Society / The Seen

Trees of Hope Trigger Spontaneous Giving to Lynn Wyatt’s Delight

This Houston Gala’s Come a Long Way in 30 Years

BY // 12.11.18
photography Al Torres Photography

The theme of the 29th annual Trees of Hope Gala was “Bright Lights in the City” and there was plenty of holiday glitter and shine as the lobby of the Post Oak Hotel was filled with dozens of specially decorated Christmas trees among the many silent auction items on display. After dinner in the ballroom, the 400 guests, decked out in black tie and glamorous gowns, got in the spirit of giving with enthusiastic bidding on such live auction items as an adorable Golden Doodle puppy and a large painting, titled “Growth,” by artist John Ross Palmer.

In a call to action, honorary chair Lynn Wyatt, who came up with the idea for the annual gala benefitting Star of Hope Mission nearly 30 years ago, encouraged guests to donate to the cause by raising their auction cards to chip in anywhere from $10,000 to $100 on the spot. In a twist that other nonprofits are sure to emulate, the “Paddles Up” solicitation was extended with a “Run Around Game” prize, including four tickets to the Elton John concert, a stay at the Four Seasons Hotel, and dinner at Xochi, that went to the last person who donated $100 before time expired. Chris and Ashley Petersen were the lucky winners.

The spontaneous solicitations brought in a whopping $120,000, raising the evening’s total to more than $550,000 for children’s programs at the nonprofit which addresses the needs of Houston’s homeless population.

Nancy Walker, the agency’s first executive director, was honored for her longtime support of the organization, and Bani Lopez-Alvarado gave a moving tribute to how the organization helped her family when she was a child.

PC Seen: event co-chairs Rachel Gower, Ursaline Hamilton and Aimee Burke Rodriguez, Star of Hope CEO Hank Rush, emcee Chita Craft and husband Lane, Roseann Rogers, Richard Ryan, Jane-Page Crump, Lesha and Tom Elsenbrook, Laura and Steve Jones, Jo Ann Petersen, Shanna and Eric Bass, Ericka Bagwell, Robin and Danny Klaes, John and Lisa Stoika, Donna and Chuck Grehn, DeeDee and Wallis Marsh, Carmen and Butch Mach, Kelly and Michael Boyd, and Anne-Laure and Steve Stephens.

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