Charitable organizations and creative fund-raisers go hand in hand. What’s more fun than dressing up for a good cause? Gala season has begun, and so has the search for the best party attire. From gorgeous gowns to sassy cocktail dresses, the stores are stocked with the perfect attire for your function. Here we salute four very different organizations and some of their committed volunteers, all of whom work tirelessly for these groups and many others. Their exciting events are coming up, so get your tickets, and your gowns, and gear up to support St. Louis’ charities! 

Autism Speaks…

…works to change the future for all who struggle with autism spectrum disorders by funding global biomedical research into the causes, prevention, treatments and cure for autism, and to raising public awareness about autism and its effects on individuals, families and society.

Fall Fever Fashion Show

    The sixth annual Fall Fever Fashion Show is scheduled for Sept. 12 at Plaza Frontenac, with proceeds benefiting Autism Speaks.  The evening features a fashion show from Saks Fifth Avenue and includes children’s fashion modeled by the organization’s kids. There will be opportunities to support local research programs and family service program initiatives via sponsorship and auctioning. Interested in sponsoring a program by purchasing a table? Contact Also coming up: Walk Now for Autism, Oct. 10 in Forest Park. Visit for more information.

On Rebecca: fuchsia dress, $298; crystal necklaces, $58 each;  pearl/crystal earrings, $68. On McKay: dress, $388; wide crystal bangle, $128; medium crystal bangles, $128/set of three; thin crystal bangles, $88/set of three. All items from BCBG Plaza Frontenac.


Opera Theatre of St. Louis…

…aims to create productions of the highest quality and to communicate the richness and power of live opera and musical theater to audiences of all ages and backgrounds.

The 34th Festival Season

    On the evening of May 9, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis will celebrate the opening of the 34th Festival Season and a new production of John Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles. The Sally S. Levy Opera Center will be transformed into the Palace of Versailles for this black-tie event, where guests will enjoy an elegant French dinner and a brief performance featuring 2009’s principal singers, followed by dancing. Proceeds from the Spring Gala will benefit the company’s professional development for young artists, including programs for Gerdine Young Artists and Behind the Curtain theater artisans, as well as the company’s education initiatives, which serve more than 11,000 children and 4,000 adults each year. For gala tickets, call 963-4222.

On Cathy: Jacket by Armani, $1,175; black patent Manolo Blahnik ‘Grego’ sandals, $685. On Veronica: Dress by Nicole Miller, $440; Manolo Blahnik ‘M-Piasan’ sandals, $725. All from Neiman Marcus.


The Press Club of Metropolitan St. Louis…

…is a professional, social and charitable organization of people who make, cover and influence the news.

Media Persons of the Year Dinner Gala

    The Press Club’s ‘Media Persons of the Year’ dinner gala, honoring KMOV TV’s Larry Conners and Vickie Newton, is Wednesday, April 1, at the Chase Park Plaza’s Khorassan Room. The gala begins with cocktails at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 7 p.m. and then a roast and toast of the two honorees by some of St. Louis’ most prominent broadcasters, journalists and executives. The event supports education by awarding scholarships and fellowships to future journalists, as well as funding for the St. Louis Media Archives at the St. Louis Public Library. For ticket information, contact St. Louis Press Club at 636-230-1973.

On Joan: green silk blouse by Marisa Baratelli, $549. On Alice: coral silk jacket by Frascara, $559. On Debra: black tunic/pant by Jonnie Leigh, $939; crystal earrings, $89. All from Distinctions.


Center of Contemporary Arts

…is a multidisciplinary community arts center that provides exceptional arts education through programs, performances and exhibitions, and includes performances in its 400-seat theater, educational classes, camps and workshops.

COCAcabana MADness

    This year’s themed COCA gala is COCAcabana MADness, with celebrity special guest Jon Hamm, on Saturday, May 2, at COCA. The event is going ‘mad’ this year as it pays homage to the cool style of the early ‘60s and draws inspiration from the hit AMC TV series Mad Men. The event is co-chaired by Arlene Maminta Browne and Stanley Browne, Patti and Tim Hand, Cary Schneithorst Wolfner, and David Schmid. For more information go to

On Arlene: yellow gown by JS Boutique, $178; crystal earrings, $98. On Cary: blue gown by Aidan Mattox, $408. All from Nordstrom. Cary’s jewelry: 18kt. gold ‘The Patchwork’ cuff and 18kt. gold/diamond ‘The Mondrian’ earrings by Sheryl Aufrichtig of Sacred Object (available from What A Girl Wants Fine Jewelry).


Assisted by Carrie McMahon & Reena Roy Shot on location at The Four Seasons Hotel, St. Louis

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