Lynn Mcbee is old-fashioned and proud of it. The CEO of the Young Women’s Preparatory Network would rather read a print newspaper than a tablet. If she’s sent an article, she’ll print it and highlight it. She’s not on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. If you give to one of her causes, she will hand write a thank-you note on her William Arthur stationery.
She’s written thousands, because McBee, 45, is involved with dozens of nonprofits, including the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas, the United Way, and the Dallas Film Society. “I want to sit across from you and understand what you’re passionate about, what you’re interested in, and connect with you on that level,” she says.
These meetings, often at Starbucks, have proved successful for McBee, in part because Dallas is a giving city. Last year, during Communities Foundation of Texas’ North Texas Giving Day, Dallas raised $25.2 million, the most ever brought in by a city during a single day. And according to Philanthropy.com, Dallas ranks in the top 10 of the most generous big cities in the United States, based on percentage of income given.
It’s been said, however, that Dallas only gives to Dallas. Foundations in other cities hire consultants to study Dallas and determine what will make its residents give beyond North Texas. “I would say that most folks, regardless of the city, like to see their money work in their local community,” McBee says. “Dallas is certainly no exception, and given our strong community spirit and pride, we may feel this way a bit more than others. However, Dallasites have very generous hearts and are open to listening and discussing.”
It didn’t take much discussion to convince McBee to take on her favorite project: chairing the opening weekend ceremonies for the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge. For McBee, it was an experience she’ll never forget. “What we envisioned it would do, in terms of connecting our city and driving economic development, it’s really done that,” she says. “It’s pivotal. It’s shaping Dallas.”