By Amber Elliot
Scenic Houston knows how to throw a mean fundraiser.
The streetscape planning and revitalization organization’s winning formula is simple: al fresco reception, minimal programming, and killer speeches.
This year’s chairs Julie Peak and David Hightower went above and beyond, having produced the non-profit’s highest-attended and most financially successful annual dinner with $390,000 raised.
Truthfully, late October’s near-perfect weather didn’t hurt.
Around sunset, more than 360 supporters clinked glasses on Houston Country Club grounds before heading into the tony venue’s sunken ballroom. There, Houston Public Media’s and soiree emcee Ernie Manouse encouraged presenters to keep remarks short and sweet.
“I have one important role,” said board chairman Harry Masterson. “To extend a huge thanks to our chairs and ambassadors.”
Indeed, a room full of civic leaders, including former mayors Bill White and Annise Parker, and past honorees attended the festive occasion. Just when it seemed that the evening would wrap in record time, one key figure, sitting Mayor Sylvester Turner, arrived later than expected to present honoree with an eponymous “Larry D. Johnson Day” proclamation.
“I cannot say enough about Broadway (Street),” Turner said of Scenic Houston’s latest endeavor. “It has literally transformed in our presence.”
Cheered on by family, peers, and members of his decades-long breakfast club, Johnson closed the show.
“I grew up with a love of scenery,” he shared. “Growing up in West Texas, the scenery – yes, there were tumble weeds – was a little bit different, but just as a wonderful.”