Dallas couple make million-dollar donation

Posted on 26 May 2011 at 9:41pm
PARTNERS IN PHILANTHROPY | Dallas couple Trish Houck, left, and Lyssa Jenkens have donated $1 million to the Dallas Women’s Foundation.

Houck, Jenkens hope to inspire other lesbian couples to get involved in philanthropy for women’s causes

FROM STAFF REPORTS
editor@dallasvoice.com

Dallas couple Trish Houck and Lyssa Jenkens have announced that they are making a $1 million planned gift to the Dallas Women’s Foundation as part of the foundation’s comprehensive campaign this June. The comprehensive campaign has surpassed its goal of $30 million and is at $35 million.

Houck and Jenkens said that by making the gift as a couple, they hope to make a statement to other lesbian couples about their potential power as philanthropists and the importance of supporting women’s causes.

“Gay or straight, young or old, black, white or brown, we are all women. Working together we have the ability to make tremendous transformational change in our community,” said Houck, who is a Dallas Women’s Foundation Advisory Council member and former board member.

Houck is a former real estate professional and antique shop owner currently teaches English as a Second Language to adults.

Houck and Jenkens are the first lesbian couple in Dallas to be recognized for their philanthropic leadership by the Women Moving Millions campaign. Founded by Dallas-born sisters Helen LaKelly Hunt and Swanee Hunt, Women Moving Millions strives to get women of means to make gifts of $1 million or more to women’s and girls’ causes and since 2007 has infused $180 million into women’s funds worldwide.

Dallas Women’s Foundation leads the virtual campaign with 26 women donors making gifts of $1 million or more to the organization.

Becky Sykes, chief executive officer of Dallas Women’s Foundation, said Houck and Jenkens are prime examples of “the important role women serve in healthy communities, and Dallas Women’s Foundation is so grateful for their commitment to the betterment of society for women and by women.”

Together, Houck and Jenkens support organizations serving women and girls through the Patricia Houck & Lyssa Jenkens Family Fund at Dallas Women’s Foundation.

The couple is also involved in the First Unitarian Church of Dallas, North Dallas Shared Ministries, Vickery Meadow Learning Center and Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice.

Jenkens, chief research officer for Dallas Women’s Foundation and former chief economist for the Dallas Regional Chamber, said, “As an economist, I have witnessed both the power women can have in lifting up communities, as well as the consequences to society when they are disenfranchised. As a volunteer, employee and donor, I have seen Dallas Women’s Foundation actively and effectively become an epicenter for the empowerment of women and girls in North Texas and beyond.”

Houck first became involved with Dallas Women’s Foundation in the mid-1990s and has served on the foundation’s grants, development and marketing committees.

She co-founded the Dallas Women’s Foundation 2004 Lesbian Donor Circle and has also been involved with AVANCE, Dallas CASA and Resource Center of Dallas.
Jenkens was first a volunteer and is now the foundation’s chief research officer, spearheading the organization’s gender-specific research initiatives. She holds a doctorate in applied economics from the University of Texas at Dallas and is currently pursuing a master of divinity degree from Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago.

For more information about Dallas Women’s Foundation, visit DallasWomensFoundation.org or contact Philanthropy Director Lesly Bosch Annen at 214-965-9977, ext. 118.

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