A closer look at 10 nonprofits we are supporting this year who are making a huge impact.
If you’ve been following along in this section of CEE News this year, you’ll know that we’ve been marking our 10-year anniversary with something that we’re calling a 10×100 Campaign. We wanted to give something back to the world that has given so much to us, so we’ve decided to donate $100, each, to 10 nonprofits throughout the year. This month, we’re giving $100 to Dwell with Dignity, and sharing this Q&A with the organization’s Executive Director, Ashley Sharp.
When was Dwell with Dignity founded and how does it fulfill its mission?
Since 2009, Dwell with Dignity (DwD) has remained committed to its mission to transform lives through design. Founder and board chair Lisa Robison created a platform that would merge her twin passions of design and community service, arriving at the concept of Dwell with Dignity. Lisa joined forces with longtime friend and fellow interior designer Kim Turner to bring the vision of Dwell with Dignity to life. Word of mouth brought Dallas- area designers, professionals, and volunteers together who believed in the organization’s mission. They gathered at DwD’s offices to refurbish furniture, recover chair cushions and make artwork for the projects. Helpers flocked in on move-in days to lay shelf paper and stock kitchens, iron sheets and shower curtains, hang art and draperies, and make beds and fluff pillows. It was a team effort that resulted in a beautiful, nurturing home for a family that had been through so much.
That original process remains true in essence today, but the scale has changed immensely. Since its inception in 2009, DwD has completed over 230 family home designs and installations, and helped families transition from homelessness to stability through the transformative power of design. DwD is the only organization of its kind to provide professional interior design services free of charge to families in need who have recently exited from accountability-based programs.
Tell us more about the people Dwell with Dignity serves and why it’s so important.
Poverty in Dallas is pervasive — currently, Dallas has the third-highest child poverty rate in the nation, with 40% of children living at or below the federal poverty line. DwD seeks to end family homelessness by partnering with accountability-based agencies to deserving families with a transformative, fully-furnished home interior. Providing housing immediately stabilizes the family unit, serving as the unifying factor that moves the family toward financial independence, job security, and the improvement of children’s physical, emotional, and mental health. Children who have secure homes have play dates, celebrate birthdays and holidays, gather each evening at the table for dinner, and have a secure place to do homework and read. Dwell with Dignity facilitates all of these elements of child and family health and well-being by working with volunteers and donors to bring transformative design to those who have formerly been homeless, ending families’ cycles of poverty one household at a time.
Can you share a story about how someone’s life has changed because of Dwell with Dignity?
Janice (name has been changed) and her family were introduced to Dwell with Dignity when they were nominated by a nonprofit shelter agency. Janice and her five children, ranging from four to 14 years old, had been through numerous difficult struggles throughout the year, including homelessness, severe abuse, and trauma. Through Janice’s courage and tenacity and the assistance of the shelter, this family of six got back on their feet and into a home of their very own. Janice works hard to support her five children as a hair stylist, and her children are also working hard in school. She has been able to start her own business styling hair independently, her children are all thriving in school, and they finally have a place to come together to have dinner as a family every evening. This family’s grit and determination was a true inspiration to everyone at DwD, and it was a privilege to turn their apartment into a home in which they can thrive and continue to build memories together as a family.
How does Dwell with Dignity use its donations, and what’s the easiest way for donors to make a contribution?
All monetary donations go towards our program costs. All furniture donations get refinished and refurbished in our warehouse and studio by our dedicated group of volunteers. Making a contribution through our website ensures the current and future success of our program.
How can people help Dwell with Dignity other than making a financial contribution?
We have an Amazon wish list for our family homes, and we also accept lightly used furniture.