Crystal Charity Ball Takes Inspiration From Across the Pond

The ‘grand dame’ of Dallas’ galas will return in person this year after the pandemic took the Crystal Charity Ball’s fundraising online last year.

That’s not to say there won’t be a way to support this year’s beneficiaries for those who don’t attend in person. This year’s event chair Leslie Diers said the silent auction items would be available to bid on online as well. 

“For those that don’t attend the ball or that are still not comfortable to attend the ball, we wanted to make the silent auction available to all of our donors,” she said. “People will be bidding at the ball actually on their mobile devices versus the old-fashioned way of bidding stickers like we traditionally do at Crystal Charity.”

Since 1953, the Crystal Charity Ball has distributed $149,387,669 to various children’s charities in Dallas County. Diers has chaired the silent auction, chaired the children’s book, and served as underwriting chair, among other roles, during her 11 years as an active member of Crystal Charity Ball.

“All nonprofits have had a pretty tough go. Not only have they been asked to help more people, but their main source of fundraising through their own personal events and things of that nature have been either canceled or gone virtual,” Diers said of the pandemic. “It remains, obviously, very important to continue supporting as many nonprofits as we possibly can, and we’re delighted that we were able to choose eight this year and to help the eight that we are helping. It means a great deal to them; it means a great deal to us.”

This year, the funds will benefit Baylor Scott & White Dallas Foundation, Cafe Momentum, Dallas CASA, Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center, Dallas Symphony Association Inc., Network of Community Ministries, Phoenix House Texas, and Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children.

Many have had to cancel or delay international trips in addition to glitzy galas in the last 18 months, and this year’s ball theme — Peace Love London — takes a bit of inspiration from across the pond.

Diers said organizers had planned for a theme of Majestic Britannia last year, and she put her spin on a British-inspired theme this year.

“With everything that had been going on in the world over the past two years, we decided we wanted something that was really fun and uplifting and lively and colorful and joyous because we all need that right now,” she said. “You will feel the grandeur of Britain as you’re entering into the hotel, and you’ll feel the fun and vibrancy of the ’60s when you enter into the ballroom.”

When: Dec. 4

Where: Hilton Anatole


More: $149 million + distributed to more than 100 children’s charities since 1953.


Baylor Scott & White Dallas Foundation

The Commitment: $936,831

The Tiniest Texans program at Baylor Scott & White Health focuses on caring for babies born less than 28 weeks or weighing less than 2.2 pounds. Funds will be used for ventilators and monitoring equipment, specialized training, and a nurse navigator. This project will help 60-75 babies annually achieve the highest long-term quality of life. 

Cafe Momentum

The Commitment:  $506,625

The internship program at Cafe Momentum provides education, workforce development, counseling, and wraparound social support for justice-involved Dallas County youth. Funds will be used over three years in support of the educational initiatives, homeschool programming, and workforce development
intern wages. More than 150 adjudicated teens will be served.

Dallas CASA 

The Commitment: $396,000

Dallas CASA advocates in the community and the courtroom for children in foster care. Funds will support the professional training and supervision of court-appointed advocates who focus on meeting the heightened needs of 198 teens Dallas CASA will serve.

Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center

The Commitment: $1 million

The center’s mission is to improve the lives of abused children in Dallas County and to provide national leadership on child abuse issues. Funds will support the salaries of the DCAC trained staff who will provide specialized holistic, child-centered services through Forensic Interview, Family Advocacy, and Mental Health Therapy programs.

Dallas Symphony Association Inc.

The Commitment: $750,000

Funds will be used for teaching artists’ salaries and the purchase of youth instruments for the expansion of the Southern Residency Youth Education Project. Through a partnership with Dallas ISD, the DSO delivers music education through three programs: Young Musicians, Young Strings, and Youth Concerts. 

Network of Community Ministries

The Commitment: $926,635

The non-denominational, community-based organization serves nearly 30,000 individuals annually. Funding for three years will provide food, support salaries, and specialized truck equipment to serve food-insecure children in the Richardson ISD. The Mobile Pantry will expand to eight new sites in RISD and childcare facilities. Funds will also be used to expand the Educators Classroom Food Supply, giving teachers an opportunity to pick up nutritional snacks to keep in their classroom for food insecure students. 

Phoenix House Texas

The Commitment: $375,000

The addiction treatment and prevention service provider has provided services in Texas since 1995. Funds will be used over three years at the Hill A. Feinberg Academy to fill the funding gap for the cost of intensive residential treatment for substance use and mental health conditions for the uninsured and underinsured. 

Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children

The Commitment: $500,000

The pediatric care center was established in 1921 to provide medical care to children with polio. Now, Scottish Rite is a leading pediatric care center specializing in the treatment of orthopedic conditions, neurological disorders, and sports injuries. All services are provided regardless of ability to pay. Funds will be used to renovate the hospital’s Day Surgery center, last updated nearly 40 years ago.

Photos: Courtesy Holt Haynsworth, Gittings, John Derryberry, and James French


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Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at [email protected]

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