Every year, Baptist Health Foundation’s Bolo Bash pulls out all the stops to raise money for worthy causes in health care. Funding touches every corner of the health system’s healing ministry, from nursing school scholarships to bolstering behavioral health services. Proceeds from this year’s Bash will be used to raise the standard of care for women and children across the state – regardless of their financial situation – by renovating and expanding Baptist’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and maternal and infant care areas.
One way the foundation keeps guests coming back each year is through a star-studded lineup of special guests and celebrity moderators. The impressive list of past speakers includes names like Joey Lauren Adams, Linda Gray and Susan Lucci. This year is no less exciting, as renowned women’s fashion designer Jude Connally Zimmerman will be showcasing some of her favorite looks – which can be found at upscale department stores such as Dillard’s – at the luncheon on Oct. 12. She will also attend the more intimate reception on Oct. 11, at the home of inaugural Power of Purpose honoree Greg Hatcher, and his wife, Lee.
Jude knows on a personal level how important it is to fund health care for women and children. Her mother – a mom of seven – worked with children for 30 years as an oncology nurse. Her eldest sister was also a trauma nurse. “The women in my life that I admired were in the medical profession,” Jude says. She’s also spent her fair share of time around the NICU and knows the importance of having quality maternal care, as her eldest son was born prematurely.
She emphasized that any avenue of giving is a worthwhile one, whether that’s through medicine or another career field. “I was raised to be purposeful and give what you can,” she says, “but I was never going to do it through a needle and blood. That’s why I chose fashion.”
Jude builds her looks from the fabric up to create pieces that are comfortable and low maintenance, while still being the epitome of style. Her clothing philosophy, which is centered on uplifting and celebrating women, resonates deeply with this year’s area of purpose and the theme of this year’s luncheon.
“I love seeing women feel good about themselves when they put clothes on,” Jude says. “We can say what we want about clothing – it makes the woman, it doesn’t make the woman – but it really can change your perception of yourself when you find something that makes you feel good in your own skin.”
The main event of the Bolo Bash luncheon will be a fashion show that features employees and former patients of Baptist Health – more specifically, NICU nurses and the mothers of NICU patients. Jude explains that the women celebrated at Bolo Bash are exactly the kinds of people she hopes to empower with her clothing. “My brand is dressing extraordinary women,” she says. “These women would all describe themselves as ordinary – ‘extra’ ordinary, even. But when you put those together, that’s what they are: extraordinary. That type of woman doesn’t look for accolades and kudos, but they’re the ones that really should be praised.”
The show will focus on fall-inspired looks that will evoke the upcoming holiday season. “We want to empower all of the women to be the joy,” Jude says, “and to recognize that they usually are the joy.” Jude’s style, which she calls “dopamine dressing,” will play on the fact that looking good and feeling good go hand in hand. The looks featured at Bolo Bash will use fashion to channel the light these women bring to others and their communities every day.
Bolo Bash will be Jude’s first visit to Arkansas, and she says she’s looking forward to being in the presence of “some wonderful people” and supporting the work that Baptist Health does. Although they might achieve it through different means, both Jude and the Baptist Health Foundation are built on making a difference in the lives of others. The chance to enjoy first-class fashion while funding lifesaving care for Arkansans is all the more reason to attend this year’s special event.
Tickets, sponsorships and donation information for this year’s Bolo Bash reception and luncheon are available online.