Wednesday, February 3, was a gathering of eagles at the Nasher Sculpture Center. No, there were no feathers in the flock that cocktailed and dined. Rather, it was a herd of Dallas philanthropists and philanthropic caretakers like Mary Jalonick, Roslyn Dawson, Michael Meadows, Kathy Muldoon, Lucy Buchanan, Tommy McBride, Lisa Ragland, David Yost, Angela Woodson and Robin Robinson.
The occasion was Baylor Foundation’s the Philanthropic Leadership Award dinner. Though not an annual event, this year warranted it because of the recipient — Dodee Frost Crockett, for her reputation for professionalism in financial management and the importance that she places on philanthropy.
On hand to see Dodee receive her award was Dodee’s musician/singer/hubby Billy Crockett of more than 20 years. With a home in Wimberley, Dodee and Billy were asked how the mecca of Texas creativity was faring after last year’s floods. Without hesitation, the couple responded, “We’re going great!”
After dinner Baylor Foundation VP of Gift Planning Cynthia Krause explained the purpose of the Baylor Advisory Program that began six years ago with brown bag lunches. Addressing those financial advisors in the audience, she suggested they could help their clients as well as their community with three reasons:
- If they introduce their clients to Baylor, they could also provide their clients with excellent healthcare
- When you make a connection with someone in crisis, you can create a greater relationship with that client
- For Baylor, it would mean that they would make more friends.
Cynthia herself had experienced Baylor “customer service” at a time of crisis. It took place years ago when she gave birth to triplets. Despite weeks of struggling and the deaths of two of the babies (Benjamin and Catherine), the staff brought up baby Abigail in her incubator to Cynthia, so the young mother could watch her baby and hold her for five minutes each hour: “They knew I had to see I had a baby.”
Seven weeks later Abigail was home. Today that baby is doing an internship in Washington, D.C., after graduating from Baylor University.
Seamlessly, Cynthia brought her story around to the crowd saying, “You will have clients like that who are in need of help during a crisis situation.”
She then introduced Dodee, who immediately admitted that giving was not a natural development. Rather it is influenced by someone else: “Our parents teach us how to share our toys. Maybe we were told stories about generosity, love and sacrifice in our place of worship.”
She recalled a legendary story in her family. When she was a youngster of four or five, she saw something in a story that she really wanted — a giant plastic Easter egg filled to the brim with toys and goodies. Dodee begged her parents for the egg. Naturally, her younger sister also wanted one. On Good Friday her father arrived home with a large paper bag. The girls were so excited that they rushed to meet him in the driveway. Upon being handed the bag, little Dodee dropped it on the concrete resulting in the sound of a crack. Looking inside the sack, Dodee reported to her sister, “Yours broke.” That moment has lived with Dodee for decades.
In her career, Dodee has learned that if a client has no goals that can be facilitated by good proven investment management, they’re not a good fit for her practice.
But if the care and stewardship of wealth toward the goals include family, parents, child, community, learning, medicine, faith, environment and the ease of suffering, then that inspires her more to bring the full resources of her experience to see those to fruition.
She thanked those present who had helped her achieve her goals, including Baylor and her husband Billy.
Returning to the podium, Cynthia then revealed the story of Paula Walker and her pursuing her passion for the arts and helping others. Appreciating the healing element provided by music, she had underwritten a $50,000 gift to provide musicians to play at the bedside of Baylor patients.
Paula was so impressed with the project that she wanted to do more. This desire brought Paula’s financial advisor Dodee, her donor advisors at The Dallas Foundation, art expert Bonnie Pitman and Baylor Foundation’s Cynthia together to see if they could create an art-healing program that would continue in the years to come through philanthropy.
When all the ingredients came together, Paula underwrote a $1M-plus gift for the Center for Arts and Medicine. It is the core component for patients to interact with music and artists. It will allow for a better environment for both patients and staff.
Bonnie admitted that her purpose for the evening was to get people to “empty their pockets” for the program. She told how because of her working with Dr. Randy Rosenblatt regarding her pulmonary condition, she had learned how debilitating her situation was. It was during this time that she was still working at the Dallas Museum of Art and sought solace in the galleries. During her treatments, she became a “Johnny Appleseed” telling the medical staff that they had to see the art. Patients who took her up on her suggestion were gratified at having a normal experience outside their treatment.
Cynthia then returned to the podium and read a letter from transplant patient Pamela Lynch to Bonnie telling her how the Arts in Medicine had been a true turning point in her healing. As if that wasn’t enough, on the screen was a drawing that Pamela had created for Bonnie. Surprised and touched, Bonnie was amazed at the tribute. Then as an added surprise, Cynthia prepared to hand the actual framed drawing that slipped out of her hands. Luckily, it was packed well and survived the oops!
Thanks to Paula, Randy, Bonnie, Dodee, The Dallas Foundation and the Baylor team, the arts program has resulted. It will provide creative outlets for those who have given up hope. It will relieve the stress level. It will improve the communication between patients and staff. It will allow the patient a greater sense of control.
* Photo provided by Baylor Health Care System Foundation