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CFT for Business’ 2nd Annual Chambers of Commerce Luncheon

January 12, 2023

52638466736_9d3da0537a_k.jpgOn January 12, 2023, Communities Foundation of Texas for Business (CFT4B) hosted its 2nd annual Chamber of Commerce Networking Luncheon. Editor of D CEO magazine, Christine Perez, moderated the event’s panel featuring Senior Manager of Community Development at Charles Schwab Bank, Andrea Glispie; Director of Park Experience at HALL Park, Barbara Milo; Senior Director of ESG, Belonging, and Corporate Philanthropy at Neiman Marcus Group, Ali Mize; and Director of Giving and Volunteering at Texas Instruments and Executive Director at TI Foundation, Andy Smith.

The panelists highlighted how each of their companies have collaborated with Communities Foundation of Texas (CFT) to achieve their charitable giving and community impact goals. 

Moderator, Christine Perez, opened the panel’s dialogue with Director of Giving and Volunteering at Texas Instruments and Executive Director at TI Foundation and CFT fund holder, Andy Smith. Andy spoke about the TI Foundation’s partnership with Educate Texas – CFT’s statewide educational initiative– and how that collaboration has aided their overarching goal of serving underrepresented students in South Dallas. Speaking on that goal, Andy said, “We believe that no matter what background or who you are, all students have the ability to achieve and succeed.” 

Since 2012, the TI Foundation has invested over $12 million in educational advancement for DeSoto, Cedar Hill, and Lancaster ISD. Andy explained that the TI Foundation collaborated with Educate Texas to develop a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) program in Lancaster ISD that not only offers K-12 students new and exciting educational opportunities but also provides them with “the STEM skill sets of collaboration, communication, and critical thinking.”  

When tackling the social and emotional distress that many students were under during the pandemic Andy said, “We went to our partners at Educate Texas and United Way and together they created a program called Heal, Play, Learn,” a social emotional learning program now in its second year in those three districts. “It was more of a success than we ever thought it would be. I can tell you, the superintendents love it, the kids love it, and most importantly, the parents love it.”  

Pivoting to Charles Schwab’s involvement in CFT’s North Texas Giving Day– the largest online giving event in the nation– Senior Manager of Community Development at Charles Schwab Bank, Andrea Glispie, explained that “there is a lot of power in people coming together to raise resources toward causes that they care about to make a difference in their community.” With a focus on community reinvestment, Charles Schwab is actively working toward advancing affordable housing, small business development, and financial capability in North Texas. Speaking on behalf of the company, Andrea said, “We want to be a good, thoughtful community partner, we want to be a good corporate citizen, and we really want to be at the center of the good that is happening in DFW.” 

Senior Director of ESG, Belonging, and Corporate Philanthropy at Neiman Marcus Group, Ali Mize, spoke on Nieman Marcus’ experience with creating a business-advised fund, also known as a charitable giving fund, at CFT. Over a decade ago, Neiman Marcus established The Heart of Neiman Marcus Foundation. Since inception, the foundation’s goals have expanded beyond philanthropy to a more holistic environmental, social governance strategy. Ali explained that their team “seeks to help the company revolutionize luxury experiences by advancing sustainable products and services, cultivating a culture of belonging, and leading with love for our communities.” Neiman Marcus has established five business-funds at CFT to advance these goals. Ali shared that the company’s partnership with CFT “allows us to have an extra set of hands, hearts, and minds to execute the work that we do on a national scale.”  

Thanks to the support of CFT’s philanthropy department, Neiman Marcus’ team has restructured their grant process to include diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) standards. “For example, if a religious organization discriminates against the LGBTQ+ community, they are no longer eligible for a grant from The Heart of Neiman Marcus Foundation. DEI is really important to us,” explained Ali.  

Closing the panel discussion, Director of Park Experience at HALL Park, Barbara Milo, talked about HALL Park’s partnership with CFT to bring a $30 million park to Frisco. “We are excited to see that Kaleidoscope Park is going to be in Frisco,” said Barbara. “CFT helps so many people. They help with volunteering. They help with funding. They help with all things nonprofit. It’s incredible that one organization can do so much.” Barbara expressed her excitement about CFT’s office expansion in Collin County. She said, “When I heard that CFT had an office in Frisco, I think I was more excited than they were. HALL Park works with CFT to help our local nonprofits find funding or volunteers.” 

Panel moderator, Christine, asked Barbara how she would describe CFT’s work with businesses in the community. Barbara said: 

“I’ve always admired CFT for their work in the community. When I was a little girl, we didn’t have a lot of nonprofits near us, so my mom would cook dinner for people, and she did things in the church. My mom set the standard for me. Now my kids are like ‘Mom, where are we going to volunteer?’ CFT reminds me of that. CFT sets the standard for everyone else.”

At Communities Foundation of Texas, we aim to provide your company with opportunities that align with your values, connecting you to the audiences that matter most to you, and helping expand your community impact. 

Learn more about the variety of ways your company can partner with CFT through sponsorship or support of an event, volunteer opportunity, or program this year in CFT’s 2023 Engagement Guide. 

Browse our 2023 Engagement Guide 

Check out photos from the event:

Chambers of Commerce Event Photos

Photos by: Kim Leeson Photography 

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