Jan Osborn: The Anniversary Interview
In June of 2017, Dallas Doing Good (DDG) launched its first story. A year later, we are talking with DDG founder, Jan Osborn about how decades of volunteering and giving back in Dallas inspired her to shine a spotlight on the volunteers in our city. We hope you are inspired by this peek behind the curtain!
Interview by Rachel Brown.
Rachel Brown: How and when did you start volunteering and giving back in Dallas?
Jan Osborn: In 1998 I attended The Linz Award Luncheon to honor our friend and recipient, J McDonald (Don) Williams. The Linz Award is one of the oldest and most prestigious civic honors presented annually to individuals whose community and humanitarian efforts have created the greatest benefit to Dallas during the last decade. Don spoke about how you could make a difference in the community by finding an area you’re going to be passionate about and sticking with it. I left the luncheon that day determined to do my part to help make Dallas a better place.
RB: What organizations have you served in the D/FW community and what is on your plate right now?
JO: I have served organizations that work with addiction, mental health, sex trafficking, special needs adults and low income schools. The teams at CARE Dallas, Kershaw’s Challenge, New Friends New Life, The Elisa Project, Connecting Point of Park Cities, Nexus Auxiliary, and Caron Texas have energized and inspired me over the years. I am currently working with Touch A Life to bring holistic care to survivors of forced labor in Ghana. All the projects that have intersected with my life are tied together by the idea of freedom!
RB: What is the most rewarding part about volunteering?
JO: To me, the most rewarding part of volunteering is seeing smiles on peoples faces and knowing that their world just became a bit easier to navigate thanks to the involvement of an organization on which you serve. There is nothing like the feeling you get when a person tells you that you changed their life for the better.
RB: How did you dream up the idea of Dallas Doing Good?
JO: I have always enjoyed reading the social pages to keep informed about the good works going on in our community and am inspired by the philanthropic giving. I also realized that there are a lot of folks who work tirelessly behind the scenes giving back with little or no recognition. I wanted to tell these stories and celebrate these philanthropic people.
RB: If you could meet with any mover and shaker in the Dallas community, who would it be?
JO: Luckily, I am friends with my favorite movers and shakers in Dallas, Ashlee and Chris Kleinert! I got to know the Kleinerts through volunteer work many years ago and have been deeply affected by their giving spirit. Just when I began to feel tired and think I’m going to take a rest, I see Ashlee and Chris and am inspired to get moving and shaking again!
RB: After living here for more than 30 years, what do you still love about Dallas?
JO: There are so many things that I love about Dallas that it makes this a very hard question to answer. However, over the years when talking about fundraising for nonprofits, I always come back to the fact that Dallas is a very philanthropic city. I am proud to live in a place that keeps on giving.
If you know someone who is Doing Good in Dallas, we'd love to hear about it! Share their story with us.