Application Deadline For CNM Connect’s A Night Of Light Awards Of Excellence Is This Friday

With deadlines falling right and left, Dallas is far from quiet. Folks are filling out forms lickety-split. The latest deadline is this Friday. Yipes! It’s for the CNM Connects’ (formerly known as the Center for Nonprofit Management) A Night of Light Award of Excellence.

The five categories for which applications can be submitted are:

  • Nonprofit of the Year – Presented to the nonprofit organization that has best implemented a program/project clearly focused on advancing its mission to address a community need.
  • Nonprofit CEO of the Year – Presented to the nonprofit CEO/executive director who has best demonstrated exemplary leadership and vision.
  • Nonprofit Board Leader of the Year – Presented to the board chairperson or board member who has best contributed to the long-term impact of the nonprofit that he or she serves and whose leadership exhibits best practices in nonprofit governance.
  • Robert Miller (File photo)

    Robert Miller (File photo)

    Nonprofit Communicator of the Year, in Honor of Robert Miller – Presented to the nonprofit organization that has best used a communications program/campaign to successfully advance its mission.

  • Corporation of the Year – Presented to the corporation that best models good corporate citizenship and socially responsible partnerships.

And it’s well worth the time and effort to get that application in. The honoree not only receives a $5,000 cash award but also a $2,500 scholarship toward CNM services.

The awards will be announced at A Night of Light 2015 on Thursday, November 12, at Sixty Five Hundred.

Since being created in 2001, CNM Connect “has awarded $400,000 in cash awards to 80 organizations.”

BTW, please note that the word “winner” was not used in this post because all nonprofits are winners every day of the year.

Register Now For Free Marketing And Public Relations Workshop For Nonprofits Featuring PRSA Dallas And Media Representatives



With the fundraising season up ahead, the nonprofits are gearing up to meet their financial goals. In order to get the funds, they need to get the word out. Unfortunately, not all can afford a fancy schmancy New York PR firm to promote their cause via branding, media and marketing.

So Queenie got together with her buddies at PRSA Dallas and Communities Foundation of Texas. They all agreed that it would be great if they partnered up “to give back by lending their time and expertise to deserving local causes.”

Since renting an RV and doing a roadshow presentation for area nonprofits didn’t seem very sensible, they decided to create Workshop for Nonprofits to Support Giving Season. It will be a half-day workshop on the morning of Friday, August 28, addressing “branding and messaging, media relations, digital marketing and social media skills with tips from the experts — including the media themselves.”

But then the next question was where to hold the workshop. That’s when Dean Foods stepped up to be the event sponsor and offered the place. That offer meant the event would be free for the nonprofit representatives. Yup, you saw that. The workshop is free for area nonprofits and PRSA members, but more about that later.

Here’s a rundown of topics and panelists:

  • Branding and Messaging: Carolyn Covey Morris (QMobius) and Vin Hoey (Strategic4sight)
  •  How to Effectively Communicate Your Message to the MediaRon Corning (WFAA-TV), Kristina Bowman (photographer), Jeanne Prejean (MySweetCharity) and Jane Rozelle (PaperCity Dallas)
  •  Building a Digital Community: Steve Lee (SMU), Mike Orren (Speakeasy) and Erin  Stevenson (Chili’s Grill & Bar)
  •  Nonprofit one-on-ones with PRSA Dallas mentors. Please note that to participate in this session, you must sign up during your online registration.

As mentioned before, the whole kit and caboodle will be free for any bona-fide nonprofit! Only problem is that you’ve got to sign up ASAP because space is gonna be as tight as a small-size Spanx shorts on Kim Kardashian.

This first-ever event is a great opportunity for the nonprofits to get the inside poop. Regarding the media segment, the panelists will address the ins-and-outs of how to work more smoothly with the press, so they don’t snarl every time you try to work with them. Yes, even Queenie will behave herself…sorta.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery: Conquer TM

Hal Brierley, Don Winspear, Patricia Meadows and Diane Brierley

Hal Brierley, Don Winspear, Patricia Meadows and Diane Brierley

Once again The Kessler was filled on Wednesday, July 8, for Don Winspear’s Conquer TM: An Evening With Friends and Music. While singer Tiger Darrow and balladeer Hal Ketchum entertained from the stage, the guests were pretty darn interesting, too.

Andrew Orkin and Tiger Darrow

Andrew Orkin and Tiger Darrow

While the post complete with Hal’s jokes is being composed, check out the pictures of the evening at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Art In Bloom Chair Barbara Daseke’s Put Together A Tiptoe Through Some Royal Tulips For Dallas Museum Of Art Fundraiser

Last week news was bubbling about the imaginative packages that were being put together by fundraisers to get the money flowing in. Oh, sure, you remember that trip to Cuba benefiting Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas.

Barbara Daseke (File photo)

Barbara Daseke (File photo)

Well, get your strolling shoes polished up because they just might be walking through royal surroundings thanks to Barbara Daseke, who is a very, very busy gal. While the interior designer works with chairs professionally, she’s chairing all types of events in the months to come. One of them is Art in Bloom International and Barbara is busting with news about that one.

Yes, it will take place at the Dallas Museum of Art on Monday, March 21. For the honorary chair, Barbara has gotten that red-haired doll Linda Ivy. As for the honoree, it will be Olivier Meslay, who is the Dallas Museum of Art’s Associate Director of Curatorial Affairs and the Barbara Thomas Lemmon Curator of European Art.

While there won’t be a fashion show, the speaker is gonna be over-the-top for the day of art and natural beauty. It’s going to be landscape architect and landscape historian Todd Longstaffe-Gowan, who is the Gardens Advisor to Historic Royal Palaces. And, no, he’s not one of those stuffy, stiff upper lip types.

According to Todd, “My work reflects my interest in the dramatic and sculpture potential of landscape, and is imbued with whimsical, historical eclecticism. I like to think that my gardens are intelligent as well as beautiful as they are informed by my training as an architect, landscape architect, geographer and historian.”

Leave it to Barbara to take full advantage of having the noted landscape guru on the docket. She up and decided to use Todd as an additional source of fundraising. Instead of the usual fashion show, she’s arranged to have a Table Design Competition. Limited to underwriters for a $500 entry fee, the entrants can dazzle up their tables with the theme of “International.”

For their creativity and execution, they’ll not only dress the luncheon, they’ll compete for “a three-day spree for two in London, complete with exceptional accommodations” and a private tour of the gardens of Kensington Palace and other historic palace gardens.

And who is going to be the judge of the competition? Why, Todd, of course.

But the number of available tables are limited, so start thinking of your table design. Sponsorships will be available in mid-October with individual tickets at $175 available for purchase starting on Friday, December 4.

Stay tuned. Word has it that “there are lots of great plans in the works.”

MySweetCharity Opportunity: 2015 ReuNight

According to 2015 ReuNight Co-Chair Robert Weatherly,

Robert Weatherly*

Robert Weatherly*

“In the spirit of its predecessor, the celebrated Palm Night, ReuNight has become the fresh modern face of The Family Place. With the combination of my remarkable Co-Chair Nancy C. Rogers, our prominent Host Committee and acclaimed chef John Tesar of Oak, there’s no doubt that November 12th will be an evening of fabulous food, fun and festivities. We look forward to Chef Tesar’s menu reveal in August for an amazing dinner with specially-selected wines to accompany his creations.

“But, this is more than just a fun-filled night. One in three women in Texas are victims of domestic violence, and that number is growing daily. This figure is even higher than the national average of one in four, making our work even more important here at home. Last year’s ReuNight raised in excess of $175,000 (net) that directly funded services provided by The Family Place. With your support, The Family Place will continue to provide these desperately needed programs and services to families in crisis.

“The Family Place is the Dallas area’s leading organization delivering proven programs that address emotional and physical abuse and incest. They empower victims of family violence by providing safe housing, counseling and skills that create independence while building community engagement and advocating for social change to stop family violence. Its free, comprehensive services fully support women, children and men on their path from fear to safety. In 2014, The Family Place provided services to a total of 11,523 clients with 164,672 hours of service in Spanish and in English.

“As both a member of the Board of Directors and 2015 co-chair, we ask that you please join us in our mission to end family violence by supporting ReuNight. Visit”

* Photo provided by The Family Place

Dallas Theater Center Supporters Are Pickin’ And Grinnin’ About Upcoming Moonshine Celebration

Since the Dee and Charles Wyly Theater’s opening, the Dallas Theater Center has been associated with all types of performing arts productions, from high drama to innovative new works. But it’s doubtful it’s ever been linked with hillbilly shenanigans. But that is going to change when “Moonshine: That Hee Haw Musical” opens on Wednesday, September 2.

The Broadway-bound musical is based on a book by Robert Horn with music and lyrics by Nashville’s Brandy Clark and Shane McNcAnally.

Brice Beaird, Elle Oberdick and Dan Waldmann*

Brice Beaird, Elle Oberdick and Dan Waldmann*

To take advantage of the fun to fundraise, Brice Beaird, Elle Oberdick and Dan Waldmann are chairing Moonshine Celebration on Saturday, September 12, complete with a full night of partying with Lyn Muse and Kim Sheffield serving as honorary co-chairs.

According to Dan, “We are throwing a good ol’ fashioned hoedown with tons of great food, live music straight from Nashville and other surprises.”

The evening will start with a cocktail reception at 5 p.m. followed by the performance at 6 p.m. and dinner and dance starting at Gilley’s around 8:30 p.m.

Tickets range from the full-evening package to the show-only offering.

* Photo provided by the Dallas Theater Center

Carol Reed To Be Toasted And Roasted At “Tuesday Night Live” Benefiting St. Philip’s School And Community Center

While KLUV’s Jody Dean was celebrating his 10th anniversary surrounded by hundreds in the main party room at CBS on Thursday, June 25, legendary Ron Chapman was regaling folks like Billy Bob Harris and Ango Wynne with tales from the past.

Carol Reed (File photo)

Carol Reed (File photo)

Just down the road at Capital Grille, Royce West was the BMCG (Big Man at Capital Grille). Over at a corner table, political strategist Carol Reed was fessing up to the St. Philip’s School and Community Center fall fundraiser. It seems that she will be thrown into the verbal volcano on Tuesday, October 20, at the Hyatt Regency thanks to Co-Chairs/friends Gillian Briedenbach, Jack Mathews and Holly Reed (no relation to Carol).

It’s not gonna be so much a roast as much at a takeoff on “Saturday Night Live.”

In Dallas it will be Tuesday Night Live presented by AT&T with former WFAA-er Gloria Campos doing the newscast and former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk and WFAA-mouth Dale Hansen adding the commentary.

This is definitely gonna be an unplugged scripted event. For heaven sakes, bring the sense of humor and leave the kiddos at home.

OMG, can’t wait to hear and see Carol toasted and roasted. If you’re in the know or ever wished upon a star that you were, get your cute self there. It will be a hoot!

United Way’s GroundFloor Is Accepting Applications For Its Innovative Mentoring Program

Tis the season for applications to be filed for potential assistance, whether it’s financial or a hand up. The latest call for applications comes from the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas for its GroundFloor program.

Having been established in 2013, it got up and running thanks to “seed investment from AT&T, Ernst & Young and generous donations.”

Exactly what is GroundFloor? No, it’s not a program to teach folks how to fix elevators. Rather it offers “social innovation endeavors that would typically not be eligible for a grant through United Way’s competitive Community Impact Fund process, as a result of the early stage of their business.”

That all sounds sort of heady. To put it simply, it’s a three-part program that includes

  1. financial capital for seed and early-stage ventures;
  2. human capital from our world-class mentors representing leaders in the areas of entrepreneurship, academics, public policy and the social sector; and,
  3. social capital through connecting our portfolio companies with resources from over 1,000 corporate partners and over 80 service providers.

According to a United Way spokesperson, UW has invested $300K in GroundFloor fellows with individual fellows receiving gifts ranging from $35,000 to $175,000.

It might help to know past recipients. While the press release reported that “The first GroundFloor Fellows, including Café Momentum, Dallas Teacher Residency, Upswing, and AdvanceNet Labs leveraged their mentoring, support and seed funding investments of $610,000 to raise an additional $3M to fund their impact work,” the very first crop of fellows for 2013-2014 was actually made up of Café Momentum, Dallas Teacher Residency, LiftFund and Spark 101.

Chad Houser (File photo)

Chad Houser (File photo)

According to Café Momentum Executive Director/Chef Chad Houser, “As the first GroundFloor fellow, United Way has been critical in helping us grow this unconventional youth program that everyone told me wouldn’t work.”

And Chad should know since Café Momentum has been a “fellow” twice!

Other fellows for the past couple of years have included

  • 2014-2015: Per Scholas, Upswing, 2ndSaturday and AdvanceNet Labs’ SafeNight
  • 2015-2016: Café Momentum and Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation

But back to the GroundFloor process. The selection will be made through a competitive business plan and pitch competition for “promising social ventures focused on solutions that address the issues of education, financial stability and health.”

If selected, the group will receive seed funding, thousands of dollars’ worth of training, mentoring and support that will help them rise to the next level within their industry. Other perks include:

  • One-on-One Mentorship: Mentors have experience in a variety of fields and are paired with Fellows based on need and expertise. Mentoring can range from providing an overall sounding board as a business develops, or more strategic problem-solving in specific areas. Mentors have included Yvonne P. Booker, Trey Bowles, Debra Brennan Tagg, Dana Brown, Christopher Cervantes, Sejal Desai, BJ Fineman, Rick Galloway, Mike Gelhausen, Rick Jackson, Peter Klingman, Selena LaCroix, Robin Minick, Cynthis Nevels, Kimberly O’Neill, Marlon Rollins, Frank Santoni, Jessica Shortall and Bob Wright.
  • Peer Learning: GroundFloor Fellows navigate the Accelerator as a group and benefit by watching and learning from each other. An important component of the program is building a camaraderie with a group of like-minded entrepreneurs who can serve as support and a resource in the future.
  • Workshops: GroundFloor Workshops cover a variety of topics that are valuable to early-stage ventures. These topics can include: pitching, marketing, board development, legal structure, social media strategy, accounting, crowdfunding and measuring impact.
  • Financial Capital: Seed money is awarded to give Fellows the runway to get their startups established.
  • Increased Visibility: The social capital of United Way of Metropolitan Dallas helps to shine attention on GroundFloor Fellows through media coverage and participation in community-wide events.
  • GroundFloor Staff: After an initial assessment of an organization, staff will work to establish short and long-term goals and help to achieve them during the 10-month program. Staff strives to provide accountability and create forward momentum for Fellows.

But the catch is that the applications are due in less than a month — Friday, August 21. Here are the deets on how to apply. Now get going, if you want to be a fellow!

Under A Bright Sunshiny Sky, Hope Cottage Groundbreaking Was A Heart Warmer In The Wilson Historic District

The Meadows Foundation President/CEO Linda Perryman Evans looked over the bare parking lot in the Wilson Historic District the morning of Thursday, June 25. Despite the heat already rising from the pavement, she was very pleased. It was the morning of the groundbreaking for the newest members of the Meadows Foundation community of nearly 40 nonprofits — Hope Cottage.

Hope Cottage groundbreaking shovels

Hope Cottage groundbreaking shovels

For her, having the adoption facility located here had a bit of irony attached to it. Then she smiled and recalled that “Uncle Al’s” (the late Algur Meadows) son, Robert Meadows, had been adopted. Rob is now Chairman of The Meadows Foundation’s board of trustees.

While a small sandbox with small shovels with brightly colored ribbons was placed in the center of the parking lot, the majority of Hope Cottage staffers, board members, friends and families gathered under the nearby trees and some were smart enough to bring umbrellas. It was obvious that even the summer heat was not going to discourage this official start for the 8,500 square-foot center designed by Gensler.

Joanna Clarke and Paige McDaniel

Joanna Clarke and Paige McDaniel

Kathleen LaVelle

Kathleen LaVelle

As time drew near for the official program to begin, Wilson District “residents” like Community Partners of Dallas’ Paige McDaniel and Joanna Clarke and soon-to-be next door neighbor Dallas CASA’s Kathleen LaVelle joined the crowd of adults and kiddos.

Kathleen had a special interest in the arrival of Hope Cottage to the “hood.” It seems that more than 25 years ago Hope Cottage had been “our foundation in the adoption process” of their children from Edna Gladney in Fort Worth. She had been told that it would be six months before their adoption would go through. Six days later the call came. She laughed and admitted that she wasn’t prepared for the early arrival and had “to borrow my neighbor’s car seat.”

Shannon Hills-Cline

Shannon Hills-Cline

John Dickey

John Dickey

As some of the guests took seats under a white tent, most stood to the side as Hope Cottage President of the Board John Dickey, Gensler architect Barry Hand and adoptive mom Shannon Hills-Cline spoke.

Barry Hand

Barry Hand

Shannon told the crowd in the blinding sunlight that, as a single mother, she thought the odds were against her. Then a call came after office hours. She feared it was a turn down call. Nope, they had a baby girl. After meeting with the mother and baby, the connection was a done deal. Only, like Kathleen, Shannon had no car seat. But that wasn’t going to hold her back. She found one and fell in love with motherhood.

Cassidy Seikaly and Omar Seikaly

Cassidy Seikaly and Omar Seikaly

Behind the tent Omar Seikaly was helping his daughter Cassidy Seikaly, who was having a shoe issue. Later when Omar was joined by Hope Cottage’s Amy Broussard, he told how she had been the one who had worked with his family in making the love connection for adopting both of their children.

After all the presentations were over, the group moved to the sandbox, where Hope Cottage graduates and foster kids took charge of the shovels and dug. And when the photos were finished and the grownups sought the comfort of the shade to chat, the kids kept digging. After all, that’s what a sandbox is all about.

MySweetCharity Opportunity: Homeward Bound Inc.

According to Homeward Bound Inc. Community Communication Director Betsy Simnacher,

“The Run for Recovery 5K/10K benefits the nonprofit Homeward Bound. Homeward Bound’s mission is to save families and change lives by treating people with mental illness, and drug and alcohol addiction.

“The Saturday, September 12th run in Irving is being presented by 2nd Chance Ministries of Farmers Branch. The sponsor is Idabel Chiropractic Clinic, and the run website is The site is Richardson Park on Campion Trails in Irving.

“Very few of Homeward Bound’s clients can pay for treatment, so the 501(c)(3) nonprofit relies on grants and donations to fund treatment for about 5,000 clients each year. Homeward Bound’s 152-bed Dallas facility is the largest of its kind in North Texas and one of the largest in Texas.

“Clients will be running but will not be able to pay the registration fee, so 2nd Chance Ministries is providing an option on the run website for people to sponsor runners. All donations will go directly to Homeward Bound’s mission to help people achieve recovery. The run is just one of the healthy alternatives Homeward Bound offers to its clients, who are motivated to overcome mental illness and addiction.

“Most will be successful. Typically, clients stay from four to 30 days. Eighty percent will finish treatment. We know that program completion usually indicates a long-term positive result. More than 75 percent checked at a three-month follow-up are still clean and sober.

“We know that people who come to us sincerely want to stop cycling through the emergency room and end the downward spiral of homelessness and poverty. They tell us so in messages that arrive through our website. A typical message reads: ‘I’m so so tired but at the same time so so scared. I’ve tried getting sober before only to get everybody’s hopes up, and I let them down. Very, very tired of hurting people around me, including myself.’

“We also hear from them on the other side, when they complete treatment. ‘This place saved my life. Without the staff, I would probably be dead. I love them all dearly,’ was a recent comment on our Facebook page.

“We hope you will join us in our mission by sponsoring one of our runners, running yourself, or donating through the Run for Recovery website (click on ‘Register Now’ for all these options) or our own website, Thank you.”