This year’s Dallas Morning News Charities campaign raised slightly more than last year’s drive, bringing in more than $1.25 million from roughly 1,550 donors to aid North Texans who are hungry, homeless and unemployed.
The annual drive, which began in November at the Winspear Opera House in Dallas and ended Wednesday, marked more than three decades of raising money for local charities. This year’s campaign benefited 20 nonprofits that feed the hungry; house homeless families and children; and help others pay the bills.
“We are extremely proud of how the community, our employees and our charity partners have responded during this campaign season,” said Richard Jones, former chairman of The Dallas Morning News Charities board who oversaw this year’s drive. “There were several opportunities to give this past year, and your generosity and willingness to take action came through each time, allowing us to exceed our prior year’s results.”
This year’s campaign launched with more than $545,000 already in the organization’s coffers — the largest fundraising kickoff amount in the Charities’ 32-year history. It included a $100,000 donation from an anonymous donor, along with support from the J.L. Williams Foundation, United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, the Hertich Estate Fund at the Community Foundation of Texas, 2017 North Texas Giving Day, The Dallas Foundation, employees of The Dallas Morning News and The Murrell Foundation.
“I’m grateful for the generosity of all of our customers who learn about the charity through reading The Dallas Morning News in print or online every year,” said Jim Moroney, publisher and CEO of The News. “I am so grateful for the generosity that they demonstrate year after year. These funds will provide a great amount of goods and services for those most in need in our city.”
‘People are so generous’
This year’s campaign, whose honorary chairman was Dallas businessman John Murrell, had a goal of $1.5 million. Last year’s drive also fell slightly short of its $1.5 million goal, raising more than $1.24 million from nearly 1,600 donors. The record for contributions was in 2006-07, when more than $1.8 million was donated.
“We had a very good start for the campaign and had high hopes that we would reach a goal slightly higher than $1.2 million, yet I never am disappointed when people are so generous,” Moroney said.
Since 1986, The Dallas Morning News Charities has raised more than $30 million. The Dallas Morning News covers all administrative costs of the campaign so that 100 percent of donations benefit the 20 charities.
Camille Grimes, executive director, The Dallas Morning News Charities, from left, Ellen Magnis, CEO of Family Gateway and Richard Jones, chairman of DMN Charities, pose during the Dallas Morning News Charities kick-off event at the Winspear Opera House on Nov. 15.
But the charities don’t just provide homes and food to those in need, said Camille Grimes, executive director of The Dallas Morning News Charities. Many of these organizations help provide people with clothes, life skills training and employment.
“That’s probably one of the biggest things all of our Dallas Morning News Charities give to our neighbors in need is the gift of hope and help for their future,” Grimes said.
‘Couldn’t be more appreciative’
Money raised through the annual fundraising drive is Family Gateway’s largest financial contribution to support its effort to house homeless families and children, said Ellen Magnis, the nonprofit’s chief executive officer. The organization also provides case management and an education program, among other services.
“We couldn’t be more appreciative” Magnis said of the Charities’ contribution.
Last year, the nonprofit helped provide about 400 families and children with shelter and supportive homes. Family Gateway houses homeless families in 30 rooms at its facility on South St. Paul Street, along with 105 units of supportive housing in apartments.
But Magnis said the need for affordable housing options is always there. Staff members receive about 300 to 400 calls for help a month.
“By the time folks get to us, they’re pretty bad off,” she said.
Family Gateway has created a new program called Assessment & Diversion as a way to help people, besides putting them in a shelter. That could mean mediating with landlords to keep families from being evicted or negotiating with family members to take loved ones in.
“Shelter space is so scarce. We had to find a different way,” she said.
Camille Grimes, executive director, The Dallas Morning News Charities, from left, Nicole Bursey, executive director of Frisco Family Services Center and Richard Jones, chairman of DMN Charities, pose during the Dallas Morning News Charities kick-off event at the Winspear Opera House on Nov. 15, 2017.
In Collin County, Frisco Family Services Center provides food, clothing and financial assistance to families in Frisco or Frisco ISD, including people who live in parts of Plano, Little Elm and McKinney.
And as booming Collin County continues to grow, the need for help does, too, said Nicole Bursey, the organization’s executive director. She said it’s not uncommon for the nonprofit to hear from families who moved to the area from out-of-state for a job, only to suddenly lose that job.
But one of the organization’s biggest hurdles is fighting the stigma that people living in one of the state’s wealthiest counties — where the median household income was more than $89,000 in 2016, according to the American Community Survey — need help.
Bursey said you have to look beyond the new subdivisions and developments to see it.
“I always say the same things that happen in other communities happens in ours as well,” Bursey said. “It’s just a lot of times it’s hidden.”
Recipients of the 2017-18 DMN Charities fund drive
Allen Community Outreach
Emergency assistance with rent, utilities, food and clothing for families in Allen, Fairview and Lucas. Financial literacy and GED classes are also offered.
Arlington Life Shelter
Emergency food and shelter, employment assistance and family counseling for homeless men, women and children in eastern Tarrant County.
Austin Street Center
Food, shelter, medical, psychiatric and psychological treatment and substance abuse counseling for the homeless.
Emergency and transitional shelter, supportive housing services, meals, primary and behavioral health care services, job search and educational services for the homeless.
Brother Bill’s Helping Hand
Food, clothing, medical assistance to families in West Dallas. Job training, parenting, healthy living and ESL classes also are offered.
Cedar Hill Shares
Provides food, clothing, utility assistance and school supplies to needy families in Cedar Hill.
Provides homeless children and young adults with emergency shelter and transitional residential services. Operates an emergency youth shelter for children from newborns to 17 years old and transitional living program for 18- to 21-year-olds.
Crossroads Community Services
Food, nutrition, clothing and life skills education.
Dallas Life Foundation
Emergency short-term and long-term shelter for homeless men, women and children. Employment training, medical and dental services are also provided.
Duncanville Outreach Ministry
Food, clothing and financial assistance with rent, utilities and prescription medication for persons in Duncanville.
Shelter and supportive housing programs for children and families affected by homelessness with wrap-around services including case management, adult and children’s services, and an education program.
Frisco Family Services Center
Food, clothing and financial assistance with rent/mortgages, utilities and prescription drugs to families living in Frisco or Frisco ISD. Adult life skills workshops are also offered.
LifeLine Shelter for Families
Financial assistance to families who are homeless or on the verge of homelessness in the Grand Prairie ISD. Life skills training is also provided.
NETWORK of Community Ministries
Food, clothing, financial assistance for rent and utilities, as well as a children’s clinic and comprehensive seniors’ net program for those 60 and older.
North Texas Food Bank — Food 4 Kids
Food 4 Kids program provides weekend food assistance for elementary school children at risk of being chronically hungry.
Faith-based organization that serves the unsheltered homeless in Dallas. Food, showers, clothing and resources.
Our Daily Bread
Noon-day meals, weekend snack pack program, bus passes, counseling, personal care items, limited health screening and referrals, phone answering service and mailing address for the homeless in Denton County.
Shelter, food, clothing, counseling, educational services and transitional housing for homeless, runaway and at-risk teens.
Sharing Life Community Outreach
Food, clothing and financial assistance for rent and utilities; educational programs; and job skills training for low-income residents in southeastern Dallas County.
Urgent and long-term assistance to the homeless and at-risk families; meals; ID documentation; representative payee program; dental, medical and mental health services; job assistance; and inner-city youth programs.