DALLAS, TX – February 14, 2023 — Big Thought, an impact education nonprofit, proudly announces that multi award-winning media personality, author and actor Bevy Smith will be the esteemed host for its BIG NIGHT fundraising event, taking place on March 4, 2023 from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. at The Factory in Deep Ellum. The Gracie Award winner and Sirius XM “Bevelations” host is slated to grace the stage, to honor numerous creative visionaries and community leaders for their commitment to BIG ideas and their Big Thought Impact. The evening will include a cocktail reception, seated dinner, youth-led entertainment, and a vibrant live auction of experiences with an impactful paddle raise.  

“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,” said Bevy Smith. “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.”

In addition to Bevy Smith, big names have gathered in support of BIG NIGHT, including the distinguished set of honorary and event chairs who have demonstrated influential leadership of significance throughout the Dallas community. The 2023 chairs include:

DeMarcus Lawrence, Dallas Cowboys Defensive End and Honorary Chair for BIG NIGHT further adds, “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.”

  • Honorary Chairs: DeMarcus & Sasha Lawrence and Donna Wilhelm, and
  • Event Chairs: Lynn & Allan McBee and Christa & Ketric Sanford

“The programs and services that Big Thought provides helps to close the opportunity gap for our youth that need it the most,” said Lynn and Allan McBee. “The money raised from BIG NIGHT will go far in helping to achieve that goal,” Christa and Ketric Sanford added. “We hope to have a great response from new and steadfast Big Thought supporters to make this event a success.”


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

The Mitch Jericho Visionary Voice Award recognizes a young person who has participated in Big Thought programming and has created their own pathway to success with positive impact in the community. The 2023 Mitch Jericho Visionary Voice Award will go to Oak Cliff native Aria Jones, who currently serves as Big Thought’s Site Guide for the Community Action Team.

The Gigi Antoni Courageous Creator Award recognizes an individual who has taken bold, innovative approaches to empower youth to create their own social change. With over 31 years of experience in the Juvenile Department, Roger Taylor as Pre-Adjudication Manager for the Dallas County Juvenile Center is the 2023 Honoree, and has been tasked with managing the programs and services for all youth referred to the juvenile criminal courts in Dallas County. He has been described by colleagues as “innovative” in the ways that he partners with the private sector for social change.

The Edith O’Donnell Legacy Leadership Award is one that recognizes an outstanding community leader who has committed a lifetime of work in youth leadership, and one who is also paving the way to close the opportunity gap. Dr. Michael Hinojosa served as the former Superintendent for Dallas Independent School District, and has over 25 years of superintendent/CEO experience for six public education systems, including two of the 25 largest school systems in America. Dr. Hinojosa has received multiple distinguished honors for his outstanding service and will be accepting the Edith O’Donnell Legacy Leadership Award honor at BIG NIGHT.

“We couldn’t be more excited for the return of BIG NIGHT, which will allow us to closely connect and celebrate with our community,” said Byron Sanders, President and CEO of Big Thought. “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.”

To view sponsorship opportunities (ranging from $5,000 to $75,000) or to purchase tickets (ranging from $300 to $1,500), please visit www.BigThought.org/BN23.