A long, long time ago, in a land far away…. just kidding.


FriendswithBenefits_logoFriends with Benefits was formed by three friends, Kiara Helgesen, Mindy Arendt and Charlie Hunter, in Denton, Texas in 2013. They wanted to make a difference for the 2013 tornado victims in Granbury, Texas, where Kiara went to high school. She found out that they were not getting government help, so all three jumped at the opportunity to help them. After much anxiety, beer, whiskey, meetings and conversations with local business owners and charity event experts, they came to the realization that their talks of an event could be reality. A date was chosen in the busy festival town of Denton, only giving them two months to get it all done.

FWB_Paws_facebookprofileThese two months were a blur and went by in a flash. With wonderful support from local businesses, the community, local talent, and in kind sponsors, they event came together. Texas weather decided to come to the event as well. Over 100 degree temperatures all day and a thunderstorm looming in the distance made the attendance not what FWB wanted, but $4,000 was raised during the event. Hood County Habitat for Humanity was very happy about the fundraiser and were very thankful for every penny.

Lessons were learned, experience gained, and determination to show ourselves we can have a more successful event set in for 2014. And we did. Despite the cold and drizzle in 2014, FWB – Paws for a Cause raised $3,000 for Mazie’s Mission and $3,000 for Denton Humane Society.

We believe the third time is a charm and moving the date of the event up, we’re hoping that Mother Nature will be nice to us in 2015. Check out the 2015 details for more information on what we are bringing Denton for 2015!

Mission statement: Friends with Benefits (FWB) is a 501(c)(3) in Denton, Texas that benefits North Texas charitable organizations that better our local communities, schools and/or neighborhoods. Every year, FWB picks a cause and chooses 1-3 charitable organizations to benefit that fit the theme for the year. Our goal is to put on fun events in Denton, Texas to raise funds and awareness to North Texas charitable organizations and causes.

Meet Mindy

Mindy was born and raised in North Texas. She graduated from Era High School after living all over the metroplex. Her next destination was Nacogdoches where she attended Stephen F. Austin State University and studied Photojournalism, worked on the student paper and university yearbook. She found her passion for layout, design and advertising during her time there and discovered her path in graphic design after graduation. Mindy now works for an ad agency based in Dallas, Something Shiny and works for many charity organizations helping them with marketing and graphic design (Best Little Brewfest in Texas, Thin Line Fest, Cloud 9 Charities, and, of course, Friends with Benefits.) She’s been a busy-body her entire life, constantly on the move with many projects going, usually charity work as the focus. When she’s not stuck behind her computer making digital art, you can find her playing on her co-ed city league kickball team, cheering on her Dallas teams (Rangers, Mavs, Cowboys and Stars,) enjoying her love of craft beer at her favorite Denton spots with friends or relaxing with her very patient fiance, Ryan and her cocker spaniel, Lancelot.

President, Sponsorships, Donations, Creative

Meet Tiffany

Tiffany is a yogi, food writer, and the human to 2 sweet pups and 4 temperamental hedgehogs. She graduated from the University of North Texas in 2010, and has been bouncing back and forth between Lewisville and Denton for most of her life. From Corporate Accounting to Venue Managing, she is a jack of all trades and has recently relocated to Fort Worth. Her heart still resides in the little d and being a part of the amazing work FWB does for the Denton community and making a difference in the lives of others through yoga and volunteering efforts.

Treasurer, Zin Master, Milliedouble

Meet Amber

Amber Tyler is the secretary for Friends with Benefits. We have been lucky to have Amber be part of this great non profit since 2014. She is a mother of two that runs a small cake business called Cakes with ALT.

Secretary, Hospitality, Rockstar

Meet Emily

Emily is a child of the world (Army Brat), but finally made North Texas her home when she left D.C. and moved to Flower Mound back in 2005.  After living in FloMo for a few years she moved to Denton where she started her ongoing love/hate relationship with higher ed.  Her current goal is to make it across the stage before any of her former nanny kids do…

When she’s not being passive aggressively tortured by her terrible (adopted) dogs Nash and Naui, (and trying to avoid being a guest on her husband Miles’ podcast), you can usually find her out making mischief with her friends around the Metroplex.  

Title Assistant to the President, Pun Master, Jill of all Trades

Supporting Friends

We are lucky to have such great friends that work hard to make this event happen.

Andy Folmer – Logistics

Kevin Moffitt

Melissa Moffitt

Amanda Newton

Andrew McWilliams – Social Media Coordinator

Bryan Levings

Marielena Carpanzano – Volunteer Coordinator

Viktor Solis – Assistant Volunteer Coordinator

T.J. Tim Cabrera

Casey Ellis

Bethany Rose Larrañaga

Isaac Revette

Jo Higginbotham – Web Master

Ashley Bookhout – Savior

Elizabeth Anna Hancock

Operations Team – Wally Campbell, Matt Mars, Clint Sawyer, Adam Trammell, Tex Bosley, KJ Jones (Director of Operations)


Original Founders:

Meet Charlie

Charlie grew up in the suburbs of Dallas, but feels at home in Denton. Embracing the town’s music culture, he runs a small record label and is on the board of directors for 35 Denton. Currently attending the University of Texas at Dallas for non­profit management, he hopes to turn Friends with Benefits into a staple of the Denton community. He has been a strict vegetarian for most of his life. His favorite food is tacos. His favorite color is blue. He enjoys watching Game of Thrones with Kiara and Lisa “Left Eye” Lopawz. He is currently writing about himself in the third person. He is not amused. He is going to stop now.

Treasurer, Booking, Operations
(Resigned Dec 2016)

Meet Kiara

Born in El Paso, moved to Granbury and landing in Denton, Kiara is a born and raised Texan. After her first year at the University of North Texas she found her way in to the veterinary field and has been working as a Veterinary Technician (Nurse) ever since. With her background in the medical field and a newly developed passion for living a healthier lifestyle, she looks forward to pursuing a new career as Nutritionist once she graduates. Ever since she was a child her family has always supported her strong desire to help others, and it was only natural for her to lend a hand when the town she graduated high school from was hit by devastation. When she saw that volunteers were being turned away, she decided more needed to be done. Friends With Benefits is our way of helping the community the best way we know how. She is thankful to have some amazing people in her life and she is so happy to be working on this project with one of her bet friends and her boyfriend. She couldn’t do it without them and we couldn’t do anything without the help of our friends in the community! When she’s not at the clinic or working on FWB, you can find her and Charlie running around with their border collie Rocko or hanging out at home with their two kitties, Witten Kitten and Lisa “Left-eye” Lopaws.

Vice President, Run Master, Operations (Resigned Aug 2016)