For a sold-out crowd at the Hyatt Regency, the AFP Greater Dallas‘ 33rd Annual National Philanthropy Day on Friday, November 9, was a cornucopia of local philanthropic champs. From veteran fundraiser Kaki Hopkins providing food for thought to the Mistlecrew’s Stella Wrubel, Quinn Graves, Isabella Dickason and Trevor Godkin feeding the needy, it was the perfect way to start off the holiday season. Here’s a report from the field:
Over 500 gathered at the Hyatt Regency Dallas on Friday, November 9, for the 33rd Annual National Philanthropy Day Luncheon, “Stories Worth Telling,” honoring many of the city’s finest who give selflessly in support of numerous worthy causes. The Booker T. Washington High School Jazz Vocal Ensemble and Jazz Combo set the stage for an inspirational and heartwarming afternoon as guests entered the ballroom for the luncheon. Chaired by William Bryant Jr., this year’s award luncheon honored Jack Furst (nominated by Boy Scouts of America), as Outstanding Philanthropist; Kaki Hopkins (nominated by the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden) as Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser; Luanne Samuel (nominated by Alcuin School) as Outstanding Fundraising Executive; the Joe M. and Doris R. Dealey Family Foundation (nominated by Texas Health Resources Foundation) as Outstanding Foundation; Pioneer Natural Resources (nominated by Dallas CASA and Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity) as Outstanding Corporation; and Jingle Bell Mistletoe – Stella Wrubel, Quinn Graves, Isabella Dickason and Trevor Godkin (nominated by North Texas Food Bank) as Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy.
AFP Chapter President Sarah Elliott recognized chapter sponsor South Texas Money Management (STMM); presenting sponsor Murray Media; luncheon sponsor Boy Scouts of America; award sponsors Alcuin School, Boy Scouts of America, Chick-fil-A Foundation, ClubCorp, Texas Capital Bank, Texas Health Resources; community sponsors M. Gale & Associates, LLC, United Way of Metropolitan Dallas; and reception sponsor The Color of Money.
Chick-fil-A Inc. Community Affairs VP/Chick-fil-A Foundation Executive Director/”Heroes Wanted: Why the World Needs You to Live Your Heart Out” Rodney D. Bullard spoke to the crowd, encouraging them to rise to the occasion, become a superhero, and change the world.
During the luncheon, a special tribute presented by Carole Rylander honored three legends of philanthropy that passed away in 2018: Ruth Altshuler, Barbara James and Margaret McDermott. “These three legends of philanthropy were three very distinct individuals, but all were known for their humor, wit, and wisdom, and their ability to put people at ease and relate to them as individuals,” added Rylander. “They were all loyal to the institutions they supported and had a deep love for the community.”
The sold-out luncheon was emceed by longtime supporter Scott Murray. Presenting sponsor of the luncheon Murray Media produced the luncheon videos featuring the accomplishments of each award recipient. Outstanding Fundraising Executive Awardee Kaki Hopkins summed up the joy and purpose of the occasion, beginning her acceptance video speech with the question, “What is the phenomenon that brings volunteers together to do good work? For sure such work adds to our sense of purpose. But today’s celebration and these awards are about a phenomenon called philanthropy, which Webster defines most briefly as love of mankind.” She concluded, “In the end, it’s a concern for people of the community that motivates most philanthropists. We all make contributions to our community in various ways. Some make a phone call to a prospective supporter, and some answer the call. Whatever end of that call you might find yourself on, you can remember that your role in that transaction has an even higher purpose: it’s love of mankind and, to bring Webster’s definition a little closer to home, it’s love for our community.”
As is tradition with this luncheon, Murray concluded the luncheon with a brief visit with the Youth in Philanthropy award recipients following the presentation of that award. The four seventh graders – all part of the Mistlecrew of Jingle Bell Mistletoe – were honored for their work selling mistletoe during the holidays since 2014. To date the group has raised nearly $150,000 for the North Texas Food Bank to feed the hungry. Scott asked the group’s founder, Stella Wrubel, what she would do to change the world if she could. She answered, “I love food, and I hate that so many others don’t have any. It’s such a terrible problem, and I would like to end hunger.”
While the goal of Jingle Bell Mistletoe is to feed the hungry, their dream is that others will follow in their footsteps and find ways they can give back. The group announced they would be selling mistletoe from Thursday, December 20 thru Sunday, December 23, at Highland Park Village. Additionally, they will be trying to break the Guinness World Record for the most people kissing under mistletoe on Sunday, December 2, 1-3 p.m. at Klyde Warren Park for “Kiss Hunger Goodbye.”
The Greater Dallas Chapter of AFP was among the first to begin celebrating National Philanthropy Day in 1981. AFP Chapters involve more than 28,000 individuals in celebrating philanthropy each year.
* Photo credit: Kristina Bowman