What are some of the outcomes achieved from this event?
We have helped finance travel and accommodations for journalism students attending conferences and conventions, career enhancement programs and workshops. When big funders fall through, we were able to use funds raised to help with feeding students, providing transportation or purchasing supplies for the Dallas-Fort Worth Association of Black Journalists Urban Journalism Workshop.
Some of the funds have helped young journalists with training. Tell me about that work.
We have paid registration fees to conventions. Additionally, the proceeds from the event have helped take students to conventions in Seattle, Phoenix, Orlando, D.C., Atlanta, Indianapolis, Houston, New Orleans, Las Vegas and Oklahoma. Jeffries Street Learning Center, the Black Academy of Arts and Letters, the Emmett Till Legacy Foundation and the African American Museum of Dallas are just a few of the beneficiaries over the years.
Anything else to add?
I love doing this event and I love bringing people together for a good time and a good cause.
Cheryl Smith knows how to organize a longstanding and successful fundraiser that supports her passion for journalism and fun gatherings. The veteran Dallas publisher, journalist and National Association of Black Journalists' board secretary founded the Don't Believe the Hype Celebrity Bowl-a-thon a little more than two decades ago.
The 23rd annual event, slated in Dallas June 17, 2017, promises to supply ample laughter, loads of good-natured, competitive bowling and financial support for various causes.
Smith, who has made her mark across all media platforms, also serves as longtime president of the Dallas-Fort Worth Association of Black Journalists. Additionally, she led the NABJ Region VII during two terms as director. A tireless advocate for journalism and journalists, she revealed during a Question-and-Answer interview conducted by email, how the Bowl-a-thon got its name, some of the event's beneficiaries and the highest score she's ever bowled.
Where did the name of the event come from?
"Don't Believe the Hype" is a hit song from the popular rap group, Public Enemy. I used the song as the opening for my award-winning talk show on KKDA-AM, "Reporters Roundtable with Cheryl Smith." When I decided to come up with a fundraiser, I bounced around names and a friend suggested I use the song. So, I called Chuck D and told him what I wanted to do and asked his permission. He said, 'Yes!' He actually came for the first event and also for the 10th anniversary.
What was your original vision?
Just to bring together people to have fun and raise money for scholarships.
Have you achieved your original vision?
Yes, people consider the event to be a quality program and while I have raised a significant amount of money over the past 22 years, I would like to raise so much more.
How much money has the event raised since its inception?
We have raised over $300,000.
Why did you decide to use bowling to raise money?
Growing up in New Jersey, we went to the movies, bowled and skated. I felt that bowling was something that people of all ages can do. After a while, I couldn't see myself 85 [and] skating. Maybe there are some, but not me. ...
What's the best game (score) you've bowled?
I was on a bowling team in 8th grade and used to go bowling with my Godmother and her friends. The best game I bowled was about three years ago, and it was like a 230. Everyone was amazed. I was and am still in shock.