Couple pledges $2M to RCD

Donation tagged to help pay for construction of center’s new facilities

CeCe Cox
Cece Cox

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

In what has been described as the second-largest gift ever given to an LGBT organization by a living donor, Dallas couple Eric V. Culbertson and David W. Carlson have pledged $2 million to Resource Center Dallas, officials announced this week.

RCD Executive Director and CEO Cece Cox said the donation would be used to help pay for construction of a new building that will consolidate programs and double the agency’s available space. Property has been purchased for the new building on the corner of Cedar Springs and Inwood roads.

Cox said that the center has already hit the 30 percent mark in its effort to raise the $12 million needed for the new facility.

“We’re aiming to break ground in 2014 and move in 2015,” she said.

Cox said that the donation was a result of building a strong relationship but the money was pledged after the couple took a tour of the center’s facilities.

She said they told her, “We had no idea you did all this.”

Culbertson is the owner of Salon Three-Thirty located in Uptown at 2510 Cedar Springs Road. For the past several months he has offered yoga classes at Resource Center Dallas through his new non-profit group, Strength Through Yoga, which takes “the empowering aspects of yoga to organizations and individuals who can use it to heal and strengthen the mind, body and soul.”

Carlson is the founding chief financial officer of GameStop. The Grapevine-based video game and entertainment software retailer has more than 6,500 stores worldwide and is ranked 255th on the Fortune 500. GameStop has been the presenting sponsor of Black Tie Dinner for several years.

Carlson retired from GameStop recently and is now co-owner of Uptown Energy Fitness in West Village.

The couple declined to be interviewed for this story but released comments in a statement.

“The driving force for our donation was the center’s staff,” Culbertson said. “They make [the center] what it is, working so hard and doing so much.”

“After touring all the facilities, and understanding the full scope of services, we knew that the center needed to have a new building, and very soon,” Carlson said.

Cox said she wanted others in the community who are not familiar with Resource Center Dallas to come tour the facilities.

“I want people to come meet our staff. They’re so passionate and so great at what they do,” Cox said. “We are the only organization who does what we do. We started in this community and are still in this community.”

She said that in Dallas two-thirds of new HIV infections are in the LGBT community, higher than the national average.

“People are living longer so we’re caring for them longer. And our dental program is one of only two in Dallas,”  that is providing care to people with HIV who cannot access care elsewhere, Cox said.

Although the Nelson Tebedo Clinic recently added a new dental room, the new building will allow the agency to increase services.

In addition to HIV services, RCD runs a number of programs for the LGBT community, Cox said, adding, “There’s more and more demand for our cultural competency training.”

The center recently completed sensitivity training for 700 Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission employees statewide, and Communications and Programs Manager Rafael McDonnell, who has participated in most of the TABC training classes, said that the last class included TABC Administrator Alan Steen.

Cox said that the state agency recently signed a new contract with Resource Center to continue services. She also pointed out the counseling program RCD provides in conjunction with Southern Methodist University.

David Chard, dean of the SMU School of Education that administers the program, said that when he began the program he was told that no one would want to participate in it. He said there has been a waiting list of counseling students who want to work at RCD.

Cox said that the program is currently limited by lack of space. She said that the lunch program is one of the center’s great successes. United Way representatives told her that they saw a real sense of community among those who participated.

“They could go elsewhere for a meal,” Cox said, but they come to the Resource Center where they are welcomed.

To expand programs, Cox said RCD needs its new building. She is looking to develop more relationships like that with Culbertson and Carlson.

“Donors are relationships,” she said.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 5, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

RCD receives $2 million gift from Dallas couple

Cece Cox

Eric V. Culbertson and David W. Carlson pledged $2 million to Resource Center Dallas, the second largest gift from a living donor to an LGBT organization in the United States. The money will go toward the construction of a new building in Oak Lawn.

Culbertson is a co-owner of Salon Three-Thirty in Uptown. He also recently founded Strength Through Yoga, a non-profit committed to bringing the healing aspects of yoga to organizations, including Resource Center Dallas.

Carlson, the founding chief financial officer of Grapevine-based GameStop, recently retired and is now a co-owner of Uptown Energy Fitness, a high-energy, trainer-based gym located in the West Village. GameStop has been the presenting sponsor of the Black Tie Dinner.

“This is a transformational gift that will have a great impact on thousands of people each year,” said Cece Cox, executive director and CEO of the center. “I am truly thankful for Eric and Dave’s generous investment in our work as we plan to meet the increasing needs of the communities we serve.”

“The driving force for our donation was the center’s staff,” Culbertson said. “They make [the center] what it is, working so hard and doing so much.”

“After touring all the facilities, and understanding the full scope of services, we knew that the center needed to have a new building, and very soon,” Carlson said.

RCD has a capital campaign is in progress to consolidate its three facilities into one building that would double the center’s available space. Property near Cathedral of Hope has already been acquired for the new facility.

—  David Taffet

Black Tie 2011 set to ‘Shine’

Nan Arnold and Chris Kouvelis

Co-chairs announce theme for this year’s event, say more changes will be unveiled soon

TAMMYE NASH  |  Senior Editor
nash@dallasvoice.com

Black Tie co-chairs Nan Arnold and Chris Kouvelis this week announced the theme for the 30th annual Black Tie Dinner, set for Nov. 12 at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel. This year’s theme is short and sweet: “Shine.”

“Even though it is our 30th year, instead of focusing on this as an anniversary and looking back at where we’ve been, we want to focus on this being a celebration of where we are headed for the future,” said Arnold.

“We are really excited about this theme, about the idea of ‘shining’ a light on our future. And we think our creative team can do a lot with this theme,” she said.

Kouvelis added, “This theme will also be shining a light on our beneficiaries, too, and all the great work that they do in our community.”

Arnold and Kouvelis said that members of the Black Tie Dinner board are currently reviewing the more than 20 beneficiary applications the organization received this year.

Board members will then meet on Saturday, March 20, to choose the organizations that will share in the proceeds from this year’s fundraising dinner, and the names of those selected will be announced Thursday, March 31, during Black Tie’s annual Tarrant County reception, being held this year at American Airlines’ C.R. Smith Museum, 4601 Hwy. 360.

The co-chairs said planning for the 30th annual dinner is moving along smoothly, and that the board is reaching certain planning goals even earlier than usual. By early February, the board had already finalized deals for GameStop to once again be presenting sponsor for the dinner, and for Park Place Motorcars Dallas to sponsor the vehicle — a new Mercedes C 300 S coupe — for the dinner’s annual car raffle.

This week, Arnold and Kouvelis said that Diamond Jacks Casino in Shreveport/Bossier City has also already agreed to return as a sponsor.

“We just found out that they will come back this year at least at that same level, and they are going to sponsor our table captain dinner again this year,” Arnold said. “Diamond Jacks may also be helping us out with a couple of other things. They have been just wonderful to work with.”

Sales for the raffle tickets for the Mercedes C 300 S coupe are moving along at a brisk pace, and the co-chairs said having the dinner’s online system up and running has made raffle ticket sales — and other processes so much easier.

“You can buy those raffle tickets online art BlackTie.org. In fact, our online system is up and running for everything this year,” Arnold said. “This is really the first year that you can do everything you need to do for Black Tie online. ”

Black Tie has gone high-tech in other areas, too, the co-chairs said, including the silent auction, which will be “a little different this year. People can really expect the auction to be more interactive this year,” Arnold said.

Kouvelis said he is working on partnering with “a couple of our sponsors” to increase Black Tie’s marketing, especially in the area of incorporating social media into the process.

“We are really excited about the opportunities with see in this area,” he said. “This will give us the chance to increase participation and even change the demographic of who attends Black Tie. That’s what we have to do to keep the event growing.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 18, 2011.

—  John Wright

Black Tie Dinner co-chairs announce sponsor, raffle car

TAMMYE NASH | Senior Editor
nash@dallasvoice.com

Nan Arnold and Chris Couvelis, co-chairs for the 30th annual Black Tie Dinner in November, this week announced that GameStop has once again signed on as presenting sponsor for the annual fundraising event, and that Park Place Motorcars Dallas has agreed to donate a new Mercedes C300 S coupe to be raffled off at the dinner.

“This is really good news,” said Arnold, this year’s senior co-chair, adding that both deals were finalized earlier than usual this year.

“Chris and I and Maggie McQuown, our director of development, met with the people from GameStop back in mid-January, and they confirmed right then that they wanted to come back as our presenting sponsor,” Arnold said, explaining that being presenting sponsor means giving the Black Tie board $100,000 in cash to use to pay expenses in staging the dinner.

“That’s really good news for our beneficiaries, too. Because that means that’s $100,000 more that will be returned to the beneficiaries,” Arnold said.

GameStop has been presenting sponsor for Black Tie for three consecutive years, and has donated to the event long than that.

Officials with Park Place also committed to providing a car for the annual raffle earlier than usual this year, too, Couvelis said.

“It’s not just a brand new car, it’s a brand new Mercedes model,” he said. “It will be the 2012 model, and it is so new we haven’t even seen any photos of it yet. It’s all still under wraps. It won’t even be available to buy until October.”

Black Tie board members, volunteers and beneficiaries sell a limited number of tickets, for $100 each, for the car raffle each year to help boost the dinner’s income. Arnold said that tickets for this year’s raffle for the new Mercedes model are already available.

Each year, proceeds from Black Tie dinner are divided between the Human Rights Campaign Foundation and as many as 20 local LGBT or HIV/AIDS organizations and agencies. Beneficiary applications for the 2011 dinner are available on the Black Tie Dinner website (BlackTie.org), and the application deadline is Feb. 25. The list of this year’s designated beneficiaries will be announced March 30.

But Arnold said the board will likely be making another announcement — the theme for the annual fundraiser — even sooner than that.

“This will be our 30th year, and we are working hard to make it really special,” said Arnold, as first-year co-chair Couvelis added he is “thrilled” to have the chance to head up the board that organizes the dinner, giving credit to Arnold for her hard work and leadership as the board’s second-year co-chair.

But Arnold was quick to spread the credit around: “It’s a team effort. Chris is doing a great job, and we have a wonderful board that is already working hard to make this year’s dinner a success.”

The 2011 Black Tie Dinner will be held Saturday, Nov. 12, at the Sheraton Dallas hotel.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition Feb. 4, 2011.

—  John Wright