A thriving community is built on the foundation of good jobs, strong relationships, enriching educational opportunities, quality healthcare and a safe environment. We believe that connected communities have the power to prevent social problems and repair brokenness. But this can only occur when we commit to bringing those who have been marginalized by past and current systems of exclusion into the center of our circle of care.
The William Walter Caruth, Jr. Fund is dedicated to bringing about this inclusive, multifaceted vision of community. This was Mr. Caruth’s goal when he established the fund in 1974. Mr. Caruth was the heir to a plantation estate that stretched from today’s downtown Dallas to Forest Lane and from Inwood Road to east of White Rock Lake. He purchased land on his own or from his parents at fair market value to build his personal wealth. Motivated by a passion for science, education and crime prevention, he and his wife, Mabel Peters Caruth, contributed an estimated $300,000 to a variety of causes.
Mr. Caruth understood that the forces that shape quality of life are deeply interdependent. He observed that without “security of person and property, other desired objectives [to improve education and health] were of no consequence.” He saw the alleviation of poverty as a solution that would address the other social problems that were his greatest concern. When he died in 1990, Mr. Caruth left $400 million — the bulk of his estate — to the Communities Foundation of Texas to continue and accelerate the work he had begun. It is the largest fund at CFT, and has established a reputation for funding big ideas that have the potential for transformative impact.
The overall mission of the Caruth Fund is to encourage organizations to tackle complex social issues related to health, education and public safety systems through innovation and collaboration. We invest in solutions that are:
- Data-driven and evidence-informed: embedded in a clear analysis of the scope and scale of the targeted problem, committed to using evidence-based practice when relevant, and engaged in ongoing review of data to track progress
- Innovative: creative and technologically savvy in the type of solution
- Collaborative: aligned with key partners to ensure efficiency and achieve systems change impacts that would not otherwise be possible
- Targeted: as far upstream as possible, or at the critical transition points where individuals or communities face life-altering risks
- Intersectional: recognizing the interdependence between risk and resiliency factors, and advancing solutions that overlap with multiple issue areas
- Equitable: cognizant of historical and current systems of oppression and actively seeking to undo them within the grantee organization and in the communities that are served
- Relationship-based: designed to strengthen relationships within the family, between neighbors and across difference to solve problems and build the resilience of the community.