As North Texas is slowly opening up, today marked the officially closing of the books for Communities Foundation of Texas’ Chief Giving Day Officer Susan Swan Smith. After a decade of rallying her North Texas Giving Day team to provide an astonishing $342M+ for North Texas non-profits, plus creating a pop-up effort that garnered nearly $80M for non-profits impacted by COVID-19, she had accepted a new role as director of the My Possibilities Foundation .
While Susan is the first to admit that she hated leaving the CFT family, she couldn’t resist heading up Collin County-based My Possibilities and its mission to “serve adults with disabilities such as Down Syndrome, Autism, Asperger’s, Prader-Willi, head injuries and more.”
In her new role, Susan “will oversee all My Possibilities’ development efforts with responsibility for growing the foundation into the largest IDD-focused [Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities] foundation in the country. The foundation will provide endowment for My Possibilities, IDD-focused donor-advised funds and a special needs pooled trust to help families with their long-term savings strategies for their children and loved ones with IDD.”
Susan has already been in her new office and admitted, “I’ve worn regular shoes over there twice and my feet have ached after only an hour.”
While it may have been a “swan” song, the noontime gathering in CFT’s back parking lot was so reflective of the SSS spirit — lots of laughing emerging from masked faces, knuckle-knocking and catching up. To add to the celebration of a time well spent, there were food trucks (DeLeon Provisions and Pokey O’s) and favors (Kate’s Bakes).
And, of course, there was a gift for the honoree. Her NTGD team that has gained a reputation for creativity and fun wasn’t about to present her with a clock or a plaque. No, siree. With eyes shut, Susan prepared for the presentation. Eyes opened to a longer-than-full-length, green-and-blue cape with the NTGD emblem on the back. Why, it was so long that even wearing high heels, Susan found herself tip-toeing to avoid a trip-up as she joined her team for a photo.
But the occasion was also a time for present staffers (Chris McSwain, Monica Egert Smith, Amelia White, Andy Scripps, Sarah Cotton Nelson, Tina Lin, Beverly Garner, Kate Grogan, Matt Allen, Kaitlin Guthrow, Amanda Kolle) to welcome back former Communities Foundation of Texas staffers like Carol Goglia, who had overseen NTGD marketing until she left a year ago to become president of United to Learn … Children’s Medical Center Foundation President Brent Christopher, who had launched the first North Texas Giving Day back in 2009, was chatting with his successor CFT President/CEO Dave Scullin and Fred Hegi, who was showing his Mustang allegiance a la his mask.
For others it was the first time to catch up after the year of hibernation. Lydia Novakov was thrilled to be out and being with friends. The pandemic restrictions have had her priorities to make sure her 91-year-old mother, Isabell Haggar, and newly born granddaughter were staying safe and healthy, in addition to the rest of the clan.
Despite being in the covered terrace, Connie O’Neill was wearing sunglasses atop her mask. She admitted that she usually forgets them and would need them for double duty today. In addition to Susan’s noontime get together, Connie and nine Pi Phi pals were going to the Arboretum in the evening for the Motowners Single Silver’s Martin Rutchik concert.
For more photos, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.