Dallas Charity Guide
Covid-19 pivot

The parties move online for these 3 highly anticipated Dallas fundraisers

Parties move online for these 3 highly anticipated Dallas fundraisers

Steve Kemble, LeeAnne Locken, Cynthia Smoot, Chad Collom
Steve Kemble (left, with LeeAnne Locken, Cynthia Smoot, and Chad Collom at the 2017 Toast to Life gala) will host this year's virtual event. Photo by Shana Anderson

The coronavirus pandemic has not let up across Dallas-Fort Worth, but neither has the need for critical services provided by local nonprofits.

In order to meet their fundraising goals and abide by local rules about mass gatherings, DFW charities are pivoting their usual parties, luncheons, and galas to online presentations. (CultureMap, in fact, is doing this too, with our Tastemaker Awards virtual event July 30.)

And while patrons lose the fun of getting dressed up and hobnobbing with friends over cocktails — well, there's something to be said for safely supporting a favorite cause without leaving the couch.

Here are three upcoming local events that will raise vital funds in virtual ways:

Equest Boots & Salutes Week, July 12-18
Equest’s annual picnic-style fundraiser has been reimagined as a week-long virtual event, July 12-18. Boots & Salutes Week, hosted by chairs Harley Cozewith and Blane Balch, will include an online auction featuring fabulous items like tickets to The Ellen Show, a vintage WWII “Forget-Me-Not” bracelet, and doggy daycare at Pet Resort. There will also be exciting raffle items, a virtual Wall of Honor to commemorate veterans and fallen military members, and video messages from the Equest team and clients.

Throughout the week, local personalities will make digital cameo appearances. They include Carry the Load founder Clint Bruce, philanthropist Cornelia Guest, Real Housewives of Dallas star D’Andra Simmons Lock, and Kidd Kraddick Morning Show co-host Kellie Rasberry, among others.

Activities will culminate at 6 pm July 18 with a Facebook video that announces winners. Boots & Salutes supports Equest’s Hooves for Heroes program, which promotes the mental health and well-being of military members, veterans, and their immediate families through equestrian therapies and counseling. The virtual events are free to participate in and can be accessed on the Equest website.

Resource Center Toast to Life virtual gala, July 25
In its 22nd year, this beloved and high-energy gala is going virtual. The event, themed "Sequins & Saddles," will take place from 7-8 pm July 25. Tickets (available here) are $50 each and include an hour of entertainment, discounts to popular local restaurants the weekend of the event, goodie bags from beverage sponsors, and bidding access to all auction items. (These include custom art, exotic vacation packages, home decor, and fine-dining gift certificates.)

Co-chaired by Brittanie Buchanan Oleniczak and Darin Kunz, the virtual gala will be hosted by the always entertaining Steve Kemble, "America’s sassiest lifestyle guru." Entertainment will be provided by DJ Blake Ward, The Roof Raisers, and Cameron Hawthorn. And although attendees won’t get to see each others' spirited outfits in person, they can still show off the Western-glam theme by posting their pics on Instagram, tagging @myresourcectr, and including the hashtag #rctoasttolife for a chance to win a prize.

The mission of the Resource Center is to empower the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) communities and all people affected by HIV through improving health and wellness, strengthening families and communities, and providing education and advocacy. Toast to Life has raised over $4 million since its inception in 1999.

Tickets, sponsorships, and more information are available on the website.

Community Partners of Dallas Change is Good, August 2
The 14th annual fundraising effort — in which kids collect change to change the lives of abused and neglected kids — is going virtual this year. Participating children and teens will collect change virtually by setting up a personalized page to send to friends and family for support. Each $10 raised online will get change collectors a prize drawing ticket. Prizes include a Rollplay VW Beetle; Apple AirPod Pros; Nintendo Switch Lite; and more.

Then, at 3 pm August 2, honorary family Barry and Sandy Moore, with their children Ryan and Kennedy, will help lead a special Zoom celebration. Participating families will pre-purchase a box that includes all the supplies for favorite activities, which will be done at home during the Zoom event. (Think: Rad Hatter hat making, balloon twist lessons, paper airplane designing, and craft time.)

Box pickup will take place from 1-2 pm August 2 at a Park Cities location to be disclosed upon registration. (Two levels of boxes are available, at $100 or $250. More information on the levels is here.) Families are encouraged to decorate their cars for a box pick-up parade, to signify the spirit of “kids helping kids” while social distancing.

To set up an online fundraising page or find out more, visit the website