What: The Center’s One Team in Pursuit of the Dream luncheon
Where: The Briar Club
The scoop: The Center hosted its 17th annual luncheon, One Team in Pursuit of the Dream: Supporting The Center Where Everyone is a Champion at the newly renovated The Briar Club and raised over $292,000 dollars for its programs supporting adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Center is a non-profit organization founded in 1950 by a group of parents who wanted to ensure that their intellectually and developmentally disabled children were given the opportunity to live meaningful and rewarding lives.
The successful event was directed by event chairs Carla Dawson, co-host of popular SB Nation Radio show, The Boss and The Gloss; Jennifer Dominiquini, chief marketing and digital sales officer for BBVA Compass; and Audrey Gow, associate teaching director of community Bible study — and wife of Gow Media CEO, David Gow. A crowd of Houston notables gathered to take part in an upbeat, uplifting program that included an inspiring video presentation of The Center, its triumphant mission, and inspiring staff and clients.
Adding a fever pitch to the program was guest speaker, Reid Ryan, president of business operations for the Houston Astros. Ryan's talk centered around the Astros historic run to a World Series, and how the team rallied against the odds, and how Houstonians can derive inspiration from the championship team’s approach. Ryan also candidly shared the daily triumphs of his son Jackson, who is a noted high school pitcher despite dealing with the challenge of cerebral palsy. Ryan’s theme of overcoming obstacles was a true home run for the event’s theme.
The high energy continued with Houston-area fitness guru and former Her Majesty’s Royal Marine Commando, Steve Quick, who received the Innovator of the Year Award for his dedicated service to the organization’s Pursuit Campaign. Master of ceremonies David Gow kept the enthusiastic crowd bidding on a silent auction that featured a signed Earl Campbell Houston Oilers jersey, a signed Jose Altuve Houston Astros jersey, a signed Jose Altuve bat, a signed Mike Tyson glove, Houston Astros tickets, Houston Texans tickets, and many other coveted sports items.
Events such as the One Team in Pursuit of the Dream luncheon are crucial, as it is estimated that more than 11 million people in the United States are living with an intellectual or developmental disability (I/DD) — with about one in six children being diagnosed each year. It is also estimated that more 125,000 people in greater Houston have I/DD. The luncheon will help expand programs and services for more than 450 residents and clients and their families, and grow the scholarship program to ensure opportunities regardless of financial means.
“This event continues to grow in its impact because of the really great support that we receive from organizations and people like BBVA Compass, Maire and David Baldwin, Steve Quick, and the many others who care about the futures of their neighbors with disabilities,” says Charles C. Canton, CEO of The Center. “I am grateful to have the opportunity to say thank you to them for ensuring that our programs and services to this community do not falter.”