Texanthropy Spotlight is where First Lady Cecilia Abbott will highlight individuals and organizations from all across Texas who are helping to make a difference through service and volunteering.


The Texas Dancehall Tour

March 14, 2017

If you love Texas history and music as much as I do, then you will definitely want to check out the Texas Dance Hall Tour.

Texas music legend Ray Benson of Asleep at the Wheel has created what he calls a “land cruise” – a six-day tour making stops at five historic dance halls in the Texas Hill Country and East Texas, including Luckenbach Dance Hall and Sengelmann Hall. This tour will introduce visitors to the true charm of Texas and raise awareness of the growing need to help preserve our historic dance halls.

Sengelmann Hall in Schulenburg

The 2017 Texas Dance Hall Tour is March 20th to 26th, and proceeds from the tour benefit the Texas Dance Hall Preservation, an incredible organization that is committed to saving historic Texas dance halls and the authentic music and culture that is still found in them.

Texas dance halls have been the heart and soul of communities throughout our history. In fact, at the turn of the 20th century, more than 1,000 dance halls flourished throughout the state as bastions of Texas culture and pride. Sadly, there are only about 400 dance halls remaining, and they need our help to continue to succeed so that they can be enjoyed for generations to come.

Twin Sisters Dance Hall in Blanco

Anyone who participates in the Texas Dance Hall Tour can expect a unique and unforgettable experience, complete with dance lessons – including, of course, the “Texas Two-Step” – as well as Texas-style dinners and various regional daytime activities, including trips to a Texas whiskey distillery, a winery, and a buggy barn that features more than 140 buggies dating back to the 1860s. In addition to Ray Benson and Asleep at the Wheel, other well-known country music artists participating in the tour include Lee Ann Womack and Dale Watson.

Time to do some boot scootin’ for a good cause.

Amplify Austin

March 01, 2017

Over the past four years, thousands of Austinites have donated millions of dollars to hundreds of local nonprofits through Amplify Austin.

Amplify Austin is a 24-hour online giving spree where generous Texans can make monetary donations to local nonprofits, with the goal of raising as much money as possible in 24 hours. Just last year, over 61,000 monetary donations were made to a wide variety of nonprofits, all in the name of serving others and strengthening the Austin community. And thanks to the support of generous sponsors, the donations are “amplified” by matching dollars.

This year’s Amplify Austin starts tomorrow! It begins at 6pm on Thursday, March 2nd and ends 24 hours later at 6pm on Friday, March 3rd.

If you feel called to serve your fellow Texans by participating in Amplify Austin, I would encourage you to visit http://www.amplifyatx.org/ to learn more about how you can get involved! You can also follow Amplify Austin on Facebook and Twitter, and be sure to use the hashtag #AmplifyATX if you participate!

The Medical Center of the Americas Foundation - 2016 Governor’s Volunteer Award Winner

February 23, 2017

This week we are spotlighting The Medical Center of the Americas Foundation, El Paso, the winner of the 2016 Governor’s Volunteer Award for Community Leadership - Health. This award recognizes an individual, group, or organization for strengthening the health and wellbeing of their community.

The Medical Center of the Americas Foundation understands the importance of developing connections between groups and individuals to help craft collaborative solutions to local needs. In 2006, The Medical Center of the Americas Foundation was created in response to a shared vision to develop a “center for excellence in healthcare education, research and services in the Paso Del Norte region.” A team of universities, healthcare professionals, researchers, business and community leaders have invested thousands of volunteer hours and leveraged their skills and knowledge to successfully launch a biomedical industry in El Paso.

In June 2016, the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso and the Medical Center of the Americas Foundation added the newest addition to the 440-acre Medical Center of the Americas Foundation campus – the Cardwell Collaborative. The Cardwell Collaborative is a 60,000 square foot, $28 million building which houses a biomedical research/technology incubator. Medical Center of the Americas Foundation has become a change agent for the El Paso region, and continues to serve as an icon for the emerging biomedical industry and a model of innovation.

Brenda Gormley - 2016 Governor’s Volunteer Award Winner

February 17, 2017

Brenda Gormley, the winner of the 2016 National Service “Make A Difference” Governor’s Volunteer Award, is this week’s spotlight. This award recognizes the service of a national service member who is currently serving or has served the State of Texas as either a SeniorCorps or AmeriCorps member.

Brenda is a SeniorCorps member through RSVP: Serving Denton County, and she has also been a volunteer with the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). For many years, Brenda has logged over 40 hours per week as a full-time CERT Coordinator and Master Instructor. She has trained over 2,000 Denton County volunteers – ages 9 to 90 – to assist local law enforcement in wide area search and rescue, crime scene preservation, and sheltering animals during disaster. Brenda's service has not gone unrecognized - she has received awards from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Texas Division of Emergency Management.

Brenda has made an extraordinary impact on her community by helping to ensure the sustainability of so many important programs, and she has no doubt touched the lives of countless through her service. Keep it up, Brenda!

TCU Office for Community Engagement - 2016 Governor’s Volunteer Award Winner

February 09, 2017

This week we are spotlighting Texas Christian University’s Office for Community Engagement, the winner of the 2016 Governor’s Volunteer Award for Higher Education Community Impact. The Higher Education Community Impact Award went to a college or university that supports and encourages civic engagement and volunteering as a core value.

In 2015, approximately 6,700 students participated in service projects sponsored by the department, affiliated student organizations, and service learning courses. They contributed over 120,000 hours to over 100 non-profit organizations and schools in Fort Worth.

TCU’s Office for Community Engagement has been a valuable partner in Fort Worth for addressing community needs.

A great example is the Fort Worth ISD GO Centers, established and supported by the Fort Worth Chamber and Fort Worth ISD, and staffed by TCU volunteers since 2004. These centers offer information and college assistance to over 1,000 high school students each year. The job is split between four Fort Worth ISD High Schools, creating a culture that encourages higher education and ensures that more seniors have a successful transition into college.