First Lady inspires support for recovery


By Nina Herndon

Magdalen House event with Mrs. Bush. Photo by Grant Miller

The Magdalen House’s Leave a Legacy Dinner with former First Lady of the United States Laura Bush was not only the largest fundraising event in the agency’s 32-year history, but also the first public announcement of the organization’s $3.2 million Legacy of Hope Capital Campaign seeking funding for a new facility on Gaston Avenue. Presented by Ben E. Keith Company Foundation and chaired by Kathi and Scott Shuford and family, more than 500 guests gathered for a memorable celebration of life, recovery and freedom from alcoholism for both women and their families in North Texas.

“It is estimated that over 250,000 women in the Dallas-Fort Worth area are alcohol-dependent. This includes wives, mothers, sisters and even daughters,” Bush said. “The Magdalen House’s treatment plan has saved thousands of these North Texas women from the darkness of alcoholism, and most importantly, it has put mothers back with their children, and on a path to success.” 

The Legacy of Hope Capital Campaign to build a new facility for The Magdalen House is the most significant milestone in the organization’s three-plus decades of helping alcoholic women achieve sobriety and sustain recovery. 

Following Bush’s speech, Executive Director Lisa Kroencke approached the podium to share her personal experience of finding The Magdalen House early in her own recovery, 12 years ago. “Regardless of where a woman gets sober, The Magdalen House offers alcoholic women a community full of hope that is available for a lifetime and allows them the opportunity to give back what they’ve been given and be of service to the next woman in need.” 

Magdalen House event with Mrs. Bush. Photo by Grant Miller

Kroencke emphasized how the new, larger space will allow the organization to increase capacity for the Social Detox and Peer Recovery Programs that offer free crisis care and comprehensive care to better serve the growing population of alcoholic women in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. 

The paddle raise for the Capital Campaign was filled with enthusiasm to support the project as excited donors raised their bid cards at every level from $50,000 to $250, raising $403,350 for the new facility alone in a single evening.

Awards were presented to honor those that have been integral to The Magdalen House’s mission. The Honorary Award was accepted on behalf of the David M. Crowley Foundation by Delia Johnson, vice president of programs at the foundation. “The moment we walked through the front door,” Johnson said, “we felt moved to support The Magdalen House, an organization that helps alcoholic women achieve sobriety and sustain recovery with compassion, faith and hope.” 

The Paul Tate Advocate Award was presented to Nancy and Jack Zogg. “Providing a safe and dignified environment for women who have the disease of alcoholism is a tough job,” Zogg said, “and they do it really well at The Magdalen House.” 

Overall, the event raised more than $670,000 that will go directly to providing free programs for alcoholic women and building a new facility for The Magdalen House. Sponsors of the event included The David M. Crowley Foundation, James Hallam and Louise Collins of Ben E. Keith Company, Lee Ann and Steve Van Amburgh of KDC, The Moozie Foundation, Linda and Ed Appleby, Tessa and Lucinda Real Estate Group, Dallas Auction Gallery, Sapphire Foundation, Becky Frey Real Estate Group, Sparrow House Counseling, Tradition Senior Living, Sewell Automotive Companies, Lucky 21, Improving, Origins Behavioral Healthcare and Benchmark Bank.

The Magdalen House is a nonprofit organization helping women achieve sobriety and sustain recovery from alcoholism based on 12-Step spiritual principles. Founded in Dallas in 1987, The Magdalen House remains the only agency in the area to offer comprehensive recovery services — without insurance or state funding — 100 percent free of charge. 

The agency provides crisis intervention through a two-week, in-house Social Detox Program, alongside continued care through a Peer Recovery Program. 

To donate to the house, visit