Texas Council on Family Violence to Honor Mary Kay Ash’s Great Granddaughter- Jessica Bair

Academy Award Winning Actress Marlee Matlin & Texas House Speaker Joe Straus Will Be Featured Speakers at Honoring Women Event


Austin, Texas – The Honoring Women in Our Lives luncheon recognizes the outstanding contributions of domestic violence advocates and raises public awareness and funding in support of the Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV).

The honorees this year are Jessica Bair, Mary Kay Ash’s great granddaughter, Houston City Councilwoman Ellen Cohen, who served as the head of the largest domestic violence shelter in Texas, the Houston Area Women’s Center, for nearly two decades, Helen Knaggs, the first Hispanic lobbyist in Texas and longtime advocate for domestic violence victims and Verizon and the Verizon Foundation, one of the leading corporations in the United States dedicated to helping victims of domestic violence.

Jessica Bair is following in her great grandmother’s footsteps in service to others. Mary Kay Ash established The Mark Kay Foundation in 1996 to fund research for cancers affecting women and expanded its mission in 2001 to provide funding to domestic violence prevention and awareness programs. The Foundation has given $28 million to domestic violence programs. Jessica volunteers at The Foundation and assists in all of the important work to help victims of domestic violence. The Foundation awards grants annually to domestic violence shelters and helps fund domestic violence programs in the United States and around the world.

Jessica Bair says she is honored to receive the Youth Visionary Award and carry on the legacy of her great grandmother, “My passion is helping victims of domestic violence. I am in awe of The Mary Kay Foundation. The Foundation is very personal and is near and dear to my heart. It is a way the family can stay involved and carry on my great grandmother’s legacy of service to others. I want The Mary Kay Foundation to carry on forever.”

Jessica will graduate in May of 2012 from Southern Methodist University with her Master’s of Science and Social Work. She also works as a counselor in the Dallas Independent School District and has volunteered her time in Dallas working at the Genesis Women’s Shelter and in Austin working at loveisrespct.org, the National Dating Abuse Helpline and The National Domestic Violence Hotline.

“Jessica represents the next generation of visionary leadership for young women who are committed to helping victims of domestic violence. She is carrying on the tradition of philanthropy, started by her great grandmother Mary Kay Ash a half century ago and continuing the strong legacy of service to others, said Gloria A. Terry, TCFV President. “This event is part of TCFV’s efforts to increase awareness in the community about domestic violence and provide a positive message about women who touch our lives and affect our character forever,” said Terry.

Academy Award Winning actress Marlee Matlin will be the keynote speaker for the event. Matlin received worldwide critical acclaim for her motion picture debut in Children of a Lesser God, earning her the Academy Award for Best Actress. At age 21, she became the youngest recipient of the Best Actress Oscar, making her one of only four actresses to receive that honor for a film debut. Matlin serves on the celebrity board for the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus will also be a featured Speaker. The Speaker has authored legislation to protect victims of domestic violence and has been a leader as Speaker protecting victims of crime. KVUE anchor Terri Gruca will emcee the luncheon.

TCFV Honoring Women in Our Lives Luncheon” will be hosted at the Four Seasons. The luncheon will be held from 11:30 p.m. — 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 3, 2012 to benefit the Texas Council on Family Violence. Honorary Chairs for the event are Texas House Speaker Joe Straus & Julie Straus and Event Chairman and Sponsors Craig Hester of Hester Capital Management, LLC and Paul Holubec of Plains Capital Bank. Tables and individual tickets are still available for the event. For more information call Kristen Delong at 512-794-1133 or rsvp@tcfv.org or go directly to the website to purchase tables for the event or tickets.



The Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV), formed in 1978, is one of the largest domestic violence coalitions in the nation. TCFV promotes safe and healthy relationships by supporting service providers, facilitating strategic prevention efforts, and creating opportunities for freedom from domestic violence.