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A Passion for Community

Mary Anne Sammons Cree leaves legacy of giving through CFT's Live Oak Legacy Society


CFT’s CAROLYN NEWHAM with MICHELLE CASTRO of Heritage Auctions at the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas STEM Center of Excellence. MARY ANNE SAMMONS CREE helped fund the Center and its Rosine Sammons Observation Deck. 


Mary Anne Sammons Cree had a passion for our North Texas community. She spent her life giving back in support of the causes that mattered most to her—the performing and visual arts, museums, education, and nature. 

More than 30 years ago, Mary Anne established the Rosine Foundation Fund at CFT, a donor-advised fund that she named after her mother, Rosine Sammons Smith. Mary Anne inherited her spirit of giving from Rosine, who died at an early age. Over the years, she regularly made grants through the fund in support of her passion cause areas. To honor her mother, many of the large community investments Mary Anne funded continue to bear Rosine’s name. 

Mary Anne’s father, Charles Sammons, was also a generous long-time supporter of CFT. He made a significant gift from the Sammons Dallas Foundation that is now an endowment used for CFT’s discretionary grantmaking in support of local nonprofit organizations making a positive impact in Dallas. 

When Mary Anne passed away in 2021 at age 91, she left a legacy for our community through her fund, by leaving her fine jewelry collection to CFT as an estate gift. 

In September 2022, Heritage Auctions offered more than 125 pieces of Cree’s extraordinary jewelry collection as the centerpiece of their Fall Fine Jewelry Signature® Auction. Proceeds from the sale benefited the Rosine Foundation Fund at CFT.

The sale was expected to generate more than $1.5 million, and did better than expected, raising $1.88 million for the fund.

“As a Dallas-based auction house, it was kismet for Heritage Auctions to partner with Communities Foundation of Texas to present Mary Anne’s stunning jewelry collection. We are proud that our local community will continue to benefit from Mary Anne’s generous spirit long beyond her lifetime.” 

MICHELLE CASTRO
Director of Trusts & Estates, Heritage Auctions

One of the auction pieces was a beautiful diamond-studded butterfly brooch. Receiving this as one of the pieces from Mary Anne’s estate gift was a full-circle moment—20 years prior, Mary Anne had made a generous gift and worked with CFT to establish an endowment that provides ongoing support for the Butterfly House and Insectarium at the Texas Discovery Gardens at Fair Park

CFT partners with fund holders like Mary Anne to help identify their charitable passions, both during their lifetime and to develop and carry out their legacy of giving beyond their lifetime. This has been such a special gift to our community, as the pieces in the auction were meaningful to Mary Anne, and the sale of her extraordinary collection will continue benefiting her passions for years to come.

This story was originally featured in our 2022 annual report. For additional details and content, click here.

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