San Antonio Public Library Foundation and Los Compadres Host Luncheon

By Jake Gaines
Photography by Greg Harrison and Grant Miller

THE SCENE: Over 450 supporters of the San Antonio Public Library Foundation and Los Compadres de San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, including city leaders and Mayor Ivy Taylor, celebrated the centennial year of the National Parks service and San Antonio Libraries by welcoming former First Lady Laura Bush and her daughter Jenna Bush Hager to the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts for Our Literary Mission Luncheon and conversation with special guests.

THE VIBE: The venue was swathed in textural neutrals and vibrant green that set the stage in a welcoming living room-style, with a distinctive forest backdrop and illuminated live trees. After arriving, guests had the opportunity to purchase copies of Our Great Big Backyard, the new children’s book co-authored by Laura Bush and Jenna Bush Hager celebrating literacy and national parks. Greeted by soft marimba music courtesy of Henry Brune, the attendees entered the H-E-B Performance Hall and took their seats to enjoy lunch and a lively conversation with Bush and Hager, moderated by Sonya Medina Williams, the former White House Director of Projects for First Lady Bush.

Tobin endowment chair Bruce Bugg and SAPLF past ambassador Guillermo Nicolás welcomed the crowd and the honorary chair, Charline McCombs. Afterward, the authors took to the stage to discuss their latest book and personal dedication to both libraries and parks. The heartfelt afternoon was a reminder for guests to look away from their computer screens and toward what the libraries and parks have to offer and teach to future generations. Remarks from Nicolás and Los Compadres board member Cynthia McMurray concluded the event.

THE CAUSE: The luncheon raised nearly $500,000 which was divided between both organizations. The San Antonio Public Library Foundation and Los Compadres de San Antonio Missions partnered to bring Bush and Hager to San Antonio to raise essential funds for both organizations. Both of these established local non-profits led by Tracey Ramsey Bennett (SAPLF) and Susan Chandoha (Los Compadres) felt this was the perfect opportunity to bring awareness to the missions of the Libraries and UNESCO World Heritage site.

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