Annual student fundraiser nets nearly $25,000 for Dallas nonprofits


For the 17th year, Dallas ISD students learned about the power of change –in the form of pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters – to benefit their community.

On Wednesday, students who participated in the annual Common Cents “Pennies from the Heart” campaign presented the funds they raised during the 2015 change drive to charities and organizations of their choosing. A goal of the program is not simply to raise money, but is also designed to instill a love of philanthropy in students.

This year, the 20 Dallas ISD schools in the program raised nearly $25,000 and chose to distribute the funds to 23 organizations. Since its founding by Louise Gartner, the effort has collected more than $800,000 and distributed every penny collected to the nonprofits, according to Common Cents co-founder GiGi Gartner.

Skyline High School collected the most for a single school in the history of the program, donating more than $6,100 to nine organizations: $196.94 to Bryan’s House; $204.45 to Buckner Adoption & Maternity; $934.76 to Children’s Medical Center; $299.43 to Children’s Miracle Network; $550.20 to Clayton Dabney Kids with Cancer; $994.52 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation; $297.14 to the North Texas Food Bank; $1,438.10 to the Susan G. Komen Foundation; and $1,244.61 to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.

Other participating schools this year and their donations are:

  • Adamson High School: $400.25 to the American Heart Association
  • Adelfa Botello Callejo Elementary School: $396.31 to the American Heart Association
  • César Chávez Learning Center: $1,000 to America Scores
  • Leila P. Cowart Elementary School: $1,022.81 to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital
  • Everette L. DeGolyer Elmementary School: $531.24 to Humane Society of Dallas Dog & Kitty City
  • Lorenzo de Zavala Elementary School: $394.53 to the SPCA
  • Margaret B. Henderson Elementary School: $1,398.50 to Ronald McDonald House of Dallas
  • Justin F. Kimball High School: $382.80 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation
  • Richard Lagow Elementary School: $252.62 to the North Texas Food Bank
  • Harold W. Lang, Sr. Middle School: $322.31 to the American Cancer Society
  • J.L. Long Middle School: $2,449.74 to Cancer Support of North Texas
  • Sidney Lanier Expressive Arts Vanguard: $828.50 to the American Red Cross
  • Henry W. Longfellow Career Exploration Academy: $100 to Bryan’s House
  • Maple Lawn Elementary School: $408.42 to Genesis Women’s Shelter
  • Preston Hollow Elementary School: $2,256.02 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation
  • J.J. Rhoads Learning Center: $778.30 to Children’s Medical Center
  • Alex W. Spence Middle Learning Center & TAG Academy: $1,556 to Children’s Medical Center
  • Sunset High School: They are: $300 to Girls, Inc.; $400 to Open Hearts Children Family Services; $400 to Dallas Fire Department’s Fill the Boot for Muscular Dystrophy; and $400 to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

In addition to the check presentations, six students who served on the Common Cents Roundtable were selected to receive $1,000 college scholarships. This year’s recipients are Princilla Anoku of Preston Hollow Elementary; Daniela Cedillo of Preston Hollow Elementary; Dela’Reesia Duncan of Maple Lawn Elementary; Tallyah Washington of J.L. Long Middle School; Craig Rosenblower III of Spence TAG Academy; and Trenitee Wesley form Spence TAG Academy.

During the program, attendees heard from GiGi Gartner; Paula Blackmon, senior executive director of Dallas ISD Intergovernmental Affairs and Community Relations; featured guest speaker Carla Wade, news anchor and reporter for WFAA-Channel 8; and Rosa Gomez, Common Cents coordinator at Preston Hollow Elementary School. Robert Gartner, son of Common Cents founder Louise Gartner, presented a rendering of a trophy that will be on display at the school that raises the most in the effort each year.


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