Via: My Sweet Charity

By: Jeanne Prejean

With cold, wet weather nearing, Sunday, November 4, was amazingly flawless both outside and inside Hotel ZaZa. The reason for the great feel inside the hotel was a standing room only for The Village of Giving Circle at Texas Women’s Foundation grants distribution.

Back story: Back in April, a group of African American female leaders gathered on a Sunday afternoon at Shonn and Clarence Brown‘s home to kick of the Village’s mission — to focus on honoring, continuing and sustaining the legacy of African-American women’s philanthropy by funding organizations and initiatives that will positively impact the African-American community in North Texas. Hosted by the Texas Women’s Foundation (formerly known as Dallas Women’s Foundation), that initial get-together of The Village of Giving Circle resulted in $122,000 to be distributed for organizations that benefited more than 50% African Americans.

As The Village’s Co-Chair Shonn put it, “I am just blown away by the generosity of everyone. In less that a year, our group has raised $122,000, researched the organizations and is now giving these grants to strengthen the work they’re doing for the African-American community.”

But the day was more than $122,000 check presentations. It was a celebration of the Village’s first steps in their journey.

And the inaugural recipients included:

  • The Family Place: $25,000 to “pay for emergency shelters services for victims of family violence. These services save lives and provided resources to start victims on a path to be strong survivors. In 2017, 62% (646) of our emergency shelters clients were African American. In 2017, clients stayed for an average of 46 days, up from 41 days in 2016. This increase is closely tied to the increasing poverty in our community. Dallas now has the second-highest child poverty rate of larges cities after Philadelphia.”
  • Big Thought: $20,000 to “fund the advancement of Creative Solutions — a trauma-informed intervention program with a 20-year history of transforming the lives of juvenile offenders by promoting empathy, self-awareness and job skills acquisition for a 21st century world.”
  • Boys And Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas: $20,000 “to relaunch the Robotics Program for middle-school age Club members. The goal is to engage African-American children in STEM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Math) activities, improve their academic performance in core subject areas, and increase their confidence to pursue both collegiate studies and a career in STEM.”
  • Paul Quinn College: $20,000 “to support a 7-week summer youth academic hosted by Paul Quinn College substantially expanding access to rigorous academic and athletic opportunities for African-American students in the Dallas area. The Summer Youth Academy provides athletic and academic summer experiences for youth in southern Dallas involving two unique and rigorous components.”
  • CitySquare: $20,000 “to equip neighbors with the tools they need to participate fully in the local workforce. This investment in the community will allow CitySquare to continue to move more of our neighbors out of poverty towards meaningful work and self-sufficiency while transforming their lives and our city.”
  • The Compelling Why: $10,000 “for two seminars reaching 400 African-American girls and subsequent participation in the Leadership Series. By exposing the girls to successful African-American women (business and community leaders), they will begin to see themselves in those roles and understand the possibilities available to them when they graduate college.”
  • Accion: $7,000 “to increase access to small business loans and financial education for African-American entrepreneurs in Dallas County. The program will offer small business loans of $1,000-$1 million, along with other support, including credit reporting, business counseling and business resource events.”
  • Dallas Black Dance Theatre: $5,000 “for scholarships to the Academy to remove financial and social barriers, so that deserving African-American youth can receive the full benefits of dance education. This funding will specifically support scholarship during the 2019 spring semester.”
  • New Friends New Life: $5,000 “to provide supplies and meals for young girls who are victims of sex trafficking. The New Friends New Life (NFNL) Resource Center has served 56 youth in this program (ages 12-20) and are expecting to serve approximately 80 clients over the next year. New Friends New Life strives to provide a supportive environment and encourage youth about other opportunities outside of the sex-trade industry.”

While some men might have been intimidated by this gal power, Big Thought’s Byron Sanders and Paul Quinn’s Michael Sorrells saluted the women for their efforts and investments in the future of the community.