North Texas Giving Day Launches With a Focus on Equity

D Magazine

In 2020, North Texas nonprofits faced unprecedented demands amid the COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home orders. There were impossibly long lines at food banks, a surge of domestic violence incidents, and an influx of Dallasites needing services at both homeless shelters and on the streets. Nonprofits couldn’t afford to wait for North Texas Giving Day, our region’s preeminent fundraising event that takes place each September. Instead, NTGD collaborated with United Way Metropolitan Dallas and the Dallas Cowboys to launch an emergency day of donations on May 5, 2020, in addition to the regularly scheduled North Texas Giving Day in September. In all, last year was NTGD’s most successful yet: $58.8 million was raised through 106,000 donors, benefiting over 3,200 local nonprofits.

In the year since 2020’s North Texas Giving Day, most nonprofits have settled into a rhythm and adjusted to serving our community during a pandemic, but the demands for their services remain high.

The 2021 iteration of North Texas Giving Day kicked off this morning, and a record 3,367 local organizations are asking for the public’s support. The 18-hour initiative is led by the Communities Foundation of Texas and connects individual donors to causes they care about, from grassroots movements to huge operations. Early giving opened on September 1, and by September 22, $16 million in donations had already come in. Many larger nonprofits have had funds pouring in for weeks; North Texas Food Bank hit $500,000, and Children’s Medical Center Foundation reached $300,000. It’s already on track to shatter the previous record; by 10:30 a.m., participating nonprofits had raised a collective $30 million.

North Texas Giving Day typically relies on in-person events to garner excitement. This year, NTGD is hosting both socially distanced, in-person events and virtual programming. Today’s lineup includes The Senior Source’s 60th Birthday Bash, a socially distanced celebration for local nursing home residents and isolated seniors; a North Texas Giving Day happy hour for young professionals; and a concert presented by the Arlington Tomorrow Foundation at the Levitt Pavilion near the UT Arlington campus. Additionally, the 2021 North Texas Giving Day is presented by Amazon, and Amazon trucks have been deployed today to surprise participating nonprofits with prizes and wish list fulfillments.

North Texas Giving Day programming kicked off on September 14 with a conversation between Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price and author and journalist Jim Schutze. Schutze’s pivotal book, The Accommodation: The Politics of Race in an American City, was just re-released by Deep Vellum Books with a new foreword by Price. Originally published in the 80s, the book has been out of print for decades, though its popularity continues to grow–last year, a copy was listed on Amazon for $944, and a bootleg PDF version has long been circulating.

Communities Foundation of Texas intentionally launched North Texas Giving Day with a discussion about our city’s history of racism “to provide a space for diverse thinkers and doers to discuss community issues in the hopes that the conversations will continue and result in positive, sustainable, meaningful action,” said Alfreda Norman, the board chair at CFT. “[We’re] creating connections and opportunities that help us to better see and understand each other, to learn about where we live, and to dream about the community we want to build together.”


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