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Rolando Diaz joins Laura Bush in charity event

Debbie (Faulkner ’77) Clinton, First Lady Laura Bush and Randy Clinton (’77)
Debbie (Faulkner ’76) Clinton, former first lady Laura Bush and Randy Clinton (’77)

Three Abilene Christian University alumni recently teamed with former first lady Laura Bush to raise money to aid families in crisis in the Fort Worth area.

Bush spoke Oct. 11 at the 25th annual Hearts and Hope Gala. The dinner raised money for the Community Enrichment Center in North Richland Hills, a non-profit including one of the largest food pantries in Tarrant County, transitional housing, and services to victims of domestic violence, among other outreach programs.

Randy Clinton (’77) is executive director of the center, and he and his wife, Debbie (Faulkner ’76), wanted to try something new for their annual fundraising event.

“For several years we’ve had a luncheon with a style show and speaker focused on our domestic violence housing program,” Clinton said. “That was successful, but we felt it was time to change it up. The new idea came from our staff and committee. We had a donor who encouraged us to step out of our comfort zone and have a paid speaker. We decided to go out on a limb financially with Mrs. Bush, and it was the right choice.”

Bush spoke primarily about her experiences as teacher and the families she encountered similar to the families reached by the enrichment center.

Rolando Diaz (’79)
Rolando Diaz (’79)

The Clintons also asked Rolando Diaz (’79), a well-known Dallas artist, to join the cause by painting live with musical accompaniment during the dinner. The painting was then auctioned as well.

The dinner raised about $150,000 to aid the work of the Community Enrichment Center.

“We are very pleased with the outcome, both from a financial standpoint and our exposure to the community,” Clinton said. “The CEC works to restore hope, share God’s love and change lives in our community. That message was incorporated throughout the evening, and several donors told us that this was the best fundraising event they had attended.”
Diaz was on campus Oct. 18 during Homecoming at the grand opening of ACU’s Maker Lab. The lab capitalizes on the maker movement, which combines cutting-edge technologies and old-fashioned ingenuity in projects spanning robotics, electronics, photography, rocketry, food and computing. Diaz presented a painting with 3D elements created in conjunction with Maker Lab members.