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ELP Alumni hone company giving priorities

Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy alumni help their company hone giving priorities.
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Without our knowledge from the ELP program and CFT’s grantmaking methods, our efforts would have been much less organized and likely less aligned with our core company values.
- Tyler Floyd
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After graduating from CFT’s Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy (ELP) program, alumni members and colleagues Tyler FloydDevin DeLapp-Carnes, and Taylor Nipp helped launch a Community Engagement Committee at their company, SFMG Wealth Advisors.

Through the ELP program, Tyler, Taylor, and Devin learned how to set personal strategies for giving and work through grantmaking processes. The trio felt inspired by what they had learned and wanted to help ensure their employer had a structured corporate social responsibility program of its own.

SFMG has a history of giving back and volunteering in partnership with CFT. A long-time CFT for Business member, the organization joined CFT4B’s new Be In Good Company program in 2020. With SFMG’s Melissa Hawkins leading their efforts, SFMG employees have participated in CFT’s Freedom Day since 2014, helping make Freedom Day one of the largest community volunteer events in North Texas. Melissa won CFT’s Freedom Day Engagement Captain of the Year award in 2016, and the organization and its employees also participate in CFT’s North Texas Giving Day. In 2020 alone, employees donated over $17,000 through Giving Day.

Floyd believes that hearing directly from nonprofit leaders through ELP made a lasting impact on his drive to give back, and he credits CFT’s ELP program for providing the framework to launch SFMG’s Community Engagement Committee.

“Without our knowledge from the ELP program and CFT’s grantmaking methods, our efforts would have been much less organized and likely less aligned with our core company values,” said Floyd.

In 2020, the six-member committee worked with CFT staff to establish interests, priority issue areas, core giving values, and purpose. The identified purpose is to proactively impact the community through coordinated, specific efforts available to everyone at the firm, and the collective values identified were community, compassion, innovation, opportunity, and relationships.

A giving statement was soon drafted and adopted to guide the committee’s decisions and goals:
 “At SFMG, we are passionate about making everyday life better for individuals by creating opportunity and access through strong, long-lasting relationships in our community.”

“One of the things we learned firsthand in CFT’s ELP program is that while monetary donations are very helpful for nonprofits, the time, effort, and skills that volunteers bring make a huge impact on organizations. We’re not just saying ‘hey, here’s a check.’ It’s about asking how we can help in as many ways as possible.”– Tyler Floyd, associate wealth advisor, SFMG Wealth Advisors.

SFMG aims to support one to two nonprofits annually through donations and volunteer opportunities, including skills-based volunteering. SFMG offers a day of paid volunteer time off annually for its 33 employees, and Tyler, Taylor, and Devin are excited to have new ways to encourage colleagues to use these days by supporting their chosen nonprofits. They believe their work thus far has already boosted morale.CFT staff helped identify nonprofits that aligned with their values and purpose, and the two they selected to work with in 2021 are Hendrick Scholarship Foundation (HSF) and City House. City House protects and transforms the lives of children and young adults suffering from homelessness, abuse, or neglect. HSF supports Plano ISD graduates who’ve overcome adversity through scholarships, mentoring, and academic planning.


“We’re really excited to be positively impacting youth in Plano where we’re headquartered,” said Floyd.

SFMG is a notable example of how companies of all sizes can engage employees and strengthen corporate culture through giving and commitment. Through CFT’s Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy program, these rising young stars were empowered to unite SFMG’s employees in giving back in the ways that matter most to them.

Seventeen SFMG employees participated in a project benefiting Farmers Assisting Returning Military (F.A.R.M.) for CFT4B’s 19th annual Freedom Day

Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy

CFT’s Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy (ELP) is a nine-month program with a mission to engage, educate, and connect North Texas young leaders in taking an active role in building thriving communities for all, and to strengthen the philanthropic impact of the next generation of leaders in North Texas. The program launched in September 2018 and now has over 200 graduates. Applications are annually accepted from young leaders age 25 to 40 who are interested in learning about strategic giving, grantmaking, and philanthropy. Applications for our 2021-22 cohort are currently closed.

2020–2021 Cohort Recap:

Through a guided exploration of community issues, and after hearing from a variety of community leaders, philanthropists, and nonprofits, the virtual 2020–2021 cohort worked together to identify their priority issue areas. They selected: education, with an emphasis on early education, digital access and technology, and multigenerational programming; and economic security and opportunity, with an emphasis on workforce development, financial literacy, and access to capital and safe lending practices. The group also chose collective values: effectiveness with a lens of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

In May 2021, 80 young leaders graduated from the program after having the opportunity to collectively grant $25,000 to area nonprofits of their choosing. They ultimately selected one nonprofit aligned with their giving priorities to award the full $25,000 to, For Oak Cliff, to help provide financial relief to families participating in their dual-generation programming.


Read inspiring quotes from members of our ’20-’21 cohort about their hopes for the future: CFTEXAS.ORG/NOW/ELP



A note about CFT’s Freedom Day:

Honoring the lives lost and forever changed on 9/11/01, CFT for Business hosted Freedom Day on September 11th for 20 years. Freedom Day was a community-wide event dedicated to the individuals who fight for our freedom and the first responders who protect us. 

Between 2002 and 2022, Freedom Day brought together 14,000+ volunteers who committed to 50,000+ hours of volunteer service around the September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance, turning a day of tragedy into a day of doing good.

In 2023, the annual celebration of Freedom Day transitioned into a month-long recognition during National Volunteer Month in April. CFT’s celebration of National Volunteer Month engages the entire North Texas community in volunteer service. CFT continues to recognize the National Day of Service and Remembrance in September by engaging in a local volunteer project.

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