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Leeza Gibbons, Emmy Award-Winning TV/radio personality, philanthropist, New York Times best-selling author, and caregiver advocate, returns to Dallas to take the stage as the featured speaker for the 2021 Juliette Fowler Communities’ Visionary Women Luncheon on Thursday, November 18, at noon, at the OMNI Dallas Hotel, 555 S. Lamar Street. AWARE will receive the Visionary Women Award for its dedication to fighting Alzheimer's disease through funding and support of programs, projects, and research. The luncheon featuring Gibbons was previously scheduled for May 2020 but postponed due to the pandemic.
“We are so excited to be moving forward with a new date for our Visionary Women Luncheon in November, which is also National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and National Caregivers Month,” said Nicole Gann, president and CEO, Juliette Fowler Communities. “These designations are a perfect complement to the work of our speaker, Leeza Gibbons, and AWARE, our Visionary Women Award recipient, as well as Juliette Fowler Communities. Each plays a role in serving those living with Alzheimer’s and their families.”
Using her experiences hosting, producing, and reporting for shows such as “Entertainment Tonight, the PBS show “My Generation,” and her own talk show, “LEEZA,” Gibbons became an instrumental advocate for healthcare, wellness and caregiving, ultimately becoming a social entrepreneur creating Leeza’s Care Connection. A nonprofit located in California and South Carolina, Leeza’s Care Connection offers free services and support to help families cope when facing a chronic illness or disease. Her mother’s struggle with Alzheimer’s inspired many of her actions. After winning “Celebrity Apprentice,” Gibbons took her earnings and invested them in her hometown, Columbia, South Carolina, to support family caregivers at her flagship Leeza’s Care Connection location. Her focus on helping others “call on their courage” and “summon their strength” during a health challenge is a common theme to her life. In her 2009 book, Take Your Oxygen First: Protecting Your Health and Happiness While Caring for a Loved One with Memory Loss, Gibbons shares her family's personal struggle with Alzheimer’s disease after her mother's diagnosis and provides practical advice to caregivers on how to care for their own needs.
“In addition to Leeza’s extensive background in the field of entertainment and news media, she is such an instrumental advocate for healthcare, wellness and caregiving, and a true voice of hope,” added Gann. “Her diverse and impressive career, coupled with her personal story and dedication to help caregivers, will leave our audience empowered and uplifted.”
Located on 20 picturesque acres, Juliette Fowler Communities is the only certified I’m Still Here® Center for Excellence in Dementia Care in North Texas and one of only two in Texas. Utilizing the I’m Still Here® approach, a unique paradigm shift in memory care, Fowler’s program employs evidence-based techniques to adapt experiences to an individual’s cognitive abilities and strengths. It is an engagement-focused program connecting with those living with Alzheimer’s and related dementias through abilities that do not diminish with time. By offering families and professionals ways to emotionally connect with loved ones who are still there through communication techniques and life enrichment, this program sparks creativity and engagement, helping them to thrive.
The luncheon will also feature an art display presented by the Junior League of Dallas (JLD) highlighting work completed by residents with dementia at Fowler Communities through “Artful Awakenings,” a weekly art program which has been led by members of JLD since 2017.
The Visionary Women Luncheon Chair Michelle Feavel announces the 2021 luncheon award recipients: AWARE will receive the Visionary Women Award for its philanthropic leadership in support of Alzheimer's care and research; and Deloitte will receive the Erika McKenzie Volunteer Award for its 20 years of volunteer service at Juliette Fowler Communities. Miranda Sullivan, a recent graduate of Texas Christian University selected by TCU campus ministry, will receive the Juliette Fowler Faith and Service Award. Honorary Luncheon Chairs are Mary and Roland Bandy.
“Juliette Fowler Communities is thrilled to honor these 2021 award recipients for the incredible impact they have made and continue to make in this community and beyond,” added Michelle Feavel, luncheon chair.
The Visionary Women Honoree AWARE, founded in 1989, has raised and donated nearly $14 million in support of programs, projects, and research to help individuals affected by Alzheimer’s in Dallas and North Texas. Founding members include Evelyn Ponder, Cyndy Hudgins, Ruth Sharp Altshuler, Nancy Nelson, Billie Leigh Rippey, and Anita Sampels. In 2011, AWARE became a component fund of the Dallas Foundation. Since 2014, the AWARE members have worked in partnership with The Dallas Foundation to review grant applicants and provide funding to nonprofits in Dallas and North Texas working on the front lines in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease. AWARE has funded Fowler’s music and art therapy programs; provided the lead gift for training, implementation, and certification for Fowler’s I’m Still Here® Center for Excellence in Dementia Care; and provided the lead gift for Dementia Friendly Dallas.
For the past 20 years, Deloitte LLP, this year’s Erika McKenzie Volunteer Award honoree, has selected Fowler Communities as a volunteer site for its annual international day of service, Impact Day. In 2019, Deloitte held its 20th Impact Day and its 19th year of volunteering at Fowler Communities. Impact Day was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic. Approximately 150 volunteers, many of whom return year after year, spend the day working on projects at Fowler, providing all necessary funding. Activities include gardening, painting, organizing, cleaning, building, or engaging in activities with residents.
Juliette Fowler Faith and Service Award Recipient Miranda Sullivan, a recent TCU graduate who will pursue a PhD in government at The University of Texas, has exemplified the spirit of Juliette Fowler through service on her campus and in the community while maintaining a high GPA. In the long term she would like to be a professor of political science so she may teach and conduct research. While at TCU, she served as president of Disciples on Campus; president of Chi Delta Mu; fundraising director of TCU Dance Marathon, a student run philanthropy for the local Children's Miracle Network through Cook Children's Medical Center; and children’s ministry assistant at University Christian Church.
Gibbons is currently seen on-camera as co-host of the Rose Parade. She is also the author of the New York Times best seller, Take 2: Your Guide to Creating Happy Endings; and Fierce Optimism: Seven Secrets for Playing Nice and Winning Big. Gibbons has received numerous recognitions for her achievements, including a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her TV work, and the ICON Award for her work selling over a billion dollars in products through direct response. Gibbons lives in Los Angeles with her husband, New York Times best-selling author Steven Fenton, and their rescue pup, Biggie. She has three children, daughter, Leksy, and sons, Troy and Nate.
“Please join us for this exciting opportunity to hear the amazing and compassionate Leeza Gibbons, and help us honor three outstanding award recipients,” added Nicole Gann. “Your support of this luncheon and Juliette Fowler Communities provides critical funding to our One Heart Annual Fund, enabling us to continue to implement the most innovative programs, while caring for the most vulnerable among us, the young and old at Fowler.”
Luncheon media sponsors are CultureMap Dallas and NBC 5. Tickets are $200, and sponsorships are available. Contact Jamie Rodgers, email@example.com, 214-818-0342. Visit https://fowlercommunities.org/visionary-women-luncheon/
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Juliette Fowler Communities is a unique faith-based, intergenerational community of residents at various life-stages. Located on 20 picturesque acres, Juliette Fowler Communities provides independent and assisted living, a Five-Star Quality Rated skilled nursing and rehabilitation center, memory care and affordable senior housing. As the only certified I’m Still Here® Center for Excellence in Dementia Care in North Texas and one of only two in Texas, Fowler’s program employs evidence-based techniques to adapt experiences to an individual’s cognitive abilities and strengths. It has also been named a Great Place to Work in the Aging Services Industry in 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021. Children, youth, and family services at Fowler include foster and adoption services, a residential program for women ages 18-24 at risk for homelessness due to neglect, abuse, and aging out of the foster care system, and a new Youth Support Center – a one-stop location to help Dallas youth, both boys and girls ages 12-24, escape or avoid human trafficking and exploitation. Visit fowlercommunities.org or call 214.827.0813.