Event Date: October 8, 2021
Location: The Post Oak at Uptown
No. of Attendees: 600
Money Raised: $2,800,000
Beneficiary: Houston Children’s Charity
Chairperson: Frances and Tony Buzbee
Sponsors: BMW of West Houston, Momentum BMW Southwest and Eagle Group
Décor: The Events Company
Photography: Michelle Watson; Gary Maltz, Alexander’s Fine Portrait Design
What Do You Get When You Combine a Charity CEO’s Unending Dedication, Chairpersons with Sizable Pockets and Contacts, a Board of Directors Directly from the Divine and An Entertainer Whose Popularity Still Reigns? $2.8 Million! That’s What!
Twenty-five years ago, Laura Ward and her Board of Directors formed a new organization—one which dedicated serving Houston’s underprivileged, abused, and disabled children who have been otherwise left behind and one which would focus on providing beds, vans, school supplies, clothing, toys and so much more for these forgotten children. Thus, Houston Children’s Charity was born.
“Time After Time,” this 24th annual gala chaired by Frances and Tony Buzbee had been rescheduled, but finally, not even Covid could stop this sold-out crowd of 600 from “Having Fun!” Guests were comforted by the efforts made by the charity to institute safety precautions, including: contactless registration, air purification systems in all areas (underwritten by Brandon Dewan and Eagle Group), temperature checks, hand sanitizer dispensers (donated by BMW of West Houston and Momentum BMW Southwest), available masks, and finally pre-testing of all event and production staff. “We went to great lengths to provide a safe environment for our guests. They were there for our kids. We owed them our best effort. The Contactless Registration worked like a charm.” says CEO Laura Ward.
Historically, the normal attire for this well-heeled annual gala is always black tie, ball gowns and sparkling jewelry. This was not the case for this year’s event. Guests were urged to show up in “True Colors” cocktail and 80’s glamour. Décor maestro Richard Flowers and The Events Company dressed The Post Oak Hotel Ballroom with electric colors, neon and 80’s references.
Channel 13’s Gina Gaston welcomed the guests and Reverend Mary Gracely blessed the crowd with her beautiful invocation. HCC President and CEO Laura Ward spoke of the organization’s heart and its twenty-five years of caring. 2020 Gala Chair Hallie Vanderhider was recognized for her special efforts in raising important funds during a year in which the pandemic prevented an in-person gala.
An incredible array of live and silent auction items has always been one of this gala’s most exciting and well-fought parts of the evening. For example, big items such as: a 2022 BMW 4 Series Convertible (donated by BMW of West Houston and Momentum BMW Southwest), a vacation at the Buzbee’s Montana Ranch, trips to Argentina, Colorado, jewels, shopping excursions, furs, sports memorabilia, and finally ended with a windfall raise to purchase 27 new vans, which provide transportation to families with disabled children.
The evening became “Good Enough” as 80’s icon Cyndi Lauper “She-Bopped” her way on stage and entertained the crowd with hit after hit, “Time After Time.” Her look and stage presence in the 80’s was full of bangles, layered necklaces, heavy make-up and multiple shades of hair colors. Her 21st-century style is more subdued, but there is no denying her talent and her ability to enrapture a crowd. Everyone was on their feet and she left them wanting more! The mark of a true performer!
At night’s end, the combined efforts of Houston Children’s Charity, its CEO, the Board, sponsors, supporters, guests, and numerous bidders to the auctions put a record $2.8 million into the organization’s coffers. An incredible sum by anyone’s standards. Congratulations Laura and your team! Your perseverance and attention to detail are astounding!
Socially present (not mentioned previously) were: Paige Fertitta, Margaret Alkek Williams, David Wuthrich, Maria Moncada Alaoui and Omar Alaoui, Tommy Kuranoff and Veronica Nemeth, Rachel and Jeff Bagwell, Lisa and David Atkins, Gary and Amy Becker, Dr. Susan Blaney, Dan D’Armond, Grant Guthrie, John Johnson, Melissa Juneau, Gary and Marcie Justice, DeeDee and Wallis Marsh, Edna Meyer-Nelson, Bob and Debbie Ogle, Amy and Rob Pierce, Kristina and Paul Somerville, Carol and Tom Sawyer, Morris and Toni Smith, Robin Young Ellis, Constable Alan Rosen, Mario Elie, Dr. Lois Moore, Melanie Lawson and John Guess, Art and Patti Rascon, Dr. Laura Murillo and Rick Noriega, Trini Mendenhall, Rod and Amy Ryan, Dr. Jorge and April Salazar, Brian and Norelle Becker, Ramy and Rania Mankarious, Robert Horry and Jim and Paulina McGrath.