Following a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, United Way of Metropolitan Dallas resurrected its Annual Celebration and Unite Forever Campaign Awards event on Thursday, May 12, to celebrate its 97 years of bringing companies, donors and volunteers together for the betterment of Dallas. And what a party it was! With more than 800 folks dining on the floor of The Star, one of the highlights of the night was honoring the people and organizations that have proven to be standouts. Still another reason to celebrate was the Unite Forever Campaign’s meeting its $100M goal — three years ahead of schedule. Here’s a report from the field, complete with the awardees of the night:
United Way of Metropolitan Dallas celebrated 97 years of community impact made by North Texas volunteers, donors and partners at its Annual Celebration and Unite Forever Campaign Awards on Thursday, May 12, at The Star in Frisco, Texas. The annual event resumed for the first time since the start of the pandemic in 2019, with more than 800 guests in attendance.
“This event is a welcome back and a thank you to the companies, donors, volunteers and partners who collaborate to make United Way’s impact work possible,” said Jennifer Sampson, McDermott-Templeton president and CEO of United Way of Metropolitan Dallas. “Even as all of us in the North Texas community navigated the effects of the pandemic, these inspirational and visionary leaders are proof that philanthropy is thriving in our region, and that by working together, we can tap into the power of unity and equity to create positive lasting change.”
During the event, awards were presented to individuals and companies in categories anchored to the values and mission of United Way. The J. Erik Jonsson Award, the highest recognition United Way bestows upon a volunteer, was presented to Ed Galante, former Senior Vice President with ExxonMobil, for demonstrating the spirit of volunteerism. This prestigious award is a tribute to the vision and leadership of its namesake, the first president and co-founder of Texas Instruments who also served as four-term Mayor of Dallas and as co-founder of United Way of Metropolitan Dallas.
According to Sampson, “Ed has shaped United Way in so many ways through his service in every major leadership role and inspired a legacy of giving that continues today. Ed currently serves on the Foundation board and as Long-Range Planning chair of the Board of Directors, and as co-chair and architect of the Unite Forever campaign.”
The Unite Forever campaign is United Way’s first $100 million endowment campaign. Launched in 2015, the goal of the campaign is to create a financial foundation that will benefit generations of North Texans in the years and decades to come. The $100 million endowment campaign has now been met three years ahead of the ten-year goal.
“On Thursday, May 12, we celebrated the incredible fact that our annual campaigns over the last three years, plus the funds raised for Unite Forever endowment campaign since 2015, have secured almost $300 million to drive measurable impact in education, income and health. These resources make a lasting difference in the lives of over 1.3 million North Texans every single year,” explained Sampson.
“We are so thankful for our 2019-2020 Annual Campaign Fundraising Co-Chairs Karen Falk and Tom Falk, former CEO of Kimberly Clark Corporation, as well as our 2020-2022 Annual Campaign Fundraising chair Anne Chow, CEO of AT&T Business. Their leadership through an incredibly challenging time made a huge difference in the lives of so many in our community.”
Additional awards given at the event included:
- The Give Award presented to Debbie McComas of Haynes and Boone. The award is presented to an individual who inspires others to contribute to the people and programs of United Way.
- The Advocate Award presented to the Rev. Gerald Britt of CitySquare. The award is presented to an individual or organization who inspires others to speak up, often working beyond their own organization to create a conversation that leads to lasting change in our community.
- The Volunteer Award presented to Tina Morefield of AT&T and a second Volunteer Award to Co-Chairs: Kennedy Downing, Ceci Gooch, Hilton Sampson and Julia Small of Teens United. The award is presented to volunteers who inspire others to give their time and skills to make a difference in our communities.
- The Emerging Leader Award presented to Adam Torma and Tyler Riddell. The award is presented to young professionals who are committed to helping our communities succeed through giving, volunteerism and advocacy.
- The Education Award presented to Roxanne Pittman, former Director at Mi Escuelita Preschools. The award is presented to an individual or company passionate about helping children cultivate the skills needed to succeed in school and lifelong success.
- The Income Award presented to Lancaster ISD. The award is presented to an organization that is passionate about providing North Texans with pathways out of poverty.
- The Health Award presented to Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty. The award is presented to an individual or organization that is driven by the idea that good health is a human right.
- The Community Leader Award presented to Taylor Toynes, For Oak Cliff. The award is presented to an individual who exemplifies advocating for the betterment of the community.
- The Public Service Award presented to Dr. Froswa’ Booker-Drew. The Award is presented to someone who exemplifies “leading from every chair.”
United Way of Metropolitan Dallas is a social change organization that unites the community to create opportunity and access for all North Texans to thrive, challenging the systemic barriers associated with race. Together with our committed change-seekers, we are mobilizing a movement for lasting change to ensure all our neighbors have access to education, income and health—the building blocks of opportunity. We invite you to Live United and be part of the change right here at home. To give, advocate or volunteer, visit UnitedWayDallas.org.
* Photo provided by United Way Of Metropolitan Dallas