There was a whirlwind of activity at the headquarters of Communities Foundation of Texas on Thursday, September 7, when an invitation-only gathering kicked off the 15th anniversary of CFT’s North Texas Giving Day (NTxGD).
A crowd of nearly 300 people attended the “Cheers to 15 Years” event for the organization’s charitable fund-holders, nonprofits participating in NTxGD and longtime supporters of Giving Day. Among the guests were Arcilia Acosta, Sarah Losinger, Chris Kleinert, Nicole Small, Jan Langbein, Grant Moise, CFT Board of Trustees Chair Richie Butler and Frank Risch, who’d served as Special Adviser to the Board Chair during the search for CFT’s new president and CEO.
The largest community-wide giving event in the country, North Texas Giving Day to date has fueled more than $500 million for local charities. This year’s Giving Day will be Thursday, September 21, and support more than 3,000 non-profit groups in more than 27 cause areas. For the third year in a row, Amazon will be the title sponsor of the 18-hour-long fundraiser.
Over in the northeast corner of CFT’s Community Room auditorium, musicians from the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra — one of the non-profits participating in this year’s NTxGD — were working their way through the old jazz standard, “There Will Never Be Another You,” during the reception before the “Cheers to 15” formal program.
Across the way, Dallas Mavericks CEO Cynt Marshall, the “Cheers” emcee and a former honorary chair of NTxGD, was holding court for a small group that included Mavs Senior Vice President Erin Finegold.
Meantime, CFT’s brand-new President and CEO Wayne White was out in the lobby, thronged by enthusiastic well-wishers like The Stewpot Executive Director Brenda Snitzer with her mom, Bonnie Ewing, and Dallas CASA CEO Kathleen LaValle with her husband, Michael LaValle.
Someone asked Wayne, who assumed his duties in July after a five-year stint in Chicago with the American Cancer Society, how he was liking Dallas so far.
“On a scale of one to 10, it’s a 10 out of 10,” he replied. “I love it!”
As he typically does when taking on new assignments, Wayne said, he plans to “listen” to people and learn about CFT for a period of months before formulating any new strategies for the group.
“I don’t know all the answers, but I know they’re all here,” he said.
Standing close by the new CEO was CFT Board Vice Chair Connie O’Neill. It would be a busy evening for Connie, who planned to head afterward to an event at SMU.
The night proved to a reunion for NTxGD vets like Carol Goglia, Susan Swan Smith and Brent Christopher, who launched the program back in 2009. Brent laughed, recalling how, during its earliest years, donors at one point “blew the heck out of the DonorBridge website and clogged up the telephone lines.” Needless to say, safeguards have been put into place preventing such calamities from occurring again.
Early giving for NTxGD opened on September 1.