Michelle and Brian Cree's commitment to the Denton County community has gotten bigger and stronger over the years. The power couple from Highland Village was recently recognized by the 2021 Dr. Bettye Myers Humanitarian Award for their philanthropy in numerous ways. The award was presented at United Way of Denton County's tenth annual UNITED Tribute gala celebration.
"We are very much honored by this award; we'll continue giving back to the community and people with all our hearts," they said. Named after a famous icon who left an indelible impact on people's hearts, the Dr. Bettye Myers Humanitarian Award was established in 2014 to recognize and appreciate the community leaders with an extraordinary contribution.
Most recently, the couple played a significant role in building a landmark partnership between United Way of Denton County and United Way of Metropolitan Dallas. The collaboration has expanded the way United Way of Denton functions in several Denton cities. "Brian and Michelle's leadership in uniting all of Denton County proved advantageous," said Gary Henderson, President, and CEO of United Way of Denton County. "The partnership has positioned us to work county-wide with government and nonprofits to respond to the unprecedented impact of the pandemic."
Michelle and Brian's social works focus on the areas of mental health, homelessness, and scholarships. They've helped students through programs like the Jack Canon music scholarship and Denton County students scholarships. "It's very rewarding to see kids going to college and building a career," Brian mentioned. Providing The Salvation Army in Lewisville with a community industrial kitchen in 2013 was the first big project the Crees carried out. They both are incredibly proud of the long-lasting impact created by the programs they're involved in.
Brian, CEO of SWX Global Design & Production, inherited benevolence from his parents and grandparents. He grew up being fascinated by stories of his grandfather taking his mom door to door in her childhood for charity works. Mary Anne Cree was also a renowned philanthropist and civic leader. United Way of Metropolitan Dallas headquarters is named in her honor.
With more than eight decades of family philanthropy, Brian adheres to a motto of his life, "work hard and give back." "My family is extremely fortunate and blessed for the things we're able to do," he shared. Brian thoroughly enjoys working behind the scenes in
business and humanitarianism.
Born and raised in Amarillo, Michelle, in her school days, realized that she's a people person. After graduating from Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University) with a degree in Social Work, she joined Dallas County MHMR to work with adults with intellectual disabilities in community-based settings. Those 13 years prepared her for work in the nonprofit field, where she has held various roles. She has also earned the PTA Lifetime Achievement Award for her active roles in PTA with LISD elementary, middle & high school while her boys were
Michelle's ten years of involvement in LEF (Lewisville Education Foundation) have been crucial to her, along with her involvement in United Way Denton County, Salvation Army of North Texas, Metrocrest Community Services, and 100 Women Who Care. "I truly feel blessed to have been a part of so many organizations that have so positively impacted others,” she said.
The success Brian and Michelle have achieved individually and collectively over the years is praiseworthy. They both are incredibly humble and grounded, as they believe that's how they cherish their accomplishments. Plus, one of the keys to their successful careers is "respect and dignity" toward each other. "My wife has always been very supportive, and I couldn't be more grateful for her," Brian expressed. "I am proud of what Brian has achieved as a social leader," Michelle shared with pride. "We never thought for this prestigious Bettye Myers Humanitarian Award; when you're in social works, you just keep doing that without any expectation," she added.
To continue with the family's legacy of philanthropy, the couple's sons have participated in several projects with their parents. As the Crees continue serving the needs of Denton County, we wish more power to their time, talents, and treasure.