Q & A with AWARE: Jolie Humphrey and Josey Kennington, Chairs, AWARE Affair Celebrate the Moments, A Modern American Evening and Venise Stuart, President

(Featured photo: Jolie Humphrey and Josey Kennington, Chairs, AWARE Affair; Venise Stuart, President, AWARE.)*

Jolie Humphrey and Josey Kennington, chairs of AWARE Affair – A Modern American Evening, along with Venise Stuart, president of AWARE, invite you to join us on Friday, April 13 at the The Statler for fun evening of silent and live auctions, dinner and dancing to tunes from past decades Honorary chairs are Kim and David McDavid, Jr.

Here we have a Q & A to learn more about the event and the AWARE organization:


Q: We’ve heard so much about the new Statler. What can we expect at the event?
The Statler is a newly-renovated, historic hotel. The original Statler Hilton, an iconic building of mid-twentieth century design, was heralded as the first and finest hotel of the modern era and established Dallas as the business and entertainment center of the Southwest.

We chose this venue because we want to appeal to a younger generation who would enjoy the mid-century modern feel of The Statler but also and most importantly we know that Alzheimer’s doesn’t just affect the older generation anymore, it is reaching its nasty tentacles to people who are in their 40’s and 50’s.  We chose the theme, A Modern American Evening, because that is just what it will be, a fun cool evening with jazzy live music, great food and a DJ for dancing plus the men don’t have to wear ties!  We want our guest to feel welcomed and to enjoy a charity event that raises awareness and money for Alzheimer’s.

A/Josey: We are going to try a different angle on a charity event.  First of all, we selected a newly renovated art deco historic Stadler hotel.  We also decided to change it up from the traditional Saturday night ball by having it on a Friday night.  Additionally, we decided to dress it down a bit by not requiring black tie.  Our hope with this is that we get a new and different crowd from the typical formal charity events. There will be some fun surprises you won’t want to miss!

Q: Tell us more about AWARE.
AWARE was founded in 1989 by 5 very involved and powerful Dallas women in support of their good friend who was suffering with Alzheimer’s.  These five women asked their friends to help them begin AWARE. Those five women were the late Ruth Sharp Altshuler, Cyndy Hudgins, Nancy Nelson, Evelyn Ponder, Billie Leigh Rippey and Anita Sampels. At least 100 women stepped up to become Charter Members.

In the almost 30 years that AWARE has been in existence over $12.5 million has been raised.  This money has been given back to the community in the form of support for education, research, and caregiving using a thorough grant review process under the administration of The Dallas Foundation.  The process includes financial analysis and on-site visits to applying organizations.
As you can see, we are a hands-on organization of dedicated individuals.   A staggering 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease today, which will cost the nation over $236 BILLION in 2017 alone.   We cannot do this by ourselves. We must all do our part.

Q: What inspired you to become more involved?
 AWARE hit close to my heart because my paternal grandmother had early onset Alzheimer’s.  I vaguely remember our grandmother, but do vividly remember how deeply saddened my father was during his visits with his mother. My grandmother could neither recognize us nor remember our names.  On my mother’s side, I saw a fabulous, full of life woman in my grandmother deteriorate at 78 years old with dementia.  She was our matriarch!  I also saw the toll that it took on my mother’s family’s five siblings.  It took all of them to care for her.  I think about what a crippling disease this is and how many caregivers it takes just to take care of one person.


A/Jolie:  Venise Stuart asked me to chair the AWARE Affair last May.  To be very honest, I had just joined the group because I wanted to learn more about Alzheimer’s but I wasn’t expecting to take on such a big position so soon.  After much prayer and thought I accepted and then asked Josey to co-chair the event with me.  My grandmother suffered from Alzheimer’s for several years before she passed away and it saddened me to see such a great lady rapidly decline in just a few years’ time.  She would look at me and call me by my mother’s name, not recognizing me anymore.  I thought of her when Venise asked me to chair AWARE Affair so I knew I had to dive right in by accepting the offer. I am honored to be co-chair and to be involved with a great and dynamic group of women who are making a difference in our city.


Q: Who are the AWARE Affair – Celebrate the Moments-  A Modern American Evening honorees?
The first is BvB Dallas: BvB Dallas is a Dallas-based charity organization that hosts a powder-puff football game and other fundraisers as a way of raising money for Alzheimer’s disease research and awareness. Founded locally by a group of young women driven to find a cure for Alzheimer’s, BvB Dallas is a personal way for young professionals across DFW to raise awareness, funds and support to TACKLE ALZHEIMER’S FOREVER. Raising more than $3.5 million and recruiting over 1,000 volunteers for the cause, BvB Dallas has made a huge impact in the Metroplex over the past 10 years.

Secondly, I am pleased to announce the Chantilis Family, in honor of their mother, Frances Chantilis.  Frances was one of the original charter members of AWARE.  Frances was a kind, gentle, woman, who gave to everyone in the community.  Unfortunately, Frances lost her own battle of Alzheimer’s in 2013.

Her children, Sam Chantilis and Stephanie Bray, in Frances’ memory, continue the mission of AWARE. Stephanie, and her husband, Bennie, served as the 2015 AWARE Affair chairs.

Holly Hull Miori will receive the Amy Osler Spirit of Education Leadership Award.

Q: Tell us about the grants given each year.
The Dallas Foundation, a 501(c)(3) publicly supported charity, is the fiscal sponsor of AWARE. In partnership with the Foundation, AWARE conducts an annual grant application review process resulting in the selection of the most exemplary nonprofit organizations working on the front lines in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease in Dallas and the North Texas region. AWARE provides funding and support to these outstanding groups that offer services, programs, education, and resources to those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, their families and caregivers, and to organizations doing valuable research to find a prevention and cure.

2018 AWARE Grant Recipients are:

  • Baylor Health Care System Foundation – Support for the salary of a Ph.D. Neuropsychology Intern for Baylor AT&T Memory Center.
  • Center for BrainHealth – Discovery Group – Support for the Discovery Group, a program designed to help individuals and families affected by Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias focus on preserving abilities and tapping strengths to promote meaningful engagement and slow the progression of the disease.


  • Dallas Museum of Art – Memory Moments – Support for teaching honorariums, supplies, and staffing for Memory Moments, a program designed to provide participants with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias ways to engage in art that are revitalizing and gratifying.


  • Jewish Family Service – Support for the salary of a Clinical Social Worker to provide independent living services to adults with Alzheimer’s and related dementias and their families/caregivers.


  • Juliette Fowler Communities – Support for group and individual therapy sessions with a Certified Music Therapist for memory care residents, and to help purchase additional instruments and therapeutic tools.


  • NorthPark Presbyterian Church – Casa de Vida – Support the Casa de Vida program, which gives relief to families/caregivers by providing one-on-one care to individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias at the church for programs involving art, music, games, and lunch one day per week from 9:30 until 1:30.


  • Texas Winds Musical Outreach – Support for two concerts by professional musicians in 87 nursing homes and adult daycare facilities that serve individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.


  • Presbyterian Communities & Services Foundation – Broad Strokes – Support for the Broad Strokes program at Grace Presbyterian Village that provides music and art therapy to residents with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.


  • The Senior Source – Senior Companions – Support for the Senior Companion Program matching volunteers with individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias and their families needing assistance with meals, light housekeeping, and companionship.


  • UT Southwestern Medical Center – Support to advance Dr. Roger Rosenberg’s research and clinical trials on a DNA Vaccine to clear amyloid plaques in the brain to prevent or slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.


  • The Myrna D. Schlegel AWARE Scholarship Fund – Recipients are Nora Drutz-Rogney, Baylor University; Lindsay Ross, Texas Christian University.For underwriting and sponsorship opportunities contact Sharon Walker at therwalks@sbcglobal.net or 214.369.2459, or visit the website at awaredallas.orgMedia sponsors are PaperCity Magazine, The Park Cities News/The Waters Family, My Sweet Charity and Downtown Business News.The Dallas Foundation, a 501(c)(3) publicly supported charity, is the fiscal sponsor of AWARE. For more information please visit the website at AWAREDallas.org

    * Photo credit: Jolie and Josey photo by Jeremy Lock. Venise photo by Dana Driensky.

    Sharon Adams, Adams Communications Public Relations, is honored to represent AWARE.


Principal of Philanthropy Lifestyles (formerly SocialWhirl.com), the award-winning eBuzzNewsletter and Adams Communications Public Relations, a boutique PR firm specializing in media and community relations for small businesses and nonprofit organizations. Sharon is also a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in Dallas Business Journal, Katy Trail Weekly, People Newspapers (Park Cities People and Preston Hollow People/North Dallas People), Preston Hollow Life magazine, The Park Cities News, White Rock Lake Weekly, numerous blogs and websites and more.