Harwood International’s Hope Fest Benefit Concert Raises $230,000 in its Inaugural Year

By Kristie Ramirez & Rhonda Reinhart / October 2017 / Modern Luxury

Katelyn & Oliver Barbier-Mueller
With casual new fundraiser Hope Fest, these newlyweds find their calling in a philanthropic Dallas dynasty.

As a special education teacher at Cornerstone Achievement Center and a former instructional specialist at Connecting Point of Park Cities, Katelyn Barbier-Mueller saw firsthand how much good the organizations could do for children and adults with special needs. She also saw how many resources were required to achieve their goals, and she knew both groups needed support. So early this year, Katelyn and her husband, Oliver—whose parents, Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller, have long been involved in Dallas’ art and charity scene—decided to debut an annual fundraiser to help give back to the organizations Katelyn loves so much. Thus was born Hope Fest, a come-as-you-are affair with live music, raffle items and reasonably priced tickets (from $60) that attract a crowd of all ages. Sponsored by Harwood International—Oliver’s family’s real estate development firm—the event took place Sept. 30 and also benefited Love Like You Mean It, a charity that aims to change the treatment of women and girls in India. It didn’t take a village to pull off planning Hope Fest, but it did take a family: Oliver and his brother, Alexis, offered their bar and restaurant, Happiest Hour, as the venue; Alexis’ wife, Bridget, helped get the word out on social media; and, of course, the Barbier-Mueller matriarch, Ann, contributed her time and expertise. “There’s one quote she told me in the very beginning when I was panicking about everything,” Katelyn says about her mother-in-law. “She said, ‘Even if you can give each organization only $500, that’s $500 more than they had the day before.’ I’ve tried to keep that mindset—as long as we’re able to give back even just a little, it makes a difference.”