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For the past 5 ½ years it has been my great privilege to serve as the first Executive Director of The Wilson Foundation.  I am so proud of the progress we have made during this time: creating a website, brochures, blogs and other communications tools to help tell our story, expanding fundraising efforts and activities with a variety of events and other initiatives including the Hope Bracelet, increasing our donor base, both in number and in geographic scope, and deepening the Foundation’s partnership with our grantee partners in South Africa. 

As Executive Director I have had the opportunity to meet hundreds of generous individuals and companies who have supported and believed in our mission.  I thank you for that.  You have believed that working together, we can make a difference.  And we truly have! 

Children in the preschool training program

During my trips to South Africa over these years I have seen this difference first-hand:  people who are alive today because we have been able to provide funding for life-saving antiretroviral (ARV) medication; children who live in a third-world setting are receiving a first-world education; local community residents who have been employed as caregivers and counselors are providing inspiration and hope to their neighbors; at-risk boys who have been mentored by responsible adults have learned about goal-setting, morals, and values, and now these young men are taking their place among the leadership of the community. 

As I move on to lead another nonprofit organization in Dallas, I want to express my deepest thanks to my Wilson colleagues, to our loyal donors and supporters, to the many people inVaalwater, South Africa who I am proud to count as friends and to the children to whom I have been known as “Mama Tori.”   Most of all, I want to thank Trisha Wilson for giving me this amazing opportunity.  The Wilson Foundation’s mission is to “change lives, one child at a time.”  I know without a doubt that this experience has changed mine.  The Wilson Foundation and the special people of South Africa will be in my heart forever, and I am grateful.

Thank you.

Tori Mannes

Executive Director

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What a wonderful event we had last night at the Ralph Lauren store at Highland Park Village!  The store looked beautiful, with incredible displays, fab outfits and must-have home accessories displayed everywhere!  The turnout was terrific, with lots of longtime friends of The Wilson Foundation as well as many new ones too.  Trisha signed many, many copies of her book, Spectacular Hotels, and guests sipped champagne while shopping for everything from handbags to mens shirts (love the new gingham shirts in bright summer colors!), to items for the home.

Heartfelt thanks to our special friends at Ralph Lauren – Dana Guercio, Jay Hamby and the rest of the HP Village personnel, and to Lyndsie Jackson who came in from Chicago for the event.  The party was wonderful in every way and we are honored to be associated with Ralph Lauren.  Thanks again to everyone who attended.

Dana Guercio of Ralph Lauren, with Trisha Wilson and Tori Mannes

Official party photos will be posted on our Facebook page soon!

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For most high school girls, babysitting is a tried-and-true way to earn some extra spending money.  But high school senior Ellie Hamm has discovered another option: creating her own business.  After receiving a candle-making starter kit for Christmas, Ellie discovered she had a knack for creating wonderfully-scented, long lasted soy-based candles, and thus, Eleanor Hamm & Co. (http://www.eleanorhammandco.com/) was launched in January 20008.  Ellie creates over 100 candles per month, selling them to friends, through her website, and at local markets and shows.  She sells her candles in three sizes- small, medium and large – with some oversized and specialty containers also available.  There are over 14 fragrances to choose from, though the top sellers are French Market, Oak Moss & Clary Sage, and  Citrus & Basil.  

Since she’s still busy with things like attending high school and working on college applications, Ellie receives backup support for her business from her mother, Madeline.  As the self-named ‘supply gatherer’ and logistics coordinator, Madeline helps keep track of all the moving parts.

We are proud that last year’s Tseelana Market was the first official market that Ellie participated in, and in the past year her business has continued to grow.  We applaud Ellie’s creativity and entrepreneurship, but mostly her generosity in committing a portion of her sales proceeds to support the children served by The Wilson Foundation.  We are proud to have her back as a 2010 Tseelana Market participating merchant. 

Thursday, October 21 5 – 8 pm

Friday, October 22 10 am – 4 pm

7501 Turtle Creek Boulevard (corner of Turtle Creek and Hanover)

For questions, please call 214-523-7577.

Special thanks to Ryan Osborne Homes and Briggs-Freeman (Lindy Mahoney, Realtor) for enabling us to use this fabulous new home.

 

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When I first met Deborah and Ashley Montgomery, the mother-daughter duo who founded Beyond Baroque, they were marketing their jewelry  through a series of  home shows.  I especially remember the fabulous pearls – rings, earrings, necklaces – laid out on my dining table for my friends to come and peruse.  Fast forward over  10 years, and Beyond Baroque has grown exponentially, with a private, by-invitation studio and a loyal following of clients who stop in regularly for the next ‘just gotta have it’ piece!  For me, Beyond Baroque offers fabulous everyday pieces for work, special items for more formal occasions, and tons of options for gifts for my friends. 

Cultured baroque pearls

Beyond Baroque was part of the inaugural Tseelana Market last year and we are thrilled to have them participate in the 2010 Tseelana Market!  We appreciate their support of The Wilson Foundation and all the “Wilson girls’ who are fans of BB!

Join us and “Shop with Purpose” at the 2010 Tseelana Market benefiting The Wilson Foundation!

Anya Aquamarine Dewdrop Earrings

Thursday, October 21 5 – 8 pm

Friday, October 22 10 am – 4 pm

7501 Turtle Creek Boulevard (corner of  Turtle Creek and Hanover)

Dallas, TX 75225

Special thanks to Ryan Osborne Homes and Briggs- Freeman for the generous use of this fabulous new property!

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Presenting Abi Ferrin

As we were looking for additional women entrepreneurs to round out our group of 2010 Tseelana Market participants, one name kept popping up:  Abi Ferrin (www.abiferrin.com).  Turns out, Abi is a business woman who proclaims her commitment to give back in her company’s motto:  “Fashion with Freedom and Purpose.”  How could we not like that?!

Shortly after moving to Dallas to grow her innovative clothing line, Abi Ferrin was named Texas’ Next Top Designer by Stanley Korshak and the Dallas Fashion Incubator in 2007. She received a prize package and design space on Lamar Street, and a business grant to expand her growing company.  Now, her beautiful, head-turning designs are taking the fashion world by storm.  Her collection features form flattering dresses, tops, skirts, pants, and jackets all made using the finest fabrications.

Her motto, Fashion with Freedom and Purpose, is the driving force behind her brand. Abi Ferrin empowers and employs women rescued from the sex trade in Nepal by incorporating their hand-made buttons into her designs. The company purchases the buttons at fair market value; then donates an additional 600% of the asking price back to the organization.  Abi Ferrin is literally changing the world one outfit at a time!

We applaud Abi Ferrin for her Freedom Project initiative to improve the lives of women in Nepal who are part of Guardian Village Handcrafts. This organization focuses on providing oppressed women with training, fair pay, food and shelter for their work. The micro-businesses that are created due to this training also fund foster care and quality education for children rescued from slavery, women and children rescued from prostitution, and other abusive environments.   Abi says, “This is an avenue that opens the door for the consumer to invest in more than great fashion. We hope that the cultural details woven into the collection, coupled with the information we provide about the program, will ignite an awareness of global issues. To the Abi Ferrin customer, this should provide an added satisfaction for contributing to a greater cause.”

We couldn’t agree more!  Come “Shop with Purpose” with Abi Ferrin and the other merchants who are participating in the 2010 Tseelana Market benefiting The Wilson Foundation.  Hope to see you there!

Thursday, October 21 5 – 8 pm

Friday, October 22 10 am – 4 pm

7501 Turtle Creek Boulevard (corner of Turtle Creek and Hanover)

Dallas, TX  75225

For more information, please call 214-523-7577

Special thanks to Ryan Osborne Homes and Briggs Freeman Realtors for the generous use of this exquisite new home.

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Megan Adams

We met Dallas native Megan Adams (www.meganadamstextiles.com) several months ago and were immediately impressed with her beautiful, creative designs.  Megan is a working fiber artist and fabric designer who has had her own clothing line and has completed several commissioned works including custom paintings, custom painted wine glasses, and custom printed fabrics. She also creates her own line of one-of a-kind fabrics for use in both the fashion and interior luxury markets. Working with designers and clients, Megan can create and produce unique fabrics for home textiles, apparel, or their own product line. Her designs are inspired by patterns and textures in the natural world and then the imagery is repeated in an unexpected, organic manner. Depending on the project, she either screenprints or digitally prints on natural fabrics including linen, cottons, and silk. Artists such as Edouard Vuillard, Pierre Bonnard, and most of all Mariano Fortuny influence her work.in the Dallas Fort Worth area. She received her MFA in fibers from the University of North Texas in 2010 and a BFA in painting from Southern Methodist University in 2005.

Megan Adams Textiles

Megan is another of the talented young entrepreneurs who are participating in the 2010 Tseelana Market benefiting The Wilson Foundation.  She shares the same commitment to giving back, and to ‘doing well by doing good.’  Megan will be offering a range of products of her own design, including apparel, pillows, coasters, placemats, and clutches.  Come ‘Shop with Purpose’ with Megan Adams and the other merchants participating in the 2010 Tseelana Market!

2010 Tseelana Market

Thursday, October 21  5 – 8 pm

Friday, October 22 10 am – 4 pm

7501 Turtle Creek Boulevard (corner of Turtle Creek and Hanover)

Dallas, Texas  75225

For more information please call 214-523-7577.

Special thanks to Ryan Osborne Homes and Briggs-Freeman for the generous use of this exquisite home

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Margaret Miller (http://www.margaretmillerdesigns.com/index2.php#/home/) was launched in 2009 after the overwhelming response designer and owner Margaret Brungart received to the stylish, easy to wear knit  dresses she made for herself.  Margaret Miller embodies the relaxed lifestyle of growing up on the beach, and always wanting to wear something fashionable and flattering yet super comfortable.  The brand is defined by effortless clothes that travel well and flatter the curves of a woman’s body. 

Margaret Brungart grew up in a family of exceptionally creative women including her grandmother, who had created beautiful clothes for her grandchildren and who gave Margaret her first sewing machine.  Margaret decided to use her grandmother’s maiden name, Miller, for her business as a tribute to her inspiration and strength.

We are thrilled to welcome back Margaret Miller as a  participant in this year’s  Tseelana Market.  Founder Margaret Brungart is a longtime supporter of The Wilson Foundation and when she established her company she made a decision to designate a portion of sales to support the Foundation’s work.  The Wilson Foundation and the merchants who participate in the Tseelana Market share a commitment to ‘do well by doing good’.  We are pleased to promote Margaret Miller and appreciate her company’s commitment to the Foundation’s work.

2010 Tseelana Market

Thursday, October 21 5 – 8 pm

Friday, October 22 10 am – 4 pm

7501 Turtle Creek Boulevard (corner of Turtle Creek Blvd. & Hanover)

Dallas, Texas  75225

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We are thrilled to welcome Elizabeth Carlock Designs (www.elizabethcarlock.com) as a 2010 Tseelana Market* participating merchant!

Elizabeth Carlock is a talented and inspiring young fashion and jewelry designer who established her business in 2009 to combine her passion and talent for design into a charitable career.  Her collection includes necklaces, earrings, bracelets, rings, and hair accessories hand crafted from metal and semi-precious stone.  Her beautiful pieces are versatile and perfect for all occasions from casual to formal to everything in between. Not only are they reasonably priced, but Elizabeth donates a portion of sales to support charitable causes in hopes of making a positive difference in women’s lives.  Earlier this year Elizabeth traveled to Uganda to work with the Akola Project, part of the Uganda American Partnership Organization, where she taught local women to make jewelry that they could sell in the US for a fair price. 

Elizabeth Carlock is successfully blending her gifts and talents with her passion for charitable causes.  She shares The Wilson Foundation’s commitment to give back and make a difference, and she understands the spirit of Tseelana, or “helping each other.”   

Join The Wilson Foundation and Elizabeth Carlock Designs at the 2010 Tseelana Market and “Shop With Purpose!”

*Tseelana (pronounced “Say-lana”) is an African word meaning “to help each other”

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Getting on the plane to fly to South Africa, I had no idea what to expect. I had been briefed on a general idea of what the trip might involve; however, I was not prepared for the experience that I would have. Getting to spend a week with the kids of Timothy House was truly an unbelievable opportunity.

Every morning when we showed up at the field, I could see each guy and girl’s face light up as they ran over to give us a hug –they all knew us by name. The days were spent playing games, singing in line and when it came down to the drills, the girls would give everything they had. Even if they couldn’t quite understand what they were supposed to be doing, they would all respond “Yes Coach” and try their hardest. Their effort was inspiring, especially considering how exhausted they must have gotten. One thing that made an impression on me was that neither the language barrier nor the fact that lacrosse was a new sport for most of them hindered their desire to give us their full attention and utmost effort. As a result, it wasn’t surprising how quickly they picked up the sport. It took me over a year to be as good as most of those kids became in one week. Getting to spend time sharing the sport of lacrosse and getting to know each personality was something I would not trade for anything.

There are several experiences that stand out in my mind – one was when we started out two of the mornings playing a game of ‘Freeze Tag.’ It was obvious that the kids were tired. They had walked a long way and it was early and cold; however, as soon as we started playing, each girl was sprinting her heart out to either ‘tag’ or escape the person who was ‘It.’  Not only where they working so hard for themselves, but they would risk being ‘frozen’ to ‘un-freeze’ all of their friends. If you had been tagged, you could be sure that within seconds someone would be crawling through your legs to unfreeze you. It was amazing to see that selflessness in a game so simple as Tag. I also loved how the person who was ‘It’ would always say “Touch” when they tagged you, as if you could not feel it!  This simple game expressed alot about how friendly, loving and cooperative the kids were.  They would do anything for us and they just wanted us to love them in return. 

 When the week was over, we had the chance to go from teachers to students when we presented our homework assigned the Sunday before: learning and performing the Diski Dance. Although it was embarrassing how much worse we were in comparison, when it came down to American girls vs. American guys, the girls took home the prize. It was great to see how excited the Vaalwater girls got when we won!

Bailey Ewing

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With all the excitement surrounding Friday’s activities, we all got to the fields early to get things started.  After our now-standard circle of prayer, lap around the field and warmup exercises, the kids were ready to begin.  On the girls’ side, Coach Sue and Coach Katie had kept the girls in their same groups from the day before, and they began a series of short, 6 minute games against the American players.  Joe finally got a chance to put on his official referee uniform and called penalties and fouls during the game.  The kids all played hard, especially against their American coaches, showing off all the great skills they had learned during the week.   

The girls play hard against Coach Sue!

Challenging Coach Katie

 Joe the referee makes sure everyone follows the rules!  

On the boys’ side of the field, the younger players took the field first, showing off their improved stick skills.  Then the older boys took over for a full-field game.  It was great to see them pass and shoot so well!  

After the games, Zach called over everyone to the Gig Rig, which was parked next to the fields.  It was time for the Diski Dance contest!  He divided the kids up with boys on one side and girls on the other, and the South African and American kids performed the Diski Dance, the official ‘Waka Waka’ dance set to Shakira’s song, which was the anthem of the 2010 World Cup.   

Zach gets everyone lined up to perform the Diski Dance

Despite their late-night practices, the Americans still needed help from the South African kids to get all the steps right, but everyone had alot of fun! 

The girls demonstrate their version of the Diski Dance!

The boys show off their best 'Waka Waka' movesThe girls take their turn doing the Diski Dance

After the dance contest, the group walked over to Farmers Hall down the road, for a special celebration that included a braai with pap (traditional South African foods), oranges and sodas.  Then, there were more dances on stage, and thank-yous  and gifts to all the American volunteers.  A special thanks was given to “Mama Barb” Cox, who helped establish the South African Lacrosse Project with her sons Kip and Harrison.  Zach presented her with a special beaded vuvuzela.  After many thank yous and gifts all around,  we then presented the kids with their certificates, signed by all the American coaches and volunteers.  After a final closing by Zach, the camp was officially concluded and the group stayed around for photos and final hugs.  

Zach presents "Mama Barb" with a special vuvuzela!"Mama Tori" with the Xtreme team boys, showing off their certificates.

It’s hard to believe the week is over, and it is also hard to adequately put into words how special this experience has been for all of us.  I know the WWS kids had a great time, and I also know that all the American volunteers have all experienced an incredible level of hospitality, camaraderie, teamwork and affection by all we met.  Like many experiences in life, this was one in which the teachers surely felt they were the ones who learned the most.   

"Mama Tori" with members of the Xtreme team, who proudly show off their certificates!

I know that I have cherished the opportunity to share my love of South Africa and its people with my husband and daughter.  I know the trip exceeded their expectations in every way, and it is something we will always remember.  I feel sure the others in our group would agree.

I also must admit that I loved being called “Mama Tori’ by 140 kids who were always quick with a smile and a hug!
On behalf of The Wilson Foundation and in particular Joe, Rachel, Haydyn, Bailey, Sarah and Tom, I want to express my deepest thanks to Barb Cox and Kip and Harrison Hart of the South African Lacrosse Project, for the opportunity to work with them on the 2010 camp.  And to our friends in South Africa, especially the incredible team at WWS – Mary, Zach, Hendrick, Phinius, Joy, July, Steve, and so many more- we send our heartfelt appreciation for your warm hospitality and incredible organization.  Your work and dedication are truly an inspiration.
Finally, a big thanks to Trisha Wilson and the gang at Wilson Associates, and also to the donors who have helped make our participation possible.  It has been an unforgettable experience!
Tori Mannes
Executive Director
The Wilson Foundation
July 2010

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