Crowded galas, luncheons, concerts, and even group fun runs are still off limits for Dallas-Fort Worth nonprofits trying to raise vital funds to support their missions. The coronavirus pandemic continues to force charities to rethink their fundraising events for fall and winter.
And now they're getting more creative than ever.
The newest list of DFW nonprofit benefits includes a drive-in gala, socially distanced concert, virtual Thanksgiving trot, and cherished holiday gift market that allows supporters to stay home (and shop till they drop!) for the holidays.
Meals on Wheels Ain’t Life Grand-ish Drive-in Gala, October 24
Meals on Wheels Senior Services of Rockwall County takes its grand gala outdoors, with a socially distanced, drive-in event featuring live music, food, beverages, raffle and auction prizes, and more. Dallas celebrity chef Eddie Deen will prepare dinner-sized charcuterie boards, served to every ticket holder upon entering the gala grounds. Michael Summers and 30 Miles East will play a live concert that can be enjoyed from individual parking stations — either from inside cars or on lawn chairs outside.
The gala takes place 6:30-9:30 pm October 24 at Historic Boyd Farm, located off North Highway 205 in Collin County. Tickets are $150 for dinner-for-two on one charcuterie board, or $75 for a single meal, no board. (A curbside drive-through option is available for those who want to enjoy dinner at home, along with a livestream of the event on Facebook.) All proceeds support Meals on Wheels' mission to provide nutritious meals, daily human contact, and supportive services to local elderly and disabled residents.
Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas Women of Distinction Virtual Event, October 30
Girl Scouts' annual Women of Distinction event, one of the organization’s largest fundraisers, will take place virtually to honor individuals and Girl Scouts making an impact in the community. This year's honorees include Anne H. Chow, CEO of AT&T Business Services; Alice Rodriguez, consumer bank senior advisor at JPMorgan Chase & Co.; Cynthia “Cynt” Marshall, CEO of the Dallas Mavericks; TXU’s chairman emeritus Erle Nye; and Elina Dickens and Abigail Simon, local Gold Award Girl Scouts.
Attendees can experience a candid conversation about leading with resilience during difficult times and will receive a “digital swag bag” filled with special offers and coupons. Table sponsors get individual “virtual table” rooms to chat, interact, and watch the event together with their guests. Tickets, $35, benefit Girl Scouts' focus on providing leadership development; socio-emotional skill cultivation; and science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) leadership programs to more than 25,000 girls in Northeast Texas.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Dallas Big Black Tie Virtual Ball, November 7
One of the most anticipated galas of fall will be virtual and free to the public. There are, however, options to purchase pre-show event experiences, including a virtual mixologist class; virtual wine tasting; or dinner for two presented as a $100 gift card to favorite local restaurants. Tickets range from $125 (including virtual wine or cocktail experience, silent auction, post-show party, and more) to $500 (cocktail experiences, dinner gift card, and more).
Or, simply log on to the website at 7 pm November 7 to watch a livestream of the main event (sign up here). It will include presentations on Big Brothers Big Sisters' mission and accomplishments, opportunities to bid in a virtual silent auction, and more. Special guests will include former President George W. Bush and Real Housewives of Dallas star Stephanie Hollman. More information here.
American Heart Association Socially Distanced Heart Fest, November 8
Instead of throwing its popular Heart Ball under one roof, the American Heart Association is hosting its first-ever socially distanced concert called The Heart of Collin County – Heart Fest, featuring favorite Texas country artist Robert Earl Keen. The event will take place the evening of November 8 at Crest Cadillac/Infiniti/Volvo in Frisco and will include a Dallas Cowboys watch party, five-course chef tasting menu with cocktail pairings, and a live, outdoor performance by Keen.
Attendees will be provided with black car service, and each party will watch the concert from a designated socially distanced area. Guests can also bid on live auction items and give to the AHA through an Open Your Heart initiative. They'll enjoy food by some of the area's most distinguished chefs, including Aaron Staudenmaier (Whiskey Cake Kitchen & Bar), Hugh Stewart (The Crest Bistro), Nathan Boothe (Ida Claire), Antonio Zamora (Mexican Sugar), and Skyler Gauthier (Haywire). Tickets start at $3,000 for two and can be purchased here.
Junior League of Collin County ‘Neath the Wreath Holiday Gift Market, November 12-15
Junior League of Collin County's cherished ‘Neath the Wreath Holiday Gift Market is providing a virtual shopping experience this year. Themed, appropriately, "Home for the Holidays," the event allows shoppers to buy merchandise from favorite vendors from the comfort of their couch. From November 12-15, shoppers can browse and buy at neaththewreath.org or through the expanded mobile app, available in the Apple store and Google Play.
There is no admission to enter the virtual ‘Neath the Wreath Holiday Gift Market, but donations (in lieu of the traditional ticket cost) to support JLCC's civic projects will be welcome. Raffle tickets are on sale now, and an online silent auction will go live November 14. More information here.
YMCA Dallas and Fort Worth Virtual Turkey Trots, November 26
While most charity runs and walks have also gone virtual in 2020, this is the biggie. The annual Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trots in both Dallas and Fort Worth will be virtual events only. Families and individuals can safely trot around their neighborhoods, or inside on their treadmills, wherever they may be on Thanksgiving.
Anyone who pre-registered for the in-person Turkey Trot races in Dallas or Fort Worth will be automatically transferred to a virtual registration. (Don't worry, you can still pick up your official 2020 Turkey Trot long-sleeved T-shirt at select YMCA branches or Luke’s Locker locations, or have it mailed directly to you.)
Proceeds from the Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot will benefit the organization’s COVID-19 relief support for children and families and the preschool program at the Park South Family YMCA. Adult registration is $35 from October 19-November 25. Learn more and register at www.thetrot.org and www.fwtrot.org.