W.W. Caruth, Jr. Foundation Grants

William (Will) Walter Caruth Jr.'s philanthropic goals were to support frontier-advancing projects in public safety, education, and scientific and medical research. Communities Foundation of Texas is honored to continue his legacy of generosity through strategic grantmaking.

The W.W. Caruth, Jr. Foundation is housed at CFT and is the largest single fund in the organization’s portfolio. CFT trustees serve as the management trustees for the Caruth Foundation and work with CFT staff to direct its grantmaking. Throughout the last 25 years, the Caruth Foundation has awarded more than $185 million in grants, which can be seen on the Past Grants tab below. 


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Communities Foundation of Texas's 2016 Impact Report is designed to showcase the work CFT in involved in across the community through its discretionary grantmaking.

Goals and Strategies

The goal of the W.W. Caruth, Jr. Foundation is to encourage nonprofits to be bold in pushing boundaries as they work to solve complex community issues in the fields of education, public safety, and scientific and medical research.  The foundation embodies the entrepreneurial spirit of Mr. Caruth by helping empower organizations to take carefully planned, calculated risks as they undertake these challenges. 

The Caruth Foundation deploys several unique grantmaking strategies toward its goal of creating transformational change in our community.  These strategies include:

  • A willingness and ability to make grants of significant size, often multi-million dollar awards
  • A willingness to be “first money in” and to take bigger risks in funding grant proposals
  • Active efforts to encourage collaborative approaches to transformational projects
  • A willingness to fund impact assessments and to use, when appropriate, the results to encourage scaling and sustainability efforts
  • A belief that evaluation is to be used as a powerful, necessary tool for inspiration and collaborative improvement, not for punishment.


Following the expressed philanthropic interests of Will Caruth, the Caruth Foundation funds grants to support significant charitable projects in the areas of

  • Education
  • Public Safety
  • Scientific and Medical Research

Registered U.S. public charities (or their legal equivalents) operating in these defined areas of interest are eligible to apply for funding consideration.  The foundation will give preference to grant proposals with the following characteristics:

  • Potential to create transformational change
  • Boldness of purpose
  • Uniqueness in design
  • Innovation and creativity in the approach to solving a significant community challenge
  • A sustainability plan
  • A clear plan to evaluate results and impact

The Caruth Foundation’s primary geographic focus is Dallas County, then North Texas and the State of Texas. 


The W.W. Caruth, Jr. Foundation is currently not accepting letters of inquiry or proposals while staffing changes are made. Please check back later this year for further updates regarding when the process will be re-opened.


Q: Does the Caruth Foundation support on-going general operating expenses? 

A: The Caruth Foundation does not make grants to support on-going general operating expenses of nonprofit organizations.  Under exceptional circumstances, consideration may be given to support expenses related to a specific project, but only for a limited time. 

Q: Does the Caruth Foundation support capital campaigns?

A: In keeping with Will Caruth’s wishes, the foundation will not consider requests to provide general support for a capital campaign.

Q: What is the typical size of a grant from the Caruth Foundation?

A: While there is no established range, the Caruth Foundation often awards multi-year, multi-million dollar grants.  The size of grant awards varies depending on the scope and scale of a particular project, along with its potential for transformational change. 

Q: How long does it typically take for a proposal to move through the Caruth Foundation process?

A: The Caruth Grant Review Committee meets quarterly to review staff responses to letters of inquiry and substantive merit of full grant proposals.  If an organization is invited to submit a full proposal, it may take several months or longer for the organization to craft and submit a proposal that meets the requirements of the foundation.  While there is no set timeline for a proposal to move through the process, it typically takes 6-12 months for a final decision to be made.  Potential applicants are encouraged to discuss the timing of their request with Caruth Foundation staff prior to submission.  


Application to the W.W. Caruth, Jr. Foundation is a two-step process.  The first step is to submit a brief letter of inquiry summarizing the proposed project and its potential match to the foundation’s funding priorities and grant guidelines.  After initial review, the foundation will respond with a request for additional information, a request for a full proposal, or decline to pursue the funding request further. 

Applicants invited to advance to the second phase of the process, submission of a full proposal, will be required to submit the following documents and information. The Caruth Foundation does not use a standard application form.  However, proposals should include:

  • A cover letter written on the agency’s letterhead and signed by the chair/president of its governing body.  The letter should clearly and concisely describe the proposal, state the specific amount requested and the anticipated outcomes of the project and provide evidence of the organization’s commitment to the project.
  • A copy of the agency’s current IRS letter of determination establishing 501(c)(3) status.
  • Complete contact information (names, titles, addresses, phone, fax and email) for individuals serving as primary project contacts.
  • A list of the members of the agency’s governing body and their professional, business or community affiliations.
  • A copy of the agency’s mission statement.
  • A concise executive summary of the grant proposal (electronic and hard copies requested)
  • A detailed description of the project or program to be funded that includes:
    • Identified need
    • Theory of transformative change that drives the program/project
    • A concise analysis of organizational capacity to carry out the proposed program/project, including strengths, weaknesses and challenges
    • A detailed timeline with specific project milestones
    • A detailed description of anticipated outcomes, including specific goals and objectives related to the anticipated outcomes
    • An outline of specific deliverables related to successful implementation of the grant
    • An evaluation plan that outlines specific metrics and data to be used to measure achievement of anticipated project outcomes
    • A recommended grant reporting schedule
    • A detailed project sustainability plan
  • A logic model (outcomes map) for the proposed grant outlining inputs, outputs, short -(1-2 yrs.), intermediate-(3-4 yrs) and long-term (5+years) outcomes of the proposed project or program.
  • A detailed project budget that addresses project implementation, evaluation and sustainability.
  • Three letters of support from independent experts or recognized professionals qualified to evaluate the substance of the proposal and the capacity of the applicant to implement and sustain the project over time.
  • In the case of endowment creation, details on the proposed nature, structure and operation of the funds to be held as endowment.
  • Details on other sources of funding, including terms and conditions, if any.
  • In the case of scientific investigation and invention, details on the applicant’s policies related to intellectual property, and any potential for-profit and product marketing agreements, if any.
  • A complete financial statement (audited, if available) of applicant’s most recently completed fiscal year. 
  • A complete copy of the agency’s most recent Form 990 with attached schedules.
  • An agency budget for the current fiscal year, including year-to-date budget vs. actuals.
  • Any relevant diagrams, maps, bids, press clippings, and/or supporting collateral materials.
  • An electronic copy of the agency’s logo

Examples of Past Grants

Public Safety

  • A $7 million grant to support Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute's implementation of the Dallas County Smart Justice Initiative, a comprehensive plan to reduce incarceration and recidivism rates in Dallas County.
  • A $5 million grant to replicate ACT's model of community engagement paired with legal action to reduce crime and blight in high-poverty neighborhoods in West and South Dallas.


  • A $15 million endowment to Children's Medical Center to support recruitment and start-up costs for new physicians and scientists in the Children's Research Institute at the UT Southwestern Medical School.
  • $5 million to support the first phase of a longitudinal research study within UT Southwestern’s Center for Depression and Mood Management.


  • $1.5 million grant to support the launch and scaling of the Urban Teachers' research-based four-year teacher residency program in Dallas.
  • $750,000 to support the launch of City Year Dallas in the Dallas Independent School District. 
  • $1.5 million grant to support the launch and accelerated growth strategy of Year Up Dallas in partnership with Dallas County Community College District. 

Our Key Programs:

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