For young families and individuals who live in North Texas and Fort Worth and are looking for ways to give back charitably, WORTH: Next Generation of Philanthropists is worth checking out. With WORTH, you donate a little to give a lot. The idea for WORTH came about in 2015 when the North Texas Community Foundation heard feedback from the community that philanthropy felt too big or unapproachable for those aged 25-40.They knew they could give time and small dollars, but didn’t feel they had the financial backing to be able to impact many of the issues that are facing North Texas and Forth Worth. Now in its second year, WORTH wants to change all of that and give Generation X and Millennials a continued way to harness and energize the power of collaborative giving for our region to do the most good for vulnerable
Ann Lopez is what you would call a true Fort Worthian: she was born here, raised here, attended TCU and later, Texas Wesleyan University School of Law (now Texas A&M University School of Law), and has been here since. She shared with us her story of why and how she started getting plugged into giving back locally in North Texas. Ann has been an active member of WORTH since the group launched in 2015 and has served on the Steering Committee since 2016.
Ann: I never was really involved in our Fort Worth community until I made a pact with myself to change that Involvement in the community and being charitable were not a large part of my upbringing, but I knew that was something I wanted to change, both for myself and my family. Also, as a local estate planning attorney, I counsel clients on charitable giving as part of their overall estate planning and tax planning goals. How can I be successful in my recommendations if I, myself, am not involved?
And so began my search for an organization that would allow me to grow personally and professionally, would educate me on the needs of our incredible city, and provide a positive impact in our community.
A little over a year ago, someone in my network suggested I attend a WORTH event, talking about its focus of gathering like-minded young persons in our community to make an impact locally through collaborative giving. Intrigued, I attended the second event of the year at the Fort Worth Zoo where Ramona Bass spoke of her passion and commitment to make the zoo the fantastic organization that it is today. After experiencing all of the paraded animals in the room (including a good slap in the face by the owl…oh, it’s true) and mingling with other young professionals about the needs of our community, I was hooked.
By becoming a philanthropist, you will be part of something bigger than just a single person striving to make an impact. Every gift matters. For me, it was by becoming a part of WORTH, where I had the ability to pool my $250 gift with other members, where those gifts were then matched through more donations, and we were then able to address the needs of our community and we were able to grant more than $25,000 to two local nonprofit groups. I had become a philanthropist and didn’t even maybe realize it at that time.
I will be the first to admit that when I walked into that grant meeting last year, I was steadfast in my opinions and determined to vote for specific organizations seeking grants from WORTH. But then, with nearly 40 members sitting around a table discussing their thoughts and opinions, it was interesting to hear the different experiences and perspectives that came from the diverse group, populated from a group that sometimes doesn’t know they have the opportunity and power and money to sit at the philanthropy table.
Through the power of collaborative giving and collaboration, I learned more about how I could and how we as a community can really make an impact for the Fort Worth and North Texas we want to see for our families and neighbors. Your gifts and charitable giving might be different. However, you are a philanthropist. I encourage you to use this holiday season and step outside of the box, communicate with other young professionals, and gain the knowledge and education needed to make an informed charitable decision. It is through these relationships and education that we grow to be better humans, better Fort Worthians.
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.