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Strategic planning. Data management and analysis. Program evaluation. Technology upgrades and training. Nonprofits need all these tools—but the pool of funders interested in supporting these essential elements of an organization’s infrastructure is shrinking.
Now a new fund at The Dallas Foundation targets precisely those capacity-building needs. The Accelerator Fund, established with a $100,000 gift from donors Myra and Darwin Smith, will help nonprofit agencies build their internal infrastructure so they more efficiently achieve their goals. After testing the fund with a pilot round of grants, The Dallas Foundation publicly announced its creation in late July.
“When agencies approach us for a grant, we often ask for data and program evaluations,” said Chief Philanthropy Officer Helen Holman. “But those things are costly, and if we don’t help pay for them, we’re essentially handing out unfunded mandates. We are so grateful to the Smiths for their willingness to explore gaps in funding and working alongside us to support the nonprofit community.”
The donors approached The Dallas Foundation a couple of years ago, offering to establish a fund that would help local nonprofits with whatever Foundation staff identified as a critical need. Based on her long experience with charitable agencies, Holman quickly focused on the capacity-building issue.
The Smiths accepted her idea on one condition: The Board of Governors had to show its support for the fund. It did, allocating $100,000 to the Accelerator Fund. Then the Smiths offered a second challenge: They would provide a second $100,000 gift if the Foundation raised a similar amount from other donors by October 31. The Foundation exceeded the goal, raising $124,850 by the deadline. Graciously, the Smiths increased their funding to match every dollar raised during the challenge period. The Smiths, along with donors who contributed $10,000 or more will participate in grant making decisions for the Accelerator Fund during 2019.
The fund’s earliest nonprofit beneficiaries were Bonton Farms, H.I.S. Bridge Builders, The Warren Center and Project Transformation North Texas. Each was seeking a more efficient software and database system to improve their processes and use of staff time.
The Warren Center, for example, has an extremely complex billing system. Founded in 1968, the center has three clinics that provide therapy to children with intellectual, physical and developmental disabilities and offer education and support to their families. It receives revenue from private insurance, Medicaid, a state grant, a family cost-sharing program, individual donors, foundation grants and other sources.
“Just trying to keep all that information is very complicated,” said Executive Director Amy Spawn.
The center, which uses volunteers extensively in programs and fundraising, also wanted to make volunteer scheduling and record-keeping smoother and faster.
The Warren Center used its Accelerator Fund grant to hire a consulting firm, 501Ops, which specializes in nonprofit clients. Consultants observed operations, talked with staff, analyzed the current use of technology, and returned with recommendations and an implementation plan. The agency’s donor database now connects to its accounting software, allowing more precise revenue and expenditure tracking. And 501Ops reworked the software that runs the volunteer system and provided training for staff.
“It has saved a lot of time,” Spawn said. “For my development staff, that means they can go meet new people and build awareness instead of being tied to a computer.”
Project Transformation North Texas hired 501Ops to improve its workflow and use of technology. Project Transformation works with low-income children after school and during the summer to build their literacy and social-emotional skills.
“One of the things that had been plaguing us was double entry of income,” said Alyson Gregory Richter, the executive director. “[501Ops] changed the interface and trained the staff on a new workflow.”
That small change already is saving significant time, she said.
The Warren Center’s Amy Spawn said she’s grateful for the Accelerator Fund and expects that many other agencies will be eager to apply for its capacity-building grants.
“It’s desperately needed at nonprofits across the board,” Spawn said. “Focusing on our mission leaves little time to analyze our workflow and processes. The Accelerator Fund grant allowed us to do just that.”
For information about the Accelerator Fund, please visit dallasfoundation.org.
Dallas Foundation team members are in the enviable position of witnessing, on a daily basis, the generosity of our donors and the passion and talent of North Texans who work in the nonprofit sector. Each group contributes to the current and future success of our region, and we are here to support them both.
This summer, we launched the Accelerator Fund, which helps agencies reinforce their infrastructure, expand their capacity and more effectively achieve their mission. The Better Together Fund, which we cofounded with three other funders last year, encourages transformational collaborations among agencies. Its first-year results are impressive. While both funds underscore the Foundation’s commitment to strengthening the nonprofit sector, they also demonstrate the importance of partnership and coinvestment.
I should note that we remain committed to our traditional discretionary grantmaking. In the spring, we awarded more than $1 million in competitive grants, and we expect to do so again this fall. We understand how important this financial support is for our grantees and continue to explore ways to invest in the sector and our community.
To that end, we recently kicked off a strategic planning process to define our next chapter of impact—internally, we’re calling this process Dallas Foundation 2.0. We are keen to identify critical issues where our expertise and resources can make the biggest difference, to grow our ability to convene stakeholders, and to seek opportunities for coinvestment with our donors to tackle those issues. We can’t wait to get started.
As we look ahead to 2019, my hope is that each of us will consider where we can best contribute our resources and connect our passions to improve the lives of everyone in our community. We welcome the opportunity to be in partnership with you.
President & CEO
The Agape Clinic in East Dallas provides medical and dental care to any adult who wants an appointment. According to Executive Director Stephanie Bohan, that approach comes directly from the clinic’s founder, Dr. Barbara Stark Baxter.
“‘When people asked Christ to heal them, did he ask what ZIP code they lived in or how much money did they make?’” Bohan quoted Dr. Baxter. “‘He didn’t turn anybody away, so I can’t turn anybody away.’”
The clinic, founded in 1983, is on pace to log 18,000 patient visits this year, an increase from 3,000 less than a decade ago.
Now, thanks to Dallas Foundation donors Jill and Dale Hurd, the Agape Clinic has a new ultrasound machine.
“It’s hard to access diagnostic services, so it’s huge to be able to see things inside the body,” Bohan said. “It’s really a game-changer for us to have an ultrasound.”
Jill Hurd first learned about the clinic’s need for an ultrasound machine when she met Bohan at a luncheon. Hurd contacted Lesley Martinelli, senior director of donor services at The Dallas Foundation, to research the organization. Martinelli consulted with her colleagues in the Foundation’s Community Philanthropy Department, who had evaluated the agency in 2016, before awarding a $50,000 grant toward Agape Clinic’s capital campaign. They confirmed that Agape is a well-run agency that meets a critical need for low-cost primary care services.
In June, Martinelli accompanied the Hurds on a site visit to the clinic to learn more about its operations. They left impressed.
“At the site visit, we were able to witness the needs of the organization firsthand. The time spent at the organization, combined with the Foundation’s research, assured us that Agape had solid finances, strong community support and a very compelling need for the ultrasound machine,” Jill Hurd said.
The clinic relies on partnerships and donations to provide about $7 million in medical care on an $850,000 budget, Bohan said. LabCorp waives fees for lab tests. Agape receives donated medicines and supplies from Americares and Direct Relief, and it has a special agreement with Sam’s Club that provides steep discounts on prescription medications. Most of the medical specialists, such as the dermatologist who visits weekly, volunteer their time.
Patients don’t have to pay for appointments, but most offer something, she said. The average patient contribution is $20.
As the clinic has expanded, hired additional staff, and acquired more sophisticated equipment such as the ultrasound, it has been able to care for sicker patients.
“We treat patients now we wouldn’t have been able to eight years ago,” Bohan said. “We didn’t use to take insulin-dependent diabetics; now we do.”
The ultrasound machine, a small screen on a stand with a rack for wands, is a $25,000 piece of medical equipment. It’s especially useful for Agape’s women’s health practice, which serves patients of all ages. But it’s also important for male patients. In one heartbreaking case, the ultrasound revealed what turned out to be terminal cancer in a man worried about a lump on his neck.
A large section of the clinic’s ground floor is dedicated to dental services. There are four dental chairs in an open bay, and three private rooms for more extensive procedures. The dental team can even make crowns with a 3-D printer on-site. Texas A&M University’s College of Dentistry donated all the equipment, and rotates fourth-year dental students through the clinic.
After touring Agape, Jill Hurd said she’s very satisfied with how her family’s gift is being used.
“The clinic is doing remarkable work,” she said. “We’re honored our gift helps them provide even better medical care to patients.”
For more information, please visit theagapeclinic.org.
Dallas Foundation Governor Nita Prothro Clark has philanthropy and volunteerism in her genes. She grew up watching her parents, Vin and Caren Prothro, give countless unpaid hours and generous financial gifts to major cultural and educational institutions in Dallas.
“I tagged along a lot,” Clark said. “I saw that it was hard work and had its challenges, but above all, I saw that they found a lot of joy in it. There was no way it wouldn’t be part of my life. They just led by example.”
Clark now sets an example for her own children. She’s volunteered for everything from delivering lunches for Meals on Wheels to leading nonprofit boards and major fundraising campaigns.
Since 2012, she also has been an active, engaged governor of The Dallas Foundation. She has served as chair of the Pegasus Prize committee and currently leads the board’s community philanthropy committee. Clark, who is a partner in a family investment firm, said the board’s small size encourages in-depth discussions and learning from other members.
“I get so much energy from this board,” she said. “It fits my interests exactly.”
Clark grew up in Dallas, then graduated from Mills College in Oakland, California. She applied for a White House internship and worked as an assistant to Marilyn Quayle in the Office of the Vice President.
She married Cullum Clark, another Dallasite living temporarily in Washington. The couple moved to New York City for several years, and in 2000, they and their two young daughters moved back to Dallas. Nita Clark immediately dived into civic life.
“Dallas was so eager to have young people,” she recalled. “It was such a spirit of ‘Come on in, we’ll show you the ropes.’” Her time with The Dallas Foundation has helped her gain a wider perspective on the community’s nonprofit sector.
“When I started, I was in shock, because there were hundreds of letters of inquiry from groups that were applying for grants,” she said. “There are so many needs.”
Clark goes on site visits as often as possible and has watched as Dallas Foundation staff members mentor small or new nonprofits. She admires how the community philanthropy team digs deeply into local issues. She’s also witnessed how a community foundation can serve as convener and leader to address specific problems, such as early childhood education.
“The Dallas Foundation was a key partner in putting the issue on the map and bringing resources to the table,” she said. “These impact-driven initiatives have potential to turn great ideas into results.”
To continue the family tradition of giving, Clark’s mother, Caren – the Foundation’s first female chairman – recently opened donor-advised funds for each of the Clark granddaughters. The young women already understand the satisfaction of volunteering from having watched their mother and grandmother and from their own experiences. The funds will encourage their own philanthropic passions.
“I love that my daughters will have the privilege of being able to learn how to give, and they don’t have to go through my mom or me,” she said. “The can just talk to someone at The Dallas Foundation. Her intention was to plant the seed and for them to contribute personally too.”
Two Cristo Rey Dallas College Prep students have become the newest members of The Dallas Foundation team. Senior Angelica Pena and sophomore Melissa Gonzales attend classes four days a week at the
school, part of a network of Catholic schools with a unique work-study curriculum. One day a week, they work at The Dallas Foundation, helping with office tasks, doing research for staff members and learning about the nonprofit sector.
“This work-study program fits our mission and our needs,” said Matthew Randazzo, president and CEO of The Dallas Foundation. “As a community foundation, we enjoy being directly involved with a program that increases educational and employment opportunities for high schoolers. We have plenty of work to keep Angelica and Melissa busy, so the program benefits us too.”
The Cristo Rey network’s job program began out of financial necessity. A Chicago-area priest was determined to keep a Catholic high school open despite severe financial pressures, said Patty Lowell, director of communications for Cristo Rey Dallas. The work program was a way to build support for the school by building bridges with the business community.
“Businesses get very dedicated entry-level workers,” Lowell said. “Students get job experience and exposure to things and places they would not normally have coming from the ZIP codes where they live.”
Each student works one day per week and attends school for four. An employer typically hosts four students, each working a different day of the week and rotating on Fridays. Job partners sign a contract and pay a fee to participate in the Cristo Rey program.
All new students participate in a three-week summer program to assess and develop job-related skills such as Excel certification, Lowell said. The students are assigned jobs based on the employers’ needs and the students’ skills and maturity.
“We need it to be a great fit,” Lowell said. “A lot of times, the job partners ask them back.”
Angelica will be part of Cristo Rey Dallas’ first graduating class in the spring. She said that at her first work assignment, she wasn’t sure how to act in a professional setting, and it was nerve-wracking to talk with adults she didn’t know.
“My freshman year, I was the shyest person you could meet,” Angelica said. “Last year, it was a lot easier.”
Angelica hopes to attend Sam Houston State University for its forensic science program.
Melissa’s first job placement was working at her school’s reception desk.
“I got to know every student’s name,” she recalled.
At The Dallas Foundation, she’s attended a site visit and grant-related meetings.
Both students routinely help with communications-related projects, and they provide support to other departments when needed.
“Both Angelica and Melissa are smart, talented and very conscientious about their work,” said Dawn Townsend, director of communications and marketing, who supervises the interns. “It’s just a pleasure to have them both on our team.”
For information about Cristo Rey Dallas, please visit cristoreydallas.org.
No one beats Alzheimer’s disease. A person might die of something else first, but there is no cure and only limited treatment for Alzheimer’s.
“Unlike other diseases, there are no success stories or survivors,” said Leslie Ann Crozier, founder of the Hot On! Homes website and television show, and the daughter of an Alzheimer’s patient.
Crozier wants to be a voice for her mother and all the other people she knows who have been affected by the disease. The nonprofit she started last year, Triumph Over Alzheimer’s, brings scientists from around the world to North Texas to talk about the latest developments in dementia research. The annual event, a panel discussion and dinner, also raises funds to advance the field.
“I want this forum to be the Tate Lecture Series for Alzheimer’s,” said Crozier, referring to the Southern Methodist University series that brings nationally renowned speakers to campus. “This is about bringing information to Dallas and sharing current breakthroughs.”
The Dallas Foundation serves as fiscal sponsor for Triumph Over Alzheimer’s and four other Alzheimer’s-related funds. All rely on the Foundation to accept gifts, send receipts, monitor investments, pay bills and process grant requests so the agencies can concentrate on their core missions.
“This is another way we contribute to the nonprofit sector in North Texas,” said Claudia DeMoss, who oversees The Dallas Foundation’s community funds. “Many smaller agencies don’t have staff or expertise to administer their funds, but that’s one of our strengths.”
While Triumph Over Alzheimer’s is relatively new, the AWARE Fund was established by five civic-minded women and has been active in Dallas for decades. AWARE started as a women’s auxiliary for the local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association in 1989. Since then, it has raised more than $13 million and evolved into an independent nonprofit organization.
The annual AWARE gala and other auxiliary activities raise funds for AWARE’s grants. A volunteer committee oversees the grants program, which funds scientific research and organizations that provide services to individuals with dementia and their families.
“This disease has many tentacles,” said Stacey Angel, chairwoman of AWARE’s grant review committee. “It wraps itself into every moment of a family’s life. We can raise money for research, but we also recognize that it is our responsibility to support those agencies that directly support individuals and their families who are dealing with the disease on a daily basis.”
The organization recently launched AWARE Men, which is led by Jack Broyles, son of coach Frank Broyles, who succumbed to Alzheimer’s. AWARE Men acknowledges the fact that many men care for affected spouses and parents but do not have access to the resources and support they need to fulfill the challenging role of caregiver, Angel said. AWARE volunteers have time to reach out to new communities partly because of the organization’s relationship with The Dallas Foundation, she said.
“This relationship enables us to broaden our fundraising efforts by having The Dallas Foundation do the tasks we cannot have our volunteers do, such as managing our investment portfolio and balancing the books,” Angel said. “We feel we have a real, personal relationship with The Dallas Foundation that we can rely on.”
For information about The Dallas Foundation’s Alzheimer’s-related funds, please visit their websites:
Aging Mind Foundation
The Darrell K Royal Research Fund for Alzheimer’s Disease
Triumph Over Alzheimer’s
AWARE and AWARE Men
Lee Jarmon Alzheimer’s Pro Am Golf Tournament and Auction
Adan Gonzalez was named the 2018 winner of the Good Works Under 40 Award. In partnership with The Dallas Morning News, Good Works Under 40 honors up-and-coming leaders who are improving the future of Dallas and inspiring their peers to make a difference.
Gonzalez was honored during an award ceremony hosted by The Dallas Foundation at The Joule on November 7. As part of the recognition, he received a $10,000 donation to the Puede Network, the nonprofit organization he founded and continues to champion.
Puede Network is a youth education and leadership development program that provides comprehensive college access services, volunteer opportunities and mentorship to underprivileged students in inner city public schools. Gonzalez’s dedication to empowering students is inspired by his own system of mentors and supporters who helped him break the cycle of poverty.
“This is what Puede Network is about: believing in each other, believing in community and believing in our future,” said Gonzalez.
In addition to the winner, four finalists received $3,500 checks for the nonprofit agencies that nominated them. The People’s Choice Award is a $1,000 grant to the nonprofit of the finalist who garnered the most online votes from the community. Laura Day received People’s Choice Award on behalf of United to Learn.
Laura Day, director of the Dr. William B. Dean Service Learning Program at The Hockaday School, is cofounder and current board member at United to Learn, a coalition of public elementary schools, private institutions and engaged community members who create meaningful opportunities for students to learn and lead.
Adam Kraus is a commercial Realtor with Goldman Sachs who founded the Dallas Autumn Ball in 2013. In addition to organizing volunteer service projects at schools in Dallas, the Dallas Autumn Ball engages Millennials through its annual black-tie fundraiser benefiting Reading Partners, an in-school tutoring and mentoring organization for Title 1 students in kindergarten through fourth grade who read
behind their reading level.
Joseph Nguyen, a firefighter and aspiring Dallas Police Reserves officer, has participated in the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s (MDA) Fill the Boot program for the last 10 years. Last year, he was a counselor at MDA Summer Camp, where kids and young adults with MD learn valuable life skills and participate in a variety of activities including zip-lining, horseback riding and swimming.
Josh Terry, founder and president of The Garden Group and cofounder of Acis Capital Management, serves on the board of governors and as chairman of the finance committee of Uplift Education. The goal of Uplift Education, the largest charter school network in the Dallas-Fort Worth region, is to close the achievement gap between students regardless of ethnic or socioeconomic backgrounds, and to ensure that 100 percent of students graduate and enroll in college.
We enjoyed seeing many donors and friends of The Dallas Foundation over the past several months. Take a look back at some of these special occasions.