Celebrity Giving

Oscar winner Octavia Spencer stuns Dallas crowd at integral charity luncheon

Octavia Spencer stuns Dallas crowd at integral charity luncheon

Octavia Spencer
Octavia Spencer Photo by Kristina Bowman
Kelli Ford, Christina Gonzalez, Tiffany Cuban
Kelli Ford, Christina Gonzalez, Tiffany Cuban Photo by Kristina Bowman
Brett Levy, Michelle Lockhart
Brett Levy, Michelle Lockhart Photo by Kristina Bowman
Shelly Slater, Octavia Spencer, John Breitfeller
Shelly Slater, Octavia Spencer, John Breitfeller Photo by Kristina Bowman
Tybee Tuminello, Catherine Awtrey, Courtney Harris
Tybee Tuminello, Catherine Awtrey, Courtney Harris Photo by Kristina Bowman
Jim Gold, Beth Gold
Jim Gold, Beth Gold Photo by Kristina Bowman
Emily Feldman, Claudine Roberts, Gayle Sands
Emily Feldman, Claudine Roberts, Gayle Sands Photo by Kristina Bowman
Richard Eiseman Jr., Lester Levy
Richard Eiseman Jr., Lester Levy Photo by Kristina Bowman
Linus Wright, Sandra Estess, Dave Munson, Henry Estess, John Kerr Munson
Linus Wright, Sandra Estess, Dave Munson, Henry Estess, John Kerr Munson Photo by Kristina Bowman
Stacey McCord, Nicholas McCord
Stacey McCord, Nicholas McCord Photo by Kristina Bowman
Dave Munson Jr., Kathryn Lake
Stacey McCord, Nicholas McCord Photo by Kristina Bowman
Liz Seabury, Jon Morgan
Liz Seabury, Jon Morgan Photo by Kristina Bowman
Jennipher Rice, Deborah Henry, Reagan Winfield
Jennipher Rice, Deborah Henry, Reagan Winfield Photo by Kristina Bowman
Octavia Spencer
Kelli Ford, Christina Gonzalez, Tiffany Cuban
Brett Levy, Michelle Lockhart
Shelly Slater, Octavia Spencer, John Breitfeller
Tybee Tuminello, Catherine Awtrey, Courtney Harris
Jim Gold, Beth Gold
Emily Feldman, Claudine Roberts, Gayle Sands
Richard Eiseman Jr., Lester Levy
Linus Wright, Sandra Estess, Dave Munson, Henry Estess, John Kerr Munson
Stacey McCord, Nicholas McCord
Dave Munson Jr., Kathryn Lake
Liz Seabury, Jon Morgan
Jennipher Rice, Deborah Henry, Reagan Winfield

What: Educational First Steps 25th anniversary celebration

Where: Omni Dallas

The 411: How do you get more than 500 charitable patrons to a downtown luncheon? Entice them with an Academy Award-winning actress and a good cause, naturally. Recently Octavia Spencer, best known for her role in The Help, for which she won an Oscar, came to Big D to speak at a luncheon celebrating Educational First Steps' 25th anniversary. Spencer chatted about her childhood and the critical role that reading played in her life. Her mother, who worked as a custodian in the school system, befriended librarians so she could take home tattered old books for her seven kids to read. "We had no money, but through books I could go to the moon," Spencer said, through tears of joy.

In fact, the actress was so taken with the nonprofit's good work — improving the quality and availability of early education for children in impoverished neighborhoods — that she declared she was donating her speaker's fee back to the organization. Following her speech, she sat down with WFAA's Shelly Slater for a Q&A. When asked about the roles she now seeks, Spencer replied, "Anything that educates, entertains, and enlightens."

Who: Educational First Steps founders Mona and Dave Munson, Brett Levy, Michelle Lockhart, Kathryn Lake, Beth Gold, Joyce and Linus Wright, Sandra Estess, Tiffany CubanStacey and Nicholas McCordLiz SeaburyJon MorganKelli FordChristina GonzalezEmily FeldmanClaudine RobertsAbby WilliamsLynn McBee, Rachel Goldberger, Linda McFarland, Michele Valdez, and Gayle Sands.