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Philanthropy & Nonprofits

Cynt Marshall and Anne Chow Among the Headliners at DSO’s Upcoming C-Suite Christmas

Plus: United Way snags record-breaking $15 Million Perot family gift, and Fashion Group International brings out the stars.
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There has always been a strong link between the North Texas business and arts communities. That bond is celebrated each year with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s Holly Jolly Celebration: A C-Suite Christmas event, which benefits the DSO’s educational and outreach programs. The popular event is coming up next week: Dec. 7, at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center.

Last year, I had the thrill of conducting the DSO as its phenomenally talented musicians played a couple of pieces from Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker. (Read how Lucy Billingsley helped prepare me for the gig here.) For 2022, business headliners include Dallas Mavericks CEO Cynt Marshall, former AT&T Business CEO Anne Chow, Mercado 369 and Latino Center for Leadership Development Founder Jorge Baldor, and WFAA President and GM Brad Ramsey.

Cynt Marshall
Anne Chow

In a new twist, the DSO is seeking 100 North Texas companies to contribute $2,000 each to support a year of free music lessons to 200 students in southern Dallas via an initiative called Instruments for Change. The program’s success will be celebrated at the C-Suite Christmas event, with students performing in the lobby prior to the concert and recognized from the stage.

Dallas Symphony Orchestra young musicians.

The DSO is currently about 80 percent toward its goal, which it hopes to hit by the Dec. 31 deadline. Companies that support the program will receive complimentary tickets to the C-Suite Christmas concert. Click here for additional information.

Perot Family Makes Record-Breaking Donation to United Way of Metropolitan Dallas

The Perot family has a 50-year history of supporting United Way of Metropolitan Dallas.

Giving Tuesday (Nov. 29) was another big success across the region, but one organization’s bounty was historic: a $15 million gift from the Perot family to United Way of Metropolitan Dallas. It’s the largest single investment in the organization’s 98-year history.

Jennifer Sampson, United Way’s president and CEO, said the Perot gift will further the work of 144 community impact partners, which range from grassroots organizations to long-standing impact providers, targeting the community’s most pervasive challenges in education, income, and health.

“This extraordinary investment will be catalytic for our community, not only for the size of the commitment but equally important for how United Way is structured to leverage it,” Sampson said.  “With this investment, we are harnessing the power of many to directly address systemic barriers and advance racial equity that will change lives for generations to come.” 

Outcomes from this support will be wide-ranging, from more students graduating from high school on a path to college or career, increased financial stability in more area families, and more North Texans having the access and resources to live longer, healthier lives.

The Perot family has valued and supported the United Way for more than 50 years, said Carolyn Perot Rathjen, vice president and executive director of The Perot Foundation. “This investment is a testament to the meaningful impact United Way and its trusted network of community impact partners create,” she said. “We hope this gift inspires others to join us in advancing United Way’s Aspire United 2030 goals.” 

Fashion Group International Honors House of Pierre Cardin, Fern Mallis, and Palmer//Harding


Fashion Group International Gallery

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The best-dressed in Dallas flocked to the Thompson Hotel recently for Fashion Group International’s Night of Stars gala. The annual event is a fundraiser for the organization’s student scholarship program. Among those in attendance were Ken Downing and Karen Katz, Bravo TV’s LeeAnne Locken, Cary Deuber, and Kameron Westcott; and influencer and stylist Carla Rockmore.

FGI Dallas honored Levi Palmer and Matthew Harding with the Career Achievement in Design award, an honor that was especially meaningful because Palmer is a Dallas native and 2003 winner of a FGI Dallas scholarship competition that funded his studies in Paris. It was presented by Dallas model and fashion events producer Jan Strimple.

Fern Mallis, the award-winning creator of New York Fashion Week, was honored with the Icon of Innovation Award, presented by Ken Downing. The former CFDA and IMG Fashion exec is now president of her own international consulting firm. She also hosts the acclaimed Fashion Icons With Fern Mallis conversation series and is the author of a book series by the same name; volume No. 2 was released earlier this year.

The final award of the evening was a big one: the Lifetime Achievement in Fashion, presented to Rodrigo Basilicati-Cardin by former Neiman Marcus CEO Karen Katz. The nephew of Pierre Cardin took over the House of Cardin after his uncle passed away in 2020. The iconic designer founded the House of Cardin in 1950. His bubble dresses and celebrity following propelled it to the top in the 1960s, with avant-garde fashions that had a “Space Age” quality and appeal.

These, days, the sea is an inspiration as well, Basilicati-Cardin told D CEO. The brand has expanded to include accessories, jewelry, fragrance, furniture, costumes, tableware, and even restaurants. The event included a stunning fashion show featuring iconic Pierre Cardin pieces through the years, including the designer’s first big hit: a pleated red coat.

Chairs for the 2022 gala were Ken Weber, Richard Rivas, and Cristina Graham. The event raised more than $45,000 for FGI Dallas’ scholarship program.


Christine Perez

Christine Perez

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Christine is the editor of D CEO magazine and its online platforms. She’s a national award-winning business journalist who has…

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