Communities Foundation Of Texas Celebrates The First $2B Of Grantmaking And Looks Ahead To The Next Billion
Tuesday, February 11, was a big old day. Despite chilly rain and bumper-to-bumper drive home, folks were racing home either to learn the New Hampshire primary results or to see the finals of the Westminster Dog Show.
But the Communities Foundation of Texas‘ celebration get together seemed to trump all. The welcome mat had hardly been put out at 5 p.m. when the lobby was filled with CFT supporters like Sarah Losinger, Carter Malouf, Peter Dauterman, Dave Westberry, Ronnie Johnson, Pat Porter, Becky Bright, Andy Scripps, Andy Teller, Nancy Cozzie, Jan and Fred Hegi, Susan Swan Smith and Ellen and John McStay.
The occasion was to celebrate CFT’s hitting the $2B mark. Here’s a report from the field:
Confetti canons marked the occasion as Communities Foundation of Texas (CFT) board trustees, fund holders, and community leaders came together on Tuesday, February 11, to celebrate a momentous occasion and historic milestone – $2 billion in cumulative charitable grantmaking from CFT since its inception in 1953.
CFT held the celebration to thank donors, partners and champions who collectively made the grantmaking milestone possible. Many current and past trustees were present for the evening and were acknowledged for their excellence in leadership and stewardship, including Connie O’Neill, Bobby Lyle, Judy Gibbs, Tom Montgomery, Matrice Ellis-Kirk and former state senator, the Honorable Florence Shapiro.
Both new and longtime donors celebrated together, including Meredith and Jack Woodworth, whose family has a 50+ year relationship with CFT, as well as recent alumni and new members of CFT’s Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy cohort such as Amber Scheurer and Julian Mensah. Community partners and leaders mixed and mingled, from Gillian Breidenbach of The Dallas Morning News and CFT’s Monica Egert Smith to Ken Malcolmson, Judge Clay Jenkins, and Farmer’s Branch city council representative Cristal Retana.
CFT fund holders Ellie and Scott Boxer caught up with Jennifer Sampson at the event, as well as CFT board trustee Debra Brennan Tagg and CFT supporter Dianne Adleta.
Attendees enjoyed passed hors d’oeuvres served by crowd favorite Abraham Salum and wine by beverage sponsor E. & J. Gallo Winery’s Élevage Collection. Advanced sommelier Kristin Short was on hand to represent the wineries she selected to feature from Élevage’s “Women Behind the Wine“ series, which she suggested paired nicely to provide a warm welcome to CFT’s new female board chair, Alfreda Norman, senior vice president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
Immediate past Board Chair Jim Bass and President/CEO Dave Scullin made welcoming remarks and introduced Alfreda. A new celebratory video was debuted at the event, overviewing highlights of the milestone and cameos of those there like Ann and Chuck Eisemann.
Dave’s remarks recapped some of CFT’s history: For 67 years, CFT has worked side by side with donors, nonprofit partners and community leaders on some of the most challenging issues in our community. CFT currently manages more than 1,000 charitable funds that support a wide range of issues – everything from education and the arts, to animals and social services. Some donors are well-known community leaders and longtime philanthropists who have invested in notable projects that have changed our community landscape – things like the Meyerson Symphony Center, Klyde Warren Park, AT&T Performing Arts Center and the Eisemann Center in Richardson. Other donors are folks who give quietly, behind the scenes, and prefer their names never be known, even as their giving to schools, hospitals, animal shelters and neighborhood development corporations transforms North Texas. CFT’s donors also include the 100,000 people who gave to their favorite causes last year on North Texas Giving Day, including young elementary school students who collect change and raise money through lemonade stands to support disaster relief following Hurricane Harvey or social service agencies through the Common Cents program for students at Dallas ISD.
CFT reached its first billion dollars in grantmaking in 2009 which took over 50 years, and it took only ten years to achieve the second billion.
Dave joked, “At that growth rate; we only have 2 years to give the next billion!” He then turned serious, noting, “The real story is not the dollars, it’s the thousands of people who give and the tens of thousands of people helped. That’s the secret sauce that makes for a vibrant community.”
Dave also noted that CFT’s grants support a wide array of causes and organizations, but it’s no surprise that over the years, the largest percentage of grant dollars – 26% – went to support education. CFT has had a deep focus on education for many years, but especially in the last 15 years following an extraordinary investment by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in what is now known as CFT’s Educate Texas. Educate Texas is a program of CFT that works on large-scale, systemic change by partnering with school districts across our state, as well as entities like the Texas Education Agency, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, and the Texas Workforce Commission. Educate Texas is working with partners like Texas Instruments to prepare students for careers in the STEM fields, and with organizations like the Commit Partnership to ensure that schools are staffed with the very best teachers and principals. Of CFT’s $2 billion in grants, $80 million has been granted through Educate Texas.
CFT funding has also had an impact on helping to build economic security for working families in North Texas. Over the last several years, CFT has focused a significant portion of their discretionary funds on building the capacity of local nonprofits serving working families, partnering with donors and funders like J.P. Morgan Chase, Texas Women’s Foundation and United Way of Metropolitan Dallas. Thanks to these collective efforts, nearly 8,000 individuals have been helped along the path of economic security.
No highlight reel of CFT’s grantmaking would be complete without a mention of CFT’s largest fund and significant grantmaking muscle, the W.W. Caruth, Jr. Fund. The Caruth Fund was established by Will Caruth in 1970 to support innovative, transformational investments in and across education, public safety, and health. Since Mr. Caruth’s death in 1990, the Caruth Fund has granted more than $200 million in high-impact grants that seek to provide scalable solutions to some of the most difficult issues of our time. These are only a few examples of the breadth and depth of CFT’s work, as there are literally hundreds more behind the $2 billion milestone.
Jim Bass discussed from the podium how by lifting others, we all rise, and how it’s possible to be something much bigger than ourselves. Alfreda closed the evening by paying tribute to all who contributed to the grantmaking milestone, toasting to all that’s been accomplished in the past, and the opportunities that lie ahead in our future. As everyone raised their glasses for a champagne toast, Dallas Winds began to play, confetti cannons went off, and the room was filled with further fanfare and fun!
* Photo Credit: Kim Leeson
Like the swallows returning to Mission San Juan Capistrano, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Presentation Gala debutantes in their billowing white gowns were presented on stage at the Morton Meyerson before family and friends on Saturday, February 8. While the Gittings portraits were lined up at the lobby entrance, the Renaissance Foyer and the upper level Loge Terrace were filled with beautifully decorated tables for the seated supper that would follow the presentation. The scene was set for the 32 debs and their Honor Guard escorts to rule the night.
Following the group photos of the debs and the Honor Guard, the girls in white gowns headed to the Meyerson’s backstage area and the guests made for the lower level lobby for a reception. There, 2020 Dallas Symphony Orchestra Presentation Chair Melissa Lewis was checking her cellphone on the whereabouts of her husband, Buddy Lewis. It seems that he had left his credentials somewhere. Melissa mentioned that they should just forget the search for the document, laughing that she “had pull to get him in.”
Barry Hancock had the coolest accessory of the night. After a snow-skiing snafu resulted in a collision, damaging his ACL, Barry had a cup-holder attached to his left crutch. When a photo was required, wife Margaret Hancock in her Patti Flowers 2019 Crystal Charity Ball gown quickly stepped in, enabing Barry to set his crutches aside.
The looks of the night were fashionably formal for the most part, with Deb mother Elizabeth Gambrell in blue and white Herrera, for example. (Husband Eric Gambrell was resplendent in red sash and white tie; cracked Eric: “Just call me Mr. Ambassador.”) Lisa Troutt was in an emerald gown by Stanley Korshak’s Mackenzie Brittingham.
But there were a few oops, too, like the gal in a size-too-small red jumpsuit. Then there was the young lady in a short white dress with black fringe hem and partial sleeves that would have been right at home in a 1920s speakeasy.
Jason Downing was a man caught between two daughters. Daughter Caroline Downing had already bowed in 2018 and was president-elect for the Symphony Assembly. On hand for the night was daughter Katherine Downing, whose future includes a bow on the Meyerson stage next year. When asked whether his white tie and tails could be recycled for Katherine’s debut, he got a resounding no-vote from wife Laura Downing. When he suggested that the girls’ white deb gowns might also be drafted into wedding duties when the time came, he was vetoed once again.
Mike McCullough with wife Sharon McCullough was receiving congratulations on receiving the Vance Miller Award at the Gentleman’s Evening at the Dallas Country Club on the previous Thursday night. Mike admitted surprise at the unexpected honor.
Meanwhile, the debs were backstage in their final stages of preparation for the presentation. While some rehearsed their Texas dips with event producer Jan Strimple, others chowed down on cheese and fruit and water or just chilled with pals and papas like Eric Gambrell, Wade Jones and Marc Sigel. 2019 deb Kathleen Gamso was backstage too, helping to coordinate things. When one person complimented her on her 2019 bow, Kathleen thanked the person, proudly adding that she was the first special-needs deb.
Then, just as the Meyerson chimes sounded, everyone took their places, both in the symphony hall and behind the curtain. Kristi Hoyl was attending her first DSOL Deb Presentation and was warned that it was not going to be a sedate night of controlled applause and stiff upper lips. She seemed surprised but prepared as guests took their seats and waited for the program to get under way.
For the most part, though, the presentation came off without a hitch. Kim Brannon, president of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League, kicked things off before bringing on Melissa. Also recognized were Honorary Chairs Dr. Linda Burk and Dr. John Gilmore, the various Presentation Ball committee chairs and then the venerable Stan Gardner, who would serve once again as announcer. As each of the 32 debs (Emily Baschab, Audrey Berner, Isabella Cox, Grace Crenshaw, Gracie Davis, Maddy Duvall, Maddie Esping, Eleanor Gambrell, Georgia Hallam, Hunter Hart, Kate Jones, Izzy Keene, Ellie King, Katie Kottwitz, Mary Kumpf, Avery LeVoyer, Catherine Magee, Audrey Magnuson, Allie McWhorter, Shelby Nelson, Grace Olson, Annalea Pedigo, Beth Ryan, Kendell Sigel, Margaret Smith, Campbell Swango, Sara TaCcito, Julia Tribolet, Savannah Troutt, Natalie Ward, Brynn Weakley and Genny Wood) was called to the stage in turn by Stan, there were only a few rafter-raising whoops and screams for particular debs and bows that amazed all.
When everyone repaired to the dinner-and-dancing area, they saw the tables laid out for a repast that would include green salad, grilled beef filet and either a lemon curd tart or a Mexican chocolate torte. First, though, there was the Grand Waltz to take care of. Before the presentation had begun, Marc Sigel admitted that he hadn’t been a dancer at his wedding, and that he wasn’t expecting much to come of the post-presentation dad-deb first dance of the night. But lo and behold, when the Taylor Pace Orchestra struck up the first notes of “Moon River,” Marc and daughter Kendell Sigel were front and center on the dance floor, looking quite at home.
For loads of more looks of the night, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.
JUST IN: Children’s Medical Centers And Haven Behavioral Hospital To Collaborate To Help Children With Mental Health Issues
Last Thursday the Crystal Charity Ball committee went on their annual bus tour to visit the year’s beneficiaries. The final stop was at Children’s Medical Center Dallas, where Children’s Medical Center Foundation President Brent Christopher explained how the CCB gift of $1,179,000 would benefit mental health emergencies at Children’s Medical Center Dallas.
Midway in his talk, he alluded to an upcoming development that would further enhance the services provided by both Children’s Medical Center in Dallas and Plano for youngsters suffering from mental health issues. But he didn’t provide details, since the arrangement wasn’t ready then to go public.
Today it is.
The plans call for the Haven Behavioral Hospital of Frisco to become part of the Children’s Health Care Network, which is “a collaborative network of health care providers focused on improving the quality of care for children in the community.”
As Brent explains, “Haven is an acute care psychiatric hospital (literally located in Frisco), specializing in mental health and substance abuse issues for patients ranging in age from 12 years to senior adults. As part of our relationship with Haven, we can work with its staff to facilitate the transfer of patients, in accordance with applicable laws, who present on one of our campuses in need of inpatient behavioral health care to Haven’s inpatient program. This allows for increased access to an environment of care that best meets their needs, while decreasing the number of hours, or days, these patients are held in our ERs while we seek placement for them.
“Of course, you know that transformational change in the pediatric mental health space will not happen overnight,” Brent continued. “But, this is an encouraging step. Children’s Health will continue working to determine how we can collaborate appropriately to address this growing need.”
In other words, if a child arrives at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas or Plano showing signs of mental health issues and requiring inpatient care, they may be treated at Children’s or referred to another community resource like Haven Behavioral Hospital of Frisco, which is joining the Children’s network.
In this day and age when all too often children are taking their own lives and dealing with traumatic situations, this new relationship will be lifesaving and life-changing for area youngsters and their families.
While all the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Presentation Balls have been brilliantly fun fundraisers for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the 2020 ball had just a whiff of change and more fun on Saturday, February 8, at the Meyerson. Perhaps it was the change of plans having the debs gather their white gowns and head backstage immediately after the group photo. Even that was a little different. In addition to the very proper portrait shot of the debs, the Gittings’ team let them take a debs-having-fun photo.
Regardless nary a deb missed her legendary Texas Dip and all of the Honor Guard escorts were front and center to assist the debs to their feet to the delight of their family and friends.
For a check of the debs being presented and the fun of the night, check out the MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.
Dallas CASA has a new crop of directors as well as a familiar face serving as board chair. Replacing ExxonMobil’s Rob Schleckser in the role of board chair will be AT&T Senior VP of Human Resources and Chief Diversity Officer Corey Anthony, who will hold that position for 2020 and 2021.
Both Corey and his wife Priscilla Anthony have been sworn volunteer advocates “assigned to cases of abused and neglected children living in foster care.”
In his spare time, Corey also is a Junior Achievement of Dallas board member.
Dallas Mavericks CEO Cynt Marshall will serve as chair-elect. In addition to having a 36-year career with AT&T, vivacious Cynt “has brought a new corporate culture to the Dallas Mavericks and is a sought-after speaker and leader.”
The new board members include:
- Jamal Carty is co-founder and a managing partner at Breton Park Capital Partners LLC. He is a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Business School.
- Margaret Cervin joins the board as the Kappa Alpha Theta representative. She is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin School of Law and has worked in energy efficiency and international affairs at the U.S. Department of Energy.
- Beth Cholerton is the Dallas CASA Children’s Council representative to the board. She is president of Dallas CASA Children’s Council, a principal volunteer support group for Dallas CASA. Cholerton has also been a volunteer advocate since 2014.
- Megan Sterquell joins the board as the Junior League of Dallas representative. She is a Dallas CASA volunteer advocate and serves on the boards of Dallas CASA Children’s Council and Dallas CASA Young Professionals. She is a vice president at Goldman Sachs.
* Photo provided by Dallas CASA
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