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Altrusa International of Downtown Dallas Club members were very colorful at the 2019 District Conference held in Richardson. Outgoing Club President, Debbie Tull (in yellow on left) was honored last month during the Annual Awards Meeting as the "Altrusan of the Year" for 2019-2020 for her leadership of the Downtown Dallas Club throughout the year. Due to the Coronavirus, this year's banquet was a well-attended ZOOM meeting led by Past President Kristi Francis. The club has helped women and children in Dallas since 1982.

Downtown Dallas Club Honors Members for Thousands of Hours Volunteered to the Community in 2019-2020

The BEST way to find yourself is in Service to Others – Ghandi

“Hats off to Altrusa!” was the theme for this year’s Annual Awards Meeting for the Altrusa International Club of Downtown Dallas, a 38-year old community service club that serves the downtown Dallas community. The club boasts leaders from every sector of the business community, and members have raised over $3 million dollars since its inception in 1982 to fund projects that help non-profits that support women and children in crisis and promotes literacy.

The annual celebration typically has been held at the Lakewood Country Club in east Dallas, but this year was hosted on Zoom with CPA Kristi Francis, a Past President of the club, as Master of Ceremonies. Each club member was asked to dress up by donning a hat or fascinator, and the MC wore her bridal veil which brought smiles to the 50 club members on the Zoom call.

This year’s “Altrusan of the Year,” honor was awarded to outgoing President Debbie Tull. This is the highest honor bestowed by the club’s members. To recognize her hard work all year the club made a $500 donation to the Altrusa International Foundation in Debbie’s name. This “Lamplighter” award is named after Martha Hofmeister, another well-known member of the downtown Dallas Club. Hofmeister has served Altrusa on the local, state/District Nine and International levels for over three decades. Hofmeister is a two-time Past President of the Downtown Dallas Club, and founder and director of Bar None, an all-volunteer Broadway-style musical variety show that features local judges and lawyers making fun of their profession to raise money for minority law students across the state. The show has delighted audiences at SMU for 34 years but is on hiatus this year due to the Coronavirus.

The “Heart of Altrusa” award was created in 1990 and goes to the member who “brings us all together in a spirit of cooperation.” Fund Raising Chair for the past two years and president-elect Naomi Ayala earned the award voted on by all the club members. A senior consultant with Diagio Reserve, she is the current president of the Dallas Professional Bartenders Association and was just appointed to the national board.

Two members of the club received their 30-year pins, Real Estate Attorney Barbara Kennedy of Lakewood and Public Relations Director Judy Porter of Lake Highlands.

The club met the first Tuesday of each month at the City Club on the 69th floor of the Bank of America Building downtown for over three decades but moved last year to the Park Cities Club located on Sherry Lane. Since the recent shut-down, the club has been meeting successfully over Zoom.

The Downtown Dallas Club was recently awarded a $4,000 grant to continue helping people in need in downtown Dallas.

Debbie Tull told the club via e-mail in May: “We are so fortunate to have these funds to support our service projects, thanks to Altrusa International Foundation. These funds are only available because of your generosity and that of Altrusans’ across the globe. Our club has now received $12,000 within one calendar year from the International Foundation.”

Fund Raising Chair Naomi Ayala and committee member Ann Worthy along with 2020-21 President attorney Karen Washington and past presidents Kathaleen Bauer, Judy Porter and Debbie Tull worked together on the grants. The bulk of the funds will be used to continue the club's commitment with Incarnation House, a safe place for homeless teens to go after school to study and eat dinner, and help locally with the Period Project, making feminine supplies available to homeless and low-income women. Even as the Coronavirus stopped on-site volunteering the members of Altrusa funded fresh food boxes to be sent to the homeless students of North Dallas high school whom attend programs at Incarnation House.

The Club members also donate to the Reagan Lorenzen Scholarship Fund, in the name of a former beloved club president, which provides scholarships to first-generation college students graduating from the Irma Rangel Leadership School for Girls located next to Fair Park. Scholarships of $1,000 are awarded to deserving graduates and this year a suitcase was given to each of the 2020 graduates for them to pack for college in style.

Meals on Wheels, Shared Housing, Human Rights Initiative (HRI) and Aberg Literacy are a few of the many non-profits Altrusa of Downtown Dallas pairs up with to make the City of Dallas a better place to work and live.

Members come from a variety of backgrounds and careers and invite anyone interested in serving the Dallas Community to come to a Monthly lunch to learn more. See the club’s website or the Altrusa International of Downtown Dallas Facebook page for more information, or text 972-880-5571.

Mentoring for new Dallas business leaders will be a focus this year, so if you or someone you know is just starting a business or career, it’s a great time to join Altrusa!

Congratulations to these 2020-21 CLUB OFFICERS

Karen Washington, President:

Naomi Ayala, President – Elect

Ann Worthy – Vice President Fundraising

Terri Richards Pescatori, Vice President Communications

Carol Kilman, Vice President Membership

Marge Camstra, CPA, Vice President Service

Nicole Leboeuf, Parliamentarian

Suzanne Buss, Secretary

Angela Coronia, CPA, Treasurer

Debbie Tull, Immediate Past President


Judy Porter, MBA, is an award-winning volunteer and local writer and Public Relations specialist who promotes locals small businesses, non-profits and individuals.

Contact her at:

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