social Season Comes to a Close In Epic Fashion

19 Rocking Bashes That Made an Impact

BY // 06.19.24

That’s a wrap. Since April 1, PaperCity has covered 63 Houston society events, most of them nonprofit fundraisers. With publication of this article highlighting an additional 19 events that brings the grand total to 82 Houston party stories in the last 10 weeks. Whew. Our party frocks are well worn and our fancy footwear has been put away for the next 10 weeks or so.

Granted, we are still catching up with two or three, but baby I’m done. At least until the few summer happenings click in.

This break in the relentless party scene gives me the opportunity to explore other subject matter such as travel, fashion, personalities and more. Of course, some Houston social events do continue through the summer but hardly at the pace experienced in the heart of the social season.

Let’s catch up with a number of Houston party moments to remember:

A $10 Million Gift

Generous philanthropist Suzie Johnson, through the Suzie and Larry Johnson Foundation, gifted $10 million to support the Memorial Hermann Health System Heart & Vascular Institute and Memorial Hermann Life Flight, enabling the expansion of advanced cardiovascular and trauma care across theGreaterHouston community. More than 200 friends and health system supporters gathered for the celebration held on the late Larry Johnson‘s birthday.

The gift resulted in a new name for the institute: the Larry D. Johnson Heart & Vascular Institute.

Suzie Johnson, Tom Flanagan, Lisa Simon (Daniel Ortiz)
Suzie Johnson, Tom Flanagan, Lisa Simon at the Memorial Hermann Foundation ‘Walking on Sunshine Gala’ spotlighting Life Flight (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)

KIPP Texas 30th Anniversary Gala

Alan Ying, Rick J. Perez, Enoch Woodhouse chair KIPP Texas - Houston 30th anniversary gala. (Photo by Johnny Than)
Alan Ying, Rick J. Perez, Enoch Woodhouse chair KIPP Texas – Houston 30th anniversary gala. (Photo by Johnny Than)

 Rick J. Perez, Enoch Woodhouse and Alan Ying helmed the KIPP Texas – Houston’s 30th anniversary benefit to proceeds of $1.5 million in proceeds. The night featured a private concert by 16 time Grammy Award winner David Foster and star of stage and screen Katharine McPhee.

This concert was generously sponsored by Perez and featured a powerful guest performance by KIPP senior Emily Garcia whose rendition of “I Will Always Love You” brought all 650 guests to their feet for a standing ovation.

Preservation Houston Cornerstone Dinner

Phoebe Tudor, Brooks Howell, Lynne Kelly, Anna Mod
Phoebe Tudor, Brooks Howell, Lynne Kelly, Anna Mod at Preservation Houston’s ‘Cornerstone Dinner’ (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)

Who knew that when David Bucek, FAIA, accepted Preservation Houston’s President’s Award that he would call for the revival of the Astrodome? A plea that resulted in a standing ovation from the 300 attendees at River Oaks Country Club. Diane Kingshill and Aston Martini chaired the event that presented 10 Good Brick Awards to successful preservation efforts.

The dinner raised $234,000 for Preservation Houston’s neighborhood-based education, advocacy and community outreach programs.

Covenant House Texas’ Night of Broadway Stars

Covenant House Texas youth performing onstage at Night of Broadway Stars (David Shutts)
Youth from Covenant House Texas perform at the ‘Night of Broadway Stars’ at Wortham Theater Center (Photo by David Shutts)

Broadway stars sharing their talent with Covenant House Texas supporters included Rita Harvey, Richard Todd Adams, Carter Calvert, Jarran Muse and Jeanette Bayardelle, with the night’s biggest ovation going to the Covenant House Texas youth who performed alongside them. Aimee and Wynne Snoots chaired the gala dinner evening in Wortham Center’s Grand Foyer where honorees Susan and Mike Holland and Stan Marek on behalf of MAREK were recognized.

Arms Wide ‘Fulfilling Families’ Luncheon

Debbie Muery, Tori Hope Petersen, Frank Billingsley
Debbie Muery, Tori Hope Petersen, Frank Billingsley at the Arms Wide 10th annual ‘Fulfilling Families’ Luncheon

Chaired by Sarah Barrett and Michele Marandi, the 10th annual Arms Wide “Fulfilling Families” luncheon raised a record $220,000 for the adoption service with best-selling author Tori Hope Petersen, a fierce advocate for foster care reform, taking the spotlight as guest speaker. Also in the spotlight was Debbie Muery, who along with her husband Kevin has adopted 13 children and fostered nearly 99 throughout the last 36 years, all through Arms Wide. Frank Billingsley reprised his role as luncheon emcee.

Avondale House ‘Embracing Autism, Hear Our Voices’ Benefit

Emily and Allen Capps and Ashley and Christian Nelly
Avondale House gala chairs Emily & Allen Capps and Ashley & Christian Nelly

The River Oaks Country Club ballroom came alive during the Avondale House “Embracing Autism, Hear Our Voices” evening with a performance from Nashville’s No. 1 hit singer-songwriters Phillip White, Mark Nesler, Leslie Satcher and Jenn Schott, plus a phenomenal opening performance from Luke Morace. The fundraiser chaired by Ashley and Christian Nelly and Emily and Allen Capps featured a memorable mission moment speech by Avondale House board member Guy Buckley.

Alzheimer’s Association AWARE Luncheon

Alzheimer's Association AWARE luncheon Chanel Johnson, Tamar Johnson, and guest speaker Dr. Huda Zoghbi at Houston Country Club
Alzheimer’s Association AWARE luncheon Chanel Johnson, Tamar Johnson, and guest speaker Dr. Huda Zoghbi at Houston Country Club

Dr. Huda Zoghbi, director of the Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children’s Hospital, served as guest speaker at the Alzheimer’s Association AWARE luncheon held at Houston Country Club. The event honored Dr. Mark Kunik, who has been dedicated to the association for more than 30 years. His efforts, including chairing or co-chaired the Walk to End Alzheimer’s since 2018, has generated nearly $4 million for dementia care and research. The event was chaired by Tamara and Grant Johnson too.

Glassell School of Art Benefit

Micheline and German Newall; Mary and Bernie Arocha; Photo by Daniel Ortiz
Micheline and German Newall; Mary and Bernie Arocha at the Glassell School benefit. (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)

The great Texas tradition of football homecoming celebrations set the stage for the evening that began atop the Glassell of School of Art‘s PNC Roof Garden for spectacular skyline views of downtown and the Texas Medical Center. The party continued indoors where decor by The Events Company provided homecoming vibes and City Kitchen provided the sophisticated dinner. The night closed out back on the roof garden with dancing to the sounds of DJ Flash Gordon Parks.

Turn It Gold Foundation gala

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The Dina family, Mike, Caroline, Angela and Charlie at the Biennial Turn It Gold Gala. (Photo by Jacob Power)

KTRK Channel 13 sports director Greg Bailey emceed the evening that honored College World Series-making Texas A&M University head baseball coach Jim Schlossnagle for his work in the arena of childhood cancer. Mike and Angela Dina founded the nonprofit in 2013 in response to their son’s diagnosis with stage IV neuroblastoma.

The $650,000 raised during the event at the Royal Sonesta will be used for elevating awareness of childhood cancer and raising support for research dollars. Chairs: Joslyn and David Paris, Jeannette and Brian Muecke, Lajeana and Chris Hardig, Katherine and Clayton Gring, and Cathy and Steve Blundell.

Goodwill Houston ‘Goodwill Derby’ Gala

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Fashionable guests attending Goodwill Houston’s annual ‘Goodwill Derby’ gala

River Oaks Country Club was setting for Goodwill Houston‘s annual “Goodwill Derby” gala, chaired by Cindy and Keith Kreuer and Andi Kreuer and John Roberts. The program featured success stories and testimonials from individuals whose lives have been transformed through Goodwill Houston’s programs and services

TUTS Leading Ladies Luncheon

Theatre Under the Stars Volunteer of the Year Julie Schweers, luncheon chair June Deadrick, Shirley Stein Outstanding Champion in the Arts and Education Donna Vallone, TUTS executive director Hillary J. Hart

At Theatre Under The Stars’ annual Leading Ladies Luncheon held at Tony’s, Donna Vallone was honored with the Shirley Stein Outstanding Champion in the Arts and Education Award. Julie Schweers received Volunteer of the Year honors at the luncheon chaired by June Deadrick. Recognized as Arts Educator of the Year was Rozie Curtis of Kinder HSPVA.

Menninger Clinic Annual Luncheon

Joe Pantoliano
Andy Cerota, Emmy Award winning actor Joe Pantoliano at the Menninger Clinic annual luncheon. (Photo by Emily Jaschke)

Emmy Award winning (The Sopranos) actor Joe Pantoliano shared his battle with depression during a candid onstage interview with KPRC anchor Andy Cerota. Tejuana Edmond and Jennifer Hanson chaired the event held at the Hilton Houston Post Oak. The luncheon honored the YMCA for its continued partnership with Menninger to provide mental health resources to adolescents.

The Women’s Fund Wine Dinner

AR1_3747 (Mark and Stephanie Schusterman, Jay Sears and Chau Nguyen) by Alexander Rogers
The Women’s Fund wine dinner chairs Dr. Mark & Stephanie Schusterman with Jay Sears and Chau Nguyen (Photo by Alexander’s Fine Portrait Design)

Dinner chairs Stephanie von Stein Schusterman and Dr. Mark Schusterman welcomed more than 200 supporters to Tony’s for an evening exceptional food, wine and beautiful music provided by mezzo-soprano Sarah Dyer and pianist Andreea Mut. Marilyn Sumner received the Jane and David Braden Heart of a Volunteer service award.

More than $220,000 was raised for Women’s Fund for Health Education and Resiliency programs that provide a safe haven for girls and women, and the commitment to continue providing classes, presentations and publications free of charge to communities with limited access to health information.

Family Houston ‘Pillars of Strength’ Luncheon

Chris Shepherd, Bill Worrell
Honoree Chef Chris Shepherd with retired Houston Rockets play-by-play announcer Bill Worrell Jr. serving as emcee at the Family Houston luncheon

Family Houston‘s “Pillars of Strength” fundraiser at The Revaire celebrated the nonprofit’s 120 years as a champion of mental health. Former Houston Rocket player turned coach John Lucas spoke on mental health and addiction in dialogue with retired Houston Rockets play-by-play TV announcer Bill Worrell Jr. The event honored chef Chris Shepherd for his generous philanthropy. The Text to Give moment also broke previous fundraising records, unlocking a matching gift from rapper 50 Cent’s G-Unity Foundation, which supports urban families. The result brought record proceeds of $327,500.

“Miracles of the Mission” Luncheon

Cynthia Wolff Beth Wolff Cheryl Byington by Daniel Ortiz
Cynthia Wolff, Beth Wolff, Cheryl Byington at the Mission of Yaweh ‘Miracles of the Mission’ luncheon (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)

Mission of Yahweh coffers were enriched by $200,000 when supporters gathered at the Junior League of Houston for the annual “Miracles of the Mission” luncheon. Guest speaker Alan Graham, founder Mobile Loaves & Fishes, shared stories of sustainable solutions for the chronically homeless, infusing their lives with compassion, love and dignity. The event honored Richard Hill, who is retiring after serving as mission executive director for 13 years.

AVDA ‘New Beginnings’ Luncheon

Stephanie von Stein Schusterman, Maisha Colter, Maria Barrios, Jennifer Caras, Mario Gudmundsson, Courtney Harmon.jpg
AVDA luncheon stars Stephanie von Stein Schusterman, Maisha Colter, Maria Barrios, Jennifer Caras, Mario Gudmundsson, Courtney Harmon (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)

The second annual AVDA “New Beginnings” luncheon, held at the Post Oak Hotel, raised more than $280,000 for the nonprofit focused on ending family violence. Jennifer Caras, Mario Gudmundsson and Courtney Harmon chaired the luncheon that honored Sophie-Marie Ngu with the Young Advocate Award and Maria Barrios with the Ambassador of Advocacy honor.

Vita Living ‘Pearls of Wisdom’ Fiesta

Vita Living 'Pearls of Wisdom' fiesta chairs Marc & Pamela Perilloux, Bryan P. Smith (Photo by Andy Phan)
Vita Living ‘Pearls of Wisdom’ fiesta chairs Marc & Pamela Perilloux, Bryan P. Smith (Photo by Andy Phan)

River Oaks Country Club was setting Vita Living’s annual “Pearls of Wisdom” fiesta complete with mariachi music. Pamela and Marc Perilloux and Bryan P. Smith chaired the event attended by more than 300 supporters. The $180,000 raised will aid in the nonprofit’s mission of providing services and support for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

HAPS ‘Blues, Brews & BBQ’ Event

Houston Area Parkinson Societ
Partygoers enjoying the Houston Area Parkinson Society fundraiser

Four blues bands took the stage at Wicklow Heights when the Houston Area Parkinson Society hosted its sixth annual “Blues, Brews & BBQ” fundraiser while celebrating the nonprofit’s 50th anniversary. More than 200 joined the event raising funds for HAPS free programs and services for the local Parkinson’s community.

Designer Purse Bingo for Be An Angel

Glenna Leonard is a winner at the Purse Bingo benefit for Be An Angel.

More than 600 exuberant supporters attended Be An Angel’s seventh annual Designer Purse Bingo fundraiser sponsored by CenterPoint Energy. Jessica Forsdick chaired the event held at the Bayou City Event Center. Bingo winners walked home with an impressive variety of designer handbags from Michael Kors, Coach, David Peck, Niki Lassiter, Marc Jacobs, Ralph Lauren and Louis Vuitton.

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