Wednesday's "Heart of Gold" fundraiser filled the ballroom of the Hilton Americas-Houston with 700 supporters who gathered in praise of the non-profit and the honorees — generous philanthropists Sue and Lester Smith. They were presented the Alice Graham Baker Crusader Award for their "unbridled passion for giving that drives them to provide millions of dollars in support to medical institutions, non-profit organizations in Houston and beyond."
The Smiths were in fact instrumental in pushing the total raised to the million dollar mark after underwriting by presenting sponsor Chevron and other sponsors.
Neighborhood Centers board chair Mike Ballases, partner with Accord Business Funding, did the honors with the award while Bill Flexon, Dynegy president and CEO, presented the Smiths with a proclamation from the City of Houston.
In the keynote address, Neighborhood Centers president and CEO Angela Blanchard shared the mission of the organization which assists 528,000 clients throughout the state with education programs, resources and connections in its effort to help low-income families gain a foothold in the region's economy.
Among those applauding the Smiths and Neighborhood Centers were Susan Baker, Massey Villarreal, Irene and Lupe Fraga, Anthony Hargrove, Heather Simpson, Tony Valadez, Felix Fraga, Sidney Evans II, Roberta Achtenberg, Frances Castaneda-Dyess, Kelton Charles and Beto Cardenas.