April 27: Equest Gala: Last chance to join in!

(Featured photo: Calvert Collins-Bratton and Melissa Oates, gala co-chairs.)

Calvert Collins-Bratton and Melissa Oates to serve as co-chairs with Kristy and Patrick Sands as honorary chairs of April 27, 2024 fundraiser

Pamela Dealey Petty is Founder’s Award recipient and Carolyn Anderson will receive the annual Citation Award

Equest proudly announces Calvert Collins-Bratton and Melissa Oates as co-chairs, with Kristy and Patrick Sands as honorary chairs, of its 43rd annual Blue Ribbon Gala: Hope Unbridled on Saturday, April 27, 2024 at the Hilton Anatole Dallas.

“We are delighted to announce Calvert and Melissa as co-chairs and Kristy and Patrick as honorary chairs of the 2024 Blue Ribbon Gala. All are not only leaders in the community in both business and philanthropy, but are also passionate about Equest’s mission,” said Lisa Loy Laughlin, Equest Interim CEO. “We are also honored to recognize Carolyn Anderson and Pamela Dealey Petty with our annual awards. These ladies have given their unwavering support to Equest, and we look forward to shining a light on their longstanding dedication to our organization.”

Collins-Bratton and Oates both bring their enthusiasm for helping the community and professional expertise to their role as co-chairs of the Blue Ribbon Gala.

Collins-Bratton is a seventh generation Texan, proud Dallas native, civic and park advocate, wife and girl mom. She is the chief relationship officer for Communities Foundation of Texas, and previously spent eight years at Methodist Health System Foundation. She is very passionate about her community, helping others and improving Dallas. 

Patrick and Kristy Sands, Honorary Chairs

Oates is a Dallas native with real estate in her blood. She is a top producer at Allie Beth Allman and Associates in Dallas and has spent most of her life in and around the home-building industry. She also grew up riding horses, beginning at age five when she got her first pony. She then went on to show competitively through middle school and high school. Today she has combined her two passions – real estate and horses – connecting friends and clients to their dream homes and ranches. “We are honored to serve as Gala Co-Chairs and support Equest’s incredible work that continues to create profound impacts on the lives of individuals with diverse needs,” said Calvert and Melissa.  “Embracing this role is our commitment to fostering healing, hope, and positive change, as we believe in the human-horse connection, and the community it creates,” they added.   

Honorary chairs Kristy and Patrick Sands are longtime lovers of helping people and animals. Patrick’s late Mother, Caroline Rose Hunt, was one of Dallas’s most generous philanthropists and her employees, children, grandchildren and family members carry on her legacy of giving back to the community.

The couple’s love of horses began at an early age with Kristy, growing up on a Quarter Horse farm and competing, and Patrick riding horses from a young age, while also owning several horses over the years. Patrick is an executive director at The Rosewood Corporation and is a conservationist and avid fisherman and hunter. He has also served on several boards, including the Dallas Museum of Natural History, The Dallas Zoo, The Texas Wildlife Foundation, and the John Bunker Sands Wetlands Center. After a career in corporate marketing and branding, Kristy now devotes her time to her family, philanthropy, interior design, animals, travel and healthy living. She also served on the board of the Retina Foundation and helps rescue dogs and cats throughout Dallas.

“Patrick and I are so excited to serve as honorary chairs of Equest’s gala. When horses interact with us, they tend to synchronize to our heartbeats, which is truly remarkable and so important in helping to enhance the lives of so many.  We are honored to help people, horses and the mission of Equest,” Kristy said.

In addition to Gala leadership, Equest also announces its 2024 award recipients: Pamela Dealey Petty as the Founder’s Award recipient and Carolyn Anderson as the Citation Award recipient.

Named in honor of Equest co-founder Susan Neustadt Schwartz, the prestigious Founder’s Award is given to individuals who have made significant commitments to supporting the agency’s mission. Dealey Petty has served on the Equest board of directors, including as president for two terms and as secretary, co-chaired the annual gala and served as honorary chair, received the Equest Award for Community Service in 2002, was inducted into the Equest Hall of Fame in 2008 and continues to volunteer regularly at Equest. Previous Founder’s Award recipients include Lily Kellogg, Louise Griffeth, Cindy Thomas and Bert Headden and Dolores Neustadt.

Anderson will receive the Citation Award in recognition of her longtime support of Equest, including serving as a board member since 2017, chairing Equest’s Boots and Salutes and Hooves for Heroes events, and as a fervent testimony provider to raise awareness for Equest. Given annually since 2019, the Citation Award is named after the thoroughbred horse Citation (1945-1970), who won 16 consecutive races in major stakes race competitions and is the first horse in history to win $1 million. Past recipients are Nancy and Ron Natinsky, Lane Cates and Brad McLain, Connie and Denny Carreker, Junior League of Dallas and Andy Steingasser.

The Blue Ribbon Gala: “Hope Unbridled,” will be held on Saturday, April 27, 2024 at 6:30 p.m. in the Chantilly Ballroom at the Hilton Anatole Dallas. Guests in Texas-chic attire can expect an upbeat and elegant evening with cocktails, a seated dinner, entertainment by The Manhattan Orchestra, a silent auction and recognition of 2024 award recipients – all while celebrating the power of the human-horse connection.

Sponsorships begin at $3,000 and are available now at www.equest.org/gala . For more information, contact Malcolm Hodge, senior director of Advancement at mhodge@equest.org  .

About Equest:
Founded in 1981, Equest provides equine assisted learning, therapies and counseling to children and adults with physical, cognitive, sensory, coping and learning disabilities, as well as veterans who receive all of Equest’s services at no charge.  The services provided include physical and occupational therapy, equine facilitated counseling and equine assisted learning, therapeutic carriage driving, therapeutic horsemanship and competition. With the help of 30 therapy horses, eight instructors, four therapists, three counselors, and 700 volunteers, lives are changed for more than 2,000 served annually. Equest was the first PATH International Premier Accredited Center in Texas and remains one of the largest in the country. Equest offers an engaging volunteer program that provides 30,000 hours of direct program service opportunities each year.

Courtesy photos.

(Sharon Adams, Adams Communications Public Relations, is honored to represent Equest’s 43rd Anniversary Gala and post this Philanthropy Lifestyles eBuzz.)


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.