Just Say YES “Reached New Heights” with Record-Breaking 9th Annual Celebration
The star-studded night included appearances by keynote speaker Coach Tony Dungy, event host and two-time Super Bowl Winning Champion Tony Casillas and Coach Avery Johnson whom presented the Youth Impact Award
The Just Say YES 9th Annual Celebration held at The Stater in downtown Dallas was a record breaking event for the education nonprofit. On the evening of Tuesday, April 23, 450 guests attended the organization’s largest annual fundraising event in order to support its mission of equipping today’s youth to succeed.
Right away guests were buzzing about the live auction lineup and two raffle items, which included:
- Private jet and lunch with Tony Dungy in Tampa, FL
- Round of golf with 2x Super Bowl Champion Tony Casillas at the Dallas Cowboys Golf Club – Halfway through the bidding, Casillas sweetened the package by offering up two 50-yard line tickets and a parking pass for one game during the upcoming Dallas Cowboys season.
- Argentina dove hunt – Three experiences sold
- Framed Dirk Nowitzki autographed Dallas Mavericks jersey
- A Dallas romantic staycation with weekend overnight stay at The Statler Hotel and Aston Martin rental (compliments of Aston Martin Dallas)
- A Legacy West romantic staycation with weekend overnight stay at the Renaissance Hotel and Aston Martin rental (compliments of Aston Martin Dallas)
- Framed Luka Dončić autographed Dallas Mavericks jersey
- Weekend getaway at a beautiful home on Cedar Creek Lake including surf lessons and a gift basket of YETI tumblers, Long Cove shirts and hats
Guests also bid on a variety of fantastic silent auction items, including a framed Patrick Mahomes autographed Kansas City Chiefs jersey, Texas Rangers tickets, Kate Spade watch, a $2,500 certificate to Garages Done Right!, and a Golden Prairie pheasant hunt in Kansas.
The program kicked off at 7pm with two-time Super Bowl Winning Champion, former Dallas Cowboy and emcee Tony Casillas, who exuded great enthusiasm and excitement from the podium. Coach Avery Johnson also took the stage to present the 5th Annual Coach Avery Johnson Youth Impact Award to recipients and long-time Just Say YES supporters, Jane and Josh Huffman.
The program transitioned to the recognition of Honorary Chairs Tavia and Clark Hunt with a heartfelt tribute to Clark’s father, Lamar Hunt, co-founder of the American Football League (AFL). Just Say YES Founder and President Dan Bailey presented the chairs with a framed photo of Lamar at an AFL meeting in the early years. Clark Hunt brought the moment full circle when he stated that the first meeting of the AFL owners was at The Statler in 1959, and at that meeting, Lamar was voted President of the newly formed league.
Bailey then went on to announce the organization’s new major three initiatives to unfold over the next three years: 1) development of a new digital-based curriculum for its Peer-to-Peer Mentoring program to take nationwide, 2) an imminent merger with Aim for Success, and 3) the development and distribution of a new adolescent wellness curriculum.
When it was time for Pro Football Hall of Fame, Super Bowl Winning Coach and New York Times Best Selling Author Tony Dungy to take the stage as the highly anticipated keynote speaker, he delivered a speech that was nothing short of inspirational. Receiving two standing ovations, Dungy captivated the Just Say YES audience by sharing personal stories of coaching and playing in the NFL, to then lessons of mentorship and the importance of giving back to your community.
A former National Football League player for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Dungy reflected on his experience shifting from the quarterback position to defense, and looking to safety Donnie Shell as a mentor. Dungy said, “Donnie made me understand that 1) football isn’t everything; life is more than just sports… And 2) that you have to give back and you have to pour into other people. That became important to me.”
Dungy ended his speech with, “I am overjoyed in being here… Thank you for filling up this room, for opening your hearts and providing financial support to facilitate [Just Say YES programming]… We’ve all been blessed. We’ve been blessed beyond measure, and we all just need to give a little bit back.”
The night concluded with the announcement of a generous $100,000 matching gift from an anonymous donor.
“The Just Say YES 9th Annual Celebration was awe-inspiring and bursting with hope in helping today’s youth reach new heights,” said Bailey. “Because of supporters like YOU, we have unlocked the generous $100,000 gift from this year’s Celebration! The event raised a record-breaking $440,000 for our youth. On behalf of the students, educators and staff we serve, please know the incredible impact you are making by investing in the JSY mission. We are grateful for you!”