Dallas Doings

Dallas youth philanthropist Leah Prager to be honored

The Greater Dallas Chapter of Association of Fundraising Professionals, with presenting partner Communities Foundation of Texas, proud partners in philanthropy, will honor Leah Prager as Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy, at the 25th Annual National Philanthropy Day awards luncheon, Friday, Nov, 12, at the Hyatt Regency Dallas, Landmark Ballroom. Registration begins at 11:30 a.m. with the luncheon from 12:00 to 1:30 p.m.
In addition to honoring six recipients, the luncheon event, emceed by long-time supporter Scott Murray, will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP).For the past six years, 12-year-old Leah Prager, a student at Frankford Middle School, has organized backyard carnivals to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association and raised more than $85,000. The money helps pay for summer camps for kids with neuromuscular diseases as well as clinic services, research, orthopedic equipment and support groups.  This year, proceeds will also benefit Jewish Family Services Dallas Food Pantry, an affiliate of the North Texas Food Bank.  Approximately 350 people attend the carnival which includes games, food, entertainment and a silent auction.
Organizing carnivals for MDA is a family tradition.  Leah’s mother staged a carnival when she was 7 in her hometown of Longview.  The carnival became a signature event for MDA in the 1960s and ‘70s.  Inspired by her philanthropic parents, Erica and Bill, who are longtime MDA volunteers and active in other local fundraising efforts, Leah began to develop a servant’s heart as a preschooler and conducted a canned food drive at her school.   Over the years, her parents introduced her to families and children who were battling MDA, and one day she told her mother she wanted to do something to help a friend and others with the disease.  After learning about her mother’s work in conducting carnivals as child, Leah set out to do the same and has taken it to the next level beyond the guidelines and suggestions provided by MDA.  In addition to clowns, a fire truck from Dallas Fire-Rescue, game booths and food, Leah holds a silent auction featuring restaurant gift certificates, sports memorabilia, children’s activities, as well as jewelry and other items.
In the process of putting on carnivals over the years, Leah has inspired many friends to embrace the concept of giving to others. One friend from school organizes an arts and crafts party in the summer and charges a fee to benefit Texas Scottish Rite Hospital.  Another friend who coordinates a golf tournament has received event planning tips from Leah.
Her younger brother Jason is expected to carry on the tradition one day along with the help of friends who provide assistance on all aspects of the event.
Leah has been a guest at the National Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon in Las Vegas, appeared on local television and has been written about in numerous Metroplex newspapers.  Over the years, she has also participated in a variety of projects with Jewish Family Services including delivering holiday packages and collecting books.
“In addition to helping people, working on the carnival has also helped me to develop some important life skills,” added Leah.  “I’ve learned how to approach business people for donations and sponsorships; conduct meetings; motivate others to help, and follow up on details; always keeping supporters updated, and telling them how their donations are being put to work.  It’s been such a rewarding and life changing experience and I am grateful to my parents, friends, and community members and businesses that have made it such a success.”
The National Philanthropy Day Luncheon VIP Reception is sponsored by Parkland Foundation and The Mike and Mary Terry Family.  Luncheon tickets are $75 each, $750 for a table of 10, or $1,000 for a premium table of 10.  The luncheon media sponsor is KERA.  For further information on tickets and sponsorships, visit afpdallas.org or contact Madeleine Crouch at 972-233-9107, ext. 204, afpchapteroffice@afpdallas.org.

Cong. Nishmat Am to send 25-person mission to Israel

On Nov. 7, a group of 25 people will depart Dallas for a unique and special 10-day mission to Israel, under the auspices of Congregation Nishmat Am of Plano. As part of its celebration of its 5th anniversary, Nishmat Am is sponsoring this mission, aptly called “To Israel with Pride and Joy.”   Participants are guaranteed to see and experience Israel in a unique way that goes beyond the usual.
The key to the special nature of this mission is Congregation Nishmat Am’s spiritual, leader, Rabbi Yitzchak Cohen, who conceived the trip and will be personally leading it. Cohen was raised in Jerusalem in the shadow of some of its most treasured sites and under the tutelage and inspiration of some of its most learned and dynamic leaders. In addition to the guidance of a professional tour guide, Nishmat Am’s mission will benefit from Rabbi Cohen’s personal and inside look at Israel through his personal relationship with many of the country’s political and religious leaders.
Specially arranged for the group will be a reception at the Knesset with political leaders and a reception with officials of Yad Vashem.  The group will also have the privilege of a private meeting with the Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Yonah Metzger.
The tour will have a unique educational dimension that will include Rabbi Cohen’s leading the study of ancient or historical texts connected with the site visits.
The group will enjoy the comfort and convenience of five star accommodations and professional tour services provided by Shami Waldman and the “It’s Time To Travel” tour agency.
The group returns on November 17 and only a few days later – on November 21 – Nishmat Am will formally mark its fifth anniversary with a Gala Dinner and Auction at the NTX Automotive Museum in Dallas. The program will honor Mr. Maurice Glazer for his devotion and dedication to the synagogue as one of its founding members and consistent supporters.
For more information about Nishmat Am’s Mission to Israel and its 5th Anniversary celebration, please contact the synagogue at 972-618-2200 or info@nishmatam.org

Maccabi info night rescheduled for next week

Due to the Rangers hard work and good fortune of making it to the World Series, the JCC has rescheduled its Maccabi Parent/Athlete Informational meeting to Tuesday, Nov. 2 at 7 p.m. in Zale Auditorium at the JCC. Next summer’s games will be held in Israel July 24-Aug.5; in Philadelphia, Aug. 14-19; and in Springfield, Mass. Aug.14-19. For more information about Israel contact Kerri Aikin at kaikin@jccdallas.org. For more information about Philadelphia and Springfield, contact Jon Mize at jmize@jccdallas.org

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