Dallas Charity Guide
Education matters

These Dallas education charities earn straight As for giving back

These Dallas education charities earn straight As for giving back

Dallas Afterschool
Dallas Afterschool aims to improve the quality and availability of after-school and summer programming in Dallas County. Dallas Afterschool/Facebook

There is almost no better way to impact the future of a community than to invest in the education of its children. Dallas has some remarkable nonprofit groups helping to shape kids' lives by providing educational resources, ensuring safe after-school care, and fueling kids' dreams to do great things in the future.

CultureMap's new Dallas Charity Guide, presented in partnership with Frost's Opt for Optimism campaign, is a one-stop resource for locals looking for ways to give back — including to the education of children in the community.

Here’s a quick look at some Dallas nonprofits making an impact on children's education, from pre-school to high school and beyond. Know of a group that should be added? Tell us here.

Dallas Afterschool
Mission: The mission of Dallas Afterschool is to improve the quality and availability of after-school and summer programming in Dallas County.
How to get involved: Sign up for the newsletter, volunteer, or donate to make a difference in the lives of over 14,000 students in Dallas.
Major fundraiser: Ever wish you could return to the playground? RECESS! is the signature event of Dallas Afterschool and takes place each March. This fun and unique event features nostalgic games from childhood with an adult twist (think musical chairs, video games, pop-a-shot, cornhole, giant Jenga, giant Connect 4, a wine ring toss). Enjoy gourmet cafeteria-inspired food by Wolfgang Puck and and adult (i.e. spiked) juice boxes by Yellow Rose Distillery. Still need convincing? Then dig in the sandbox for a chance to win one of over 30 upscale prizes. Underwriting/sponsorship packages start at $1,000. Single tickets are $200.

Educational First Steps
Mission: The mission of Educational First Steps is to increase the number of economically disadvantaged children receiving high-quality early childhood education. They do this by transforming daycare centers in impoverished communities into high-quality early childhood education learning centers.
How to get involved: Donations are always welcome, and volunteers help give at-risk children a high-quality early learning environment and the strong educational foundation they need for school readiness. Here are ways you can get involved:

  • Partner center physical improvement: lead your team in a beautification project at partner center(s), such as playground restoration, painting, creating a garden, and more.
  • Playground builds: give children their very own place for outdoor learning and play proven to improve their preschool experiences.
  • Supply drive and backpack stuffing: gather supplies and stuff Educational First Steps backpacks for children at partner center(s). Click here for the list of needed supplies.
  • Head here to fill out a volunteer application.

Major fundraiser: Dallas and Fort Worth each host the annual ONE Childhood ONE Chance Luncheon, which features local and national celebrity speakers. The annual Early Childhood Education Conference brings together early childhood education professionals and expert trainers from across the nation — typically 700 center directors and teachers across North Texas attend.

Education Opens Doors
Mission: Education Opens Doors and its student manual Roadmap to Success evolved from the passion and efforts of several Teach for America alumni and education pioneers. Roadmap to Succeess is the hands-on evidence of the mission of Education Opens Doors: empowering students to strategically navigate through high school to college. It is every middle and high school student's dream come true: a step-by-step guide full of checklists and resources to get them where they want to go after they graduate.

Today, Education Opens Doors is implementing the Roadmap to Success program in 175 classrooms across the Dallas area. Teachers are utilizing the student handbook to give middle and high school students a chance at success, by giving them a guide to help them be intentional about where they want to go next and strategically navigate their way to college.
How to get involved: Education Opens Doors offers a number of volunteer opportunities, including assisting with fundraising campaigns and helping with special events. For more information on how to get involved, email info@educationopensdoors.org.

Gill Children's Services
Mission: Gill Children’s Services is a funding source of last resort that provides a safety net for Tarrant County Children whose medical, dental, physical, social, psychological, and educational needs have not been met by other community resources. It provides kids with medications, hearing aids, eyeglasses, root canals, summer school tuition assistance, therapy, and much more.
How to get involved: Gathering your friends, family, or colleagues and hosting a supply drive for Gill Children's Services is one way to get involved with their mission. While most of their clients need services, many still needed goods like diapers, strollers, and toothbrushes. Contact the Gill Children's Services office for more information about holding a supply drive.

Additionally, Gill's Children's Services is always looking for advocates to help spread the word about their work. There are several ways to do so, including requesting brochures and applications to keep at your school, nonprofit, or medical/dental office, and inviting them to speak at your company or social club.
Major fundraiser: For more than 15 years, the Corvette Club of Texas has generously provided over 200 Gill children with Christmas gifts. Every year, the club works with Gill to identify families who deserve some extra help around the holidays. 

High-tech High Heels
Mission: High-Tech High Heels (HTHH) is a nonprofit organization in partnership with the Communities Foundation of Texas. It believes the world will be a better place when there is a diverse, qualified workforce with more opportunities for women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Having women represented equitably in STEM careers will not only increase innovation and make our nation more competitive, but will also have far-reaching global economic and societal benefits. Their mission is to close the gender gap in STEM professions in the United States, and to increase the number of girls graduating from high school and entering a college-level degree program in STEM.
How to get involved: Join the speakers bureau, which support HTHH's funded programs by enabling counselors, teachers, and other educational staff to find volunteers for their STEM and female-focused events. The primary focus is working with girls of all ages during events where speakers speak directly with a classroom and answer questions students may have about STEM careers, or serving on a panel. You can also donate directly to HTHH through Communities Foundation of Texas, or earn money for HTHH though volunteer matching of your donation hours.
Major fundraiser: The fifth annual High-Tech High Heels Friendraiser will take place on September 27, 2018, at Park City Club from 6-9 pm. Enjoy an evening of cocktails, live auctions, and raffle prizes, and learn more about how you can help level the playing field for more girls starting at an early age. You will be able to meet organizations benefitting from your donation and learn how your contributions are helping more girls pursue careers in STEM fields.

Independence Gardens
Independence Gardens is a parent-led nonprofit organization founded in 2013. Its overall mission is to connect kids with food through actionable, impactful nutrition education programs. This is accomplished through partnership with schools and the community. It begins with an experiential, edible, outdoor learning space and progresses to a hands-on, student-led (and chef-driven) Come and Eat IT! Campaign. Independence Gardens' programs foster and develop in children life skills such as self esteem, leadership, decision-making, nutrition, and love of community. Since the organization began in 2013, the program has connected thousands of students to the food they are growing and eating, helping them make healthier food choices.
How to get involved: Do you love gardening? Can you work a saw? Do you love food? Then the outdoor learning spaces in Independence Gardens' network need you. There are several volunteer opportunities available. Your generosity provides students in the community with experiential programs that sprout their educational journey. From edible gardening, a student-run farmers market, live cooking activities with chefs, and teaching families that fresh cooked food is as easy as growing peas, it all depends on donations.
Major fundraiser: Come and Eat IT! is Independence Gardens' signature event that connects children to the food they are growing and eating through a chef-driven, student-led cooking event. Held in May, students, chefs, teachers, parents, and community leaders rally for improved nutrition education. Each year, thousands of students in the Dallas-Fort Worth participate in this event. Garden To Table is the group's signature fundraising event. Local chefs rally for improved nutrition education by curating dishes inspired by vegetables grown in the Community School Gardens within the Independence Gardens network.

Just Say Yes
Just Say Yes helps equip teens to succeed by educating them through student assembly speakers and classroom curriculum. Their goal is empowering students to say yes to their dreams and goals and no to destructive choices. Just Say Yes partners with schools to provide the right speakers, media, and curriculum to help students succeed academically and in life through making positive decisions that will improve their success inside and outside of the classroom. Their speakers and resources cover a variety of topics including bullying, teen pregnancy prevention, teen dating violence, high school drop-out prevention, drug and alcohol abuse, and self image.
How to get involved: Just Say Yes is always looking for volunteer help in a variety of different capacities, from office assistants and photographers to advocates and committee members. For a full list of opportunities, head here.
Major fundraiser: Just Say Yes' annual celebration raises funds to support the Just Say YES mission of equipping today’s youth through high-impact student assemblies, peer-to-peer mentoring programs, educator training, and parent programs. Each year, a noteworthy speaker delivers a keynote address. Past speakers have included Jenna Bush Hager and former Dallas police chief David Brown.

Love for Kids
 The mission of Love for Kids is to ensure that children and their parents have easy access to education and resources.
How to get involved: Love For Kids relies on the generosity of its community to fund critical services for the parents, children, and senior citizens they serve. It engages over 1,000 diverse, multi-generational volunteers that participate as mentors, work at events, and participate in the planning of signature events. Civic groups, school groups, businesses, families, and retirees are welcome, and Love For Kids welcomes the opportunity to form new partnerships. To learn more about individual ways to give, please call 214-426-5683.
Membership: $25 helps pay for brochures to increase community awareness about LFK program, while $150 pays for healthy snacks for clients and their children to eat during parenting classes. $250 provides monthly individualized case management for a client, and $500 provides two buses for clients to get to a special event. $750 provides funding for mandatory background checks for LFK's volunteer and mentor candidates, and $1,000 provides weekly life skills workshops on parenting wellness, relationships, finance, and career planning. $1,500 sponsors 10 children at a Love for Kids special event.
Major fundraiser: Palette to Palate is an evening featuring some of the city's most popular chefs, restaurants, artists, and wines. An extensive collection of food, wine, artisan cheeses, and sweets is provided for a delicious culinary experience. You are able to meet local artists and enjoy their beautiful work, some of which is available for purchase. Live and silent auctions offer a variety of unique items guaranteed to maintain anticipation and keep bidding at an all-time high.