By Rosanne Lewis
Dallas CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) will honor the North Texas Cares Funders Collaborative with the 2021 Caroline Rose Hunt Cherish the Children Award for the group’s dedication to helping nonprofits and Dallas children during the challenges presented by the pandemic.
Benefiting Dallas CASA, the virtual Cherish the Children event, hosted by Dallas CASA Children’s Council, will be at noon Friday, May 14. Dallas CASA recruits, trains and supervises community members to serve as volunteer advocates for children living in the protective care of the state.
When the global pandemic began and revenue-generating events were canceled, North Texas Cares Funders Collaborative stepped in to assist across the region.
The group, which brought together 30 North Texas foundations, corporations and individual funders, streamlined the grant process for nonprofits, creating a common application to simplify the process for already strained nonprofits seeking funds.
Led by the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, Communities Foundation of Texas and the Dallas Foundation, the innovative North Texas Cares Funders Collaborative awarded 1,400 grants to 630 nonprofits totaling more than $40 million during an initial phase of funding. A second phase of funding was launched in fall of 2020.
“Groups like the North Texas Cares Funders Collaborative model for nonprofits what a tremendous impact true collaboration can make,” said Dallas CASA President and CEO Kathleen M. LaValle. “Not only does Dallas CASA enjoy tremendous support from our more than 1,500 trained child advocates, but the broader community knows us and supports our work and the children we serve in ways we could not even imagine.”
The North Texas Cares Funders Collaborative focuses on issues of health, economic security, safety and wellbeing, education and social justice. The Caroline Rose Hunt Cherish the Children Award recognizes an individual or organization for outstanding contributions to helping children who have been removed from home due to abuse or neglect. The award was inspired by its namesake because of her constant dedication to the most vulnerable in Dallas.
The event’s featured speaker, Father Gregory Boyle, who is known for his gang intervention programs in Los Angeles, will share stories of the profound impact a single, caring adult can make in the life of a vulnerable child or youth. A Catholic priest, Boyle is the founder and director of Homeboy Industries, the world’s largest gang intervention and rehabilitation program.
In his New York Times bestselling book “Tattoos on the Heart,” Boyle writes: “Our common human hospitality longs to find room for those who are left out.” He shares the stories of the young people he works with and “the power of boundless compassion.”
“If there is a fundamental challenge within these stories, it is simply to change our lurking suspicion that some lives matter less than other lives,” he writes.
Luncheon co-chairs are Jenny Reynolds and Lindsay Stengle, both longtime members of Dallas CASA Children’s Council.