Members of NTFB’s Celebrity Council are passionate hunger fighters and advocates for food-insecure children, families and seniors. Accomplished professionals from a diverse range of fields, Celebrity Council members are committed to utilizing their prominent positions in the community to stabilize families and forge a stronger, more resilient North Texas.
Celebrity Council members include:
Born and raised in Maywood, Illinois, Michael Finley developed his passion for basketball. In 2007, Finley was voted one of the 100 Legends of the IHSA Boys Basketball Tournament, recognizing his superior performance. He averaged 20 points per game and finished his college career as the all-time leading scorer with 2,100 points at the University of Wisconsin. Michael graduated from Wisconsin with a Bachelor of Science in Business Management.
In 1995, the Phoenix Suns drafted Michael in the first round. He was named to the First Team All-Rookie squad following his rookie campaign with the Suns. Finley enjoyed a successful career in Dallas, TX for the Mavericks from 1996 to 2005 after which he signed with the San Antonio Spurs. Finley is a two time NBA All-Star and won the 2007 NBA Championship as a member of the Spurs. Michael played professional basketball for 15 years and retired in 2010. In 2009, Michael began his film production company, Follow Through Productions, LLC. Michael is also an active real estate investor and venture capitalist. He enjoys playing golf in his spare time. Michael currently works as the assistant vice president of basketball operations for the Dallas Mavericks and resides in the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex with his wife and three children.
In 2003, Michael’s passion for community service became a reality when he created the Michael Finley Foundation. He is dedicated to developing a positive attitude regarding education, health, social skills, and a wealth of other programs with local children and their families. The strength of Michael’s foundation is his commitment to his communities for the advancement of future generations. Currently, he is developing the flagship program of the foundation, Giving Individuals the Fundamental Tools 4 Success (G.I.F.T.4.S.).
In addition to his work with the foundation, Michael is an active member of the charitable world serving on a variety of boards and volunteering his time. His most recent appointment is to the North Texas Food Bank Celebrity Council. However, his most cherished accomplishment to date is the establishment of The Michael Finley Foundation Endowed Scholarship at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for a deserving student-athlete.
Author and Journalist
Best-selling cookbook author, award-winning journalist, television and radio personality, Dotty Griffith brings a lifetime of food journalism and culinary experience to everything she does. She is former Food Editor and Restaurant Critic of The Dallas Morning News. Dotty teaches a culinary media class at the University of North Texas, beginning fall 2015. Dotty is the author of nine cookbooks including the Texas Holiday Cookbook, Second Edition.
She is working with Dallas super chef Kent Rathbun on his first cookbook and with chef-owner Sylvia Casares on The Enchilada Queen Cookbook, set for publication in fall 2016.
Ms. Griffith provides content for print, broadcast and online media and serves as a valuable resource to restaurants and the hospitality industry. She is a nationally recognized culinary authority, judge for national recipe contests, cook-offs and cookbook competitions. Also a popular speaker, she has shared her food and dining expertise on television shows such as Fox & Friends, The Travel Channel, The Food Network, and local broadcasts across the country.
Her articles and recipes have appeared in Gourmet Magazine, The Ladies Home Journal, Money Magazine Southern Living, Travel and Leisure, The New York Times, Wine Spectator, and The Smithsonian.
Ms. Griffith’s most recent cookbooks are the second edition of The Texas Holiday Cookbook (Gulf Publishing), The Contemporary Cowboy Cookbook (Lone Star Books), and Celebrating Barbecue (Simon and Schuster). She is a member of the Les Dames d’ Escoffier, the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) and a veteran of the IACP Cookbook Awards Committee and the James Beard Foundation Journalism Awards Committee.
Derek Harper played 16 seasons in the NBA with the Mavericks, Knicks, Magic and Lakers. Harper was originally selected by the Mavericks with their top pick (11th overall) in the 1983 NBA Draft. He led the Mavericks to the Playoffs six times, including the franchises first-ever trip to the Western Conference Finals in 1988. He played in all 82 games four times and competed in 75 or more games in nine of his 12 seasons in Dallas.
To this day, Harper remains one of the most decorated Mavericks of all time and is still the franchise’s leader in assists (5,111) and steals (1,551). Harper also ranks in the Top 10 in 13 other statistical categories, including points, field goals, three-point field goals, free throws, minutes and games.
Harper is currently the Mavericks television analyst. Harper is no stranger to the Mavericks broadcast after anchoring Mavericks’ pre- and postgame shows for the TXA-21 in Dallas/Fort Worth, as well as working as a weekend sports anchor with the station since 2005.
Harper was born on Oct. 13, 1961 in Elberton, Ga., and has four children, Darius, Danielle, Dana and Daria. He resides in Dallas.
In order to attain excellence one must first live a lifestyle of excellence. Excellence isn’t a destination; it’s an identity. Chad Hennings has lived this message through a nine-year NFL career and three Super Bowl Championships with the Dallas Cowboys, forty-five successful combat missions flying A-10 jets with the Air Force, and as one of the most decorated college football players in NCAA history. Chad has taken this message across the world at the invitation of some of the most distinguished executive audiences ranging from American Airlines to Bank of America, General Motors to Citigroup, and a host of U.S. Governmental agencies.
He has also been a philanthropic leader in the Dallas-Ft Worth area as a member of the board of directors of Christian Community Action, an organization that provides assistance to at-risk families, and the establishment of Wingmen Ministries.
Chad challenges audiences to dare to be excellent and inspires businesses to create cultures of excellence. People and organizations don’t do great thing to become great; great people and organizations do great things. Chad credits his post-NFL career successes to a secret he learned early on: Excellence is a Lifestyle.
Chad and his wife, Tammy, have a son, Chase, and a daughter, Brenna. They currently reside in Flower Mound, Texas.
SAG Award-winning actor Jesse Metcalfe most recently starred in Hallmark's "A Country Wedding", zombie thriller "Dead Rising: Watchtower", and in the “Dallas” remake on TNT as Christopher Ewing, the adopted son of Bobby and Pam Ewing. However, Metcalfe is best known for his role as ‘John Rowland’, the gardener, in “Desperate Housewives” ABC’s pop culture phenomenon. Additional acting credits include, TV series “Chase” on NBC, the lead and title character in the big screen flick John Tucker Must Die, opposite Michael Douglas in Beyond A Reasonable Doubt, romantic comedy The Other End of The Line, and The Tortured opposite Erika Christensen.
Born in Monterey, California and raised in Waterford, Connecticut, Metcalfe was always a fan of the arts. After studying at NYU and the famed Tisch School of the Arts, he modeled in both the U.S. and in Europe, a stint that ended when he joined NBC’s hit daytime drama “Passions”. For four years he honed his craft while mesmerizing the daytime audience, breaking more than a few hearts with his 2004 departure from the show.
Outside of work, Metcalfe is a sports and fitness fanatic, accomplished guitarist, and lover of art, fashion, and motorcycles and classic cars. He is also passionate about traveling and philanthropy. In 2014, Metcalfe and fiancée Cara Santana traveled with UNICEF to rural Botswana, where they visited several UNICEF-supported health care facilities and youth centers. Most recently, he appeared in the It’s On Us campaign PSA alongside Zoe Saldana, Minka Kelly, Josh Hutcherson and more. In this video, which aims to reduce rape on college campuses, Metcalfe helps deliver an extremely important message about sexual assault and consent.
After rapidly rising through the ranks of some of the world’s finest kitchens, Chef Kent Rathbun continues to demonstrate his culinary skills not only with the expansion of his restaurant concepts, but also with his full-service catering company and line of at-home products, Kent Rathbun Elements. At the age of nine, he discovered his passion for culinary creativity and began learning the skills and techniques needed to become the renowned chef that he is today. In 1997, Rathbun opened Abacus in Dallas’ Uptown district. Within months of its opening, Abacus received recognition as a pinnacle of fine dining and received numerous accolades, including Mobil Four-Stars; AAA Four Diamonds; Bon Appetit’s Best of the Year 2001 issue, which named Abacus’ Chef’s tasting menu a “Top Pick;” “Best Chef” by D Magazine; and “One of the Top Meals Around the World” by USA Today. To date, the most prestigious of its recognitions has been Abacus’ induction into the Nation’s Restaurant News Fine Dining Hall of Fame. With the success of Abacus, Rathbun has gone on to develop and open Jasper’s, where he serves up “Gourmet Backyard Cuisine” at 3 Texas locations, and Hickory, which offers an elevated take on burgers and Texas-style barbeque.
With demand for Rathbun’s award-winning cuisine and concepts expanding beyond just his restaurants, he launched Kent Rathbun Catering and an exclusive line of products with the Kent Rathbun Elements collection. Rathbun’s catering services are highly coveted, even drawing the attention of notable clients like Ross Perot, The Goss-Michael Foundation and Oprah Winfrey.
By creating an astounding culinary legacy in Texas, Rathbun has thrived in the national scene. He has cooked at the James Beard House in New York on several occasions and was nominated as the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef: Southwest in 1999, 2002, 2003 and 2004. He has repeatedly appeared on a number of TV shows, including the Food Network’s “Chef du Jour”, Cooking Live with Sara Moulton, “Ready Set Cook”, the CBS Early Show, the Rosie O’Donnell Show, and NBC’s Today Show. In 2008, Rathbun competed on Food Network’s hit series “Iron Chef America” and defeated grill master Bobby Flay in a frenetic culinary battle.
Rathbun was honored to be one of the featured chefs for the Bush 2001 Inaugural Ball and has participated in the Pre-Super Bowl Event, “Taste of the NFL” for the past 10 years. Passionate about charitable organizations, Rathbun is actively involved in the American Cancer Society, March of Dimes, Zoo to Do, the North Texas Food Bank and the American Heart Association.