A lot of the good guys got together today — all 500 of them. The occasion was the National Philanthropy Day Luncheon in which the people who work year round to raise money for nonprofits and those who provide the funding get together to recognize the really outstanding ones among them.
This year’s event at the Hyatt Regency was chaired by Nexus Recovery Center’s Abi Erickson. But before the Association of Fundraising Professional of Greater Dallas‘s luncheon took place, Diane and Hal Brierley sponsored a reception in which the key players (honorees, underwriters and nominators) had a chance to chat over coffee.
And what do these very good guys and gals talk about? SMU Chairman of the Board Caren Prothro talked about all the various projects being undertaken by SMU (the newly announced Trinity Groves golf course, the equestrian center at the Trinity , the Bush Library); Hal Brierley, who had just returned from a trip to Boston, was amazed at the proposed Children’s Garden at the Dallas Arboretum; and Ashlee Kleinert was focused on the upcoming Executives in Action breakfast on Thursday, December 6, at the Fairmont with author Charles Duhigg.
But this group was promised to be out of the luncheon and back to business by 1:30, so the luncheon started promptly in the ballroom at 12:03. Following Rev. Andrew Jackson‘s invocation and Greater Dallas Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals President Melanie “Old Texas gal” Perkins‘ address, lunch was on the table.
But at 12:37 Abi introduced emcee Scott Murray, who commenced with the program. Each of the honorees — Outstanding Philanthropists Abby and Todd Williams, Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser Sarah Losinger, Sally Smith Mashburn for the Outstanding Foundation Dr. Bob and Jean Smith Foundation, Outstanding Corporation Southwest Airlines and Outstanding Fundraising Executive Lesly Bosch Annen, did a fabulous video thank-you produced by KERA.
But it was the very last recipients who stole the show and received a standing ovation for it. They were Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy third-grader Isabelle and first-grader Katherine Adams. In their schoolgirl uniforms, they were the hit of the day. Sure, their video acceptance speech moved faster than a roadrunner in West Texas, but their adorable personalities and their amazing accomplishments in providing water for those in third-world countries caused many of the adults to look like bobble head dolls nodding at their achievements. And how did they do this?
By making and selling oragami ornaments. In addition to being the toast of local fundraising efforts, the girls recently “spoke at the New York Chapter of the United Nations.”
When asked by Scott if they were headed back to school, the girls smiled saying, “No.” For a nine-year-old and a six-year-old, that’s better than a standing O any day.
All of which proves W.C. Fields was very wise about the power of youngsters. They steal the scene every time! But in this case, stealing was perfectly fine.
And what about that promise of being finished and out the door by 1:30 p.m.? Well, the 500 hit the door at 1:20 and were back at work raising money so needed by the nonprofits.