Dallas CASA Hosts Virtual Cherish The Children Awards, Auction

Dallas CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) honored 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 COVID-19 pandemic.

The virtual Cherish the Children event, hosted by Dallas CASA Children’s Council, was Friday. Dallas CASA recruits, trains, and supervises community members to serve as volunteer advocates for children living in the protective care of the state.

The Cherish Auction featuring 11 children’s pieces including a toy chest, a furry bunny rocker, a sweet rocker covered in painted hearts, and a step-stool to match the popular children’s book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom., is open until noon May 19. To view the auction, visit the website.

When the 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 more than 45 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 $59 million in less than a year to North Texas nonprofits.

“The impact of this coordinated enterprise is simply extraordinary,” said Dallas CASA CEO Kathleen M. LaValle. “It’s hard to overstate the difference this injection of funding made for local nonprofits and the individuals and causes we serve. North Texas Cares was the critical lifeline the community needed when the times we were in – and still are living through – became dire and unsettling.”

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.

For leaders of the North Texas Cares Collaborative, a trickle of calls from North Texas funders in the early days of the pandemic soon turned to a tidal wave of calls. The idea for the collaborative was born on a Friday and became reality the following Monday.

“The collaborative is exactly what the moment called for,” said Matthew Randazzo, president and CEO of The Dallas Foundation, one of the collaborative members. “It was a moment. We got some people together virtually and figured out what we could do to mobilize philanthropy.”

The event’s featured speaker, Father Gregory Boyle, who is known for his gang intervention programs in Los Angeles, shared 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.

Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at rachel.snyder@peoplenewspapers.com

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