Million dollar dinners have become commonplace for Casa de Esperanza, which enjoyed another seven-figure windfall Sunday night. But this time around, organizers added an extra fundraising twist that involved bubble gum, challenges and celebrities.
KTRK Channel 13 news anchor Tom Koch, who served as dinner emcee, launched the "Pop for Hope" campaign by attempting to blow bubble gum bubbles from the podium. While that effort was not exactly medal-worthy, he did challenge NASA's Scott Kelly, Houston Rocket James Harden and Houston Texan J.J. Watt. This writer assisted Koch by attempting to blow bubbles from the jar of liquid and by challenging H-E-B's Scott McClelland, who was in the crowd of more than 600.
With each bubble blowing challenge, participants are asked to donate anywhere from $10 to $100 or more for Casa. Learn how it works here. To encourage participation, each guest received a pack of bubble gum and a number were quick to get into the bubble-blowing action.
For the 26th year, Lucia and Michael Cordua hosted the evening. It was held at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, where from their Artista kitchen chef Michael Cordua produced an exceptional multi-course dinner for the gathering. Describing his devotion to the work of Casa and its founder Kathy Foster, Michael Cordua said, "I told Kathy, 'As long as you can use me, you'll never have to find someone else to help you.'"
The successful event was chaired by Janet and Sey Zimmerman, Nancy and Robert Zimmerman, Sissy Zimmerman, Susu and Fred Meyer and Greta and Chuck Zimmerman. Serving as underwriter chair was Scott Prochazka, president and CEO of CenterPoint Energy.
The event honored Rosalind and Eugene Zimmerman with the Michael Cordua Spirit of Hope Award. Shell Oil Co. was honored as the Corporate Volunteer, Sarah Thomas as Community Volunteer of the Year and Jaclyn Martin and Bruce Wallace as Young Professional Volunteers of the Year.
Helping Casa in its programs for children were Julie and Stephen Chen, Trini Mendenhall, Bonner and George Ball, Louise and Bob Parsley, Peggy and Pete Miller, Ed Smith, Marsha and Charlie Parker and Stephanie and Brad Tucker.