40 Stories for 40 Years: Mike Gayler

by TFP User 1 | Aug 30, 2018

In 1988 Mike Gayler met The Family Place’s Executive Director Diane McGauley through a coworker at Coopers & Lybrand, Tom Eschenbrenner, who was a board member of The Family Place. Mike started volunteering and soon became a part of a team that opened our first Resale Shop.

“At the time, The Family Place was receiving more donations of clothing and furniture than we could use,” Mike says. “We didn’t have the space to store it, so we gave some of the donations to other organizations to sell in their thrift stores. But we desperately needed the money since donations were scarce, and we also wanted a place for our families to shop since many left their homes with only the clothes they were wearing.”

A team of volunteers, including Mike, attorney Holly Farabee, and The Container Store founder Garrett Boone, among others, initially raised seed capital for the store by having a huge garage sale.

“One hot summer day just before the garage sale, the owner of a big home in Highland Park donated a large number of items including furniture, art and clothes. We rented a box truck and enlisted a fraternity at SMU to help us move,” Mike says.

When the fraternity guys didn’t show up, Mike and three women volunteers, in dresses, loaded that truck over the next four hours, finishing the job and ultimately enabling the garage sale to raise enough money to open the store.

“Our goal for the first year was to raise $25,000,” Mike says. “We met our goal in the first month we were open.”

Last year The Family Place opened a second Resale Boutique in McKinney, and our two thrift stores now raise significant funds for the organization and provide vouchers to nearly 500 families each year who received clothing and furniture to start new lives free from violence.

Mike, now a Consulting Partner with the full service public accounting firm of Montgomery Coscia Greilich LLP, also helped start Helping Hands for the Family Place, our first young professionals organization.

“My initial role was volunteer coordinator, which our then-president, Paige Flink, described as an ‘easy job.’ A few weeks after accepting the role, The Family Place became the beneficiary of the Hoop It Up three-on-three basketball tournament, and I was charged with getting 1,500 people to volunteer over the three-day period. Those were the fun days!” he says.

Mike stayed involved with The Family Place for many years serving in various roles including treasurer of the board of directors and helping open our Metrocrest Outreach Center.

“I loved our mission and working with the volunteers,” he says, “including Paige Flink, Peter Weinstock, July Boles, Sue Stabor, Cary Tassopolas and so many others.”