San Antonio Philanthropists Put Women and Children First

The spring social season was filled with fabulous and fun events celebrating women and children — from glamorous galas under the stars to luncheons featuring inspiring mothers to one-of-a kind runway fashion shows. The ladies of the Southwest Foundation Forum started off the spring season with their 40th annual black-tie gala, Esplendores de la Cultura Mexicana, held at the exclusive Argyle Club. Every year, this event exceeds the expectations of both the organization and guests, making it one of San Antonio’s most anticipated spring events. This lavish evening included a cocktail hour with a raffle for special gifts (including a diamond necklace), one-of-a-kind trips and pampering, a seated dinner and an after party with dancing.

Co-chairs Paola Lloyd and Mary Beth Mosbacker, along with assistant Kathleen LeFlore, hosted this sold-out soiree. Through the years this gala has raised millions of dollars for life-saving cancer research and grants in support of the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research.

Then poet and author Maya Angelou paid a visit to the Alamo City, drew a sold-out crowd and raised more than $300,000 at the Planned Parenthood luncheon. Dr. Angelou was introduced by the event’s honorary chair, Aaronetta Pierce. Pierce, a celebrated advocate for San Antonio arts and culture, referred to her close friend as a “treasured living legend.” The day’s success would not have been possible without the leadership of co-chairs Mindi and Gayle Alterman. Proceeds from the luncheon will provide low-cost family planning, cancer screening and treatment, as well as basic sexual health care for literally thousands of women, men and teenagers in San Antonio.

The next event was the University of the Incarnate Word’s Cutting Edge Fiesta Fashion Show. Mistress of ceremonies and local anchorwoman Ursula Pari hosted this afternoon, which featured rising stars of the fashion industry. This one-of-a-kind runway show showcased collections illustrated, designed and constructed by students in a fashion capstone course. The collections centered on individual themes selected by the student designers. The featured 2010 student designers were Petrecia Falcon, Georgina Ochoa, Belinda Fryer, Melissa Jaskinia, Matt Ilgenfritz, Leslie Wiatrek, Viridiana Garcia, Yessica Prieto and Cassidy Klein, who won the Best Collection award for her line of pre-teen fashions titled Sweet and Sassy. This annual event is also produced entirely by students. From overseeing sound and lighting to staging and contracting professional models, UIW students experience every aspect of planning this exciting runway show.

Then the San Antonio Gardenia and Musical Club crowned Queen Natalia Canales at the annual Queen’s Coronation Dinner and Dance at Oak Hills Country Club. And Natalia’s grandmother, Carolina Canales, served as club president.

This organization was founded and organized in l960 to further interest in the fine arts and promote friendships within the membership. The club also presents annual scholarships to students in the fine arts, participates in the Texas Cavalier’s Fiesta River Parade and the annual Holiday River Parade and has become known throughout the city for its exceptional floats.

And to celebrate the spirit of giving to children, the Give a Piece of Your Heart Luncheon and Bazaar benefiting the Children’s Shelter of San Antonio honored Mary Rose Brown as the 2010 Angel of the Shelter for her continued support of the shelter and its mission.

Sonia Medina Williams served as chairman for this marvelous event, where guests enjoyed a delicious lunch preceded and followed by an opportunity to shop from an array of handcrafted jewelry, handbags, collectibles, accessories and much more.

And to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, chairs Soonalyn and Daniel Jacob, honorary chairs Claudia and Sean Elliott and Fund-A-Cure chairs Silvia and Tom Cusick hosted the Brilliant Minds Promise Ball.

This elegant evening showcased some of San Antonio’s brilliant minds, including General Motors CEO Ed Whitacre, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, former San Antonio mayor and HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros, Medtronic medical director Dr. Fran Kaufman and internationally famous sculptor Sebastian.

Since its founding in 1970 by parents of children with Type 1 diabetes, JDRF has awarded more than $1.4 billion to diabetes research, including $101 million in 2009.

And, finally, Los Compadres hosted a perfect evening of missions, moonlight and mariachis at the Make it Your Mission Gala under the stars at Mission San José. Chairmen Sylvia and Murphy Emmons, along with honorary chairs Hope and Carlos Cortes and Los Compadres chairman of the board Sue Ann Garcia, threw a fabulous party amid a beautiful historical setting, including a sumptuous Spanish colonial feast, exciting auction items, live entertainment and a reception featuring guided tours of the mission grounds, educational projects and other preservation works in progress.

Los Compadres was chartered as the official friends group to the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in 1983 and has since raised more than $3.7 million for projects there.

After all the spring excitement, it’s hard to imagine that the summer season could possibly top all these extravagant parties. Never say never.

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