Can-Do Philanthropy

Wilkinson Center rakes in $100,000 at first-ever Can Do Luncheon

Wilkinson Center rakes in $100,000 at first-ever Can Do Luncheon

Malagros Fernandez De Moros, Vodi Cook, Can Do Luncheon, Wilkinson Center
Malagros Fernandez De Moros, Vodi Cook Photo courtesy of Wilkinson Center
Johnathan Hartfield, Can Do Luncheon, Wilkinson Center
Johnathan Hartfield Photo courtesy of Wilkinson Center
Sarah Losinger, Mary Blake Meadows, Joan Eleazer, Can Do Luncheon, Wilkinson Center
Sarah Losinger, Mary Blake Meadows, Joan Eleazer Photo courtesy of Wilkinson Center
John McStay, Peggy Dear, Can Do Luncheon, Wilkinson center
John McStay, Peggy Dear Photo courtesy of Wilkinson Center
Vince Gaddis, Can Do Luncheon, Wilkinson Center
Vince Gaddis Photo courtesy of Wilkinson Center
Meghan Looney, Graham Jones, Caroline Harrison, Louisa Oberman, Laura Reeder, Nina Tollett, Can Do Luncheon
Meghan Looney, Graham Jones, Caroline Harrison, Louisa Oberman, Laura Reeder, Nina Tollett Photo courtesy of Wilkinson Center
Angela Gaddis, Wilkinson Center, Can Do Luncheon
Angela Gaddis Photo courtesy of Wilkinson Center
Sue Ringle, Brett Ringle, Ruth Altshuler, Anne Reeder, Debbie Francis, Can Do Luncheon, Wilkinson Center
Sue Ringle, Brett Ringle, Ruth Altshuler, Anne Reeder, Debbie Francis Photo courtesy of Wilkinson Center
JOhn McStay, Ellen McStay, Can Do Luncheon, Wilkinson Center
John McStay, Ellen McStay Photo courtesy of Wilkinson Center
Johnathan, Jazmine, Joselyn, Johnnie Hartfield, Can Do Luncheon, Wilkinson Center
Johnathan Hartfield, Jazmine Hartfield, Joselyn Hartfield, Johnnie Harfield Photo courtesy of Wilkinson Center
Malagros Fernandez De Moros, Vodi Cook, Can Do Luncheon, Wilkinson Center
Johnathan Hartfield, Can Do Luncheon, Wilkinson Center
Sarah Losinger, Mary Blake Meadows, Joan Eleazer, Can Do Luncheon, Wilkinson Center
John McStay, Peggy Dear, Can Do Luncheon, Wilkinson center
Vince Gaddis, Can Do Luncheon, Wilkinson Center
Meghan Looney, Graham Jones, Caroline Harrison, Louisa Oberman, Laura Reeder, Nina Tollett, Can Do Luncheon
Angela Gaddis, Wilkinson Center, Can Do Luncheon
Sue Ringle, Brett Ringle, Ruth Altshuler, Anne Reeder, Debbie Francis, Can Do Luncheon, Wilkinson Center
JOhn McStay, Ellen McStay, Can Do Luncheon, Wilkinson Center
Johnathan, Jazmine, Joselyn, Johnnie Hartfield, Can Do Luncheon, Wilkinson Center

The Wilkinson Center is on an ambitious and admirable mission. At the organization's inaugural Can Do Luncheon, more than 200 charitable guests lunched at the Dallas Country Club to support award honorees Ellen and John McStay and Highland Park United Methodist Church for their unwavering support of the nonprofit's goal to provide pathways out of poverty.  

After HPUMC donated $100,000 to remodel the Wilkinson Center's food pantry, it committed to giving $1 million this year. Reverend Paul Raussman accepted the Can Do award on behalf of the church.

Anne Reeder, the executive director of the Wilkinson Center, honored the McStays for their generosity. They're involved in many philanthropic organizations and founded their own nonprofit, Faith Based Forum, which provides educational and networking opportunities to serve families in need. 

An already inspired audience was further moved when they learned about the Hartfield family, who received the Wilkinson Center's client award. In 2011, Johnathan, Jazmine, Johnnie and Joselyn Hartfield went to the center to obtain a GED after other institutions failed to help the kids reach their goals. 

Today Jazmine and Johnathan have GEDs, and both plan to attend college. Jazmine hopes to become a veterinarian, and Johnathan plans to study business management. Johnnie and Joselyn are still working on their degrees.

The Hartfields live by a can-do attitude, working hard to reach their goals and volunteering at the Pleasant Grove Library in their spare time. As the family accepted their Andy Warhol-inspired awards, the crowd erupted in applause. 

On the philanthropic scene were supporters Meghan Looney, Graham Jones, Ruth Altshuler, Laura Reeder, event chair Joan Eleazer, Peggy Dear, Debbie and Jim Francis, and Nina Tollett

All tallied, the first-ever luncheon raised $99,700.