Society / Featured Parties

Houston’s Fabulous Femmes, Including Paige Fertitta, Keep the Holiday Giving Alive

Events Replaced by $100,000-Plus Challenges

BY // 12.03.20

With COVID-19 playing the role of the Grinch that is disrupting most of our holiday plans, we congratulate two philanthropic femmes who are stepping up to fill in a few gaps. M.D. Anderson’s delightful Santa’s Elves fundraiser and The Women’s Home annual luncheon are beneficiaries of an unexpected largesse.

Paige Fertitta names the annual Santa’s Elves holiday extravaganza that takes place at the vast Fertitta estate in River Oaks as her favorite event of the year. And how could it not be with live reindeer, piles of snow, Christmas trees galore and the Houston Children’s Chorus?

For the 2020 15th annual event benefiting M.D. Anderson Cancer Children’s Hospital, there will be no event. Merely a $100,000 challenge made by Fertitta and two of her four children, Michael and Patrick. The trio chaired last year’s event attended by some 375 festively attired guests. The family will match dollar for dollar each donation up to $100,000.

The recommended contribution is $150, which was the cost of the minimum ticket purchase of previous years. For the match, donations must be made by December 31. Details on the Santa’s Elves giving are available here.

A $150,000 Challenge

“Deck the halls. Let’s have a ball,” is the mantra for Diane Riley who is chairing the virtual brunch benefiting The Women’s Home. And in honor of her husband John Riley‘s 80th birthday, she is offering to match dollar for dollar contributions up to $80,000. Although he retired as CEO of Cooper Industries in 2005, the duo has remained active on the city’s nonprofit scene.

To round out the donation match, an anonymous donor has agreed to donate an additional $70,000, also contingent on the event raising $150,000. With the combined efforts of Riley and the anonymous donor, The Women’s Home will double their donation once the event hits $150,000 raised, making it $300,000 total.

FERN FREEMAN

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Participation in the virtual brunch can take place either December 12 or 13 with chef Chris Shepherd providing the brunch fare. This virtual portion of the event will feature testimonials, an award presentation, words from Shepherd, Riley and The Women’s Home CEO Anna Coffey and a reminder of the impact that the nonprofit has made in the community.

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