Matthew McConaughey playing on a bongo with the Dixie Chicks and Jack Ingram singing Miranda Lambert’s popular “Tinman” song.
Those are two things you’d have seen if you made it out to this year’s Mack, Jack and McConaughey Gala. Hosted by ESPN analyst and former University of Texas Football coach, Mack Brown, ACM award-winning artist, Jack Ingram, and actor Matthew McConaughey, the event, now in its sixth year, has become a Central Texas tradition.
Changing the lives of kids through education, health and wellness is the main focus of MJ&M. This year’s event raised a record-breaking $2.25 million.
“We started this and it’s gone beyond what we thought it would do,” said Brown. “When we look up at the Gala videos and see the charities and the awesome people who are spending a lot of money to buy things they don’t need to help the kids, this is what it’s all about.”
Money raised from this year’s Gala will benefit CureDuchenne, Dell Children’s Medical Center, HeartGift, Just Keep Livin Foundation, and The Rise School of Austin. Someone from each of the five charities spoke at the dinner portion of the Gala.
“If you can keep from crying and listen to those kids and the testimonials of what they’ve done in their lives, that’s what makes you say, okay, I got this,” said Brown. “It’s the feel-good portion of the night.”
The Dixie Chicks headlined the fundraiser portion of the event, held April 12 at the iconic Austin City Limits Live Moody Theatre. “Every year the music at MJ&M just gets better and better and this year is certainly no exception,” said Ingram. “We are honored to have the Dixie Chicks headline the Gala concert.” “It’s always fun to play in Texas and support this incredible charity event which empowers kids and saves lives, is an opportunity we are inspired to be a part of,” said Natalie Maines, lead vocalist of the Dixie Chicks.
In addition to hosting the event, the celebrities like to drop into some of the organizations they support to spend time with the kids. “It’s a big reminder of these simple things,” said McConaughey, who recently visited The Rise School of Austin. “We started our program to give kids goals, nutrition, fitness, gratitude, community service and then you ask them what they’re thankful for and they say they finally have a safe place to come after school.”
Plans are already in the works for MJ&M 2019. Next year’s event will be held April 25-26. Tickets for a table at the Gala typically start out at $1,250 for two seats.
Cover: Mack Brown, Emily Strayer, Natalie Maines, Matthew McConaughey, Martie Maguire, Jack Ingram. Photo Tyler Schmitt