North Texas Giving Day 2023: Dallas Doing Good’s Picks for Early Giving

Dallas Doing Good Editorial Board

Dallas Doing Good has had the privilege of partnering with the Communities Foundation of Texas for North Texas Giving Day over the past few years, but this year, we are doing it Texas BIG. It is the 15th anniversary of the biggest philanthropy event in the region, so we have selected 15 organizations to highlight leading up to Giving Day on September 21.

We worked with representatives from the CFT to narrow down to these specific cause areas that are historically underfunded: Immigrants and Refugees, Public Safety, LGBTQIA+, Women and Girls, and Equity and Inclusion.

According to a recent USA Giving Report, individual giving saw a 6.4 percent national decline last year after consecutive record-breaking years of philanthropy. Many organizations we feature regularly have also expressed that volunteerism has declined. Let this be the call to action to get back out and support our fellow community members and neighbors, whether it be big or small. As we like to say at the Good Foundation, “When you focus on the good, the good gets better.”

There are over 3,000 organizations that are doing GOOD work throughout North Texas that are registered on the North Texas Giving Day website. Here are our 15 for 2023.

Builders of Hope CDC

Builders of Hope’s mission is to transform Dallas and surrounding communities by building and preserving quality affordable housing, developing thriving neighborhoods, and creating opportunity to economic mobility. They are committed exclusively to fighting poverty in Dallas through the development of affordable housing, providing much needed services for low-income homebuyers, workforce development, and fostering community pride in the neighborhoods they work.

Dallas Hope Charities provides food, shelter, and services that instill dignity, stability, and Hope for All. As Dallas’s only LGBTQ+ focused youth transitional living center and LGBTQ+ suicide prevention coalition, they serve those individuals that are facing considerable obstacles for realizing and living into their authentic life. Their Meals of Hope program serves food insecure individuals at their point of need by providing fresh meals and sustaining grocery items to our siblings in low income and at-risk communities throughout Dallas.

Spin the Spectrum is dedicated to the active inclusion and advancement of autistic and neurodivergent individuals in society. They do this by providing inclusive DJ classes, camps, and workshops to special needs individuals of all ages and skill levels. They know that EVERYONE has something important to share and value in this world. They also know sharing is a lot easier when the people around you understand that just because someone is different, doesn’t mean they can’t be included in something cool!

Heart House is committed to providing a nurturing and educational environment for refugee and immigrant children in Dallas. They dedicate themselves to empowering these children with the tools and resources they need to succeed academically, emotionally, and socially, all at no charge to our families through afterschool and summer care programs.
At Heart House, they believe that every child deserves a chance to thrive, regardless of their background or circumstances.

GEM empowers women in prison and their daughters to break to cycle of incarceration and lead successful lives with vision and purpose. With little public safety rationale, women are the fastest-growing incarcerated population. The effect on children when their mother is incarcerated is traumatic. GEM partners with Texas women’s prisons and works to lessen the impact of maternal separation. GEM also works to equip girls with the tools to make positive life choices in spite of their mother’s incarceration by offering mentorship, leadership development, life skills, counseling, and material support.

This annual youth summit brings together high school students to spark dialogue, awareness, engagement, and equip them to advocate for racial justice and equity in their schools, communities and beyond. Facilitated by local educators, artists, and historians, this training offers students the opportunity to critically engage with their peers from different backgrounds. We encourage students to deconstruct racism, analyze its role in our lives and world, and to develop ideas and strategies around creating racial justice and the development of an action plan for change.

Vickery Meadow Youth Development Foundation is deeply committed to serving the local community through a range of programs and activities designed to support students, families, and the community as a whole. Participants in VMYDF comprise 16 countries and cumulatively speak over 30 languages. Many families have recently arrived in the United States. In the Vickery Meadow neighborhood, where VMYDF focuses its programming, 50 percent of the households make less than $35,000/year. All of the Scholars in the EAGLE Scholar program are first-generation college students.

The Lemon Aide Society empowers girls to lead through service, laying the foundation for strong, confident female leadership for all our communities. They describe themselves as women who look at the world, find the lemons, and make lemonade. They help empower and develop our future female leaders. Through service projects, the girls learn to lead as they learn more about their community, themselves, and what they are capable of achieving in the world around them. Lemon Aide Society runs two programs– a monthly program and a weekly after-school program in at-risk communities.
The founder of K9’s for Independence & Freedom believes too many dogs were being thrown away because they didn’t fit “the mold.” These same dogs were being put down in shelters because they were too hyper or untrainable to the novice trainer or pet owner. They take the dogs from being rescues to being rescuers. They are seeing the lives that are being changed by the dogs they train. It is not just the recipient but also their kids, spouses, and employers that are seeing the benefits. K9’s for Independence & Freedom has a variety of different programs that pair service dogs with handlers.

Badge of Pride

Badge of Pride is a groundbreaking new organization which aims to collect and activate artifacts from LGBTQ+ history to inform, enrich and engage the power of the contemporary Queer experience. With a strong commitment to preserving and celebrating the rich legacy of the Queer community, Badge of Pride seeks to create an inclusive and engaging environment which fosters understanding, inspiration, and progress. Badge of Pride has the potential to make a significant impact on various levels, reaching individuals, communities, and society as a whole.

After a life-changing diagnosis, Sherri and her husband Baba discussed how to prevent other families from walking the same journey.

Following Baba’s passing, Sherri transformed her grief into purpose by establishing Litehouse Wellness to fulfill their mission of bridging the wellness accessibility gap for Black men everywhere and creating safe spaces for the reclamation of restorative practices that support their healing and wellness.

We are a nonprofit agency that promotes justice by providing free and low-cost legal services to underserved immigrant children, families, and refugees. With legal services, social programs, bond assistance, and an advocacy team focused on changing the narrative around immigration in this country, RAICES is operating on the national frontlines of the fight for immigration rights. We defend the rights of immigrants and refugees, empower individuals, families, and communities, and advocate for liberty and justice.

Toast for Charity is an organization created by concerned millennials who were compelled to affect change within their community. Their mission is to spark a love for reading, and provide scholarship and mentorship through their Emerging Difference Makers programs. Their vision is to illuminate the path to lifelong success for kids of color in Southern Dallas. They call these individuals Difference-Makers! From its inception, Toast for Charity has been committed to galvanizing millennials to give their time, talents and funds to community issues such as supporting kids.
Girlstart is a national female-led organization, offering free, year-round out-of-school STEM programming for girls in 4th-8th grades in the Dallas-area. These experiences are designed to empower, increase confidence, and introduce STEM careers to girls furthest from opportunity by providing meaningful, hands-on STEM programming. During the school year, they will be serving 14 schools in the Grand Prairie, Irving, Richardson, and Plano school districts. They are focused on reaching girls of diverse backgrounds, girls who live in low-income or non-urban environments, and/or who are considered at-risk.

Drive Grace is centered around grace and embracing those amid financial hardships, whether it is a single parent, low-income family, or widowed individual. They exist to provide auto repair services to lower income individuals and families. These services include an initial diagnostic assessment followed by approved repair/maintenance services to vehicles owned by qualified recipients, at minimal or no charge at all. All repairs are followed by a post service vehicle consultation and education with technician to encourage proper maintenance of the vehicle.