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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.

Your Guide to Simplified Complex Giving

Your Guide to Simplified Complex Giving

Did you know Communities Foundation of Texas can accept a wide range of gifts, even real estate, art and antiques?


Did you know Communities Foundation of Texas can accept a wide range of gifts, even real estate, art and antiques?

Supporting the Heart of a Champion

Supporting the Heart of a Champion

Gini Florer uses CFT's GiveWisely class to guide her charitable giving


Following a stroke in utero that left her son with his brain severely damaged, Gini Florer has become a champion for children with special needs.

Intentional Giving

Intentional Giving

Darryl Rose & Melisa Ambers feel the power of giving back


“KNOWING WE WANTED TO GIVE BACK in our community on a more significant level, my initial thought was to start my own foundation,” says Melisa Ambers. “But after we discovered CFT, we realized they have the resources and knowledge to help us make intentional gifts in this community. Why reinvent the wheel?”

Chip Off the Old Block

Chip Off the Old Block

Meredith Woodworth administers grants from her grandfather's fund


Before there were Morton’s Potato Chips, there was Granville C. Morton, honing his potato chip recipe in the kitchen of his Dallas sandwich shop.

Strikeouts Save Lives

Strikeouts Save Lives

Clayton Kershaw Uses CFT Fund to Raise Money for African Children


Dallas native and Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw fused his natural baseball ability with helping children in need last season when he began pledging $100 for every strikeout to support children in Africa.

Casey McManemin keeps his grandfather's legacy alive

Casey McManemin keeps his grandfather's legacy alive

Casey & Megan McManemin bring Mack's Barber Shop to The Bridge


Casey’s grandfather was an unassuming man. He opened a barbershop in 1920 when he moved to Dallas. Today, Megan and Casey are continuing his grandfather’s legacy by funding a barbershop at The Bridge, a homeless shelter in downtown Dallas through their fund at CFT.

Choreographing a Campaign

Choreographing a Campaign

Dallas Black Dance Theatre works to secure its financial future


Dallas Black Dance Theatre, the premier professional dance company in Dallas, has taken steps to secure its financial future. In 2008, Dallas Black Dance Theatre successfully completed a $10.8 million capital campaign to secure a permanent home and established a fund with Communities Foundation of Texas to make continued giving easy for donors.

Neiman Marcus Employees Support Disaster Relief

Neiman Marcus Employees Support Disaster Relief

Neimans uses their business-advised fund to engage employees and respond to natural disasters


Disasters are life’s great equalizers. They remind us that being human is being vulnerable. When a disaster happens to others, we know it just as easily could have happened to us, and our inborn urge to help swells. Neiman Marcus wanted to give its employees a way to participate in disaster response and recovery efforts through the company’s annual charitable giving campaign.

Joining together to help Japan

Joining together to help Japan


On the morning of March 11, 2011, a catastrophic 9.0 earthquake spawned a 30-foot-high tsunami that destroyed the northeastern coast of Japan. Anna McFarland, witnessing news coverage of the disaster, knew she had to help. As the executive director of the Japan-America Society of Dallas/Fort Worth, a friendship organization connecting the two countries, Anna quickly turned to Communities Foundation of Texas for assistance.

Focusing on Kids' Futures

Focusing on Kids' Futures

Trinity River Mission uses scholarship funds to focus kids' on their futures


The children who complete the Believe and Achieve program offered through Trinity River Mission (TRM) receive more than the enhanced self-esteem that comes from academic success.  “The high school seniors are pretty much guaranteed a $4,000 scholarship to college,” said Dolores Sosa Green, executive director, referring to the $500-per-semester scholarship that is funded and administered through CFT.

The Art of Financial Management

The Art of Financial Management


Looking to raise a large amount of money to help restore the original Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts campus and build a new state-of-the-art facility adjacent to the 1922 building—without spending resources on staff and infrastructure to manage those funds—the Arts Magnet Advisory Board partnered with Communities Foundation of Texas (CFT) when they launched a capital campaign.

The Art of Giving

The Art of Giving

Linda and Bob Buford donate art to CFT to use proceeds for charitable good


When Linda and Bob Buford purchased a contemporary painting in New York 27 years ago, little did they realize it would produce so many rewards. The large painting by abstract expressionist painter Joan Mitchell, with its active brush strokes and vibrant yellows and blues, captured the spirit of the bright, sunny landscapes of the South of France. Along with another work by the same artist, the painting hung in the Bufords’ guest bedroom where Bob often read and admired the two favorites from their art collection.

Michelle Hall honors her mother's passion

Michelle Hall honors her mother's passion

Hall uses her donor-advised fund to honor her mother


“My mother was a tireless champion of education and community improvement,” says Michelle.  “She has always been an inspiration for me and now for my four daughters as well.”It’s hard to overstate the effect Margarita De Nocochea had on Calexico, California.

Pet Adoption Advocate

Pet Adoption Advocate

Kit and her daughter, Gloria, opened the Saving Hope Fund at Communities Foundation of Texas after finding and adopting an abandoned and severely abused dog on her ranch outside of Fort Worth 


Kit and her daughter, Gloria, opened the Saving Hope Fund at Communities Foundation of Texas after finding and adopting an abandoned and severely abused dog on her ranch outside of Fort Worth, Texas. Kit Moncrief always had a soft spot for animals. The socialite and animal lover adopted her fair share of rescue animals in the past, so when she heard that an abused dog turned up on her family’s ranch, she knew she had to take action.

Setting an Example

Setting an Example

Generational Hands-on Service from the Scripps Family


“I ENJOY BEING VERY HANDS-ON,” says Debbie Scripps. “At Children’s Medical Center, I’ve loved doing a range of things from working in the gift shop to decorating the hospital to spending time with the kids.”Debbie and Ric Scripps, CFT fund holders, understand the value of giving back to their community. As their children have grown into adults, Ric and Debbie have seen them embrace their philanthropic side as well.