TV executive Taylor Sheridan brought the world to Fort Worth, and now he means the world to Fort Worth children.
Sheridan, the Fort Worth product behind the CBS and Paramount+ blockbuster “Yellowstone,” contributed a Montana ranch visit for filming on the set and dinner with the cast as a surprise auction item Wednesday, and that spurred the Exchange Club of Fort Worth to rope in a record $653,500 in donations to the 112-year-old Goodfellow Fund charity.
Auction emcee George Young Jr. thanked guest speaker Sheridan and his host, investor John Goff, for “taking the bull by the horns” and driving members of the downtown businessmen’s civic club to raise enough money in one hour to buy school clothes and shoes for a total of more than 13,000 Tarrant County children.
“You want to know your money’s going directly to charity and this one is simple — it just goes to get clothes for children,” Sheridan, 53, said afterward as the city’s business leaders streamed up to thank him.
“It’s really unique to have a charity started by a newspaper so long ago — it’s one of those things that makes Fort Worth unique, that we still have that sense of community.”
The Goodfellow Fund remains a big deal to the Exchange Club and to all Fort Worth. That’s mainly because it was a big deal to legendary Texan and Star-Telegram publisher Amon G. Carter Sr. (1879-1955).
(Disclosure: I’m on the board.)
Sheridan, now also the boss of the storied 6666 Ranch in northwest Texas and among investors in the Fort Worth Stockyards and the $2 million makeover of Cattlemen’s Steak House, answered questions in a gravelly voice about “Yellowstone,” his new show “Lawmen: Bass Reeves” and his upcoming oil industry series, “Land Man.”
“Taylor is a very genuine, very direct person — he’s driven for the right reasons,” Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker said.
“His commitment to Fort Worth says a lot ... He wanted to get people to give back.”
Goff, Young and fourth-generation investor and meat company executive Billy Rosenthal of Fort Worth each donated $75,000 to share the trip to the filming of “Yellowstone,” resuming its fifth season.
That total donation of $225,000 alone is enough to dress and provide shoes for 4,500 children, about one-third of the 13,000 children the Goodfellow Fund hopes to serve across Tarrant County.
“My wife loves Taylor Sheridan’s stuff,” Rosenthal said.
“I don’t think any of us had any idea he would do this for Goodfellows. We were just as stunned as George and everybody else.”
The club raised $453,000 last year and $500,000 in 2021.
The Goodfellow Fund is simple. Donations go to buy each child a $50 gift card for school clothes through an agreement with California-based Old Navy stores.
Young traditionally begs or browbeats members for bigger donations as the club’s “Chief Extractor” at a benefit luncheon that often seems more like a Fort Worth celebrity roast.
With Parker alongside for enforcement, Young circled the room looming over each donor and saying bluntly, “I need $2,500 more.”
Rosenthal also gave the first large gift, $30,000.
The shakedown came to a sudden halt when Sheridan said, “I can do a little something.”
It turned out to be as big as all Yellowstone.
About the Goodfellow Fund
The Goodfellow Fund idea originated with the first newspaper charity drive in the United States, started by the Chicago Tribune on Dec. 10, 1909. A Chicago city attorney wrote a letter challenging his friends to be “good fellows” and donate the money they would have spent on holiday partying to charity.
In 1911, the Advertising Club of Fort Worth staged the first local Goodfellow campaign. On the day after Thanksgiving in 1912, Publisher Amon G. Carter brought the tradition to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
To find out more, or to learn more about helping, visit goodfellowfundfw.com. The mail address for donations and correspondence is P.O. Box 149, Fort Worth TX. 76101.