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We've Got $2 Billion Reasons to Celebrate

February 20, 2020

Thank you for celebrating this milestone with us!

Confetti cannons marked the occasion as our 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 since our inception in 1953.

As a thank you to our partners and champions who collectively made the grantmaking milestone possible, we hosted a confetti-filled celebration for the record books! Many current and past trustees were present for the evening and were acknowledged for their excellence in leadership and stewardship.

Both new and longtime donors celebrated together, as well as recent alumni and new members of CFT’s Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy cohort. It was a night not long forgotten!

Immediate past board chair, Jim Bass and President/CEO Dave Scullin made welcoming remarks and introduced Alfreda Norman just before debuting our new celebratory video, overviewing highlights of our grantmaking milestone.

Dave Scullin’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.   

We reached our first billion dollars in grantmaking in 2009, which took over 50 years, and it took only ten years to achieve the second billion. President and CEO Dave Scullin joked, “At that growth rate; we only have 2 years to give the next billion!” But his tone quickly changed as he noted, “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, we’ve focused a significant portion of our 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 our 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 our work, as there are literally hundreds more behind the $2 billion milestone.

Immediate Past Board Chair 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. Board Chair Alfreda Norman 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!

Check out photos from our amazing celebration

Couldn’t make the event? No sweat! You can check out our live coverage by clicking the link below.

 live coverage

Additionally, CFT has received incredible press regarding our $2 billion milestone in grantmaking. We hope you don't miss the full article in The Dallas Morning News and our President & CEO, Dave Scullin, on KRLD NewsRadio.

We are so proud to celebrate our $2 billion grantmaking milestone with you and look forward to continue our work to build thriving communities for all! To learn more about how CFT can enhance your giving, please contact our team.

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