Here’s how you can help Ellis County nonprofits next week

Chris Roark
Waxahachie Daily Light

Several nonprofit organizations, including those in Ellis County, are looking to receive a donation boost during the annual NTX Giving Day.

NTX Giving Day, which is organized by Communities Foundation of Texas, is an 18-hour online donation event designed to empower residents to donate to the charity or cause of their choice. Though the official event is set for Sept. 23, residents have been able to donate early, since Sept. 1.

Like many organizations, the Ellis County Children’s Advocacy Center (ECCAC) is seeing an increased need of its services. The ECCAC provides professional forensic interviews of child abuse victims, family and victim advocacy services, and professional mental health services to child victims, siblings, and non-offending caregivers. 

“We have expanded services to meet the growing needs of child abuse victims in Ellis County,” said Leslie Deen, executive director of ECCAC. “Our biggest financial need is to hire additional professionals to provide services to children and families. We are working tirelessly to eliminate the waiting list for children and families needing mental health services and family advocacy services.”

Deen said the ECCAC raised $4,000 on NTX Giving Day last year, but this year the goal has been bumped up to $20,000.  

According to data provided by ECCAC there were 437 forensic interviews at the organization in fiscal year 2020-21. That’s up from 394 in 2019-20 and 341 in 2018-19.

In terms of mental health services provided, there were 448 child victims served in 2020-21, which is up from 96 in the previous year.

She said in August there were 58 interviews of alleged child abuse victims, the most in a one-month period.

“The ECCAC has worked to increase our capacity and work closely with local law enforcement, the Department of Family and Protective Services, and the Ellis County and District Attorney’s Office to better meet the needs of our growing community,” Deen said. “As the population of Ellis County grows, we will continue to have increases in the need for Child Advocacy Center services.  We are diligently working to provide additional services to Ellis County citizens through our development of the Ellis County Response to Child Sex Trafficking initiative and through providing a comprehensive array of evidence based, trauma focused mental health services for children and families.”

Another local nonprofit hoping for donations is the Ellis Christian Women’s Job Corps. The Waxahachie-based organization provides women with life and employment skills and helps them build their self worth through training in a semester-long course.

“In the beginning, our organization focused on people in poverty who couldn’t afford this type of education,” said Lauri Henderson, executive director. “But now it’s for all women who many be impoverished in skills.”

Henderson said the clients’ situations vary greatly. She said some are recently divorced, are looking for a better job to support their family or have a spouse who recently died. She said some clients have a college degree, while others never graduated high school. She said some are emotionally broken and simply need spiritual help.

Henderson said with the curriculum and supplies needed, it costs approximately $1,000 per session per woman. She said there are four women enrolled currently.

Henderson said the donation goal this year is $13,000, adding that the community has stepped up to surpass the organization’s goal in previous years.

She said representatives from the Ellis Christian Women’s Job Corps and other organizations will be at White Rhino Coffee, 414 W. Main St. in Waxahachie, from 7:30-11 a.m. Sept. 23 to raise awareness about their organizations.

Some of the other nonprofits in Ellis County that are signed up for NTX Giving Day include CASA of Ellis County, Waxahachie Care, Daniels Den, Habitat for Humanity of Ellis County and Ellis County Children’s Theater.

Last year, NTX Giving Day raised $58.8 million, benefiting more than 3,200 nonprofits. NTX Giving Day has raised more than $375 million since it began in 2009.

To search for a nonprofit in North Texas and to donate, go to northtexasgivingday.org.