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Education Matters

CFT's Educate Texas reimagines learning environments


Cedar Hill High School AP environmental science students Olivia Dyer and Nathan Theppharaj with teacher Holly Brookman

North Star Values: Education and Equity

In the United States, 65% of future jobs will require higher education, but only 39% of Texans have earned a college degree or workforce credential. To help prepare students for college and career pathways, Educate Texas’ Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programs bring together state agencies and school districts to strengthen instruction and academics in K-12 schools and build relationships with industry experts.

As part of this work, Educate Texas selected Cedar Hill ISDDesoto ISD, and Lancaster ISD in March 2021 to participate in a renewed partnership to expand STEM educational programs and opportunities in southern Dallas County. This partnership, funded by Texas Instruments Foundation, builds on successes and learnings from the initial investment and partnership with Lancaster ISD in 2012 and Richardson ISD in 2018.

Educate Texas’ work to help transform Cedar Hill into a STEM district includes identifying new opportunities to embed STEM teaching, thinking, and problem-solving skills across the entire school district. As part of communitywide service events across North Texas for CFT4B’s Freedom Day in September, Educate Texas participated in Cedar Hill High School’s greenhouse restoration project. With the help of industry experts from TechScape, the once-vacant greenhouse was made into a community space to enrich student learning.

STEM-influenced interdisciplinary programming is not only positively impacting student outcomes and academic achievement, but also compelling students to think beyond their classrooms and extracurricular activities. “The main thing I like about the greenhouse is that we as students are empowered to take ownership of the work,” said Nathan Theppharaj, Cedar Hill High School 12th-grade student. “We get students who come in and plant what they want to plant. It feels less like a job and more like a fun activity for the school."

Cedar Hill ISD middle school scholars also had a career exploration day where they learned more about STEM-focused jobs. “We envision the greenhouse becoming a place where we can provide food for those in need, and create opportunities where scholars can apply learning from STEM-related courses,” Cedar Hill High School advanced placement environmental science teacher Holly Brookman said.

Ultimately, this work contributes to Educate Texas’ goal to reshape the teaching and learning of STEM subjects across all grade levels, to better prepare students from pre-K through 12th grade for higher education and workforce success.

This story was originally featured in our 2021 annual report. For additional details and content, click here.

Spotlight on Angie Herrington, Herrington Wealth Management

Spotlight on Angie Herrington, Herrington Wealth Management

Angie Herrington, a Certified Financial Planner®, wealth advisor, and owner of Herrington Wealth Management, has been working side by side with CFT to provide valuable advisory services for her charitable clients.


Angie Herrington, a Certified Financial Planner®, wealth advisor, and owner of Herrington Wealth Management, has been working side by side with CFT to provide valuable advisory services for her charitable clients. 

Meet Andy Smith and Paul von Wupperfeld

Meet Andy Smith and Paul von Wupperfeld


In 2018, Andy Smith and Paul von Wupperfeld established the Andy Smith and Paul von Wupperfeld Charitable Fund at CFT, a donor-advised fund that they use to support their passion for the arts and equity.

A Passion for Opportunity

A Passion for Opportunity

Kristofer Robinson Scholarship Fund at CFT provides educational opportunities for paraplegic and quadriplegic students in Texas


Established after a tragic automobile accident that left the late Kristofer Robinson paralyzed from the neck down, the Kristofer Robinson Scholarship Fund at CFT was created to support the education of paraplegic or quadriplegic individuals. One recent scholarship recipient of the Kristofer Robinson Scholarship Fund is Nathan McClintock.

A Passion for Education

A Passion for Education

Om & Shanti Funds at CFT provides scholarships and opportunities to students


For the Sethis, giving back is a family affair. Parvesh and Jeet Sethi have two charitable funds at CFT: the Om & Shanti Scholarship Fund and the Om & Shanti Fund, a donor-advised fund. Both their family fund and their scholarship fund are centered around providing educational opportunities for students.

A Passion for Community

A Passion for Community

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


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.

A Passion for the Arts

A Passion for the Arts

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


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.