LAURA WARD, DUBBED one of Houston’s first ladies of philanthropy by Houston CityBook, took the stage at the 25th annual Houston Children’s Charity gala to welcome a fired-up crowd and rock legends to the Post Oak Hotel. Pat Benatar and hubby Neil Giraldo were the headliners at the event, always one of the liveliest and best attended events of the season — and this year a record breaker for its haul of more than $3.6 million!
“Chaired by Houston philanthropist Sheridan Williams and supported by title sponsors BMW of West Houston and Momentum BMW Southwest, the rock & roll themed night at The Post Oak Hotel, raised $3,625,000 for underprivileged, abused, and disabled children,” noted a rep for the gala’s organizers.
Before Benatar and Giraldo took the stage, regaling the crowd with hits like “Heartbreaker” and “We Belong,” Ward, Williams and HCC board vice chairman Gary Becker offered remarks. A raucous live auction featuring a new electric BMW raised nearly $500,000, while a special interlude in which Tony Buzbee challenged the generous crowd to help by wheel-chair-accessible fans for families in need netted another $1.7 million.
Other special contributions were made by Tenenbaum Jewelers. Among the many boldface names in the crowd were Paige Fertitta, Melissa Juneau, Rob and Amy Pierce, Kristina and Paul Somerville, Bradley and Joanna Marks, and Jana and Richard Fant.
Houston Children’s Charity has been at the forefront of providing beds, vans, school supplies, clothing, Christmas toys and gifts and much more for Houston’s special children, it says.
Kristen Cannon and April Salazar
John Eddie Williams and Sheridan Williams
Russell Ybarra and Monica Ybarra
Tony Buzbee and Frances Buzbee
Mario Ellie and Gina Gaston
Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo
Bradley Marks, Joanna Marks, Hannah McNair, Cal McNair
Hallie Vanderhider and Neil Peeler
Steve Dujka and Mary Lou Dujka
Jeff Bagwell and Rachel Bagwell
Paige Fertitta and Deanna Barton