Philanthropic Crusades and the Women Who Inspire Change

North Star Gives, presented by The Volvo Center of San Antonio, in partnership with Saks Fifth Avenue, will honor eight women who crusade for public good. The Spring celebration on the lower level of the Saks Fifth Avenue wing from 6 to 8 p.m., Thursday, March 21, celebrates champions of change who effect our community in a rich kaleidoscope of ways. The event pays tribute to Gilda Canavati; Lynnette Embrey; Amanda Graybill; Margie Kramer O’Krent; Patricia Pratchett; Michelli Ramon; Cari Breakie Richardson, and Liz Tullis.

“What inspires me most about these women is that despite having extremely busy lives balancing home, family and career, they also find time to contribute their talent, grace and grit to life-changing organizations. These women who raise awareness and funding for those providing help to others are bound by a simple thread: the human spirit,” says Michelle Robertson, senior marketing manager for North Star and The Shops at La Cantera.

“Whether driven by a personal quests or just a sincere desire to make a difference,  their work sets an inspiring example of what it means to volunteer and advance the quality of life for others.

North Star Gives is an opportunity for the community to gather together in celebration of  good works and good causes and prove that the spirit of giving in our community is stronger than ever.”

Guests will enjoy a reveal of spring fashions by Saks Fifth Avenue, music, cocktails and exquisite bites, plus earn a chance to win fabulous prizes from North Star retailers. Tickets are $20 in advance and $30 at the door, cash only at the door. All tickets sold directly benefit the charity its purchased from.

The 2013 North Star Gives honorees are:

Gilda Canavati, Home of Mary’s Angels Foundation

This haven in Mexico City helps children battling AIDS. The Foundation provides integral support including medical, psychological, nutritional and educational services to lower income people, especially those living with AIDS. The goal is to help them live with dignity and incorporate them into society. For tickets call (210) 930-4956 or visit!galeria.

Lynnette Embrey, The Gladney Center for Adoption

For more than 125 years, The Gladney Center has been a pioneer and leading voice for improving the lives of children, adoptive families and birth parents. It is the nation’s most comprehensive non-profit, non-sectarian adoption agency and maternity home helping young women faced with an untimely pregnancy. It offers individual and group counseling, vocational guidance, continuation of education and comprehensive medical care.  The Gladney Center also is a leader in international adoption programs placing children from Eastern Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa.  Both domestic and international programs provide extensive adoption services and counseling for the adoption triad – birth families, adoptees, and adoptive parents.  For tickets call (817) 922.6045 or visit

Amanda Graybill, The Little Black Dress Society

The Little Black Dress Society is a service organization dedicated to educating, empowering, engaging, and embracing women of all walks of life in an effort to end the abuse of women.  The Little Black Dress Society Foundation was created to be the hands and feet of The Little Black Dress Society Inc. For tickets call (210) 880.5237 or visit

Margie Kramer O’Krent, The Blood & Tissue Center Foundation

The Blood & Tissue Center Foundation is dedicated to raising financial support and community awareness of  the important achievements and breakthroughs in lifesaving research and services of the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center (STBTC) and the Texas Cord Blood Bank (TCBB). The Texas Cord Blood Bank is the first public umbilical cord blood bank in Texas and one of only 15 active public cord blood banks in the U.S.   Its mission is to collect thousands of voluntarily-donated cord blood units to treat critically ill children and adults with leukemia, lymphoma, sickle cell anemia and other blood and immune disorders.  Research studies are currently being conducted using cord blood to treat more than 100 different diseases, including new areas such as cardiovascular disease, endocrine and neurological disorders.  Its use as a lifesaving treatment in other conditions continues to advance as medical research discovers new ways to use cord blood stem cell in regenerative medicine.  For tickets call (210) 249.4498 or (210) 731.5507.

Patricia Pratchett, Artist Foundation of San Antonio

Established in 2006, the Artist Foundation has awarded 84 local artists a total of $460,000.  The purpose of the Artist Foundation is to enrich San Antonio’s artistic and economic fabric through grants to Bexar County artists for the creation of new, original work. Grant recipients complete a project which is exhibited or performed in San Antonio and often in other cities nationally or internationally.  Artists in the visual, literary, performing and media arts are eligible to receive awards annually. Awardees are selected through a rigorous selection process by independent panels of art professionals, art educators and other qualified individuals. For tickets call (210) 912.1449 or visit

Michelli Ramon, Alamo Heights School Foundation

The Alamo Heights School Foundation mobilizes community support to enhance and perpetuate district-wide academic opportunity and excellence for children.  It is currently in the process of raising funds to endow the district-wide Wellness Program. Its mission is to aggressively confront the social and emotional issues, with special attention to adolescent drug and alcohol abuse. This program ensures that students have access to treatment and posits a framework for treatment that incorporates resilience, strength and unity. For tickets call (210) 316.4057 or visit

Cari Breakie Richardson, The SA YES Foundation

Founded by the Breakie family the YES Foundation raises scholarship funds not only for youth in San Antonio but throughout South Texas.  For 30 years the Breakie family has done business in these communities and funds the operating costs so that 95 percent of money raised can be used to help educate youth and build a better future. For tickets call (210) 493.1191 or visit

Liz Tullis, ConradSmiles

ConradSmiles supports research to improve the understanding and treatment of anoxic brain injury resulting from a non fatal drowning. Drowning is the leading cause of injury death in children one through four.  Caregivers must coordinate with doctors, assess therapies, navigate drug pro/cons, and plead with insurance companies to cover care for this diagnosis.  ConradSmiles are working  with the medical community to provide useful information on  how to promote brain function recovery, currently little exists. Most encouragement comes in the form of “Hope for the Best and Prepare for the worst” philosophy.  The families associated with our organization have demonstrated that recovery is possible.  We have children who have learned to move on their own, smile and interact with family and friends. Doctors are starting to acknowledge that varying degrees of recovery are being realized. Monies raised goes to research to better assess the injury, provide better long-term prognosis and assist caregivers with management/treatment decisions. For tickets call (512) 587.0607 or visit

For more information on North Star Gives visit