A dodgeball fundraiser is just one of the ways David Gail gives back
Published in 2020 Texas Rising Stars magazine on March 31, 2020
When a tornado ripped through Dallas last October, David Gail’s home was one of more than 900 buildings damaged. It was a scary experience for the 39-year-old attorney, his wife, Sara, and their three young sons. But Gail is quick to distinguish between his family’s temporary situation and the plight of the homeless children helped by Vogel Alcove.
“We have the means to fix our house,” notes Gail, who was back in his office three days after the storm. A partner in Weil, Gotshal & Manges’ corporate department, he handles complex mergers and acquisitions. On this particular Monday, he was working to sign two software deals and a telecom deal in South America.
Gail has been involved with Vogel Alcove since 2012, when his firm took inspiration from Catherine Ryan Hyde’s 1999 book Pay It Forward (and the subsequent movie) and sponsored a program of the same name. Weil challenged its employees to form teams and seeded each with $1,000. Gail led a team that approached Vogel Alcove, then organized a charity dodgeball tournament, featuring 12 teams the first year, when the CEO of Vogel Alcove nearly took a dodgeball to the face. “Other than that, I think it went very well,” Gail says, laughing. The tournament raised approximately $11,000.
Growing up, Gail watched his parents and relatives make volunteering a regular part of their lives—particularly his mother, Janis, who has a long history of charitable involvement in Dallas’ Jewish community. As a teen, Gail volunteered with Planned Parenthood’s peer-to-peer education group, presenting skits to area youth groups and high schools. Today, he is one of the organization’s board members.
In 2014, Gail and his Weil cohorts planned an even bigger version of their dodgeball event. It took place on the main floor of the American Airlines Center, as it has every year since. In 2019, 32 teams competed and raised more than $100,000. The event’s ability to increase exposure for Vogel Alcove and bring in a new generation of volunteers has been just as valuable. “We get a lot of younger professionals coming [to the event] because they’re the ones least likely to tear an ACL,” jokes Gail.
Plans for this year’s tournament may include celebrity players—no details yet. The Weil team, which changes its name annually, eagerly anticipates each year’s moniker and jersey. Choosing the name and designing the jersey are the responsibilities of the firm’s summer associates, who in 2019 christened the team the Liability Dodgers. In 2016, the year the British public voted online to name a new ship Boaty McBoatface, the Weil team went with Teamy McTeamface.
As in years past, Gail’s kids are looking forward to being in the mix with the other ball boys and girls.
The Gails try to impress upon their children the importance of giving back, and the tornado offered one such opportunity. The family’s home is about a quarter-mile from a local elementary school that was badly damaged by the storm. The day after the tornado hit, the Gails discovered the school’s large welcome mat upside-down on their front lawn. David and Sara told the boys if they wanted to use the money in their piggy banks to buy supplies for the school, the couple would match their amounts. Not long after, Sara and the boys delivered the supplies and returned the school’s welcome mat.
“It’s important to recognize that if you can spend some time,” says Gail, “you can give other people the opportunity to be just as fortunate as you are.”
David Gail On a Few of His Favorite Charities
Vogel Alcove: “Vogel Alcove is specifically geared toward educating the children of the homeless in Dallas.”
Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas: “It’s always been important to me, particularly in a state like Texas where family-planning services and reproductive rights seem to constantly be under assault.”
Jewish Family Service of Greater Dallas: “It serves not just Jewish families but all families going through transitional times. There’s a food pantry, a resale shop, clothing for folks who may be temporarily displaced, and also housing services.”