Children’s Charities of Fort Worth is a nonprofit organization whose sole purpose is to help other nonprofit organizations whose focus is assisting at-risk children. Staffed top to bottom with 100 percent volunteers, Children’s Charities helps almost 3,000 children each year. Most of these volunteers have demanding professional lives, but sacrifice many hours to this organization all in the interest of helping children.
Many people in the business community are aware of or have attended the annual Margarita Ball, which is the main fundraising effort of the organization, but Children’s Charities also hosts several happy hours and other small fundraising events throughout the year. All these fundraising efforts help local charities including Samarian House, ACH, The Parenting Center, Union Gospel Mission, Fortress Youth Development Center, Alliance for Children, One Safe Place, Ronald McDonald House of Fort Worth, Northside Intercommunity Agency, A Wish with Wings, Hope Center for Autism, Mission Central and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.
Established in 1988, Children’s Charities collects toys, bicycles and monetary donations throughout the year to ensure that underprivileged children may have Christmas presents. Proceeds from the happy hours they host provide school uniforms for ACH and Samaritan House. Children’s Charities also assists organizations with aid through a reserved fund gifting program which has helped with everything from laptops to water heaters.
Beth Driskill is the current president of Children’s Charities, serving the second year of a two-year term. She was familiar with the Margarita Ball, wanted to get involved and began her service more than five years ago as a volunteer director. Her first term as president was met with the Covid-19 shutdown. Their goal was to provide 150 bikes and 2,500 toys for Christmas. “We didn’t know how we were going to make our goal,” says Driskill. Realizing the effect Covid-19 had on children in need, Driskell and 18 directors came together and collaborated with several area businesses to make sure the needs of the children and the organizations who serve them were met. They asked each organization for a list of “must haves” and a list of “in our wildest dreams.” Children’s Charities partnered with toy sponsors, Certainty Home Loans, Coca Cola Southwest Beverage, Walker Rose Boutique, Teresa Distel, Ann Allan, Larry and Karen Anfin, American National Bank of Texas, Spectra Asset Conservation/Charles and Vicki Booth, and Supercuts. Other community partners were Reata Restaurant, The Worthington Renaissance Hotel, Fort Worth Magazine, Mustard Seed Jewelry, Kendra Scott Clearfork, Texas Roadhouse, Torchy’s Tacos, Let’s Bake Sh!t, Mrs. Renfro’s, Overton Centre, Southside Pilates, Blue Mesa Grille and Willow Creek Signs. These partnerships allowed Children’s Charities to fulfill their clients “must haves” as well as most of the “in our wildest dreams” lists as well. “We would not have been able to accomplish what we did without our corporate and community sponsors,” said Driskill.
Like many other organizations, virtual events became Children’s Charitie’s avenue for reaching out to the community. They hosted virtual happy hours and held raffles. They also hosted virtual shopping events with vendors from Clearfork, which included Mustard Seed Jewelry and Kendra Scott in addition to having a live online Christmas in July shopping event. They will host another one in July 2021. Instead of the Margarita Ball they held a virtual event which included a silent auction and sold “mini” Margarita packs which were picked up in the driveway of the Worthington Hotel. They also had toy drive bins in several locations around town. All these “mini” events came together to help them achieve their goals.
Though they did collect toys as they had in previous years, Covid-19 caused Children’s Charities to promote less emphasis on bringing toys and more emphasis on providing monetary funds. The directors of Children’s Charities then took those organizations on a shopping trip to Target who got in on the “giving” by offering a 20 percent discount on the purchases thereby allowing the organizations to stretch their dollars. They plan to do the same in 2021.
Fort Worthians will be happy to know the Margarita Ball will be an in-person event this year. The volunteer staff of Children’s Charities began working in February to pull things together for the event. The price of tickets will increase to include the toy and they will de-emphasize bringing toys to the event. Tickets will be available for purchase in May. Details about the upcoming Margarita Ball will be detailed during their first in-person happy hour this year on April 29 from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm at The Drover. There will be items available for auction during this event which will be held outdoors so that social distancing practices can continue to be observed. Follow their Facebook page for updates on all events https://www.facebook.com/childrenscharitiesfw.
Driskill is excited about the progress that continues to be made at Children’s Charities and truly enjoys working with the board of directors to continue their mission despite challenging times. The board consists of the following members: Executive Board of Directors: Beth Driskill, President, Ernie Gomez, President-Elect, Laura Geninatti, Vice President, Mark Alexander, Treasurer, Angie McIrvin, Secretary, Steve Ortega, At Large Executive Director, Cristal Clark, At Large Executive Director, Clint Muirhead, At Large Executive Director and Directors: Ish Arebalos, Chuck Darling, Mark Fueling, Angela Heikkinen, William Sampson, Tony Scardino, Brian Torres, Carol Vanpell.
As she works through her second term as president, Driskill is excited about what Children’s Charities has accomplished and looking forward to what is still to come. “It takes a village and last year was a testament to that,” said Driskill.