Chuck Bloom: Lynn Sipiora for Texan of the Year

sourced from: The Dallas Morning News

Posted by Marc A. Sparks in Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX on Dec 04, 2008

03:06 PM CST on Wednesday, December 3, 2008

She has never thrown the winning touchdown pass to capture the Rose Bowl, Cotton Bowl or Super Bowl, nor has she won a Grammy or political office. All she has done is … change the world, at least for some people in need in Collin County.

As executive director of the Samaritan Inn, the county’s only homeless shelter, Lynne Sipiora marshals the task of providing food, shelter, counseling and the possibility of a better future to folks many would rather forget. And on April 9, she fulfilled the goal of opening Gateway Apartments in McKinney, the county’s first transitional housing unit for homeless people.

For that achievement, she deserves this nomination for the 2008 Dallas Morning News Texan of the Year.

Think for one moment what Gateway represents to its residents: For the first time in ages, 20 families (and more in the future) can re-emerge into society as functional, productive citizens with a regained sense of dignity after so much pain and loss. Without Lynne’s initiative and oversight, it would never have become a reality.

She hoisted this challenge on her shoulders and willed Gateway’s completion, doing it without one red cent from the government. She found the perfect silent partner in Dallas philanthropist Marc Sparks, who entirely funded the construction and property purchase; got the builders, Darling Bros., to work at cost; and convinced numerous businesses, churches, social groups and individuals to sponsor aspects of the everyday Gateway regimen.

Lynne’s daily task at the Inn is difficult enough; each resident has a sad story behind their predicament. There is the added heartbreak of turning away others (including families with children) due to lack of space and resources. This work can crush most normal spirits and souls, but she always prevails.

Add to this Lynne’s backbreaking schedule of meetings, speeches and fundraising activities – as well as the role of mother and wife, at which she also excels.

“Sometimes it’s pretty overwhelming, but I love my job; it is my passion,” she once wrote me. Her work earned her the 2007 Executive Director of the Year award from the Texas Homeless Network – and that was before Gateway opened.

Lynne now has her sights focused on the next logical step – more beds, plus a homeless children’s day care center. Only a foolish person would bet against her.

Most people know there is no definitive face of “the homeless.” They come from all cross-sections of society. Too often, they are mirror images of ourselves – people who worked hard, followed the rules and searched for the American dream.

However, a stumble here, an illness there, or a divorce that leaves one former spouse without means … and things get out of control. The problem in these rough economic times is only becoming more acute, and the services of the Samaritan Inn will be needed more than ever.

If, for whatever reason fate decides, should it be you or I who faces such tribulations, and you need that dreaded four-letter word “help,” the person you need at your side is Lynne Sipiora – to change your world.

For more about the Samaritan Inn, or to donate or volunteer, go to thesamaritaninn.org.

Chuck Bloom, a volunteer at the Samaritan Inn, is a former columnist-editor for several North Texas newspapers. He can be reached at chuckbloom@hotmail.com or through his Web site, chuckbloom.blogspot.com.

Marc Sparks Charities

Marc is very active economically, physically and emotionally, in several charities:

The Samaritan Inn (www.thesamaritaninn.org) is a non-profit organization, which is the only homeless shelter in Collin County, Texas. Established in 1984, The Samaritan Inn has provided millions of meals and has helped thousands of homeless people regain their independence with comprehensive programs and the help of caring individuals and corporations. Sparks sits on the Finance Advisory Board and has been integral in bolstering both financial aid and long-term volunteers for The Inn, allowing the facility to assist an even larger demographic of homeless in North Texas. Sparks believes that most people are only two paychecks away from poverty and that everyone needs help at some point in their lives. “The need for The Samaritan Inn is intense, failure of this homeless shelter simply is not an option. We have now built a thrift store, Friends of the Inn, in hopes and prayer, that it will provide an income to support expenses of the Inn” Sparks states.

dallas-canAmerica Can! Academy (www.americacan.net) is a Magnet High School program providing education to 8,000 “at-risk” students each year. Sparks is a financial supporter and Academy Development Council member, having become involved in the organization through his foundation, Sparky’s Kids, which donates hundreds of new computers to multiple Texans Can! Academies across the state.

sparkySparky’s Kids (www.sparkyskids.com) is a non-profit foundation established by Sparks which provides free brand-new Dell computers to less fortunate but well deserving kids. Sparky’s Kids has given hundreds of computers away to date to kids involved in organizations such as Boys and Girls Club of Greater Dallas, Metro Ministries, the Samaritan Inn and Texans Can! Academy. Sparky’s Kids gave away approximately 500 new computers in 2005 and Sparks anticipates exceeding that number in 2006. “These computers are essential for education today… without them, these kids will end up in our prisons!”

careC.A.R.E. (www.bigcatcare.org) The Center for Animal Research & Education was founded to provide for the rescue, rehabilitation and holistic nurturing of sick, injured or abused Big Cats thus ensuring a vital habitat and permanent safe haven for them to live in comfort and with dignity. Further, with public education and research, to ultimately ensure the future of the species.

highlandparkHighland Park United Methodist Church (www.hpumc.org) HPUMC has close to a 100 year history of worship and outreach. The story of Highland Park United Methodist Church began in the fall of 1915 when students from Southern Methodist University attended the first worship services held in Dallas Hall. The University Church was founded in 1916 and by the end of the year with 225 charter members, the church changed its name to Highland Park Methodist Episcopal Church South. SMU deeded the land for the church and worshippers began meeting in a temporary structure known as the “Little Brown Church.” The current sanctuary was built in 1927, and an activities building along with Cox Chapel were added in the early 1950’s. December 2002 marked the completion of the 122,000 square foot Wallace educational building and the remodeling of the existing educational building while HPUMC’s pristine sanctuary and chapel remained untouched. HPUMC’s sanctuary was recognized as a “Recorded Texas Historic Landmark” in 1995.

carpentersCarpenters for Christ (www.hpumc-cfc.org) Carpenters for Christ’s goal is to do all that they can humanly do to see that poor housing is eradicated in Dallas and those persons’ lives are improved for generations to come.

thriftFriends of the Inn Thrift Store (www.thesamaritaninn.org) The Friends of the Inn Thrift Store is a non-profit, five thousand square foot, sun filled retail space filled with gently used designer clothing, household goods and furniture.

All proceeds from the store are used to support The Samaritan Inn. Our residents work in the store each day to gain valuable job skills and to make their own contribution to our program,. Graduating residents are given vouchers so that they are able to get the things they need to set up their own households at absolutely no cost.

Our goal is to fund a great portion of the Samaritan Inn’s operating budget from income of the, “Friends of the Inn” Thrift Center.

habitatHabitat for Humanity (www.habitat.org) Habitat for Humanity International is a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry. HFHI seeks to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness from the world, and to make decent shelter a matter of conscience and action.


gateway-logo

The North Texas Gateway Apartments 1.3 acres of land has been purchased directly across the street from the Samaritan Inn where construction of a twenty unit apartment complex will soon begin. The apartments will be donated to the Samaritan Inn upon completion and will provide transitional housing for people at a third of normal rental rates so that they can get further education or training or save money so they are able to manage market value rents.

In Collin County the average cost of a one bedroom apartment is $650 per month, plus a security deposit, utility deposits and an application fee are regularly required, this makes housing out of reach for most people who earn minimum wage. We see this problem often at the Samaritan Inn – whereby people have completed our program, they have secured employment and are ready to move out, but there is simply no affordable place to go.

The complex has been christened “Gateway” as it will be the final ‘gateway’ to independence for the people who have worked so diligently to get there.

Sourced from:

http://directory.leadmaverick.com/Marc-A-Sparks/DallasFort-WorthArlington/TX/10/5635/index.aspx

Marc Sparks History – Chapter 3

In 2000, Marc Sparks ran a tombstone ad in the Dallas Morning News, looking for a business model that “needed” an entrepreneur with his talent, experience, vision and tenacity. Out of the hundreds of opportunities that flooded his office, God shone the light for Marc on one in particular – a unique software start-up operation. While Sparks didn’t know how to even turn a computer on, much less know about software code, he forged ahead anyway as he clearly saw a perfect match.

Previously, Sparks was forced to leave a company he had devoted nearly 100% of his time to – and while his former ‘advisors’ and colleagues pointed fingers at him and the SEC investigated, he courageously sat front and center in a large first-floor office window, daring to start over. Daring to prove himself… once again.

Sparks took on a brash, young partner who had developed a remarkable software program but had no idea how to get it out of his garage, much less get it packaged, to market, manage customer service and technical support, and ultimately expand it into six additional software programs with substantial recurring revenue. In just four and a half short years, Marc A Sparks took GlobalTec Solutions from a small start up to a an extremely successful software company. As of June 15th, 2004, GlobalTec had a staff of just over 130 people. And it had become a leader in the “Business to Consumer” financial software marketplace.

An enormous focus of GlobalTec Solutions’ staff, and in-grained in its company culture, is to provide exceptional, focused customer service. Under Sparks’ leadership, GlobalTec initiated an annual convention for its software users. Attendance tripled since the inaugural “WizeFEST” in 2002 and now accommodates 3,000 GlobalTec customers at each annual convention. To attend a WizeFEST convention is akin to attending a Republican or Democratic Party convention. The frenzy and excitement is clearly generated by Sparks’ marketing fire, and his contagious enthusiasm.

While Sparks could write a book on what to do and – equally as important – what NOT to do, at times he says he wouldn’t wish his life on the Devil himself. Yet, at other times, he says he’s had a remarkable life and wouldn’t trade his experiences for the entire universe. “There is no other way to learn the remarkable lessons I’ve learned without being in the game.”

Throughout his career, Sparks has been in the wholesale furniture business, retail furniture business, commercial mortgage banking, restaurant, manufacturing, real estate, surety bonding, property and casualty insurance, software, and his latest business passion… LIVE, business television and now streaming of video and data.

Stay tuned for the next chapter in the Marc Sparks’ history where the next venture of Splash Media will pioneer a path for IPTV and ‘video based e-learning’ into the corporate world of global communication and training.

Marc A Sparks is a leading Dallas Texas start up entrepreneur and venture capitalist. Submit an application for seed funding to Marc A Sparks – the Dallas entrepreneur only at whoismarcsparks.com.

http://directory.leadmaverick.com/Marc-A-Sparks/DallasFort-WorthArlington/TX/10/4820/index.aspx

Marc Sparks – Dallas Philanthropist

Marc Sparks – Dallas Entrepreneur

Born June 8th, 1957 in Rockwall, Texas, Marc Sparks was the youngest of five children. After spending much of his youth growing up in Austin, Texas, Marc graduated from Westlake High School and immediately moved back to the Dallas area to begin his career in the wholesale furniture business with his father.

Being the youngest with four other siblings, college was never an option for Marc Sparks. In fact, from his earliest memories, it was always understood that Marc would follow in the footsteps of his father. Right out of high school Sparks immersed himself in the business and began learning every detail and angle of the wholesale furniture business from the ground up. He started by sweeping floors and driving a delivery truck for Freed Furniture Company and went on to work for several other retail furniture stores in the Dallas area. Throughout his experience in the furniture industry, Sparks always had a pressing desire and passion to learn more, to expand his horizons. Early on, his goal was to own his own furniture store. It didn’t take long for Sparks’ father to realize he could no longer hold back his son’s entrepreneurial passion. Therefore, it was amicably agreed between father and son to “set Marc free” to pursue his own entrepreneurial dreams and ambitions.

In the following years Sparks would launch several moderately successful business endeavors, and would soon begin the foundation of what would become a philanthropic legacy. However, like most passionate entrepreneurs, Marc Sparks would soon taste great success, as well as experience terrible failure, and begin to learn some of life’s most important lessons about perseverance, survival, and the challenges of being a true entrepreneur.

About Marc Sparks

Marc A Sparks is a leading Dallas Texas start up entrepreneur and venture capitalist. Submit an application for seed funding to Marc Sparks – the Dallas entrepreneur only at www.whoismarcsparks.com.

Marc Sparks History

Marc Sparks has dedicated his life to this passage from the Bible.

Luke 12:48 From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from the one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded.

Sparks truly realizes and understands that there is great responsibility that comes with success, A responsibility which requires unflinching focus and remaining always humble to that greater power that has helped guide him to his success.

Over the next several weeks we will define the many entrepreneurial and philanthropic endeavors that mark the cornerstones of the history and growing legacy of Marc Sparks.

For more information visit:

www.whoismarcsparks.com

www.TimberCreekCapital.com

Dallas Venture Capitalist

Dallas venture capitalist, Marc Sparks is, “clearly the entrepreneur’s entrepreneur” (Marc A. Sparks). Because he is an expert Dallas, Texas venture capitalist, he has provided a very detailed question and answer guide from the areas of starting a business to staying motivated in your business.Since 1978, he has been the principal in many start-ups… some extremely successful, and some not so successful; however, Marc Sparks states that “the not so successful ventures are like taking a course at the World University for Entrepreneurs” and further states that “without experiencing the not so successful ventures, you wouldn’t gain the knowledge to succeed, know what to do with success or be able to fully appreciate success. God gives us challenges and even devastating circumstances in order for us to understand the responsibility that comes with success and to keep us humble. One never forgets when and where they get their scars in life.”

Marc is currently accepting applications, on his website Who Is Marc Sparks?, for companies seeking seed funding and other venture capital.

Marc Sparks has provided a significant amount of venture capital for Dallas based Splash Media. As one of the top Dallas venture capitalists, Marc Sparks has provided numerous opportunities to growing companies like Splash Media.

“Venture capital is a type of private equity capital typically provided by professional, outside investors to new, high-potential-growth companies in the interest of taking the company to an IPO” Venture Capital.

Dallas is the third-largest city in the state of Texas and the ninth-largest in the United States. The city is the main economic center of the 12-county Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area — at over 6.1 million people, it is the fourth-largest metropolitan area in the United States.

For More Information About Marc A. Sparks visit www.whoismarcsparks.com
For Information on Marc’s charities visit thesamaritaninn.org