The Humble Beginnings Luncheon, now in its 20th year, is normally an upbeat and elegant mid-day luncheon affair that typically draws more than 700 social, civic and business leaders from across the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, with proceeds directed to Austin Street Center whose distinct mission is to provide safe shelter and meet the basic needs of the most vulnerable homeless.  With COVID-19’s prevalence within our community, we were forced to make the hard, yet prudent decision, to pivot our event to an online virtual event, thus working to protect the health and safety of our guests.

In addition to the performances by Leslie Odom Jr. this year, the Austin Street Center’s Norm Hitzges Distinguished Service Award will be presented to Nancy Ann and Ray Hunt, for their continued service and dedication to our homeless neighbors, the wider Dallas community and to Austin Street Center.  Simply stated, this event is truly about the mission of Austin Street Center.

2020 Luncheon Host Committee

Rev. Richie Butler
Pastor, St. Luke UMC

Co-Chair Richie Butler is the Senior Managing Director of the Prescott Realty Group and is the Pastor of St. Luke “Community” United Methodist Church.  Formerly serving as Senior Pastor, Butler’s leadership at St. Paul United Methodist Church drove the church’s spiritual renewal and financial growth, further leading to his emergence as a community leader on social issues. Richie is a gifted preacher, teacher, servant leader, and visionary. 

Butler has extensive real estate development, finance and institutional fund management experience.  Butler’s current civic involvements include Communities Foundation of Texas Board, Children’s Medical Center of Dallas’ Board, Southern Methodist University’s Board of Trustees, a member of the Pension Real Estate Association.

Chris Kleinert
CEO, Hunt Consolidated

Co-Chair Chris Kleinert is the CEO and President of Hunt Consolidated Investment , LLC and co-CEO of its holding company, Hunt Consolidated, Inc.

Chris serves of the Board of Trustees of the Communities Foundation of Texas, the Dallas Advisory Board of Directors of Amegy Bank and the Neely School of Business International Board of Visitors at Texas Christian University.  He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Cotton Bowl Athletic Association, Executive Board of Directors of the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University, 501ops, and New York-based Catcafire, Inc.

Richie Butler
Chris Kleinert

Host Committee
Nancy and Randy Best
Ayo and Darwin Bruce
Megan and John Burkhart
Neisha Strambler-Butler and
Richie Butler
Lynette and Nate Christensen
Leigh Crow

Joe Flores
Catherine and Dennis Grindinger
Ashlee and Chris Kleinert 
Maryann and Frank Mihalopoulos
Carolyn and David Miller
Julie Rogers
Susan and David Rosenberg
Shelly Slater
Gail and Gerald Turner
Kathy Vassallo

2020 Luncheon Featured Guest

Leslie Odom Jr.

Tony and Grammy Award-Winning Performer, Leslie Odom, Jr. is best known for his breakout role as ‘Aaron Burr’ in the smash hit Broadway musical, Hamilton. Odom Jr. received a 2015 Drama Desk Award nomination and won the Tony Award for “Best Actor in a Musical” for his performance. He also won a Grammy Award as a principal soloist on the original cast recording.

Odom Jr. was most recently seen on the big screen starring alongside Cynthia Erivo and Joe Alwyn in “Harriet,” the story of Harriet Tubman’s escape from slavery and transformation into one of America’s greatest heroes responsible for freeing hundreds of slaves. Spring 2019, he released a book – Failing UP: How to Take Risks, Aim Higher and Never Stop Learning. Written in the style of a commencement speech, the book brings together what Odom, Jr. has learned in life so far, tapping into universal themes of starting something new, following your passions, discovering your own potential, and surrounding yourself with the right people. In 2018, Odom Jr. released “Mr” – his first album of original songs.

About Austin Street Center

Since 1983, Austin Street Center is a non-profit organization based in Dallas providing safe shelter and basic needs to help individuals find a permanent place to call home.

For more than 36 years, Austin Street Center has been at the forefront working tirelessly to bring an end to homelessness within the City of Dallas and surrounding areas, while sheltering and providing basic necessities, normally for 400 of the most vulnerable nightly. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, our operations shifted dramatically, now serving as a 24/7 shelter operation, coupled with a reduced service capacity, as a result of recommended CDC Guidelines.  Despite the pandemic, our work has not ceased – we are still finding permanent homes for those who need us, with more than 100 clients housed since January.

Located in downtown Dallas, Austin Street Center serves men, ages 45 and older, and women, ages 18 and older, with the individual support they need to transition out of homelessness, including shelter, food, clothing, health and mental health services, spiritual support, employment and education programs. Austin Street Center provides unconditional support for each person regardless of faith, sexuality, or circumstance, and develops innovative solutions for housing – working outside the traditional approach to homelessness.