Editor’s note: This is the inaugural year for CultureMap’s Top Texans Under 30, a program that celebrates the twentysomething power players making a difference in their industries and communities across the Lone Star State — and, in some cases, the world. The full list is here. For now, read all about Adam Kraus.
Adam Kraus, 29, has been defying norms since he was a kid. The Dallas native jokes that he somehow managed to become a hockey player in North Texas before going to Boston University, where he helped the hockey team win a national championship. By day he works in the corporate world, but by night — and, most specifically, in the autumn — Kraus can be found leading other young professionals in their charitable endeavors.
Kraus founded the Dallas Autumn Ball in 2013 with the same barrier-breaking attitude that fueled his hockey playing. The outreach program helps young professionals get involved in the community via inclusive volunteer opportunities, and a festive black-tie fundraiser, focused on helping local education nonprofits. To date, the Dallas Autumn Ball has donated more than $85,000 to local education organizations — money largely raised through sold-out events every year.
We sat down with Kraus to find out a little more about him and his work on the local charity circuit.
CultureMap: What inspires you to do what you do?
Adam Kraus: I’m inspired to give back to Dallas because I see a longstanding and growing socioeconomic divide that needs urgent attention. I believe it’s important for the engagement of young professionals to become leaders today by getting involved in the community, while developing partnerships and trust among the city.
CM: What’s one piece of advice you’d give to other Texans trying to make a difference?
AK: Step outside your comfort zone and meet with people who have different opinions and backgrounds than you do. Listen to what they have to say.
CM: Sum up Texas in three words:
AK: Texas pushes boundaries.
CM: What’s one thing that people might not know about you?
AK: I’ve been to 47 states.
CM: Finish this sentence: “It’s a good day when … ”
AK: It’s a good day when I’m on the beach.