This year has been tough enough as so many struggle through the coronavirus pandemic, so why not lift each other up? That's the idea behind North Texas Giving Day, hosted by the Communities Foundation of Texas.
It's an 18-hour online giving event on Sept. 17 designed to empower every person to give back to their community by supporting local nonprofits and causes they care about in one spot: www.northtexasgivingday.org.
Go to the ‘Give Now’ tab and click on ‘Browse nonprofits’.
You can pick one or several of the 3,300 local non-profits that are counting on those donations, with categories ranging from homelessness, animals, poverty, education, veterans and more.
There are also countless virtual and socially distant events that each one of these nonprofits is hosting. Just click here to access the list.
Also starting at 11 a.m. Thursday, CFT will host a free, socially-distant concert all day until 7 p.m.
The area is open to the public but capacity will be limited. CFT is encouraging people to watch the concert live stream online at Levitt Pavilion’s Facebook page.
“We are making the best that we can out of the situation but truly this time more than ever is the perfect opportunity for members of our community to come together in ways that support each other,” said Chris McSwain, community engagement director for CFT.
The event has been hosted online since 2009, but that concept is especially crucial this year as people turn to virtual means for daily life.
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Many of the in-person events normally held to celebrate the day had to be moved totally online or scaled down to be socially distant but organizers are finding ways to work around COVID-19.
CFT was able to get a head start on early giving two weeks ago with their Give Big drive-by ceremony, featuring a car parade and socially distant celebrations with Big Tex and Dallas Mavericks CEO Cynt Marshall.
Last year was a record breaking year raising $50 million dollars from more than 100,000 donors.
McSwain said she can only hope for something similar this year. The upcoming holidays – coupled with the ongoing pandemic – has put so many of these non-profits in a very tough situation.
“The fall season is a huge time when a lot of nonprofits would have fundraising events, galas to help prepare for the end of the year. So this is an opportunity, especially this year, to supplement some of those events that had to get canceled,” she said.
Nonprofit Union Coffee in Dallas can best explain why North Texas Giving Day is important.
The ministry-based coffee shop in Dallas was forced to shut down their operations due to the pandemic. It brought much of their funding to a halt -- money they normally put back into the neighborhoods to empower women, LGBTQ and people of color as leaders.
“We basically exist to cultivate the divine spark in their neighbors for the good of Dallas and the world that it inspires," said Rev. Mike Baughman, one of the founders of Union Coffee. "And what that translates to is leadership, especially among adults in their 20s. We’re looking largely at people that the rest of society doesn’t necessarily look to for leadership. Right now, even in the midst of the pandemic, we’ve got just shy of 100 people serving in leadership positions at Union."
In fact this summer, they pushed on and teamed up with Life in Deep Ellum to host virtual training for 50 white church leaders to learn anti-racist theology and ideas and put it into actual practice.
"As a result, all of those individuals reported feeling more confident speaking about race and racial equity. And the vast majority of their churches and religious-based organizations got involved in anti-racist work,” said Rev. Baughman.
Like many other non-profits, they don't want that work to stop because of the pandemic.
“One of the implications of that is that a lot of us in the nonprofit sector are nervous that giving might go down as a result of COVID-19,” said Baughman. “In the midst of everything that’s changing in the world right now, in the midst of an election and the pandemic and current movements for racial equity – we are remaking society right now.”
He added, “I think a gift on North Texas Giving Day is about more than just supporting the efforts of local nonprofits. It’s absolutely vital. It’s also a statement that we as North Texans are going to be a generous people no matter what comes, no matter what things develop – we will be a generous people and that matters far more than just on Sept. 17.”