A Day in the Life of Leigh Danley

This day in the busy life of a philanthropically-minded Dallas mom of one ends with a little Netflix and Cabernet

Leigh Danley is a veteran of the nonprofit world, currently serving on the Board of Directors for The Partnership for Community Partners of Dallas, CASA Children’s Council and Friends of Fair Park. She also acts as the co-chair for Partners Card benefiting the Family Place, now celebrating its 40th anniversary. She and her husband, Brian, a client executive in the IT industry, live together in Old East Dallas with their 4-year-old son, Maxwell.

5:15AM The day starts for me. The boys in my house like to sleep in, so I get up early to make a cup of coffee and let out our two dogs, Minnie, a 13-year-old Rat Terrier mix, and our 1-year-old Red Bone Coonhound, Bean. I pack lunch for Maxwell and organize his backpack.

6AM Head out for my morning walk with Bean. She’s our resident gentle giant and Maxwell’s biggest fan. Early mornings are my alone time to go over the daily schedule for our family and sneak in a little exercise. After years in the gym, I realized that fresh air and simply getting outside daily are the secret to keeping me centered.

6:45AM Back home. Check my first round of emails to see if anything urgent popped up over night. Get the boys up. I take a quick shower while Brian feeds the dogs, makes breakfast and helps Maxwell get dressed for school.

8AM Head to drop off Maxwell. He loves his school, so our morning drives consist of sing-alongs to Kidz Bop, The Highway SiriusXM station and occasionally a song from school (I laugh and sing too). We drive by the dog park at White Rock Lake and Maxwell and I talk discuss how much fun Bean and Minnie would have there with the other pups.

9AM Arrive at my bi-weekly Partners Card Chair meeting at The Family Place. Over the next hour and a half, we discuss the current number of participating stores, brainstorm potential sponsors and meet with the advertising agency to review the new branding strategy and upcoming app changes. There are some very exciting things on the horizon, which means we have a really heavy agenda right now.

11AM Errand time: pick up dry cleaning, grab essentials at CVS and schedule appointments with the family dentist and doctors.

12PM Arrive at the Dallas office of CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) for our quarterly meeting. During this Children’s Council board meeting, we discuss the upcoming volunteer recognition event. As this year’s chair, I’m honored to be able to recognize these hard-working volunteers. Our Board of Directors strategizes speakers, recognition opportunities and our anticipated 350-person guest list. Wrap up with the Parade of Playhouses event timeline and raffle ticket sales plan, and begin work on corporate and individual underwriting lists.

2PM Home. Brian is working from his home office, so he picked up Maxwell from school today and already got him down for a nap. We work together as a team to make sure that everyone is able to get things done on busy days like these. We catch up and I put chicken in the crockpot for dinner.

3PM Naptime is over. We do our best to get dressed for Spanish class while playing with our pups. Proud that Maxwell wore both of his shoes today. Head over to one of our friends’ homes so that Maxwell can join his five friends for a private class with a dual-language teacher. Our family travels frequently, and we want Maxwell to be comfortable communicating in another language. Dual-language environments are critical for today’s kids to be successful. Maxwell truly enjoys every learning opportunity that is offered to him and we want to keep encouraging his educational enrichment.

4PM While Maxwell is at Spanish class, I make a quick grocery store run. There’s enough time that I can return emails and a few phone calls in the parking lot.

5PM Return home and we head outside to play. Soccer and t-ball are both constants in our backyard. Bean fields balls for us—score!

5:50PM Take the chicken out to rest before Maxwell and I walk to the soccer field for practice. On the way out the door, I grab an orange and an apple for snacks. Soccer practice is absolutely hilarious. The kids have more fun visiting and playing with each other than actually kicking the ball, but the coach is so patient and does his best to get his team to work on drills and skills.

6:45PM Back home. Brian emerges from his home office while I put the finishing touches on dinner. It’s taco night for the boys. Remind him to feed the dogs.

7:30PM Arrive at Crudo in Preston Center for a mom’s night out with some other mothers from our school class. I treasure these nights with friends. We plan upcoming Parent Teacher Organization meetings, share a lot of laughs and enjoy a delicious bottle of Cabernet.

8PM Brian texts to let me know that it’s bedtime for Maxwell—a little later than usual because it was a busy day. Like most moms know, flexibility is the key to our family life. We all go with the flow so that we are able to live each day to the very fully … and stress-free!

9:30PM Home from dinner. Time to check emails, voicemails and respond to anything that I may have missed during the day.

11PM Settle in for one episode of The Crown before it’s lights out around midnight.