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A Passion for the Arts

Cece Smith Lacy and Ford Lacy fund new works from arts organizations through their fund at CFT


CFT fund holders CECE SMITH LACY and FORD LACY with dancers at the Dallas Black Dance Theatre, where they recently helped fund a new production.


As Cece Smith Lacy and Ford Lacy began their estate planning process, they came to Communities Foundation of Texas for assistance with their planned giving. During their research, they learned about donor-advised funds and decided to open the Cece Smith Lacy and John Ford Lacy Fund at CFT to support their giving during their lifetime. 

Ford encourages everyone to think about how they want to impact their community and what they could pledge to charity, both during and beyond their lifetimes. He recalls watching his parents give back and volunteering with them, and Cece has a fond memory of the late restaurateur and philanthropist Norm Brinker encouraging her to get involved in the community when she was a young employee. 

Today, their commitment to giving back evolved from those first experiences and they’ve been long-time supporters of their shared passions—the arts and medical research. Their first date was at the Dallas Theater Center, and they’ve been active supporters of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, where Cece serves as board chair, as well as the Dallas Opera, the Dallas Museum of Art, and UT Southwestern, where they founded the President’s Research Council. They also fund the Ford Lacy Latin Prize scholarship at Highland Park High School and the endowed trombone chairs at the Symphony and the Opera. 



One of their latest interests has been funding new works of local nonprofit arts organizations. “We believe that the arts can inspire people and bring out the best of them,” said Ford. “It’s been really terrific and fun,” Cece added. “We’ve historically funded organizations that we’re familiar with, and our latest partnership with CFT has exposed us to new organizations and genres.” 

“It would have been very difficult, if not impossible, for Cece and me to organize the grantmaking process that CFT created for us on our own,” said Ford. 

“This illustrates the value of donor-advised funds at organizations with grantmaking expertise and how they can play an important role in personal philanthropy. It’s a great alternative to a private foundation.” 



CFT’s team of experts created a custom process that resulted in a broad variety of grant applications aligned with Cece and Ford’s funding priorities that they were then able to review and select from. They planned to select three organizations to fund, but were so inspired by the applications that they decided to provide funding in support of new artistic works at four nonprofits: American Baroque Opera Company, Bruce Wood Dance, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, and Dallas Children’s Theater

“We wanted to try something different, and hope that this can inspire people and bring joy to those who come to see these new performances,” said Cece.

“For those who are just getting started in their giving journey, we encourage you to think about what you’re passionate about and what reflects your interests. Spend time on that and determine if you would like an active or passive role in the causes and organizations you support.” 

FORD LACY 
CFT Fund Holder

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

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