You know it’s the peak of social season when three hot charity events are scheduled within a 24-hour period. Following Dallas Autumn Ball and Art for Advocacy was newcomer Rhapsody in Red, on November 5.
Nearly 250 philanthropic young professionals painted the town red — literally — for the inaugural ball benefiting Cherish Uganda. Proceeds from the sold-out soiree, the brainchild of Austin Eudaly and Zach Sherwood, support orphaned children in Uganda living with HIV by providing support for foster homes, education, and medical services.
Guests — including Erin Condon, Chandler and Franklin Hatchett, Ashley Chronister, Kasey Givens, Andrew Lawson, Sara and John Patrick Chandler, Ryan Posey, Ashley Varel, and Brian Smiley — dressed to impress. Ladies donned stunning red gowns, and their male counterparts sported coordinating bow ties, pocket squares, and suspenders.
Naturally there was a red carpet at the entrance of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, where couples and friends posed for pictures before enjoying a glass of wine and perusing the silent auction tables. Competitive bidders made offers on their favorite packages, like a weekend stay at the Joule hotel, Dallas Cowboys tickets, and even a Mossberg rifle.
Patrons filed into the ballroom for a refreshingly non-stuffy, open-seated dinner. Each place setting was outfitted with a darling card featuring a black-and-white photo and story of a child cared for by Cherish Uganda. The evening’s emcee, Sean Lowe, from ABC's The Bachelor, welcomed attendees and thanked sponsors for their generosity before introducing Eudaly, Sherwood, and event chair Kailey Posey.
A buffet-style dinner immediately followed their remarks, and hungry enthusiasts filled their plates with red-wine braised short ribs, asparagus, and baby carrots; avocado slices topped with lump-crab salad and chicken salad; and mini Napa Valley pizzas. As everyone dined, Cherish Uganda CEO Brent Phillips shared heartbreaking stories of children in Africa living with HIV, and an inspiring video showcased the children’s amazing transformations. Due to the organization's enormous growth, the nonprofit expects to break ground on a second school in 2017.
Comedic relief ensued when Lowe returned to the mic and insisted that everyone immediately pull out their phones to make a donation. As he entered his own credit card info, he called out to his wife, “Catherine, what can we do? Two hundred dollars?”
His better half enthusiastically shouted back, “Make it a thousand!”
In a matter of minutes, donors gave $15,000 to the worthy cause. The moment became even sweeter with late-night treats courtesy of Fancy Cakes by Lauren and PopStar Popsicles.
Partygoers shimmied their way to the dance floor, and a few brave souls joined the Signature Band onstage to show off their moves and vocal chops. By 11 pm, dozens of movers and shakers were still tearing up the dance floor when the band announced their final song — “Sweet Home Alabama” — undoubtedly requested by victorious Crimson Tide fans.