Words of Hope

We believe in the power of stories to educate and inspire change in our community.

Words of Hope is Caritas of Austin’s largest annual fundraising event. Each year, the event features an author or prominent individual whose story reflects the mission and work of Caritas of Austin. The Harvey Penick Award for Excellence in the Game of Life is also presented during the evening’s program.

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2017 Featured Speaker

Ron Hall

Ron Hall was a successful art gallery owner who had a healthy bank account but emotionally was running on empty. Denver Moore was a homeless drifter who grew up picking cotton in virtual slavery in the 1960s. Their story is immortalized in the New York Times best-selling book, Same Kind of Different As Me. Denver and Ron’s story was featured as part of the inaugural Words of Hope event in 2008. For the 10th Anniversary, Ron returned to once again share this powerful story and its ripple effect on the lives of others, chronicled in his second book What Difference Do It Make?

2017 Harvey Penick Award

Tomi and Pete Winstead

Tomi and Pete Winstead were honored with the 2017 Harvey Penick Award for Excellence in the Game of Life. For 30 years, Pete and Tomi have been inspiring change and empowering good in Central Texas through their leadership and philanthropy. Together, the couple has been deeply involved with the Capital Area Council of Boy Scouts of America, KLRU-TV Public Television, and Ronald McDonald House. They have also supported Caritas of Austin’s work and mission for over 20 years.

Learn more about the Harvey Penick Award.


Presenting Sponsor

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Lead Sponsors

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Champion Sponsors

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Advocate & Partner Sponsors

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Past Inspirational Speakers

2017 | Ron Hall – author of Same Kind of Different as Me and What Difference Do It Make
2016 | Dr. Jeff Salz and Alepho Deng, author of They Poured Fire On Us From The Sky
2015 | Bobby Bones – prominent radio personality
2014 | Marcus Luttrell – U.S. Navy SEAL and author of Lone Survivor
2013 | Luma Mufleh – inspirational coach of a soccer team called the Fugees-short for refugees. Basis for book Refugees United
2012 | Liz Murray – author of Breaking Night and whose story inspired the film From Homeless to Harvard
2011 | Rick Bragg – Pulitzer Prize winning author of All Over but the Shoutin’
2010 | Leigh Anne Tuohy – the woman whose life inspired the novel and film The Blind Side
2009 | Jeannette Walls – the author of The Glass Castle
2008 | Ron Hall and Denver Moore – authors of Same Kind of Different as Me