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Fort Worth group recognizes philanthropists

11/04/2013 4:14 PM

11/05/2013 12:10 PM

Ryan Prince is addicted to good deeds.

“I just like the feeling you get when you help someone,” said Prince, 14, at student at Fort Worth Country Day School. “It’s cool.”

So when Prince heard that his school was sending a group to Light the Night Walk, a Leukemia & Lymphoma Society fundraiser, he jumped in with both feet. It was a decision typical of a kid who’s being recognized by the Association of Fundraising Professionals as the Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy. The association will celebrate National Philanthropy Day and present four other awards Wednesday at the Omni Hotel Fort Worth.

Other honorees are:

• Taylor and Shirlee Gandy, who earned the Distinguished Philanthropists Award primarily through efforts that funded the Kennedy Tribute in downtown Fort Worth. But Casa Mañana and the University of Texas at Arlington also have benefited from the Gandys’ fundraising expertise.
• The Ella C. McFadden Charitable Trust was chosen as Outstanding Philanthropic Foundation/Trust. The namesake defines philanthropy, said Nancy Jones, president and CEO for the Community Foundation of North Texas, the organization that administers the trust. McFadden “left a legacy of continuous caring about important institutions in our community,” Jones said.
• Will Courtney Sr. was nominated by Ronald McDonald House for the Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser Award after he led a campaign to fund construction that expanded the number of rooms to 59.
• Roby Key earned the Outstanding Professional Fundraising Executive title for his work with TCU.

A legacy of

charitable service

The youth award is designed to recognize people who are carrying on family legacies, said Ellen Ray, spokeswoman for the National Philanthropy Day Committee. Prince fits that bill, she said.

He and his family are still involved with a charity that his grandparents Nancy and Roy Rimmer supported. Liberty House is a halfway house for veterans who struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder or drug abuse, said Ryan’s mother, Cynthia Prince.

“He’s carrying on a significant legacy of charitable service,” she said.

A cherished family tradition revolves around Liberty House, Ryan Prince said.

“My grandparents asked us to help with the Christmas party, and we did it not thinking it would become an annual thing,” he said. “We bought winter jackets for them that first year, then brought in a buffet and ate with them. This Christmas will be our third year, and the jackets have become a running thing.”

Prince said he was shocked when he was nominated for the award and astonished when he won it. He said a partner in Colonial Kids for a Cause, George Marlow, deserves it as much as he does.

“I think we’re winning this together because we’ve been doing [philanthropy] together, and I think it was mainly Colonial Kids that won it for me,” Prince said.

That’s a typical response when philanthropists are recognized, Ray said.

“Sometimes people feel awkward or embarrassed for being singled out for their accomplishments,” she said. “It can feel strange to be placed in the limelight. Many who truly give to others don’t feel recognition is necessary and thus the awkwardness.”

But once praise is given, most folks feel good about having set an example, Ray said.

“Very few, if any, have declined the recognition of Philanthropy Day,” she said. “Many don’t see their efforts as any different from ‘everyone else.’ It’s almost ‘Why me?’”

Fundraising efforts

The Gandys were very hands-on during the five-year process resulting in the Kennedy Tribute, but they stay pretty low-key, Ray said.

Courtney is the same way about his accomplishment for the expansion of McDonald House, Ray said.

“When Cook Children’s [Medical Center] expanded, it was a no-brainer that McDonald House would have to expand to accommodate the families of the increased number of children who would be hospitalized,” Ray said. “He did a phenomenal job of leading the fundraising effort.”

Getting money out of people “is easy if (A) they know you and (B) they know the charity you represent is worthy,” Courtney said. “People I seem to come into contact with in certain foundations know that I support good causes.”

Key was nominated for the fundraising he did on behalf of the TCU football stadium, Ray said. But ask the man himself and he’ll say his greatest accomplishment is aligned with the theme of this year’s National Philanthropy Day — passing on to young people an understanding of philanthropy’s importance.

“We believe it is an important part of their education as they become responsible citizens in our society,” he said.

In addition to the awards, the luncheon will feature the Legacies in Philanthropy video, highlighting the lifetime achievements of Nancy Lee Bass, Van Cliburn and Ruth Carter Stevenson.

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