Giving a damn
Reigning charity queen Heidi Dillon is ready to retire, and she’ll pass her crown to anyone who wants it.
So far, there haven’t been any takers.
“I swore on a stack of Bibles I’d never chair anything again,” she says.
A replacement as philanthropic — and unrelenting — as Dillon is unlikely. She doesn’t mince words and her ability to be authentically herself is what has made her such a force on the party circuit.
“I’m not a shrinking violet. I’m not a wallflower,” she says.
She often goes by HFD online, which stands for Heidi Fucking Dillon. Her endless personality got her cast on reality shows like “Big Rich Texas,” but she also produced her own through Morning Dew Pictures.
She’s known for dropping lines on “The Real Housewives of Dallas” like, “Most of the women in Dallas got their rich husbands because at one point they were on their knees under his desk.”
Dillon, though, vows her reality TV days are done.
“There’s no mercy. They’re free to put words in your mouth.”
Dillon swiftly climbed Dallas’ social ladder in the mid-1990s, after first volunteering for the Dallas Museum of Art, one of the epicenters of the Preston Hollow social scene. She’s chaired countless fundraising events, served on boards and founded The Fashionistas, for which she once threw a Chanel runway show in her living room.
“This is what there is to do in Dallas,” she says. “Charity is a big industry.”
Dillon may be a Turtle Creek resident, but Preston Hollow is the core of Dallas’ charity circuit. Neighbors here are most likely to host an event at their homes, volunteer for committees and donate time and money.
Preston Hollow still is home to events like the quirky No Tie Dinner and Dessert. But Dillon’s favorites, such as Fashion Night Out, have disappeared.
“Before we were stuck in our own area — Preston Hollow [proper], Turtle Creek and the Park Cities,” she says, adding that anything up north was no-man’s land. “We thought life up there was completely uncivilized.”
It’s more cohesive now, she says, which benefits newcomers. For those who are aspiring philanthropists, Dillon says to watch out for scammers, who bid on auction items they can’t afford or otherwise lie about who they are.
“I swear to you, every year, some con artist comes to town … I’ve had it with con jobs. They prey on our desire to raise money.”
Knowing when to say no is crucial, too, because chairing events “isn’t fun.”
“We really go over the top for events. We give so much thought to napkins and the cloths and the chairs. We pay unbelievable attention to the details.”
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