November 10 in downtown Dallas proved to be a busy day of celebration, honoring individuals who have made a positive difference in the lives of so many others. As Veteran’s Day parade participants lined up along the south side of the Hyatt Regency Dallas, volunteers, funders, foundations, business, nonprofit and community leaders entered the front doors on the east side for The Greater Dallas Chapter of Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) 32nd annual luncheon “It’s Our Tomorrow,” celebrating Dallas’ National Philanthropy Day. The annual event brings together area to honor many of this city’s finest who give selflessly in support of numerous worthy causes.
Event chair Meagan Burton kicked off the event by sharing a message of gratitude with the crowd of 500, thanking them for their philanthropy, service, dedication, and investment in the future. In honor of Veteran’s Day, she asked current, former or retired members of military, including guard or reserves, to stand so they could be thanked for their service.
AFP Chapter President Mary Freeman gave a special thanks to this year’s sponsors: Chapter Sponsor and premier luncheon sponsor, South Texas Money Management; Award Sponsors: Dini Spheris, Thompson & Knight, Southwestern Medical Foundation and UT Southwestern Medical Center, Texas Health Resources Foundation; and Community Sponsors: M. Gale and Associates and Texas Capital Bank.
For the first time this year, the luncheon featured a keynote speaker. Jason Lee, Esq., general counsel, AFP International, who spoke about the impact of charity and philanthropy. Lee represents over 33,000 individuals and organizations that raise more than $115 billion in charitable contributions every year around the world for countless causes.
“With Americans giving nearly $400 billion to charity every year, and charities making up 10 percent of the workforce, the charitable sector is playing a bigger role than ever in our future,” said Jason Lee. “The future belongs to all of us as we come together under the banner of philanthropy to improve our communities, our country and our world.”
This year’s awards honored Sandra and Henry Estess as Outstanding Philanthropists; Lynn McBee as Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser; Pagett Gosslee, CFRE, as Outstanding Fundraising Executive; The Hersh Foundation as Outstanding Foundation; Neiman Marcus as Outstanding Corporation; Micah Pinson as Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy; and a Special Recognition Award, was presented to Terry L. Simmons, posthumously, and accepted by his family.
The luncheon was emceed by longtime supporter Scott Murray. Murray Media, presenting sponsor of the luncheon, produces the luncheon videos featuring the accomplishments of each award recipient. The Greater Dallas Chapter of AFP was among the first to begin celebrating National Philanthropy Day in 1981. AFP Chapters involve more than 28,000 individuals in celebrating philanthropy each year.