Six Things You Might Not Know About Words of Hope

As September 20th comes in sight, we wanted to share just a few of the reasons why Words of Hope presented by Austin Subaru is not your average fundraiser!

1. You can leave your ball gown at home.

While we pride ourselves on putting together a beautiful evening for all who attend, we know that a tux or floor-length gown just isn’t to everyone’s taste. Call it “Austin Chic,” if you will, you can expect to see guests in dress ranging from suit-and-tie to dressy jeans (cowboy hat optional).

2. It’s all about the stories.

While Words of Hope has been held for 11 years now, the original title of the event was “Speaker Series” and it was actually a luncheon held at the St. David’s Episcopal Church in downtown Austin. At the 2008 inaugural event, we welcomed authors Ron Hall and Denver Moore, and each year since then, have featured an author or prominent individual with a story that reflects our mission and work. We are excited to welcome former Dallas Cowboy, Emmitt Smith, as our Featured Speaker in 2018!

3. The award for Excellence in the Game of Life goes to…

In 1992, the year Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book was first published, hundreds of people inspired by the legendary golfer decided to hold a special dinner in his honor. The dinner raised funds for Caritas of Austin and the award for Excellence in the Game of Life was presented to Penick – celebrating his dedication to teaching anyone in Austin who wanted to learn and the memorable life lessons he shared with the world. Since then, we have presented the award each year to prominent Austin leaders, and in 2016 it became incorporated as part of Words of Hope.

4. That’s pretty heavy.

The actual Harvey Penick award weighs in at 15 lbs., but there’s more “weight” to it than that. Over the 27-year history of the award, it has been presented to members of the community who have made significant lasting change for good in Central Texas. Lady Bird Johnson, Ben Crenshaw, Susan & Michael Dell, and Susan & Gary Farmer are just a few to have received the award. This year we look forward to honoring Lynn and Tom Meredith with the Harvey Penick award for Excellence in the Game of Life!

5. Sounds easy, right?

So how far in advance does an event like this have to be planned? There are many details involved, and initial preparation for the next year actually begins shortly after Words of Hope concludes! It can take months of preparation with the support of event committee members, volunteers, and staff. That may sound like a lot, but each September as the Austin community comes together to support our mission, we think it’s well worth it!

6. Ending homelessness together.

Words of Hope is Caritas’ largest annual fundraising event, and in 2017 it raised an incredible $393,905 to prevent and end homelessness for Austin neighbors! Sponsors, donors, and attendees make this special evening have a powerful impact, raising funds to change the lives of the people we serve. At last year’s dinner, we shared this impact through D’Vaughncee’s story, which you can see here. We look forward to again sharing the story of a Caritas client, Sandy, who will speak live at the dinner on September 20. We hope to see you there!