Gathering more than 700 people to a luncheon on a weekday is not an easy feat to accomplish, but leave it to the fine folks at Austin Recovery to make it happen. Last week’s Speaker Series featuring Grammy-winning songstress Natalie Cole at ACL Live was a perfect reason to steal away from the office for a couple of hours…and her story didn’t disappoint.
Over $450,000 was raised for the for the non-profit addiction treatment center, an unprecedented amount for the organization. Co-Chairs Val Armstrong and Mary G. Yancy held court with many of the city’s movers and shakers, including longtime supporter Edith Royal, along with Becky Beaver, Donna Stockton-Hicks and Steve Hicks, Chris Mattsson, Kelley McClure, plus Bobbi and Mort Topfer.
But naturally, the real star of the afternoon was Natalie Cole herself. Famous before she even knew what that word means because of her legendary parents, Miss Cole laid it all on the line for those in attendance. The good along with the bad, and downright ugly. She ran through the story of her ultimately victorious battle with addiction with the poise and grace of one who has been in the spotlight for their entire life.
Many of Austin Recovery’s colleagues from The Council on Alcohol and Drugs Houston, which recently merged with the local organization, also attended the fundraiser. Together, the resulting organization is the largest non-profit provider of outpatient drug treatment in the state of Texas. Clearly they have a lot of supporters in Austin, as was evidenced by the massive turnout last Tuesday.
*Photos courtesy of Scott Newton.