A true Dallas society season feels so close, yet so far away. More people are rolling up their sleeves for COVID-19 vaccines every day, yet the pandemic rages on, canceling in-person gatherings for nearly every charitable organization that relies on them.
While regular patrons of ritzy galas and leisurely luncheons may miss getting dressed up and out the door in time for cocktail hour, the more important impact is the loss of revenue that these big fundraising events generate. Dallas-area nonprofits need support more than ever to fund the vital services they fulfill for the community.
Fortunately— with help from innovative event planners — many organizations have figured out creative ways to present scaled-down, socially-distanced parties and virtual experiences for guests to enjoy at home. We rounded up the first batch to unveil their plans here.
Below are the next fun "alt-soirees" — from a heartfelt TV give-a-thon that's free to join, to a $10,000-per-table, chef-prepared dinner at home.
North Texas Food Bank Empty Bowls Drive-Thru, February 25
To keep all guests safe at this popular lunch event, the NTFB has transitioned the event to a drive-thru model. Participants can go to the North Texas Food Bank's Perot Family Campus between 9 am and 6 pm February 25 to pick up their Bowl Box. Each box will contain a handmade artisan bowl, a 5-ounce package of gourmet soup mix, recipe cards from some favorite past Empty Bowl participants and NTFB Staff, NTFB's Tough Choice's Game, and more. There will also be an online auction and wine pull. Tickets, $10-$45, can be purchased on the website.
Stewpot Alliance Soup’s On! Virtual Luncheon and Art Sale, March 4
The 13th annual luncheon goes virtual and will feature a conversation with award-winning chef, restaurateur, and humanitarian José Andrés. Co-chaired by longtime Stewpot supporters Becky and Larry Sykes, the event will benefit The Stewpot, which is in its 46th year of serving Dallas neighbors who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness. The art sale, featuring original pieces of art from the artists at The Stewpot, will take place online in conjunction with the virtual luncheon at 12 pm February 25. Single tickets begin at $250, which includes a gift box. A $35 view-only option will also be offered. For more information and tickets, visit the website.
American Heart Association Go Red for Women Experiences, February 28 and April 23
The AHA's beloved Go Red for Women Luncheons, which traditionally take place each February in both Dallas and Fort Worth, are morphing into multimedia experiences this year instead. Patrons can tune in and help raise money and awareness of women's cardiovascular health at the following events:
- Go Red LIVE! United in Purpose: A Go Red for Women give-a-thon that will be broadcast on WFAA-TV (Channel 8) at 12 pm Sunday, February 28. Hosted by radio personality Kellie Rasberry, the show will teach viewers what they need to know about their heart health, present inspiring stories and musical performances, feature appearances by women icons, and offer the chance for viewers to bid on auction items to support AHA. It's free to tune in; for more information, visit heart.org/dallasgored.
- Go Red for Women Experience – Tarrant County: A digital experience at 12 pm Friday, April 23 that will celebrate the women of Tarrant County and allow them to join in, take action, and take control of their heart health. During the digital event, viewers will learn healthy living strategies to reduce their personal risk for cardiovascular disease, hear inspiring stories of community impact, bid on auction items, and help support the mission of AHA. Ticket information is TBA. For more details, visit heart.org/tarrantcountygored.
KidLinks Symphony of Chefs by Design, March 22
Traditionally a grand dinner event in which top DFW chefs prepare a multicourse meal for many tables under one roof, this year's event splits the fundraiser into individual experiences. Patrons have three options: dine in the private dining room of a restaurant, host a chef-prepared experience at their home, or enjoy an interactive virtual chef cooking class and dinner. Each experience (6-9 pm Monday, February 22) will include a chef-prepared and interactive four-course dinner, wine pairings from some of the world’s best vineyards, and a silent and live auction. Chefs include Tiffany Derry, Diana Zamora, Blaine Staniford, Luke Rogers, and more. Packages are $10,000 for a table of up to 10 (no individual tickets are being sold), with all proceeds going to KidLinks' mission to provide healing experiences for the special needs of children through performing arts and media.
Women’s Auxiliary Legacy of Love Virtual Benefit and Fashion Show, April 8
The Women’s Auxiliary is hosting its ninth annual Legacy of Love Benefit and Fashion Show, benefiting Children’s Medical Center Plano. The event will be virtual to keep attendees healthy and safe. This year’s event will include inspiring patient stories, interactive virtual experiences, celebrity and designer interviews, a patient fashion show, and high fashion from local designers. Tickets with an enhanced experience receive heavy appetizers, delectable treats, beverages, a box of surprises, and interactive props. For more information and tickets, $60-$600, visit the website.
AWARE Affair 2021: Celebrate the Moments – Alzheimer’s Myths Unveiled, April 16
The annual dinner-dance gala is pivoting to a COVID-safer event, offering two options to meet participants' comfort levels. First, it's moving outdoors, to the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. Guests will meander along the tree-lined paths for chef-driven tasting experiences and botanical cocktails, as well as “AWARE Grant Recipient Gallery” featuring interactive vignettes highlighting the work of the organizations who provide resources to those living with or caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s. For those unable to attend in person, AWARE will offer a simulcast Virtual Experience Catering Package, which includes a four-course dinner and wine for two delivered to homes. Tickets start at $350, available on the website.