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Portrait of INDIVIDUALITY Gala Raises Over $400,000 for the Krist Samaritan Center

Portrait of INDIVIDUALITY Gala Raises Over $400,000 for the Krist Samaritan Center

More than 300 good Samaritans filled the Hotel ZaZa ballroom last week to recognize international and local Samaritans at the Krist Samaritan Center’s Portrait of INDIVIDUALITY Gala. Chairs Carlo Chiocchio and Jim Smith honored Houston’s philanthropists and entertained guests with silent and live auctions, and featured a live speed portrait painting performance from internationally renowned Dan Dunn.

The fundraiser raised more than $400,000, benefiting the Center’s Counseling Assistance Fund, which provides high-quality counseling on a sliding fee scale to those who otherwise would not be able to afford mental health care services.

Megan Doucette, Laura Wang

Megan Doucette, Laura Wang

The Samaritan Spirit Award was presented to Patricia Gail Bray, Ph.D. of Episcopal Health Foundation; Jan Duncan, Philanthropist; and Kendall Plank of Dec My Room in recognition of their significant contributions to the community.

Dan Dunn is an Improvisational Speed Painting Artist who has traveled to more than 27 countries performing. He has won numerous national awards and been commissioned to draw caricatures and portraits for the likes of President George H. W. Bush, Sting, Simon Cowell, and Jimmy Buffett, just to name a few. His portrait of the Columbia astronauts hangs at NASA. Dunn live painted portraits of JJ Watt, Ray Charles and Lady Liberty, which in total sold for more than $32,000 in the live auction.

Calling attention to do-gooders from near and far, each table was named after a Good Samaritan, for example, Angelia Jolie, Bono, Abraham Lincoln, Einstein, Bill and Melinda Gates, Princess Diana, Dalai Lama, and Pope Francis. And, at each table, the bidder paddles had a picture of the Good Samaritan that corresponded to their table.

Following in the annual tradition with the blinking of the hearts, Sandra DeSobe gave her testimonial and the audience was asked to make donations and be recognized with the blinking hearts. The room was filled with blinking hearts representing their tagline: “Touching Lives + Healing Hearts”, which raised $15,525 in itself.

Highlights of the live auction included a Lake Tahoe vacation, a luxury stay in Gulfport, Mississippi, and a stunning custom designed necklace from Valobra.  While the $25,000 Valobra necklace was being auctioned off the ladies bidding on it were asked to give their initials. An interactive screen would place their initials in diamonds on the screen of what the piece would look like after their purchase.

Those good neighbors supporting the altruist cause included: Jim Smith & Carlo Chiocchio, Jan Duncan, Carol and Michael Linn, Carol and Ronald Krist, Christy and Lou Cushman, Diane and Kevin Krist, Catherine and Walter Christopherson, Susan and Dick Hansen, Sally and Dave Hopkins, Camille and Grier Patton, Franco Valobra, Katherine and Ryne Poncik, Susan and Cy Helm, Mary and Tony Gracely, Sara Kavanaugh, Mary and Joe Cesaratto, Diane and Brian Kingshill, Susan Krohn, Carol and John Howenstine, Laura and Roy Nichol, and Harvill Weller.

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