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North Texas Giving Day to provide boost for thousands of nonprofits struggling through pandemic

Dallas Morning News logo Dallas Morning News 9/20/2021 Hojun Choi, The Dallas Morning News
a person standing in front of a mirror posing for the camera: The exhibit "Faces of Christ" at the Museum of Biblical Art in Dallas, features the work of artist Warner Sallman, who painted the widely reproduced Head of Christ. © Andy Jacobsohn/Staff Photographer The exhibit "Faces of Christ" at the Museum of Biblical Art in Dallas, features the work of artist Warner Sallman, who painted the widely reproduced Head of Christ.

Dallas-Fort Worth nonprofits say they are filled with anticipation for the the 13th annual North Texas Giving Day on Thursday, the culmination of a weekslong period when people are encouraged to donate to any of the thousands of organizations in the area.

“North Texas Giving Day really reflects how much Texans love Texas,” said Chris McSwain, director of community engagement for the Communities Foundation of Texas, the event’s host organization.

The early giving period for North Texas Giving Day runs through Sept. 22. The foundation’s website has a searchable database of 3,350 nonprofits from which to choose for contributions.

Since its 2009 debut, North Texas Giving Day has generated nearly $370 million for area nonprofits, including a record $58.8 million last year. Donors have already given over $8 million during this year’s early period, McSwain said.

More organizations are participating in this year’s event than in years past, McSwain said, noting that the coronavirus pandemic has posed challenges for many of the nonprofits taking part.

Organizations that provide food and shelter, for example, have needed more resources because of the increased demand from people who have lost their jobs during the pandemic, she said.

“Then there are arts nonprofits, who couldn’t host their plays and their shows,” McSwain said. “The crux of their programs were challenged because they could not have people walk through their doors.”

Anastasia Muñoz is the founder of Arts Mission Oak Cliff, a nonprofit that operates out of a refurbished church in Winnetka Heights and provides a coworking space for local artists who are looking to polish and improve their craft.

Muñoz said she hopes that North Texas Giving Day will provide a much-needed boost to the Arts Mission so that it can host programs such as its annual artist-in-residence cohort and performance events, such as its annual Halloween haunted house experience.

“Funds will help us move forward as we’re trying to rebuild and grow,” Muñoz said.

Chie Wilcock is president of the parent club of the Greenville Suzuki Strings Association, which provides K-12 students at Greenville ISD the opportunity to learn orchestral instruments, such as violin and cello.

Before the pandemic, Wilcock said, the parent club would raise funds by operating concession stands at concerts in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Because events were canceled due to COVID-19, she said, the parent club decided to register to be part of North Texas Giving Day.

“The students have to switch instruments every couple of years as they grow, so we always need funds for new instruments,” Wilcock said.

Sharon Herrera, founder of LGBTQ Saves, which provides mental health support and resources to LGBTQ youth and their families, said the organization experienced dramatic growth during the pandemic after the group started offering virtual services.

Donations from North Texas Giving Day will help it continue its programs and support its newfound growth, Herrera said.

“My focus started in Fort Worth, but now we’re in Florida, Connecticut, Michigan and Ohio,” Herrera said. “We used to serve 20 to 25 kids a month, now we’re well over 100.”

The Museum of Biblical Art will depend on North Texas Giving Day to help it survive the pandemic, said Scott Peck, director and curator of the facility.

The museum, which curates art with connections to Christian and Jewish religious texts, could close permanently if it doesn’t raise enough funds for to pay for staff and daily operations, Peck said.

“COVID has been tough on us, to be honest. It has been really hard,” he said.

North Texas Giving Day will help organizations whose focus is on physical or mental health.

Tara Robinson, founder of the Black Heart Association, said funds raised from North Texas Giving Day will help her organization launch a mobile unit — a bus that has be repurposed into a clinic.

“We were considering a brick and mortar, but right now this helps us get in to underserved communities, screen people on-site, let them know where they stand, and give them access to a doctor if they don’t have insurance,” she said.


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