Yoga N Da Hood Receives $50,000 Pegasus Prize

March 18, 2019

DALLAS (March 28, 2019) – The winner of this year’s Pegasus Prize knows its way around a downward dog, but it prides itself on being there for the underdog. The Dallas Foundation is proud to announce Yoga N Da Hood (YNDH) as the winner of the annual award, for its work using movement to teach self-healing and stress reduction to kids in underserved communities.

For the past decade, The Dallas Foundation has recognized up-and-coming organizations whose innovative solutions are poised to tackle Dallas’ most pressing needs. For YNDH founder Ebony Smith, that need lies with the 67 percent of children in under-resourced communities who experience direct or indirect trauma solely because of where they live. 

“Far too often, kids in communities of color and low-income neighborhoods get written off as the ‘bad kid,’” said Smith. “Students who are dealing with depression, bullying, unstable home environments, and other social or emotional issues take their stress with them into the classroom.” 

Currently partnering with the City of Dallas, Dallas ISD, Duncanville ISD and UNT Dallas, Smith believes the positive emotional and mental effects of yoga can promote healthier, nonconfrontational behavior in children, making it easier for them to focus and learn. 

Through its Mindful Movement program, YNDH teaches students coping skills to deal with life’s ups and downs responsibly and with compassion. As a result, educators see calmer, more thoughtful students and a natural increase in classroom performance and discipline.

“The tools to practice self-love and a healthy lifestyle should be accessible to all our children,” said Matthew Randazzo, president and CEO of The Dallas Foundation. “The Pegasus Prize will enable Yoga N Da Hood to expand their programs by training and certifying other educators and after-school providers in their Mindful Movement programming.”

Smith plans to use the Dallas Foundation grant to double YNDH’s presence to 50 schools and increase the number of children it reaches from 310 to 3,000. Since 2009, The Dallas Foundation has awarded half a million dollars to local luminaries such as Bonton Farms, Momentous Institute, and After8toEducate – the organization behind the Fannie C. Harris Youth Center for homeless high schoolers.

Break Bread, Break Borders (a social enterprise set up to economically empower refugee women through storytelling with food and culture) and Families to Freedom (which provides free transportation for victims of domestic abuse to a place of safety) were finalists for the 2019 Pegasus Prize.

About The Dallas Foundation

The Dallas Foundation, established as a community foundation in 1929, serves as a leader, catalyst and resource for philanthropy by providing donors with flexible means of making gifts and bequests, the income from which primarily supports the charitable causes of the city and county of Dallas.