Dallas Women’s Foundation has announced a blockbuster speaker for its October 30th luncheon: Ava DuVernay, writer, producer, director and distributor of independent films. The first African American female director to helm a $100 million budget feature film, DuVernay is breaking down barriers through films, such as her award-winning Selma and 13th, that address race, social justice, gender and age. Her recently released film, A Wrinkle in Time, grossed more than $116 million in its first month of release. DuVernay will be joined onstage by Michele Norris – noted American radio journalist, former National Public Radio host and director of TheRaceCard project – who will moderate a dialog.
The Foundation’s 33rd Annual Luncheon on October 30 takes place at the Hilton Anatole Hotel, with a VIP reception at 10:30 a.m. and luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Community leaders Lael Brodsky and Tricia Miller are co-chairs of the luncheon. Honorary co-chairs are Ambassador Ron Kirk and Matrice Ellis-Kirk. Ambassador Kirk was the first African American mayor of the City of Dallas, and both serve on many boards and charitable organizations.
Roslyn Dawson Thompson, Dallas Women’s Foundation president and chief executive officer, said, “We are honored and thrilled to feature Ava DuVernay, one of the world’s most lauded and influential women in film, whose work has fearlessly explored racial inequity in the United States, broken new ground in family drama and brought to life a best-loved children’s classic. Just as we are inspired by her work as a writer, director and producer, so shall we be motivated by her personal story and journey as a pioneer in changing culture in Hollywood. Her conversation with Michele Norris, one of the most trusted voices in American journalism, is sure to be an unforgettable experience.”
The Annual Luncheon is the Foundation’s principal fundraiser in support of its work to advance women’s economic security, leadership, childcare access and healthcare in North Texas and to drive positive social and economic change for women and girls through research, advocacy and grant-making. Founded in 1985, Dallas Women’s Foundation is the largest regional women’s fund in the world and has granted more than $37.6 million since its inception.
DuVernay is in production on her next film, Central Park Five, while overseeing production of the critically acclaimed drama series, Queen Sugar. She directed Selma (2014), which chronicles the historic 1965 voting rights campaign led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The film was nominated for two Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Her critically acclaimed feature-length documentary, 13th (2016), exploring racial inequality in the U.S. by focusing on the nation’s prison system, was released on Netflix. 13th was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary and won four Emmy Awards out of its eight nominations. Other noteworthy credits include Middle of Nowhere (2012), which earned her the Sundance Film Festival Best Director Award, I Will Follow (2010), and This Is the Life (2008). Prior to filmmaking, DuVernay worked as a marketer and publicist for 14 years. Her award-winning firm provided strategy and execution for more than 120 film and television campaigns for acclaimed directors, including Steven Spielberg, Clint Eastwood, Michael Mann and Bill Condon. She is the founder of ARRAY, a community-based distribution collective dedicated to amplifying films by people of color and women filmmakers. She was named one of TIME magazine’s “100 Most Influential People” of 2017.
Michele Norris is one of the most trusted voices in American journalism. She is a former host of the National Public Radio (NPR) evening news program, All Things Considered (2002-2011), and later served as a special correspondent for that program (2013-2015). In 2015, she left NPR to focus on TheRaceCard project. She is author of The Grace of Silence (2010), a memoir.
Those interested in luncheon sponsorships or tables, which start at $5,000, should call 214.525.5311 or visit www.dallaswomensfdn.org/luncheon.
Dallas Women’s Foundation is the largest regional women’s fund in the world. It is a trusted leader in advancing positive social and economic change for women and girls. The Foundation was built on the belief that when you invest in a woman, there is a ripple effect that benefits her family, her community and her world. Dallas Women’s Foundation has researched, funded and demonstrated the ripple effect since 1985 in North Texas, granting more than $37.6 million since inception and over $4.5 million annually to help create opportunities and solve issues for women and girls. With the support of its donors, the Foundation unlocks resources to improve education and quality of life, give voice to issues affecting women and girls, and cultivate women leaders for the future. For more information, visit www.DallasWomensFdn.org, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram.