With nearly 1,000 people in attendance, Texas Women’s Foundation (TXWF) held its 38th annual luncheon on Sept. 26 to celebrate its past and raise funds for the future.
The award-winning Highland Park Lads and Lassies, under direction of actress and director Tiffany Solano, opened the luncheon with a performance of “Brave.”
Co-chairs Ashleigh Everett and Yolanda Garcia shared why they are involved. Everett said, “My personal why is embodied in my mother, who has instilled in me love of community, hard work and importance of creating a legacy. Also my two amazing daughters are growing up in a world where they see women who have accomplished so much, yet still struggle to obtain decent health care, financial security and leadership opportunities.”
Garcia added, “I want to make sure that the opportunities that I was provided in this country, ones not available for my mother and grandmother, are provided for the next generation of leaders. Ashleigh and I had to cross a very tight rope to achieve success, and we want to widen that rope to make the path just a little bit easier for Texas girls and women.”
Cynt Marshall, CEO of the Dallas Mavericks and presenting sponsor, encouraged attendees with the luncheon theme, “Texas Women Now.” She shared this playbook for success: “Choose teammates who are passionate about TXWF. Determine what you’ll do. Get familiar with the playbook. Step on the court and advance the great work of TXWF. Finally, stay alert and ready to make a difference.”
Becky Sykes, one of the 19 founders of the Foundation, first board chair and former TXWF president/CEO, shared about the organization’s legacy and the vision cast 38 years ago to support women. “Helen LaKelly Hunt brought the idea of a women’s foundation to Dallas and rounded up 18 other diverse women. The leadership was intentionally diverse—racially, politically and socio-economically.”
Candice Hill, co-chair of the XIX Society, named for the 19 founders of the Foundation, remarked, “This past year, we have invested $4.9 million in grants to 197 organizations, plus additional support for research and advocacy. Since 1986, we have invested more than $78 million to better the lives of women and families statewide.”
Amanda Kraemer, Target senior vice president, reminded all to invest in this community. She introduced the speaker, Storm Reid, Emmy-nominated actress, producer and USC student, and Deborah Ferguson, NBC 5 anchor, who moderated the conversation.
Ferguson said emphatically to Storm, “You are taking the world by storm!”
Reid told everyone to hold space for diverse women and girls, and to think intentionally about impact. “When I’m trying to give advice to young women, and I look around at rooms like this—this is proof that people are willing to invest in you, to empower you, to pour into you. You are seen. You are heard. There is a whole foundation that is dedicated to seeing young women be great … I would say the same things my mom said to me:
1. “Don’t take ‘no’ for an answer.”
2. “Stand up for yourself.”
3. “Be a good person.”
4. “Go after what you want.”
Dena L. Jackson, Texas Women’s Foundation interim president and chief executive officer, added, “We experienced meaningful dialogue that inspired us to be part of the change. Together, let's create a more equitable society for us all. With our past in mind and our present at hand, we can create positive economic and social change now, for the future.”
She added, “We also shared this experience with 200 middle and high school girls from across North Texas. These young women will grow to be future leaders in boardrooms, classrooms and courtrooms. It is up to us to boldly invest in their futures and advocate for them so they have a level playing field.”
Those interested in supporting #TexasWomenNOW with a donation of $238 or more will become a member of the XIX Society. Those who give $500 will receive a branded tote a scarf for donations of $1,000 or more, while supplies last. Donate here.
Special thanks to sponsors:
Presenting sponsor: The Dallas Mavericks
Speaker sponsor: Target, The Suzanne Ahn, M.D. Speaker Endowment Fund at TXWF
Legacy: The Men and Women of Hunt Consolidated, Inc.
Investor: Aimbridge, Amazon, Frito-Lay, Helen LaKelly Hunt/Safe Conversations, Sidley Austin with Partners Yolanda Garcia and Sara Garcia Duran
For additional sponsors, visit https://www.txwfluncheon.org/sponsors.
About Texas Women’s Foundation:
As Texas Women’s Foundation (TXWF) nears its 40th year, it is clear that now more than ever is the time to elevate Texas women. By working with women, families and communities, they are building a stronger, more equitable Texas. One of the world’s largest women’s foundations, TXWF raises funding from a broad base of donors, including individuals, foundations and corporations. These resources support more than $7.1 million in investments that advance economic security and leadership for Texas women and girls through timely research, advocacy, grants and strategic initiatives. Since inception in 1985, TXWF has invested $78.9 million in women and girls. Their statewide research on issues affecting women and girls provides decision-makers and lawmakers with critical data to inform policies, practices and programs in the state. Its advocacy, grantmaking and leadership initiatives support solutions that help Texas women and girls thrive. In addition, Texas Women’s Foundation is an acknowledged leader and advocate in the gender lens investing movement and has deployed 100 percent of its assets – endowments, operating investments and donor-advised funds – in a gendered impact portfolio that yields strong financial returns and social benefits to women and girls. For more information, visit www.txwf.org, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram or donate now