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Austin Street Center Announces its 21st Annual Humble Beginnings Luncheon

Austin Street Center’s annual luncheon will honor the Dallas Mavericks and feature Emmy, Grammy and Tony-Award Winning Actress/Singer-Songwriter, Cynthia Erivo.
Credit: National Geographic/Terrell Mull
Cynthia Erivo. (Credit: National Geographic/Terrell Mullin)

Austin Street Center’s 21st Annual Humble Beginnings Luncheon-themed “Come Together,” will be held in person, Friday, October 15, 2021, at 11:30 a.m. at the Omni Dallas Hotel, featuring Emmy, Grammy, and Tony-Award winning actress and singer-songwriter, Cynthia Erivo. 

Austin Street will present the Norm Hitzges Distinguished Service Award to Frank Mihalopoulos and the late Maryann Mihalopoulos for their lifelong example of service above self, not only to Austin Street – but to the many other organizations they have championed. Additionally, the Dallas Mavericks organization will receive the first-ever Austin Street Center Corporate Service Award in recognition of their steadfast support of the wider Dallas community, and in particular, their servant leadership during the coronavirus pandemic and Winter Storm Uri this past February.

The event, hosted by co-chairs Hon. Jeanne Phillips and Margaret Phillips will celebrate the way in which the Dallas community rallied to support its neighbors over the last 18 months, including Austin Street Center, which provides safe shelter and basic necessities for the City’s most vulnerable homeless.  

“This year’s Luncheon, ‘Come Together,’ recognizes the contributions of many who work tirelessly to create the dynamic community in which we live,” said Hon. Jeanne Phillips, Luncheon Co-Chair. “We are thrilled to be part of an event that will honor those who serve and help raise funds for our most vulnerable.” Further demonstrating the perseverance and community devotion that marked the last 18 months, more than 400 individuals from across the Metroplex have joined the host committee, including former President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush.

The 21st Annual Humble Beginnings Luncheon will also feature the multi-hyphenate tour deforce, actress and singer-songwriter, Cynthia Erivo.  Erivo has captivated audiences with her award-winning music and acting both on the stage and the screen. Erivo can currently be seen as ‘Holly Gibney’ in the HBO miniseries adaptation of Stephen King’s, “The Outsider.” She also most recently portrayed Aretha Franklin in National Geographic’s Emmy Award-winning global anthology series, Genius, with her episode titled “Genius: Aretha.” Erivo made her Broadway debut in 2016 as ‘Celie’ in the revival of “The Color Purple,” for which she won a Tony®, Emmy® and Grammy®. In 2018, Erivo made her film debut in “Bad Times at the El Royale,” and 2019, she received two Oscar® nominations—one for her role as Harriet Tubman in “Harriet,” and the other for the film’s title track “Stand Up,” which she co-wrote. Erivo continues her musical journey with her debut album, Ch. 1 Vs. 1, scheduled for release on September 17.

“After the unprecedented year-and-a-half we’ve experienced as North Texans, the stars are perfectly aligning, allowing us to “Come Together,” in person for this year’s luncheon,” said Daniel Roby, Chief Executive Officer at Austin Street Center. “Having Jeanne Phillips and her daughter Margaret Phillips lead an extraordinary Host Committee, along with our special guest, emboldens our team at Austin Street to continue its commitment to help the most vulnerable homeless across our community,” he added.  

Erivo’s story of challenge, determination and persistence is mirrored in the story of many of Austin Street’s clients. Erivo was born and raised in London by a single mother Nigerian immigrant and often struggled to find her way. “I don’t believe that many things are impossible to achieve, so long as your put your mind to it and take the time to get it done,” she recounts in one of her most recent interviews. “Cynthia’s journey reminds us that great success can indeed come from humble beginnings,” said Roby.  

Sponsorships for the 21st Annual Humble Beginnings Luncheon are available now. In honor of her father, Dave Phillips, a devoted supporter and former board member of Austin Street, Co-Chair Margaret Phillips, has created “Maggie’s Challenge,” tailored to engage younger professionals, with specific sponsorship levels to encourage and foster their involvement in Austin Street’s work. All proceeds received through “Maggie’s Challenge” will be matched up to $50,000, thanks to a generous supporter. Preferred and Individual tickets go on sale on September 1st and are $300 for Preferred and $125 for Individual. Virtual, live-stream tickets will also be available for $60.    

For more information on Maggie’s Challenge and sponsorship opportunities, please visit www.austinstreet.org/humblebeginnings.

About Austin Street Center

For more than 37 years, Austin Street Center, a non-profit emergency shelter and service center, has provided shelter and basic necessities for our homeless neighbors. Located in downtown Dallas, Austin Street Center serves men, ages 45 and older, and women, ages 18 and older, with the individual support they need to help regain their independence and transition out of homelessness, including health, mental health, and spiritual support services, as well as employment and education programs. Working outside the traditional approach to homelessness, Austin Street has developed innovative solutions that have led to remarkable housing outcomes for the most vulnerable. Serving the community since 1983, Austin Street Center provides hope, dignity, and unconditional support for each person regardless of faith, sexuality, or circumstance. For more information, visit https://www.austinstreet.org

WFAA is a proud sponsor of the Austin Street Center.