TV Personality Bevy Smith will Host Big Thought’s BIG NIGHT Fundraiser

The annual event benefiting the Dallas-based impact education nonprofit will honor creative visionaries and community leaders for their commitment to BIG ideas and their Big Thought Impact.

Dallas impact education nonprofit Big Thought announced that award-winning media personality, author, and actor Bevy Smith will host its BIG NIGHT fundraising event March 4 at The Factory in Deep Ellum.

Smith is a Gracie Award winner and host of Sirius XM’s “Bevelations.”

The event will honor creative visionaries and community leaders for their commitment to BIG ideas and their Big Thought Impact, the nonprofit said.

“I wear many titles: author, TV host, motivational speaker. But the title I love most is that of mentor. Mentoring young people, especially from disadvantaged communities, is my greatest accomplishment,” Smith said in a statement. “Giving them access to art through ‘Cool Culture’—an arts education program based in New York, hosting the Ali Forney Center awards gala which helps LGBTQ youth find a voice, or working with the WEEN academy—a mentoring program for young ladies looking for a career in entertainment—this work has been my passion. I look forward to adding Big Thought to my list of philanthropic endeavors.”

Big Thought said the event will include a cocktail reception, seated dinner, youth led entertainment, and a vibrant live auction of experiences with an impactful paddle raise.

“We couldn’t be more excited for the return of BIG NIGHT, which will allow us to closely connect and celebrate with our community,” Byron Sanders, president and CEO of Big Thought, said in a statement. “We’re better together, and collectively supporting youth ages 4 to 24 on their journeys developing skills as they prepare for a 21st century world of living and working is powerful—it’s BIG, and we couldn’t be more excited to celebrate these young creators, the thinkers and doers of tomorrow—the powerful agents of today.”

Joining Smith will be a gathering of people who support the event, including honorary and event chairs who have demonstrated leadership of significance throughout the Dallas community, Big Thought said.

Big Thought’s BIG NIGHT 2023 chairs include a Dallas Cowboy

The event’s Honorary Chairs are DeMarcus and Sasha Lawrence and Donna Wilhelm.

Event Chairs are Lynn and Allan McBee and Christa & Ketric Sanford.

Dallas Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence said: “I understand what it means to come from a tough background, and I want to help kids become leaders. That’s why I chose Big Thought and what they represent and stand for.”

“The programs and services that Big Thought provides helps to close the opportunity gap for our youth that need it the most,” the McBees added. “The money raised from BIG NIGHT will go far in helping to achieve that goal,”

Christa and Ketric Sanford said: “We hope to have a great response from new and steadfast Big Thought supporters to make this event a success.”

BIG NIGHT honorees

Big Thought will also honor the following people for their commitment to service, leadership, and community impact:

Oak Cliff native Aria Jones will receive the Mitch Jericho Visionary Voice Award, which recognizes a young person who’s participated in Big Thought programming and has created their own pathway to success with positive impact in the community. Jones serves as Big Thought’s SIte Guide for the Community Action Team.

Roger Taylor of the Dallas County Juvenile Department will receive the Gigi Antoni Courageous Creator Award, which recognizes an individual who has taken bold, innovative approaches to empower youth to create their own social change. Taylor has more than 31 years of experience in the Juvenile Department and is Pre-Adjudication Manager for the Dallas County Juvenile Center. He’s been tasked with managing the programs and services for all youth referred to the juvenile criminal courts in Dallas County and has been described by colleagues as “innovative” in the ways that he partners with the private sector for social change.

Former DISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa will receive the Edith O’Donnell Legacy Leadership Award, which recognizes an outstanding community leader who’s committed a lifetime of work in youth leadership, and one who is also paving the way to close the opportunity gap. Hinojosa has over 25 years of superintendent/CEO experience for six public education systems, including two of the 25 largest school systems in America.

For more information about the BIG NIGHT, go here.

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