Major Gift in Memory of Beloved Activist 'Transforms' Nonprofit, Will Help Treat and Prevent Burnout

Major Gift in Memory of Beloved Activist 'Transforms' Nonprofit, Will Help Treat and Prevent Burnout

Photo via Instagram

ON JULY 13, 2020, Houston caregivers and creatives were shocked to learn activist, Feldenkrais instructor and beloved “bonne vivant” MaryBeth Smith had died suddenly of complications after spontaneous blood clotting events unrelated to Covid-19.


Even in the midst of the pandemic, the news felt unreal. How could someone so full of life, who dedicated so much of her time to healing and advocacy, be taken away so abruptly? Two years after her untimely passing, Smith’s friends and colleagues received some amazing news: The Huffington Family Foundation has endowed a fund for The Jung Center of Houston’s Mind Body Spirit Institute (MBSI), with a $500,000 gift in memory of Smith.

Born Mary Elizabeth Davison on May 17, 1955 in Joliet, Ill., Smith loved baseball, science and music, and earned her Master of Music at UTSA in 1991. She founded Feldenkrais Center of Houston in 2002, and taught classes at The Jung Center for many years, introducing her clients of all ages and body types to the physical and mental health benefits of the gentle movement practice called the Feldenkrais Method.

The Jung Center's Alejandro Chaoul leads a meditation at HAWC.

The HAWC group participating in a MBSI training series

Smith left this world too soon, but thanks to the generosity of Terry Huffington and her family’s foundation, her spirit lives on. “This gift transforms The Jung Center,” said the center’s Executive Director Sean Fitzpatrick in a statement. “At a time when the basic needs of those marginalized for their race, color, gender, sexual orientation, and other markers of different are soaring, the pressures on those serving them have never been greater.”

Among the many organizations in Houston serving such communities is the Houston Area Women’s Center, whose staff identify as Black, Indigenous or people of color, and who recently concluded a nine-month MBSI training series led by Founding Director Alejandro Chaoul. MBSI offers individual and group classes, along with consulting and professional training designed to alleviate stress and the potential for burnout, and provide practical tools for nurturing physical, mental and spiritual health.

Thanks to support from the MaryBeth Smith Memorial Fund, MBSI’s programming will remain a fundamental part of The Jung Center’s services.

People + Places
Ancient French Wellness Cures Reimagined at Houston’s Escape Spa: The Power of Vichy

Serial entrepreneur and spa visionary LeBrina Jackson

NESTLED IN THE heart of France, the town of Vichy holds a rich history in the world of wellness and hydrotherapy. Acquiring fame for their alkaline springs in the 17th century, the Romans were among the first to recognize the therapeutic benefits of the springs. They established a French spa known as “Vichy,” which still exists today and continues to attract spa-goers from around the world to experience the transformative effects of hydrotherapy.

Keep ReadingShow less

Emily Peterson

THE ARTS OF Healing organization has grown tremendously over the past few years, and this spring, Tootsies hosted a crowd of 300-plus for a charitable style show featuring 20 influential physicians and medical professionals.

Keep ReadingShow less
Parties

Julia Davis, Sophia Cantu, Christiana Reckling, Julia Hotze, Randa McConn

AN INTIMATE GATHERING of around 125 guests toasted the 25th anniversary of Rienzi, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston's house of European decorative arts. Beautiful blooms in shades of pink, white and blue, complemented by blue-toile linens, were found all around the verdant grounds, illuminated by simply chic string lights hanging from above.

Keep ReadingShow less
Parties