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We're Spreading Good Cheer!

Phyllis Meyerson with CFT's Galen Smith & Geri Jacobs

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People often think of Santa as a man with a big, white beard, but Phyllis Meyerson has been defying expectations all her life.

Nearing retirement from a career in banking technology, Phyllis said to herself, "You know what would be fun? Going around giving money to all my friends." So she made a list of favorite nonprofits, put on a Santa hat, and went around town surprising them with checks.

CFT made "Santa's List" thanks to Phyllis' positive experience working on her estate plan with Geri Jacobs, director of charitable gift planning, which includes a donor-advised fund and a scholarship for women pursuing a career in business. As a programmer in the early days of computerized banking, Phyllis helped to create the digital networks that are now the backbone of U.S. commerce. Yet throughout her career, she was often the only woman in the room. "They used to address us as 'gentlemen and Phyllis,'" she recalled. "I want my scholarship to benefit women who are like me — ones who others might hesitate to give money to. I'm proof that you can get through anything if you're persistent."

Phyllis' "Santa's grant" was given to CFT as discretionary funding — "one of the most cherished types of donation we receive," said Galen Smith, Senior Officer, Community Philanthropy at CFT, "because we can immediately dedicate those funds to timely, under-the-radar opportunities where they'll be the most amplified." As a case in point, CFT used Phyllis' donation to fund Opportunity Dallas, a unique task force that focuses on large-scale solutions to the housing crisis in Dallas. Thanks to the work of this nonprofit, Dallas has the first-ever comprehensive housing plan in its history, a huge milestone thanks to a nonprofit that launched into action so quickly many seasoned donors hadn't yet heard of it.

"I love working with CFT because I know my funds will be going to the best places, where they can have the greatest impact, long after I'm there to hand out the funds myself."– Phyllis Meyerson

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