“It’s all about giving and loving.”
“It’s all about giving and loving.”
– Fran Fauntleroy
Fran Fauntleroy is busy. Living these days in a luxury retirement community has not induced her to lie back and put her feet up. In fact, our interview had to be squeezed in between her chopping ingredients for a mouth-watering hors d’oeuvre (tomatoes, olives, boursin cheese, and more) and having family for dinner at The Tradition-Woodway.
Food, actually, has played a central role in her life. Case in point: the upcoming fundraiser benefiting her passion of many years – Pathways for Little Feet. The November 9th fundraiser, “Little Plates Chef Competition,” will feature 13 chefs offering delicious tastings in six categories! But more of that later.
First, about Pathways for Little Feet. “In 2008, I was sitting next to Kerr and Jill Taylor at a dinner, and they had just returned from Russia,” said Fran. “They had visited an orphanage, and they saw this one little boy with his arms up. After returning home, Kerr said he kept seeing this haunting image and kept responding, ‘I have to help orphans be adopted into loving homes.’ Out of my mouth popped, ‘I want to help you.’ It was a God thing.”
The result was that the three at dinner eventually founded Pathways for Little Feet. It is not an adoption agency; the non-profit provides loans at the end of the adoption process when the family is matched and when money is so often needed. (Pathways now gives post-adoption counseling and therapy grants for the child or the family as a newer program.)
“We give an interest-free loan of $10,000 that the adoptive parents pay back when they can. There are very few who haven’t,” says Fran. The vetting process is strict. “Are they from a faith-based family, and do they go to church? Do they have enough in their bank account to pay back the loan?” she says.
A hard-working volunteer since day one with Pathways for Little Feet, Fran says she has resigned as a volunteer there three times! Today, she is still volunteering and serves as their Director of Advancement Emeritus.
Fran’s talents have not been limited to spreading the word about Pathways for Little Feet. After her three children were in High School and college, six of her friends sat on the floor and planned a cookbook, Six Flew over the Cuckoo’s Kitchens. They made money, printing two more cookbooks and giving a percentage to non-profits.
A subsequent project involved the restaurant owners of Houston, who were not close among themselves – but Fran as well as Edd Hendee (Taste of Texas) were friends with all of them. (Food again.) They all came to an agreement – “We chefs should get together.” The result was a series of twenty cookbooks and menu guides. Fran would go to bookstores and sell 300 in a day! She became the publisher. “I had more fun!” The chefs, she says, enjoy a camaraderie today.
Her beloved husband, John, passed away in 2003, but Fran is now taking pleasure in her large family of three children, nine grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren. They visit her at The Tradition-Woodway, and she cannot speak highly enough of this community, the family-like atmosphere, and its Executive Director, Dan Alvarez. “If we ever have a problem, we call Dan and the staff, and it’s immediately taken care of!” she said.
Fran is still in the midst of an extremely inspiring and productive life, so I ask her, who served as her inspiration? “My mother and father,” she says without hesitation. “They were very loving, giving, and loved people. Another inspiring lady in my life was Isla Reckling’s grandmother, Isla Carroll Sterling Turner. She said, ‘To whom much is given, much is required.’ It has stuck with me all this time.”
Fran ended with, “It’s all about giving and loving.”
Linda Faulkner Johnston – The Tradition
About the Little Plates Chef Competition & Cocktail Reception fundraiser:
Chairs: Kriste & John F. Sullivan, III
Thursday, November 9, 2023
6:30 to 9:30 p.m.
The Houstonian Hotel, Grand Ballroom
111 North Post Oak Lane
Houston, TX 77024
To register, go to “Events” at www.pathwaysforlittlefeet.org.
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