Society / Featured Parties

Virtual Fundraisers Take Centerstage in Houston — Major Events You Need to Know

Online Socializing Becomes a Nonprofit Lifeline

BY // 05.03.20

With scores of nonprofit fundraisers — festive evenings, fashion shows, and more serious gatherings — canceled across Houston due to social distancing and fear of COVID-19, development directors, gala chairs, and concerned patrons are turning to the Internet to supplement expected income that went the way of spring baseball.

Early to the digital table were Holocaust Museum Houston and the Kinder Institute, both with well-choreographed presentations — the former to inspire and encourage giving, the latter to release Stephen Klineberg’s Houston Area Survey.

Now the virtual fundraisers are coming in waves. This week is an especially busy time for online socializing.

A Shelter for Cancer Families Happy Hour

Lyndsey Zorich and Traci Ling, pictured here, along with Jill Collins will host the happy hour benefitting A Shelter for Cancer Families.

You might have received the email invitation from Jill Collins, Traci Ling, and Lyndsey Zorich — and better yet, the surprise delivery of a little box with margarita mixings (including a small bottle of Patrón Reposado) — to join the ladies in a Zoom “Cuatro de Mayo” on the Rocks fundraiser for A Shelter for Cancer Families.

Guests are invited to jump on the call at 4 pm Monday, May 4, for the happy hour with event. Each participant will receive an emailed gift certificate to The Avenue. There will also be a drawing for a gift card from Tenenbaum Jewelers. Details are available by emailing or contacting one of the three hostesses.

Ronald McDonald House Luncheon

Cole Dawson pictured with his wife, Carla, will be guest speaker at the Ronald McDonald House virtual luncheon on May 6. (Photo by

Whether in person or online, Cole Dawson‘s story of invincible support, relentless optimism, and faith in light of dramatic medical challenges would be just as moving. It’s a story that Ronald McDonald Houston families live every day, which is why he is the guest speaker at the May 6 Spirit of Hope virtual luncheon.  As a young adult, Dawson survived acute lymphocyte leukemia, only later as a mature adult to require a heart transplant as a result of the cancer treatment.

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The virtual luncheon will recognize Trafigura with the Spirit of Hope Award, Friendswood Development Company with the Corporate Group Award, and the Houston Almunae Association of Alpha Delta Pi with the Service Group Award. Details on the 11:30 am virtual luncheon are available here.

JDRF Virtual Promise Ball

The crowd goes wild for Professor D at the 20th anniversary Houston JDRF Promise Ball. (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)
The crowd goes wild for Professor D at the 20th anniversary Houston JDRF Promise Ball in 2019. (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)

“The same way JDRF refuses to give up hope for a cure for Type 1 Diabetes, the organization refuses to cancel its annual Promise Ball,” says one of ball’s fans. But it certainly has changed from what was originally planned for May 2. For those who tune in here at 6:30 pm on Saturday, the night will have all the elements key to fundraising including inspirational testimonies, the popular Fund A Cure program, silent and live auctions, and even a raffle.

JDRF is suggesting that guests make the night their own by perhaps hosting a pre-gala virtual happy hour before tuning in to JDRF, dressing up, or even having fun with a twist on black tie such as a tuxedo on top and PJs on the bottom.

Rothko Chapel Awards

Rothko chapel
The Rothko Chapel biennial Óscar Romero Awards (ORA) will be presented in virtual ceremonies on June 30.

While announcing in his newsletter the recipients of the Óscar Romero Awards, Rothko Chapel executive director David Leslie noted, “We are adjusting how we will present our public programs this summer. The 2020 Rothko Chapel Óscar Romero Award will be live streamed on June 30.”

Details are yet to be finalized, but the winners are on tap to receive their honors in presentations that will be available for viewing online. To be recognized for their courageous, grassroots, human rights advocacy are Gérman Chirinos of Honduras, Bernadette Demientieff of Alaska, and Jorge Díaz of Puerto Rico. All three have excelled within the areas of art, spirituality, and human rights and have committed their life’s work toward climate justice and the creation of a more sustainable, livable, and possibility-filled world.

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