Photos by Daniel Coston Photography

The Dancing with the Stars of Charlotte Gala was a record-breaking one for the fundraiser that’s now in its seventh year. The stars were six of Charlotte’s community and corporate leaders. They were paired with professional dancers from Charlotte Ballet to raise money for the ballet company and each star’s chosen charity. Held on the stage of Knight Theater, it raised more than $1.5 million.

The six pairs were:

Megan Hughes Allison of Genesco Sports Enterprises danced with Charlotte Ballet’s Colby Foss to benefit Pat’s Place.

John FitzHugh of Wells Fargo Securities danced with Charlotte Ballet’s Elizabeth Truell to benefit Novant Health’s Cancer Prevention & Early Detection Program

Erin Santos of the Isabella Santos Foundation danced with Charlotte Ballet’s Juwan Alston to benefit the Isabella Santos Foundation.

Carl Showalter of Showalter Construction danced with Charlotte Ballet’s Sarah Lapointe to benefit HopeWay.

William Smith of PNC Bank danced with Charlotte Ballet’s Amelia Sturt-Dilley to benefit Howard Levine Child Development Center at Renaissance West.

Dr. Courtney D. Stephenson of Atrium Health’s Charlotte Fetal Care Center danced with Charlotte Ballet’s James Kopecky to benefit The Cottie & Cake Fund.

People’s Choice Winner Carl Showalter, raised more than $592,000. The Judges’ Choice Winners were Dr. Courtney Stephenson and Erin Santos.


Photos by Daniel Coston Photography

The inaugural What Are You Carrying? designer handbag auction at Quail Hollow Club was an evening of education, awareness and fun. The 300 guests bid on a selection of designer purses with proceeds going to support the therapeutic programs and financial assistance at HopeWay, Charlotte’s mental health treatment center offering residential and day treatment for adults in a first-class setting.

Funds raised go to HopeWay’s financial assistance program that increases access to a wider population of men and women who need help. Since opening in November of 2016, HopeWay has provided over $1 million in financial assistance and served nearly 700 people.

The event committee included Amy Levine Dawson, Preeti Deshmukh, Emily Maynard Johnson, Kara Olsen, Taylor Russ, Laura Philipson, Lori Levine Sklut, and Nazy Weeks. A Challenge Grant from Lori and Eric Sklut matched direct contributions to HopeWay up to $20,000.

The event was a huge success and raised more than $111,000 for HopeWay.


Famous photographer Sonia Handelman Meyer, 99, was the guest of honor at an exhibition at the Light Factory that focused on The Photo League (1936–1951). This cooperative in New York City run by amateur and professional photographers was dedicated to the medium they loved. Both artists featured in this exhibition, Sonia Handelman Meyer and George Gilbert, were devoted members active in the League throughout the 1940s. They focused their lenses on the city’s street life, neighborhoods, and citizens, creating photographs that are a social documentary of the post-war era.


Photos by Daniel Coston Photography

Daniel Mulhall, Ambassador of Ireland to the United States, was the honoree at the Ambassador’s Ball at Quail Hollow Club. The Irish-themed fundraiser was a benefit for the Allegro Foundation, a Champion of Children with Disabilities. Highlights of the evening were a special performance by the children of Allegro and their teacher assistants, and Ambassador Mulhall’s presentation of a gift of Waterford crystal to the event’s host, Felix Sabates.



Photos by Paul Williams III Photography

The South Charlotte Chapter of Jack and Jill of America hosted its new signature fundraiser, Harlem Nights, on New Year’s Eve. Guests were transported back to the 1920s at the themed event held at the Levine Museum of the New South. It featured a silent auction, music from DJ Shogun, heavy hors d’oeuvres from Mert’s Heart and Soul, and a chance for guests to view the museum’s art and history exhibits.

Members of Jack and Jill are committed to investing in programs and services that create a strong foundation for African American children to succeed in life. Funds from Harlem Nights will be distributed to three charities through the Jack and Jill of America Inc.’s Foundation: Renaissance West Community Initiative; The Relatives; and Above and Beyond.


Photos by Paul Williams III

Philanthropists Herb and Felicia Gray know how to throw a party with a purpose. Their annual Gray Holiday Party raises money to help ensure that the Gantt Center continues to present, preserve and celebrate the best of African-American art, history and culture. Even Santa joined the festive evening that included sweet and savory treats, live music and dancing to a DJ

Photos by Daniel Coston Photography

Opera Carolina’s Bella Notte Gala is always one of Charlotte’s most enchanting evenings. This year’s fundraiser for our region’s premiere opera company was held amid the scenery for the season opening production of Donizetti’s Daughter of the Regiment. Gala Chairs Angela and Jesse Cureton joined the guests for an elegant evening that included a cocktail hour with models wearing fantastic designs made from recycled opera programs. The seated dinner featured exquisite decor by John Lupton Events. Opera stars performed for guests before everyone ending the evening on the dance floor.

Photos by Daniel Coston Photography

Puttin’ On The Ritz was the theme of this year’s Pink Boots Ball, a fundraiser for Carolina Breast Friends. Proceeds support the nonprofit’s mission of helping women during every stage of their breast cancer journey - from diagnosis, surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatments, living with metastasis, remission; or the fear of recurrence. Held at the Ritz-Carlton, the pink infused party included cocktails, dinner and dancing.