We’re building thriving communities for all.

Communities Foundation of Texas
2018 Annual Report

Our community is a special place with a long history of caring citizens, rapid growth and economic opportunity. But as it continues to grow, so too do the needs of those facing imbalances in income, racial equity and education. Data suggest these needs are increasing.

But the future of our community can remain bright.

At Communities Foundation of Texas, we work side by side with caring donors, committed nonprofits, charitably minded businesses and civic leaders to help build communities that thrive for all.

Please enjoy a few inspiring stories of generosity below that reflect our work together over the past year.

Dave Scullin, President and CEO
Communities Foundation of Texas

When the nonprofit Reading & Radio Resources planned to sunset their operations, they wanted to unwind their assets in a way that would carry on their legacy of helping people with vision impairment and those with reading disabilities. After interviewing multiple partners, the board made the unanimous decision to open a discretionary fund with CFT. "We loved CFT's energy, philosophy and their experience in the education field," they said.

From the first meeting, the Reading Resource Fund advisors were impressed by CFT's engagement. "We were prepared to do a significant amount of outside research, but CFT came to every meeting full of ideas. The grant opportunities they brought to the table were so spot-on, we knew we had chosen the right partner."

Having run a nonprofit themselves, the advisors were familiar with the challenges of the grantmaking process and set forth to help nonprofits increase their capacity to make a difference. CFT did the legwork to ensure nonprofits aligned with the goals of the Reading Resource Fund were brought to the table and came prepared to answer the advisors' questions. Among the board's recent grantees was Sight Savers, funding electronic technology and computers for vision-impaired youth, and St. Philips School and Community Center, supporting their program to serve students with dyslexia.

"The Reading Resource Fund advisors are always thinking about how to make grants that have long-lasting impact," said Celeste Arista Glover, community philanthropy officer at CFT. "They truly engage with nonprofits and their clients in an effort to understand how they can be most supportive."

"We feel like Celeste is another board member," the advisors said. "Together we've trailblazed a genre for giving that is creating new opportunities and learnings for CFT to pass along to other funds and donors." This symbiotic relationship is something that can only happen at CFT.

“I’ve loved how thoughtfully the Reading Resource Fund advisors have refined their funding focus, allowing the partnership with CFT to thrive. We have collaborated so well in discovering nonprofits who fit the mission and goals of the Reading Resource Fund.”

Celeste Arista Glover

Community Philanthropy Officer


For the Freemans, "forward thinking" is a family value. As their family business, The Freeman Company, grew to become the world's largest provider of brand experiences, Don and Bev Freeman set an example for their daughters of the importance of paying their success forward.

"To whom much is given, much is required," says Bev, and that philosophy is reflected in their family's generational approach to philanthropy.

Together with their daughters Carrie Freeman Parsons and Chris Popolo, and son-in-law Joe Popolo, the families hold the Freeman Family Fund and Popolo Family Fund at CFT. "Working with CFT makes giving easier for us," the Freemans explained. "It eliminates the costs of a private foundation, and they handle all the administrative aspects." The close relationship they built with the experts at CFT, like Melissa Hardage, Senior Officer, Donor Engagement, gave them an experience of giving that was much more fulfilling than just cutting a check.

"The team at CFT is invested in investigating and truly solving problems, so it's more than just giving money. It's helping nonprofits actualize their mission." The deep trust they've built has given the Freemans the confidence to choose CFT to be the beneficiary of their estate. This choice ensures the success they've earned in their lifetime will carry their legacy forward.

"When you see the community-wide impact CFT has, how systemic problems are being addressed in a way that would only be possible with their pooling of resources," Don explains, "it gives us the feeling of being a part of something bigger than ourselves."

“We were honored when Bev and Don Freeman chose to join the Live Oak Society at CFT, which recognizes those individuals and families who have named us as the beneficiary of a planned gift. These generous, forward-thinking gifts demonstrate the highest level of trust in our organization and ensure our ability to carry on the Freeman’s legacy in the community for many years to come.”

Melissa Hardage

Senior Officer, Donor Engagement


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

“We’re humbled that Phyllis trusted CFT to make the best use of her gift. Her trust allowed us to respond to a changing need in real time, funding one of the hundreds of organizations we monitor – Opportunity Dallas – doing important, timely work in the community.”

Galen Smith

Senior Officer, Community Philanthropy


“One of the greatest parts of my job is the honor of stewarding the passion and generosity of donors like Phyllis. She’s a shining example of what’s best in our community — and how we can make a greater impact when we work together.”

Geri Jacobs, ChFC, CLU

Director of Charitable Gift Planning


Suzy and Larry Gekiere are proof that even the most experienced philanthropists can benefit from working with CFT. The Gekieres had a clear vision for the community they wanted to impact — low-income working families — and a goal for finding the right nonprofit. But the more research they did, the more equally deserving nonprofits they found working in overlapping areas, making it impossible to support all of them.

Because the Gekieres had turned to CFT to hone their giving strategy in the past, they approached CFT with a new idea. What if they could support nonprofit collaboration instead?

A unique partnership was kicked off when Wende Burton, Senior Community Philanthropy Director, who oversees CFT’s community impact focus on economic security, identified organizations doing effective work in the areas the Gekieres were interested in. She and the Gekieres proposed a one-of-a-kind, collaborative program between The Senior Source and Society of St. Vincent de Paul. The joint initiative allowed the two nonprofits to share resources and learnings, and work together to create a plan that was more impactful than something either organization could have done individually.

"This is a partnership we never could have assembled on our own," said Larry. "Because these nonprofits both trust CFT, they were open to trying something new." CFT also played a key role in the follow-up process, allowing for the tracking of results and fine-tuning of the program, which were critical to its success and a great reassurance to the Gekieres that their vision would be stewarded well.

"There is a limit to what any one donor can achieve,” said Suzy. “Our hope is that by promoting collaboration between nonprofits, we can create an opportunity for sustained impact on a greater level.”

“This is collaboration at its finest: combining our knowledge of the community, the hard work of local nonprofits and the unique vision of our donors for a truly one-of-a-kind partnership that could only happen at CFT.”

Wende Burton

Senior Community Philanthropy Director


At Texadia Systems, what started as a spark of generosity transformed into a thriving culture of giving, thanks to a strategic partnership with CFT for Business (CFT4B).

It started simple. "We were looking for a way to give back," said Texadia President and Founder Steve Burke. "We wanted to become a part of the community." Steve and Executive Vice President Dawna Payne began working with Sejal Desai, business engagement director at CFT4B, to develop a plan for the company's philanthropy. Texadia discovered that CFT4B had already done the legwork to offer their business a variety of platforms for giving back that could help them build a customized plan for their company.

A vibrant culture of giving bloomed at the company, where employees could engage at all levels of the business's philanthropy, from volunteering to fundraising, selecting beneficiary nonprofits and even installing gifts of technology. "The different platforms for giving that CFT for Business offers us allows our employees to choose what's important to them. It's normalized giving at our company," said Steve.

The Texadia team enjoyed working with CFT4B to brainstorm creative ways to give, including donations of technology — enabling the company to tie their generosity back to the company's own mission of promoting communication and making technological advances accessible.

Steve and Dawna also spoke highly of the networking opportunities and how joining CFT4B has elevated the stature of their organization. "Working together with organizations of all sizes helps small and midsize companies like us feel like one of the big guys. We're part of a bigger family."

View all CFT4B Engagement Network Members and Fund Holders here

1st Global Research and Consulting
Armanino, LLP
Asava Foundation
BB&T Co.
Bio World Merchandising, Inc.
Blue Star Sports
Brennan Financial Services
Brio Leadership
BVA Group
The CFO Suite
CFT Marketing Department
Civitas Capital Management, LLC
Collide Village
Communities Foundation of Texas, Inc.
Dale Carnegie Training
Dallas Business Journal
DHD Films
D Magazine
Entrepreneur's Organization Dallas
ES OnDemand/ES Holdings, LLC

ExamSoft Worldwide, Inc.
Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas
Frontera Strategies, LP
Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses @ DCCCD
Hazel's Hotshot, Inc.
hck2 Partners
Hill & Wilkinson, Inc.
HumCap, Inc.
Hunt Consolidated, Inc.
Ignite Sales, Inc.
InSite Interactive, LLC
The Insource Group, Inc.
Lee Financial
MarketWave, LLC
Montgomery Coscia Greilich, LLP
Moss Adams, LLP
Naveen Jindal School of Management
Oliver Wyman
Peña Search Consulting
Platinum Intelligent Data Solutions
The Plexus Groupe

Preston Hollow Capital
Quisitive, LLC
Rethink Results, LLC
RGT Wealth Advisors
Risch Results, LLC
Roach Howard Smith & Barton
SFMG Wealth Advisors
Shields Legal Group, PC
Staff One, Inc.
Stewart Bradbury
StratiFi Health Services
Texadia Systems, LLC
Texas Health Resources
TruePoint Communications
The University of Texas at Dallas
Venturity Financial Partners
Womack Machine Supply

“Texadia Systems truly takes advantage of everything CFT for Business has to offer. They exemplify what it means to do 'good business.’”

Sejal Desai

Business Engagement Director


For Chris and Abbey Carter, the importance of raising their children to be generous people, focused on how to help the world around them, has been a motivating factor in their charitable giving.

When they opened a donor-advised fund at CFT, the family's relationship with Ami Doshi, Donor Engagement Officer, and Carolyn Newham, senior director of donor relations and fund administration, helped the whole family engage with philanthropy on a deeper level.

"Carolyn and Ami helped the kids feel comfortable and brought structure to what can be a complicated topic to cover," said Abbey. One activity Ami and Carolyn introduced to the Carters was a bean-sorting exercise that helped the kids think about and prioritize causes they wanted to support. "We appreciated their enthusiasm and desire to help our family," Abbey said.

The Carters have also enjoyed the full suite of services offered by CFT, including donor appreciation dinners and guest speakers. The family has come away from each experience with new insights and takeaways about how to further their family's mission. "My son Kevin and I had the opportunity to attend CFT’s Family Service Day at North Texas Food Bank. It was Kevin’s first time, and he loved packing the bags with groceries and was really engaged. When we were done, Kevin said he wanted to go back as soon as possible."

By engaging in these powerful firsthand experiences, the Carters are sharing the magic of giving with their children, helping them develop a lifelong passion for philanthropy.

"Carolyn and Ami helped the kids feel comfortable and brought structure to what can be a complicated topic to cover. We appreciated their enthusiasm and desire to help our family."– Abbey Carter

“It’s such a pleasure working with the Carters. It is very special to see them honor and respect each other’s areas of interest, and build a strong family culture around their philanthropy.”

Ami Doshi

Donor Engagement Officer


“We are grateful for our partnership with the Carters, especially as it has grown to include their family. I think that is one of CFT’s best abilities – to continue to work and partner with our donors as they evolve in their giving.”

Carolyn Newham

Senior Director of Donor Relations and Fund Administration


Thriving communities are built on thriving educational systems.

View interactive maps of our statewide impact

As a statewide, public-private education initiative of CFT, Educate Texas is fueled by the singular focus of ensuring every Texas student is successful in school, the workforce and in life. We work with unending passion to build deep, collaborative relationships with K–12 districts and schools, higher education leaders and policymakers – all to ultimately create the change we need for our students. Why? Because we see every Texas student as “our” student.

Across the state, Educate Texas works with K–12 districts and schools, collaborates with higher education leaders, partners with funders and informs policymakers – all to improve the public and higher education systems so that every Texas student is successful in school, the workforce and in life.

From Dallas to El Paso and Austin to the Rio Grande Valley, our collective mission is to improve public and higher education for students across the state. To us, it’s that bold…and that simple.

To make this happen, our driving strategy – our 20x2020 Student Success Plan – is to achieve an educational tipping point by reaching 20 percent of Texas students and teachers in four critical impact areas by 2020: College and Career ReadinessEffective Teaching, Higher Education and Collective Impact.

This means giving high school students access to real-world experiences through internships, opportunities to earn college credits, and guidance on college and career options. It means giving teachers and administrators the tools, networks and coaching to be the most effective and impactful educators they can be. It means better preparing students for higher education – and inspiring them to want to achieve a two- or four-year college/university degree or technical certification. Finally, it means working hand-in-hand with businesses and nonprofits to create common educational visions for communities.

"Strong public education is at the center of creating thriving communities. It's why we at Educate Texas wake up every day committed to building strong, collaborative partnerships, policy and best practices. Public school and higher education students across our state deserve the best possible chance of success."

John Fitzpatrick

Executive Director


"Educate Texas is fueled by ensuring every Texas student is successful in school, the workforce and life. We are grateful to work side by side with some of the most committed educational leaders in every pocket of our state to create the change we know is possible for our students."

George Tang

Managing Director


Click the navigation below to learn more about our statewide impact.

Educate Texas
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Educate Texas

We are excited to share with you that Communities Foundation of Texas established the Fund for Collin County in October of 2017 with a commitment of $500,000 in seed funding to create a dedicated, long-term resource to support nonprofit organizations across Collin County.

CFT extended a matching challenge to the residents and businesses of Collin County to join us in our goal of a $1 million fund that will address critical needs and promising opportunities in the communities of Collin County now and into the future.

The Fund for Collin County continues to build momentum and support from the community with additional contributions.

Help us meet the challenge by joining us to invest in Collin County. A variety of ways exist for you to give to the Fund for Collin County: cash, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, retirement plans, IRAs, life insurance and more.

We gratefully acknowledge the leadership and support of these generous contributors who have joined us in this important investment in Collin County:

Champions: $50,000

Alison and Jeff Balcombe
Deborah and Scott Boxer
Jill and Michael Dardick
Beth and Tom Montgomery
Tracy and Brian Rinehart
Carolyn and Mark Speese

Innovators: $25,000 – $49,999

Hong and Jim Bass
Diane and Dick Evans

Partners: $10,000 – $24,999

ATMOS Energy
Capital One
Susan and Dave Scullin
Florence and Howard Shapiro

Contributors: $100 – $9,999

Andrea-Mennen Family Foundation
Michael J. Adamczyk
Asava Family Foundation
Missy and Doug Bender
Kelly and Russ Buettner
Rebecca and Chris Caso
Jean and Glenn Callison
Jeri and Rick Chambers
Laura and Chris Curran
Desai Family Fund
Chris and David Downs
Carole and Howard Greisdorf
Sarah Beeks Higdon
John Humphrey
Buzz Kolbe
Carol and Ed Maier
Louise and Jeff Master
Maus Family Charitable Fund
Deepa and Raj Menon
Joa and John Muns
Carolyn and Denton Newham
Kimberly O’Neil
Kara and Andrew Olson
Pamela Zeigler Petty and Tony Petty
Craig Perry
Judy and Sam Roach
Erik M. Schafer
Angie and Joe Sifferman
Cathy and Scott Sweet
Texas Health Presbyterian Plano
Andrea and Kent Thompson
Camille Ussery
Thara and Aditya Varanasi
Kelly and William Vaughan
Beth and Duncan Webb

* As of 2/12/19.

In addition to the growing list of contributors to the Fund for Collin County, we thank our business partners in the community who have helped us launch this exciting new initiative: Capital One, Plano Chamber of Commerce, Plano Profile, U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management, and Toyota USA Foundation.

“We are excited to partner with committed, community-minded individuals, families and businesses to help increase philanthropic impact in Collin County.”

Sarah Beeks Higdon

Director of Charitable Giving
Collin County


“As Collin County residents, we can achieve greater impact for our community when we pool our resources to invest in the future together.”

Jeri Chambers

Donor Relations Officer


In 2018, CFT’s North Texas Giving Day celebrated 10 years. Over the past decade, North Texas Giving Day has grown to become the nation’s largest single-day online giving event, smashing records every year. 2018 was no exception.

157,184 donations helped raise a staggering $48 million, surpassing last year’s total of $39 million. In celebration of this milestone birthday, CFT welcomed honorary chair Laura Bush, hosted more events around North Texas than ever before, and kicked off 10 days of scheduled giving, all of which contributed to the most impactful North Texas Giving Day yet. In total, $242 million has been donated to area nonprofits in 10 single-day events since 2009, helping to make North Texas a stronger and more vibrant community for all.

2018 Financial Highlights

Investment Managers

Aberdeen Asset Management, PLC
BNY Mellon Cash Investment Strategies
Breckinridge Capital Advisors, Inc.
Brookfield Investment Management
Burgundy Asset Management Ltd.
Carlson Capital, L.P.

Cushing Asset Management
Dimensional Fund Advisors
Disciplined Growth Investors, Inc.
DL & Partners Investment Company
Freshford Fund Ltd.
HHR Asset Management, LLC
Lazard Asset Management

Pzena Investment Management, LLC
State Street Global Advisors
Trinity Street Asset Management
Western Asset Management Company
White Elm Capital LLC
William Blair & Company, LLC


Financials for Fiscal Year ending June 30, 2018

Total Assets: $1.1 billion

Total Grants Paid: $106 million

Total Gifts Received: $107.5 million

Number of Funds: 1,000+

Cumulative Grants: $1.8 billion+

ASSETS (in millions, unaudited)
2018 COMPOSITION OF ASSETS (in millions, unaudited)
W.W. Caruth, Jr. Foundation 411.4
Donor-Advised Funds 347.3
Discretionary Funds 108.6
Designated Funds 100.9
Other Supporting Organizations 65.3
Nonprofit Agency Funds 37.5
General Operating Funds 26.9
Scholarship Funds 19.1
Charitable Remainder Trusts and Gift Annuities 9.9
Total Assets $1,126.9
TOTAL GIFTS RECEIVED (in millions, unaudited)
Donor-Advised Funds 46.6
Nonprofit Agency Funds 34.7
Designated Funds 22.6
Discretionary Funds 3.2
Other 0.4
Total Gifts 107.5
TOTAL GRANTS PAID (in millions, unaudited)

For a listing of named funds at CFT and to review the annual independent audit report and the related audited consolidated financial statements with footnotes, please click here.

Our Team

Wayne White President and CEO
Jim Berry Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer
Calvert Collins-Bratton Chief Relationships Officer
John Fitzpatrick Executive Director, Educate Texas
Truman Greene Jr. Chief Human Resources Officer
Carolyn A. Newham, J.D. General Counsel and Corporate Secretary
Dr. Reo Pruiett, Ed.D. Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer
Jennifer Taylor Chief Marketing Officer

Richie Butler

Board Chair; Senior Pastor, St. Luke "Community" United Methodist Church

Connie O'Neill

Vice Chair; Civic Leader

Arcilia Acosta

President and CEO, CARCON Industries and Construction

Greg Campbell

President & CEO, Rainmaker, Inc.

Rakesh Dahiya

Chief Investment Officer, Southern Methodist University

Michael Dardick

Executive Chairman, Granite Properties

Matrice Ellis-Kirk

CEO, Ellis Kirk Group

José (Pepe) Guevara

Founding Managing Director, Millstone Assets

Gunjan Jain

Owner, Access Healthcare Services USA, LLC

Sarah Losinger

Civic Leader

Tom Montgomery

Managing Member, Montgomery Capital Advisers, LLC

Alfreda Norman

Retired Senior Vice President, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

Katie Robbins

President and CEO, Hoblitzelle Foundation

Andy Smith

Director, Giving and Volunteering, Texas Instruments; Executive Director, TI Foundation

John Stephens

Retired Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, AT&T

Thear Suzuki

Global Client Service Partner, EY

Debra Brennan Tagg

President, BFS Advisory Group

Rob Walters

Senior Partner, Gibson Dunn

Introducing the New

Our website has been completely redesigned with you in mind, to make giving easier, more effective and more enjoyable than ever before. Get inspired by browsing our library of impact stories, stay up to date on our community impact initiatives, meet our esteemed CFT experts and trustees, view upcoming events and more.

Visit our new site
© 2018 Communities Foundation of Texas. All Rights Reserved. Communities Foundation of Texas is a 501c3 EIN 750967565. All donations are tax deductible.