Society / The Seen

The UNICEF Dallas Gala Raises Thousands for Ukraine in a Glittering Night at The Thompson

The Powerful Event Returns

BY // 04.28.22
photography Kim Leeson

One of my favorite memories from just a few short weeks before the COVID lockdown began in March 2020 was attending the UNICEF Dallas Gala. It was chaired by my dear friend Moll Anderson and Jan Miller Rich with the honorary chair being another very dear friend, Nancy Rogers. We drank … we danced … all while dressed in our black-tie best. (I took a fashion risk on that occasion with floral track pants and a coordinating blue velvet smoking jacket.) Little did we know then that it would be one of the last times we could gather together for such fun (or even get festively attired since many spent the rest of 2020 in athleisurewear).

All those wonderful memories came back to mind this past weekend when I attended UNICEF USA’s North Texas fourth annual  UNICEF Dallas Celebration. This year’s event, held in the ballroom of the Thompson Hotel, helped raise funds for that incredibly important cause.  The wrap-up I received post-gala shared that our community raised more than $750,000 for UNICEF’s work in close to 200 countries, with $165,000 going directly to UNICEF’s response in Ukraine.

Kara Goss, Selwyn Razor, Joyce Goss, Jessica Nowitzki, Courtesy of Kim Leeson for UNICEF USA (Photo by Kim Leeson)
(Photo by Kim Leeson)

A great group had been assembled as the leadership team for this year’s event. In fact, they threw a fabulous dinner party last December in Carolina Herrera’s Highland Park Village boutique where I found myself with a group of gorgeous guests in festive frocks. Members of that dream fundraising team include UNICEF USA North Texas Board members Joyce Goss and Selwyn Rayzor and leadership committee members Jessica NowitzkiKara Goss, Claire Haidar, Jennifer Karol and Alexandra Suich-Bass.

As guests dined on a menu that featured roasted pear and Iberico salad as well as grass-fed NY strip, speakers provided impassioned remarks about UNICEF’s work, including new initiatives in Ukraine. On the roster for time at the podium that evening included the organization’s CEO and President Michael J. Nyenhuis. He shared that over the past few months, UNICEF has been working nonstop to deliver emergency medical services, critical health supplies, safe water for drinking and hygiene, and shelter and protection to meet the rapidly escalating humanitarian needs in Ukraine. To assist with those services they had a live appeal that evening for specific items including the highly imaginative and useful school-in-a-box kits.

Haley Arias, Katharine Newman (Photo by Kim Leeson)
Haley Arias, Katharine Newman (Photo by Kim Leeson)

The event also took the moment to honor Abigail Williams, the founder and chief executive officer of United to Learn, with the Spirt of Compassion Award. Jessica Nowitzki presented her with the award after sharing with guests some of the work Williams has done in Dallas over the past decade.

Poizon Ivy the DJ provided the beats for the after party. (Photo by Kim Leeson)
Poizon Ivy the DJ provided the beats for the after party. (Photo by Kim Leeson)

The night reiterated that UNICEF won’t stop working tirelessly until every child is healthy, educated, respected, and protected. The organization’s 15,000-plus field workers do whatever it takes, day after day, to reach and support the world’s most vulnerable children. A few of those in their black-tie finest to support that mission included Carolina Herrera boutique manager Morgan Williams, Moll and Charlie AndersonReed Robertson, TJ Griffin, and Zoe Bonnette.

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