More than 100 men showed they gave a damn about the Dallas community at an inaugural meeting held in February. They aren’t a nonprofit. They don’t even have a bank account or a physical address. They are a group of men in Dallas who want to make an impact on their community.
The Dallas chapter of 100 Men Who Give A Damn was established with simple requirements: four hours a year, $400 a year. Members nominate reputable charities to make a five-minute presentation at the group’s hour-long meetings.
Three organizations are chosen at random and voted on, following their presentations. The winner earns a $100 check from each member. Quick, yet advantageous. “We’ve all got families and jobs and other things going on,” said Marv Bramlett, co-founder of the group. “It’s not a terribly large commitment, but when you put that many people together to do something like this, it makes such an impact.”
The Dallas chapter is modeled after the Halifax, Nova Scotia chapter, whose foundation was laid on a bet that no more than five men would care. Since 2014 that group has raised nearly $250,000.
A lively crowd, with cocktails and refreshments on deck, set the tone for the first meeting at Naveen Jindal School of Management at the University of Texas at Dallas as three charities prepared to pitch their respective missions to the group, á la Shark Tank.
The competitors? There was CitySquare, an organization in the fight against poverty in Dallas; Education and Animal Rescue Society (EARS), which is committed to finding homes for unwanted animals; and Community Partners of Dallas (CPD), which focuses on restoring a sense of value in neglected and abused children.
“All three charities are winners,” said Bramlett. “The men are able to talk to the different charities before the event starts that night. So, even though they may not come away with the most votes or a large check, it allows them to get a lot of great exposure.”
Bramlett recalled looking out and seeing men visibly moved by CPD CEO Paige McDaniel’s story of a young boy – some even to tears. The child’s parents had abandoned him, and he didn’t enjoy going to school. His backpack had something to do with that.
“He had been carrying a pink backpack that one of this sisters from another dad had left behind,” McDaniel said. “All of the kids made fun of him because he had this old torn up pink backpack.”
In November, the CPD building suffered damages from flooding and lost a chunk of its uniform and supply inventory used for its annual Back to School Drive. The drive sends about 3,000 kids back to school each year with a backpack full of supplies and uniforms.
McDaniel expressed the need to replenish the stock that was lost and help kids such as the young boy and his tattered, pink backpack. That night, CPD left with a check for $10,000.
The Dallas chapter will host its second meeting on May 12 at UTD. McDaniel will return to update the men on where their contribution has gone, and to thank them for giving a damn.