Owen Hannay, CEO of Slingshot LLC advertising agency, last year established the Slingshot Charitable Foundation, which supports Dallas-Fort Worth groups that believe in early intervention for at-risk and underprivileged students. For each hour that a Slingshot employee bills, a dollar is put into the fund. Groups that receive donations must provide at least one opportunity during the year for Slingshot employees to volunteer with the organization to get an idea of how their donations are being used. The first two recipients, East Dallas Community Schools and Our Lady of Perpetual Help School, received donations of $10,000 each last month.
Q: What’s the mission of the Slingshot Charitable Foundation?
A: The mission is to support future generations in Dallas through early childhood learning, especially among those less fortunate. The focus is on early intervention and breaking the cycle of underachievement with at-risk students.
Q: How was the Slingshot Charitable Foundation started and why?
A: We have a saying around here that nothing says ‘I love you’ like cash. The idea was to give our employees the opportunity to feel like they’re giving something back every day. It’s a way for everybody to feel like they’ve been contributing, regardless of what’s going on with their day. Realistically, in this business, people work a lot of hours. There’s not a lot of extra time to do a lot of volunteer work. So while we do some volunteer work with these organizations, and that’s part of the program, really a piece of everybody’s day is dedicated to giving something back.
Q: Why is this a cause you believe in so strongly?
A: It is important for Dallas and Fort Worth to be a very vibrant community and I don’t think that happens unless we’re doing a terrific job of educating our kids. There are a lot of people working hard to make that happen, and we feel like this is an opportunity for us to help. Especially getting kids early enough that they appreciate education, and learning becomes a part of their lives, before a lot of the other negative influences can derail that.
Q: What changes do you have in mind for the foundation?
A: We hope to garner more interest, get more involved with these two organizations and, ultimately, as we grow and the foundation grows, expand it to helping more organizations that are doing great work in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.