Every year, D Magazine presents the Nonprofit & Corporate Citizenship Awards to honor organizations located in North Texas that exemplify the meaning of innovation, philanthropy, and positive change. The Dallas-Fort Worth area, my home and a place that holds a special place in my heart, has always had a strong commitment to furthering community and nonprofit initiatives. Businesses in this area are inspiring a major change in corporate social responsibility, shifting the expectations of CEOs from simply writing checks to actively working to change the conditions that cause hardship in the first place.
This steadfast dedication to improving the lives of those in need is a driving force behind the work that my team and I at Dwell with Dignity do every single day. We help single mothers and their children transition out of poverty and/or homelessness by providing a safe, comfortable, and beautiful living space to support their health and wellbeing. Since our founding, not a single family we’ve assisted has fallen back into homelessness. Furthermore, these unwaveringly strong and resilient families have found their way to better lives, with unemployment and graduation rates increasing significantly among those we serve.
After this challenging and unprecedented year, where a global pandemic collided with social injustice, wealth inequality, and an impending climate crisis, I was elated to see Dwell with Dignity win D Magazine’s Award for Outstanding Innovation. This year has required my team and I to adapt our operations, find new ways to help families in need, and repurpose our collective skills to further our mission within a virtual world. From a leadership perspective, these unique challenges presented an opportunity to rethink, redefine, innovate, and grow our organization in the process. In the spirit of adaptation and innovation, I decided that we would take Thrift Studio, our largest fundraising event of the year, to the worldwide web.
Thrift Studio, our yearly pop-up shop where 100 percent of proceeds go toward helping the families we serve, was adapted to include an online shop in addition to select in-person events with proper COVID-19 precautions in place. 2020 was a tough year for everyone, but those experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity were affected most severely. By adapting our traditionally in-person fundraiser to a world of social distancing, mask-wearing, and stay-at-home regulations, we were able to raise the funds needed to continue helping vulnerable families through this life-shattering pandemic.
I’m incredibly grateful to D Magazine for recognizing the hard work from my team and me that went into making this year unforgettable for our organization, supporters, and most importantly, the people we support during their journeys from homeless to the home of their dreams. With 2020 under our belt, I feel confident that Dwell with Dignity can rise above any challenges thrown our way, and even turn them into opportunities for growth.