Society / Profiles

Jessica Nowitzki Helped Relocate 10 Families After Hurricane Harvey, Makes Sure Giving is Part of Her Famous Family

The Woman Who Drives the Dirk Nowitzki Foundation

BY Caroline Lidl // 08.09.19
photography Ana Hop

In its third year, NorthPark Center’s Luxury Ambassador program boldly merges the worlds of fashion, art, and philanthropy, by way of celebrating the city’s top influencers and the nonprofits they support. NorthPark’s chosen few embody a rare-air kind of style — a droup that contains equal parts fashion sense, civic leadership, and larger-than-life personality.

Here, we highlight Jessica Nowitzki and learn about her passion for helping children through her family’s foundation and Children’s Health hospital. Jessica and her husband, Dallas Mavericks icon Dirk Nowitzki, are preparing for the fourth annual Dirk Nowitzki Pro Celebrity Tennis Classic, which will take place the weekend of September 14 and 15 at SMU.

Jessica Nowitzki tells us more in her own words:

Why The Dirk Nowitzki Foundation.

Naturally, as a family foundation, it is close to my heart. It is something we have incorporated in our daily lives and want others to take part in. The partnership with Children’s Health has been a tradition that Dirk established over 10 years ago by visiting the hospital and spending time with patients during the holiday season.

A benevolent memory.

We had a unique and unforgettable year last year when we relocated 10 families from the Houston area after the devastation of Hurricane Harvey. Our supportive community came together and trusted us to provide housing, transportation, day care and daily essentials for these families for a year.

It was an amazing learning experience, and it gave so much to us as a foundation and a family.  It was a reminder to not take anything for granted and always lend a helping hand.

These families lost everything during the disaster. Most of them have stayed in the DFW area and are committed to make a better life for their families.

Philanthropic influencers.

My mother has always been my inspiration, and my Kenyan heritage has taught me a lot about sharing and always helping a fellow citizen. In most African communities, people get together to accomplish one goal and lift each other up, whether it is watching someone’s child while they are at work, dropping off food for someone not feeling well, or volunteering your time to patch roads and build schools.

It’s not about your social status, network, or how much you make. Everyone can give back.

Role models.

My entire family!

North Park Center is at the center of combining art and fashion. Describe your own art and fashion interests.

My interest for art has been present since childhood. My former position as associate director of the nonprofit art organization The Goss-Michael Foundation, founded by Kenny Goss and George Michael, sparked a greater appreciation for art.

I’m really into art with a specific message that is current, but also ongoing, and something that can be inspirational and motivating.

A lot of times fashion goes hand in hand with the art. I don’t buy things that are “in season,” but instead have a message and relate to my personality.

The perfect day.

A day with happy, healthy and non-fighting kids!

Your day job.

I try to be a good role model to my children, and to create a platform through our foundation that will guide generations to follow and continue to support, educate and elevate our youth.

Looking forward.

I’m looking forward to kickstarting a global youth project between our foundation here in Dallas and our foundation in Germany, and eventually using our mission to create an extension in Kenya.

Additionally, our fourth annual Pro Celebrity Tennis Classic will be held the weekend of September 14 and 15. It is a fun event to bring the entire family, while helping to raise money for The Dirk Nowitzki Foundation and its mission.

NorthPark memory.

Last year’s Breakfast with Santa benefiting Children’s Hospital was such an amazing morning with lots of fun activities for the kids, performances by the kids, live reindeer, visits with Santa, etc. It was a perfect start to the festive season and brightened the day for so many children.

The rotating art displays throughout the center is always an ongoing highlight, of course.

Advice to your younger self.

Be kind to everyone and don’t think you know it all. Life is a constant learning curve and you can learn something from everyone.

On the horizon in 2019.

I’m looking forward to starting this year off by hiking and summiting Mount Kenya, and then continuing the year with lots of positive energy, good spirits, exciting social and charitable developments, and spending time with friends and family around the world.

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