When 2022 Can Do! Luncheon Chair Nelda Cain Pickens decided to hold a kick-off coffee to reveal plans for the Wilkinson Center’s fundraiser, her sister Nancy Cain Marcus offered to host the announcement event at her incredible home this morning for guests including Emilynn Wilson, Betty Regard, Ann Dyer, Lynn McBee, Gail Thomas and past luncheon chairs Pam Busbee, Emilynn Wilson and Linda Secrest.
It was the ideal place for the announcement of the luncheon on Monday, April 4, at the Dallas Country Club that would serve as the official launch of the Center’s 40th anniversary year.
And to serve as the honorary chair, Nelda and Wilkinson Center Executive Director Anne Reeder Corley have arranged to have longtime Wilkinson Center supporter Margot Perot.
As Anne explained, “Since 1982 Wilkinson Center has provided hope through food and emergency services, workforce training and free adult education for thousands of Dallas County residents. It is through the ongoing support of our community that we have been able to serve our clients for 40 years. We are thrilled to celebrate this year’s award recipients for the impact they have made, and continue to make, in our community.”
Nelda and Anne revealed this year’s Can Do award will include the following:
- Can Do! Individual Award — Liza Collins and Rachel Stephens are being recognized for honoring the legacy of the late Ruth Collins Sharp Altshuler by continuing her long-standing food drive benefiting Wilkinson Center and three other Dallas nonprofits. These entrepreneurial women collect food at their children’s schools, their homes and in partnership with the Girl Scouts, their sorority and social circles. The impact of their dedication to alleviating hunger is twofold; not only are hungry bellies filled with nutritious food, but their children have come to understand what it means to care for their neighbors.
- Can Do! Organization Award — Texas Mutual Insurance. The generous team at Texas Mutual Insurance truly embodies the philanthropic spirit. Like many non-profits, Wilkinson Center was faced with a critical dilemma when the COVID-19 pandemic hit — how would we continue to serve our clients without physical classes and services? Texas Mutual, already a generous supporter, swooped in to assist with a tremendous gift that allowed the Wilkinson Center team to advance our technology and allow both clients and staff to move forward with classes and services, safely from our homes. Texas Mutual Insurance continues to support the work of Wilkinson Center and many other area non-profits working hard to serve our community.
- Can Do! Client Award — Ana Ramirez. Ana enrolled in Wilkinson Center’s high school equivalency class in 2019. She was introduced to financial coaching and worked with a case manager on her financial goals. Ana worked as a housekeeper at a hospital, but wanted a more advanced career in healthcare. She began classes in our Patient Care Technician program at Arcadia Park Annex in 2020 while studying for the last section of her GED test. Through the Working Families Success program, Ana was provided additional income support such as food assistance, holiday assistance for her children, and scrubs for class. Ana completed the Patient Care Technician program in addition to earning her GED. Ana’s next step was to prepare for her citizenship test, and she is proud to say she is now a U.S. citizen, currently studying to take the National Patient Care Technician exam.
- Kids Can Too! Award — The Guthrie Kids – Felix, Joseph and Judith. Joseph, Felix and Judith are not your average kiddos. Their mother Emily, like many parents, was met with both excitement and pause when her first child’s school aged birthday came about. She wondered if the birthday celebration at school presented an opportunity to make a difference. She asked Joseph if he would like to invite his friends to bring shelf-stable food instead of gifts to his party so they could share with other kids that do not have enough food. To her delight he said, “Yes!” The tradition began nearly 10 years ago and has continued with the two younger Gutherie kids, Felix and Judith.
Past recipients have included Anne and Terry Conner, Larry and Kathy Helm, Ashlee and Chris Kleinert, Ellen and John McStay, Carolyn and David Miller, Regina Montoya, Carlin Morris and Dr. Joyce Picking.
According to Nelda, this year’s fundraiser will also mark the 10th anniversary of the luncheon that honors “those who exemplify entrepreneurship in philanthropy and the ‘can do’ spirit that makes great things happen in our community.”
While sponsorships start at $5,000, tables will be going for $3,000+. Individual tickets range from $300 for the luncheon to $500 for the patron level that includes the luncheon and an invitation to the sponsor party.