What: Crime Stoppers of Houston “Leading the Way to a Safer Houston” gala
Where: Hyatt Regency Downtown
The scoop: More than 370 Houstonians packed the Hyatt Regency Downtown for the Crime Stoppers of Houston “Leading the Way to a Safer Houston” gala. The annual soiree, known as one of the Bayou City’s must-attend events, brought together more than supporters, victims of crime, community advocates, elected officials, and law enforcement from across the Greater Houston Area.
The evening raised more than $433,000 to fund critical crime solving and prevention programs. This year’s gala was chaired by Donae Chramosta, Maha Khan, and Jerri Duddlesten Moore, each who have a longstanding commitment to the mission of Crime Stoppers and deeply care about the safety of all who call Houston home. The event was also supported by honorary chairs Brigitte Kalai and Sippi Khurana.
The event also boasted a who’s-who of politics and law enforcement: the First Lady of Texas, Cecilia Abbott; State Senator Larry Taylor; State Representatives Gene Wu and Jim Murphy; Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg; Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan; Harris County District Clerk Marilyn Burgess; Commissioner R. Jack Cagle; Houston Police Department Chief Art Acevedo; Harris County Fire Marshall Laurie Christensen; and Judges Maria Jackson, Ronnisha Bowman, and Chuck Silverman.
The affair began with a lively cocktail reception full of exciting silent auction bidding, live music by Houstonian Big Band, and a preview of the gala raffle items. Guests bid on a 2019 Jeep Renegade donated by Alan Helfman of River Oaks Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram, or an authentic 35 cm Hermes Birkin bag donated by Chramosta of The Vintage Contessa and Times Past.
Houston media icon Dave Ward led the room with opening remarks that included a moment of silence in memory of fallen Harris County Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal and reflections for a safer community. Ward then turned it over to the night’s mistress of ceremonies KPRC 2 anchor Dominique Sachse who encouraged guests to continue to give throughout the night to support the important mission of Crime Stoppers.
Crime Stoppers CEO Rania Mankarious took the stage to discuss the the state of criminal behavior in Harris County, its escalation and the alarming rate in which violent felony offenders are being released back into our communities without serving proper time. As the night continued, Crime Stoppers’ newest youth ambassador, Bella Chramosta, shared how crime and school threats have affected her life.
The evening closed with a highly anticipated keynote address from FBI profiler John Douglas, also known as the real “Mindhunter,” who discussed his incredible work studying and corresponding with the nation’s most gruesome murders and crime cases. Douglas revealed everything from life inside prison, to the psychology of the correspondence, to the needs of the victims.
As Houston’s only non-profit solely dedicated to public safety, Crime Stoppers relies on community support to provide innovative programs that proactively address serious felony crime, combat human trafficking, address dangers and threats affecting schools, tackle animal cruelty and terrorism, provide services to victims of crime and their families, and more.
Who: Bill Baldwin, Constance White, Darcel and Fenner Weller, Duyen Huynh, Honelie Harper, Iaif and Merrie Afseth, Javaid Anwar, Jennifer Reyna, Jill Talisman, Kim Bonnen, Laura Davenport, Leisa Holland-Nelson, Logan Leal, Mauri Oliver, Mona and Wasay Khan, Natalie Ariz, Nina Magnon, Rachelle Rowe, Sofia Adrogué, Sonya and Jeff Vaden, Tama Lundquist, Tena Lundquist-Faust, Tracy Faulkner, Vikki Rizzo, and Whitney and Marc Lawson.