Back on Friday, December 4, North Texans just thought it was chilly. Still, they mustered through with outdoor events to warm the heart. Communities Foundation of Texas staffers showed their appreciation for their supporters who stood by them during the pandemic by hosting a drive-in movie. And what better place but the CFT parking lot? As guests arrived, they were provided boxed dinners by Abraham Salum to enjoy while watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” on the big screen. Here’s a report from the field:
Communities Foundation of Texas recently held a physically distanced event for their charitable partners in appreciation of the many ways they’ve been giving back to the community. Since March, Communities Foundation of Texas has helped mobilize $175 million for nonprofits through leadership of community relief efforts such as North Texas Cares, North Texas Giving Day, and North Texas Giving Tuesday Now, as well as the generosity of their donor-advised fund holders and the creation of eight different COVID-19 related relief funds.
“This year, even though we have not gathered, met, or celebrated in person as frequently as we did a year ago, your generosity – now, more than ever – continues to bind you even closer to the organizations and communities you love so dearly during a time when they need you most,” said CFT’s Chief Relationship Officer Monica Egert Smith.
The numbers behind the generosity further this sentiment: Between March and October 2020, donor-advised funds held at Communities Foundation of Texas increased their grantmaking by 79% over the same period last year, granting more than $41 million to nonprofit organizations. This includes over $7 million granted by CFT fund holders during North Texas Giving Day and North Texas Giving Tuesday Now.
CFT’s special holiday event for their charitable fund holders was held in their parking lot on Friday, December 4– a drive-in movie featuring the holiday classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Boxed dinners were served by crowd favorite Abraham Salum and holiday treats were provided along with boxed popcorn and hot chocolate.
Close to 50 cars attended the outdoor car side film screening, including CFT fund holders Cindy Brinker Simmons, Jimmy and Kyle Galbraith, Suzy and Larry Gekiere, Bev Freeman, Carrie and Steven Parsons, Ken and Stacey Malcolmson, Alicia and Kevin McGlinchey, Lee and Margaret Jackson, Michael and Jill Dardick, Jon and Jennifer Mosle, Lydia and Dan Novakov and CFT President/CEO Dave Scullin and his wife Susan Scullin. There were also a number of in-car appearances by children, grandchildren, and even a few pets in festive holiday sweaters.
CFT fund holder and former trustee, Lydia Novakov shared, “CFT’s Drive-In Movie was the most clever idea of this terrible pandemic, and the first outing Dan and I have had since last March! ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ is Dan’s favorite movie, and every Christmas Eve our family watches it together. With this Christmas most likely taking a departure from our traditions, we were thrilled with the chance to view this classic in a fun and new way.”
CFT staff like Melissa Hardage also delivered holiday cheer, surprising a number of charitable partners including Carrie Freeman Parsons and Steve Parsons by donning masks and hand-delivering gift baskets filled with local goods from small businesses and nonprofit partners.
Additionally, over 300 guests tuned in to CFT’s Celebrating CommUNITY virtual event in November. You can watch or listen to the event remarks here.
“None of our work in helping to meet our community’s incredible challenges would be possible without the ongoing support from our charitable fund holders, whose generosity has helped distribute funds immediately to community members most in need – while also responding to near- and long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as future issues that may arise,” said Scullin. “2020 has taught our team at Communities Foundation so much. One of our most consistent lessons has been the importance of relationships – real, deep and meaningful relationships anchored in trust and shared values. Our fund holders, donors, nonprofit and community partners have all been critical to our ability to learn, adapt and respond during what may be our community’s most challenging times in recent history.”
* Photo credit: Kim Leeson