Project Row Houses (PRH), is pleased to announce its 2011-12 Annual Fundraiser honoring Stuart Kensinger and Theola Petteway on Saturday, March 3rd at 7:00 p.m. at the historic Eldorado Ballroom. This annual party is a fun way to support this nationally-recognized, truly community-based arts and social service organization.
This year the party is about community and “Community Heroes” or people who have made a positive difference in the places where they live. This will not be a traditional “gala” party but something more casual and fun. In keeping with the spirit of Earnestine Courtney and the legacy of the Eldorado Ballroom, we will have great music, art and food. We will also have an “After Party” for community and artists. At this event we are honoring long-time board members Theola Petteway and Stuart Kensinger with our first annual Earnestine Courtney Community Service Award named in honor of the godmother of Project Row Houses (see below). This award recognizes individuals who have exhibited dedication, courage and passion in their work in the community. These two individuals have worked diligently as board members and volunteers both with PRH and the Row House CDC, as well as in their own communities. They have been an integral part of PRH’s success and have helped in planning its future.
Earnestine W. Courtney Award for Community Service
EARNESTINE W. COURTNEY, who passed away in 2003 at 94 years of age, lived behind the row houses that make up PRH in Houston's Third Ward for over 50 years. She says the neighborhood was lovely when she moved in but began to decline in the late seventies and early eighties, thanks to "dope and prostitution and everything else." Men stripped down stolen cars there. Boys kicked in her door. Dead bodies turned up. So Miss Courtney was pleased when volunteers for Project Row Houses swarmed over the area in 1994 to turn 7 of the 22 abandoned houses into art installation houses. And she was riled to see boys throwing rocks at the newly repaired roofs so Miss Courtney came out of her house packing a 357 Magnum pistol. End of rocks. In the early days, she provided water and electricity for the volunteers and many times lunch money and iced tea. She was a guiding spirit from PRH’s inception and continued to support PRH up until her death. This award was created in her honor.
Theola has served on the PRH Board of Directors for over ten years. Since 1999, since she has served as Executive Director of OST/Almeda Corridors Redevelopment Authority which provides a financing mechanism to stimulate development/redevelopment in an inner city area near downtown Houston. She is also a Past President of the Board of Directors of the Row House Community Development Corporation and an active volunteer for many community and civic organizations including serving as the Coordinator for the Third Ward Community Cloth Cooperative, a coalition of over 500 organizations, institutions and groups in Houston's historic Third Ward.
Stuart started working with PRH over ten years ago during the time that PRH was gifted the Eldorado Building. After working with PRH board members on the Eldorado, Stuart joined the Board of Directors where he focused on financial issues as well as strategic planning. He also served on the Row House CDC Board of Directors. Stuart is a board member and moving force behind Kids4Peace, an educational organization that brings American, Israeli and Palestinian families together to spark dialogue and understanding and build lasting relationships that can lead to a permanent and sustainable peace in the Middle East.