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Jack Terrell Founder/President KBC
Meet Jack Terrell, founder and president of KiDs Beach Club; a non profit organization based in Euless that ministers to children within the culture of their public school. For nearly two and a half decades, Terrell has lead ministry development in cutting edge churches, considering faith development his calling. 
In 2003, he created KiDs Beach Club in one Hurst elementary school with about a dozen children. Since then, KiDs Beach Club has spread to 7 states, 124 schools, with nearly 9500 children taking part.
We wanted to get to know Terrell a bit better, and he was nice enough to answer a few questions about KBC, himself and the communities he continues to serve. 
Dawn Tongish: Please begin by telling us about KiDS Beach Club? 
Jack Terrell: KiDs Beach Club® is an innovative non profit 501(c)(3) ministry that is dedicated to mobilizing the church to go outside its walls in an effort to fulfill “The Great Commission” found in Matthew 28:19-20. Our vision is to provide every 3rd through 6th grade boy and girls a Jesus experience within the culture of their public school. This is accomplished by establishing after-school, faith-based Bible clubs called Beach Clubs that meet in gyms, libraries and cafeterias for one hour, one day a week, for 24 weeks.
DT: What are your duties at KiDs Beach Club and what happens when a child comes to a Beach Club event? 
JT: Answer: There are 5 components to a Beach Club and it all happens in an hour! 

1. Snack Time - kids are met as they enter their club by friendly and caring club volunteers who give them a delicious & yummy snack!

2. Worship Time - after  going over the club rules, kids are then led to worship God in a kid-friendly kind of way… motions and dance are accepted.  

3. Story Time -  after worship the kids get to hear a Bible story told as it occurred in the Bible.

4. Memory Link Time - scripture is a big deal; all the kids each week memorize a verse in a fun creative time. 

5. Game Time - the club’s adventures are all wrapped-up in the final few minutes playing review GAMES!  

DT: How did you become involved with KiDs Beach Club, and what drives your passion for the work being done?

JT: The story of how I got involved in KiDs Beach Club® started with a simple challenge. In 2003, while serving as the Minister of Children at First Baptist Church Euless, I was challenged to creatively come up with a way of getting the message of Christ outside the walls of our church. Knowing my target audience was 3rd - 6th grade children and understanding their day is spent mostly within the walls of an elementary school, looking at an after-school program seemed to be the most plausible way to accomplish this challenge. Our first Beach Club met in the spring of 2003 at Bellaire Elementary in Hurst, TX. All 16 kids and 3 volunteers loved it. That club grew to 23 kids with 6 of those kids making Jesus their "forever friend" and that was motivation enough to continue moving forward. Currently, KBC is operating Beach Clubs across 7 states in 124 elementary schools with a growing enrollment of 9,342 kids and 1798 volunteers. Our goal is to be in 175 schools by September of 2014.

DT: Why do you work in the non profit sector? 

JT: I can tell you that I didn't choose the non profit sector. It was a movement, a calling that I fought. I didn't want to go into the non profit world because it would mean that I would need to give up the security of my church position. Plus, I truly enjoyed serving the Lord as a Minister of Children. In the summer of 2005, while attending Flight 360 Student Camp, God made it abundantly clear that His will and His purpose for my life was to serve Him through Beach Clubs. He let me see thousands of clubs with millions of children attending. The Lord only asked that I "trust Him?" In January 2006, KiDs Beach Club® filed for tax exemption status and later that year I stepped in to my current role as President and Founder of KiDs Beach Club®.

DT: It can be difficult to sustain financially. How do you stay afloat? 

JT: The funding for KBC comes from four revenue streams: church partnership revenue, corporate fundraising, major donors and individual contributors.

DT: How can the people of Tarrant County help KiDs Beach Club meet its need for 2014? What are those needs?

JT: Our greatest need in 2014 is ministry partners.  I have already shared with you our goal of being in 175 elementary schools by September of this year. Across the US, there is an estimated 25 million children in after-school programs. Within the DFW area, there are 568 elementary schools and 43 of these schools have a Beach Club. The potential is incredible. To reach our goal, we will need to partner with at least 50 new church partners and recruit a minimum of 750 new volunteers. If you have an interest in joining KBC to help us meet our goal, simply go to and click on the "contact us" tab to gain additional information. 

The 5th Annual Beach Run and Egg Hunt on Saturday, April 12th at Bob Eden Park in Euless, TX is just around the corner. Kids of all ages will be there celebrating Easter through participating in three different age appropriate Egg Hunts, 1mile Fun Run followed by a 5K Run through the park. KLTY will be bringing a local christian artist to perform a concert that morning. The fun doesn't stop there.  A petting zoo, pony rides and plenty of bounce houses will be set up for children to play and have fun. The only cost is to run in the 5K all the other activities are FREE! Go to www.kidsbeachclub/beachrun to register.
DT: What is the most memorable moment in your experiences at KiDS Beach Club?
JT: The most memorable experience for me came in 2007. It was when I learned of a child taking their new KBC Bible home and while explaining and showing Mom all the neat features of her very own Bible that it happened. This was the 1st time I was aware of this ever happening. In all my 24 years of serving children and families while on a church staff it had never happened - a child using their NEW Bible to lead their parents to faith in Christ!  Cierra did just that. She showed her mom the prayer in the back of her KBC Bible which was the prayer she had prayed only days before, then looked at her Mom and asked her this question, "Mom have you prayed that prayer before?" To which her mother sat down beside her and said, "No, Cierra I haven't." Cierra then asked her Mom, "Would you want to Mommy?" Mom said yes! Cierra had the joy of hearing her mom pray for the very first time and it was the prayer asking Jesus to be her "forever friend." 
Giving all the glory to God, I can tell you that since 2007 it has happened repeatedly by many of our KBC kids. It's clear in scripture that God desires that none perish but rather all would come to know Him (2 Peter 3:9 & 1 Timothy 2:4). Today he is using children to do just that. He is not only changing the lives of thousands of children, but He is also having an impact on hundreds of parents. I've never seen anything like this before and to think it is still happening is nothing short of a miracle.
DT: What is the first thing you do when you walk into work each day?
JT: Each day the first thing I do is to go to my Mac and pull up our online data management page. It allows me to quickly see how many new children have joined Beach Club. It also allows me to see the total number of  kids who have made Jesus their forever friend” and currently it’s at 751 kids during this school year. To me, that's... Making Jesus Cool at School!®
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Meet Pat McGrail, Mayor of Keller now in his third term. As a community leader in Keller, McGrail has worked to shape the agenda since he moved to the city more than 20 years ago. He is dedicated to helping the city reach its full growth and potential. 

As a former airline executive, who managed thousands of employees; McGrail is confident in a leadership role. He served on the Keller city council, before winning the post of mayor. McGrail lives in Keller with his wife, Pauline. He is the father of three, grown children.

We wanted to get to know Mayor McGrail a little better and he was gracious enough to answer a few questions.   


Dawn Tongish: Keller is an established community that is always growing. What projects are on the horizon that will improve the quality of life for citizens?

Pat McGrail: One of the things I’m excited about this coming year is the major expansion and update of The Keller Pointe. That facility is unique as the only city-owned recreation facility in Texas whose operating expenses are self-supported by membership and program fees; it’s something the citizens enjoy and take pride in, and one of the many things that bring people to Keller. We’re actually dedicating a lot of money this year to the parks and trail system, into updating existing parks and building a new one near Shady Grove Elementary School. We’ll also be working on accessibility, expanding a couple of key intersections to make them safer and more efficient, and reconstructing several residential streets. On the economic development side, we’ll see the opening of a movie theater this year as well as a high-end childcare facility and more choices for shopping and dining.

DT: What makes Keller stand out among the surrounding communities?

PM: The quality of life — that’s what brought me to Keller and what brings most citizens to Keller. We have a small-town feel, but with all the big-city amenities as well as a wonderful school system, beautiful parks and recreation facilities, outstanding public safety and sound fiscal management. Our low tax rate and variety of quality housing that complement any lifestyle make Keller very appealing.

DT: Managing such a large city and thousands of people is a big job. What do you do to reset?

PM: The City of Keller is lucky to have a strong, effective leader in City Manager Steve Polasek. My role is largely to help provide direction to the city staff, develop consensus among the council members, strengthen relationships with other city, county and state leaders, and stay active around town as a city representative to several different business and nonprofit organizations. When I need to relax, I enjoy spending time with my family — my wife, our children and grandchildren — and taking the occasional weekend at the lake.

DT: What is the latest book you've read?

PM: I enjoy reading political biographies; the last one I read was about George W. Bush’s years in the White House.

DT: What are your top three goals for the city in 2014?

PM: To continue the momentum we’ve developed over the last several years in terms of quality commercial development that offers more shopping, dining and service choices to our citizens; to improve the overall attributes and amenities of the city, thereby improving our quality of life; and to do all of that while maintaining one of the lowest tax rates in the region.

DT: What one accomplishment are you most proud of in your tenure as mayor?

PM: The overall city image continues to improve and we continue to become more and more a City of Choice throughout the Metroplex. I became mayor just before the Great Recession hit, and it’s been challenging the past several years to maintain service levels and continue growing this community while weathering everything that came along with the recession — lower sales tax revenues, a slow-down in commercial development, etc. They were a lot of small council decisions that built upon each other, but the overall result of where we are now and where I see us going is the accomplishment of which I’m most proud.

DT: When you have a few minutes just to drive around the city, where do you like to go?

PM: Part of why I love Keller is because it’s so diverse. Sometimes I’ll drive up into North Keller to enjoy the open spaces and the rural nature of its roads, and look at the horses; sometimes I like to drive through some of the upscale neighborhoods that South Keller is known for; I enjoy driving around our parks and watching our citizens play and fish and spend time together as families; I have fun running into friends at The Keller Pointe; Old Town has this great synergy, especially now that it’s becoming a more popular destination for evening entertainment; and on the weekends I like to check out the Keller Sports Park and see the thousands of kids that facility serves having a good time.

DT: Do you have a favorite restaurant in the city?

PM: That’s a tough one, but I’d have to say FnG Eats here in Keller Town Center. Their food never disappoints.

DT: What can the residents of Keller do to improve the neighborhoods in their community?

PM: They can simply continue to take pride in their neighborhoods — keep them looking nice and look out for their neighbors. I’d also encourage all of our residents to strengthen their partnership with our public safety professionals to ensure their neighborhood is unappealing to criminals, and to continue offering their invaluable feedback to the city staff and the council. My fellow council members and I truly consider ourselves representatives of our citizens, and their feedback on issues we’re facing as a community, or needs they have in their neighborhood, are critical to the process.

What is your favorite movie of all time?

I really enjoy movies, but it seems I never have much time to watch them. When I do, my wife and I like some of the old classics.

You are surrounded by advisers, but when you have to make a really tough decision, whom do you turn to most often?

God. I pray about it.

If you had to describe your "bubble" (Keller) in three words, what would those words be? City of Choice

Do you have a top goal in your personal life? (are you going to scale Mt. Everest)

My goal is to someday be able to sit back and just enjoy my life with my wife and family, and to stay in good enough health that I can attend and dance at my grandchildren’s weddings. 

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Mayor David Kelly

Meet David Kelly, Mayor of Colleyville since 2005. As a community leader in NE Tarrant County for nearly 20 years and a resident of Colleyville since 1997, he is dedicated to helping the city reach new levels of growth and potential.

Mayor Kelly lives in Colleyvile with his wife, Debbie. Their son is a police officer with the city of Frisco, Texas. A financial planner now, Kelly began his worklife in an athletic endeavor, traveling the world. Kelly is deeply involved in many community initiatives and programs, including COPS (Citizens on Patrol); where he recently renovated a classic Gran Torino that draws a lot of attention. 

We wanted to get to know Mayor Kelly a bit better, and he was gracious enough to answer a few questions:   

Dawn Tongish: Colleyville is a thriving, bustling community that is always growing. What projects are on the horizon that will improve the quality of life for citizens living in the city? 

Mayor David Kelly: Road improvements on Colleyville Boulevard, our main commercial thoroughfare, is probably one of the biggest things. It will impact the ease with which people move around the city and, with some of the changes we have planned, will have more aesthetic appeal. 

We’re also looking at potential changes to Glade Road, one of our primary east-west corridors through the city. For months now, we’re been gathering public input on the project, and we hope to come back with a plan in the very near future, based on both needs and public input. 

Last year we announced the opening of a Whole Foods Market for 2014. We’re seeing the ripple effect of that with new development and redevelopment to house more restaurant and retail in the area. We plan to keep pursuing our economic initiatives to bring more retail and dining options to town. 

This year, we’ll embark on a new comprehensive plan, which will determine the physical look of growth in the city for the next decade and beyond. Once again, we’ll be looking for input from the community on this important project.

DT: In your view, what sets this community apart from the surrounding cities?

DK: In terms of how we work together and interact with each other, we are much more of a community than a city. People know each other, people tend to help each other, and people tend to be involved in the community. For people who live here, the community as a whole matters. We’re more than a collection of individuals who live in proximity to each other.

DT: Managing such a large city and thousands of people is a big job. What do you do to reset?  

DK: I love the community, so it hardly feels like a “job.” However, I spend a lot of time with my family, travel when I can, and I do indulge in honing my grill skills—mainly ribs, which I have to say are pretty good.  I also stay involved in the community—as a member of COPS (Citizens on Patrol) and the citizen Fire Rehab team. I recently renovated a 1974 Gran Torino. It’s the same year and model as the first police car in Colleyville. We use it for COPS, as well as parades and festivals. It draws a lot of attention.

DT: You are surrounded by advisors, but when you have to make a tough call who do you turn to for advice? 

DK: I do seek out those who can offer expertise on a matter or who can offer a citizen or business perspective; however, I’m always mindful that the “buck stops here.” I try to listen to as many people as possible before making a decision, but the final responsibility for that decision falls with me and I take that very seriously.

DT: What are you most proud of as mayor?  

DK: The effort the community puts into making Colleyville the place that it is. This isn’t about the mayor or the city council, it’s about the people of Colleyville and how they feel about this community and each other. And that means they’re willing to put in time on a board or commission, volunteer for a community project, or help out someone in need or support the efforts of others. That’s a rarity these days. I’m both proud and fortunate to be a part of it.

 DT: When you have a few minutes just to drive around the city, where do you like to go? 

DK: The city staff jokes that they don’t like for me to drive around because they always end up with a to-do list. In fact, that’s exactly what happens. Being mayor doesn’t just happen twice a month at council meetings; it’s an ongoing responsibility and I take it seriously. So when I’m driving around town, I do keep an eye out for anything that looks amiss or deserves special care or isn’t up to spec, and I get it addressed. I do make it a point to take different routes to work or to restaurants, so I can keep an eye on different parts of the city and not just along my regular route.

DT: What can the residents of Colleyville do to pitch in and improve their community? 

DK: Stay involved. We just finished our biennial citizen survey and I hope people made it a point to complete the survey. Our comprehensive plan initiative is coming up—and there will be many opportunities for people to let us know how they want Colleyville to grow. And I would hope that residents will continue to take responsibility for the small things—being aware of what’s going on in their neighborhoods to keep crime at bay and picking up trash on their street or in their neighborhood park. If everyone does these small things, one by one they add up to a big impact on the entire community. 

DT: Gas drilling has been an issue in the community. Do you think the controversy has been warranted? 

DK: Whenever something new comes to a community there always needs to be a vetting process. So I see this as more of a community discussion than hoopla—some for it, some against it, and both needing to be listened to. From the city’s perspective we wanted safety to be the top priority. So we try to work in cooperation with drilling companies—while always remembering that the safety of the community is paramount.

DT: What is your favorite place to grab a hamburger in your city? 

DK: If there’s a burger being served in Colleyville, that’s pretty much enough for me. JR’s Grille, Market Street, Mooyah Burgers, Braum’s, Sonic, Tribeca Americana—take your pick. I like them all.

DT: What is the best part of being Mayor?  

DK: I pretty much like all the parts of the job—even those people would expect me not to like, including listening to people’s problems. It goes with the job and I think we’re better at the job when we listen to people. So I like it. 

However, during the holidays, I get to deliver Santa in my vintage fire truck…without having to ask permission. That’s kinda cool.

DT: If you had to describe your "bubble" (Colleyville) in three words, what would those words be?  

DK: Describing Colleyville in three words isn’t possible—there are just too many facets it to it. I guess home, family, and friends are what comes to mind when I think Colleyville. I think that might be the universal sentiment from everyone lucky enough to live here.

DT: Outline your top three goals for the city in 2014?

DK: Comprehensive plan – getting the community involved and invested in the process

Economic development – capitalizing on what we’ve accomplished and continuing to grow those efforts

Infrastructure – whether roads, parks, or city facilities – looking ahead and planning for the future so that our infrastructure continues to be an asset and not a burden for the people of Colleyville

DT: What is the one thing the people of Colleyville will be surprised to learn about you? 

DK: I began my worklife as a professional tennis player on the men’s tennis circuit—traveling abroad to qualifying matches. I got to see much of the world and I was doing something I loved. I was also one of the first male cheerleaders at Paschal High School. No one had ever done it and it sounded like fun and a good way to support my school. I was right on all counts and it’s a great memory. My wife, Debbie, and I are also accomplished collectors of “kitsch.” She’s into flamingos and I have a real Kip’s Big Boy statue in my den (bought at an antique shop in New Orleans). It’s a great reminder that life is supposed to be fun.

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Paige Flink - Courtesy The Family Place


Say hello to Paige Flink, executive director of The Family Place; the largest family violence service provider in the Dallas area. Flink discovered her passion for empowering survivors of domestic abuse, while working as an up and coming advertising sales director for a regional magazine.  

We wanted to get to know Flink a little better and she was gracious enough to answer a few questions about herself, The Family Place and the people it serves. 


Dawn Tongish: Can you begin by telling us about The Family Place?

Paige Flink: The Family Place was created because women were dying at the hands of men who were supposed to love them. Until our organization was established in 1978, there were no services in Dallas to help women and children escape abuse in their homes. Violence against women by a husband or boyfriend was considered a private family issue, not something the public was interested in addressing. There were few laws in Texas to protect a woman whose husband was beating her. Providing a hotline number and safe emergency shelter is where we started. Over the past 36 years, we have worked diligently to change public awareness of the negative impact of family violence on victims and the community as a whole and have added programs as our clients’ needs have changed and the community has recognized the need for the critical services we provide.

Today The Family Place is the largest family violence service provider in the Dallas area. Of 250 shelter beds, we provide 106 of them. We empower victims of family violence by providing safe housing, counseling and skills that create independence while building community engagement and advocating for social change to stop family violence. Our long-term objective is to end the epidemic of relationship violence in our community. Dallas should be a place where children grow up in homes filled with love and respect. Every home a safe home is our goal. 

DT: What are your duties at The Family Place?

PF: Ultimately it’s my responsibility to ensure that our doors stay open to keep victims of family violence safe. That involves fundraising, hiring the right people, motivating staff and volunteers, educating the community, and developing programs that ultimately work to prevent family violence and reduce demand for our services in the future. I also see myself as an agent for social justice, from working with the criminal justice system to make improvements that will reduce the danger to victims to staying visible in the media to make sure the voices of victims are heard.

DT: How did you become involved with The Family Place, and why are you so passionate about the work being done at the shelters?

PF: In 1989, while working full-time as an advertising sales director for a regional magazine, I founded a young professionals auxiliary called Helping Hands for The Family Place and built the organization to several hundred dedicated members who volunteered for The Family Place’s fundraisers and programs. After the birth of my second child in 1991 I decided to focus my volunteer passion on helping women get back their voice and joined The Family Place as director of Community Education. I knew that educating the community was key to changing the community’s response to family violence, so we started Pepsi KidAround, a children’s music and art festival that became one of The Family Place’s signature fundraising events raising much-needed funds and attracting thousands of families each Labor Day Weekend for more than a decade. Young families that supported us then by attending with their children support us now by buying Partners Cards, writing generous checks and donating to our Resale Shop. We built a family of support, and that is lifesaving and life changing for our clients.

DT: Why do you work in the nonprofit sector?

PF: I know I am so lucky to have a job that gives me fulfilment every day. I want to live a great city where people have a chance to achieve their potential. Family violence is an epidemic in our community and our country that effects many other problems—homelessness, drug and alcohol abuse, school dropout and teen pregnancy rates, developmental problems with young children and so much more. I believe that the work we do at The Family Place positively impacts all of these other areas of need and strengthens individuals, families and our community as a whole. The feeling you get from using your skills to make a difference where it really counts is better than any paycheck.

DT: It can be difficult for any nonprofit to pay the bills. How do you stay afloat? Family violence is an issue where people know a contribution of any size can make an impact. And,

PF: Dallas has amazingly generous donors. We cast a wide net because it takes every donation from $20 to $200,000 to run The Family Place. We are fortunate to have generous and faithful donors, but I believe they are generous and faithful because we are diligent stewards of their gifts. We make sure we stretch every dollar. We evaluate every program to ensure they’re working, and we constantly make changes to improve them.  

DT: How can the people of Dallas and beyond help meet your needs for 2014? What are your biggest needs?

PF: We served 12,000 people in 2013, and at least that many will be needing us again this year. Our most expensive programs are our residential programs, emergency shelter and transitional housing. It costs $70 to shelter a mother and child for one night, and we have a lot of nights ahead of us to make ends meet in 2014. Truly every gift helps us welcome those victims to safety with a warm meal, a comfortable bed, and a caring counselor to help start a path to a new life.

DT: What is the most memorable moment in your experiences at The Family Place?

PF: My most memorable experience at The Family Place was the day we got Governor Rick Perry to pardon a woman who had murdered her horribly abusive husband in self defense. This woman had been on probation for many years and had raised the daughter who her husband had targeted for abuse into a healthy young adult. Then, immigration laws changed and she was about to be deported from a country where she had legally lived for 20 years. The only way she stay was if the charge was pardoned. And, amazingly, it was. That was quite a day.


DT: What is the first thing you do when you walk into work each day?

PF: I check the shelter census to see how many people we are housing and feeding and if we have any beds available for new clients who call needing our help. Then next, of course, I read my emails. 

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Photo Courtesy Arts Council Northeast


Say hello to the woman bringing the arts to life in Northeast Tarrant County and southern Denton County, Lee Koch; president of Arts Council Northeast. This journey started more than two decades ago when Koch moved to Colleyville and joined the Arts League of Northeast Tarrant County. She found her passion in promoting the arts, recently being awarded Arts League's Shining Star Award.

We wanted to get to know Koch a little better and she was gracious enough to answer questions about herself, ACN and the communities it serves. 

DT: Can you tell us about Arts Council Northeast.  

LK: Founded in 1975 as the Trinity Arts Foundation, Arts Council Northeast evolved from the Trinity Arts Guild. Arts Council Northeast formally received its nonprofit status in 1978, and was recognized by the Texas Commission on the Arts (TCA) in 1997 as the official arts council of Northeast Tarrant County.   With the addition of the City of Saginaw in 2004 we are now recognized by the TCA as the arts council representing North Tarrant County and southern Denton County.  

With a vision of access to the arts for all, our mission is to provide artistic, cultural and educational opportunities to improve the quality of life in our communities. 


•           Granting to individuals, arts organizations, non-profits, libraries, cities and schools located in North Tarrant County

•           Summer Arts College – three one-week sessions located throughout North Tarrant County for students ages 6-16, exposes children to a variety of different arts disciplines through hands on experience. Each session is different.  We also provide scholarships for children unable to afford the tuition as well as providing sessions at other nonprofits including GRACE (Grapevine Relief and Community Exchange) and Community Storehouse in Keller.

•           MasterWorks Music program - free concerts open to the public in eight cities (Bedford, Euless, Hurst, Keller, Roanoke, Southlake, Watauga and Westlake).

•           Classes & Workshop Meeting Space – Visual Art, dance, pottery, faux painting and writers group and photography group held at the Arts Council Northeast building

•           The Arts League Shining Stars Luncheon to honor community volunteers at various not for profit organizations (Summer Santa, Community Enrichment Center, etc.)

•           Arts & Education -- After school programs

DT: What are your duties at ACN?  

LK: As president of Arts Council Northeast, I am responsible for creating community awareness of the organization, fundraising, budgeting/financial planning and board development

DT: How did you become involved with ACN, and why are you so passionate about the work being done there?  

LK: I joined the Arts League (which is the fundraising arm of Arts Council Northeast) in 1993 when I moved here from The Woodlands, TX.  It was a great group of ladies who are still my friends!  At that time one of the fundraisers was “Texas Toast” which was sort of a “revue” of community leaders making idiots out of ourselves onstage so that was a lot of fun!  Then I volunteered for Taste of Northeast which has evolved over the years to include a holiday gift market that is now held at the Hurst Conference Center.  I always hoped one day to have this job and now I do!  I love it!

DT: Why do you work in the nonprofit sector? 

LK: In my opinion, there is a great deal of personal satisfaction  in working for organizations that give back to their communities. I’ve never had a desire to work in the for profit sector.

DT: It can be difficult for any non profit to pay the bills. How do you stay afloat? 

LK: It’s important to adhere to your budget and have the right people on staff.  We have a diverse base of funding including our relationship with the 16 cities we serve (Bedford, Colleyville, Euless, Grapevine, Haltom City, Haslet, Hurst, Keller, North Richland Hills, Richland Hills, Roanoke, Saginaw, Southlake, Trophy Club, Watauga, and Westlake), grants, memberhips and our two fundraising events Taste of Northeast in the fall (November 13,  in 2014) and Triple Crown Affair at Lone Star Park in the spring (May 3, 2014)

DT: How can the people of Tarrant and Denton Counties and beyond help meet your needs for 2014? What are your biggest needs? 

LK: They can become members of Art Council Northeast at one of the various levels from $40 to $1,000+.  That information is on our website at There are also a couple of giving day opportunities sponsored by the Community Foundation of North Texas and attending either of our fundraising events.  That information is on our website also.

DT: What is the most memorable moment in your experiences at ACN?  

LK: Hard to decide – when we hear from parents who receive scholarships to our Summer Arts College you know you are making a difference in children’s lives.  And when you hear from the small arts groups that we give grants to you know you are making a difference to small organizations/groups who don’t have other sources of funding and we are helping them along their way.  This year we were able to award $40,000 in grants to 21 small arts groups.  We wish we could help them out even more but as you know funding for the arts is always the first to be cut.

DT: What is the first thing you do when you walk into work each day?

LK: I always stop by the post office to pick up the mail on the way in and hope we have some nice checks to deposit to continue our mission – “With a vision of access to the arts for all, our mission is to provide artistic, cultural and educational opportunities to improve the quality of life in our communities.”


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Meet Shonda Schaefer, executive director of the GRACE Board of Directors, who for the last eight years has been at the helm of this agency devoted to helping area residents in need. With more than 25 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, Schaefer is passionate about caring for others.

We wanted to get to know more about Schaefer and she was gracious enough to answer a few questions about herself, GRACE and the community she serves.  




DT: Can you start by telling us a little about GRACE Grapevine?

SS: After twenty-seven years, the GRACE mission statement remains a humble vow to God and to our community to serve those less fortunate, and declares the goals we set—our prayers, hopes and encouraged outcomes—for our clients. 

“As a steward of God’s blessings and resources in our community, GRACE demonstrates compassion for those less fortunate by providing assistance to individuals and families in crisis and guidance toward self-sufficiency.” 

As stewards of His blessings and resources, GRACE promises to the members of the community who are the wellspring of this generosity to use every dollar donated, every pair of jeans given, every can of beans contributed in the most effective, efficient and timely manner to help people in crisis.  While being compassionate in our assistance, we ask and heartily guide our clients to overcome their difficulties and become self-reliant, self-sufficient members of the community. 

DT: What are your duties?

SS: As Executive Director I am responsible for strategic planning, fundraising, board development, staff supervision, volunteer management and financial planning. It is my charge to ensure every resource made available to GRACE (whether it be grants, donations, volunteer time, etc.) is efficiently used to advance our mission and change as many lives as possible.  

DT: How did you become involved with GRACE Grapevine, and why are you passionate about it?

SS: I joined the GRACE leadership team in 2006 after serving in a volunteer role on the Board of Directors. Having worked in the nonprofit sector for over 20 years, I have always felt a passion to help individuals and families who are in need. I feel led to provide assistance to those around me and was drawn to GRACE because of its mission. It has truly been God’s blessing to be able to continue with this amazing organization and I look forward to many more years with this fantastic team. 

DT: How do you continue to provide folks in Grapevine and surrounding areas with some of their basic needs? How does the organization stay afloat?

SS: GRACE is able to provide for those in need first and foremost by the grace of God. The generous donations of the community, contributions of donors and ample hours of hard work from volunteers move our mission forward. 

We provide medical services, food, shelter, clothing, and financial assistance as well as seasonal programs like Feed our Kids and Christmas Cottage. It is our hope that through these programs GRACE will continue to bridge the gap created by unforeseen crises and guide our neighbors as they “get back on their feet” to become self-sufficient once again. The truth is many of us are one medical emergency, job loss, or car repair away from needing emergency services provided by GRACE. Therefore, it is our hope and vision that every individual and family in our community has access to medical care, food to eat, a roof over their heads, and the means to provide for themselves and their children.

DT: Why do you work in the nonprofit sector?

SS: I feel an imperative responsibility to pay forward all of my blessings and therefore chose to work in the nonprofit sector – it is my life’s passion. I find it incredibly rewarding to work alongside such caring and giving people to help our fellow neighbors with their needs and in turn be good stewards of the gifts we are blessed to receive.  

DT: What are GRACE Grapevine's biggest needs in 2014? How can the folks of Grapevine help you all give back to the community?

The GRACE Christmas Cottage opened its doors in one of the biggest ice storms North Texas has seen the likes of in seventeen years. While the community banded together to ensure over 700 families had gifts to open Christmas morning, the timing of the storm has severely depleted our supply for Christmas Cottage 2014. We are starting off with an inventory of nearly half the toys and household appliances of previous years. Donations for Christmas Cottage are accepted year-round. To give specifically for this seasonal program, drop items by Donation Station (112 N. Scribner in Grapevine) and let the staff know to tag it for Christmas. 

The Grapevine community can help GRACE give back in a variety of ways. The first, is to volunteer. Volunteers are a vital part of GRACE! Because of our large client base and limited budget, we rely heavily on our volunteers to fill in the gaps. There are a plethora of volunteer opportunities available for those interested in serving GRACE through time or talent. 

GRACE benefits immensely from donations and monetary contributions of local businesses and citizens. From slightly used furniture that goes directly to our Transitional Housing clients to canned food that stocks our Food Pantry shelves, every offering counts.While GRACE has seen a more than 40 percent increase in requests for assistance, we've also seen an almost equal decrease of individual contributions. If you can, please help. 

Last, but certainly not least, shop at our resale stores! Resale proceeds fund a large portion of the GRACE annual budget to support the communities of Northeast Tarrant County

DT: What has been your favorite moment at a GRACE Grapevine event so far?

SS: A couple of years ago there was a beautiful young lady by the name of Laura who came to GRACE seeking a new start in life.  When Laura came to GRACE, she spoke so softly you could barely hear her and she had trouble looking you in the eye; she was a victim of domestic violence and had lived in fear for she and her daughter’s safety.  Laura entered our Transitional Housing program and flourished.  She began to gain confidence in herself; she worked diligently to complete her Master’s degree and created a safe and stable home for her young daughter.  

Laura attended one of our GRACE Gala’s after beginning her new path. I will never forget the moment when she walked on stage with her head held high and graciously accepted the audience’s applause for all of her courageous achievements.  It was a humbling. In that moment I felt so proud for Laura and all she had done for herself and her daughter.  It is a moment I will never forget, and I am grateful to have been able to be a part of it and a part of Laura’s life.