Dallas Women’s Foundation celebrated the East Dallas resident’s 90th birthday at its annual Board Alumnae gathering, entitled “Inspiring the Future.” Dedicated women leaders who have steered the foundation through 26 years, joined by special young women in their lives, gathered to honor Castleberry.
A founder of Dallas Women’s Foundation, Castleberry has been called “the godmother of the women’s rights movement in Dallas.”
The event was held at the home of Trea C. Yip, Dallas Women’s Foundation Advisory Council member, and Helen Frank, Co-Chair of the Board Alumnae Steering Committee, who presided over the festivities.
Among the 80 alumnae and guests attending were three other founders of Dallas Women’s Foundation: Virginia B. Whitehill, Joy Mankoff and Becky Sykes. Four generations of Castleberry’s family were represented as well: daughter Kimberley Saucedo, granddaughter Kailey Castleberry Saucedo, great-granddaughter Cordelia Easton and Vivian herself.
“Vivian is the inspiration and force behind a great network of women, here and around the world, who are committed to the belief that investing in women and girls is the surest way to advance positive social change,” said Roslyn Dawson Thompson, president and CEO of Dallas Women’s Foundation. “She has led the community in every aspect of women’s issues, and by her example and encouragement, empowered thousands of women to raise their voices and take action.”
Castleberry is best known for her 28 years as women’s editor and first female editor at the Dallas Times Herald, beginning in 1956. In addition to interviewing seven First Ladies and numerous other noteworthy individuals, she transformed the women’s pages into a forum for tackling tough issues facing women from domestic violence to civil rights. Like many ground-breakers, she ruffled some feathers – notably those of male editors – but the community supported her and her trailblazing work.
Castleberry’s accomplishments don’t stop there. She is the author of four books and in the 1980s led citizen diplomat trips to the Soviet Union. She is a founder of The Family Place (Dallas’ first women’s shelter), Women’s Issues Network, Peacemakers Incorporated and the Women’s Center in Dallas, in addition to Dallas Women’s Foundation.
This year, two progeny of Castleberry’s pioneering community leadership came together as the Dallas Women’s Foundation became the new steward of the Maura Women Helping Women Awards, which she founded in 1978.
Under Dallas Women’s Foundation’s stewardship, the awards, previously hosted by The Women’s Museum, will continue to recognize women who lead the way in improving lives for women and girls in North Texas.
Castleberry, recipient of one of the first Mauras, continues her oversight of the awards that have honored 189 leaders, including Former First Lady Laura Bush, Ebby Halliday Acers, Elaine Agather, Gloria Campos, Lyda Hill, Cynthia B. Nunn and Roslyn Dawson Thompson, president and CEO of Dallas Women’s Foundation. “The Maura Awards are revered as the premiere recognition for women who help other women,” Castleberry said.
“Dallas Women’s Foundation is the largest and most respected regional women’s fund in the world, and with its focus on investing in women as the path to social change, it is the perfect home for the Maura Awards.”
Castleberry lives in East Dallas with her husband Curtis W. Castleberry. Together they have raised five daughters and have 14 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.