More than 450 people made history last week when they attended AVDA's 14th annual Home Safe Home Gala, which raised a record-breaking $610,878 for the agency's cause of ending family violence—the highest-grossing (and net) gala in AVDA's history.
AVDA, which stands for Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse, has provided advocacy, safety planning, counseling, and legal representation to more than 100,000 survivors in Harris and Fort Bend counties since its founding in 1980. The nonprofit also runs the largest Battering Intervention and Prevention Program for abusers in Texas and offers youth programming to break the cycle of violence.
Chaired by Meredith and Ben Marshall, this year's historically successful fundraiser drew scores of supporters to The Revaire to taste the creations of 14 local master chefs and wines curated by expert sommeliers. Chef stations lined the perimeter of the 4,000-square-foot ballroom filled with tables sporting massive flower arrangements of hydrangeas, tulips, orchids, Bells-of-Ireland, and roses by Plants N' Petals.
The rockstar lineup of participating chefs this year included Ryan Bouillet of A Fare Extraordinaire, Joe Cervantez of Brennan's, Giancarlo Ferrara of Amalfi Ristorante Italiano & Bar, Maria Gonzalez of The Classic, Ryan Lachaine of Riel, Dominick Lee of Poitín, Kevin Naderi of Roost, Peter Petro of Bosscat Kitchen & Libations, Russell Roegels of Roegels Barbecue Co., Jeff Taylor of Steak 48, Dustin Teague of Relish, Danny Trace of Potente, Tessa Trace of Houston Cookie Crew, and J.D. Woodward of 1751 Sea & Bar. Sommeliers Sean Beck, Antonio Gianola, David Keck, and Cat Nguyen selected wine pairings for the delicacies on offer, which ranged from Vietnamese beef tartare salad to pickled shrimp with charred green tomatoes and fennel.
Khambrel Marshall emceed the program, which included the presentation of two awards: The Joseph D. Jamail Award for Justice to Judge Ruby Kless Sondock—the first woman to serve on the Texas Supreme Court, among other myriad accomplishments—and the AVDA Heart of Houston Award to Karen and Buster Freedman for their years of support in the community.
AVDA CEO Maisha Colter welcomed Sherri Kendall, who just retired after seven years in that role, to the stage with a mayoral proclamation and video greeting from Mayor Sylvester Turner.