More than 450 guests made their way to Belo Mansion for the first-ever Connecting Point of Park Cities charitable luncheon. The event raised funds to provide an all-inclusive, nurturing and stimulating day program for individuals with disabilities.
To generate some excitement, the organization brought in hometown hero Clayton Kershaw, Highland Park High School grad and pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He is a two-time Cy Young Award and a Roberto Clemente Award recipient, making him one of the most accomplished pitchers in the league.
Event chair Jan Osborn welcomed guests to the affair, which began with a VIP reception and meet-and-greet with Crenshaw and his wife, Ellen, as well as a private book signing of the couple’s book Arise.
Lunch stayed true to the baseball theme, with hot dogs, brisket sandwiches and baked beans. Each table was decorated with Cracker Jack boxes and a Nothing Bundt Cake centerpiece, and members of the Highland Park High School baseball team walked around selling raffle tickets.
The most meaningful part of the afternoon came when the Kershaws took the stage with emcee Scott Murray for an honest conversation primarily focused on their philanthropic work. They also openly chatted about their charity, Kershaw’s Challenge, which positively impacts communities in need.
Clayton emphasized that his legacy off the field is of the utmost importance and can have a lasting impact on people’s lives. His words left those in the audience — including Gail and Steve Reinemund, Mary Lou and John Ryan, JoAnn and John Ryan, Sarah Oliai, Gina and Ken Betts, Robin Bagwell, Leslie and Jim Melson, and Jana and Larry Long — touched and inspired to help those in need in their communities.
This inaugural lunch raised $125,000, but the fundraising journey is far from over: The group hopes to raise an additional $70,000 for a wheelchair bus.