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The original item was published from 2/15/2019 3:11:41 PM to 7/30/2019 12:00:15 AM.

News Flash

Community News

Posted on: February 15, 2019

[ARCHIVED] Park Lovers' Ball Raises Funds for West U Parks

Shared from the Friends of West University Place Parks

CONTACT: Donna LaMond, Friends Executive Director,; Sami Morrison, Friends Chair,

Hilton Americas Houston – February 2, 2019 – Close to 600 West University Place neighbors and friends joined together for La Fête du Jardin, “The Garden Party.” The 28th annual Park Lovers’ Ball raised $425,000! Event co-chairs Jennifer and Scott Allison, Megan and Brian Cushing, Stephanie and Ryan Fleck and Caroline and Kevin Walter joined forces to create a memorable evening including a living topiary who posed for pictures with guests throughout the evening. The event honored loyal and generous Friends supporter Conway MacKenzie. The firm’s Houston Senior Managing Director, John T. Young, Jr., is a Friends Advisory Board Member and has been instrumental in Friends fundraising for many years. John and his wife, Andrea, attended the ball as the event’s top underwriter and had the center spotlight table. The Young’s were presented with a portrait of their family as an honoree gift and to say once again thank you for their support of Friends.

The decor was over the top and décor co-chairs Stacey Christ and Jennifer Swallen fulfilled the vision of a French themed garden party. Guests were also treated to the talents of artist, Angela Fabbri, who painted live during the gala. The event was emceed by local talent Ilona Carson of ABC 13.

The live auction featured some exciting packages including a July 4th week getaway to Prince Edward Island Canada, an Argentina Bird Hunt, a trip to the ESPY Awards Show, and dinner for four couples with Jose Altuve. The event chairs credit the success of “La Fête du Jardin” to their team of vigilant volunteers. The auction co-chairs were Jessie Cutler and Michele Marandi. Underwriting and sponsorship co-chairs were Kim Eads and Emily Yardley.

The evening concluded with everyone on the dance floor as Doppelganger kept the party going until midnight. Jennifer and Scott Allison, Megan and Brian Cushing, Stephanie and Ryan Fleck and Caroline and Kevin Walter, 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 2019 a fabulous fundraising community event. The evening’s sponsors and underwriters included Conway MacKenzie, Greenwood King Properties, Compass Real Estate, Cara and Chad Michael, PwC, Iris and Nathan Allen, Jennifer and Scott Allison/Stephanie and Ryan Fleck, Cammarata Pediatric Dentistry Group, CenterPoint Energy, Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital, Megan and Brian Cushing/Caroline and Kevin Walter, Jones Day, Kirkland & Ellis, Mandy Rochelle Designs, Jane and Harry Pefanis and Sarrah and Jim Petersen. Thank you also to the many other generous underwriters and sponsors who contributed to the success of the event and who are listed on the Friends website,


The Friends of West University Place Parks Fund, Inc. 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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