10th Annual Arlington Gives! Community Concert Celebrates City’s Strong Nonprofit Community
By Susan Schrock, Office of Communications
Posted on September 22, 2023, September 22, 2023

The Arlington Tomorrow Foundation’s 10th annual Arlington Gives! free community concert once again brought residents together to support and celebrate the city’s hundreds of hard-working nonprofits.

Throughout the day Thursday, the Arlington Tomorrow Foundation awarded $75,000 in grants to area nonprofits and encouraged residents to make a financial gift to their favorite charitable organization as part of North Texas Giving Day. That evening, an estimated 1,500 people gathered on the Levitt Pavilion lawn with blankets and lawn chairs to enjoy performances by Nashville recording artist Jessee Lee and Texas country music singer/songwriter Billie Jo.

In all, more than $63.9 million was raised for nonprofits across North Texas during the 18-hour online giving event, which is coordinated by the Communities Foundation of Texas. And more than 6,200 donors gave $1.2 million to 136 Arlington-based charities.

“Ten years ago, when we started our partnership with the Communities Foundation of Texas, I never dreamed NTGD would become a vital annual fundraising event for Arlington nonprofits and the Arlington Tomorrow Foundation would help propel a region-wide movement. Together, we have opened new doors for growing the spirit of giving and building the fundraising capacity of our local charitable sector,” said Carolyn Mentesana, Arlington Tomorrow Foundation executive director.

The Arlington Tomorrow Foundation launched Arlington Gives! in 2014 to recognize and highlight Arlington-based nonprofit organizations and to help North Texas Giving Day contributors' dollars go even further. Over the past decade, Arlington-based charities have raised $13.6 million for local causes through North Texas Giving Day and the Arlington Tomorrow Foundation itself has awarded 81 grants totaling $580,000 as part of the annual event.

Arlington Mayor Jim Ross applauded the Arlington Tomorrow Foundation’s accomplishments and the strong show of support from the community to help the city’s nonprofit organizations continue their vital work.

“I’m so proud of what this community does here. I’m proud to be a part of the Arlington Tomorrow Foundation, the incredible work the foundation does underwriting this event here to demonstrate how much Arlington cares and how much Arlington can give,” Ross said.

Survivors On Purpose, Inc., a breast cancer awareness and support group that started in 2013, was among the many nonprofits celebrating at the Levitt Pavilion Thursday night. President and CEO Leslie Williams, board member Audrey Brown and volunteer Susan Garrett wore their Survivors on Purpose T-shirts and brought signs to the Arlington Gives! event to connect with residents and attract attention to their cause.

“It’s an opportunity for us to network, see each other and not feel like we are doing this by ourselves. I love the comradery,” Williams said. “It feels like the Arlington Tomorrow Foundation puts its arms around us. It’s a very caring gesture to take care of your local nonprofits.”

Melissa Dent, President and CEO of Lunch Box of Love, said the Arlington Gives! fundraising celebration helped raise public awareness about the work her nonprofit does to fight food insecurity, which includes providing afterschool snack bags to students and hosting food giveaways that have fed thousands of Arlington families since 2017.

“When kids get out of school, you don’t know if that is their last meal of the day,” said Dent, who said her nonprofit is raising money for a box truck needed to transport food donations to giveaway sites. “This is my calling. God put it in my spirt to open a nonprofit. He said I was going to be feeding the community.”

Donations that came in during the event will help the Ms. V’s Fur Babies provide vaccinations and care for the dogs it is temporarily boarding while their owners, who are experiencing homelessness or leaving a domestic violence situation, get back on their feet. Founder Valda Ridgley said she was inspired to start her nonprofit last year after she became homeless and could not find a shelter that would accept her and her four dogs. Now in a better position herself, she said she works with Arlington area homeless shelters to find short-term foster homes for dogs while their owners work to secure stable housing.

“This is a passion project. My goal is to keep the pets until they can reunite with their owners and avoid putting them in a shelter,” Ridgley said. “Today we raised $1,095. I’m super excited. Now we can get dogs vaccinated and get them ready for their foster families.”

Arlington Tomorrow Foundation Grant Award Recipients

  •  Arlington Charities and the Arlington Master Chorale received the first two $5,000 bonus grant from the Arlington Tomorrow Foundation for the highest number of donations received between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m.
  •  GPA Ministries, Inc. received a $5,000 bonus grants from the Arlington Tomorrow Foundation for the highest number of donations received by a school between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
  •  Arlington Woman’s Club and Texas Health Resources Foundation received $5,000 bonus grants from the Arlington Tomorrow Foundation for the highest number of donations received between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
  •  Theatre Arlington and Dancing Classrooms of North Texas received a $5,000 bonus grants from the Arlington Tomorrow Foundation for the highest number of donations received between 7 p.m. and 12 a.m.
  •  During the concert, Theatre Arlington, Trinity Kids, Inc., Arlington Urban Ministries and Northstar School were each randomly selected to receive a $5,000 bonus grant from the Arlington Tomorrow Foundation.
  •  The Arlington Classics Academy and Levitt Pavilion Arlington were the winners of the People's Choice Awards, each receiving a $10,000 grant, for capturing the most votes during the day.
Arlington Tomorrow Foundation, Downtown Arlington, Support Youth & Families, MyArlingtonTV
News, Community