Shelby's Social Diary
A $4 million gift from Margaret Alkek Williams raises the bar at Houston GrandOpera Ball
Amid the perennial excitement of the Houston Grand Opera Ball, themed "My Fair Ladies," few anticipated that one of those grand dames being saluted, Margaret Alkek Williams, would gift the opera company with a $4 million windfall. But when HGO chairman Glen Rosenbaum made the announcement during the ball at Wortham Theater Center Saturday night, a stunned white-tie-and-tails contingent gave Williams a standing ovation.
A long-time HGO supporter who performed with the company's chorus in the 1960s, Williams, under the auspices of the Alkek and Williams Foundation, has pledged the exceptional sum in $800,000 increments over the next five years. The gift, one of the largest in HGO's 56-year history, will create the Margaret Alkek Williams General Director Chair Fund, an endowed chair that recognizes Williams' citywide philanthropy and her enduring support of HGO.
Over the years, the Albert & Margaret Alkek Foundation, of which Williams is chairman, has underwritten 22 HGO productions and has supported the Houston Grand Opera Studio through Concert of Arias patronage and the Opera Ball.
Williams' "tremendous generosity," HGO general director Anthony Freud said in a prepared statement, "is the most spectacular of countless examples of her transformational philanthropy for which both HGO and our city as a whole are deeply grateful."