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St. David's Foundation

Robert Godwin

Robert Godwin has been covering the non-profit scene in Austin from the time of blue jeans and backyard barbeques to the black-tie galas of today. With over 20,000 events recorded by word and photo, Godwin leads the leagues in rubber chicken consumption. As a constant witness to the power of publicity, he now seeks to enlist a legion of assistants by sharing his knowledge of the publicity process.


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Honoree Ann Butler and Beth Granger

Honoree Ann Butler and Beth Granger

One of the most appropriately named events in Austin is the Shining Star Gala benefiting the Settlement Home for Children. A full house gathered at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum for a “backyard barbeque” evening. Event Chairs Marian Kelley, Becky Liljenwall and Shana Slaughter delighted in the attendance along with Settlement Club President Betsy Giles. As the Club celebrates their 100th Anniversary this year, their impact on the community is bolstered with outstanding help from both the business and private community.

As the crowd arrived, there were beverages to sip as they browsed an extensive silent auction, a raffle for a Breitling Watch donated by Russell Korman Jewelers and boot-clad toes to tap to the music of John Arthur Martinez Band. Dinner by Rosemary’s Catering soon followed. Master of Ceremonies Ed Clements brought proceedings to order. Introducing the Shining Stars of the evening (and the future) gave everyone a chance to applaud for the 2016 Community Youth Council. Of special note were Outstanding Youth Participants Grace Amiss and Laurel Fowler. The Council is filled with children whose families have led the way for decades as community citizens.

The Community Leadership Award was bestowed on Ann Butler. Listing her participation in the community would fill a fair sized book. The standing ovation she received was earned time and again.


Shining Star Gala for Settlement Home


The 2016 Philanthropy Day Awards Luncheon brought its largest crowd ever (850+) to the Hyatt Regency. Appropriately entitled “We can Change the World–one moment, one person at a time”, the event created by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Greater Austin Chapter (AFP) proves that title every day. Event Chair Amy Jackson offered greetings to all before deferring to AFP President Sally Blue.  Master of Ceremonies Chikage Windler (KEYE-TV) then led the program of awards.

Honored this year: Missy Strittmatter (Outstanding Fundraising Professional); Walt Penn (Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser); Samsung Austin Semiconductor (Outstanding Philanthropic Large Corporation); (Outstanding Philanthropic Small/Medium Corporation); Archer S. Hadley (Kelly Davidson Memorial Outstanding Philanthropic Youth); Topfer Family Foundation (Outstanding Philanthropic Foundation/Organization); Amplify Austin (Special Recognition Award) and Milton Verret (Outstanding Philanthropist). The abridged version of detailing what each of these honorees did to earn their awards took up most of the time of the program. Each of the honorees in their own way made a fundamental change for the better in the lives of thousands of people. Most of these folks and organizations have been working for years–so you can multiply last year’s work by 10 or 20 or more. The youngest of the group, Archer S. Hadley, was in high school when he saw a access problem and put together the campaign that not only fixed the problem at his school, but is now working on more schools.

We can “Change the World”

The annual Angelina Eberly Luncheon hosted by the Austin History Center Association brought a full house to the Driskill Hotel. Folks were having so much fun visiting that considerable urging was needed to get them into the ballroom for the lunch and program. Association President Charles Betts offered greetings and invited all to enjoy lunch before beginning the program. On the podium was Moderator John Street (Principal, John Street Beachfront Properties) with panalists Sandy Gottesman (Founding Partner, Live Oak Gottesman), John Rosato (Principal, Southwest Strategies Group) and Tom Stacy (Founding Partner, Capridge Partners). They presented a fascinating look at Austin development during the 1970’s to present. The changes to the Austin skyline have been remarkable both with new buildings and preservation of old buildings. Being Austin, the process of change had more than a few voices offering advice along the way. The resources of the Austin History Center were used by all in creating the new and preserving the old. Many thanks are due the sponsors of the luncheon who represent a wide swath of business and private community citizens.

Special kudos are also due to the Driskill Hotel as very gracious hosts and the kitchen staff led by Executive Chef Troy Knapp, Special Events Chef Brian Contreras and Pastry Chef Tony Sansalone. The lunch was superlative and the dessert by Chef Sansalone was just off the charts–(Helen Corbitt’s Pecan Ball Dessert).

Angelina Eberly Luncheon

 The Hispanic Alliance, a local non-profit 501C3 held it’s 6th Annual Authentic Mexico Gala at the Long Center for the Performing Arts.  The theme of this year’s Gala revolved around the Mexican State of Chiapas, officially Estado Libre Y Soberano de Chiapas ( Free and Sovereign State of Chiapas).  The event featured the authentic food, embroideries and textiles from this beautiful part of Mexico.  Guests arrived at the Kodosky Lounge to hear the superlative music of Mariachi “Las Coronelas.” Equal delight was found in the hors d’oeuvres created by Daniel Brooks (Licha’s Cantina), Shawn Cirkiel (Parkside, The Backspace, Olive & June, Bullfight), Roberto Espinosa (Tacodeli), and Kristine Kittrell (Weather Up).

With much urging, guests were pried away from the musical and dining delights in the Lounge to gather in Dell Hall and be greeted by Mistress of Ceremonies Senator Judith Zaffirini. Two brief videos highlighting the wonders of Chiapas and the programs of the Hispanic Alliance followed before all attending moved onto the stage for dinner and the program. Chef David Garrido (dine at the Radisson) continued the high bar of the cuisine by elevating the tamale to haute cuisine. Elevating that bar even higher was Chef Marta Zepeda (Tierra Y Cielo, Gastronomic Hotel, Chiapas, Mexico) with a phenomenal Mole Coleto con Platano Macho. The stalwart crowd did find room for dessert–especially since it was created by Taylor Hall (Apis), Tracey Heffernan (The Auguste Escoffier School), Rebecca Rather and Erica Waksmunski (Parkside, Olive & June, The Backspace).

Honored this evening with the 2015 Trailblazer Award was none other than First Lady of Texas, Cecilia Abbott. The crowd signaled their approval with two standing ovations.

The Hispanic Alliance is supported solely by donations, including money raised at this annual Authentic Mexico Gala.  The Hispanic Alliance mission is to provide programs that empower low-income individuals through high quality education, arts and resources in order to help them realize their full potential. 

The Hispanic Alliance sponsors two programs  – Austin Soundwaves and Emprendedor U (formerly known as MexNet Alliance).  

Austin Soundwaves is currently bringing music education to low income students from elementary through high school in East Austin at East Austin Prep, Blackshear Elementary and Austin Achieve.  Since 2011, Austin Soundwaves has been providing instruments and teaching students how to play in an orchestra setting through the renowned “El Sistema” music education program.  While keeping a curriculum aligned with state and national standards, Austin Soundwaves has a proven record of empowering our students.  As a result, they have seen improved self-esteem, higher engagement in school, better attendance, dedication to learning and, most importantly, higher graduation rates.  “All this provides boundless opportunities for our students”, said Patrick Slevin, Program Director.  “In addition, our students acquire a new appreciation for music and the arts.”The growth at Austin Soundwaves this year has been significant, having gone from 160 students at the end of the 2014/15 school year to serving over 300 students in 2015/16.   Included in 2015/16 is a brand new one-to-one model of sustainability that will be launched at Trinity Episcopal School in which fees paid by each Austin Soundwaves student at the Trinity campus will support one Austin Soundwaves student in the East Austin schools. 

Emprendedor U program is a unique business education program instructed in Spanish.  Incomparable in Central Texas, the sessions escape the traditional teaching model and bring cutting edge classes covering topics such as innovation, scalability, technology and growth, along with marketing, sales, tax and legal topics.Close to 600 entrepreneurs have attended our seminars since 2009, entirely shifting the way they envision their business.  Upon graduation from our program there is a recognizable transformation in the students’ priorities and objectives for their business that now seem limitless.The faculty of Emprendedor U are volunteer instructors who are seasoned business owners with international teaching experience.  The intent is to share their knowledge of real life business lessons and how to start and successfully run one’s own business.With (4) five week seminars conducted throughout the year, Emprendedor U  provides effective tools that empower business owners to make better decisions that impact their ventures.   This year Emprendedor U will also host the 1st small business summit in Austin conducted entirely in Spanish.  This will provide additional resources to our students and the growing community of Spanish speaking entrepreneurs.


Hispanic Alliance hold’s 6th Annual Authentic Mexico Gala

As a first time event, The Art of the Gala was quite the success as the tickets sold out with  a waiting list of hopefuls ready to fill any cancelations. Presented by GivingCity Austin, Austin Social Planner and Keep Austin Giving (St. David’s Foundation), the event offered round table discussions with more than a dozen vastly experience folks about planning, executing and following up charity galas. In the attending crowd were people new to such galas as well as many with experience in the field. I observed a lot of note-taking going on. Those new to the scene were getting great advice on beginnings, while those with a number of galas already under their belt gathered tweaks to make their event even better.

After three sessions at the round tables, everyone moved to the ballroom for lunch and a panel discussion with four superbly chosen speakers. They included: Michael Barnes (Austin American Statesman), Lance Avery Morgan (The Society Diaries), Marji Calvert (Four Seasons Hotel), and Carla McDonald (The Salonniere). Even more note-taking ensued.

Special thanks are due to the sponsors: Four Seasons Hotel Austin, St. David’s Foundation and PSAV Presentation Services. A standing ovation for all who gave of their time and expertise for the benefit of all attending. The event was a labor of love by Monica Maldonado Williams, Laura Villagran Johnson, Kate Perez, Lisa Trahan and Shannon Hartigan.

“Art of the Gala” a sold-out success

Funds Raised at Cattle Baron’s Ball of Austin Will Help the American Cancer Society Serve More Central Texas Cancer Patients

WHAT: The American Cancer Society 21st Anniversary Cattle Baron’s Ball of Austin will include live music, gourmet southern cuisine and cocktails, fabulous live and silent auction items, and uniquely Texas activities and games. Country music singer and Texas’ own Lee Roy Parnell will be rocking the stage as this year’s headline entertainment. 

WHEN: Saturday, August 29, 2015 at 7 p.m.
WHERE: JW Marriott, located at 110 East 2nd Street

During the live auction, there will be a special bid called the “restricted gift ask” where all of the funds donated during that paddle raise go to a specific cause of the American Cancer Society.  This year’s Cattle Baron’s Ball committee chose ACS programs and services. 

  • 24/7 Hotline: American Cancer Society National Cancer Information Center (NCIC): located in Austin, provides free information and support every minute of every day to constituents who visit or call 1-800-227-2345;
  • Lodging: the American Cancer Society partners with local hotels across the country to provide rooms for cancer patients and their caregivers traveling for treatment.
  • Transportation: The American Cancer Society Road To Recovery® program provides free rides to cancer patients to and from treatments and cancer-related appointments. Trained volunteer drivers donate their time and the use of their personal vehicles to help patients get to the treatments they need.
  • Side Effects: Look Good Feel Better® workshops help women with cancer manage the appearance-related side effects of treatment. Trained volunteer beauty professionals teach simple techniques on skin care, makeup, and nail care, and give practical tips on hair loss, wigs, and head coverings.

BACKGROUND: In Austin, the American Cancer Society currently funds eight researchers at The University of Texas at Austin, with a total investment of more than $3.7 million.  Statewide, the Society funds nearly $36 million in research, including $11.5 million at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.  Beyond research, the American Cancer Society also provides free programs and services to cancer patients and their caregivers.  Last year in Central Texas, cancer patients received more than 8,600 free services from the American Cancer Society, ranging from information and support to much-needed transportation to and from treatment.

 For more information and tickets, please visit:

Cattle Baron’s Ball Set for August 29th (American Cancer Society)

Judge Byrne sworn-in as President of NCJFCJ


Many of our CASA volunteers have experienced a swearing-in ceremony with The Honorable Darlene Byrne, raising their right hands and repeating the CASA volunteer oath. On July 28, at a ceremony in Austin both moving and entertaining, the tables were turned as Judge Byrne was sworn-in as president of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ).

One of the largest and oldest judicial membership organizations in the nation, the NCJFCJ serves an estimated 30,000 professionals in the juvenile and family justice system, providing them with resources, knowledge, and training to improve the lives of families and children seeking justice. Their mission is to continuously improve the family court system and court practices and to raise awareness of the core issues that touch the lives of our nation’s children and families. The model courts for child welfare and juvenile justice are designated by NCJFCJ, and under Judge Byrne’s leadership, Travis County has been a model court for child welfare for 6 years.

This is an honor for Travis County and a wonderful recognition for Judge Byrne and her vision and leadership. The swearing-in ceremony in July brought together CASA board, staff and volunteers; lawyers from across Travis County; the rest of the Travis County judges; Mayor Steve Adler who served as honorary chair with First Lady Diane Land; The Honorable Sarah Eckhart; members of the city council; and many others who wanted to honor and celebrate Judge Byrne’s work.



Judge Darlene Byrne with National Title

Under the leadership of Toast of the Town 2015 Chair, Tobie Funte Flannery, and Vice Chair, Julie Niedert, the St. David’s Foundation saw a fund raising record set at just over $500,000! With the 2 to 1 match from the Foundation, that means $1.5 million for the St. David’s Neal Kocurek Scholarship. As always, the success of Toast is a result of the outstanding sponsors and party hosts. The events this year offered authors, chefs, deluxe cars, all things UT, history and sensational wines. All this fun resulted in 54 Kocurek scholarships and 39 Austin Community College scholarships. The young men and women receiving them came from throughout Central Texas and will attend colleges across the state. They are the faces of medical care in the years ahead.

St. David’s Foundation “Toast of the Town” Sets Record

The 2015 Manos de Cristo Gala brought a sold-out crowd to the Moody Theater at ACL Live. Event Co-Chairs Beverly Chasse and Dr. Tony Pacheco, Jr. worked with a fabulous committee in pulling together an evening of friends, live auction, casino fun and dancing to the music of The Pictures. Much encouragement was needed to move the crowd, visiting on the terrace, into the theater for dinner and the program. A welcome from Manos Executive Director Julie Ballesteros gave way to Master of Ceremonies Ron Oliveira who, ever so smoothly, kept the evening flowing. A particularly outstanding invocation came from the Honorable Karen Hughes. Gala Co-Chairs Beverly and Tony told their story of they came to be supporters of Manos de Cristo. It was a helping hand to each, combined with a focused work ethic, that helped them achieve so much at this point in their life. Their example made it all the easier for auctioneer Gayle Stallings to extract record sums from the crowd. (Personally, I appreciated the “fund a need” portion of the auction coming first as I can’t participate in bidding thousands of dollars, but I can raise my bid number to simply make a donation at an appropriate level for me. That allowed me, and dozens more in the crowd, to participate.) You might think folks would be exhausted after the very “live” auction, but casino action and dancing beckoned–and the crowd responded into the late hours.

The mission of Manos de Cristo “is to empower low-income individuals with a loving hand of assistance and without regard to age, gender, race, or religious preference.” They serve that mission by providing a reduced cost dental clinic, an educational center offering a variety of classes, an emergency food and clothing pantry, and two outfits and Back-to-School supplies for children. For more information, please visit

2015 Manos de Cristo Gala

The 2015 Shining Star Gala benefiting the Settlement Home for Children filled the Bob Bullock State History Museum with friends and fans of the Home. Event Chairs Brenda Jones, Laurie Maccini and Lissa Whitehurst were on hand to greet the arriving guests. A particular bonus for those attending was the opportunity to view the various exhibits at the Museum, including the ongoing exhibit detailing the ship La Belle. Retrieved from the Gulf, La Belle was one of the ships from La Salle’s expedition to the New World in 1684. It took some work to pull the guests from visiting and viewing to be seated for dinner. Music from the John Arthur Martinez Band filled the hall as folks got in line for the buffet by Rosemary’s Catering. Ed Clements served as Master of Ceremonies for the presentation of the 2015 Community Youth Council and the awarding of the Community Leadership Award to Nancy Nash Harper. Nancy has served the community in so many ways personally, and as a business owner, Capitol Chevrolet, supported innumerable organizations. That philanthropic legacy begun by Dorothy and Charles Nash, continued by Nancy, still continues through her sons, Thomas and Will.

The Settlement Home for Children seeks to promote healing and growth in children, young adults and families through a continuum of care, support and resources. The Home maintains a Residential Treatment Center, Therapeutic Group Homes, Foster Family Program, Adoption Program and Transitional Living Program. In 2014, the Home consummated five adoptions, served 159 children and their families, provided 8 scholarships to young women, raised over $600,000 at their Garage Sale and provided more than 1200 vouchers for those in need to use at the Garage Sale. To learn more, please visit


Shining Star Gala a Stellar Success for Settlement Home