Ripple Effect: Foundations Partner to Award $455K in ‘Pay It Forward’ Grants to Fuel Community Impact

The Dallas Foundation, in partnership with Lyda Hill Philanthropies, handed out $455K in "pay it forward" grants to Water Cooler at Pegasus Park nonprofits. The unique investments aimed to kickstart change—the kind that shows teamwork can multiply impact.

The organizations were given $10,000 for their use; the other $5,000 was for them to award to a partner’s nonprofit organization not located in the Water Cooler.

The 2023 North Texas Giving Day may be over, but a creative funding push is still making waves. By handing out $15,000 “pay it forward” grants to Water Cooler groups at Pegasus Park, The Dallas Foundation and Lyda Hill Philanthropies kickstarted change—the kind that shows teamwork can multiply impact.

The Water Cooler at Pegasus Park is home to 35 best-in-class social impact organizations. The $455,000 in investments, managed by The Dallas Foundation, was made possible by Lyda Hill Philanthropies.

Recipient organizations passed parts of their grants to partners outside the Water Cooler, bridging gaps beyond Pegasus Park. The grants also energized cooperation within the Water Cooler as groups brainstormed new ways to back each other’s missions.

Wayne White, President & CEO of Communities Foundation of Texas, and Julie Diaz, Interim President & CEO of The Dallas Foundation [Photo: Jason Janik/The Dallas Foundation]

Those ripples of The Dallas Foundation’s and Lyda Hill Philanthropies’ model persist, according to the nonprofit. Cooperative momentum keeps building: new partnerships have sparked, bonds strengthened, and a collaborative spirit reignited across Dallas—fulfilling the goal to spread goodwill beyond the Water Cooler’s walls.

“North Texas Giving Day is a day in which countless nonprofits compete and fundraise for donor dollars,” Julie Diaz, Dallas Foundation interim president and CEO, said in a statement.

“Our hope was to show that through partnership and camaraderie, Water Cooler tenants can not only make an impact for themselves but they can pass along that spirit of collaboration beyond the walls of Pegasus Park.”

Diaz says the foundation is “thrilled to continue our partnership with Lyda Hill Philanthropies and we look forward to seeing the ripple effect that these grants have made.”

Drex Owusu, Chief Impact Officer, The Dallas Foundation, and Christi Nabors, Director of Development, Deliver Fund [Photo: Jason Janik/The Dallas Foundation]

$10K to keep and $5K to ‘pay it forward’

The nonprofits were given $10,000 for their organizational use, the other $5,000 was for them to award to a partner’s nonprofit organization not located in the Water Cooler.

Water Cooler organizations getting the $15K each include:

Aspire, Big Thought, Carson Leslie Foundation, ChildCareGroup, Circuit Trail Conservancy (The Loop), City Year Dallas, Commit Partnership, Dallas Innovation Alliance, DeliverFund, Education is Freedom, Engage Dallas, Grant Halliburton Foundation, Housing Forward, Junior Achievement of Dallas Inc., Leukemia Texas, Lone Star Justice Alliance, OneStar Foundation, Operation Homefront, Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation, Principal Impact Collaborative at UNT Dallas, Social Venture Partners Dallas, SWAN Impact Network, Teach For America – Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas Trees Foundation, Texas Women’s Foundation, TexProtects, The Nature Conservancy in North Texas, Trust for Public Land, United to Learn, Uplift Education, The Dallas Foundation

Margaret Black, Managing Director at LH Capital Inc., watches as Leighton Watts, Director of the Water Cooler at Pegasus Park, addresses guests. [Photo: Jason Janik/The Dallas Foundation]

The groups above handed out $5K pay it forward grants to groups including:

A Sister’s Legacy, Amore Transitional Group Inc., Bachman Lake Together, Best Buddies, Bonton Farms, Crossroads Community Services, Dallas Eviction Advocacy Center, Dallas Hope Charities, Dallas Off-Road Bicycle Association, DPA’s Assist the Officer, Family Compass, Family Gateway, For Oak Cliff, I Look Like Love, Inc., Los Barrios Unidos Community Clinic, Metrocare – Cohen Military Family Clinic, Npower, Operation Bliss, Pasos for Oak Cliff, Readers2Leaders, Reading Partners, Ruth Cheatham Foundation, Sharing Life, Storehouse of Collin County, SustainED Leaders, Trinity Park Conservancy, Youth180

The Water Cooler is more than 175,000 square feet of physical space and is a vibrant community of high-potential agencies working together to improve North Texas and beyond.

More scenes from North Texas Giving Day

Water Cooler tenants and guests celebrate North Texas Giving Day at Pegasus Park with a gathering at Community Beer Co [Photo: Jason Janik/The Dallas Foundation]

Dallas Off-Road Bicycle Association’s Ed Brownstein, flanked by Jonathan Pride (left) and Mack Campbell of NPower [Photo: Jason Janik/The Dallas Foundation]

Kevin Hall, President, Grant Haliburton Foundation; Leighton Watts, Director, Water Cooler at Pegasus Park; Blanca N. Garcia, LCSW-S, Senior Director of Mental Health Resources, Grant Haliburton Foundation [Photo: Jason Janik/The Dallas Foundation]

The story was updated on Oct. 15, 2023, at 3:30 to clarify the partnership of The Dallas Foundation and Lyda Hill Philanthropies. 

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