As the country continues to recover from the effects of the pandemic, a group of North Texas funders have come together to support local communities most in need—and cultivate a lasting impact.
In January, The Dallas Foundation, Communities Foundation of Texas, and Lyda Hill Philanthropies formed a partnership with Catchafire—an organization that matches skilled volunteers to nonprofits. The goal was to give nonprofits close to home access to the resources necessary to build organizational capacity.
The initiative was based on the idea that funders would collaborate with nonprofits to offer expertise they otherwise wouldn’t have access to. Leadership says the virtual volunteers and resources were a “lifeline to nonprofits struggling to adapt to distance work” when the pandemic hit.
Virtual support for more than 300 North Texas nonprofits
Now it’s been revealed that The Dallas Foundation, Communities Foundation of Texas, Lyda Hill Philanthropies, and Catchafire brought time-sensitive, virtual support to more than 300 nonprofit organizations in North Texas.
“Bridging the North Texas nonprofit community to the resources of Catchafire during the pandemic provided us with an opportunity to not only support but strengthen these organizations,” Matthew Randazzo, president and CEO of The Dallas Foundation, said, “which, over the course of 2020, lost both in-person volunteers and many long-standing fundraising opportunities.”
New York-based Catchafire’s approach virtually closes the gap between a nonprofit’s needs and its access to time-sensitive services. Randazzo said the partnership better equipped them to offer support for individuals and families in the North Texas community—and reach their full potential.
Volunteer skills matchmaker
Across the state, Catchafire assisted hundreds of nonprofits in accessing what amounts to $1.4 million in critical services and 6,700 volunteer hours.
That included everything from a youth organization that had to reimagine sleepaway camp for middle school girls interested in STEM to a nonprofit teaching female veteran-owned businesses how to scale.
AES Literacy Institute, for instance, is a local nonprofit that offers individuals who didn’t finish high school a three- to six-month alternative program to earn their Texas certificate of high school equivalency. With access to Catchafire, AES Literacy Institute was able to engage in 21 projects and calls that gave it significant support in graphic design, website, and finance.
The team completed their first project in March.
AES Literacy Institute Founders ShaKimberly and Germaine Cooper said they feel Catchafire has “catapulted us to the next level.”
“As a small nonprofit, as a fresh nonprofit, this has really helped us establish a strong foundation and let the world know who we are, and we are definitely appreciative.”
About the partners
The Dallas Foundation was established as Texas’ first community foundation in 1929. Today it gathers people, ideas, and investments in the Dallas area to improve lives and drive visible progress. Last year, in partnership with some 400 fundholders, the foundation invested more than $65 million into the community.
Communities Foundation of Texas aims to build thriving communities by collaborating locally and across the state with individuals, families, companies, foundations, and nonprofits. CFT is behind a number of charitable funds and initiatives, awarding more than $2 billion in grants since its founding in 1953.
Lyda Hill Philanthropies funds transformational advances in science and nature to embody the charitable giving of founder Lyda Hill. The organization includes Hill’s foundation and personal philanthropy, which empower nonprofits and work to improve communities in Texas and Colorado.
“We’re thrilled to be able to enhance the organizational capacity of North Texas nonprofits through this effort,” Sarah Cotton Nelson, CFT’s chief philanthropy officer, said in a statement. “Participating organizations are making great use of the Catchafire platform and its offerings to help strengthen their work and advance their missions, and that translates into positive strides toward the thriving community for all that we strive for.”
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