Women of Distinction

The 29th Annual Women of Distinction Luncheon and Awards was held on May 3rd at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott. The luncheon organized by the Montgomery County Women’s Council of Organizations, celebrates the outstanding volunteer and leadership contributions of women in Montgomery County.  Member organizations select and honor an individual volunteer who has made a significant impact to the organization through their outstanding volunteer efforts.

The sold-out luncheon featured Ms. Gigi Woodruff, Senior Leadership Development Manager at YMCA and Owner of Gigi Woodruff and Associates as the keynote speaker. Ms. Woodruff inspired the crowd as she spoke of overcoming low self-esteem as a child and becoming a force for good. She encouraged and challenged both the guests and honorees to embrace the differences we encounter, to thank our mentors and become mentors for the next generation.

New Danville Tea on the Lawn

The 2019 New Danville Tea on the Lawn held at the beautiful Madera Estates was held on April 26th. Richie’s Specialty Pharmacy was the Presenting Sponsor and Hoggatt was the Guest Speaker Sponsor for the elegant spring event supporting New Danville’s Day Program for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Each year women flock to the event in their chic outfits and colorful hats and this year was no exception. The theme was “L’Art de Vivre” which means “the art of living”. Megan Jamaluddin, chair of the event expounded upon the selection, “The theme embodies the mission of New Danville to provide programs and services for their clients to help them to live vibrant lives where they can see the world as a place full of colors, textures and opportunities!”

(L-R) Tiffany Alexander, CeCe Ray, Allison Lime, Lisa Hill

Rev. Kimberly Constant of TWUMC graciously emceed the fashionable affair and helped showcase the wonderful work of New Danville. Guests were entertained by author, humorist and singer LaDonna Gatlin whose performance included an outstanding rendition of “This is Me,” from The Greatest Showman with the New Danville Silver Star Singers. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house! Guests dined on scrumptious delicacies from Churrasco’s while enjoying shopping in the Market Place prior to the program.

New Danville services adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities in an environment promoting dignity, respect and individual choice.

To learn more about New Danville, please visit: http://www.newdanville.org/

The New Danville Silver Star Singers and Client Council accompanied by John Massey and Donna
( L-R) Honorary Chairs Bev Earl and Melissa Young with Event Chair Meagan Jamaluddin

Art Dash

The Woodlands Arts Council (TWAC) kicked off The Woodlands Waterway Arts Festival with the much anticipated Art Dash again this year. The “Let the Art Choose You!” entitled event is one of the highlights each year in The Woodlands Art Community. The unique, exhilarating event was held at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion and allows guests to preview the art featured in the arts festival while raising money for a multitude of outreach programs of The Woodlands Arts Council.

Festival artists donate works of art and friends of TWAC, arts patrons, artists, and board members gather to celebrate the kick-off event of The Woodlands Waterway Arts Festival. The evening began with a preview period accompanied by the captivating sounds of The Woodlands Symphony Orchestra led by Artistic Director Darryl Bayer. The excitement continues to build throughout the evening culminating in a race through the art exhibit when a guest’s number is chosen to select their piece of art within 60 seconds.

Proceeds from the event fund the nearly $20,000 in scholarships awarded each year to high school juniors and seniors, The David Gottlieb Teacher annual scholarship awarded to one visual and performing arts public school teacher, school field trips, programs for individuals with special needs and more.

For more information on The Woodlands Arts Council please visit: http://www.thewoodlandsartscouncil.org/


2019 Habitat for Humanity- Building Hope Gala

The 8th Annual, Habitat for Humanity MCTX Building Hope Gala was held May 4th at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott. Celebrating Habitat’s 30th anniversary, it was presented by LGI Homes for the third consecutive year. The aptly themed Making Dreams Come True gala will make the dreams of homeownership a reality for many area families as the evening raised a staggering $700,000 for Habitat for Humanity.

The Making Dreams Come True theme was evident in the exquisite décor thanks to the vision of Michelle Leary and Ann Young, décor co-chairs. As guests entered the dining room through a tunnel of twinkling lights and a magnificent greened archway, they were captivated by the starlit sky, midnight blue and pewter table cloths adorned with silver and glass candelabra, and breath-taking florals bursting with white roses, hydrangea and lush greenery. The program was masterfully hosted for the third consecutive year by Houston’s favorite KHOU 11 news anchor, Len Cannon.

(L-R) 2019 Building Hope Gala Honoree and Habitat Advisory Board member, Larry Abston poses with Candi and Gerald Glenn, Habitat for Humanity Board member (photo by Derrick Bryant Photography).

All told, the 2019 Building Hope Gala raised an impressive $700,000 that will make a significant impact on building homes in the Cedar Creek neighborhood. The “Build a Home” call to action, silent auction and bid boards as well as live auction items including a Games of Thrones Northern Ireland trip, the ever-popular Pate Ranch Hunting weekend, an electric guitar signed by the Rolling Stones, and a stunning diamond tennis bracelet valued at nearly $20,000, donated by Mark Pharo Extraordinary Jewels all contributed to the noteworthy fundraising total.

Highlights of the evening included Vicki Johnson, Habitat’s Executive Director, presenting a special award to Mike Maher, Head of School at The John Cooper School, to recognize the milestone 20th Habitat home built. Larry Abston was also recognized and thanked for his many years of service to Habitat as a board leader, leading 100 Anadarko volunteers on home builds annually, and personally connecting with the Habitat families. Gala co-chairs Melissa Jacobson and Karen Lach presented Eric Lipar, CEO of LGI with an award in appreciation for their presenting sponsor donation for the past three years.

(L-R) Melissa Jacobson and Karen Lach, Building Hope Gala Co-chairs present Eric Lipar, CEO of LGI Homes, with a memento to thank LGI for serving as Presenting Sponsor for the past three years (photo by Derrick Bryant Photography)

Finally, the entire crowd was moved by the remarkable story of homeowners Veronica and Edmund Jones, who met in a Special Education class in high school. They shared their story of hardship growing up, finding each other, raising three children, and being turned down several times due to not meeting eligibility requirements before being accepted into the Habitat for Humanity program. Theirs was a story of perseverance, focus, and hard work which will reach a pinnacle this summer as they move into their own Habitat home.

(L-R) Mark Pharo, Pharo Luxury Jewels and Charlotte Ammerman. Pharo Luxury Jewels served as the VIP Party Raffle Sponsor, as well as the Live Auction sponsor. (photo by Derrick Bryant Photography)

Habitat for Humanity is changing lives. Since 1989, Habitat for Humanity MCTX has built more than 120 homes and 17-20 homes will be built in 2019 alone. In a survey conducted in 44 states, 90% of Habitat homeowners replied that they would not be able to own a home if it were not for Habitat. A Habitat home is a stabilizing force for a family. Better, affordable living conditions lead to better health and the financial flexibility to forward-looking choices.

(L-R) Rick & Carol Kovacich and Barbara & Stephen Crain, President of the Habitat MCTX Board of Directors, pause at the entryway of the 2019 Habitat Building Hope Gala. (photo by Derrick Bryant Photography)

For more information on the important work of Habitat for Humanity Montgomery County, Texas, please visit habitatmctx.org. 

Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery County, TX is a Christian nonprofit organization that provides affordable, sustainable homes to hard-working families and individuals. Because of their work, hundreds of Montgomery County’s most vulnerable children have a secure place to thrive, and the number of people helped is growing every year.

The Woodlands Christian Academy Celebrates 25th Anniversary – The Silver Ball

The Woodlands Christian Academy celebrated 25 years of providing exemplary Christian education and service to the community at the elegant Silver Ball, their annual auction and gala at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott. The Silver Ball, sponsored by Woodforest National Bank and chaired by Alison and Vernon Veldekens, is one of the largest fundraising events of the year for The Woodlands Christian Academy (TWCA).

The proceeds from the gala will go toward the final phase of the school’s newest academic building which is slated to open in the fall of 2019. The state-of-the-art, 63,000 square-foot building will include 15 classrooms, an art studio, science and robotics labs, and an atrium-style, 363-seat lecture/performance hall.

The glamorous evening was filled with incredible live and silent auction items led by Sponsorship Chairs Christin Allphin and Brandi Watterson, including a guided tour through South Africa, Ritz-Carlton private residence package in Grand Cayman, A Day in the Life of Tilman Fertitta, and a Summer Bash at the Ambler Ranch among others. The auction in conjunction with the sponsorships and donations helped raise an astonishing $2,085,000 for The Woodlands Christian Academy. DJ Men-Yo, former personal DJ for First Lady Michelle Obama, provided entertainment and kept the crowd dancing until late into the evening.
The Woodlands Christian Academy is a PreK – 12th grade college preparatory school that integrates learning with biblical faith and challenges students to reach their highest potential – spiritually, academically, physically and socially. For more information visit www.twca.net

Montgomery County Food Bank – Food For Life Gala

Montgomery County Food Bank’s third annual Food For Life Gala – themed “Havana Nights” – welcomed 500 guests at The Woodlands Waterway Resort & Conference Center on April 13. Presented by Anadarko, the event raised $400,000 for the Food Bank’s mission of providing more than 700,000 nutritious meals each month to the food insecure in Montgomery County.


During the evening’s program, guest speaker Dr. Curtis Null, Superintendent for Conroe Independent School District, spoke to the fact that 41 percent of students in Conroe ISD receive free and/or reduced lunch and how the food bank’s Backpack Buddy program is a great partnership with the schools to provide healthy diverse foods in students’ backpacks during the week and on the weekends.


“I couldn’t be more proud of the efforts of the Food Bank’s staff and volunteers for creating such an amazing event that helps fund and honor the mission of Montgomery County Food Bank,” said Kelly Holmes, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Woodforest National Bank, and Chairman of the Board of Montgomery County Food Bank.


Allison Hulett, President and CEO of the Montgomery County Food Bank, echoed, “I am thrilled with the success of the Food for Life Gala, and believe it is a reflection of our generous community that does not want to see any family, child, or senior wondering if they will eat today. The spirit of Montgomery County was overwhelming; we are so lucky to have such willing support.”


Nelda Luce Blair emceed the moving event that continued its tradition of honoring leaders in the community that have contributed their time and efforts to support the food bank by presenting them awards. This year’s award recipients were ExxonMobil, Kroger, Quality Home Products of Texas, Carol Stromatt, and Society of Samaritans.  Co-chairing the gala were Shelley Madison and Rachelle Adamson.


Montgomery County Food Bank is 501(c)(3) chartered by the state of Texas and is a member of the Texas Food Bank Network and Feeding America. Its headquarters is located at 1 Food For Life Way in Conroe, near Hwy. 242 and I-45, just north of The Woodlands.


For more information, to book a tour or volunteer at the facility, or to make a monetary donation or food contribution, visit www.mcfoodbank.org or call 936.271.8800.


John Christiansen, VP of Corporate Communications with presenting sponsor Anadarko, and wife Rebecca Christiansen.


Guest speaker Dr. Curtis Null, Superintendent of CISD, spoke to the fact that 41 percent of students in Conroe ISD receive free and/or reduced lunch and how the food bank’s Backpack Buddy program is a great partnership with the schools to provide healthy diverse foods in students’ backpacks during the week and on the weekends.


Partner Agency of the Year Award – Society of Samaritans:  Allison Hulett, President & CEO of MCFB, with recipients from Society of Samaritans – Shirley Jensen (President Emeritus), Chandra Adams (Executive Director), and Mike Lovelady (President).


Gala Co-Chair Shelley Madison; Allison Hulett, MCFB President & CEO; and Gala Co-Chair Rachelle Adamson.


Volunteer Service Award – ExxonMobil:  Allison Hulett, President & CEO of MCFB, with Truman Bell, ExxonMobil HQ Community Relations Manager.


Betty Hardy Award – Carol Stromatt:  Allison Hulett, President & CEO of MCFB, with Carol Stromatt.


Community Partner Award – Quality Home Products of Texas:  David Krath of Quality Home Products of Texas with Allison Hulett, President and CEO of MCFB.


Innovative Leader Award – Kroger:  Sparkle Anderson, Kroger’s Corporate Affairs Manager, with Allison Hulett, President & CEO of MCFB.





Wings, Wheels & Heels – Angel Reach

Angel Reach’s Wings, Wheels and Heels Gala on March 30th was a record-breaking evening raising over $900,000 to benefit Kinship families, youth who have aged out of the foster care system, and those at risk of homelessness. The more than 400 guests in attendance dined, danced and were touched by the moving testimonies of two youths shared during the evening.

The fabulous event was chaired by George Lindahl and Stephanie Milstead, and the major sponsors included George and Kristi Lindahl, Charles and Lori Maurice, GeoSouthern Energy Partners, Rushing River Foundation and Mike and Carol Watford.

Highlights of the evening included an amazing silent auction filled with fantastic items. The energetic live auction was led by legendary Auctioneer Ralph Mcingvale and included vacation homes, sports and spa packages, best day of your life package donated by Lonny Soza and Post Oak Motor Cars, and a stunning 4-diamond angel necklace valued at $25,000 which was donated by Kristi and George Lindahl. The events also included a lively “Heads or Tails” game, with the winner receiving use of a Maserati for the weekend!

The mission of Angel Reach is to break the generational cycle of abuse, neglect, and homelessness to improve the lives of community youth and individuals in foster care. To learn more visit: www.angelreach.org

The mission of Angel Reach is to break the generational cycle of abuse, neglect, and homelessness to improve the lives of community youth and individuals in foster care. To learn more visit: www.angelreach.org





Night of Hope – Love Fosters Hope

The 6th annual Love Fosters Hope Gala which raises funds to bring hope and healing was held earlier this month at The Woodlands Resort and Conference Center. The focus during the Night of Hope was the children and teens in foster care that Love Fosters Hope serves. One in 5 teens in foster care will become homeless after the age of 18. Less than 3% will earn a college degree and 71% of young women in foster care will be pregnant by the age of 21. Love Fosters Hope helps young people avoid becoming one of these statistics and claim the lives they deserve.

Speaker and author Derek Clark, also known as the Rapping Dad, shared his amazing story of overcoming a childhood of abuse, and guests were dazzled by the amazing voice of Christina Wells a 2018 semi-finalist on America’s Got Talent.

Love fosters Hope offers year-round programs including mentoring, residential treatment outreach, an emerging leaders program, summer camps and more. They have helped nearly 3000 children since 2001.

Love Fosters Hope is a non-profit organization bringing hope and healing to abused, abandoned and neglected children and teens in foster care. To get more information visit: www.lovefostershope.org




Giving Goes Glam Fashion Raises Much Needed Funds

Community models strut the runway for the 8th Annual Giving Goes Glam Fashion Show and Luncheon, presented by CHI St. Luke’s Health – The Woodlands Hospital with Exclusive Automotive Partner Sewell. Combining fashion and philanthropy, the New York–style runway show highlighted spring trends provided by Saks Fifth Avenue at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel & Convention Center on Friday, April 5th. Over 730 guests arrived dressed to impress in support of two local organizations, The Junior League of The Woodlands and Interfaith of The Woodlands, raising more than $315,000 for both organizations.

Jennifer Colerick, President of Junior League of The Woodlands shared, “This event has evolved so much over these past eight years. To continue with this partnership and watch it thrive, all in service of our community is remarkable.”

The venue was adorned with beautiful geodes generously on loan from The Houston Museum of Natural Science, an array of fresh florals, underwritten by Piney Rose Floral, and a stunning amethyst color palette provided the perfect backdrop for the gemstone themed event. Co-chairs, Nicole Murphy, and Emily Wilcox greeted guests with a champagne-themed raffle for a Market Street shopping spree, along with an enticing silent auction including 100 packages. DJ Kenny Sanchez provided the music backdrop while guests waited to enter the Ballroom.
Logan Lester, Miss Texas USA 2018, emceed the event that opened with a moving video showcasing both organizations’ heartfelt service throughout the community. The live auction featured an all-inclusive “New York City Girl’s Weekend Getaway,” raising $9,000! Next, six outstanding volunteers were presented as the 2019 community models and included Perisha Burnham, Stacey Fontenot, Bobbi Jo Miller, Dr. Ty Tillman, Dr. Debbie Sukin and Amy Torres. Each model was applauded for her commitment their long-standing service throughout South Montgomery County.

The grand finale of the event was the Saks Fifth Avenue Fashion Show, directed by fan favorite and producer extraordinaire, Lenny Matuszewski, highlighting a wide variety of designs from the new spring line spanning everything from formal to leisure wear.

Interfaith of The Woodlands President and CEO, Missy Herndon, shared, “Our organizations are dedicated to serving and building our community. We stand here representing a combined 80 years of service to our community, millions of volunteer hours and thousands of lives impacted by the many programs, services, and leadership of great organizations.” Following the Fashion Show, the celebration continued at the new Como Club at the Westin for the always sold-out “After Party” sponsored by The Kink Team Luxe. The afternoon provided much-needed funds for both organizations with a message that “Giving is Glamorous!”

Interfaith of The Woodlands is a nonprofit social service agency celebrating its 45th year of providing numerous programs and services to meet the needs of The Woodlands community and surrounding area. For more information on Interfaith’s programs and services or to become a volunteer, please visit woodlandsinterfaith.org or call 281-367-1230.
The Junior League of The Woodlands is an organization of women committed to promoting volunteerism, developing the potential of women and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable. For information on The Junior League of The Woodlands, please visit jlthewoodlands.org


Art N Fashion 2019

Fashion and philanthropy joined forces at the second Art N Fashion event benefitting local charities at Glade Arts Foundation this week. The New York fashion-themed event featured stunning looks from Max Mara and Norton Ditto Pret-a-Porter Couture. Guests donned their party chic attire to support Angel Reach, Glade Arts Foundation, HOPE, Operation Pets Alive and Yes to Youth!

After walking the red carpet, guests mixed and mingled while visiting exclusive designer booths and dining on spectacular food compliments of TRIS. The theme for the evening was Couples for Causes. Dr. Ann Snyder served as emcee, Jacki Kilgore was the auctioneer, and Manny Patel was the DJ. Thanks to the generosity of the partnering sponsors including Designer Divas, Simran Rihal, Kink Team Luxe, Vander Dys Jewelers, Yee Plastic Surgery, Tris, Norton Ditto, Max Mara, and Neiman Marcus among others, 100% of the proceeds went directly to the five non-profit organizations to benefit their programs in our community.

Art N Fashion was the vision of Kashay Mendes, owner of Designer Divas. The idea was conceived as a way to benefit multiple charities and celebrate fashion and art in the process. This year’s event was in Ms. Mendes’ words, “epic” due to two fundamental changes in Art N Fashion. The event moved from a daytime fashion show to an evening event. Another new addition was moving from female community models to featuring couples in the fashion show who were passionate about supporting the causes featured. The men fully embraced the challenge and really brought the fun and laughter to the amazing show, helping raise substantial funds for the designated charities. “I love to make changes in causes, but also in people as well, I want to touch as many lives as possible- to make a difference. It was so amazing to watch the couples bond and evolve in this process.”

Dr. Brian & Shirelle Chimenti

Karen Mixon, Alison Yee, Elisabeth Stavinoha

Bruce & Diane Kink

Dr. Lucian & Patti Rivela

Mike & Ally Seder

Herndons walk for HOPE

Teresa Alici, Haydar & Ebru Kustu

Heidi Hite and Bobby Davis

Larry & Rhonda Salerno, Sean & Tracey O’Neal

Marina Silver, Monette Smith, Tammy Schroeder

Kashay Mendes, Elvira Graham

Dragos Tapu

Lisa Fifield, Triston Fifield, Michele Till

To learn more about the charities featured at Art N Fashion visit the following links:

HOPE- www.willherndon.org

Angel Reach- www.angelreach.org

Operation Pets Alive- www.operationpetsalive.org

Glade Arts Foundation- www.gladeartsfoundation.org

Yes to Youth- www.sayyestoyouth.org

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