Philanthropic Houstonians Help Rebuild Homes and Lives after Disaster Strikes

The Saint Bernard Project Holds Its Second Annual “Answering the Call”

VIP Cocktail Party

Co-chair Laurel D'Antoni, SBP Founder Za
Co-chair Laurel D'Antoni, SBP Founder Za

Lance Smith & Mark Smith, Executive Dire
Lance Smith & Mark Smith, Executive Dire

Camila Cubero & Disney Harris
Camila Cubero & Disney Harris

Co-chair Laurel D'Antoni, SBP Founder Za
Co-chair Laurel D'Antoni, SBP Founder Za


Photos by Jacob Power and Daniel Ortiz

Writer: Shannon McKirchy

General Editor: Margaret MacMillan

Publisher: Connie Kwan-Wong

Co-chair Laurel D'Antoni, SBP Founder Za
Lance Smith & Mark Smith, Executive Dire
Edward & Lawanda Laase
Frank & Stephanie Tsuru
Joanna Marks, Megan Hotze & Hannah McNai
Sandi Helfman Wolf, Houston Rockets masc
Joanne King Herring & Beau King
Cal & Hannah McNair
Fady Armanious & Bill Baldwin
Brigitte Kalai & Sandra Smith-Cooper
Laurel & Mike D'Antoni, Warner Roberts &
Katarina Tehlirian, Donae Chramosta, Eri
Hallie Vanderhider & Tony Bradfield
Stephen & Allison Lewis
Alicia Smith, Clutch & Deborah Duncan
Russell & Nina Westbrook
Thabo & Bertille Sefolosha
Kendall Polk, Blayne Fertitta & Kendal O
Houston Rockets Cheerleaders and Clutch.
Shelby Kibodeaux & Bruce Padilla
Camila Cubero & Disney Harris

The Celebration

The Post Oak Hotel ballroomprovided the glamorous setting for the Saint Bernard Project’s (SBP) second annual Answering the Call VIP Cocktail Party.A national nonprofit, the organization helps rebuild homes damaged by natural disasters. In the Houston area, SBP assisted homeowners after Hurricane Harvey and Tropical Storm Imelda.The event honored Toyota Motor Corporation for its $1 million commitment to SBP after Hurricane Harvey. The company’s generous donation has helped shrink the time between disaster and recovery. Laurel D’Antoni, Alicia Smith, and Nina Westbrook were the evening’s chairs. The honorary chairs were Jennifer and David Ducote, Brigitte and Bashar Kalai, Hannah and Cal McNair, Ashley and Jeremy Radack, Sydney and Jeff Shellebarger, Leticia and Stephen Trauber, Stephanie and Frank Tsuru, and Hallie Vanderhider. The party was presented by Reliant Energy. Deborah Duncan, host of Great Day Houston, emceed.


The Story

The Houston Rockets Cheerleaders, and Clutch, the team’s loveable mascot, welcomed the 300 guests to the venue, which was decked out in a Rockets-Red-Glare theme for the lively event. Thunder and lightning were present outside the ballroom as an all-too-familiar reminder of the natural disasters that have slammed the Houston Area in past years. The Houston Rockets head coach, Mike D’Antoni, and several current and former players, were in attendance to lend support for SBP’s continuing recovery efforts after Hurricane Harvey. Guests were treated to an array of delectable hors d’oeuvres and cocktails and were entertained by bartenders from J. Martini Services juggling bottles as they mixed drinks.

The Moments

Director of Reliant Community Relations and Executive Director of Reliant Charitable Foundation, Leanne Schneider, thanked attendees for their support and shared her own story of flooding during Hurricane Harvey. NBA wives Nina Westbrook, Bertille Sefolosha, and Laurel D’Antoni made an impassioned Build-A-House appeal for contributions, which garnered major support from Mike D’Antoni, Hallie Vanderhider, CITGO, and the Astros Foundation. The latter made a surprise contribution of $280,000 to give Houstonians affected by flooding a new place to call home. The live auction, led by auctioneer Stephen Lewis, energized the room with bids on a Houston Texans VIP package, a $10,000 gift card from IW Marks Jewelers, and an exclusive Houston Rockets Coach-for-a-Day offer, which garnered a winning bid of $42,500.

The successful event raised a record breaking $1,422,000 for SBP.

Guests: Mike D’Antoni, Russell Westbrook, Thabo Sefolosha,  Zack Rosenberg, Stephanie and Frank Tsuru, Blayne Fertitta, Ashley and Jeremy Radack, Edward and Lawanda Laase, Joanna Marks, Megan and Luke Hotze, Sondra and Steve Myers, Bill King, Fady Armanious, Mike Goss, Maureen Hackett, Larry Elizondo, Lesha and Tom Elsenbrook, Hallie Vanderhider, Ericka Bagwell, Sylvia Forsyth, Rita Joubran, Katie and A. J. Brass, Kim Moody, and Donna and Norman Lewis.


About the Saint Bernard Project

The Saint Bernard Project (SBP) is a national disaster recovery nonprofit, which was founded in New Orleans shortly after Hurricane Katrina. The organization’s mission is to shrink the time between disaster and recovery by rebuilding homes in storm-ravaged communities. By the end of 2019, it will have completed its 200th rebuild in Houstonand will continue to serve families until the community has completely recovered. SBP has partnered with 16 Houston Area nonprofits to ensure those still in need don’t fall between the cracks. SBP also helps build resilience within the community by providing free disaster preparedness training and distributing disaster preparedness guides throughout the region.

To learn more about SBP, please visit or go to to donate.