Louise (Tootsie) Gartner started the DISD Common Cents-Pennies from the Heart in 1998 after reading an article in Parade Magazine showing the tremendous success New York City had with the program of empowering students to take the initiative of collecting money and then deciding which charities to give the money to. The foundation of philanthropy and kindness for others and giving from one’s heart can change a person for life, as well as a whole community. Louise, who passed away at age 96, watched the program blossom and take shape with support from the Dallas Independent School District.
Louise Gartner started the Dallas Food Banks-Charitable Produce Center after seeing that a California philanthropist got an idea to get the Super Markets to donate all their produce that had a blemish and was therefore unsalable, but still very healthy, to the food bank, which would then distribute it to the needy. To date the Dallas Food Bank has distributed over 30 million pounds of produce to the needy that would have gone unused.
Louise opened the Louise Gartner Hyperbaric Oxygen Center at Baylor Hospital Dallas after seeing the healing effects it had on burn and stroke patients. It has helped to change the quality of life for thousands of patients.
You see, Louise Gartner is my mother. I will never forget the time she called me at my business crying, after seeing what the DISD students had raised for their community the first year. She said to me that with all she had done to help others less fortunate, after seeing the effect this had on the Dallas Students who participated, that Common Cents was the greatest of them all. Because it all starts with the kids and building the right foundation.
My sister Gigi and I have taken over the job of furthering Common Cents and we look forward to adding your school. You see if we had not been exposed to philanthropy and the incredible feeling it gives you, we would NEVER have taken our time to do this.
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