Meet the Power Couple That’s Connecting Nonprofits with Senior Execs in North Texas

After interviewing the Dallas Women’s Foundation several months ago, we stumbled upon another interesting group, which actually just announced a new set of grantees. The group is called Executives In Action (EIA), and it’s a great one to know for nonprofits in North Texas.

Related: IP’s Profile of the Dallas Women’s Foundation

Chris and Ashlee Kleinert are the founders EIA, which aims to strengthen local nonprofits by connecting them with senior-level business executives. Now, while this might sound like an odd combination, it actually makes a lot of sense when you take a closer look.

Sure, nonprofits operate differently than private corporations, but from a business standpoint, there’s a lot of overlap between the two. Just like companies, nonprofit organizations must manage staff, fulfill operational needs, expand their reach, and maximize efficiency. EIA partners with executives who are either between jobs or retired to provide nonprofits with the types of expertise and guidance they otherwise couldn't access.

You might recognize Chris Kleinert as the CEO and president of Hunt Consolidated Investments, LLC, and co-president of its holding company, Hunt Consolidated, Inc. His wife, Ashlee Kleinert, founded Ruthie’s Rolling Cafes, a food truck business with a philanthropic program, and serves on a slew of local governing and advisory boards.

Since the recession of 2009, when nonprofits saw a significant drop in resources, EIA has partnered with more than 270 nonprofits and nearly 700 executives, creating over $5.2 million in human capital investments in North Texas. So to learn more about this interesting approach to philanthropy, we asked Andrea White, EIA’s director of grants and programs, a few questions.

What are some of the most common and useful types of projects that EIA can help nonprofits with?

EIA focuses its work supporting nonprofits working in the areas of children and family, culture and humanities, education, health and well-being, and social services. Most of the projects supported by Executives In Action are for small to mid-sized agencies that do not have access or the resources for consultants.

Could you provide an example or two of exceptional nonprofits that you've worked with and how they have found success after partnering with EIA?

We have helped a variety of organizations in all manners of ways over the years, from large planning projects to helping with programs. No matter the size of the project, we are able to see a growth in impact that nonprofit is able to make to our community. With Akola Project, who empowers marginalized women through economic development, our team assisted in their strategic planning, infrastructure, and business development process. Since then, more than 200 women have been served, and over 1,400 children’s lives elevated in North Texas.  With the local chapter of the American Diabetes Association, they simply needed support with the Racing Against the Odds event. Our EIA team of executives was able to increase media exposure by 100 percent and the event raised $350,000.

What is one piece of advice that you would offer new grantseekers that haven't yet worked with EIA?

EIA is committed to getting results and selects its partner organizations through an extensive grant process that outlines the expected impact of the executive presence and project’s scope of work on the organization. It’s very important that the nonprofit be able to demonstrate that they will be able to sustain the work after the executive has moved on.

Unlike traditional funding entities, EIA does not traditionally provide monetary grants to nonprofits, preferring to contribute human capital by way of “impact service grants” instead. These are the most recent impact service grantees:

  • CitySquare
  • Dallas Afterschool
  • Hearts for Homes
  • Heroes on the Water
  • Paul Quinn College
  • Voice of Hope Ministries, Inc.

Upon announcing these new grantees, White said in a press release, “For these six grantees, not only are their missions varied but the work our executives will undertake are wide-ranging as well – from strategic planning to board recruitment and development. It is exciting to watch our nonprofit partners impact in North Texas grow as they work with the executives and we look forward to seeing what these teams achieve in the coming months.”

Grantees are selected in a three-stage process, which includes an application, site visits, and a decision of the board and co-founders. If awarded an EIA grant, you can expect to work with an executive for three to six months, who will report back to EIA about your organization’s progress.

To get in touch with EIA and tap into the unique resources it offers to North Texas nonprofits, check out the Grant Info page, submit an inquiry via online form, or call the staff office at 972-931-5598.