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KNOWAutism’s An Enchanted Evening Gala Captivates Supporters

KNOWAutism’s 2024 gala, An Enchanted Evening, with Harry Winston Inc. as the Presenting Sponsor, raises $700,000 for the foundation

Photo credit: Grady Carter

The Celebration

The Royal Sonesta helped create magic on the evening of Friday, April 5, 2024 hosting KNOWAutism’s An Enchanted Evening Gala. KNOWAutism, a foundation for children with autism, is dedicated to supporting families affected by autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Nicole and James Lassiter chaired the engaging event, and Great Day Houston’s Deborah Duncan emceed. Tara and Kurt Arnold were honored as the 2024 Humanitarian Heroes, Dr. Lucky Chopra received the Corporate and Community Hero Award, and The HUB Houston was presented with The Sippi and Ajay Khurana Frontline Hero award.

The Story

The over 400 guests in attendance were mesmerized by Kirksey Gregg Productions’ transformation of the venue’s ballroom into an enchanted forest illuminated by the light of a mystical moon. Larger-than-life butterflies on stilts, a magnificent floral arbor, and captivating floral confections everywhere added to the magical charm of the delightful décor. The live auction garnered generous bids for exclusive experiences and luxury items such as a Harry Winston Avenue C Mini ladies’ timepiece; a trip to Fashion Week in New York City, along with a custom gown by renowned Houston designer Danny Nguyen; and a unique piece of art painted by an artist on the spectrum at the Monarch School.


The Moments

Duncan’s heartfelt welcome set the tone for the evening, reminding celebrants of the profound impact autism has on families and the continuing commitment KNOWAutism has made to provide them with vital support and resources.

Of the successful event that raised $700,000 to directly support crucial programs such as sensory friendly rooms in public venues; financial assistance for diagnostics; applied behavioral analysis; and physical, speech and occupational therapies and initiatives aimed at enhancing the lives of those affected by ASD, Michelle Bohreer, KNOWAutism board chair, says this: “Each year this event shines a light on the massive lifelong impact a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder has on individuals and their families. This year, we were thrilled to highlight the significant value of each of the amazing individuals, as well as our video production team, which was comprised of members on the autism spectrum. The more we raise awareness in the community and with potential employers, the more we are also fulfilling our mission. The monies raised, in part, foster more employability programs and public understanding of autism spectrum disorders.”

Guests: Sheriff Ed Gonzalez; State Representative Gene Wu; Commissioner Lesley Briones; Joanne King Herring; Miya Shay; Miss America 2024, Madison Marsh; Remington Bruce; Cheryl Byington; Chris Cardenas; Flora Choy; Kristen Cannon; Tracy Faulkner; Tena and Tyson Faust; Sidney Faust; Varda and Jess Fields; Robin Fleming; Polo Gutierrez; Cheryl Haseeb; Alan and Renee Helfman; Joanne King Herring; Courtney Hopson  and Trent Hrncir; Taylor Toombs Imel; Brigitte Kalai; Sami Khaleeq; Connie Kwan-Wong; Leticia Loya; Penny Loyd; Petra Martinez; Susan Mobley; Danny and Kristina Nguyen; Pam and Dan Pastorini; Debbie and Steve Polotko; Anna Reger; Heidi and Nick Rockeharlie; Cindy and Dr. Franklin Rose; Edward Sanchez; Sandra Smith-Cooper; Sonal and Raj Thakur; Robin Young-Ellis; and Nina and Kevin Yu.

The evening was made possible by the generosity of the Presenting Sponsor, Harry Winston, Inc. and top tier sponsors Tara and Kurt Arnold; James and Niki Lassiter; Dr. Lucky and Luisa Chopra; Luther King Capital Management; Dr. Bruce and Marian McClendon; Suan and Reed Tinsley; Sherri Zucker; Dr. Peter and the Honorable Theresa Chang; Porsche River Oaks and Porsche West Houston–Maria Moncada Alaoui; Dr. Alice and Dr. Matt Brams; Perri and Philip Motamedi; Monty Meave with All-Pro Reconditioning; Edward Finger; Sanders Clinic-Dr. Mark and Beth Sanders; M.J. Sheridan of Texas-Danny and Iraida Brown; EMG Center of Houston-Amad Saber; and KNOWAutism Founders, Tammy and Wayne Nguyen.

About KNOWAutism

Based in Houston, Texas, KNOWAutism was founded in 2013 with the goal of helping families of children with autism better navigate the process of diagnosis, treatment, intervention, and education. Its focus is to provide direct financial assistance to families and to support community efforts to serve special needs children. Donations are always welcome and can be made via the KNOWAutism website at The site also has lots of information about The KNOWAutism Foundation and its mission.

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