North Texas Giving Day Booster: The GEMS Camp

“For the North Texas Giving Day Newbies: The Cure for the ‘I’ Syndrome:

Nervous. Anxious. Excited. Frustrated. All over the place. As Founder and CEO of The GEMS Camp – Girls interested in Engineering, Mathematics, and Science, I’ve felt every emotion humanly possible leading up to the 2014 North Texas Giving Day. It’s our first major fundraising event.



“After attending the spring kickoff meeting and seeing a room full of highly respected executive directors, marketing gurus, and fundraising prodigies, I left the meeting feeling very intimidated. We officially received our 501 (c) 3 status in February of this year. I don’t have any major corporate sponsors or donors or grants. As the days pass, I frantically think, ‘It’s coming too quickly!’


“When I listened to my thoughts, all I heard were excuses and self-pity. As a newbie to North Texas Giving Day, I was looking at the success of my organization through my personal lens. I was focusing on the limitations that ‘I’ saw today instead of the opportunities that exist for the ‘organization’ tomorrow. If you are start-up, have a limited budget or staff, or are new to North Texas Giving Day, push past your fears and remember this: Everybody had to start somewhere.

GEMS Volunteer Brittney Hall and girls*

GEMS Volunteer Brittney Hall and girls*

“So what if you don’t raise hundreds of thousands of dollars. Our fundraising goal is small, $10,000. This will give us the program funds necessary to launch two new campsites in the Dallas and Houston areas in 2015. That’s 60 new economically disadvantaged, girls who will be equipped to pursue studies and future careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Those are the numbers ‘I’ should be proud of and each one represents an advancement in our mission.

GEMS 8th grader Lucero using geometric and measurement skills to make an Origami box*

GEMS 8th grader Lucero using geometric and measurement skills to make an Origami box*

“This week, I heard an anonymous quote. ‘There is no traffic on the extra mile.’ Being new to this gargantuan event with thousands of organizations raising millions of dollars, my attitude and tenacity as The GEMS Camp leader will spur my organization’s small team to go the extra mile together. Perhaps, what I perceive to be limitations are actually the fuel we need to take those risks others aren’t willing to take.

“To those organizational leaders who are new to North Texas Giving Day, you’re probably feeling antsy to some extent. Trust me, I feel your pain. Get creative and maximize your organization’s strengths. Deemphasize your personal weaknesses. Celebrate small wins, and expect to have a greater impact on those you serve simply by showing up.

”And finally to the donors and funders that participate in North Texas Giving Day, thank you! We look forward to being part of this wonderful event and anticipate another successful year! GEMS can’t wait to celebrate another record-breaking year with all of the deserving North Texas nonprofits.”

-By Saki Milton, The GEMS Camp Founder and CEO

Try Something New For Labor Day

Today is Labor Day. Most folks regard it as the official end of summer. For some it’s a day to rest or to check out that movie or ease back and read a good book. For others, it’s shop-the-bargain-day. Originally, it was established to to “celebrate various labor associations’ strengths of and contributions to the United States economy.” Over the years, it transitioned to recognize the importance of America’s work force.

So, on this day why not try a one-day-only experiment. If you are going to take advantage of the day’s sales, only buy American-made items. If you are going to go to a movie, only go to an American-made movie or read a book by an American author. In other words, for one day, celebrate and support products and services provided by Americans. It won’t be necessarily easy, but who knows? You just might make it a habit and in the meantime support a neighbor or two.

Ashley Judd To Be Keynote Speaker At TexProtects’ 10th Anniversary Celebration At The Perot Museum

Ashley Judd (File photo)

Ashley Judd (File photo)

Those Judd sisters are coming to Dallas in October, but not together. As mentioned before songbird Wynonna is performing on Thursday, October 9, for Habitat for Humanity’s Building Hope Celebration Dinner. The following week on Tuesday, October 14, her kid half-sister Ashley Judd will be the keynote speaker at TexProtects10th Anniversary Celebration dinner at the Perot Museum.

The actress, who recounted her own childhood trauma in her memoir, “All that is Bitter and Sweet,” can truly relate to TexProtects’ mission to protect children from abuse and neglect.

According to TexProtect’s Founder/Executive Director Madeline McClure, “Ashley Judd’s personal story and her humanitarian work on behalf of abuse victims exemplifies the far-reaching effects of child maltreatment, but also the promise of healing from invisible wounds and most importantly, committing to investing in prevention. We are thrilled to present Ashley Judd as we celebrate 10 years of successful work to reduce and prevent child abuse in Texas.”

In addition to Ashley, Texas Senator Jane Nelson of Flower Mound will be presented the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award. She is being recognized for “her work to increase Texas’ investment in prevention programs, such as the Nurse-Family Partnership, which sends nurses on home visit to help vulnerable, low-income mothers as well as her hard work to reform CPS (Child Protective Services).”

Event Chair Pat Albritton Harloe has arranged for Lisa K. Simmons to be the honorary chair, as well as having the lead sponsors and the board of directors attend a meet and greet with Ashley.

Seating is limited, so don’t dawdle.

MySweetCharity Opportunity: Pegasus Ball

According to Pegasus Ball Co-Chair Dawn Neufeld,

Ryan and Dawn Neufeld*

Ryan and Dawn Neufeld*

“As parents of a child with autism, Ryan and I are pleased to lend our passion and energy to the Pegasus Ball to benefit the Autism Treatment Center. Ryan and I have been attending this event for several years, even chairing the Ball in 2012. We invite you to join us at the Pegasus Ball on Saturday, September 27, at The Fairmont Dallas for an evening of fun and entertainment – and raising much needed funds for a wonderful cause.

“Autism is the nation’s leading developmental disorder now affecting 1 in 68 children. Funds raised at the event will support ATC’s programs, including: diagnostic, educational services, adult services, therapy, and residential services. For over 38 years, the Autism Treatment Center has provided life-changing services to families seeking their expertise and experience.

Yvonne Crum (File photo)

Yvonne Crum (File photo)

“The Roundup was founded in 1988 by Bobby Norris, a parent with an adult daughter with autism. This wonderful event has raised over $3 million to provide autism-specific programs and services for children and adults in our community.

“This year’s Event Honorary Chair, Yvonne Crum, is one of Dallas’ most recognizable names. Yvonne has spent many years and innumerable hours dedicated to various charitable causes raising awareness of teenage suicide to children’s theater. Anybody who knows Yvonne knows that when she finds a worthy cause to support, her energy and passion are contagious. Ryan and I are grateful for Yvonne’s friendship and support of a cause dear to our hearts.

“The Pegasus Ball will include a Live and Silent Auction, seated dinner, and live entertainment provided by the band Tenacity are sure to please all attendees. We hope to see you there

“Individual tickets for the Pegasus Ball are $225 or $2,250 for a table of ten. Contact Neil Massey at 972.644.2076 x 104 to make your reservations to join us. For more information, please visit”

* Photo provided by Round Up For Autism

North Texas Giving Day Booster: Children’s Craniofacial Association…

Children's Craniofacial Association*

“Children’s Craniofacial Association (CCA) is excited to be taking part again on September 18 for this year’s North Texas Giving Day. “CCA is celebrating our 25th Anniversary of ‘empowering and giving hope to individuals and families affected by facial differences.’ We envision a world where all people are accepted for who they are, not how […]

Wells Fargo Presents A Check To Support Ability Connection Texas’s Aquatic Program…

Ella Peace*

Summer and swimming are as closely connected as Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. However, along with the time of year and the activity comes the increase of drownings. Even healthy, strapping people will sheepishly admit they don’t know how to swim. It’s a real problem. For instance, this past year the Crystal Charity Ball committee […]

MySweetCharity Opportunity: Taste America…

According to James Beard Award winning chef Stephan Pyles, “Café Momentum is a restaurant and culinary training facility that transforms young lives by equipping at-risk youth with life skills, social skills, educational and employment opportunities. I am pleased to announce that Café Momentum is partnering with the James Beard Foundation’s Taste America, a national epicurean tour […]

MySweetCharity Reminder: Time Warner’s August Dollar Days Come To An End Sunday At…

Picture perfection at the Dallas Arboretum (File photo)

This weekend is your last chance to check out the Dallas Arboretum for a buck and the Rory Meyer Children’s Adventure Garden for another smacker. Starting Labor Day (aka Monday, September 1), it’s farewell to Time Warner-sponsored August Dollars Days and the prices return to reality fees. Why not grab your munchkin and your camera […]

Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala Concert With Itzhak Perlman To Be Simulcast In Klyde Warren…

Richard Holt (File photo)

Not everybody likes to get all gussied up in long gowns and tuxedos. And not everybody can fit into the Meyerson. And not everybody can afford the price of a ticket. That’s a lot of not’s. Ah, but Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala Co-Chairs Jan Miller and Jeff Rich are well known for untangling not’s. To […]

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MySweetCharity Opportunity: Purses With A Purpose…

Laura Estrada*

According to 2014 CCCS Purses with a Purpose Chair and Consumer Credit Counseling Service Board Member Laura V. Estrada, “Since 1974, Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Dallas (CCCS) has helped more than 1.7 million people and just five years ago, we launched our first annual fundraiser, Purses with a Purpose. To celebrate these milestones, […]

North Texas Giving Day Booster: Partners For Refugee Empowerment…

Partners for Refugee Empowerment*

“Partners for Refugee Empowerment (PRE), a 501(c) (3) charity, was started in early 2013 to address a critical unmet need – the mental health of Tarrant County refugees. At the time of PRE’s founding, all of the resettlement agencies were terminating their limited refugee mental health programs. PRE is currently the only Fort Worth agency […]

Dallas CASA’s Parade Of Playhouses Heads To Homes Sweet Homes…

Angela and Jim Thompson and winners friend and winner*

Alas, the Dallas CASA’s adorable playhouses are no longer lining the ground level of NorthPark. Ah, but the good news is they’re happily settling into forever backyards for youngsters. For the Sunday, August 17th raffle drawing, Parade of Playhouses Honorary Co-Chairs Angela and Jim Thompson were front and center. Here is a feel-good field report […]

MySweetCharity Opportunity: Gateway To Opportunity Luncheon…

Don and Ana Carty*

According to the Gateway To Opportunity Luncheon Co-Chairs Beth and Ron Hall, “Family Gateway‘s inaugural Gateway to Opportunity Luncheon will be Friday, November 7, at 11:30 a.m. at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel. Our luncheon features speaker Andre Norman and art created by the homeless children of Family Gateway with Honorary Chairs Ana and Don Carty. “The […]

Perot Dinosaurs Taking Tuesday And Wednesday Off For Annual Museum Maintenance…

Boone Pickens Life Then and Now Hall (File photo)

It seems Time Warner’s cable and internet services had an unplanned “oops” during a “routine network maintenance” this morning, causing some nationwide hassles. Luckily, the Perot Museum folks have their “annual museum maintenance” scheduled and are letting folks know. Be put on notice that the museum will be closed for refreshing on Tuesday, September 2, […]