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Lynn McBee and Pam Busbee

Wilkinson Center announced its 2022 Can Do! Award recipients at a recent kick-off coffee held at the home of Nancy Cain Marcus.  In addition to the 2022 awardees, Nelda Cain Pickens will serve as luncheon chair with Margot Perot as honorary chair.  


The 2022 Can Do! Luncheon, which will be held Monday, April 4, 2022, at 11:00 a.m. at the Dallas Country Club and will also serve as the official launch of Wilkinson Center’s 40th anniversary. The event will include a reception, a seated luncheon and recognition of the 2022 recipients of the Can Do! Award, given to those who exemplify entrepreneurship in philanthropy and the “can do” spirit that makes great things happen in our community. 


Chaired by Nelda Cain Pickens with honorary chair Margot Perot, the 10thannual Can Do! Luncheon will include a reception, a seated luncheon and recognition of the 2022 recipients of the Can Do! Award.

This year’s award recipients include:

  • Can Do! Individual Award – Liza Collins and Rachel Stephensare being recognized for honoring the legacy of the late Ruth Collins Sharp Altshuler by continuing her long-standing food drive benefiting Wilkinson Center and three other Dallas nonprofits.  These entrepreneurial women collect food at their children's schools, their homes and in partnership with the Girl Scouts, their sorority and social circles. The impact of their dedication to alleviating hunger is twofold, not only are hungry bellies filled with nutritious food, but their children have come to understand what it means to care for their neighbors.  


  • Can Do! Organization Award - Texas Mutual Insurance. The generous team at Texas Mutual Insurance truly embodies the philanthropic spirit. Like many non-profits, Wilkinson Center was faced with a critical dilemma when the COVID-19 pandemic hit - how would we continue to serve our clients without physical classes and services? Texas Mutual, already a generous supporter, swooped in to assist with a tremendous gift that allowed the Wilkinson Center team to advance our technology and allow both clients and staff to move forward with classes and services, safely from our homes. Texas Mutual Insurance continues to support the work of Wilkinson Center and many other area non-profits working hard to serve our community.  


  • Can Do! Client Award - Ana Ramirez. Ana enrolled in Wilkinson Center’s high school equivalency class in 2019. She was introduced to financial coaching and worked with a case manager on her financial goals. Ana worked as a housekeeper at a hospital, but wanted a more advanced career in healthcare. She began classes in our Patient Care Technician program at Arcadia Park Annex in 2020 while studying for the last section of her GED test. Through the Working Families Success program, Ana was provided additional income support such as food assistance, holiday assistance for her children, and scrubs for class. Ana completed the Patient Care Technician program in addition to earning her GED. Ana’s next step was to prepare for her citizenship test, and she is proud to say she is now a US citizen, currently studying to take the National Patient Care Technician exam.  


  • Kids Can Too! Award  - The Guthrie Kids - Felix, Joseph & Judith. Joseph, Felix and Judith are not your average kiddos. Their mother Emily, like many parents, was met with both excitement and pause when her first child's school aged birthday came about. She wondered if the birthday celebration at school presented an opportunity to make a difference. She asked Joseph if he would like to invite his friends to bring shelf-stable food instead of gifts to his party so they could share with other kids that do not have enough food. To her delight he said "yes!” The tradition began nearly 10 years ago and has continued with the two younger Gutherie kids, Felix and Judith.


“Since 1982 Wilkinson Center has provided hope through food and emergency services, workforce training and free adult education for thousands of Dallas County residents. It is through the ongoing support of our community that we have been able to serve our clients for 40 years,” remarked Anne Reeder, Executive Director of Wilkinson Center. “We are thrilled to celebrate this year’s award recipients for the impact they have made, and continue to make, in our community.”


Past recipients of the individual Can Do! Awards include Anne and Terry Conner, Larry and Kathy Helm, Ashlee and Chris Kleinert, John and Ellen McStay, Carolyn and David Miller, Regina Montoya, Carlin Morris and Dr. Joyce Pickering.


Sponsorships begin at $5,000 and tables begin at $3,000.  Individual patron tickets are $500 each and include an invitation to the Sponsor Party at the home of Nancy Cain Marcus, and luncheon tickets are $300 each.  For information contact the Wilkinson Center, 214.821.6380 or visit


About Wilkinson Center: 

Wilkinson Center is just that – a center. A starting point for pathways that lead to better things. Since 1982, we’ve helped transform the lives of Dallas families in crisis by setting them on their paths. Whether it’s a path that leads to employment. Or a path that puts food on the table every day. We’re here to give them the brightest green light they’ve ever seen, signaling the beginning of their journey to self-sufficiency.


Our formula for success is case management, a compassionate staff, dedicated volunteers and effective, individualized programming that provides food, adult education and jobs. We believe that everyone deserves a little hope and encouragement, especially in times of adversity. And we can all get from where we are to where we want to be much sooner if we move Forward, together.


For more information, visit

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