Dallas lifestyle expert, author and philanthropist Kimberly Schlegel Whitman delighted a full ballroom of volunteers, philanthropists, and nonprofits with the story of her grandmother whom she remembers fondly for always doing for others.
“My grandmother had five children of her own, and during her lifetime, she also had 36 foster children!” exclaimed Whitman. “She was an angel on earth. Seeing my grandmother’s joy in serving others had a huge impact on me.”
Whitman provided the keynote address titled, “Adventures in Philanthropy: How Trying To Give Back Changed My Life And Career,” at the Dallas Junior Forum 40th Anniversary spring luncheon on April 26, at the Belo Mansion and Pavilion. Luncheon chair was Mary Cartwright, and WFAA’s Jane McGarry served as mistress of ceremonies.
The Dallas Junior Forum (DJF), a non-profit volunteer organization for women in North Texas that employs no paid staff, is one of nine chapters of Junior Forum, Inc. – Texas based service organizations originating in Houston in 1959. DJF was founded in 1977 to create greater interest in civic, educational and philanthropic endeavors in the North Texas community through volunteer work focused on children, families and the elderly.
The annual luncheon, known for its expansive silent auction featuring hundreds of items, helps to provide monetary grants to the nonprofits the group serves.
Organizations served by the Dallas Junior Forum include Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center, The Ebby House, Juliette Fowler Communities, Frisco Family Services, Hope’s Door New Beginnings Center, Interfaith Family Services, Network, PediPlace, and the Ronald McDonald House.
Since it began 40 years ago, DJF has donated hundreds of thousands of volunteer service hours to the charitable agencies it supports. During the 2014-15 fiscal year alone, members volunteered more than 16,400 hours and saved the nonprofits served $411,800 in wages, employment taxes and benefit expenses. Additionally, DJF awarded $123,700 in grants and non-grant funding. Over the years this all-volunteer organization has donated more than $1 million in direct grants and non-grants to worthy non-profit organizations throughout North Texas.
“Monetary allocation for these grants has been a direct result of the profits from this annual fundraiser luncheon, various other fundraising events, and sales of our two award-winning cookbooks,” said Mary Cartwright.
As guests enjoyed pink champagne soup with mint drizzle, tenderloin of beef Nicoise salad, and triple chocolate parfaits, Whitman praised the members for their amazing work and the many volunteer hours they give so many nonprofits each year.
“As a child, I watched how my parents were always very involved with giving back to the community, and I want my children to see me giving and helping others as well,” added Whitman.
She also highlighted the seven books she has written and said that her most recent book “Monograms for the Home: The Art of Making Your Mark” was inspired from a quote she read from Reese Witherspoon: “If it doesn’t breathe, monogram it!”
Immediately following the luncheon, Whitman held a book signing and visited with guests.
“Kim represents a new generation of volunteers involved in service to others,” added Cartwright. “We were excited to look out in the audience and see some new faces and hope to have some new members to help us serve others in the coming year. As we continue our 40th anniversary celebration this year, we hope to reach even more people in need.”