Join us for the 2016 GRACE Gala

For Immediate Release:

Premier Black-Tie Event on October 22 Funds Community Programs                                    

Press Contact: Heather Ortner, Marketing & Communications Manager                              


Join us for the 13th Annual GRACE Gala on Saturday, October 22 at the Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas. The black-tie event boasts gourmet food and spirits, Silent and Live Auctions and dancing to the music of renowned Mars Hill Band. Event proceeds allow GRACE to give food, clothing, shelter, education and medical care and other types of emergency assistance to families facing crisis.

For nearly three decades, GRACE has been a haven for families facing crisis in Greater Northeast Tarrant County. In the midst of their hardship, GRACE guides families through long-term solutions designed to strengthen the community at large.

The GRACE Gala was conceptualized in 2004 by a dynamic Advisory Board made up of prominent community members from Grapevine, Southlake and Colleyville. Six months before the first Gala, the event sold out.

Individuals and corporate partners in the community rose to the challenge by sponsoring tables, donating auction items and attending an event that had quickly become the most-anticipated event of the year.

As the agency’s largest singular fund-raising event, the GRACE Gala has since become known as the premier black-tie event in Northeast Tarrant County.

“The GRACE Gala is my favorite night of the year, “says Executive Director Shonda Schaefer, “there’s a vibrant, infectious energy when the community rallies together with a kindred desire to see families thrive again. The event is a spectacular night, but to see how it changes the stories of families to hope from despair; there is no greater reward than that.”

The event revenue equips GRACE  to provide various programs such as:

  • Feed Our Kids, a lunch initiative that provides over 38,500 meals to at-risk children during the summer months, and Christmas Cottage, which provides new, unwrapped toys to over 1,600 children each holiday season.
  • GRACE Food Pantry supplies at-risk families with an estimated $500,000 in food staples each year. Our annual food drives provide holiday meals for over 750 families each season.
  • GRACE Community Garden produces 3,000 pounds of fresh, organic produce annually for families at risk for malnourishment.
  • GRACE Community Clinic offers medical care, vital screenings, immunizations and preventative healthcare.
  • GRACE Friends & Family meets the emotional and physical needs of approximately 120 isolated and immobile seniors in the community.
  • GRACE Transitional Housing provides shelter and holistic case management to displaced families, including those fleeing domestic violence.

On Saturday, October 22 at the Irving Convention Center, the community will celebrate what has been accomplished, and look ahead with great anticipation. With each passing year, the funds raised at the GRACE Gala allow GRACE to advance the mission to provide assistance to families that need it most. Sponsorships range from $2,000 to $20,000. Individual tickets are $325, and a table of ten is $3,000. Auction item sponsorships are also available.

For ticket and sponsorship details for the GRACE Gala, visit

GRACE Grapevine is a faith-based, social service agency that provides emergency assistance to an average of 5,100 families and individuals each year. For nearly three decades, GRACE has partnered with the community provide food, clothing, shelter, education and medical care to guide families and individuals toward self-sufficiency. Learn about our programs and volunteer opportunities at


It’s hard to believe that we are finishing the final week of Feed Our Kids. We can’t wait to share the total count of meals you helped us share to children in need this summer.

In the meantime we’d like to give a shout out to one of our incredible church partners, Compass Church, who works closely with GRACE to ensure every family in the community has the opportunity to receive food, clothing, medical care and spiritual support during difficult times.

Compass Church has given more than $150,000 to program support and over 1,000 collective volunteer hours since partnering with GRACE. That’s over 40 days of nonstop sorting, cleaning, serving and sharing God’s love at the GRACE sites!

Compass Church also played an integral role in providing temporary shelter to families after 20 homes were destroyed in Grapevine apartment fire last May. Congregants came together to pray for and care for those in need by donating goods to GRACE and offering assistance when the need was greatest.

Each year members of Compass also organize GRACE’s largest annual food drive during the holiday season. Families fill a 45-foot trailer with holiday goods, and reinforcements are almost always called just to contain the amount of donations.

GRACE is sincerely grateful to local congregations like Compass Church, who understand the necessity of engaging with their community through service.

“All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”  -Acts 2:44-47


As the Official Décor Sponsor for the GRACE Gala, BNSF could not be more aptly recognized for their hard work to make GRACE sites both beautiful and functional over the years.

GRACE’s relationship with BNSF was forged with United Way’s historical “Day of Caring”, an initiative that motivates corporate partners to pursue service projects with local charities. Their investment has since evolved into various projects throughout the year.

The dedicated team at BNSF have cleaned, sorted, hauled and beautified virtually every GRACE site—from decorating the Christmas Cottage, to landscaping, painting and even taking on construction projects like entrance ramps and roof and concrete repairs.

In 2014 the BNSF Railway Foundation’s Officer Retirement Charitable Award made a $25,000 contribution to GRACE to honor the retirement of Tom Hund for his formative role in BNSF’s vision as the Executive Vice President and CEO. Since retiring, Judy and Tom Hund have made it their career to serve families in need at GRACE.

The support of BNSF as a Gala Feature Sponsor sets the stage for the annual theme, which embodies the heart of GRACE’s mission. This year’s “Light in the Darkness” theme speaks to the illuminating power one group has for families in the midst of a gloomy season.

Thanks to BNSF for making the GRACE Gala beautiful, and most importantly—recognizing the beauty in each client we serve.

BNSF Railway is one of the leading freight transportation companies in North America. The BNSF Foundation supports various causes, including grants, scholarships and a vigorous employee matching program.

The 2016 GRACE Gala will take place on Saturday, October 22 at the Irving Convention Center. As GRACE’s largest fund raising event of the year, the event revenue provides foundational support to further the GRACE mission. Sponsorships range from $2,000 to $20,000. Individual tickets are $325, and a table of ten is $3,000. Auction item sponsorships are also available.

For details how your business can be showcased at the GRACE Gala as an event or auction sponsor, visit or contact Mark Woolverton.


When we relayed our need for underwear and shoes for school age children, we knew the community would respond with abundance.

Not only did St. Laurence Church host a collection drive that amassed 600 new packages of underwear for children, the congregation also raised enough funds to purchase 86 new pairs of shoes for Back to School!

That’s 86 children who will walk into their respective school with confidence and pride, and dozens of grateful families who are able to see their children sport new, unused shoes they can utilize the whole school year.

All parents know that children are hard on their shoes, and a pair of sneakers is a hearty investment for any family, especially those who have multiple children. You’ve helped alleviate the burden for families, and created a sense of pride for children whose parents are facing a difficult season.

For all gifts in all packages, we are continually humbled by the community’s zeal to share their blessings with others. Thank you St. Laurence Church!


When Gateway Church member Doug Webb wanted to connect with a senior through Friends & Family, he knew just the senior who could warm another senior’s heart.

Meet Monty, a twelve-year old black lab who still has a lifetime of love to give. Doug was connected with Friends & Family client Thomas Hayden, who calls Kindred Grapevine Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center his home.

Pet companionship among isolated seniors has been shown to reduce stress, lower blood pressure and increase social engagement. Pets have a way of inviting others to find joy in the moment and exchange selfless affection.

Doug also brought a book that sparks the two gentlemen’s common interest: the first Americans patriots. With Monty lying comfortably at their sides, Doug began to read aloud the American Revolution memoir to Tom.

“When volunteers have these remarkable ideas, it reminds us that we all have talents and resource to contribute,” says Friends & Family Coordinator Maryann Waddell. “Seniors who know they are valued and cared for are able to confidently face trials when they know they’re not alone.”

These intangible gifts have the ability to brighten someone’s day and even refresh a senior’s outlook on life. Thank you Doug and Monty for your companionship!


GRACE Executive Director Shonda Schaefer has been named one of SafeHaven’s Legacy of Women Beneficiaries in their upcoming Legacy of Women Awards Luncheon.

Ten women will be honored on October 12 for their remarkable contributions to their community. The annual event raises funds and awareness for victims of domestic abuse.

SafeHaven of Tarrant County and GRACE have been longtime partners, and rely on each other’s expertise when meeting the holistic needs of every family.

As the need arises, GRACE and SafeHaven collaborate to meet the specific needs domestic abuse victims through GRACE Transitional Housing and SafeHaven services. In addition, GRACE utilizes a grant through SafeHaven to prevent homelessness in our community.

Below is a complete listing of the recipients for this year’s award:

Sissy Day | Texas Petition Strategies
Fonda Martin | Arts Council Northeast
Mayor Betsy Price | City of Fort Worth
Alice Puente | Alice and Buddy Puente Foundation
Lynda Railsback | Friends of the Arts
Lynda Sanders | Colleyville Women’s Club
Shonda Schaefer | GRACE
Nancy Tice | Arlington Museum of Art
Renova Williams | Community Volunteer
Sharen Wilson | Tarrant County D.A.



If you live in the Metroplex you have probably spotted a Berkeys Air Conditioning, Plumbing, Electrical truck in your neighborhood, if they haven’t already paid a visit to your home for AC, plumbing or electrical work.

What many may not know is there behind-the-scenes achievements at GRACE to support a community they love. Not only has Berkeys been an steadfast GRACE Gala sponsor, the team at Berkeys have made a personal investment in the Christmas Cottage program, which provides new toys to over 2,700 family members each holiday season.

After volunteering with the program, the team was so moved by the experience that they were compelled to utilize their mobility to give even more. Berkeys President Jamie Wooldridge explains, “With our fleet of 40 trucks on the road each and every day throughout the Dallas -Fort Worth Metroplex, we thought that reaching our vast customer base through a toy drive was just a natural fit. We are excited to increase our partnership with GRACE and are thankful to have the opportunity to help others out in a more meaningful way.”

The local service calls also became a pick-up service, allowing customers to donate toys on behalf of GRACE. Over 200 new toys have been collected as a result from the drive.

Berkeys also offers a substantial discount to meet the needs of the GRACE facilities, and are eager to pursue special projects that facilitate the broader mission.

“Berkeys supports various charities throughout the year,” said Wooldridge, “but one which is near and dear to our hearts is GRACE. We hope [our support] might inspire other organizations and members of our community to get involved by volunteering and donating their time, talent and money. Everyone working together to help those in need is what makes our city one of the best in the United States and the world.”

We are genuinely grateful for the steadfast support of Berkeys Plumbing & HVAC, and are honored to host them as our Platinum Plus Sponsor for the GRACE Gala.

Berkeys is a full service residential contractor serving the great Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. The award-winning company is heralded for their unparalleled customer service and industry knowledge. To learn more about Berkeys Air Conditioning, Plumbing, Electrical, visit 


GRACE welcomed Feed Our Kids newcomers Community Impact, although tight-knit team was so prepared we just did our best just to get out of the way and watch them go.

Community Impact finds its ways to more doorsteps than any other Texas publication, and the Grapevine Colleyville Southlake team is dedicated to bringing the most informative, relevant news to local residents by personally investing in the community they cover.

“Our experience through Feed Our Kids was truly touching,” said Community Impact Grapevine Colleyville Southlake General Manager Ana Ewin, “Seeing each kid perk up as they went through the food line and got their balloons was priceless! We are so grateful to be able to partner with GRACE and for all that GRACE does for our local community. Thank you for allowing us to participate in this program and serve with you. We look forward to next year!”

The company was launched over a decade ago by a Texas-based family who sought to revolutionize the old newspaper model of bringing local news to the neighborhoods and cities. Since then, Community Impact has become the fastest-growing news organization in Texas.

A special thanks to Taverna Rosa and GiGi’s cupcakes for teaming up with Community Impact to provide a delicious menu for this week’s Feed Our Kids!

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Community is a powerful force. This week when our busiest Feed Our Kids site ran out of food to meet the high demand, local businesses and volunteers stepped up to ensure that every child received a meal that day.

When GRACE called upon Wise Guys to make ten pizzas in fifteen minutes, there was no hesitation. Little did we realize they were in the midst of hosting a beneficiary event for the Grapevine Fire Department, which created a standing room only crowd of patrons at the pizzeria.

Despite it being their first time this year on-site, Community Impact and Gaylord Texan were also more than happy to alleviate the shortage by donating a portion of their supplies to the sister site.

Volunteers made calls, ran errands and gathered paper goods and boxes of pizza, bags of chips and napkins with a few cookies to spare. Everyone put their heads together to find solutions, like collecting the first batch of pizza pies so the children could begin eating while it was still hot.

It’s times like these when we are reminded what an incredible community we are a part of when there is a need to meet.

For those who don’t have the luxury of witnessing these daily acts of benevolence at GRACE, know that your investment means more than you know to a family grasping for hope in a difficult situation.

We appreciate the local businesses and residents who braved the heat and pulled up their sleeves to make this program possible!

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