By Raven Jordan
As school lets out for the summer and high school students prepare to head off for college, Toast for Charity is ready to celebrate during the Giving from the Sole Sneaker Ball in July.
Toast for Charity was started in 2015 by Dr. Lamar, a pharmacist, and Lauren Quinn, an admissions recruiter for the University of Oklahoma. They were inspired to give back to the community through some of the things they were doing on weekends with friends, including brunch and holiday parties.
“So, that birthed into Party with a Purpose, which is one of our main initiatives of fundraising,” Lamar says. “Essentially what that means is we hosted Party With a Purpose so we could gather a collective of young professionals, and we galvanized them to donate their time and talents.”
The Quinns moved to Dallas, Dr. Lamar from Chicago and Lauren from Oklahoma, to take their lives in a different direction. Dr. Lamar says working as a pharmacist in South Dallas and living in Dallas reminded him of what he saw back home on the Southside, and he wanted to make a difference.
He saw the need and wanted to be a helping hand.
“I just didn’t know how to start. So you know, it started to weigh on me and I started to pray about it, I started to talk to my wife and our friends about it,” Dr. Lamar says. “It led us to start a charity. I just love the community, our kids actually did daycare here.”
Lauren said she wants supporters to remember their school experience and donate so that current students don’t have to repeat going without access to what other schools may have had.
“We want our supporters to remember what it was to be that age, what they needed at that age, and to try and provide that to the students coming up,” she says.
Through fundraising, young professionals who are a part of Toast for Charity contribute to helping children in the community through the Emerging Difference Maker scholarship program, story times and holiday toy drives.
The M.A.D. Pitch competition also falls under that program with five contestants this year. The top three competitors will then be paired with one of three mentors to provide them tools and resources on how to design a pitch and how to create a business plan.
The upcoming Sneaker Ball, one of the organization’s biggest events of the year, will highlight difference-makers, the culture and black excellence. This year’s goal is to raise $35,000, expose other young professionals to the program and let them have a good time.
“I think for me, the goal of the Sneaker Ball is to put our supporters, our donors in one place to see us reach that goal and then to push us into the M.A.D. Pitch competition so they can see the fruits of that labor,” Lauren says. “Look at the students that we’re able to support, look at the students who have come back to help.”
Radio host DeDe McGuire will be the host of the champion ceremony and RaShad Raynor will be the ringside announcer for the event.
“You don’t want to miss it. We have a new element this year called the champion ceremony. It’s hosted by Dede McGuire,” Dr. Lamar says. “We have some really cool activities that I’m not going to say. But just know it’s going to be a really high-power event. We have our chef Danny Bullock coming from Chicago to curate our VIP lounges with his food and his bourbon. It’s so much more.”
Toast for Charity’ Sneaker Ball will be held from 7:30 p.m. – 11:30 p.m., July 28th, at On the Levee in the Design District.