Dirk Nowitzki will also be honored with the the Heart of Dallas Young Professionals’ first Community Excellence Award on Nov. 4. The award, presented by Bud Light, honors a deserving Dallas athlete for his/her charitable and philanthropic impact to Dallas-Fort Worth. The Dirk Nowitzki Foundation will be presented with a $10,000 check on behalf of HODYP and Bud Light.

The Dirk Nowitzki Foundation was founded in 2001 with the mission to help provide education, health and well-being for children around the world. Dirk’s wife Jessica is the president, and other members of his family sit on the Board of Directors as well. The Heroes Celebrity Baseball Game, a hugely successful charity event each summer, is one example of Nowitzki’s foundation at work.

Each year the Big German makes hundreds of appearances and signs thousands of autographs in his desire to help children. In December 2007, the NBA honored him with the NBA Community Assist Award in recognition of his outstanding efforts in the community and for his ongoing philanthropic work. Whether it is meeting children throughout the season for the Make-A-Wish Foundation or purchasing and delivering thousands of dollars worth of Christmas toys for children in a local hospital, Nowitzki has always stayed involved in the community.

The award presentation is part of the inaugural Fast Pitch event, a competition open to DFW nonprofits focused on the areas of youth sports, education, illnesses, and family support. The organization will distribute $100,000 in total funds to local charities through this event. The Fast Pitch, sponsored by Lagardère Sports, will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 4 at d.e.c. on Dragon St. at 6:30 p.m.

More than 50 local nonprofits that focus on children’s programs applied to compete. Eight finalists from that group were chosen by the HODYP’s Steering Committee to participate in the final event on Nov. 4. The finalists are America SCORES Dallas, Behind Every Door, Bryan’s House – Open Arms, Inc., Dallas Tennis Association, Education Opens Doors, Equal Heart, HopeKids North Texas, Rae’s Hope, Inc.

The finalists will be judged on their live on-stage performance in presenting three-minute pitches before an audience and a five-person panel of judges whose backgrounds range from business, civil service and nonprofit management. Representatives of the organizations have three minutes to tell judges the mission, vision, and why their organization brings value to the community and is deserving of the funds. All 8 finalists will receive grants of between $2,500 and $25,000. The audience will determine the People’s Choice Award, which will receive a $5,000 grant.

“The Heart of Dallas Fast Pitch Event is a wonderful opportunity for young professionals to learn, engage and impact area nonprofits that are doing invaluable work in our community,” said Mallory Martin, President of Heart of Dallas Young Professionals. “We are particularly grateful to see so many corporate partners support this initiative and we look forward to making this inaugural event into a Dallas tradition for many years to come.”

Tickets are $50 for guests and $25 for guests affiliated with nonprofit employees and can be purchased online at theheartofdallas.org.

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