The third annual Children First. An evening with UNICEF gala proved once again why it tops the list as one of CultureMap’s not-to-miss spring charity events. Of course, when fundraising powerhouses Joyce Goss, Lynn McBee, and Gowri Sharma team up to co-chair an event, you know that’s a force not to be reckoned with.
The numbers don’t lie. With the help of community leaders and philanthropists — including Jessica Nowitzki, Selwyn Rayzor and Rich Moses, Lindsey Lott, Jodi Taylor, Moll and Charlie Anderson, D’Andra Simmons and Jeremy Lock, Stephanie Jasper, Andy Patterson, and Marcy Dunaway — these do-gooders garnered more than $860,000 to further UNICEF’s mission to provide lifesaving programs around the world.
More than 300 patrons clad in cocktail dresses and suits arrived at Sixty Five Hundred, where they were greeted by a red carpet and interactive UNICEF stations. These pop-up style gift shops gave supporters a peek into the global challenges men, women, and children are faced with daily. Donors could purchase gift packages like peanut-based therapeutic food, a midwifery kit, purifying water tablets, “Art-in-a-Box” for emotional healing, and vaccine “Super Hero” packs.
Once everyone was seated for dinner, a special treat was in store as Mayor Mike Rawlings recognized students from Preston Hollow Elementary School for their dedication as a UNICEF Kid Power school. He also paid special tribute to the Enrico family, in honor of Roger Enrico’s support of UNICEF’s work in Guinea. The Hunter Sullivan Band gave a beautiful musical performance.
The Container Store was honored with the UNICEF Children First Award for its commitment to health, education, and service within the community. Co-founder and chairman Kip Tindell, CEO Melissa Reiff, and president and chief merchandising officer Sharon Tindell accepted the award on behalf of the entire company.
Tech guru Mark Haidar, the evening’s featured speaker, gave inspiring accounts of the organization’s innovative approach and successful programs impacting citizens worldwide. After a touching video, Tim Willett worked his magic during the live auction, and guests waved their paddles, raking in several thousand more dollars. As the program came to an end, the party continued with DJ Andre 7 and the Mir Mir photo booth keeping guests on their toes.