Smahrt Girl Foundation’s Second Annual Brunch & Ball Gowns Gala

By: Kimberly Chuck 


The Smahrt Girl Foundation’s (SGF) second annual Brunch & Ball Gowns Gala was held at the Houston Museum District’s iconic Hotel ZaZa on Saturday, January 28, 2017. This seemingly ordinary Saturday morning was anything but. Upon entering the chic lobby, guests were dazzled by its shimmering crystal chandelier and eclectic pop-culture-inspired art, and greeted with elegant cocktails. A glamorous red carpet runway lead attendees to an SGF inspired backdrop where pictures were taken. As well as getting the celebrity experience, attendees created meaningful memories with their friends and supporters. Everyone was dressed to impress, either in an elegant ball gown with hints of bling adorning neck and wrist, or in a classic dark suit on the arm of a lovely woman.


The late morning’s festivities included a warm welcome speech by SGF founder Pamela Ellis and a small awards ceremony for Vanguard Honorees, Christal Jackson and Kenny Ozoude. Ellis personally thanked them for their dedicated work in helping SGF become so successful in the past year. The silent auction was officially opened afterward and guests were encouraged to shop while chatting with a Smahrt Girl member at each item’s booth. There was a little something for all tastes ranging from sports, movie, and music memorabilia, including autographed sports gear, Tina Turner sheet music, a Star Wars cast print, handmade jewelry, and a designer CKW Collection crystal clutch.

Brunch was announced with an uplifting live performance of Corinne Bailey Rae’s “Put Your Record On” by fellow Smahrt Girl and X Factor USA contestant Ma’at Bingham Shango. The glitzy decorated dining hall shone bright with sequenced table cloths, vibrant red rose-bedazzled center pieces, and sparkling crystal clear tableware.


With a full program of events, the gala’s brunch began with opening remarks from Honorary Chairs Dr. Austin Lane and Mrs. Loren Lane. The opening remarks were followed by a proclamation made by Houston’s Vice Mayor Pro-Tem, Jerry Davis, declaring January 28 Smahrt Girl Foundation Day. Throughout the brunch, motivating video messages from various Smahrt Girls played on the video screen.


Smahrt Girl Teen honoree, Ashamarah Heath, was recognized for her achievements, and the Village Builder Award was presented to City of Houston Police Officer Mary Young. The Community Partner honorees, Toni Whitaker and Tamika Arrington, were then thanked for their contributions, and Smahrt Girl Icons, LaShanda Gary, Mandy Kao, Dr. Letitia Plummer, Delesa O’Dell-Thomas and Nicole West, were acknowledged as SGF role models due to their professional success and efforts in working with the foundation. Lastly, keynote speaker David Johns, Executive Director for the White House Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans, delivered an oration addressing the topic of “Women Who Lead.” His inspiring words highlighted the importance of female independence and empowerment in today’s society, where equality is sometimes taken for granted.


From beginning to end, the fun and energetic atmosphere of the SGF gala made the afternoon one to remember. Here’s to the lovely ladies of SGF. May all their dreams be fulfilled in 2017. Cheers!


About the Smahrt Girl Foundation Brunch & Ball Gowns Gala

Founded in 2009, the Smahrt Girl Foundation (SGF) exists to bring awareness and provide solutions to issues and barriers encountered by teen girls and young women in their pursuit of excellence. The foundation is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide girls with the opportunity to live the life of their dreams by offering positive support through character building, career planning, workshop training, and leadership programs.


The SGF’s Annual Brunch & Ball Gowns Gala is the organization’s signature fundraising event. All proceeds generated are used to support the programs and scholarships offered by the foundation. The event honors women leaders who have demonstrated a commitment to supporting and uplifting girls and women through business, philanthropy, and community involvement.


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