Event Date: May 17, 2022
Location: Hilton Americas-Houston
No. of Attendees: 1,300
Money Raised: $2,000,000
Beneficiary: Holocaust Museum Houston
Chairpersons: Mady and Ken Kades
Décor & Florals: Bergner and Johnson Design
Photography: Priscilla Dickson, Gary Fountain and Jacob Power
A Perfect Storm of Excellence Helps Holocaust Museum Houston Raise $2 million at LBJ Moral Courage Award Dinner
When you combine two powerful Chairpersons, a cherished Honoree, one beloved Honorary Chair, twenty-one renowned Honorary Vice Chairs, an Emmy and Tony Award-winning performer, a great cause, 1,300 attendees, a superb group of HMH team members, outstanding volunteers and a collection of creative vendors to make everything beautiful and seamless—you get standing ovations and raise over $2 million! This was the scene at Holocaust Museum Houston’s LBJ Moral Courage Award Dinner, held at Hilton Americas Houston. This gala became one of the most successful and one of the most well attended in the Museum’s history. As supporters entered the ballroom, they were greeted with magnificent florals and décor, produced and executed by Bergner and Johnson Design.
Mady and Ken Kades, Dinner Chairs for the event, were front and center as they welcomed guests into the evening’s festivities. Normally known for their extensive philanthropic endeavors, many may not know that this duo endows many Broadway musical and dramatic productions. It seemed the perfect segue to include their love of live theater into the format of this black-tie optional affair.
Houston’s Grande Dame Lynn Wyatt served as Honorary Chair for the event. Drs. Julie and Marc Boom, Andrew Davis, Sidney Faust, Lainie Gordon and David Mincberg, Dr. Sippi and Ajay Khurana, Evelyn Leightman, Beth Madison, Ginni and Richard Mithoff, Y. Ping Sun and David Leebron, Warner Roberts, Phoebe and Bobby Tudor, Joy and Benjamin Warren and Sheretta West and Rev. Dr. Ralph Douglas West, Sr. took bows as Honorary Vice-Chairs. Sharon and Michael Brier were Host Committee Chairs. Presenting Sponsors were Paula Goldstein and Mady and Ken Kades, and the Entertainment Sponsor was Edna Meyer-Nelson.
As the second woman and first Jewish woman to serve on our nation’s highest court, former Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was posthumously honored with the Lyndon Baines Johnson Moral Courage Award, which was accepted by the late icon’s son James Ginsburg. Affectionately called “RBG” by her supporters, this legendary lady faced daily gender discrimination while pursuing her academic goals, but forged ahead and inspired generations of women to break gender barriers. Her honor co-exists simultaneously with the Museum’s exhibition entitled “Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.” HMH CEO Dr. Kelly J. Zúñiga, said, “She may have stood only five foot one, but Justice Ginsburg was truly a giant in her work on equality and justice for all. Like LBJ, RBG is a true American icon where few in history have stood taller in exemplifying what it means to be an upstander. By way of this award and the exhibition, her remarkable story can live on to inspire others.”
Congratulatory video messages from Broadway, film and television stars including Billy Crystal, Chita Rivera, Drew McVety, Paulo Szot, Jennifer Nettles and Aaron Sorkin, were included in the program, culminating with an incredible live performance by Emmy and Tony Award-winning actress and singer Kristin Chenoweth, who entertained the audience with a selection of timeless standards, as well as hits from the 60s, 70s, and 80s, along with “Popular” from her Tony-nominated role in “Wicked.” In between her vocal stylings, she sipped from her Buc-ee’s Big Cup, until the finale, which brought the crowd to a standing ovation as she announced she would donate her fee back to the Museum once she had paid her team.
An extremely somber but poignant moment during the ceremony was the point when HMH’s Board Chair Carl Josehart asked Holocaust survivors and families of survivors to stand and be recognized. Many in the audience were moved to tears. Another moving memory from the dinner was a video tribute to Holocaust survivors who died during the past year.
Socially present (not previously mentioned): The Honorable Sylvester Turner, The Honorable Lina Hidalgo, The Honorable Mike Engelhart, The Honorable Robert Schaffer, The Honorable Gregg Costa, The Honorable Jane Bland, The Honorable Elad Shoshan, Susan Soussan, Alvin Zimmerman, The Honorable Charles Foster, Nancy and Jack Dinerstein, Richard Flowers, Hallie Vanderhider, Suzanne Klein, Sue Smith, Margaret Alkek Williams, Bill Stubbs, Fady Armanious and Bill Baldwin, Rhona and Bruce Caress, The Honorable Theresa Chang and Dr. Peter Chang, Linda Lorelle and Lou Gregory, Ginni and Richard Mithoff, Sidney Faust, Regina Rogers, Ginger Blanton, Beth Madison, Cliff Roberts, Bob Roberts, Jr., Angie Roberts, Chris Kase, Ray Rogers, Ann and Karl Stern, Laurie and Dr. Milton Boniuk, Lesha and Tom Elsenbrook, Jo and Jim Furr, Elaine and Marvy Finger, Henri Soussan, Pam Lockard, Heidi and David Gerger, Sam and Barney Gershen, Winell and Doug Herron, B.J. and Buddy Herz, Carl Josehart and Sam Jacobson, Leisa Holland-Nelson Bowman and Bob Bowman, Julie and Drew Sudduth, Luis Zúñiga and Barbara Van Postman