Dawn Moore: Zoo To Do
Interview by Mary Martin. Photos by Thomas Garza, courtesy of the Dallas Zoo.
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Today we are sharing an interview with Dawn Moore, chair of the upcoming Dallas Zoo fundraising event, Zoo To Do. Dawn has been a leader in Dallas’ legal and business community for over 35 years, with previous roles including Chair of the Texas State Affordable Housing Corporation, Chair of the Board of Interfaith Housing Coalition, and a member of the Board of Dallas Habitat for Humanity. Moore also served The City of University Park for six years as a City Council member and later as Mayor Pro Tem. Her work as a member of the Board of the Dallas Zoological Society is now spanning generations, as Dawn’s husband and children serve alongside her for the Zoo To Do event.
Tell us a bit about how your education played a role in how you view community involvement.
Attending SMU Dedman School of Law gave me opportunities to visit with some of the top law firms in the country who had a strong base in Dallas. Most of these firms were active in community affairs and set an example of giving back to the community.
Did you see volunteering and philanthropy modeled in your family? How did you model it for your own children?
Yes. I was raised with the knowledge that giving back to the community was a duty. My father served Wichita, Kansas, in many capacities – founder of the Annual Wichita River Festival, spearheaded designation of the YMCA, and served as Mayor. When he passed away in 2010, The Wichita Eagle newspaper wrote an article about him as Wichita having lost a great champion in the passing away of Donald Enoch.
My mother served as President of the Kansas Chapter of the Diabetes Association, President of the local Soroptimist chapter, and longtime member of P.E.O.
My three brothers and I were always encouraged to do more and serve more.
Our three children have watched my husband and me serve our church, our respective industries and our community with grateful hearts. Our children, in turn, have served some of our favorite charities by spending every Christmas morning as a family delivering Meals on Wheels, spending Saturdays to ready apartments for a new resident of Interfaith Housing, fulfilling Eagle Scout requirement for service by building a play yard for Interfaith Housing resident children. They all served their schools through service on Habitat Boards, Astra (service league for women), and class leadership. At law school, our daughter received one of two awards given by the Dean at graduation for service to the school over the three-year tenure. All three are now serving as ZooToDo2 chairs because they know the importance of the Dallas Zoo to our community.
Your work with the affordable housing cause in Dallas is central to your leadership. Where are you seeing positive movement on this issue?
Interfaith Housing Services is near and dear to my heart. Interfaith provides tools to help people get back on their feet, moving them from homelessness to home ownership/leasing. It provides free housing, free services, etc., while residents learn new job skills, how to manage a budget, and general life skills. Through its programs, Interfaith has helped the majority of its residents return to being productive members of our society. Recently, Interfaith has been recognized by the Mayor’s Task Force on Poverty as being a model program to meet the mission of the Task Force.
I love helping people help themselves. Stable housing has proven to add stability and sense of purpose to peoples’ lives. We have more to do in Dallas but we are making a difference, one step at a time!
When did you first get involved with the Dallas Zoological Society?
I got more involved with the Dallas Zoo itself after I attended my first Zoo To Do party. I love the event; I loved the atmosphere and I loved the people who loved the Zoo. One of those people, Diane Brierley, noticed my enthusiasm and asked me to serve. I haven’t looked back. It is such a marvelous asset for Dallas and provides such benefit in terms of education, conservation and opportunity. The zoo’s caring leadership is amazing. I love being part of a winning team.
How have you seen the Dallas Zoo bring the community together?
All ages from all backgrounds come to the Dallas Zoo to experience everything it has to offer. The Zoo’s commitment to education is evident in the collaborative partnerships they have with schools throughout Dallas, and in the creative work they do to foster the next generation of conservationists. Between welcoming school groups, and corporate and individual volunteers, and hosting events like Dollar Day and Back to School weekend, the Zoo is an epicenter for doing good in the Dallas community.
What is one of your favorite spots to spend time in the Dallas area?
The Dallas Zoo, of course!
I attend many of the events – Safari Nights, Brew at the Zoo, Dallas Zoo Lights, etc. and our children join us when they can. We enjoy our President’s Circle membership, and the opportunities it provides for special access and special events. I have hosted company parties there with just adults. My employees say it is their favorite party.
So much is going on at our Dallas Zoo. It is fun to be a part of it.
If you know someone who is Doing Good in Dallas, we'd love to hear about it! Share their story with us.
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