With the fight against childhood obesity as her cause celebre, Recipe for Success founder Gracie Cavnar had plenty to shout about at Wednesday night's "In Love With Fashion" benefit at Tootsies.
This first in the Dress for Dinner series of fundraisers, organized with the aid of Neal Hamil Agency director Jeff Shell, drew a fashionable, younger mix to the non-profit table. More than 130 poured in for food, fashion and friendly persuasion on the importance of the cause. They also had the opportunity to rub shoulders with nationally recognized jewelry designer and philanthropist Joan Hornig, who donates every penny of proceeds from her jewelry sales to charity.
The big news of the night was that Cavnar has a meeting next week with White House chef Sam Kass. The timing could not be better. Only the day before the benefit, Michelle Obama had announced the launch of a White House initiative targeting childhood obesity. With word spreading on the Recipe for Success' in-school healthy-eating program involving local chefs and school ground victory gardens, Kass invited Cavnar to Washington to discuss the subject.
"We are the biggest program of sustained-engagement of culinary professionals in the country," Cavnar said.
Restaurant chefs spend one day each month, throughout the school year, in the classroom providing recipes and promoting healthy-eating habits in a curriculum outlined by Recipe for Success. The program, Cavnar says, is poised for expansion across Houston and to other cities.
Tea and sympathy
Within three weeks of the e-mail blast that went out announcing best-selling author Greg Mortenson as headliner of a fundraiser for the Central Asia Institute, practically all 930 seats in the InterContinental Hotel ballroom were sold.
Could it have been that the popularity of his Three Cups of Tea and subsequent Stones into Schools had driven the rush? Or was it the fact that the fundraiser was organized by a dynamic trio of energized community leaders? We think it was a combination of both, along with the cause — building schools, particularly for girls, in remote regions of Pakistan and Aghanistan.
Credit Susan Boggio, Sultana Mangalji and Y. Ping Sun for the heroic effort that brought this block bluster luncheon (one of the largest ever held at the hotel) to fruition. And congratulate them for the funds raised — more than $240,000 and still counting. That sum, Boggio says, will pay for the construction of three schools in Central Asia.
Joining in this effort to educate children a world away — the route, Mortenson says, to change the world for the better — were Franci Crane, Nidhika Mehta, Ellen Susman, Anne Mendelsohn, Sabiha Rehmatulla, Diana Untermeyer, Sima Ladjevardian, Suzanne Ebrahimi and Francoise Djerejian.
Pop goes the art scene
Renowned pop artists with a philanthropic bent, Charles Fazzino and Michael Godard will have a presence in more ways than one at Off the Wall Gallery in the Galleria this month. Their popular works arrive this Saturday for an uncrating party and preview in the evening. The artists themselves will be in the gallery Feb. 20, 6 to 8 p.m., and Feb. 21, 1 to 3 p.m.
Before the talents get to town, Off the Wall Gallery will host a fundraiser for the Sunshine Kids Tuesday evening during which a portion of sales proceeds will benefit the non-profit. Sunshine Kids executive director G.W. Bailey, a star of TNT's The Closer, will be on hand to welcome guests. Both Fazzino, national vice president of the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and Godard, who has been raising funds for cancer research since having lost a child to the disease, have long been seriously involved in fundraising for medical causes through their artwork.
A boatload of notables lunching at La Griglia including Sharon Adams, Vidal Martinez, Bill Wright, Reed Morian, Mike Turner, Bruce Crawford at various tables and ladies getting a jump on Valentine's Day — Dancie Ware, Terrie Hogan, Karen Mayell, Diane Lokey Farb, Kelli Blanton and Ellen Wagnon . . .
Laura Spalding celebrating at a belated birthday lunch at Tony's, table for four hosted by Susan Plank. Joining the ladies Todd Ramos and Jeff Gremillion . . . that night Patti and Craig Biggio at a table for two in Tony's where they romantically celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary . . .
George P. Bush, nephew of 43 and grandson of 41, in from his base in Fort Worth mingling in the smoke-filled rooms of Downing Street with Byron Hood.