We know that Dallas is home to some pretty big players in the charity world. But we have to give love to the smaller guys, too! A small budget doesn't mean small intentions, and it definitely doesn't mean small results.
Don't believe us? Then, believe the Dallas Social Venture Partners, organizers of bigBang TX!, a one-day, fast-paced conference for nonprofits and donors held Friday at Union Station downtown. Attendees from nonprofits, charitable foundations and the general public filled the space, browsing the Socially Conscious Marketplace, and embracing their inner Eberts at Networked Film Festival (The Art Conspiracy Film deserves two thumbs up!) But the stars of the day were on the Fast Pitch Stage, where lesser-known nonprofits were able to shine.
And shine, they did. We don't have the space to showcase them all, but here are three nonprofits that you should know about (in no particular order):
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Goalposts and Gardens: Paul Quinn College One of the craziest things anyone has ever done on a football field happens here in Dallas at Paul Quinn College. They traded touchdowns for tillers and grew themselves a garden. Not only is the Food For Good Garden at Paul Quinn College building community, it is literally feeding its community, to the tune of 2,500 pounds of food in one year. "And that's before we knew what we were doing!" said Michael Sorrell, president of the college. Located in one of Dallas's "food deserts," it is the closest thing to good, quality produce in its area. And it's not stopping at the stadium walls. Long-term goals for the 138-year old college and its garden include opening and stocking bodega style storefronts for its neighbors to patronize.
Quality Education is What You Know And Who You Know: The Teaching Trust The Teaching Trust's Chris Bhatti started his speech by asking the audience to reflect on their school days. "Did you think of an assignment, or a person?" he asked. I thought of a person, and I'm guessing that most other audience members did, too. And that, in a nutshell, is the gist of the Teaching Trust. It trains teachers and other school leaders to motivate and educate high-achieving students, especially those in underserved geographic areas.
Action-Minded Alternatives: Accion Texas-Louisiana The micro-lending model is literally a lifesaver for people worldwide. But, did you know that the United States' largest micro-lender is in Texas? Accion Texas-Louisiana's success can be traced to its forward-thinking business model. To paraphrase their own words, instead of giving away a fish or teaching someone to fish, they are helping people buy ponds to acquire assets. Their sustainability model has meant great success for many small business owners, including Carrollton-based promotional products company "A Turtle Loves Me," which is now an Accion investor itself.
If you missed bigBang! you can still give to these great charities and others through the Donor Bridge, whose link is active on bigBangTx.org for the next 60 days.