During the biggest online giving event in the nation — North Texas Giving Day — charities in Arlington will have a chance to ramp up their donations during a rally on Sept. 14 at the Levitt Pavilion that ends with a free concert by the Josh Weathers Band.
Hundreds of people will converge in the space surrounding the Levitt Pavilion around 6 p.m. to visit with representatives from area nonprofits during the rally hosted by the Arlington Tomorrow Foundation. The event is a veritable showcase of Arlington's charitable organizations and affords each group a chance to leverage the donations they receive during the North Texas Giving Day online extravaganza. In addition, $60,000 in special grants will be handed out during the rally.
“The Arlington Tomorrow Foundation is delighted to be a lead sponsor for the 2017 North Texas Giving Day, which is the nation’s largest one-day giving event,” said Carolyn Mentesana, foundation executive director. “Last year alone, Arlington nonprofits garnered more than $1 million in donations during the 18-hour event.”
Anyone in the community is invited to bring the family and set up a picnic on the Levitt lawn or purchase food and beverages from food trucks and vendors that will be on hand for the rally. At 8 p.m. the Josh Weathers Band will perform its special style of R&B, funk, soul and rock music at a free concert.
Before or after dinner, attendees will have a chance to visit the exhibits and cast a ballot for their favorite Arlington charity in the People’s Choice contest. The organization with the most ballots cast will receive a $10,000 bonus grant from the Gene & Jerry Jones Family Youth Foundation.
“Our Arlington Gives! was a tremendous success last year and we can’t wait for the upcoming event this year,” said Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams. “The can-do spirit of Arlington was very present in our organizations and citizens coming together in one place to experience the generosity of North Texas. We are so thankful for the tremendous work that goes into North Texas Giving Day.”
A Kendra Scott pop-up store at the rally will feature a piece of jewelry especially designed for North Texas Giving Day along with other jewelry designs. The retailer will give 20 percent of rally sales to an Arlington nonprofit, and shoppers are invited to register for a drawing where a free piece of Kendra Scott jewelry will be given to the winner.
North Texas Giving Day was created by Communities Foundation of Texas in 2009 as one of the first community-wide giving events in the world. Since its inception, the online event has raised more than $156 million for over 2,500 nonprofits in North Texas. Last year alone produced $37 million in donations for more than 2,500 nonprofits. Charities register on the Giving Day website, which opens at 6 a.m. Sept. 14 and accepts donations until midnight. New this year is the chance to schedule donations ahead of time. Scheduled giving opens on Sept. 7. Many Arlington nonprofits generate their own matching funds to help stretch donor dollars even further on Giving Day. The giving website is www.cftexas.org/NTGD-2017.
The Tomorrow Foundation will award $50,000 in grants throughout the rally and during the concert. It also plans to give a $5,000 bonus grant to two randomly selected nonprofit organizations. Before the concert, a special awards presentation on the Levitt stage is set for 7:30 p.m.
“As one of the city’s largest charitable organizations, the Tomorrow Foundation recognizes the power of philanthropy for making our community stronger and more vibrant. Through the rally, we aim to support Arlington’s charitable sector in their efforts to expand their donor base and encourage others to do the same,” Mentesana said.
River Legacy Living Science exhibit hall closed for $2.5 million renovation
For those who love to visit the River Legacy Science Center’s exhibit hall, it is currently closed for a $2.5 million total makeover. Officials say that the existing space will be transformed into the River Legacy Discovery Room, a museum-quality nature center. The renovation will also expand classroom space and enable the exhibit hall to remain open during summer classes, field investigations and other programs. Renovations are expected to be completed by mid-November.
Funding for the renovations comes from donors. The Arlington Tomorrow Foundation provided a $1 million matching grant, and the River Legacy Foundation was able to secure the needed donors for the match. A recent anonymous donor has offered a $100,000 gift provided matching donors can be found.
“Once complete, the new River Legacy Discovery Room will feature engaging and interactive exhibits, enhanced and dedicated classroom spaces and an inspiring environmental stewardship area,” said spokeswoman Kristi Payne.
“A key part of the renovation will be a reactive projection exhibit created by the Dallas-based studio 900lbs of Creative, where visitors can virtually immerse themselves into various forest scenes and seasons interacting with the plants and animals found in River Legacy Park.”
During the past two decades, the Living Science Center has hosted more than 14,000 Arlington students a year and more than 50,000 yearly visitors for nature explorations and a chance to learn more about the environment and how to protect habitats, wildlife and other natural resources.
“The authentic hands-on, minds-on explorations and investigations at the nature center have now shaped a whole generation of children in Arlington and surrounding communities,” said foundation Executive Director Jill Hill. “We are grateful to all of our donors and supporters who helped make River Legacy Park and River Legacy Living Science Center a reality so many years ago, and who sustain us now through their faithful giving of gifts, time and talents.”
The Living Science Center is located at 703 NW Green Oaks Blvd. Direct inquires to Payne at 817-860-6752.