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25:40

THE REES-JONES FOUNDATION NEWSLETTER

2022 Q4
""Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up;
do you not perceive it?" 


-Isaiah 43:18-19





God With Us

GOD WITH US: WHY IT MATTERS BEYOND CHRISTMAS

By Sara Meyers, Communications Specialist

“Therefore, the Lord Himself will you give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call His Name, Immanuel.”  Isaiah 7:14 

We are past the hustle of the Christmas season and the new year is setting in, but I’m convicted in 2023 to sit and yield longer to the implications of Christmas. I know it seems odd to mention the holidays in January, but I have been reminded  how much I need the truths of Christmas to invigorate my life all year long. In Isaiah 7, we are promised that the Christ child who would come would be called “Immanuel,” translated “God with us.” In context, this is significant because at the time of Jesus’ birth, God had been silent for over 400 years as nations had chosen not to follow Him. What a promise from Isaiah that when God would reappear to the world, He would now be amongst them; literally “with” them!

God being “with” us changes everything. When He is “with us,” we see supernatural work taking place–in India where bonded slaves are being set free, in Dallas where children with disabilities are finding joy and education through equine therapy, in CASAs across Dallas-Ft. Worth where children have hands to hold onto as they navigate the child welfare system. In my first two months on staff with The Rees-Jones Foundation, I have seen first-hand how God “being in it” transforms every facet of business. In the way staff approach every site visit, every written piece, every decision. If God is with us, that means we have access to His divine wisdom, His empathy, His love and His grace in all circumstances. This is Good News!

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called  Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

In Isaiah 9 we find the popular Christmas passage describing Jesus’ coming. In Isaiah’s words here, I’m especially reminded why God being with us transforms everything. In verse 6 we are told some key descriptors or names of Jesus: “He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” This year, the name listed that has most struck me in the midst of this season has been “Wonderful Counselor.” After reading this verse hundreds of times in my life, it is clear that this name stands out this year because of the inspiring counselors, therapists and social workers that The Rees-Jones Foundation has the privilege of supporting, and which I now have the pleasure of interacting with regularly. When I think about those in direct work with children and families, I cannot help but think of the traits they exude in walking with the clients they serve. They embody wisdom, grace, kindness, steadiness, peace, and so many other traits that are worthy of honor. When I think of them, I can see the Wonderful Counselor clearly at work in our communities and the world.

From personal experience, I can echo Psalm 16:7 when David says “I bless the Lord who gives me counsel.” Whether it has been in hospital rooms at the birth of my children, in grief-stricken moments at the loss of loved ones, or in conversations with life-long friends who were walking through difficult circumstances, Jesus as the “Wonderful Counselor” is at work in every moment. In the promise that He’s not just a counselor but also “Wonderful,” I am reminded that we can trust His counsel because He Himself is good, wise, able and always trustworthy.

As we move beyond the Christmas season into a new year, we are challenged to remember throughout 2023 that God is with us, and this should impact how we love our families well, how we fulfill our roles with excellence, and how we serve our communities faithfully.

"In the same way, let your light shine
before others, that they may see your good deeds
and glorify your Father in heaven."


-Matthew 5:16

BLOG: FAIR PARK CHILDREN'S PLAYGROUND IS AN INVESTMENT IN FAMILIES

Fair Park First announced on December 20, 2022 that it received a generous gift of $5 million from The Rees-Jones Foundation to fund the all-abilities, all-ages Children’s Playground at the Community Park. The Community Park Complex at Fair Park is set to break ground in 2023. “The Rees-Jones Foundation is honored to support the new Fair Park Community Park and, in particular, the Children’s Playground,” said T. Hardie, President of The Rees-Jones Foundation. “Our hope is to see children, parents and families in the 13 surrounding neighborhoods experience more opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, engage with their friends in this unique greenspace and participate in the renewed vitality that the Park will bring to our city and especially to these nearby communities.”

The Children’s Playground is one of three playgrounds slated for the Community Park that will provide children in the surrounding neighborhoods and DFW Metroplex with a state-of-the-art, safe, inclusive place to play. It will feature various custom play structures inspired by the native ecology of North Texas, interactive water features, sensory gardens, slides carved into the topography, and whimsical sensory pieces that provoke joy and discovery. The playground will also include a splash pad, additional interactive water features, and an adjacent tot lot.

“Greenspace is vital to our children’s overall health – physically, socially, and cognitively,” said John Jenkins, Director, Dallas Parks and Recreation Department. “Children need a place to play every day in order to be active, happy and healthy. We are focused and committed to providing greenspace access for our community. We are thankful for our partnership with Fair Park First and the generous support of The Rees-Jones Foundation to continue making the Park a reality.”

“The focus of the Children’s Playground will be creating opportunities for multi-generational play,” said Matrice Ellis-Kirk, Unity Co-Chair of the Fair Park Your Park Phase 1 Campaign. “No matter the family composition, there will be something for everyone to enjoy.” The Fair Park Your Park Phase 1 Campaign Honorary Co-Chairs are President George and Laura Bush. The Unity Co-Chairs are Ambassador Ron Kirk and Matrice Ellis-Kirk along with Margo and Jim Keyes.

The primary goal of the Community Park Complex is to create access to greenspace for residents of the surrounding neighborhoods. The Community Park is the signature capital component in Phase 1 of the 2020 Fair Park Master Plan Update and has a funding goal of $93 million from philanthropic support. “We have been focused and diligent in delivering on a promise made to our neighbors in providing a Community Park accessible to all and open year-round,” said Darren L. James, President, Fair Park First. “This Park is designed to be a true community asset and a direct investment in families. The significant gift from The Rees-Jones Foundation to fund the Children’s Playground supports turning this promise into reality.”

About Fair Park First
Fair Park First’s mission is to restore, revitalize, and renew the 277-acre National Historic Landmark through transformative improvements, increased attendance, and improved tenant relations, ultimately sustaining Fair Park for generations to come. In partnership with the City of Dallas Park and Recreation Department and OVG360, the Dallas-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit’s priority is to reestablish Dallas Fair Park as one of Dallas’s premier performance and recreation venues so that it is accessible and enjoyed by all.


“Children are a gift from the Lord;
they are a reward from Him.”


-Psalms 127:3

BIG WINS FROM OUR GRANTEES

Alliance For Children

celebrates 30 years of serving over 63,000 children as they navigate cases of child abuse

Children's Advocacy Center of Collin County

celebrates the opening of its new 40,000-square-foot facility in McKinney, which will house 65 children’s advocacy professionals

Cure International

announces it completed 14,333 pediatric surgical procedures in 2022 – the most completed
in a single year in the organization’s history.

International Justice Mission

through justice efforts, saw an 83% decrease in bonded slavery prevalence from 2014

Operation Kindness

launched a new Community Initiatives program to offer affordable and accessible veterinary services and other resources to community pets, owners, and shelters

"But seek the welfare of the city...
and pray to the LORD on its behalf,
for in its welfare you will find your welfare."


-Jeremiah 29:7

Q4 GRANT MAKING RECAP

The Foundation awarded $5.8 million through 53 grants during Q2 (October, November and December).

Below is a small representation of the nonprofit organizations that the Foundation supported:

Alliance For Children

$350,000 | Funding for general operations, which ensures that children who have sustained abuse or neglect receive forensic interviews, counseling services, medical care, and family advocacy.

Big Brothers Big Sisters Lone Star

$150,000 | Funding toward their faith-based mentoring program.

Blue Sky Therapeutic Riding & Respite

$25,000 | Funding to support the PURPOSE day program provided for 26 adults with disabilities.

CASA of Tarrant County

$150,000 | Funding to provide children who have been abused or neglected in Tarrant County with a Court Appointed Special Advocate.

Como Lions Heart

$15,000 | Funding to provide education and activities for youth in low-income communities to succeed in school and prepare for the future.

Cure International

$1,500,000 | Funding toward the expansion of Prosthetic & Orthotic workshops and infrastructure for a new workshop in Uganda.

Dallas Pets Alive

$100,000 | Funding to support the capital campaign of a 40-foot shipping container in partnership with Community Beer Company.

Living Water International

$1,500,000 | Funding to support the Overflow 25 strategy focused on increased water access, sanitation, hygiene, and sustainability in the program area.

Lullaby House

$20,000 | Funding to support the house program for teen mothers and their children in foster care

Nomi Network

$25,000 | Funding toward the expansion of its Dallas Youth Workforce Development (“YWD”) program.

TexProtects

$150,000 | Funding to support prevention strategies to divert from CPS, support relative kinship placements, and the data institute work behind it.

To Be Like Me

$15,000 | Funding to support general operating funds used for disability awareness education for children.


The mission of The Rees-Jones Foundation is to serve God
by serving others, sharing His resources in ways that provide
opportunities for the disadvantaged, relief for the suffering,
and encouragement in the growth and well-being of children
and families. In so doing, the Foundation hopes that the
love of Christ is experienced in practical ways by those served.

"And God is able to bless you abundantly,
so that in all things at all times, having all that you need,
you will abound in every good work."


-2 Corinthians 9:8

THE IMPACT OF GIVING ON WELL-BEING

By Sara Meyers, Communications Specialist

The Apostle Paul records that Jesus once said, “It is better to give than to receive.” Are His words referring to eternal benefits or was this something tangible we could see in our daily lives in the here and now? From the perspective of The Rees-Jones Foundation, the benefit of giving (or “serving God by serving others” as the mission states) is something staff have the opportunity to enjoy every day. Whether international partners are performing clubfoot surgeries in Africa, or children’s advocacy centers are offering counseling services to children impacted by abuse and neglect, or companion animals are learning how to faithfully serve children with disabilities, The Foundation witnesses the innovative work of its nonprofit partners on a regular basis.

As these organizations innovate, communities are being transformed and those of us involved experienced pure joy at seeing needs met. On an individual level, can this same joy be felt when we give? And could this joy have health benefits?


ABOUT THE FOUNDATION'S NEWSLETTER

25:40 is a quarterly newsletter from The Rees-Jones Foundation. This newsletter is specially designed for you – our wonderful grantees! We hope that you will find the information both useful and interesting. If you would like to be added to our newsletter email list, please contact Sara Meyers at smeyers@rees-jonesfoundation.org.

“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'”

– Matthew 25:40

ABOUT THE NAME | We decided to name this newsletter 25:40 after the scripture from Matthew 25, which we as a foundation, draw inspiration from in our work. Through our grant making, we seek to deliver hope, resources, and support to those in our community who are in need.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:


Summer camp applications


are due February 28th!


The Rees-Jones Foundation is a private foundation that works with non-profit organizations, primarily in North Texas, that provide programs that defend the welfare of children suffering from abuse or neglect, afford relief to those facing mental health challenges, provide youth with opportunities for enrichment and character development, encourage healthy families and communities, and promote the humane treatment of companion animals.

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If you would like to be added to our newsletter email list,
please contact Sara Meyers at smeyers@rees-jonesfoundation.org
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