With more and more philanthropic endeavors taking place north of the Bush Turnpike, Communities of Texas Foundation expanded its availability to provide resources by opening an office at 2401 Internet Blvd., Suite 101, Hall Park G1, in Frisco on Tuesday, February 12. With more than 200 including present CFT trustees and Collin County resident, the celebration was highlighted by the presentation of $20,000 grants to CASA of Collin Country and ManeGait. For more details, here’s a report from the field:
On Tuesday, February 12, Communities Foundation of Texas (CFT) hosted a gathering to announce the opening of a new office in Collin County, located in Frisco’s Hall Park. Who knew an office park could draw a crowd of more than 200? The usual suspects from CFT were there like CFT’s Board Chair Jim Bass, CEO Dave Scullin, Chief Relationship Officer Monica Egert Smith, Senior Director of Donor Relations Carolyn Newham along with new faces like their recently announced trustee Debra Brennan Tagg who was happy to drive up for the occasion as her mom lives right behind the new office. CFT trustee Michael Dardick was also there with his wife Jill and was thrilled we’d shortened their commute to the signature CFT event.
The energy in the room was high. Donors were abuzz waiting to hear about the first grants from the Fund for Collin County. Names were listed on the snappy new signage and included couples and businesses from Plano, McKinney, Allen and Frisco. Deborah and Scott Boxer, Jeff Balcombe, Tracy and Brian Rinehart and Carolyn and Mark Speese, as well as and many more, were on hand to be a part of the festivities. Other small world connections were made through the night like former Frito Lay CFO Dave Rader, who was invited by friend Dave Scullin, and cheerfully greeted CFT’s Carol Goglia reminiscing on their years together at PepsiCo.
After mingling and enjoying appetizers from Salum, CFT Collin County Director of Charitable Giving Sarah Beeks Higdon began the remarks. She welcomed everyone and shared that CFT’s Fund for Collin County (created in fall 2017 with an initial $500,000 investment from CFT) has now grown to more than $1 million. Sarah shared that just the day before Legacy Texas bank had come in to put the Fund over the $1 million goal. Chuck Eikenberg and Tracy Ready of Legacy Texas were humbled to receive the applause that followed.
Sarah then introduced Collin County Commissioner Duncan Webb who read a proclamation to honor CFT’s long investment in Collin County and salute the new opening. He joked that counties don’t really do proclamations, but he was happy the court had approved this one and then rattled through several “whereas”es to salute CFT’s new office as well as its far-reaching history of service in North Texas, dating back to 1953. The crowd cheered at the fact that CFT has awarded more than 4,000 grants to 923 nonprofits in Collin County totaling more than $51 million since 2006.
Next Dave CFT President and CEO Dave Scullin, who has resided in Collin County for more than 30 years got up to thank his neighbors for being there and announce the first grants from the Fund for Collin County. The first two grants went to CASA of Collin County, which provides volunteer advocates for children, and ManeGait, which provides equine therapy to children and adults with neurological impairments. Both will receive grants in the amount of $20,000 each to help continue their unique services.
Dave also talked about the other examples of CFT’s work in Collin County like the Collin County Nonprofit Leadership Institute, which CFT had launched in January in partnership with United Way of Metropolitan Dallas; North Texas Giving Day which in 2018 more than $5 million for 334 Collin County nonprofit organizations and CFT for Business (affectionately referred to as “CFT4B”) that works with businesses across North Texas to establish a customized philanthropic strategy and for their local corporate giving. CFT Trustee Tom Montgomery and his wife Beth have been involved for years with CFT4B and were there singing its praises to director Sejal Desai as well as Josh Floren and Mary Jo Dean from Texas Health Resources.
To close out the night, they introduced long-time Plano leader Jeri Chambers who joined CFT’s staff. By day, Jeri will office out of the new Frisco office with Sarah Beeks Higdon and by night Jeri can be seen at the Plano ISD school board meetings. Jeri and other CFT leadership handed out the chocolate-covered graham cracker favors as all departed the delightful event.
* Photo credit: Kim Leeson