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CFT’s Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy Cohort Graduates, Awards $50,000

  • Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy,
  • Grant Awards,
  • grants,
  • nonprofits
CFT’s Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy Cohort Graduates, Awards $50,000

$50,000 grant will further education equity through nonprofit Per Scholas

DALLAS – June  2019 – Communities Foundation of Texas (CFT) and its inaugural cohort of young philanthropists, “Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy” (ELP), are thrilled to announce a $50,000 grant award to Per Scholas, a 501(c)3 nonprofit whose mission is to open doors to transformative technology careers for individuals from often overlooked communities in Dallas and seven other U.S. cities.


The Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy’s grant will be used by Per Scholas Dallas to provide 110 motivated individuals in the Dallas-Fort Worth area with tuition-free IT instruction leading to industry-recognized credentials, along with career services to secure jobs in the booming tech industry. In Dallas, Per Scholas offers Network Support: a 15-week full-time, tuition-free training that provides students with CompTIA A+ and Network+ professional certifications. Students are led through a rigorous, hands-on curriculum covering computer hardware and software, setting up networks, troubleshooting mobile devices and more. In addition, Per Scholas provides career coaching, individualized support services, social service referrals, and up to two years of career development services following graduation.

“This grant will support Per Scholas Dallas to connect 110 individuals to family-sustaining IT careers in 2019, a 38% increase in students served from 2017. This funding will help motivated students increase their income by over 400%. Graduates will launch careers in technology that can support their families and enhance their neighborhoods,” said Stephanie Valadez, Managing Director at Per Scholas Dallas.

Per Scholas’ IT training meets a pressing need in Dallas’ growing tech sector. The U.S. Department of Labor projects the creation of 500,000 new IT jobs between 2014-24, making the IT industry one of the fastest growing employment sectors. By 2022, Dallas businesses will grow their non management IT workforce from 109,000 to over 125,000. Yet, Dallas faces an unemployment rate of 4.2%, with 19% of residents living in poverty and 66% of adults without post-secondary credentials. Through an employer-informed technical curriculum, Per Scholas has a proven track record in training unemployed or underemployed talent from historically overlooked communities to acquire the skills needed to succeed in long-term tech careers.

“While Per Scholas is a national workforce development organization, they are relatively new to the Dallas scene. Their training has proven to raise the income rate of the underemployed from $8/hour to an average of $18/hour, providing the lift that many need to improve their upward mobility out of hardship. Currently, 85 percent of Per Scholas students graduate from their program and 80 percent of graduates earn an average starting full-time wage of $18 per hour,” noted Tina Lin, CFT’s strategic initiatives officer, who leads CFT’s ELP program.

“The $50,000 grant from this year’s Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy cohort will go a long way to support this incredible nonprofit in growing their impact to help stamp out poverty in Dallas,” said Lin.

Applications Now Open for 2019-2020 Cohort

CFT’s Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy is a nine-month program with a mission to engage, educate and connect North Texas young leaders to take an active role in building thriving communities for all. The annual cohort launched in September 2018 and now annually accepts applications from young leaders age 25 to 40 that are interested in learning about strategic giving, grantmaking and philanthropy.

CFT’s 2019-2020 ELP program, which begins in early September and runs through June is now accepting applications online here. Applications must be submitted online by June 14.

About the 2018-19 Graduating Cohort and their recent $50,000 Grant to Per Scholas
The inaugural group participated in nine months of education about, engagement with, and connecting to Dallas nonprofits to help strengthen the philanthropic impact of the next generation of leaders in North Texas.

“At Communities Foundation of Texas, we strive to encourage young community leaders to join us in building thriving communities for all. We want to help foster a community of thoughtful, strategic and collaborative individuals to actively redefine what philanthropy means to this next generation,” said CFT President and CEO David J. Scullin.

“This inaugural group of young philanthropists was tremendously dedicated, enthusiastic and engaged in grantmaking. We are committed to walking alongside the growing number of young professionals looking for opportunities to create positive change in their communities through their time, talent, and treasure.”

To lay the groundwork for the entire program, CFT’s economic security experts presented the Dallas Economic Opportunity assessment, a recently debuted report highlighting the key challenges and issues facing Dallas County. To further bolster the cohort’s grantmaking process, participants heard from a variety of community leaders and philanthropists at each session.

“Our monthly meetings covered numerous relevant and engaging topics such as key community issues, ways to give and engage, board leadership and training, and grantmaking” said Lin.

As part of their journey in philanthropy, participants had the opportunity to collectively grant $50,000 to area nonprofit(s) of their choosing. Through a guided exploration of community issues, the 2019 graduating cohort worked together to identify their priority issue areas, which they ultimate selected as Education/Youth, with a focus on education equity and opportunity; Economic Mobility, with a focus on access to living-wage jobs; and Hunger, Food and Nutrition, with a focus on access to healthy food. The group also chose a collective set of guiding values: community, sustainability, and innovation.

Six local nonprofits presented their organizations and funding needs to the ELP group. The cohort then made site visits to the three organizations that best aligned with their funding priorities—GROW North Texas, Interfaith Family Services, and Per Scholas – to help determine which to grant all or a portion of the funding.

Following their half-day site visit session, CFT’s funding experts guided the cohort to create funding distribution scenarios in small groups, ranging from funding all three nonprofits to just one. They then presented their funding recommendations to the entire cohort. After an engaging discussion, a clear majority of the votes indicated the group would award the full $50,000 grant to one nonprofit—Per Scholas.

On June 11, 2019, a graduation celebration was held and the $50,000 check was presented to Per Scholas. In six months, Per Scholas will report back to Communities Foundation of Texas and the Emerging Leaders cohort on their grant use and impact.

“We’re proud of our work in the Dallas community and thrilled with the opportunity this grant presents to expand our impact on local economic mobility. Per Scholas and its supporters do more than just train students for tech roles, we present a new pathway to prosperity for our students to build exciting and stable careers,” said Valadez.

Cohort Participant Feedback

“As a young professional with a strong love for DFW, it can be overwhelming to want to do so much at once,” noted participant and menswear designer Giorgio Cuellar, who owns Giorgio Verdi. “What I really appreciate about the ELP program is that we look at data and statistics and then have real conversations to collectively learn the community’s pressing issues and what we’re most passionate about, and how we can make a difference.”

“What an amazing experience to be part of ELP! I truly enjoyed learning and developing my philanthropic vision,” said cohort participant DeVaughdric Ross, an advisor/consultant with Liberty Mutual Group. “This program is a treasured blessing for young professionals trying to understand how best to serve the community and support the causes dear to us.”

View photos from the 2018-2019 cohort:


Learn more at www.CFTexas.org/ELP



CFT thanks the following Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy Steering Committee members for their participation in helping to build the program: Aline Bass, Megan Bowdon, Jennifer Lan, Noble Modu, Gunnar Rawlings, Tucker Robinson, DeVaughdric Ross, Jose Manuel Santoyo, Sally Sha, David Shields, and Lucas Shelton.


Communities Foundation of Texas
Communities Foundation of Texas (CFT) works to strengthen our community through a variety of charitable funds and strategic grantmaking initiatives. The foundation professionally manages more than 1,000 charitable funds for families, companies, foundations and nonprofits and has awarded more than $1.8 billion in grants since its founding in 1953. With the vision of building thriving communities for all, CFT invests in programs like Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy that encourage young community leaders to take an active role in building thriving communities for all.  www.cftexas.org

Per Scholas
Per Scholas is a national nonprofit that drives positive and proven social change in communities across the country. Through rigorous and tuition-free technology training and professional development, we prepare motivated and curious adults who are unemployed or underemployed for successful careers as
technology professionals, and we create onramps to businesses in need of their talents. Today we provide our solutions in eight cities across the country: Atlanta, GA; Greater Boston, MA; Greater Cincinnati, OH; Columbus, OH; Dallas, TX; the National Capital Region; Newark, NJ and New York, NY. To date, Per Scholas has trained nearly 10,000 individuals, helping them build lasting, life-changing skills and careers in technology.
Media Contact: Jake McIntosh, Director, Strategic Communications –  jmcintosh@perscholas.org; (978) 578-6821

Nicole Paquette
Nicole Paquette
Senior Director, Communications, Public Relations, and External Affairs

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