So far this year, Austin Street Center has served more than 1,200 homeless individuals by helping them secure jobs and permanent housing.
And thanks to the $1.2 million raised at its 21st annual Humble Beginnings luncheon, held October 15 at the Omni Dallas Hotel, the nonprofit will get to make an even bigger difference for Dallasites in the coming months.
More than 730 attendees clamored to donate, both at the luncheon and during the previous evening, when co-chair Margaret Philips hosted a young professionals gathering at Jose to support "Maggie's Challenge."
Founded in honor of her father, David M. Phillips, a devoted supporter and former board member of Austin Street, Maggie's Challenge was created with the goal of engaging the next generation in Austin Street’s mission. All gifts made and tickets purchased through Maggie’s Challenge were matched up to $50,000 thanks to a generous supporter, and totaled $118,000.
But at the luncheon, which Margaret co-chaired with her mother, Hon. Jeanne Philips, attendees got to learn more about the good work being done by Austin Street, which was founded in 1983 and is currently led by CEO Daniel Roby.
On hand to receive the first-ever community service award, presented by Mayor Eric Johnson, was Katie Edwards, SVP corporate social responsibility and president of the Mavs Foundation.
Also receiving recognition — and a standing ovation — was Frank Mihalopoulos, who along with his late wife Maryann Mihalopoulos, were presented with the Norm Hitzges Distinguished Service Award.
Hitzges, a sportscaster for 1310 The Ticket, has spent the last 20 years devoting a 24-hour live, continuous broadcast called the Normathon to raising funds for Austin Street.
Mihalopoulos surprised the room by announcing that he was donating Xela Aroma, an all-natural candle and reed diffuser company founded by Maryann in 2000, to Austin Street Center to run as a social enterprise. Guests were delighted to find a Xela Aroma candle in their gifts bags.
There were also updates on Austin Street's new, 60,000-square-foot, 24/7, client-focused homeless shelter and day service center that is currently being built. Once completed in early 2022, the center will expand much-needed services for the homeless men and women of Dallas.
Concluding the luncheon was a special mini concert from Tony and Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter/actress Cynthia Erivo, who has also received two Oscar nominations.
Erivo performed two songs from her debut album, Ch. 1 Vs. 1, before sitting down to chat with WFAA's Tashara Parker.
Located in downtown Dallas, Austin Street Center serves men ages 45 and older, and women ages 18 and older, with the individual support they need to transition out of homelessness, including shelter, food, clothing, health and mental health services, spiritual support, and employment and education programs. Austin Street Center provides unconditional support for each person regardless of faith, sexuality, or circumstance.
In serving the city's homeless neighbors, Austin Street Center provides the basic necessities, such as a safe place to sleep and shower, meals, and clothing. In addition to meeting these fundamental needs, other life rebuilding skills and spiritual support services are provided, including financial literacy, employment coaching, Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous support meetings, individualized case management, and other weekly activities and services are available within the on-site chapel.