Small Steps, Big Gains! Nonprofit Raises a Glass — and a Record-Breaking $850K for At-Risk Preschoolers

IN RECENT YEARS, the importance of a quality education beginning with preschool has been made abundantly clear. One organization in Houston seeks to provide not only education but holistic support for at-risk preschool-age children in the Fifth Ward and Gulton/Sharpstown communities. The Small Steps Nurturing Center raised nearly a million dollars to further its mission at its annual Wine Classic, chaired by Kristy and Chris Bradshaw and Carolyn and Garry Tanner.


Around 500 supporters packed the Bayou Club for a five-course meal with vino pairings courtesy of Chris Shepherd. Louis Rodriguez, one of Small Steps’ first college graduates, gave an inspiring speech that prompted a standing ovation, and the evening also honored Townes Pressler, Jr., who has supported Small Steps since 1997.

Many of the guests were already familiar with Small Steps, which offers school, childcare, transportation, meals and other resources for kids ages 2 to 6, and their families. But others were newly moved to donate to the program, contributing to the record-breaking total of $850,000 and furthering the goal of breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty.

Carolyn and Garry Tanner, Kathleen and Townes Pressler, Jr., and Kristy and Chris Bradshaw

Travis and Freyja Lauritsen

Ann and Tom Bastian

Annette and Eric Mullins

Louis Rodriguez and Carla Dawson

Catherine and Asheley Kinsey

Alicia and Michael Fertitta

Haresh and Sushma Yalamanchili

Laurie and Reed Morian

Emily and David Sheeren

Jon and Merritt Marinelli

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