Who are the Friends of Wilkinson Center?
Founded in 2003, Friends of Wilkinson Center is a group of dedicated volunteers whose mission is to support, serve and promote Wilkinson Center. Through educational, charitable, and service-oriented activities, members contribute their time, resources and talent to help ensure the continued success of Wilkinson Center’s programs.
Our Traditions & Service Activities
– Fundraising Events –
Friends of Wilkinson Center host annual fundraising events to benefit Wilkinson Center. Their first event in 2005, Tinsel & Dreams, began as an auction featuring table top Christmas trees decorated by designers, celebrities and businesses. Tinsel & Dreams soon evolved into a full-scale fundraising gala that included a silent and live auction, an elegant seated dinner and entertainment.
In 2012, the Friends hosted Wilkinson Center’s 30th Anniversary Black & White Gala, and followed that with the Shaken Not Stirred Gala in 2013. In 2014, the event transitioned to The Spirit of Taos, held at The Lot in East Dallas for the first four years. Caitlin Hyatt and Laurann Cavenaghi chaired 2018’s event at Scout at the Statler Hotel, generating a record crowd and revenue.
Since 2005, the Friends of Wilkinson Center have raised more than $1,600,000 for Wilkinson Center programs!
– Annual Shoe Drive –
Since 1986, long time Friend Carlin Morris has organized an annual Shoe Drive for the children of families served by Wilkinson Center. Funds are raised and volunteers recruited each summer, with the clients “shopping” in August before school starts.
To mark the 30th anniversary, in 2016 this endeavor was renamed the Carlin Morris Shoe Drive. To date, more than 40,000 children have started the school year with a new pair of shoes and socks!
– Program Participation and Advocacy –
Friends participate in all areas of Wilkinson Center programs. For example, they stock shelves and help clients shop at the Food Pantry and they participate in practice job interviews to serve students in Adult Education classes. They serve on Wilkinson Center’s Board and committees, volunteer at events, and assemble and distribute turkey baskets to families at Thanksgiving.
Friends also act as ambassadors for Wilkinson Center’s mission within the community.