Before leaving Communities Foundation of Texas (CFT), CEO/President Dave Scullin was honored on Wednesday, March 1, with a celebration of community reception at CFT. It was a gathering of community leaders like Florence Shapiro, Matrice Ellis Kirk, outgoing CFT Board Chair Alfreda Norman and incoming Chair Richie Butler, philanthropists Christie Carter, Linda Perryman Evans and Becky Bright, non-profit heads like Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s Kim Noltemy, Community Partners of Dallas’ Paige McDaniel, United Way of Metropolitan Dallas’ Jennifer Sampson and Cristo Rey Dallas’ Patrick Walsh, to name just a few.
As Dave was surrounded by well-wishers, wife Susan Scullin and son Michael Scullin were in the crowd also being congratulated on Dave’s tenure at CFT.
The TI Foundation’s Andy Smith was being congratulated on TI CEO Rich Templeton and his wife Mary Templeton‘s $20M gift to SMU the past Friday. When someone remarked that it was especially interesting since neither of the Templetons had attended SMU, Andy quickly pointed out that Rich was an active member of SMU’s board.
While County Commissioner Judge Clay Jenkins was working the crowd, few knew that news was breaking that former Dallas Police Chief David Brown had turned in his resignation as Chicago Police Department Superintendent to return to Dallas to serve as Chief Operating Officer of Loncar Lyon Jenkins, where Clay is a partner.
Following the reception, guests assembled in the auditorium where Alfreda took her place on the stage and recalled, “For the past three years, it might have seemed that Dave and I were inseparable with many meetings, calls and events we had together each week, especially during the pandemic. While I am very glad the pandemic is in the rear-view mirror, I am truly going to miss this chapter of leadership together Dave, you’ve done such a tremendous job.”
In turning the reins of CFT board leadership over to Richie, she briefly described his many accomplishments and summarized them by saying, “Richie knows how to get things done and make change happen. He’s thoughtful, reliable, actionable and he brings people together.”
Richie acknowledged his predecessor’s years of leadership, saying, “Alfreda accepted the role of board chair and the pandemic hit. And she and Dave together helped us navigate one of our most challenging times as an organizations and as a community, and we owe her deep thanks for all that she did to go above and beyond in her role as chair.”
In a lighter vein, he joked, “I will say this — if I knew Dave was going to retire shortly after I became board chair, I might have reconsidered accepting this role.”
Regarding the search for Dave’s successor, Richie was candid and said, “When I think about Dave, I reflected on the type of leadership we look for. Leaders who have vision, leaders who are organized, and leaders who are committed. Dave embodies each of these to the highest degree and has done an outstanding, tremendous job in terms of leading CFT into its brighter future.
“As a leader, there are often moments when you are called upon and you step up and accept responsibility. I see it that way for me as board chair, and I know the same is true for Dave’s work at CFT – this has truly been a calling for him. This organization is better, our community is better, because Dave Scullin said yes and showed up.”
He addressed the nationwide search for Dave’s successor and interim plans, saying, “I do want to share that while we conduct a national search for our next president and CEO, former CFT board chair and longtime community and business leader Frank Risch will be serving in the interim as my Special Advisor. Considering the strength and experience of CFT’s senior management team and the limited time period involved, we feel this is the optimum way to proceed during the transition period.”
As the applause welcomed Dave to the stage, he started off addressing the immediate plans for CFT: “Many of you have asked, ‘Why?’ is it time for me to retire now. Things are going well and I love this important work. The answer is simple: I’ve been working for about five decades, so it’s time, and CFT is ready. I want to congratulate our new board chair, Richie Butler, who you just heard from, and thank him for leading the board committee overseeing our national search for CFT’s next president and CEO. Alfreda Norman, who you also heard from, will serve on that committee as well. I want to acknowledge former Board Chair Frank Risch, who is traveling and unable to be with us tonight, for his commitment to working with my senior staff on behalf of the Board during this time of transition. If you know these leaders, or any of my senior staff, you know we have excellent hands steering this ship. If you don’t know these inspiring individuals, I hope you take the time to get to know them.”
Dave then reviewed the achievements made since he joined CFT six years ago and what he had learned, like:
- The dollars matter, but talented, inspired people matter most and are a key to lasting impact.
- The biggest impact is made when organizations and people team and collaborate.
- Building thriving communities for all — this drives everything we do.
- The act of giving, in whatever form, financial, intellectual or service, is the glue that binds a community.
- Advancing equity is equally as important as growing community giving and expanding impact.
- Trust is truly the essential ingredient in our work, the most important thing that we aspire to and for.
Dave described today’s CFT as “more and better” in a number of ways, saying, “Overall, we are more focused and aware of who we are, what our North Star is and clear about our role to grow giving, advance equity, and expand impact. These priorities keep us responsive to what’s most important… We found ways to be more impactful… more capable and more representative of the community we serve.”
In conclusion, Dave looked to CFT’s future: “Importantly, the climate here has never been more favorable to change. Think if we turn that propensity to change into momentum to solve or at least better address our biggest challenges: like, educating our youth or enabling more of our citizens to earn a living wage. What kind of a place could the greater Dallas area be? Is that possible? Yes, but we need to align and integrate our efforts across philanthropy, the entire business community, our nonprofit organizations, our elected officials and policy makers. This needs to be done broadly and deeply… let me emphasize the ‘deeply’ element, because a lot of alignment already exists, we need more!”
For more faces that were part of Dave’s celebration of community, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.