By Shelia Huffman
The annual Juliette Fowler Communities Visionary Women lunch was held Friday at the Omni Hotel in downtown Dallas. The luncheon, benefiting the children, youth and older adults at Juliette Fowler Communities was attended by several members of Central Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) to help support Fowler’s contributions to the community. Central’s pastor, Reverend. Dr. Ken Crawford, gave the invocation.
This year’s Visionary Woman, Michelle Kinder, is the youngest recipient of the philanthropic award.
Kinder is former director of Momentous Institute, a service organization of more than 600 business and community leaders committed to transforming kids’ lives. In 2018, Michelle was named one of the Faces of Hope by the Grant Halliburton Foundation.
She has been featured in Time magazine, The Huffington Post, The Dallas Morning News, on PBS and more.
“The perfect combination of passion, knowledge, poise, authenticity, warmth and humor, Michelle holds her audiences in the palm of her hand,” Tina Payne Bryson, PhD, co-author of “The Whole Brain Child,” “No Drama Discipline” and “The Yes Brain” said in an endorsement of Michelle’s personality and presentation. “Each time I hear her speak, I feel moved, challenged and spellbound. She’s masterful, relatable and relevant.”
At Friday’s luncheon, Kinder shared how she learned the importance of diversity and community service while growing up in Guatemala, the child of missionary parents.
During her presentation, Kinder brought the teary-eyed audience to a standing ovation with her heartfelt talk about her dedication to community service, learned from her mother and father. She spoke of the grief that lives within when people have experienced the loss or losses of loved ones, especially before their time, as she, just like Juliette Peak Fowler, has experienced in her personal life.
During the afternoon, Fowler’s Master Gardeners were recognized, and Abbey Widick received the Faith and Service Award. Attendees watched a video presentation, “Love Grows at Fowler” and each guest went home with a memento of wildflower seeds.
The luncheon, currently in its seventh year, is an anticipated Dallas event held annually at the Omni Dallas. Beautiful table decorations and a menu featuring Riesling Pear Salad, Honey Glazed Chicken Breast and Almond Cremeux were enjoyed during the program.
The Reverend Virzola Law of Northway Christian Church gave the benediction.
Juliette Fowler was one of the city’s first benefactors, in the present-day sense of one who effects long-range, well-planned philanthropy through gifts and bequests of personal wealth. There is little question of her concern for vulnerable women and children in that regard. She would be proud to see how the love she planted continues to grow on the East Dallas campus that provides senior living facilities, transitional living for young girls and foster and adoption care for children.