Celebrating the Life our Co-Founder, Mitch Jericho

Edith O'Donnell and Mitch Jericho
Big Thought founders Edith O’Donnell and Mitch Jericho

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Big Thought’s co-founder, Mitch Jericho.

Mitch’s words and wisdom continue to ring true for Big Thought:

“Our strengths lie in our ability to do research and study the need of our community. This gives us the understanding to provide practical and compassionate programs serving our communities.”

Mitch JerichoMitch dedicated much of her adult life to community leadership and volunteerism, particularly in providing access to the arts to youth. Her early volunteer work included board positions for the Texas Association for Symphony Orchestra League culminating in her role of President of the American Symphony Orchestra Volunteer Council. In 1992, she was chosen as the only Texan in the top 50 nationally recognized individuals whose talents touched the lives of many orchestras.

Mitch often set the benchmark for other volunteers. She was a founder/co-founder/president of diverse organizations such as the Dallas Commission on Children and Youth, Friends of Timberlawn’s Psychiatric Research Foundation, the Volunteer Council Center of Greater Dallas, the volunteer ministry program at St Michel’s Episcopal Church, the Visiting Nurse’s Association and the Women’s Council of Dallas County.

Mitch was a pioneer and champion of arts education in Dallas. Governor Clements appointed her to the Texas Commission on the Arts. She was on the Texas Arts Council and chairman of the advisory board for the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing Arts. The culmination of her passion was focused on Big Thought (formerly Young Audiences of North Texas). She was co-founder of the Young Audiences for North Texas and served on the national board for Young Audiences. She received the National Volunteer Leadership Award from Young Audiences.

Gigi Antoni and Mit
Gigi Antoni, former Big Thought CEO & Mitch Jericho at Big Thought’s 30th Anniversary Gala in 2019

“Mitch Jericho was a force of nature who willed into existence the best for her community. In the grand tradition of no-nonsense can-do Texas women, she did it all with intelligence, generosity, uncompromising standards, and steely determination. Her true legacy lies in the many Dallasites she challenged to step-up and lead. She recruited, mentored, and schooled young board and staff leaders for decades, inspiring them to a lifetime of service. They each amplify her spirit and contributions beyond measure. If you knew Mitch, you know that was probably her plan all along.”

Gigi Antoni, Director of Learning and Enrichment at the Wallace Foundation, and Former CEO of Big Thought

In 2019, Big Thought created the Mitch Jericho Visionary Voice Award to recognize a young person who has participated in Big Thought programming and has created their own path to success with positive impact to the community. We were honored that, at the age of 94, she was able to attend the event and meet the inaugural honoree, Jose “Bone” Garcia.

Mitch will be missed by family, friends, her community and volunteers who perform unselfish service for others. Her legacy will continue to live on for youth in Dallas through creative learning programs at Big Thought.