MEET YOUR NEW FRIENDS
A long, long time ago, in a land far away…. just kidding.
Friends 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.
These 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, and it was!
Since 2013, Friends with Benefits has grown from three friends to a board of 5, volunteer group of over 30 and multiple events and campaigns a year!
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.
Co-Founder & President
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 currently works as a graphic designer for Vibra Healthcare and works for charity organizations helping them with marketing and graphic design (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 husband, Ryan and her cocker spaniels, Lancelot & Loki.
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.
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.
Co-Director of Awesomeness
Co-Director of Awesomeness
Andy Folmer – Logistics
Connor Moffitt – Digital Marketing Director
Bethany Rose Larrañaga
Jo Higginbotham – Web Master
Ashley Bookhout – Savior
KJ Jones – Director of Operations
We are lucky to have such great friends that work hard to make these events happen.