When the readers of StyleBlueprint Memphis responded to our $5,000 Charity Giveaway contest late last year, we weren’t surprised at all that our social media, to use a very technical term, “blew up.” Memphis is such a philanthropic community, and Memphians love nothing more than to rally behind the organizations they love.

Our readers voted for their favorite top 10 charitable and nonprofit organizations in Memphis, from which one – Tails of Hope Dog Rescue – was selected the winner. (And a shoutout to Hollywood Feed, which matched the $5,000 prize!)

One of the motivations behind our Charity Giveaway was not only to introduce our readers to these fantastic organizations, but also to feature the brains and beauty involved in them. On a gorgeous spring day, we gathered the group of dedicated women who work for, volunteer with or are clients of the top 10 charities for a day of fashion and fun.

makeup, makeup!

The impressive makeup table laid out by makeup artist Tiffany Bishop of The Skin Clinics

We took over the Tea Room in The Memphis Zoo’s China exhibit, and yes, we saw the pandas out and about during their early morning play time! Such a treat!

pandas!

Panda sighting at The Memphis Zoo, the location for our charity fashion shoot

Our models wore clothing and accessories supplied by Oak Hall, 20twelve and Lanksys 126. Oak Hall’s Kate Hamblin graciously styled all of our models, while the talented makeup artists Tiffany Bishop and Kate France of The Skin Clinics and hair stylists Kaitlyn Harbin and Mallory Reynolds from Rachel’s Salon & Day Spa enhanced the natural beauty of our models ­– and taught us all a few tricks, too.

gorgeous!

Kate France with Marnisha Bodde, a finalist with LITE Memphis

Meet the dynamic women who, along with the organizations they represent, are working toward a brighter future for all in Memphis. We hope their stories will inspire you!

Dana Halle

Co-founder & volunteer, Tails of Hope Dog Rescue

Dana’s family started Tails of Hope, a rescue organization that provides foster care for dogs and puppies, in 2010. “I help the rescue by taking care of foster dogs, doing home visits with potential adopters, transporting dogs to and from the vet, helping out with any events for the rescue and basically anything else that is needed to help care for these dogs,” says Dana. “Fostering truly does save lives of shelter dogs. I think the public really needs to understand that sometimes the only way for a shelter dog to survive is to be taken out of the shelter and moved into a foster home. This allows that dog to adapt to home life, and it also frees up space at already overcrowded shelters.” In addition to its regular monthly adoption and microchipping events at area Hollywood Feed stores, the Tails of Hope Painting with a Twist fundraiser is Sunday, May 1.

What’s the one article of clothing or accessory you can’t live without or will never throw away?

“My shoes! Love, love, love a cute pair of shoes!”

dana is rocking the pink jeans!

From Lansky 126: Dana is wearing a top by Veronica M, $68; AG The Legging Ankle jeans, $178; boots by Matisse, $89; tassel necklace by Virtue, $110

Dr. Susan Aguillard

Member, ALSAC/St. Jude Board of Directors and Governors, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Pediatrician Dr. Susan Aguillard of Pediatrics East is more than a board member on the ALSAC/St. Jude Board of Directors and Governors. She’s also the chairman of the St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway. “Serving on the ALSAC/St. Jude board is the most intellectually stimulating experience,” says Susan. “I have the privilege to work with and be exposed to many intelligent, enthusiastic and extremely creative people who are always an inspiration to me.”  Tickets for this year’s St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway go on sale April 1, and the winner will be announced on June 26. “I would like to invite everyone to visit the house during the weekend open houses in order to win our weekend prizes, to see the beautiful construction, the beautiful furniture and the spectacular details in the design and building materials,” says Susan, who notes that in addition to the home, people can win a car, a year’s worth of gas, jewelry, a laptop, gift cards, a suite at The Peabody and lots of other prizes.

What’s the one article of clothing or accessory you can’t live without or will never throw away?

“The first pair of Ferragamo boots, which I purchased many, many years ago. These have been resoled twice over the years. They are my favorite boots because the heel height is the most comfortable. I can wear them all day and into the night and still feel like I am walking barefooted.”

Susan rocks the St. John!

Susan is wearing St. John separates from Oak Hall: hooked cord knit jacket in bianco/caviar, $1,395; blouse with bow and side slits in bianco/caviar, $495; Milano carwash skirt in caviar, $495; Donald Pliner Philosop pump in black, $248; St. John crystal and gold post-top hoop earrings, $185 and Rebecca Minkoff Mini Quilted Affair purse in black $195

Brittany Spence

Founder, The Forrest Spence Fund

The Forrest Spence Fund was founded in 2007 to assist with the nonmedical needs of critically or chronically ill children and their families throughout the Mid-South. Brittany and David Spence’s son, Robert Forrest Spence, lived just 55 days, and their journey through his birth and illness was the catalyst to start the fund. “While in the pediatric intensive care unit, our family underwent an indescribable journey of highs and lows,” notes Brittany, who says the compassion and love they were met with during Forrest’s short life gave them hope and helped them survive. “It was in these times that we tasted deeply the kindness of friends and perfect strangers. It was often that kindness that sustained us, as we grew weary.”

Brittany says the fund is a way to pay forward the support and kindness they received. “We can offer empathy because we have been in that same place watching our child suffer and struggle to live. We can offer understanding because we know how very hard the journey is and we can offer hope because we survived the loss of our child while also doing something to give back to others.”

The Second Annual Spring for Forrest Cocktail Party and Auction benefiting the Forrest Spence Fund is Friday, April 8, at the Memphis Botanic Garden and features live music, silent and live auctions, as well as food and beverages from the city’s top restaurants.

What’s the one article of clothing or accessory you can’t live without or will never throw away?

“After our son passed away, my husband had a sapphire and diamond ring made for me to wear in memory of Forrest. The sapphire is his birthstone and is in the middle of the ring. Surrounding the sapphire are diamonds that symbolize us holding him. It is the most special thing I own (along with my wedding ring). I don’t leave home without those two rings on.”

Brittany on the carousel

Chantal Johnson at 20twelve chose for Brittany: M. Patmos dress, $598; Iro jacket, $1,138; M2 Malletier bag, $1,600; Allie Rox necklace, $200

Paula Crutchfield

Veterinary Assistant, Humane Society of Memphis & Shelby County

The Humane Society of Memphis & Shelby County is a nonprofit animal shelter funded by donations from animal lovers. “We don’t receive any government funding for our mission of rescuing injured and abused animals,” says Paula. “Memphis has a serious pet overpopulation problem that leads to thousands of adoptable pets being euthanized, simply because there’s no place for them to go,” she says. “We offer several programs for spay/neuter assistance at the Humane Society, which you can learn more about on our website. The Humane Society’s fifth annual 36-Hour Mega Adoptathon is April 22 and 23. “We’ll be open from 6 a.m. to midnight on both of those days, offering $36 adoption fees for all of our animals, which includes spaying/neutering, microchipping and vaccinations. We want everyone who is considering adding a new pet to their family to come to our adoptathon and hopefully meet their forever friend  …  a dog or cat!”

What’s the one article of clothing or accessory you can’t live without or will never throw away?

“One accessory that I would never throw away is a Best Friend necklace that I have. I got it with my group of six friends five years ago, and I will never part with it.”

Paula is wearing XXX from Lansky 126.

From Lansky 126, Paula is wearing: RD Style fringe tank sweater, $85; Lysse floral leggings, $88; black linen wedge by TOMS, $69; Susan Love bracelets, $55

Lacey Craig

Communications Director, Citizens for Community Values, Inc.

Citizens for Community Values was founded to protect the community from sexual exploitation in its many forms. “The ‘A Way Out’ program is what really grabbed my heart when I started working for CCV in 2009,” says Lacey. “‘A Way Out’ is a long-term, Christ-centered program for women who wish to permanently leave sex trafficking. We help women escape the darkness of sex trafficking through mentoring, Bible study and counseling. We also teach intensive classes focused on healing from past wounds, life skills, addictions and job readiness.”

CCV is funded solely through individuals, churches and community organizations. “We have an arsenal of wonderful volunteers who help us accomplish this tremendous task through individual mentoring, teaching classes, offering rides, and donating clothing, meals and household supplies,” says Lacey.

Each October, CCV has a fundraiser to support its programs. “This is a wonderful event where you can come hear testimonies of women who were formerly trapped in prostitution and have received help from our program and have begun a new life,” she says. Look for more information in early fall or sign up for the CCV email newsletter to learn more about the organization and the fundraiser.

What’s the one article of clothing or accessory you can’t live without or will never throw away?

“My J. Crew Field Jacket! I wear it in every season, right or wrong.”

lacey looks amazing!

From Oak Hall, Lacey is wearing: Trina Turk Felisha dress in black, $258; Donald Pliner Treva pump in magenta, $248; Loeffler Randall tab clutch in silver, $250; Diane Cotton wide cuff in silver, $395; Alexis Bittar, Diamond Dust dew drop earrings in warm gray, $150

Latrina Moore

Client, Hope House

Hope House is a nonprofit organization that helps children and families affected by HIV/AIDS, providing resources from housing and parenting to financial classes and GED tutoring. Latrina’s children attend the Hope House daycare. “The work that Hope House does and has done continually provides support for those who would otherwise not have it, ” says Latrina. “It is also a safe haven where we can come get help, guidance and a listening ear without being judged.”

The Hope House Hoedown for Hope is April 22 at the Agricenter’s Red Barn. “We hope everyone will wear their best Western duds and join us for a rootin’ tootin’ good time,” says Latrina. “All proceeds from the event support our children’s programs that provide quality early childhood education to children 6 weeks to 5 years old who are affected by HIV and living in poverty.”

What’s the one article of clothing or accessory you can’t live without or will never throw away?

“A sweater I received from Maria’s Boutique. It’s my favorite sweater. I will never get rid of it. (Maria’s Boutique is what Latrina calls any clothes donated by Maria Randall, the director of Social Services at Hope House.)

white jeans!

From Lansky 126, Latrina is wearing: Karlie chambray button up top, $79; vest by Dylan, $95; scarf by Look by M, $35; Citzens of Humanity Avedon ultra skinny ankle jeans in optic white, $178; Beatrix clog by TOMS, $98; Virtue arrowhead necklace, $110

Emily T. Thomas

Executive Director, The Cancer Card XChange

Instead of a party or presents for herself for her 40th birthday, Emily Thomas asked for gift cards to give to cancer patients and their families — and thus was born the Cancer Card XChange. The inspiration for the gift cards was an experience Emily and her husband, Joel, had when she was diagnosed with oral cancer while pregnant with her fourth son. “Friends gave us a gift card to Pappasito’s in Houston, TX, on our first visit to MD Anderson. A couple of years later, we collected gift cards for friends who were facing cancer.” To date, CCX has sent 2,009 cancer patients throughout the country and Canada gifts filled with $184,468 in gift cards. “As a person who has experienced a cancer diagnosis, I know that a small act of kindness can make a huge impact on a person. I want to make a tangible difference in someone’s life while they are faced with uncertainty. A gift card or two will not make cancer go away, but it can brighten someone’s day. And sometimes that is enough.” CCX does direct fundraising through its Facebook and Twitter feeds, and contributions to the organization can be made through its website.

What’s the one article of clothing or accessory you can’t live without or will never throw away?

“My mother was much more of a jewelry person than I am, but something of hers I treasure is her classic gold slide bracelet. I feel like she is with me whenever I wear it. It always gives me a boost of confidence.”

Emily's spouting a pop of blue with that Stella bag!

From 20twelve, Emily is wearing: Zero Maria Cornejo dress, $895; Stella McCartney bag, $1,575; Aurelie Bidermann lapis earrings, $925

Belinda Simpson

Director of Community Outreach, A Step Ahead Foundation

A Step Ahead Foundation empowers the women of Shelby County to plan their lives, plan their family and plan their futures. “We provide free, long-acting reversible contraceptives to any woman in Shelby County who is not ready to begin or increase her family,” says Belinda. “Pregnancy prevention is a conversation for everyone. It is so important that we educate women so that they have the contraceptive resources that they need to make an informed decision about their lives.”

By providing access to long-acting reversible contraception, A Step Ahead hopes to increase positive pregnancy outcomes for both the mother and the child, lower infant mortality and improve family life. The opening night of Memphis The Musical on May 7 at Playhouse on the Square benefits A Step Ahead.

What’s the one article of clothing or accessory you can’t live without or will never throw away?

“A string of pearls that my mom gave me when I got married. I don’t just use them for special occasions — they work for jeans and a tee, as well as my Sunday best. A Southern lady always has her pearls.”

a gorgeous look for Belinda!

From 20twelve, Belinda is wearing: Zero Carnejo dress, $788; Allie Rox necklace, $495; Francois metal gold cuff by Aurelie Bidermann, $780

Tracy McFall

Senior Community Manager, Making Strides Memphis

Making Strides Memphis is part of a nationwide network of breast cancer awareness walks, and its mission is to finish the fight against breast cancer. Proceeds help the American Cancer Society to fund groundbreaking breast cancer research and provide breast cancer education and resources. “My job is very personal,” says Tracy. “I lost my mother, my best friend, to breast cancer on my 38th birthday. So for Mom, I fight breast cancer every day.” Tracy says that cancer never stops, so neither does she; she not only educates women and the greater community about the importance of breast health, she raises money, too. “Through my position, I am able to fight back for all the birthdays my mom has missed, and I am able to celebrate other women who get to have more birthdays! I work every day so other families don’t get the news, ‘You have breast cancer.'” The 16th annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer is scheduled for Sunday, October 23, at the Liberty Bowl.

What’s the one article of clothing or accessory you can’t live without or will never throw away?

“Pearls! Lots of pearls! I have my mom’s pearl collection, and now I have a collection of my own. Mine are mixed with leather and other metals, while hers were more traditional. They all mix and match so easily. My daughter has gotten in on the fun, and we wear pearls almost constantly! Pearls take me from the grocery to a gala and are always spot on!”

Tracy's rocking the black and white look

From Oak Hall, Tracy is wearing: Vince Classic Trouser in Black, $265;
Joie Rancher Blouse in porcelain, $158; Owen jacket by Alice + Olivia, $550; junior lock clutch in thistle by Loeffler Randall, $375; Diane Cotton Jewelry mirrored glass necklace, $710

Marnisha Bodde

Finalist, LITE Memphis

LITE Memphis (Let’s Innovate through Education) equips high school students of all socioeconomic backgrounds with the leadership skills they need to impact their communities. LITE focuses on three skills — problem solving, goal setting and organization — and empowers students to use those skills by helping students launch social venture ideas to improve the city. “Becoming a LITE Memphis finalist gave me the opportunity to combine my two passions and host my own environmental fashion show, Recycle Runway,” says Marnisha. She hosted clothing drives at local high schools, then brought together a team of teens to redesign, style and model the clothing. “I want people to learn that there’s more than one way to recycle and to save the earth. Yes, everyone knows about recycling plastic and paper, but what’s beyond that? What about the clothing we all wear every day? What do we do when clothes become outdated and out of style?” she asks. “I want people to learn that clothing is a constant, never-ending cycle … everything comes back around. We just have to wait.” You can follow Recycle Runway on Twitter and Instagram.

What’s the one article of clothing or accessory you can’t live without or will never throw away?

“I can’t live without my personalized name necklace. I got it when I was around 6 or 7. It’s a gold necklace with my name inscribed in cursive and my birthstone hanging from it. I absolutely love gold jewelry, and I’ve had it for so long I can’t imagine not having it.”

Marvelous Marnisha!

Marnisha is just 17, and she’s wearing from 20twelve: R13 denim, $516; Sea top, $316; Majestic cami, $98; Jerome Dreyfuss bag, $627

bracelts!

Details, details! Marnisha’s wearing two Aurelie Bidermann bracelets, $180 each, and an Aurelie Bidermann twig bracelet as a cuff on her upper arm, $150

One last look:

Our models!

One more look at our gorgeous models!

A great, big, huge THANK YOU to:

  • All of our beautiful models — we LOVED meeting you!
  • Tiffany Bishop and Kate France of The Skin Clinics
  • Kaitlyn Harbin and Mallory Reynolds of Rachel’s Salon & Day Spa
  • Kate Hamblin of Oak Hall for the fabulous styling
  • The stellar boutiques: Oak Hall, 20twelve and Lansky 126
  • Laura Doty and the team at The Memphis Zoo, for letting us take over the China Tea Room and China exhibit as the beautiful backdrop for our fashion shoot
  • And finally, to the fabulous Micki Martin, for the breathtaking photography of our models at the zoo

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