INTERVIEW AND PHOTOS BY JAN OSBORN.
Natalie Musgrave Dossett is this year’s Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser for the Greater Dallas Chapter of Association of Fundraising Professionals Annual National Philanthropy Day Celebration, which will be held virtually on November 13. Natalie was nominated by the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas (RMHD), though she has been a passionate fundraiser and advocate for multiple nonprofits including the Episcopal School of Dallas, Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, Dallas Museum of Art (where she served as a docent), the Visiting Nurse Association of Dallas (VNA). She served as chair for the RMHD capital campaign, raising more than $12 million to expand the House, adding 30 additional family rooms – all completed ahead of schedule. In addition, at RMHD, Dossett has served as board chair, Trains at NorthPark co-chair, and gala co-chair. Her dedication to causes important to her, combined with her leadership abilities, ignite the passion of donors, old and new, resulting in success on any project she supports.
A native of San Antonio, Dossett served as chief development officer for the Christian Assistance Ministry and the San Antonio Children’s Museum. She remains a board member of The Mirza Trust and is advisory board chair of The Barroneña Fund of the San Antonio Area Foundation. A graduate of Vanderbilt University with a bachelor’s degree in history, Dossett is also certified in fine and decorative art from Christie’s London. She and her husband, Drew, have six children and twin 1-year-old granddaughters and reside in Bluffview.
Congratulations on your Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser Award. You were nominated by the Ronald McDonald House Dallas (RMHD). Tell us about where you grew up and how giving back was a part of your family dynamic.
Thank you! It was a lovely surprise, and I’m very honored.
I grew up in San Antonio where several generations of my family have lived. I attended Saint Mary’s Hall (SMH) and walked by a portrait of my great-grandmother, which hung in the front office, every day. SMH was one of the many organizations she helped start in San Antonio and supported throughout her life. My father was also very involved with the school, and I often passed him in the hallways on his way to meetings. My mother was in the Junior League. Every Monday she put on her pink uniform and volunteered at the community hospital. However, it was probably my grandmother who had the biggest influence on me. She had a saying, “Go and see and be and do.” For her, the emphasis was on “do.” She supported many causes in deep and meaningful ways and made sure that my brother and I understood the importance of giving back.
You have been very active in the Dallas nonprofit community. Can you name a few of your favorite organizations?
It’s hard to pick favorites! I’ve been fortunate enough to be involved with some wonderful organizations, all of which have an important impact on our community. The Ronald McDonald House of Dallas and the Visiting Nurse Association are probably the ones with which I’ve had the most experience. I loved the years I spent as a docent at the Dallas Museum of Art as well. I mostly worked with 4th graders from underserved schools. That’s a perfect age to be introduced to different expressions of art – the kids were open, curious, and so creative.
What stories have most impacted you during your time working with RMHD?
Every family I’ve ever met at RMHD has impacted me. My husband, Drew, and I raised a blended family of six children, and we have twin granddaughters who just turned 1 and a grandson on the way. Being at the House always reminds me how very lucky we are. Tragedy can strike anyone at any time. I cannot imagine what families dealing with a seriously ill or injured child must go through, especially when they’ve had to leave their homes, their jobs, and their friends to travel to Dallas for treatment. RMHD strives to alleviate some of their stress by taking care of basic needs – a place to stay, three meals a day, transportation – but more than that, the House provides a community of support through caring volunteers and staff members, and the opportunity to be with others who truly understand the difficult journey each family is on.
You are receiving the Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser Award at Dallas’ 35th Annual National Philanthropy Day Luncheon and were nominated by RMHD. What have you enjoyed the most about your time volunteering with RMHD?
Despite the heartrending situation most of the families are in, the House is an incredibly warm and hopeful place. It’s a place where parents find companionship and empathy, it’s a place where volunteers support a cheerful environment, and it’s a place where children play and interact in a way they might not be able to elsewhere.
I’ve also been touched by the generosity of our community. Dallas has a big heart. People get involved here; they volunteer, they serve, and they give. I’ve been grateful to be surrounded by people who are much more talented than I am – the incredible staff at RMHD, the dedicated board members and the generous donors. They inspire me all the time.
Based on your experience and fundraising success, what would your advice be to others who are working hard to raise funds for important causes?
Enjoy it. Fundraising is not an easy thing to do, but you’re doing it for a very good, and simple, reason – to help others. I feel that if you work for causes that resonate with you, that truly touch your heart, it’s an honor to share them with others.
Hosted by The Greater Dallas Chapter of Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), Dallas’ 35th Annual National Philanthropy Day celebration virtually brings together area nonprofits, volunteers, funders, foundations, business and community members to honor many of this city’s finest who give selflessly in support of numerous worthy causes. In this virtual format, the annual event, which traditionally features pre-recorded acceptance speeches from the award recipients, will also include live remarks and award presentations from Murray Media Studios, where it will be hosted by longtime luncheon emcee Scott Murray. Award recipients are Outstanding Philanthropists Mary and Carl Ice; Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser Natalie Dossett; Outstanding Fundraising Executive Stephanie Brigger; Outstanding Foundation the David M. Crowley Foundation; Outstanding Corporation Toyota of North America.
Tickets are $25, which includes one complimentary registration for the monthly chapter program of your choice in 2021. Virtual tables available include a virtual premium table of 10 for $500 (host company recognized onscreen during event and on the Greater Dallas AFP website/social media posts); and a virtual table of 10 for $200 (host company receives recognition on the Greater Dallas AFP website/social media posts). For tickets and sponsorships, visit afpdallas.org or contact Madeleine Crouch at 972-233-9107, ext. 204, firstname.lastname@example.org.