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For more than 60 years, Communities Foundation of Texas has made a lasting impact on our community.

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Communities Foundation hits $2 billion in grants!

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"That's more do-gooder money infused into the North Texas nonprofit sector than any other charitable foundation in these parts - particularly in the last decade."
-Cheryl Hall, The Dallas Morning News

1950s

1953

The Dallas Community Chest Trust Fund (DCCTF) was established by a group of prominent business and civic leaders. Initially, its purpose was to focus on the endowment and capital needs of the Community Chest agencies. The first year's expenses were underwritten by Algur H. Meadows, a prominent oilman and founder of The Meadows Foundation. Fred M. Lange served as the first executive director.

1954

Mrs. Pearl C. Anderson, widow of Dr. J.W. Anderson, helped launch the foundation with a substantial gift of a residual interest in a trust consisting of downtown property, then valued at $325,000. By the first Board of Trustees meeting, the Foundation's assets totaled $1,148,000.

1958

Pearl’s Wisdom — Pearl C. Anderson Day Nursery

It was not enough for working mothers in Garland to find jobs in 1958; they also had the challenge of arranging oversight for their kids in a city without day care facilities. Longtime child welfare advocate Pearl C. Anderson established a fund at the Dallas Community Chest Trust Fund (which later became CFT) to respond to the problem. The Pearl C. Anderson Day Nursery, part of the Dallas Day Nursery Association, was an immediate success, thanks to Anderson’s vision and dedication.

1959

Well-known Dallas attorneys Earl A. Forsythe and Joseph W. Riley guided the Foundation's first years. In 1958, the late Vester T. Hughes, Jr. — previously with the Jackson Walker law firm, then a partner of K&L Gates — began advising on tax matters. About the same time, the late William E. Collins of the Thompson and Knight law firm became general counsel.

1960s

1961

DCCTF was incorporated and broadened its scope in giving to other philanthropies and charities of interest to donors including medical care and research, children, the elderly and the disadvantaged, arts and civic improvement, social service, the sciences and religion.

1962

Pumping Up Cardiac Care — St. Paul Hospital Cardiac Research Grant

The Hearts of Texas
St. Paul Hospital (now UT Southwestern University Hospital–St. Paul) needed to acquire a rotating disc oxygenator, a heart-lung machine and diagnostic instruments to help doctors determine a patient’s need for open-heart surgery. A $20,000 grant from us in 1962 enabled the four-year-old cardiac research program to develop new surgical techniques that have kept the hospital on the leading edge of cardiac care.

1969

A new tax law provided incentives for donors to use community foundations as a preference over private foundations as philanthropic vehicles.

1969

Investing in Entrepreneurs — Caruth Institute of Small Business Management

A generous $200,000 gift from W.W. Caruth, Jr. Foundation Fund initiated the establishment of the Caruth Institute of Small Business Management at Southern Methodist University in 1969. Caruth’s belief in the “venturesome spirit of competitive free enterprise” inspired the program to promote small-business ownership and disseminate the latest business management knowledge to small-business managers. Though times have changed, the Institute’s mission remains the same — to offer education and training for today’s entrepreneurs.

1970s

1971

DCCTF built The Fred M. Lange Center on Live Oak Street, allowing it to grow and serve the community and also provide meeting space for nonprofits. The Perot and Morton Funds were established.

1972

The first Charitable Remainder Trusts were developed.

1973

Giving to Learn — Carr P. & Ruth Collins Learning Center

The Carr P. and Ruth Collins Learning Center on the Dallas Baptist College (now Dallas Baptist University) campus was named for the couple as a reminder of the generosity made possible by the fund they established at the Dallas Community Chest Trust Fund. Staunch believers in education, the Collinses donated both money and time in their efforts to reach out to DBC students and support the school’s quality educational curriculum.

1974

W.W. Caruth Jr. Foundation, the largest support foundation now administered here, was created. The Foundation established a legacy of giving that would continue after his death.

1975

Intensive Love for Children —Blanche Swanzy Lange Special Care Newborn Nursery

Blanche Swanzy Lange and Dr. Fred Lange, early founders of CFT, traveled the world in the interest of improving the medical conditions of children. To help newborns needing intensive care and observation in Dallas, the couple made a gift from the Lange Fund of the Dallas Community Chest Trust Fund to Baylor University Medical Center. The Blanche Swanzy Lange Special Care Newborn Nursery opened in 1975. Medical units in Laos, Hong Kong, Taiwan and the Dominican Republic also are named in honor of Mrs. Lange.

1975

Christmas Coach — Children’s Medical Center Van

Children’s Medical Center was the recipient of a new passenger van made possible by W.W. Caruth, Jr. Foundation Fund of the Dallas Community Chest Trust Fund. The Christmas gift was made in the 21st year Caruth had donated items to children’s agencies in lieu of gifts to customers of Caruth Building Service and related companies.

1980s

1980

DCCTF outgrew its original Live Oak Headquarters and tripled its size with a building addition. Nonprofits continued to use the improved facilities for their meetings.

1981

The name was changed to Communities Foundation of Texas (CFT) to reflect donors’ interest in charitable endeavors throughout the state of Texas. An unrestricted grants program was initiated, and the first Area Funds — Millards Crossing in Nacogdoches and the Palacios Area Fund in Palacios, Texas — were created.

1982

CFT computerizes books and records to better serve donors.

1982

Little House in the Piney Woods — Millard’s Crossing

Making Philanthropic History
​Born and raised in Nacogdoches, Lera Millard Thomas married a lawyer-turned-congressman and became a congresswoman herself in 1965. When her term ended, she returned to her birthplace and began to restore old homes and antiquities in the town. She ensured the renovation and preservation of her estate through a fund she established at CFT. Today the 37-acre mini-city filled with 19th-century homes, a chapel, a log cabin and a school is known as Millard’s Crossing.

1984

CFT reaches $100 million in assets.

1985

Music to Our Ears — Perot Fund Symphony Grant

Thanks to H. Ross Perot’s $18 million donation through a fund established at CFT, the community foundation became a player in the construction of the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, named in honor Perot’s friend and business associate. The internationally acclaimed home of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra was designed by I.M. Pei and modeled after European concert halls known for their acoustic superiority. The Perot grant was an integral event for the arts community in Dallas and also broke philanthropic records. In 1985, the grant was the largest donation from a community foundation to an arts organization.

1990s

1997

W.W. Caruth, Jr. Foundation Fund oversees the first $5 million grant to UT Southwestern Medical Center to foster research with young scientists and doctors.

1998

Pet Project — SPCA of Texas

The SPCA of Texas has a tough job — caring for animals without the support of government funding. Generous contributions from CFT donors such as Phoebe and Russell Perry help make the SPCA’s job easier. In 1998, the SPCA began building the Russell H. Perry campus on a 30-acre tract of land in west McKinney. An animal adoption center, medical center, education center and rehabilitation area are just a few of the campus’s features.

1999

In the Line of Duty —Dallas Police Memorial

Dallas police officers who have lost their lives serving the city’s citizens are honored at the Dallas Police Memorial. The canopied plaza, which is adjacent to City Hall, bears the names and badge numbers of the fallen heroes. In 1999, the Dallas Police Foundation received a $550,000 grant from CFT to recognize the selfless dedication of these defenders. The hard surfaces and sharp angles — which are the aesthetic hallmarks of the memorial — represent the urban streets where police officers work.

2000s

2000

Mabel Peters Caruth bequeaths $34 million to build a new headquarters for CFT.

2000

Establishment of Entrepreneurs For North Texas, a program that facilitates community involvement and philanthropy for small and mid-size companies that want to make a difference in their communities in a way that's good for their business.

2001

Ground is broken for the Mabel Peters Caruth headquarters.

2001

Wings of an Angel — Texas Discovery Gardens Butterfly Garden

Her mother’s passion for butterflies — as well as education and conservation — inspired Mary Anne Sammons Cree to recommend a $2.5 million grant from the Rosine Foundation Fund for Texas Discovery Gardens. The Rosine Smith Sammons Butterfly House and Insectarium focuses on the importance of butterflies in pollination and the interrelation of butterflies, bugs and botany in Texas. The Butterfly House is the world’s first combination butterfly and insect immersion exhibit.

2001

Entertaining New Ideas — Eisemann Center for Performing Arts

Charles and Ann Eisemann are longtime supporters of the cultural arts in Richardson, especially the symphony orchestra. The Eisemann Foundation Fund of CFT granted $2 million to the city of Richardson to support a new performing arts venue. Another Eisemann fund was established to encourage additional contributions to the center. The Charles W. Eisemann Center for Performing Arts and Corporate Presentations continues to bring great performing artists and entertainers to North Texas, connecting and engaging people through inspiring arts experiences.

2001

Building Goodwill — Goodwill Industries

Goodwill’s capital campaign sought to raise money for a new facility that would triple to 3,000 the number of people served at its west Dallas facility. Through the J.A. Glass fund, the Louis A. and Julia T. Beecherl Jr. fund and other funds, CFT awarded more than $250,000 to Goodwill Industries for its needs.

2001

Overflowing Gratitude — Calatrava Fountain

In 2001, a $1.5 million gift from the Rosine Foundation Fund of CFT expedited the design and construction of a sculpture-fountain outside Southern Methodist University’s Meadows Museum. The famed Spanish architect, engineer and sculptor Santiago Calatrava created “Wave,” which incorporates a large pool of water with rocking steel arms running the length of the pool. Water is sequentially transferred from one end of the pool to the other, forming a continuous wave.

2001

Cumulative grants from CFT exceed $500 million.

2002

The Ultimate Gift — Transplant Immunology Research Grant

In 2002, CFT honored the memory of Will Caruth with a $5 million gift from the W.W. Caruth, Jr. Foundation Fund to establish a Basic Science Research Program in the Immunology of Solid Organ Transplantation at Baylor Research Institute. The gift was generously matched by the Baylor Health Care System Foundation, creating a $10 million endowment for the development of a world-class transplantation immunology research center. The research program seeks to discover innovative therapies and increase understanding of how bodies treat foreign substances, including transplanted organs.

2003

Meeting Needs — Mabel Peters Caruth Center

Building for the Future
Mabel Peters Caruth wrote a new chapter in the family’s legacy of giving when she announced her bequest of $34 million to CFT, among the largest single charitable donations ever recorded in Dallas. She requested that her gift be used to establish and maintain a new centrally located headquarters to serve both the Foundation and the community. The 60,000-foot Mabel Peters Caruth Center will meet the needs of CFT, local community groups and new generations of philanthropists in the century ahead.

2004

Educate Texas is created. Originally named the Texas High School Project, Educate Texas is an innovative alliance of public and private groups that share a common goal: improving the public education system so that every Texas student is prepared for success in school, in the workforce and in life.

2005

Backing the Blue — $15MM to Dallas Police Department (DPD) 

A $15 million grant from the W.W. Caruth, Jr. Foundation at Communities Foundation of Texas to the Dallas Police Department (DPD) was the largest ever made from the foundation created by Will Caruth and entrusted to CFT, and also the largest grant on record made through a public foundation to a police department anywhere in the country. One aspect of the grant funded the groundbreaking Caruth Police Institute, which prepares leaders in the DPD to become better-educated, better-trained officers who effectively protect and serve the citizens of Dallas. With additional key support from the University of Texas at Dallas, the institute will provide high-quality leadership training for all levels of the DPD.

2005

Brent Christopher becomes President and CEO.

2009

DonorBridge is launched and is the most comprehensive and free public resource for connecting North Texas nonprofits and supporters. Run by DonorBridge, CFT also held the first annual North Texas Giving Day which brought in $4 million for local nonprofits in its inaugural year.

2010s

2010

A $3.5 million grant to the American Heart Association makes it possible for North Texas hospitals to reduce the time it takes a heart attack patient to receive lifesaving treatment. The collaboration will transform patient care for future heart attack victims and position Dallas County as a national leader in heart attack treatment and survival.

2013

The Foundation celebrates 60 years of giving. CFT has distributed more than $1.2 billion since 1953.

2013

The fifth annual North Texas Giving Day raises $24k per minute, setting a national record for community-wide giving events by raising more than $25.2 million for 1,351 local nonprofits in 17 hours.

2013

To increase the local pool of talented teachers and school leaders, CFT makes $2 million in grants to nonprofits training those serving in local at-risk middle schools, like Treaching Trust, Teach for America and more.

2013

Building nonprofit muscle is the goal of the Data-Driven Decision-Making (D3) Institute which graduated its first cohort of 16 nonprofits that serve low-income working families to build their financial stability.

2013

Donating for demolition? That's exactly what Jane and Bill Browning's daughters did from their donor advised fund at CFT to benefit the Dallas Zoo by demolishing the outdated large mammal building to make room for the new Picnic Ridge.

2013

W.W. Caruth, Jr. Foundation announces a grant of up to $7.5 million to the Children's Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern.

2014

For the first time in history, CFT makes more than $100 million in grants in one year.

2014

Construction begins on $8.2 million Cottages at Hickory Crossing, a model project for permanent supportive housing to house the chronically homeless thanks to lead funding from Caruth at CFT.

2014

One in three North Texans can't weather a financial storm that lasts 90 days. Kera's One Crisis Away series follows four families on the financial edge thanks to funding from CFT.

2014

Critical knowledge is often lost as vulnerable patients move between medical and social service orgranzations. The Caruth Foundation at CFT announces a grant of up to $12 million to enable Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation (PCCI) to build the revolutionary Dallas Information Exchange Portal and solve the persistent problem of fragmented patient information that inhibits delivery of care.

2014

Educate Texas celebrates its 10th anniversary.

2014

The Elder Financial Safety Center, funded by a $3.9 million grant from the W.W. Caruth, Jr. Foundation at CFT, launches as the most comprehensive partnership of The Senior Source, DA's office and Probate Courts.

2015

CFT launches and guides first cohort of nonprofits through the Working Families Success Network of North Texas to further support improving financial stability for low-income working families.

2015

TI Foundation announces that they will donate $2.2 million to Educate Texas and Lancaster ISD for its STEM district.

2015

North Texas Giving Day surpasses its own national record, raising $33 million in 18 hours for more than 2,020 North Texas nonprofits.

2016

$1 million raised for relief and recovery efforts from the Garland/Rowlett tornadoes and the Dallas Police shooting.

2016

Nine nonprofit sites go "live" as official members of the Working Family Success Network of North Texas, thanks to year-long training at CFT.

2016

Developer Craig Hall opens two restaurant spaces at Hall Arts that he donates to Communities Foundation of Texas.

2017

Dave Scullin joins as new president and CEO of Communities Foundation of Texas.

2017

$4.8 million raised for Hurricane Harvey and other relief efforts through CFT.

2017

Five regions of Texas chosen to increase the number of students earning STEM credentials thanks to Educate Texas.

2017

Dallas selected as one of 11 national cities for Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation by W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

2017

$39 million raised for 2,700 nonprofits on North Texas Giving Day.

2018

CFT publishes Dallas County Economic Opportunity Assessment to highlight critical community data and demonstrate how place and race matters.

2018

North Texas Giving Day raised $48 million from 81,000 donors.

2018

CFT distributes $1.1 million to 254 scholarship recipients.

2018

5,000+ clients served through CFT's Working Families Success Network since 2014. 

2018

CFT opens Collin County Office.

2018

Richarson ISD "STEM for All" anounced thanks to $4.6 million grant from Texas Instruments Foundation to Educate Texas.

2018

35 Racial Equity grants announced.

2018

9,000+ hours volunteered by Communities Foundation of Texas for Business member companies.

2019

Educate Texas' RGV Focus program announces that Rio Grande Valley students are beating 9 of 12 statewide education benchmarks.

2019

CFT's Caruth Fund announces $6.3 million to largest set of grantees in a single year. Funds are meant t oaddress the community's challenges holistically and work across sectors of public safety, education and health to solve them.

2019

North Texas Giving Day raised $50 million.

2020s

2020

CFT celebrates passing the $2 billion in cumulative grantmaking milestone since 1953.

2020

CFT's Educate Texas culminates work on 20 x 2020 goals for student success.

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