Society / The Seen

A Driven Laura Bush, a Blushing Troy Aikman and the Ultimate Giving Power Dame

This Megawatt Lunch is a True Difference Maker

BY // 09.14.17

What: The United Way of Metropolitan Dallas’ Ruth Sharp Altshuler Tocqueville Society Luncheon

Where: The Omni Dallas Hotel 

PC Moment: When asked to found the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas’ Tocqueville Society 30 years ago, Ruth Altshuler famously raised $1 million from handwritten notes alone. As Dallas’ grand dame of fundraising spoke to a packed room of more than 1,200 civic leaders and dear friends (including former first lady and BFF Laura Bush, of whom Altshuler said, “She is just too good to be true! Except she is true. She is a real person!”), Altshuler referenced a favorite quote from Albert Schweitzer: “Example is not the main thing that influences others. It is the only thing.”

Little did Altshuler know that her example had inspired close friends Kelly Hoglund Compton, Caren Prothro, Carolyn Perot Rathjen, and Dallas United Way CEO Jennifer Sampson to start a surprise letter-writing campaign of their own, bringing in more than $7 million to establish the Ruth Sharp Altshuler Basic Needs Fund — of which the first official disbursement was given to The Salvation Army to support Hurricane Harvey Relief efforts in North Texas.

The megawatt announcement, made public during the luncheon, was one that caught even the most unshakable Altshuler off guard. But why just honor the legacy of one philanthropic powerhouse if you can have three? The society presented both Margaret McDermott and Margot Perot with the 2017 Decades of Distinction Award, in recognition of their longstanding community support.

There was another surprise in store — sort of. When Sampson took the stage for a Q&A with United Way’s 2017-2018 campaign chair and former gridiron great, Troy Aikman, there was one thought on everyone’s mind. Sampson called out the elephant in the room: “Congratulations!” she said, causing even the most confident Aikman to blush. You see, just four days prior, Aikman wed Capa Mooty in a private ceremony in Santa Barbara. Talk about an afternoon of milestones.

Who: Carol Seay, Elaine Agather, Michelle McAdam, Capera Ryan, Deborah RyanAnnette SimmonsGene JonesDrew PearsonJennifer SampsonAnne MotsenbokerJason DowningCaroline Rose HuntRegan FearonLee CullumLinda MarcusDiane and Hal Brierley.

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