The 700 guests who gathered in the Hilton Americas-Houston ballroom for the Center for Houston's Future luncheon received a dollop of serious discussion last week along with their luncheon fare.
As keynote speaker Laura Arnold, one of the city's leading philanthropists, challenged the coterie of regional influentials with her discussion of transformative giving.
Her thought-provoking address gave a call for philanthropy driven by evidenced-based, data-driven questions. She narrowed her talk to a re-examination of the criminal justice system. “Do our assumptions about who is in jail (the bad guys)," she asked, "keep us from looking at who is actually there?” Arnold called for strategies to ensure that the system of jailing pre-trial defendants operates as fairly as possible, no matter one’s income or ethnicity.
Antje and Harry Gee chaired the luncheon that honored Kelly Frels for his long service of leadership and presented an award to Chevron's Joni Baird for the company's eight years as major sponsor of the annual Future of Leadership Luncheon. Paying tribute to Frels were Deborah Cannon, Charles Duncan, Janet Horton, Jim Lester, and George Martinez.
The impressive turnout included Catherine Mosbacher, former Center for Houston's Future CEO; Michael Jhin, interim CEO; Umesh Verma, center chairman; Eugene Vaughan, center founder; Doug Foshee; Roxanne Neumann; Neil Bush; Astley Blair; Y. Ping Sun, Ed Wulfe; Annette and George Strake; Phoebe Tudor; Peaches and Shrub Kempner; and Beth Madison.