By Sean Evans
WORTH Steering Committee Member
Most people can confidently say they’ve never had cocktails with a crocodile. Or a turkey. Or an owl. Or say they’ve helped give away $25,000 in grants to local nonprofit organizations in Fort Worth and North Texas.
And until about a year ago I would have been right there with them.
My wife and I aren’t what you’d call the most socially involved people. And we think giving back is important, but being called a philanthropist always felt bigger than the scale we associated with our charitable giving. When we were arrived at the WORTHpursuing event at the Fort Worth Zoo where Ramona Bass was speaking as a guest of the North Texas Community Foundation about the importance of charitable giving, we weren’t sure what to expect.
It was life-changing. We learned the story of WORTH: The Next Generation of Philanthropists; a fledgling young professionals group dedicated to teaching 25-40 year olds how philanthropy actually works. The program is dedicated to building a membership where 100% of our dues go to grant-making, each of whom contribute $250 to a fund, which is then matched dollar for dollar by other Community Foundation investors, allowing the gifts to multiply to maximize impact for North Texas (just like it does when you establish a fund at the Community Foundation).
And not only did they want us to know more and be members; they wanted us, the smartphone-oriented, somewhat cynical Millennial and Gen-Xers to stand up and take action, to be not just a voice, but leaders of local charitable giving.
Part of our responsibilities as new WORTH members was to choose a focus issue where we could disseminate the gifts we had all contributed. After much research and deliberation, we chose prevention and treatment of child abuse. And a few weeks later, we all received grant proposals from various non-profits each describing how they’d use the funds. The following week, we met in this giant conference room downtown (WHERE WE HAD OUR OWN BARISTA at the Huckabee office), and nearly 40 of us analyzed, debated, voted for and awarded the $25,000 grant dollars.
I cannot explain the breathtaking awe and gratitude I feel knowing that my few dollars and hours given would have lifetimes of influence on people I will probably never even know. Our second year of WORTH started in October 2016. During that event, we heard firsthand from the two local nonprofits we gifted the money to how our grants made immediate impact on the lives of so many local children in desperate situations.
And there are still miles to go. Not just for children, but for a variety of issues that face us as North Texans.
I learned over this last year everyone has an opportunity to be a philanthropist for the causes that I’m passionate about. Won’t you take up this charge for our future with us? December 6th is our next meeting, where we invite you to come join us and learn about the power of collaborative giving for North Texas.
P.S. We tried – but the crocodile will not be in attendance at our next event. He has other commitments.
To learn more about philanthropy and WORTH visit NorthTexasCF.org/WORTH. To inquire about membership, contact Garrett March at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 817.877.0702.
Sean Evans is a North Texas native who’s called Fort Worth home since 2011. He works in the financial services industry. When not working he is a Jiu-Jitsu enthusiast and enjoys reading, writing, and a good glass of wine. He has been an active member of WORTH since the group launched in 2015 and has served on the Steering Committee since 2016.