June 7, 2010; Source: Fort Worth Business Press | The improving economy seems to be leading more people to the wedding altar, and some enterprising nonprofits in the Dallas-Fort Worth area are cashing in on the sudden jump in nuptials. As an example, the Fort Worth Business Press reports how ACH Child and Family Services of Fort Worth late last year launched a side business, Belltower Chapel & Garden, to capture a piece of the wedding action in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

To handle what they hoped would be a steady stream of weddings and other special events, the agency renovated a 1958 cast-stone chapel and reception hall on its grounds and added a 4,000-square-foot garden. So far that bet has paid off handsomely. Belltower has already booked 108 weddings and has taken in gross revenues in excess of $220,000, or twice the business it expected. Barbara Clark-Galupi, vice president of marketing and social business ventures for ACH, said the agency is just trying to get its share of the $2 billion wedding industry in the region.

ACH is benefiting from its wedding sideline in other ways too. Clark-Galupi told the Business Press, “Our business is bringing in more visitors and greater awareness to the overall programs and services of ACH. We estimate bringing more than 10,000 new visitors this year alone. That can translate to more donations. It’s an exciting opportunity for ACH to build on and it’s a trend we’ll continue to capitalize on for future sustainability.”—Bruce Trachtenberg