Photos by Paul Williams III

“Be there. Be giving. Be fabulous.”

That was the motto of Wine, Women & Shoes, a benefit for Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina held at the WestIn. The guests did not disappoint They showed up looking fashionable and ready to give back by shopping for the cause. There was also a wine tasting, savory bites, luxury vendors, a fashion show and more.

Proceeds go to Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina’s mission of fighting hunger in the Metrolina region through food distribution, programs, education and advocacy. Every $1 donated provides seven pounds of food.

ULTIMATE POWER LUNCH

Photos by Daniel Coston

Dress For Success Charlotte’s Ultimate Power Lunch fundraiser at the The Fillmore was a sold-out event. Some of Charlotte’s most powerful women and men gathered to help the nonprofit with its mission of empowering women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help them thrive in work and in life.

The featured speaker was Joi Gordon, president and CEO of Dress for Success Worldwide. True to her name, her presence and heartfelt words were a joy to experience. During her talk she revealed that of all the Dress for Success Chapter’s worldwide, the Charlotte chapter ranks in the Top 5 most successful branches.

Much of that credit goes to Dress for Success Charlotte’s executive director Kerry Barr O’Connor, her outstanding staff and the generosity of donors including former NBA player and coach Paul Silas and his wife, Carolyn, a businesswoman and volunteer.

They were honored with the nonprofit’s Paradigm Award during the luncheon. In their acceptance speech. Paul said what an honor it was to serve the women helped by Dress for Success, and Carolyn thanked “angel” Marilyn Bowler for suggesting she get involved with the nonprofit. The couple were surprised with a video tribute produced by their children and grandchildren.

Another highlight was a moving speech by Dress for Success Charlotte’s Pam James, who talked about how she had personally been helped by Dress For Success when she was a single mother without a job or a strong support system.

Emcee for the fundraiser was WBTV anchor Maureen O’Boyle and the presenting sponsor was Wells Fargo. TIAA sponsored the Paradigm Award. The lunch sponsor was Synchrony and the meal was catered by La-tea-da’s.

As guests left, each received a copy of the Swaggerer of the Month Calendar featuring the male business and civic leaders who don stilettos to raise money for the nonprofit during the fun annual Stiletto Swagger at Freedom Park.

GREAT GATSBY GALA

Daniel Coston Photography

Guests at the 30th annual Great Gatsby Gala were transported back to the Roaring 20s during the benefit for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society's Greater Carolina's Chapter's mission of creating a world free of MS. Held at the Hilton Charlotte Center City, it featured a live orchestra, swing dancing, a costume contest judged by Dressed owner Bernadette Maulion, a silent auction, and heavy hors d'oeuvres and desserts from some of Charlotte's most celebrated restaurants. Details: www.nationalmssociety.org.

VISIONARY WOMEN LUNCHEON

                                                                          Tricia Coyne Photography

The Visionary Women Luncheon has a beautiful mission: to celebrate the power and purpose of women coming together to connect, listen and share. It's presented annually by Queens University of Charlotte, Wells Fargo Private Bank and the Mint Museum. 

Catherine M. Austin Designs, Todd Murphy Events and Watered Garden Florist transformed the Frances Young Dining Room at Morrison Hall on the university's campus into a garden inspired by fashion designer Oscar de la Renta. Porcupine Provisions created the delicious spring menu. And Arzberger Stationers set the tone for the event by designing the gorgeous invitations. 

Along with honoring all women, the luncheon is also a chance to pay tribute to the past 33 recipients of the Queens University of Charlotte's Business Woman of the Year; and the Charlotte Woman of the Year program, which began in 1955. Charlotte's 2018 Woman of the Year is the university’s president, Pamela Davies.

Host committee members Madelyn Caple, Pamela Davies, Hillary Cooper and past Charlotte Business Woman of the Year winners Joan Zimmerman, Theresa Drew and Mayor Vi Lyles planned an interesting program featuring speaker Alexis Jones. Alexis is an internationally recognized author, activist, speaker and media personality. She talked about her I Am That Girl nonprofit and why she founded the ProtectHer locker room program that educates male athletes  on the importance of respecting women. 

One of the most exciting moments was Madelyn Caple, Regional Manager for Wells Fargo Private Bank, announcing the Wells Fargo Foundation grant investments of over $750,000 in philanthropic support for nonprofits and organizations serving the needs of girls and women. Along with generous donations to many recipients, it was also revealed that Wells Fargo is the lead $50,000 underwriter of Charlotte’s innovative new Family Justice Center in partnership with The Jamie Kimble Foundation for Courage. It will give domestic violence victims and their children access to all the services they need in a single place. 

SPEEDWAY CHILDREN'S CHARITIES GALA

The 38th annual Speedway Children’s Charities Gala at the Ritz-Carlton honored 12-time NASCAR Cup Series champion team owner Rick Hendrick for his success on the track as well as his longtime support of Speedway Children’s Charities (SCC). The black tie event is a fundraiser for SCC, which was founded by Bruton Smith and funds thousands of organizations nationally that help children. His son, Marcus Smith, is president of the Charlotte Chapter, which last year gave out $952,000 to 98 deserving charities in the Charlotte region. Marcus led the tribute to Rick during the evening that also included libations from The Punch Room, dinner from celebrity chef Bruce Moffet, a live auction and a performance by the country band Midland.

 
Photos by Daniel Coston