The 11th annual Words of Hope Dinner raised more than $490,000

More than 500 sponsors and attendees attended Caritas of Austin’s 11th Annual Words of Hope Dinner presented by Austin Subaru at the JW Marriott Austin. From the presentation of the Harvey Penick Award to Caritas’s client speaker to former Dallas Cowboy Emmitt Smith’s interview with KLRU’s Judy Maggio, the attendees came together to raise $491,400 in one evening. 

The event began with the 27th Harvey Penick Award for Excellence in the Game of Life presented to Lynn and Tom Meredith. Honorary remarks highlighted the couples’ desire for Austin to work together to end homelessness.

“Imagine a narrative where we act as one,” Tom Meredith said. “Are we prepared to collaborate with our city and nonprofits to put together a society that ends homelessness?”

The Merediths join past honorees such as Barbara Jordan, Susan and Michael Dell and Sarah and Ernest Butler.

“Today, for the first time ever in my entire life, I have a home of my own,” Caritas’s client speaker said, setting the tone for the evening. “I have a place to feel safe and secure, especially from the demons of my past. A place where I can sleep at night and know I don’t have to weather the misfortunes of homelessness… I will never be able to give back or say thank you enough to those people who came into my life and helped save a desperate soul like me.”

At Caritas they believe that when people have a stable home everything else in life can start to fall into place and they strive to end homelessness, not simply manage it. This years event raised record-breaking funds thanks, in-part, to a live auction and Fund the Mission led by Heath Hale Auctioneers. Hale’s lively team of cowboys helped the organization raise $205,250 thanks to the generosity of attendees. Thanks to these funds Caritas of Austin will continue to build wellbeing for hundreds experiencing homelessness each year.

Former Dallas Cowboy, Emmitt Smith was this year’s speaker. Smith is not only NFL’s all-time leading rusher and three-time Super Bowl Champion, but he is also a successful entrepreneur and philanthropist. At the event, Smith sat down with KLRU’s Judy Maggio to answer questions about his career and his commitment to building stronger futures for others.  

Words of Hope is Caritas of Austin’s largest annual fundraising event. This year’s top event sponsors included: Ausin Subaru, ABC Home & Commercial Services, Luci Baines Johnson, Susan and Gary Farmer, Stratus Properties, Silicion Labs, Texas Capital bank, Tracy and Ken Snodgrass, Alori Properties and Workplace Resource.

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