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  • Writer's pictureFriends of West University Parks

West University Place neighbors and friends gathered for an evening of fun and fundraising

Press Release For Immediate Release

CONTACT: Kimberly Eads, Public Relations, cell 832-287-5232,; Donna LaMond, Friends Executive Director,; Sami Morrison, Friends Chair,

The Four Seasons Hotel Downtown – February 11, 2023 – Over 480 West University Place neighbors and friends gathered for an evening of fun and fundraising at Park Lovers’ Ball, in support of West University Parks. “A Park for All Seasons”, celebrated that the community parks are enjoyed not only during each season of the year, but also throughout the seasons of our lives. Raising nearly half a million dollars, the 31st annual ball was a sold-out event this year! Event co-chairs Whitney & Marc Walsh and Mitra & Josh Woody greeted guests. All attendees showed up and showed out. The atmosphere was nothing short of electrifying, conveying everyone’s excitement to mix and mingle while supporting the park lands within this tight-knit community.

The event featured the popular whiskey blackjack game, wine pull, silent and live auctions, heads or tails game, and the inaugural putting green game. Rev. Katie Montgomery Mears, Senior Pastor of St. Luke’s Methodist Church, provided a touching invocation and the event was emceed by the captivating Ilona Carson, previously of ABC 13 and a West University Place resident. This year, Park Lovers’ Ball honored longtime Friends supporter Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital.

The live auction featured an array of enticing options including a dinner experience with a private chef; a trip to the 2023 US Open Tennis Championship; an Argentinian Dove Hunt; 7-night stay at home on 30A; and a week in Paris. The event chairs credit the success of “A Park for All Seasons” to their team of steadfast volunteers and generous donors. The auction co-chairs were Catherine Hamilton and Jordan Jewett, whose innovative efforts did not go unnoticed.

The evening concluded with everyone on the dance floor as Adrian Michael and the Greenway Band kept these true “Friends” of West U Parks on their feet until midnight. Whitney & Marc Walsh and Mitra & Josh Woody, 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 2023 an unforgettable fundraising community event. The evening’s sponsors and underwriters included Summer – Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital, Mandy Rochelle Designs, Wells Fargo. Winter: Burke Family Foundation, Kirkland & Ellis, Whitney &; Marc Walsh/Mitra & Josh Woody. Fall: Frost Bank, Jane & Harry Pefanis, John O. Peterson Charitable Trust Fund. Branches of Friendship: Blackbuck Resources, Blackmur, Borland, Camp, Craig & McCarthy Families, Casey, Davison, Greenburg & Hays Families, Amanda & Scott Commons, Kimberly Eads, Lindsay & James Gregory, Veronica & John Griffin, The Hamilton Family, Lori & Rob Hendricks, Emily & Justin Leitch, Diana & Alejandro Madero, Ashley & John Pope, Britt & Kyle McQuire, Samantha & Jeffrey Holy, Jordan & Andrew Jewett, Christina & Matthew Kuhl, Locke Lord LLP, Loverin, McDowell, Pritchard, Pittman and Torsch Families, Sami & Jud Morrison/Christine & Owen Parker, Sara and Brian Smith, Supporter of West University Parks, Walker, Harris and Baldridge Families, Woods, Goodman, Spansel, Calva and Boyden Families, Stephanie and Gabriel Zamora. Magnolia – Julia and Stephen Jacobson, IBC, Karen and Michael Brisch, Kelly and Blake Hill, Laura and George Turley, Jenifer & Bob Shults. Sponsors: Libations – Gibson Dunn, Invitations - Greenwood King Properties, Big Board - Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital, Floral Centerpieces - Canaima Design, Step & Repeat and Photo Booth - Heidi Dugan, Realtor, Greenwood King Properties, Yard Signs – Greater Houston Orthodontics, Heads or Tails- Martha Turner Sotheby’s International Realty – Your SOHO NOHO Specialists – David B. Atkins, Debbie Crow, Stormy Hayes-Knipe, Kristine Martinez, Laura Mayer and Margaret Vinson, Wine Pull – Rachael and John Montgomery, Whiskey Blackjack – Vinglacé, Auction Bags – Frost Bank, Bid Spotters – Julia and Carl Williams, Putting Green Game – Mary Frances A. DuMay, Real Estate Advisor, The Anderson DuMay Team at Compass Real Estate. In Kind Donations Ellen and Hank Bachmann, DBA Ice Express, Art Attack. 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,


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.

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