Out & About: Family Compass Sixth-Annual North Star Luncheon

Family Compass supporters raised more than $153,000 at its sixth-annual North Star Luncheon.

The sold-out luncheon boasted 300 guests.

The event, held Monday, April 29, was co-chaired by Neda Bahramnejad and Vanessa Fuquay, along with honorary chair Helen Holman. This year’s theme, “Building a Legacy,” was supported by a collegiate aesthetic with vintage varsity patches, Oxford banners, and a leaderboard recognizing sponsors.

As the event began, top sponsors enjoyed a VIP reception sponsored by Mary Bowman Campbell where they could meet and pose with the day’s featured speaker, Antwone Fisher.

Fisher was born in an Ohio prison to a teenage mother where he would become a ward of the state and placed in foster care. He suffered abuse at the hands of his foster family and was relocated to a penal institution at 14 until he graduated at 17.

He was then homeless until he entered the U.S. Navy where he would serve for 11 years and earn various ribbons and medals. After an honorable discharge from the U.S. military, Fisher worked in Hollywood as a screenwriter for more than 30 years. Among his projects was the classic feature film, Antwone Fisher, directed by and starring Oscar-winning actor Denzel Washington.

Raffle tickets were available for a chance to win one of three prizes: a New Orleans travel package and roundtrip airfare for two on Southwest Airlines; a private mahjong lesson for eight with The Marvelous Mrs. Mahjong; and a “Night Out Around Dallas” package with gift cards and a private home dining experience for eight with chef Scott Gottlich.

The co-chairs took the stage to not only thank those in attendance but those who helped plan the event. They then let attendees begin their lunch as they watched a video about a family served by the agency.

The series detailed a father, Francisco, and his journey as a single father after the sudden passing of his wife during the pandemic and the support provided by Family Compass in the Parent Aide home mentoring program.

Holman then took the stage to share brief remarks and introduce Family Compass CEO Ona Foster. Foster announced the 2024 North Star Award to longstanding supporter and award-winning registered dietician nutritionist Neva Cochran.

“Neva is a true North Star, guiding Family Compass towards a brighter future, and allowing us to build a legacy for families across North Texas,” Foster said.

After a brief acceptance speech from Cochran, Foster returned to share more about Family Compass’ mission and successes. She stated that in 2023, just in its evidence-based programming, the organization kept 717 children, enough to fill an elementary school, out of the child welfare system.

In closing Foster said, “I’m going to close with two questions for you all. Two questions to keep in mind as you listen to our incredible and resilient speaker. The first is: Who left a legacy for you? Whose guiding voice is in your head? And the second: Who are you leaving a legacy for?”

Emcee Calvert Collins-Bratton then took the podium to introduce featured speaker Antwone Fisher. She and Fisher then sat to discuss his journey from the boy in the orphanage to his success today.

Toward the end of the conversation, Fisher said, “If there were organizations around like Family Compass, when I was young, some of the things that happened to me would not have happened. I don’t know if the community knew back then that they could get involved, but it’s possible now and that’s why organizations like this are so important.”

The co-chairs returned and thanked Fisher again and the patrons for attending the event, and announced the date for next year’s luncheon, which will be on April 28, 2025.

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