PHOTO Courtesy Dallas Symphony Orchestra League
Although my protagonists poke fun at some of the less-than-charitable aspects involving high society, Dallas is in fact an incredibly philanthropic city. Through the city’s social organizations, tens of millions of dollars are raised annually to fund a multitude of worthy causes. Behind the veil of chic and glamourous luncheons, teas, parties and galas is commitment to serious fundraising.
In my novels, I address a number of issues I care deeply about. Through my protagonists and their friends, I’ve been able to speak to some critical life and social issues. Although these are works of fiction, the pain of loss, abuse, fear and need are anything but fantasy.
Below are some of my favorite charities and organizations, which I hope you will consider supporting.
PHOTO Courtesy Crystal Charity Ball
DRESS Carolina Herrera
Crystal Charity Ball
During Abby’s life in Dallas, she would have moved in the highest social circles. Crystal Charity Ball is the Grand Dame of Dallas society. Established in 1952, CCB has raised more than $123 million for children’s charities in Dallas County.
Each September, the organization recognizes the 10 Best Dressed women in Dallas society with a luncheon and fashion show at Neiman Marcus. Although the women are indeed fashion mavens, the honor is in recognition of their community involvement and charitable fundraising. The luncheon, which includes a runway show from the world’s top fashion houses and designers, is always an immediate sell-out. It is the ultimate see-and-be-seen event.
The luncheon is also regarded as the official start of Dallas’ mega-watt fundraising fall social season. Achieving Crystal Charity Ball membership is the equal to winning the social lottery. Those nominated to the 100-member organization must have a proven fundraising track record. This isn’t the beginner’s club, and beneficiaries are thoroughly vetted.
Each December, CCB holds its annual gala. After guests mingle, sip and size up each other’s gowns and jewels, bid on fabulous trips, designer bags, jewels and sports packages, partygoers enter the ballroom for dinner and dancing. When those giant banks of double doors open, the sensation is simply magical. The elegance and splendor are always breathtaking.
The gala, which is the official close of the social season, is entirely underwritten by donors. The money CCB raises throughout the year goes to the funding of the organization’s beneficiaries.
Cattle Baron’s Ball
The Cattle Baron’s Ball occupies a special place in my heart. I lost my father, sister and beloved aunt to cancer, and my other sister is a breast cancer survivor. Several members of my husband's family are also cancer survivors.
Although there are a number of Cattle Baron's Balls throughout the United States, the Dallas organization is the country’s original CBB. It is also the largest single-night fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.
Each year, this team of 100 dedicated women works to raise funds for cancer research, and since its founding in 1974, the Cattle Baron's Ball has raised more than $60 million. More cancer research dollars are spent in Dallas than anywhere else in the country.
The Dallas Cattle Baron's Ball has also funded Nobel Prize winning research.
The annual sell-out event, an old-fashioned ranch party, has swelled from 500 partygoers at its inception to more than 3,000 today. Some of the biggest and most respected talents in country music have performed at Cattle Baron's Ball. The event is often held at Dallas’ famed SouthFork Ranch.
The Family Place
In my novel, Abby Norton is a survivor of domestic violence. I feel strongly about giving these brave women a voice.
Since 1978, The Family Place in Dallas has been helping families by providing safe housing, supervised visits, legal advice, counselling for victims and abusers, school programs and a 24-hour hotline.
In that time, more than 225,000 clients have received counselling, 21,000 women, men and their children have been sheltered, and a half million calls for assistance were met. More than 20,000 batterers have been helped learn to change abusive behavior.
Although it’s easy to find examples of high-profile domestic violence incidents in the public arena though the extensive reach of social media, I encourage you to take interest in what’s happening in your own communities.
Whether you live in a big city as I do, or a small, rural town, this reprehensible behavior lurks behind many doors. Domestic violence isn’t exclusive to any race, religion, gender or income status. Nor is any profession immune. Whether someone lives in a shack or a mansion, does manual labor or is the CEO of a Fortune 500 corporation, is illiterate or holds two doctorates, it makes no difference. However, the cycle of violence can be broken through intervention, education and compassion.