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Cosmic Star Award

Nancy C. Allen: A Proud Houstonian Inspired to Give Back

CKW Luxe is proud to announce that Nancy C. Allen is our honoree for the Cosmic Star Award. This award goes to a philanthropic woman who is inspiring and transforming lives through education or cultural awareness.

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” – Matthew 5:16

Nancy C. Allen is passionate about giving back. Her many years of volunteer work, focusing on improving the quality of life in Houston and ensuring the city attracts the best and the brightest, are a testament to that fact.

Nancy’s ties to the community are strong. Houston born and bred, Nancy attended St. John’s School and Mirabeau B. Lamar High School. She was even head cheerleader for Lamar when the school won the 4A State Championship in 1954. This was the first team from Houston ever to do so. Nancy left Houston to attend St. Mary’s Junior College in North Carolina in 1956, but returned to Texas and graduated from the Universityof Texas with a bachelor’s degree in English in 1958. Now the mother of three sons, and grandmother of six girls and one boy, Nancy dedicates herself to them and their future in the city she loves.

Often described as a dynamo, Nancy has tackled many projects to benefit Houston that were also great challenges. One that was a true labor of love, however, was championing, and raising funds for, the Asia Society Texas Center, which opened in 2012. The idea sprang from a desire to honor her grandchildren’s Asian heritage—not with a plaque but with a building, something tangible that would be an honest and true representation of their background and that would last a lifetime. It just so happened that the Asia House was considering having their own building in Houston that would afford them greater presence in the city. When attending a luncheon hosted by the society to brainstorm ideas, Nancy volunteered $250,000 to get the project started.

Regarded as the guiding force for getting the center built, Nancy not only donated a total of $15 million toward its $48.4 million cost, she encouraged foundations and personal donors to donate as well. Nancy also worked closely with the building’s noted architect, Yoshio Taniguchi, to create the space they both envisioned. The result is an exquisite serene structure that embodies the culture it promotes and provides programs and exhibitions that educate Asians and Americans about one another’s cultures.

In October of 2015, Nancy was the proud recipient of the prestigious Ministry of Foreign Affairs Commendations. She was presented with the award in recognition of her esteemed service in promoting mutual understanding between Japan and the United States.

Nancy has been, and continues to be, affiliated with a number of Houston’s notable organizations. She has been a member of the Asia Society Board of Trustees since 2005; co-chairman of the Architect Selection Committee and co-chairman of the Development Committee of Asia House since 2001; a member of the Development Committee for the Menil Collection—an art museum whose displays allow the objects and works of art to speak for themselves—since 2001, as well as co-chairman for its Walter Hopps Award for Curatorial Achievement from 2000 to 2001. As well, she held: various positions with the Contemporary Art Museum, from 1977 to 1993, including that of president and chairman of the board; various positions with the Municipal Arts Commission, from 1978 to 1992, including chairman of the Environmental Improvement Awards, chairman of the Aviation Committee, and secretary; and the position of co-chairman for the grand opening of the Children’s Museum of Houston in 1992, from 1976 to 1993.

Nancy was also director and first president of the Houston Seminar in 1976 and served as a member until 1985, and she was president of the Baylor College of Medicine Steering Committee for Art from 1982 to 1984. Nancy is also a member of numerous leagues and societies, including the Junior League, the Houston Arboretum & Botanical Society, Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts, and the Orange Foundation.

Nancy’s interests don’t stop with her love of promoting Houston’s culture. She is devoted to her splendid rose garden and takes great pleasure in cooking. As a matter of fact, Nancy has co-authored three cookbooks: Six Flew over the Cuckoos’ Kitchens, Cuckoo Two, and Out of the Nest—Cuckoo 2000. She also enjoys spending time at her beach cottage in North Carolina and devotes herself to her children and grandchildren.

CKW Luxe would like to congratulate Nancy C. Allen on being the Cosmic Star Award honoree. As the embodiment of the award, Nancy has worked steadfastly to promote the diverse cultures of the City of Houston and to enrich the city’s fabric with knowledge and understanding of the many strands that make it the remarkable place she and all Houstonians are so proud of. It has also been her quest to create a future for her grandchildren to inherit that celebrates all cultures and gives importance to everyone. In this and all her endeavors, Nancy has succeeded admirably.

We would like to leave you with one last quote that means so much to Nancy and that has guided her throughout her life: “To whom much has been given much is required.” It is from Luke 12:48. Nancy understands the value in giving back not just for herself and the people she loves, but for the generations yet to come.

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