Friends of West University Parks
West University neighbors and friends gathered for 30th annual Park Lovers’ Ball “The Pearl Gala"
February 5, 2022
Hotel ZaZa Houston Museum District – February 5, 2022 – Over 420 West University Place neighbors and friends gathered for an evening of sheer opulence at “The Pearl Gala”, its moniker a nod to the traditional anniversary gift. The 30th annual Park Lovers’ Ball, which raised over $400,000, was a sold-out event this year! Event co-chairs Kimberly and Dimitri Ang & Kelly and Blake Hill fluttered about the cocktail reception, greeting loyal guests as well as a noticeable and welcomed number of new faces to this annual event. It was clear that one year missed of this occasion was one too many. All attendees showed up and showed out. The atmosphere was nothing short of electrifying, conveying everyone’s hopeful outlook towards the re-emergence of traditions such as the beloved Park Lovers’ Ball, so iconic within this tight-knit community.
The decor was truly breathtaking, and in an apropos manner, almost had a 30’s feel to it. Every square inch of the space was a lap of luxury dripped in black, cream, and gold. The group of loyal attendees must have received the notion that the as no shortage of pearls, wraps, shawls, and metallic fabrics were donned by this always dazzling collection of park supporters. The parlor room entertained guests with the whiskey blackjack table, a putting green, and sports memorabilia up for auction. Meanwhile, an adjacent area was designated for the wine pull and remaining silent auction items, all of which were meticulously procured and displayed. This loyal and generous crowd meandered and mingled throughout the new and fresh venue, catching up on a year lost yet doing so as though no time had passed. Dr. Linda Christians, Senior Pastor of West U Methodist Church, provided a touching and heartfelt invocation. The event was emceed by the captivating Ilona Carson, Emmy Award winning former anchor and reporter at ABC 13. She is also a proud West University Place resident, and you can often find her chasing her three children around West U’s parks!
The live auction featured an array of enticing options including a 7 day stay in Seagrove, Florida, an Argentinian Dove Hunt, a stunning casa in Santa Fe, New Mexico, a Turkey Bowl family football gathering for Thanksgiving, and a “Uniquely Houston” package consisting of a custom David Peck dress, a Rosie Cannonball gift certificate, and a stay in a luxury suite at Hotel Zaza Museum District. Also highly coveted was a raffle opportunity for an exquisite pair of aquamarine and diamond earrings generously donated by Valobra Master Jewelers. The event chairs credit the success of “The Pearl Gala” to their team of steadfast volunteers and generous donors. The auction co-chairs were Jordan Jewett and Buckley Morlot, whose innovative efforts did not go unnoticed. The underwriting chair was Erin Gaston.
The evening concluded with everyone on the dance floor as Password kept these true “Friends” of West U Parks on their feet until midnight. Kimberly and Dimitri Ang & Kelly and Blake Hill, along with Friends Executive Director, Donna LaMond, and Friends Chair, Sami Morrison, would like to thank all who attended and helped make Park Lovers’ Ball 2022 an unforgettable fundraising community event. The evening’s sponsors and underwriters included Mandy Rochelle Designs, Greenwood King Properties, Valobra Master Jewelers, The Bertron Family, Children’s Memorial Hermann Pediatrics, The Ang, Hill, Holy, Schults, and Woody Families, Kirkland & Ellis LLP, Rachael & Mayor Pro Tem John Montgomery, Jane & Harry Pefanis, Sarrah & Jim Petersen, Gibson Dunn, Heidi Dugan/Greenwood King Properties, Elite Care 24 Hour Emergency Center, Lee Kaplan & Carol Rowley/Compass Real Estate, Ginny Jackson & David Houston/New Leaf Real Estate, Sarah & Scott Barrett, Brigid & Brett Bingham, Blackbuck Resources, Sarah & Travis Covington, Veronica & John Griffin, Jordan & Andrew Jewett, Devon Liedtke/Helen McLaughlin/Megan Williams, Meredith & Ben Marshall, Gabby & Grant Martinez, The Morrison/Parker Families, MRE Consulting, Ltd., Carol Rowley/Compass Real Estate/Laura CCE Umansky/Laura U Design Collective, Ashley & Todd Rushing, The Woman’s Hospital of Texas, WUMC Agape Class, Adrienne & William Vanderbloemen, Caroline Bean & Alex Loyd/Compass Real Estate, Kasteena Parikh & Gordana Vickers/Compass Real Estate, Martha Turner Sotheby’s International Realty, your NOHO SOHO specialists/David B. Atkins, Debbie Crow, Stormy Hayes-Knipe, Kristine Martinez, Laura Mayer & Margaret Vinson, Mary Frances A. DuMay/Compass Real Estate, and Shanna & Eric Bass. Thank you also to the many other generous underwriters and sponsors who contributed to the success of the event. For more information on the Friends of West U Parks Fund, please visit their website, westuparks.org.
The Friends of West University Parks Fund is a volunteer based 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to raising funds for the renovation, expansion, development and improvement of parks and green spaces in the neighborhood parks of the City of West University Place. The board is appointed by City Council and raises money through foundation grants, citizens’ bequests, memorials, special events and various other programs and events including partnerships with local businesses.