Society / The Seen

For the Genesis Women’s Shelter’s Annual Luncheon, Sheryl Lee Ralph Hit All the Right Notes

Inside the Joyous Dallas Event

BY // 05.14.24
photography Tamytha Cameron

Few daytime charity events in Dallas compare to the size and scope of the Genesis Luncheon. For their largest annual fundraiser, Genesis Women’s Shelter & Support hosted donors and guests for a seated luncheon at the Hilton Anatole on Friday, April 12, 2024. 

In the notoriously expansive Anatole, where one could easily swim upstream through a current of cheerleaders in town for a convention, the Chantilly Ballroom holds court as the site of the city’s most celebrated soirees. It’s a big space for a big group (more than 1,400!) to support an even bigger issue. 

Genesis Women’s Shelter gives women in abusive situations a way out, providing safety, shelter, and support for women and children who have experienced domestic violence. The luncheon not only raises critical funds for this mission, but also awareness regarding the cause, prevalence, and impact of domestic violence.

For the 31st anniversary of the organization’s signature event, Maggie Kipp and Nancy Gopez co-captained the ship, serving as dynamic chairs and casting Abbott Elementary star Sheryl Lee Ralph as the event’s keynote speaker.

As in previous years, Genesis’ Chief Executive Officer Jan Langbein joined the guest of honor onstage. Langbein interviewed Ralph about her career arc over four decades in the entertainment industry, which reached an incredible crescendo in 2022 when Ralph won the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for Abbott Elementary

As she did when accepting the Emmy, the Tony-nominated performer (Ralph played the iconic role of Deena Jones in Dreamgirls!) took to song to convey her emotions. Three times during their brief conversation, Ralph stood up and captivated the audience with bars of “Endangered Species,” “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” and even a rendition of The Wiz’s “Believe In Yourself.”

Introducing Pêche

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Genesis Women’s Shelter & Support dallas luncheon Sheryl Lee Ralph and admirers (Photo by Tamytha Cameronv)
Sheryl Lee Ralph and admirers (Photo by Tamytha Cameronv)

Even though the veteran actress is clearly relishing every moment in this juncture of her career, Ralph didn’t shy away from using that same powerful voice to advocate for more equitable education in underserved communities. 

Genesis set an ambitious goal of raising $1 million at the luncheon, which donors not only met, but surpassed. The invisible string of the day? A message of believing in yourself. 

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