May 4 and 5: Jason Witten to be Honored with the Roger Staubach Award at Upcoming Emmitt Smith Celebrity Invitational Gala

(Featured photo: Mark Page, Janiece Evans-Page; Jason Witten, Pat and Emmitt Smith)

The Emmitt Smith Celebrity Invitational golf tournament and gala, presented by title sponsor Healthcare Highways, will take place May 4 and 5, marking its 9th year of grand-scale fundraising to directly impact the lives of thousands of North Texas children, families and their communities. Activities will begin with the Friday Night Gala presented by Albertsons/Tom Thumb, at the Omni Frisco Hotel.

Led by Honorary Chairs Torii and Katrina Hunter and Event Chairs Janiece Evans-Page and Mark Page the theme for this year is “Rising Stars.”  Attendees will learn the stories of three amazing students who have participated in Pat & Emmitt Smith Charities programs, including members of the flagship mentoring program, TEAM 22. These rising stars will be celebrated, along with a host of celebrities from the sports and entertainment world, local business leaders and officials. The evening will kick off with the Cigna red carpet and reception sponsored by Tequila Herradura and be followed by dinner courtesy of E Smith Advisors. Nischelle Turner, entertainment correspondent for HLN’s Showbiz Tonight and CNN will serve as the evening’s emcee.

This year’s Roger Staubach Award recipient is Jason Witten. Witten’s SCORE Foundation, founded in 2007, has positively impacted tens of thousands of children and families in Texas and Tennessee over the last decade. The foundation operates its nationally-recognized SCOREkeepers program, which places trained male mentors on staff to work with children at family violence shelters, at nine shelters in the two states. SCORE has also operated a weekend food backpack program for disadvantaged children in North Texas, opened Jason Witten Learning Centers in five different Boys & Girls Clubs and opened the Jason and Michelle Witten Emergency Waiting Room at the Niswonger Children’s Hospital in Johnson City, TN. The Roger Staubach award recognizes sports and or entertainment professionals who positively impact the lives of children by living courageously and creating opportunities for today’s youth. This is the only award to be named in Staubach’s honor other than the one established at his alma mater, the U.S. Naval Academy.

The Rising Stars gala ushers in the Celebrity Invitational Golf Tournament, presented by American Airlines, on Saturday, May 5 hosted at TPC Craig Ranch. Players will be paired with celebrities to create foursomes to vie for bragging rights and the $5,000 purse sponsored by Waste Management. The public is invited to view the event at the VIP Pavilion sponsored by Toyota.

Now in its 9th year, the Emmitt Smith Celebrity Invitational has raised more than $6.2 million in support of Pat & Emmitt Smith Charities and supported more than 150 charities in North Texas, including 7,000 Dallas ISD students and families through their annual back to school program and hurricane relief efforts. Proceeds from the weekend go to Pat & Emmitt Smith Charities, (PESC), a 501(c)(3) public charity that creates and funds unique educational experiences and enrichment opportunities for North Texas children.

Friday Night Gala tickets begin at $750 each, and limited tables at $10,000+ with sponsorships available. Saturday Golf Tournament VIP Pavilion passes are $50 each. For ticket and sponsorship details contact Pat & Emmitt Smith Charities Executive Director, Dana Vilardi, at For more information, visit

2018 Emmitt Smith Celebrity Invitational Sponsors (As of April 10, 2018):
Healthcare Highways (Title Sponsor), Shell, American Airlines, Alberstons/Tom Thumb, Waste Management Tequila Herradura, Cigna, Craig Dyer, Axxess, Axxess, E Smith Advisors, Haggar, Newmark Frank Knight

Pat and Emmitt Smith have a passion to help young people by providing them with opportunities to reach their fullest potential, even when there may be barriers in front of them. Pat & Emmitt Smith Charities is committed to providing resources to children to help them see and dream beyond the restrictive opportunities of their environment or the limitations others have placed upon them by supporting high quality programs in North Texas through grants, scholarships and partnership efforts. In this way, their efforts are amplified throughout the community and allow them to impact thousands of children each year. Pat and Emmitt Smith personally mentor a group of high potential, high performing, students from the Dallas area through their flagship program, TEAM 22. In order to nurture their growth into confident young leaders they host unique educational experiences, send them to a leadership camp, pair them with mentors and require that they give back through community service. For more information, visit

After 15 NFL seasons, Jason Witten remains one of the top tight ends in NFL history and he is the leading pass-catcher in the illustrious history of the Dallas Cowboys. An 11-time Pro Bowl selection and two-time NFL all-pro, Witten’s 1,152 career receptions are the most ever by a Dallas Cowboy, and the second-most by a tight end in NFL history. His 12,448 career receiving yards ranks second all-time among NFL tight ends and is also a team record at that position. He is the team’s all-time leader in receiving yards. In 2012, he set an NFL record for most catches by a tight end in a season (103) and most receptions by a tight end in a game (18). Jason and his wife Michelle, started Jason Witten’s SCORE Foundation in 2007, and it has rapidly become one of the largest and most impactful foundations among NFL players. His foundation’s work against domestic violence and to promote education and youth health in Texas and Tennessee made him a finalist for the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Award in 2007 and won him the award in 2012. He became the first player in NFL history to win the honor and the Bart Starr Award in the same season that year. Witten has also been named the Home Depot Neighborhood MVP in 2008 and the Pro Football Weekly Humanitarian of the Year award in 2010.

Write-up courtesy Pat & Emmitt Smith Charities.


Principal of Philanthropy Lifestyles (formerly, 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.