Q&A with Erin Abbott

The Dallas Doing Good team is excited to introduce Erin Abbott, a nonprofit enthusiast who is connecting DDG to some of her favorite do-gooders in Rockwall, TX. We asked Erin a few questions about her life, family, and how she is giving back in her community. Stay tuned for even more stories from just outside Dallas!

Photo by Meredith Joyce.

Photo by Meredith Joyce.

Tell us a little bit about your life in Rockwall – your family and work, and how you volunteer.

After my husband’s training at Baylor Hospital in Dallas, we left and moved our family of six to the suburbs. Life in Rockwall is a bit slower, a little less diverse, and people here don’t like to cross the lake (but I DO!). Although small, Rockwall is growing and has a lot going on in the nonprofit sector. I can’t speak for the entire population of Rockwall but the majority of the people around here share the mentality that every person counts. I’m not referring to the big production galas or name-dropping social hours (although those certainly exist) – I am talking about people with grit. These people sign up for dirty work; the mundane tasks and go unseen, unrecognized and unaffirmed. It has taken seven years of doing life in Rockwall, but during that time, I have connected with a community of people who do the hard things: serving some of the most vulnerable people on earth.

We heard you are involved in Noonday Collection! How has that connected you to the world of nonprofits and social business?

My involvement with Noonday Collection began four years ago. Considering both my history and interest in the fashion world + some experiences abroad, it just made sense for me to become an advocate and stylist through Noonday Collection’s business model. This was a fascinating choice for me since I am an introvert, but I have found that I also REALLY enjoy connecting with women. Through women and their willingness to partner with me to host trunk shows, I was able to meet a lot of nonprofit leaders in the Rockwall community. It was at these trunk shows that genuine connections were made and I listened to their stories. As women shopped handcrafted collection pieces by Artisans from across the globe, I made notes and thought of ways to connect my for-profit business to their non-profit pursuits. Often times I would partner with them for trunk show fundraisers where I would donate my commission and create awareness of their nonprofit. My goal is always the same in these endeavors: To make a substantial impact on people living in vulnerable situations or communities.

Photo by Meredith Joyce.

Photo by Meredith Joyce.

Your home has become a type of hub for nonprofit leaders in Rockwall. What kinds of topics do you discuss?

Honestly this gathering was not my idea alone. Our first meet up was activated by Michael Maldanis, founder of the non-profit twenty8|twenty7.  Michael also runs a for-profit business, Zebranda Lawn Service, with the intention of creating jobs for those in our community who need work. He can explain that better than I in a future story! Our group is called “The Unnamed Group” and we meet in my home (sometimes somewhere else if my kids are here) once a month. Michael comes with some lead questions, although it’s not uncommon for us to get off topic and talk about current frustrations in the nonprofit sector. For example, last week we talked about volunteerism and how nonprofits depend on committed volunteers. However, sometimes volunteerism isn’t always a good thing if the commitment to show up, learn and help run the program is not happening. We have discussed the vale of human life, the power of money, the unsponsored child, self-righteousness, and the list goes on. Our conversations act to connect us as well as provide a safe place to express doubt, fear, hope, and encouragement. As we add more nonprofit leaders my hope is that our group continues to be a place where we can be vulnerable together.

Give us a sneak peek! Share some of your favorite nonprofit and volunteer work happening in Rockwall right now.

From what I can tell there is always something or someone who needs our time.  I find it tempting to grab my favorite blanket, cozy up on the sectional with a pour of bourbon and watch Netflix indefinitely but there is so much to DO!  

Right now, in Rockwall, Food + Grace is working to care for already established plants, preparing for winter and taking anything grown to local food pantries both in Rockwall and Rowlett.  

Children’s Relief International is another local organization reaching into the lives of the outcasted people groups of East Asia. It is here that my husband will travel in November (I visited in 2016) to open a new water well in a place where the most vulnerable people on the planet live and are enslaved.

Selah Creek is currently caring for a young mother and her baby in a host home here in Rockwall. They are seeking to open up a maternity home in order to provide a safe, clean, loving place for young mamas!

Education and job creation is the best way to tackle our global orphan crisis. twenty8|twenty7 is currently focused on funding scholarships, teacher development and family enrichment through this learning from the classroom to the living room concept.

There are so many more I would love to share with you!  Which is why this is just the beginning of the answer to your question about what is happening in Rockwall!

And of course we need to know, what is your favorite fall treat? #pumpkinspice

There is new place, Prayer Lavender Garden, headed east out of Rockwall that currently makes my favorite fall treat. It was opened over the summer by a couple from Dallas who wanted to live outside of the city. The quiche is my favorite and a close second is the lavender blueberry muffin. Their freshly made sandwiches and home baked slices of pie also come highly recommended. Let me also mention that they will have a sweet little pumpkin patch open soon. Nothing fancy. Just homemade with a dose of serenity. Kind of like life in Rockwall, I suppose.

Do you have stories about volunteers or nonprofit leaders in the Dallas area that you’d like to share? Fill out this simple form and tell us all about it!