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2024 Spirit of Entrepreneurship Award recipients: Stella Robertson, Nicole Really, Tracy Irby, Tara Franklin, Tamara Payne, Jenica Oliver, Kirsten Green, Brieanna Lightfoot Smith and (not pictured - Tiffany Jones Louis: TJL Collection)

The DEC Network - a non-profit organization that supports entrepreneurs, startups, and small businesses through education, mentorship, and resource access - hosted its 9th annual State of Entrepreneurship presented by Bank of America on Thursday, March 7, at Vouv in Addison.

The State of Entrepreneurship, which kicks off a series of events leading up to Dallas Startup Week sponsored by Capital One in August, has become a tradition for celebrating the people, places and passions that keep the North Texas startup ecosystem thriving.

"The DEC Network was honored to convene the local entrepreneurial community to recognize the best of the best within our ecosystem," said Bill Chinn, CEO, The DEC Network. "All nominees were community-nominated and community-voted, with record-breaking numbers this year."

With votes from more than 4000 community members, the 2024 award recipients are: 

  • Corporate Supporter of the Year, celebrates an organization actively supporting entrepreneurship across DFW through mentoring, funding and resources: Texas Woman's University Center for Women Entrepreneurs
  • Institutional Investor of the Year, which recognizes an investment firm accelerating startups through capital and guidance: The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth
  • Angel Investor of the Year, which honors an angel investor providing critical early capital and connections: Stella Robertson: Cowtown Angels
  • High-Growth Entrepreneur of the Year, honors an established innovator demonstrating impressive expansion for 7+ years: Jenica Oliver: Blueprint Marketing Group & DFW CPG
  • Rising Entrepreneur of the Year, distinguishes an exceptional founder running a startup for less than 7 years: Brieanna Lightfoot Smith: Brands by Brie
  • Student Entrepreneur of the Year, highlights an undergraduate or graduate student running a promising venture: Kirstin Green: Kirstin’s Care, LLC
  • Woman Entrepreneur of the Year, recognizes a woman business leader advancing innovation while empowering others: Tara Franklin: Precious Kargo Academy
  • BIPOC Entrepreneur of the Year 2024, which celebrates a standout Black, Indigenous, or Person of Color founder making strides in the community: Tiffany Jones Lewis: TJL Collection 
  • Startup Evangelist of the Year 2024, which honors an influential champion devoted to community-building among entrepreneurs, mentors and investors: Tamara Payne: Ensemble Coworking & Sparkyard

“We know innovation and entrepreneurship go hand-in-hand, and what better place to celebrate accomplishments in both areas than The DEC Network State of Entrepreneurship event. North Texas would not be the economic powerhouse and global business destination that it is without our diverse entrepreneur community,” said Jennifer Chandler, president, Bank of America. “At Bank of America, supporting entrepreneurship and small business is central to the work we do in communities across the country. It is incredible to witness the State of Entrepreneurship grow year after year, and we are energized and inspired to stand beside The DEC Network in support of this event once again. Congratulations to the creative minds who took home and award and to all innovators for fearlessly contributing to our vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

Dallas Startup Week sponsored by Capital One is the premiere event for DFW small business owners and entrepreneurs. The five-day celebration, August 11 - 15, 2024, builds momentum and opportunity around entrepreneurship and innovation. DSW began in 2015 with the goal of orchestrating an entire week of entrepreneurial activities that equip, encourage and educate current and aspiring entrepreneurs to start, build and grow their business. Dallas Startup Week was also created to help increase the awareness and impact of the entrepreneurial community across North Texas.

About The DEC Network:

The DEC Network is a non-profit organization that supports entrepreneurs, startups, and small businesses through education, mentorship, and resource access. With a mission to foster innovation and economic growth, The DEC Network empowers individuals to turn their ideas into reality and build thriving businesses that positively impact their communities.

For more information, visit



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Daley Ryan, Wilkinson Center Executive Director

The board of directors of Wilkinson Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to transforming the lives of Dallas families by providing them pathways to success, announces Daley Ryan as its new executive director effective January 8, 2024. Ryan will succeed executive director Anne Reeder, who will retire this month after 12-years of transformative leadership at Wilkinson Center.


“The board of directors is pleased to welcome Daley Ryan as the new executive director of Wilkinson Center. His extensive leadership experience in developing and delivering high quality services will ensure that the organization continues to grow its ability to effectively provide sustainable pathways to self-sufficiency to our clients,” remarked Atul Sethi, chair, Wilkinson Center board of directors. “As a native Dallasite, Daley brings both a unique understanding of the challenges faced by our community and a sense of purpose grounded in the belief that together we can make a difference.  As we look ahead to the future with Daley at the helm, we are also grateful to Anne for her steadfast leadership and the extraordinary impact she has had on Wilkinson Center and its clients.”


With more than 12 years of non-profit management experience, Ryan looks forward to serving the East Dallas community that he also calls home.


“One of the most compelling reasons I am excited to serve as executive director of Wilkinson Center is, as an East Dallas resident, it is a community that my family and I care deeply about,” said Ryan. “The opportunity to serve the community - to go to work every day with the knowledge that I am working alongside a dedicated team on the front line of driving progress and lifting our neighbors up - is a privilege and a responsibility that I do not take lightly.”


Prior to Wilkinson Center, Ryan served as director of the Texas Office for Refugees (TXOR) at Catholic Charities Diocese of Fort Worth, where he led a team of 24 staff to administer $150 million+ in federal funding per year to refugee and immigrant service providers across Texas. His previous 13 years were spent at the International Rescue Committee, serving as deputy director for 6 years, from 2015 – 2022. As deputy director he ensured sustainability and growth of programming, oversaw program departments, developed and maintained strategic partnerships, and served as primary budget holder for over $6 million of programmatic funds.  


A Dallas-area native, Ryan graduated from Frisco High School, before attending the University of North Texas and earning his Bachelor of Arts degree in anthropology. He was recognized by UNT with the 2019 Alumni Making a Difference Award, given to an alum whose work makes a difference in the lives of those around them. Daley and his wife and 2 children reside in East Dallas.

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Equest proudly announces Calvert Collins-Bratton and Melissa Oates as co-chairs, with Kristy and Patrick Sands as honorary chairs, of its 43rd annual Blue Ribbon Gala: "Hope Unbridled" on Saturday, April 27, 2024 at the Hilton Anatole Dallas.


Chaired by Calvert Collins-Bratton and Melissa Oates, with honorary chairs Kristy and Patrick Sands, the Blue Ribbon Gala: “Hope Unbridled,” will be held on Saturday, April 27, 2024 at 6:30 p.m. in the Chantilly Ballroom at the Hilton Anatole Dallas. Guests in Texas-chic attire can expect an upbeat and elegant evening with cocktails, a seated dinner, entertainment by The Manhattan Orchestra, a silent auction and recognition of 2024 Founder's Award recipient Pamela Dealey Petty and 2024 Citation Award recipient Carolyn Anderson – all while celebrating the power of the human-horse connection.


“We are delighted to announce Calvert and Melissa as co-chairs and Kristy and Patrick as honorary chairs of the 2024 Blue Ribbon Gala. All are not only leaders in the community in both business and philanthropy, but are also passionate about Equest’s mission,” said Myrshem George, Equest CEO. “We are also honored to recognize Carolyn Anderson and Pamela Dealey Petty with our annual awards. These ladies have given their unwavering support to Equest, and we look forward to shining a light on their longstanding dedication to our organization.


Collins-Bratton and Oates both bring their enthusiasm for helping the community and professional expertise to their role as co-chairs of the Blue Ribbon Gala.


Collins-Bratton is a seventh generation Texan, proud Dallas native, civic and park advocate, wife and girl mom. She is the chief relationship officer for Communities Foundation of Texas, and previously spent eight years at Methodist Health System Foundation. She is very passionate about her community, helping others and improving Dallas. 


Oates is a Dallas native with real estate in her blood. She is a top producer at Allie Beth Allman and Associates in Dallas and has spent most of her life in and around the home-building industry. She also grew up riding horses, beginning at age five when she got her first pony. She then went on to show competitively through middle school and high school. Today she has combined her two passions - real estate and horses - connecting friends and clients to their dream homes and ranches.


“We are honored to serve as Gala co-chairs and support Equest’s incredible work which continues to create profound impacts on the lives individuals with diverse needs,” said Collins-Bratton and Oates. “Embracing this role is our commitment to fostering healing, hope, and positive change, as we believe in the human-horse connection, and the community it creates."


Honorary chairs Kristy and Patrick Sands are longtime lovers of helping people and animals. Patrick’s late Mother, Caroline Rose Hunt, was one of Dallas’s largest philanthropists and her employees, children, grandchildren and family members carry on her legacy of giving back to the community.


The couple’s love of horses began at an early age with Kristy, growing up on a Quarter Horse farm and competing, and Patrick riding horses from a young age, while also owning several horses over the years. Patrick is an executive director at The Rosewood Corporation and is a conservationist and avid fisherman and hunter. He has also served on several boards, including the Dallas Museum of Natural History, The Dallas Zoo, The Texas Wildlife Foundation, and the John Bunker Sands Wetlands Center. After a career in corporate marketing and branding, Kristy now devotes her time to her family, philanthropy, interior design, animals, travel and healthy living. She also served on the board of the Retina Foundation and helps rescue dogs and cats throughout Dallas. 


“Patrick and I are so excited to serve as honorary chairs of Equest’s gala. When horses interact with us, they tend to synchronize to our heartbeats, which is truly remarkable and so important in helping to enhance the lives of so many.  We are honored to help people, horses and the mission of Equest,” remarked Kristy Sands.


In addition to Gala leadership, Equest also announces its 2024 award recipients: Pamela Dealey Petty as the Founder’s Award recipient and Carolyn Anderson as the Citation Award recipient.


Named in honor of Equest co-founder Susan Neustadt Schwartz, the prestigious Founder’s Award is given to individuals who have made significant commitments to supporting the agency’s mission. Dealey Petty has served on the Equest board of directors, including as president for two terms and as secretary, co-chaired the annual gala and served as honorary chair, received the Equest Award for Community Service in 2002, was inducted into the Equest Hall of Fame in 2008 and continues to volunteer regularly at Equest. Previous Founder’s Award recipients include Lily Kellogg, Louise Griffeth, Cindy Thomas and Bert Headden and Dolores Neustadt.


Anderson will receive the Citation Award in recognition of her longtime support of Equest, including serving as a board member since 2017, chairing Equest’s Boots and Salutes and Hooves for Heroes events, and as a fervent testimony provider to raise awareness for Equest. Given annually since 2019, the Citation Award is named after the thoroughbred horse Citation (1945-1970), who won 16 consecutive races in major stakes race competitions and is the first horse in history to win $1 million. Past recipients are Nancy and Ron Natinsky, Lane Cates and Brad McLain, Connie and Denny Carreker, Junior League of Dallas and Andy Steingasser.


The Blue Ribbon Gala: “Hope Unbridled,” will be held on Saturday, April 27, 2024 at 6:30 p.m. in the Chantilly Ballroom at the Hilton Anatole Dallas. Guests in Texas-chic attire can expect an upbeat and elegant evening with cocktails, a seated dinner, entertainment by The Manhattan Orchestra, a silent auction and recognition of 2024 award recipients – all while celebrating the power of the human-horse connection.


Sponsorships begin at $3,000 and are available now; individual tickets will be available in March 2024. For more information, contact Malcolm Hodge, senior director of Advancement at . 

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Family Compass announces Neda Bahramnejad and Vanessa Fuquay as co-chairs for its sixth annual North Star Luncheon presented by The Rosewood Corporation on Monday, April 29, 2024 at a local country club. 


“We are so thrilled to announce our co-chairs for our sixth annual North Star Luncheon, which raises awareness on how to stop child abuse before it occurs,“ said Ona Foster, CEO, Family Compass. “Neda and Vanessa are not only very involved in Dallas’ non-profit communities, but also both have a personal passion for the work Family Compass is doing to build healthy families and a strong North Texas community by preventing child abuse and neglect. We are so grateful for their leadership.”


A Dallas native, Bahramnejad is a business development partner manager for a boutique consulting firm specializing in software asset management. She has been a longtime advocate for children and educational initiatives.  She joined the Junior League of Dallas in 2013 and has served on its Leadership Council leading several committees as well as its Board of Directors as vice president of signature projects in 2020.  She loves to make a difference in the lives of others and appreciates the opportunities she’s been given for personal development and growth during her tenure.  


“I am so honored to work alongside Vanessa and the team at Family Compass as a co-chair for the North Star Luncheon,” said Bahramnejad. “Plans are well underway for the luncheon and we hope everyone will mark their calendar for April 29 as we raise important funds and awareness of the great work that Family Compass is doing for children and families in our community.”


As a philanthropy consultant and community volunteer, Fuquay enjoys working with causes that are close to her heart, including education, violence intervention and women empowerment and rights.  In addition to supporting Family Compass, she serves on the Junior League of Dallas Leadership Council as auction chair, the Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center as fund development chair, as chair of the University of Texas at Austin’s Forty Acres Society Council, as chair of the Site Based Decision Making (SBDM) Committee at Cigarroa Elementary School, and serves on the Lamplighter Parent Association’s Board. She also works with United to Learn as a campus liaison for two DISD campuses.


“Family Compass is the largest nonprofit in North Texas solely dedicated to the mission of child abuse prevention. As parents ourselves, Neda and I both see the true impact that the organization is making in the lives of Dallas families, and we are excited for the luncheon to also serve as an opportunity to highlight this great work,” added Fuquay.


The North Star Luncheon presented by The Rosewood Corporation, which coincides with April’s Child Abuse Prevention Month, will be held on Monday, April 29, 2024 at 11:30 a.m. at a local country club, located at 4155 Mockingbird Lane, Dallas, Texas 75205.  The luncheon will include a seated lunch, a featured guest speaker to be announced in January and recognition of the 2024 North Star Award recipient.  Tickets, tables, and sponsorships are available now at


For more information regarding the event, contact Courtney Lyons,


About Family Compass

Family Compass is a non-profit agency that believes that every child has the fundamental right to a healthy family and environment, the opportunity to succeed in school and the capacity to experience life without violence, abuse or neglect. The mission of Family Compass is to build healthy families and a strong North Texas community by preventing child abuse and neglect. This is accomplished through two home mentoring programs and community-based, educational programs for families that have elevated risk for child abuse. The families often reside in the poorest communities throughout Dallas and Collin counties. All programs are evidence-based, voluntary and free of charge. Last year alone, the agency kept  597 high-risk children out of the overburdened CPS system, which according to the CDC costs $831,000 per case of child abuse and neglect to address, resulted in a  $496-million-dollar savings for the community. These children didn’t have to spend a single night on the floor of the CPS offices or enter the over-burdened foster-care system. For more information, visit 

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The Gingerbread Stroll, presented by Allie Beth Allman & Associates, will celebrate 13 years this holiday season with its annual exhibition and silent auction of gingerbread houses created by some of Dallas’ top pastry chefs and bakeries.  


On display in Highland Park Village, November 17 through November 30, 2023, attendees can stroll between select retailers to view and bid on beautifully decorated gingerbread houses, with 100% of the proceeds benefiting Community Partners of Dallas.


“The Gingerbread Stroll is celebrating its 13th year and we are so excited to carry on this annual tradition. Many thanks to Highland Park Village, our many retail partners, and of course the talented chefs who create our magical gingerbread houses for making it possible,” remarked founder Christine McKenny. “And we are so thrilled to announce that this year’s stroll will once again benefit Community Partners of Dallas and the children they serve.”


“Community Partners of Dallas is honored to be selected again this year as the beneficiary of The Gingerbread Stroll. It has become a holiday highlight for so many, and we are equally as excited to stroll through Highland Park Village to see all of the beautiful gingerbread houses,” added Joanna Clarke, president and CEO of Community Partners of Dallas. “Most importantly we are grateful to the community for supporting this annual event, whose proceeds will provide critical funds to help us meet increased needs for abused and neglected children in Dallas County.”


Featured hotels, pastry chefs and artists for this year’s stroll include: BIRD Bakery team from BIRD Bakery; pastry chef Arielle Sutcliffe of Pastry Works; CEO Pam G. Eudaric and her family and friends from Chocolate Secrets;  pastry chef Adrian Arandela and pastry teamfrom Hilton Anatole; pastry chef Samantha Cade from Cade’s Cakes; pastry chef Winter Lockwood-Frank from Charlie’s Burgers & Street Tacos; Gingerbread House Master Creations by Kristen Schweiger and Marsha Schweiger; and the Bistro 31 pastry team.


Highland Park retailers that will showcase the elaborate gingerbread houses are: Beretta Gallery, BIRD Bakery, Bistro 31, ETRO, MARKET Highland Park, Roller Rabbit, SIMKHAI and The Village Barber Shop.


Dallas residential real estate agent Christine McKenny founded the Gingerbread Stroll in 2011, with the hopes of bringing the community together to raise funds for local children’s charities. Each year, a different charity is selected as the beneficiary of 100 percent of the proceeds.  Since its inception, the Stroll has raised more than $225,000.


This year’s Gingerbread Stroll is made possible by the following sponsors:  BabyB’air Flight Vest; Candy’; Christine McKenny of Allie Beth Allman & Associates; Gary E. Alhadef, DDS; Henley & Henley, P.C.; Highland Park Village; Jim Mueller of Verner, Brumley, Mueller, Parker Family Law; Republic Title; Schorr Law Firm, P.C.; Susan Keene for The Keene Team, Cornerstone Home Lending, Inc.; Tony Boyd, HUB Personal Insurance; Trammell Crow Company/Saphier Family; Woolery Associates Interior Design


For more information about The Gingerbread Stroll visit our website.




About Community Partners of Dallas

Since 1989, Community Partners of Dallas has ensured safety and restored dignity and hope to abused and neglected children by providing crucial resources and support to the caseworkers of Dallas County Child Protective Services. Community Partners of Dallas provides items, such as winter coats, diapers and formula, holiday gifts, school uniforms, personal hygiene products, food and more, to send the abused children in our community the message that someone does care. Please visit for more information.

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Partners Card tri-chairs Katy Brooks, Kameron Westcott and Sharon Lee Clark

2023 Partners Card tri-chairs Katy Brooks, Sharon Lee Clark and Kameron Westcott, along with The Family Place CEO Mimi Sterling and Chairman Harold Ginsburg, were joined by nearly 40 volunteers, sponsors, sellers and retailers to kick off the Partners Card selling season on Tuesday, September 12 from 5-7 p.m.


Upon arrival at Rag & Bone in Highland Park Village, attendees mingled while shopping the boutique’s gorgeous fall collection, with 10% off all purchases plus 10% of sales benefiting The Family Place. Those who volunteered to sell Partners Cards to their friends, family and colleagues over the coming weeks also picked up their purple tote bags full of essential items to begin selling.


Midway through the event, Sterling gathered the crowd for brief remarks, thanking all for attending and for supporting Partners Card, which is The Family Place’s largest annual fundraiser. She also added her gratitude to the tri-chairs for all of their hard work in making this year’s event such a success; to honorary chair and board member of The Family Place, Tom McCollum, CEO of Forbes Todd Automotive Group; to Bank of Texas for serving as the presenting sponsor for the 15th year; and to Rag & Bone and Highland Park Village for their support. She also recognized The Family Place board chair Harold Ginsburg, who was in attendance sporting a pink shirt in honor of the organization.


The tri-chairs followed to add thanks to all, especially the community sellers, who are incredibly important to the success of event. As Westcott said, “Every single card sold counts!”


Partners Card benefiting The Family Place – Texas’ largest family violence service agency now in its 45th year – takes place Friday, October 27, and lasts until Sunday, November 5, 2023, throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. Cards can be purchased online at with cards shipped early October or through a community seller.


Partners Card raises crucial funds for The Family Place, allowing the organization to continue its mission of building brighter futures for survivors of family violence. 100% of each individual $75 Partners Card purchase directly supports their programs and services that save lives. With the card, shoppers receive a 20% discount at participating retailers and a 10% discount at participating restaurants at 750+ locations during the 10-day event.


In 2022, Partners Card raised $1.2 million, which equates to 15,350 nights of shelter and safety for survivors of domestic violence. The impact Partners Card has had since it started in 1993 has been tremendous, raising more than $21 million in contributions.


To purchase your 2023 card or for more information on upcoming Partners Card related events, visit



For 45 years, The Family Place has served the North Texas community by bringing brighter futures to survivors of family violence. The Family Place is the largest provider of family violence services in Texas, serving nearly 20,000 people in 2022. Programs include a 24-hour hotline, three emergency shelters, including the state's only shelter for men and their children, a transitional housing program with 26 apartments, three counseling centers, two medical clinics, a dental clinic, Dignity at Work job readiness program, Be Project sexual assault and teen dating violence prevention education for schools, Faith and Liberty’s Place court-ordered supervised visitation, Battering Intervention and Prevention Program court-ordered counseling for abusers, and legal services. All survivor services are free and provided in Spanish and English.
For more information on The Family Place, call 214-559-2170 or visit Follow us on LinkedInInstagramFacebook, and Twitter.


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Equest, a nonprofit organization that provides equine-assisted services to children and adults with disabilities and veterans with special needs, will host its annual Fall Fun Fest presented by Pendery’s on Saturday, October 21, from 10:30 – 3:30 p.m., at Equest at Texas Horse Park, 811 Pemberton Hill Road, Building 4, in southeast Dallas.


Co-chaired by Angela Escamilla and Cari Tortorice, Fall Fun Fest, previously called RideFest, will celebrate the accomplishments of Equest clients, the dedication of volunteers, the support of our donors, and families in the greater southeast Dallas community that Equest calls home. The community is welcome to come learn more about Equest’s mission, meet other resource providers who also serve families with special needs. Learn more about our programs supporting veterans and first responders as well. 


Free and open to the public, Fall Fun Fest will include, games, food trucks, a petting zoo, face painting and more. 


“We are immensely excited to open our annual Fall Fun Fest to the greater community. As a family resource for all and the only equine therapy provider in the City of Dallas, we invite our neighbors and clients as we celebrate the power of the human-horse connection,” remarked Myrshem George, CEO of Equest. “We are also grateful to our event co-chairs Angela Escamilla and Cari Tortorice for their longstanding support of Equest, and particularly their hard work in ensuring Fall Fun Fest’s success. We hope the community will join us on October 21!”


Fall Fun Fest sponsorships begin at $1,500 and are available now by contacting Cari Tortorice at Admission is free, however to attend the event please RSVP on For more information, contact Angela Escamilla, 972.412.1099 ext. 209 or



About Equest

Founded in 1981, Equest provides equine assisted learning, therapies and counseling to children and adults with physical, cognitive, sensory, coping and learning disabilities, as well as veterans who receive all of Equest’s services at no charge.  The services provided include physical and occupational therapy, equine facilitated counseling and equine assisted learning, therapeutic carriage driving, therapeutic horsemanship and competition. With the help of 30 therapy horses, eight instructors, four therapists, three counselors, and 700 volunteers, lives are changed for more than 2,000 served annually. Equest was the first PATH International Premier Accredited Center in Texas and remains one of the largest in the country. Equest offers an engaging volunteer program that provides 30,000 hours of direct program service opportunities each year.



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Wilkinson Center – a nonprofit agency transforming the lives of Dallas families by providing pathways to success with dignity and respect. – announces a new fall fundraiser, Pantry in the Park.


Partygoers at the first annual event will enjoy a night under the stars with cocktails, heavy appetizers, a DJ, a unique silent auction and more, while learning more about the great work Wilkinson Center is doing in the community.


“We are excited to launch a new fundraiser this fall that will support our mission of helping vulnerable Dallas residents improve their quality of life and provide for support their families,” remarked Anne Reeder, executive director, Wilkinson Center. “We hope the community will join us on November 10 for a casual evening at the beautiful Dallas Arboretum, as we raise awareness and important funds for our programs, which include food and emergency services, adult education and workforce training and a support group for vulnerable seniors.”


Sponsorships range from $1,500 to $15,000; individual tickets are $100 each or $175 for a VIP ticket, which includes a VIP reception; couples’ ticket is $180 or $325 for VIP ticket, which includes a VIP reception. Tickets and sponsorships are available now. Visit for more information. 


About Wilkinson Center: 

Wilkinson Center is just that – a center. A starting point for pathways that lead to better things. Whether it’s a path that leads to employment, a path to financial stability, or a path that puts food on the table, we are passionate about empowering families to reach self-sufficiency. For over 40 years, Wilkinson Center’s dedicated staff and volunteers have committed to serving the whole family and every generation. From the youth who need school supplies and food, to adults who seek job training and education, to the senior citizens who yearn for social support, Wilkinson Center is there to provide wraparound services and a map for success. Together, we can serve all of our community. All ages. All stages. 


For more information, visit

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Calling all ghosts, goblins and changemakers! Please join Community Partners of Dallas (CPD) for the 17th annual Change is Good presented by CrossFirst Bank, a fun-filled, family-friendly event that encourages kids to collect change in order to change the lives of abused and neglected children in Dallas County.


This year’s Halloween-themed Change is Good will be held on Sunday, October 29, from 2-5 p.m. at Arlington Hall at Turtle Creek Park, and will be chaired by Patrick and Jenny Babb with children Caroline, Connor and Kenneth, and Chris and Lexi Jewell with children Callahan and Colsen. Both families look forward to supporting the important work of CPD.


“Patrick and I feel incredibly honored and excited to be co-chairing Change is Good this year, and partnering with an organization as impactful as Community Partners of Dallas. Our family is dedicated to finding ways to give back to the Dallas community,” remarked Jenny Babb. “Our hearts are filled with purpose as we work together with our kids, and others, to teach them about making a positive impact on the community in which we live.”


Added Lexi Jewell, “Chris and I are also so proud to serve as a Change is Good chair family alongside the Babb family. As Dallas residents, we have a responsibility to make sure those most neglected in our community receive the care they need. As parents, we have a responsibility to raise our children to become caring and compassionate adults. Change is Good provides an amazing opportunity to do both. We hope the community will join us!”


With Halloween costumes encouraged, this year’s event promises to offer some spooktacular fun! The event will start at 2 p.m. with children turning in their collected change upon arrival in exchange for chance tickets to win an array of prizes. Then, on to family-friendly activities for kids of all ages with indoor and outdoor entertainment, includingpumpkin painting from Porch Pumpkins, Halloween bounce houses, a mini manicure station with Essie nail polish, the bubble truck, slime station from Camp Crafty Parties, crafts, games, savory and sweet bites and more. A highlight will include the announcement and celebration of the top fundraisers and the winners of the 2023 t-shirt artwork contest.  


Participating children will collect change throughout the fall to change the lives of other kids. Families can also collect change virtually by setting up an online piggy bank to send to friends, neighbors, grandparents and more. 


Sponsorships are on sale now and begin at $650. A limited number of tickets will be on sale in October if available.


For more information, to set up an online fundraising page, or to purchase sponsorships, visit  


About Community Partners of Dallas

Since 1989, Community Partners of Dallas has ensured safety and restored dignity and hope to abused and neglected children by providing crucial resources and support to the caseworkers of Dallas County Child Protective Services. Community Partners of Dallas provides items, such as winter coats, diapers and formula, holiday gifts, school uniforms, personal hygiene products, food and more, to send the abused children in our community the message that someone does care. Please visit for more information.

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Kroger announced its annual Backpack Boosters school supply drive, which benefits underserved students in independent school districts in DFW, East Texas and Northwest Louisiana. 


Beginning July 12 through July 27, Kroger customers will have the opportunity to help at checkout by donating a school supply kit for $9.99 or donate $1, $3 or $5. Customers shopping through online delivery or pickup can also donate online. The goal for the 2023 campaign is $550,000, which translates to more than 54,000 students.


Once the campaign has concluded, the purchased school supply kits, which include essential items for students, will be distributed to schools in pre-selected local school districts across Kroger’s Dallas Division, including North Texas, East Texas and Northwest Louisiana.


“The Backpack Boosters campaign has become an annual tradition over that last decade by helping thousands of students across DFW, East Texas and Northwest Louisiana to start their school year off with the essential tools they need,” said Keith Shoemaker, president, Kroger Dallas Division. “This campaign showcases the incredible generosity of our customers, as they join our valuable associates in Feeding the Human Spirit and bringing uplift to students, teachers and school districts throughout the communities we serve.”


Since the Backpack Boosters program launched, Kroger has expanded the program to reach more school districts with a high volume of students in need.  


For more information, visit your neighborhood Kroger.