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Nonprofit Matters: It’s a bridge party

Tickets are on sale in Fort Worth for what is being touted as the “party of the century.” Streams & Valleys Inc. is throwing the bash Nov. 15-16 to celebrate the redesigned and reopened West Seventh Street Bridge, which turns 100 this year. Originally opened in 1913, the bridge was renamed the Van Zandt Viaduct in 1922 as a tribute to a Fort Worth pioneer, Major Khleber Miller Van Zandt. Now, a century later, the $25 million, pre-cast concrete bridge is the only one of its kind in the world. After an extensive four-month renovation, the new bridge features 12 arches with signature lighting that were built on the banks of the Trinity River. With the theme “Spanning 100 Years: The Seventh Street Bridge Centennial Celebration, 1913-2013,” the event will start with a lighting ceremony and party Nov. 15 from 7 – 11 p.m. Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price will “flip the switch” and turn on the bridge lighting and the pedestrian walkways will open. Gourmet cuisine will be available from 10 local celebrity chefs, and guests can dance to the music of entertainer Johnny Reno. Guests can dress in costumes from any era of the past or wear their nightclub chic attire and comfortable shoes. The evening finale will be a fireworks display and Champagne toast. Tickets start at $77 each and include food and beverages. Tickets are available at Events continue Nov. 16 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with a festival, parade and dedication. The parade will start at 10:30 and will feature various modes of transportation and may include the Fort Worth Herd of longhorns. At the end of the parade, Price will lead a group of bicyclists across the bridge to participate in the official ribbon cutting and dedication. “This is a unique project worthy of a unique celebration and the bridge metaphor couldn’t be more apt,” Price said. “In Fort Worth, we build bridges between the city and government entities, between economic hotbeds in our city and between generations of Fort Worth citizens and leaders. This is our chance to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Seventh Street Bridge with a once-in-a-lifetime event.”

TACC to host Thanksgiving service The Tarrant Area Community of Churches (TACC), an inter-church nonprofit organization dedicated to connecting congregations and the community to affect and address unmet needs in Tarrant County, will host an inaugural Thanksgiving Worship Service: Gratitude and Grace. The community-wide service is open to people of all denominations and will be on Nov. 26 from 7-8 p.m. at First United Methodist Church, 512 W. Pipeline Road in Hurst. The Rev. Nick Billardello of Abiding Grace Lutheran Church will preach and members of area churches will participate in a community choir. For information or to be part of the choir, contact TACC at 817-737-5554 or

Share the Warmth Blanket Drive Mattress firm Sleep Experts is accepting donations of new and gently used blankets, sheets, comforters, towels and pillows during the 10th annual Share the Warmth Blanket Drive. Donations can be dropped off at all 44 Sleep Experts locations in North Texas through Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28. The blanket drive benefits The Family Place and other North Texas domestic violence shelters. The donations will be delivered to these shelters in December. Sleep Experts will receive a helping hand from thousands of Girl Scouts representing the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas council (Dallas) and Girl Scouts of Texas Oklahoma Plains council (Fort Worth). Girl Scouts will collect blankets in their own communities and will earn Share the Warmth community service badges.

Taste of Northeast is on Arts Council Northeast will present its annual charity event, Taste of Northeast, on Nov. 14 at the Hurst Conference Center, 1601 Campus Drive, from 5:30-8:30 p.m. There will be food from 22 area restaurants, 28 gift vendors, live entertainment, a wine pull and a silent auction. Santa and his crew also will be on hand. Tickets may be ordered online at Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the door. Arts Council Northeast members and Press Pass holders get a $5 discount off advance tickets. New this year: receive a $5 discount at the door by bringing three nonperishable food items for donation to the GRACE food pantry. (Discounts cannot be combined.) For information, visit or call 817-283-3406.

Cassata collecting food The students and staff of Cassata High School are collecting gift cards and canned goods for the families of Cassata in need. The items will be put into Thanksgiving baskets and delivered before the holiday. Last year, donations provided 60 Thanksgiving baskets to the students’ families. Cassata is a private, nonprofit outreach school of the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth. The following items are needed: $25 gift cards to grocery stores; canned corn, green beans, fruit, cranberry sauce and chicken broth; packages of instant potatoes and stuffing; bottles of cooking oil; and boxes of flavored gelatin and biscuit mix. Donations are being accepted until Nov. 18 at Cassata, 1400 Hemphill St. in Fort Worth. For information, call 817-926-1745.

Farmland Foods raises hunger awareness Farmland Foods, along with partner Richard Petty Motorsports, recently donated $20,000 to Tarrant Area Food Bank as part of an expanding effort by the company to raise awareness of hunger around the country in conjunction with race weekends. Farmland also donated 43 cases of bacon in honor of Petty’s legendary No. 43 Ford. The donations will provide more than 100,000 meals and more than 700 pounds of protein for families, children and seniors in the food bank’s 13-county service area. With this recent donation, the company has given more than $235,000 to local area food banks to help provide more than 1 million meals in six communities.

JCP donates to Boys & Girls Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Fort Worth received a $12,500 gift from J. C. Penney’s charitable giving program, jcp cares, in support of more than 14,000 youth served by the organization. Throughout July, J. C. Penney invited customers to support Boys & Girls Clubs nationwide by rounding up their purchases to the nearest dollar and donating the difference to help Boys & Girls Clubs. The campaign raised nearly $950,000.

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Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

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