Celebrating Entrepreneurship in Philanthropy
2017 Can Do! Luncheon Honorees
Ashlee & Chris Kleinert
This big-hearted couple energetically supports a range of worthy causes in Dallas, including education, community health, victims of human trafficking, and women and girls. They can be found heading major campaigns, chairing boards and delivering “Random Snacks of Kindness” through Ruthie’s Rolling Cafe – Ashlee’s gourmet grilled cheese food truck business with a charitable bent.
Known for their philanthropic ingenuity, the Kleinerts founded Executives in Action (EIA) in response to the 2008 financial crisis. EIA put executives who were between jobs to work providing much-needed, pro-bono consulting to nonprofits in short-term, high-impact projects. Wilkinson Center benefited from one of these valuable engagements in 2016 as EIA expanded its reach and merged with the national skills-based volunteer platform Catchafire.org. EIA has advanced missions throughout the North Texas nonprofit community, impacting more than 275 nonprofits with over $5.2 million in human resource capital.
The Real Estate Council
The Real Estate Council’s 2,000-plus members are developers, builders, brokers, architects and other commercial real estate professionals. But they are also dedicated community servants who wield their influence, resources and expertise to do good works in four areas: education, housing, job creation and the environment.
Since 1994, TREC has contributed nearly $10 million in grant funds to more than 100 nonprofit community organizations, supported by professional services valued at more than $750,000 annually. TREC’s imprint can be found on community initiatives as broad-ranging as early learning centers, emergency shelters, food pantries and community legal clinics – as well as Wilkinson Center’s GED Testing Center, which opened in 2016 thanks to support from TREC.
Volunteer of the Year: Michael Graska
Volunteering at Wilkinson Center takes many forms – GED tutors, Food Pantry assistants, event committee members and more. But, at Wilkinson Center, there is only one Michael Graska.
For the last six years, Michael has served as Communications Chair, spending countless hours helping Wilkinson Center spread the word about its mission. He generously designs and codes, and his company hosts, the Wilkinson Center website on a pro bono basis. In addition, he helps with various collateral materials and faithfully supports Young Friends of Wilkinson Center events. We appreciate his sincere caring and devotion to the Wilkinson Center mission and his valuable professional skills!