Skip to main content

$6.3 Million in Grants Awarded by CFT's W.W. Caruth, Jr. Fund to Drive Social Innovation

April 17, 2019

First Set of 2019 Caruth Grants to Benefit Education, Public Safety and Health


Communities Foundation of Texas (CFT) today announced that fifteen organizations have been awarded a total of $6.3 million in grants from CFT’s W.W. Caruth Jr. Fund.  CFT is the custodian of the Caruth Fund, the foundation’s largest endowment donated by William Walter Caruth, Jr. to advance innovative and evidence-based solutions to significant community challenges in the areas of education, public safety, health, and medical and scientific research. Mr. Caruth aspired to combine his heart for giving with the tools of entrepreneurship and scientific inquiry to bring about widespread community improvements, and these grants will advance those goals.

Of the fifteen awards:
  • Nine seek to either improve educational outcomes for children and adults or advance institutional effectiveness through leadership and equity training, performance measurement or technology.
  • Two of the grants aim to reduce crime and, in one case, build community connections by reclaiming neglected land.
  • Four of the grants seek to improve the health and resilience of families through direct service or increased access to fresh food.

Grantees include: At Last, Inc., Behind Every Door, Bridges to Life, Catch Up and Read, Collaborative for Fresh Produce, Crossroads Community Services, Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center, Dallas Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation, GreenLight Credentials, ScholarShot, Stand for Children Texas, Teaching Trust, TexProtects, The Trust for Public Land, and the UNT Foundation (supporting Teach North Texas at UNT).

The below table contains a full list of the grantees, award amounts, and project descriptions. You can also download the table here as a PDF.

Many of the newly awarded projects are intersectional, meaning that they utilize strategies that aim to improve outcomes across Education, Public Safety, and Health. Sarah Cotton Nelson, CFT’s chief of philanthropy, explained that this was intentional: “Our north star at CFT is building a thriving community for all. We want to be looking at the community’s challenges holistically and working across sectors to solve them.”

The grants range in size from a planning grant of $70,000 to implementation and replication grants in the amount of $500,000. They will serve residents across the Dallas Metroplex, with a strong emphasis on high poverty areas. Some efforts encompass the entire state. CFT looked for projects at different stages of innovation and development.

“We are being more explicit than ever about organizing our grantmaking along the stages of the human-centered design process from discovery through prototyping, implementation, and evaluation to scale up. We plan to maintain a strong focus on data-tracking and storytelling throughout,” said Nadine Dechausay, the director of community philanthropy who oversees Caruth grantmaking strategy.

Today's announcement is the largest set of Caruth grants to be distributed in a single year since the fund's inception, and more grants will be announced throughout 2019. Updates will be published on the website, Facebook page, and Twitter feed.

David Scullin, CFT’s president and CEO, expressed strong support for this much-expanded effort. “We are excited about this chapter of Caruth grantmaking. It shows how we are constantly refining our approach and working to connect the dots between visionary donors and extraordinary work in the community.”

Download this press release as a PDF. 
2019 Caruth Grantee Listing (Download a PDF version here)
Grantee Organization and Project Title Grant Amount and Caruth Focus Area Project Description
At Last!, Inc.

A New Urban
Boarding Experience in South Oak Cliff

Education, Health, Public Safety
Research shows that differentials in home life contribute to inequitable future outcomes for low income children compared with middle class peers. This project is designed to close the gap by bringing a safe and enriching urban boarding experience prototype to the South Oak Cliff community.
Behind Every Door

Gamifying Participation: An App for Attendance,
Engagement, and Outcomes

Behind Every Door has designed an app that combines a robust data tracking system with a gamified user interface. It has the potential to improve program management and increase engagement in afterschool and other kinds of human services programs. This grant will allow the prototype to be fully built out and tested in two new use case environments. 
Catch Up & Read

Developing Strong Readers with Strong Teachers

Third graders who read at grade level  are more likely to graduate from high school, but only about 36% of DISD students do. Catch Up and Read’s literacy intervention targets 1st - 3rd graders who are most likely to fail with a proven approach delivered by trained teachers. This grant will allow Catch Up and Read to expand to additional campuses.
Dallas Truth,
Racial Healing, and

Racial Equity NOW: New Outcomes for Our World

The future of our region depends on confronting past and present inequities, and building policies that promote inclusion. DTRHT has the expertise, relationships, and credibility to support a transformational reconciliation effort at scale. The next step in their strategy is to provide intensive racial equity coaching for 10 organizations with the support of this grant.
GreenLight Credentials with Educate Texas

Big Data Goes to School: A Digital Wallet for All Academic Credentials

Greenlight Credentials has created a digital wallet for academic credentials. The platform uses blockchain technology to store all credentials obtained from any institution in a secure, consolidated transcript. Because the metadata will be stored with the grades, this enables reverse transfer credit to be awarded much more quickly, and finetunes matchmaking between individuals, schools, and employers. Educate Texas will subcontract with Greenlight to guide further build out of these components and grow the network of users.

An Economic Mobility Report Card for Texas' Public Universities

Most students who start college do not finish. This is especially true for low-income, first generation students who only have a 11% chance of graduating. To bring attention to institutions that have invested in the supports that improve those odds, ScholarShot will use this grant to create a prototype of a public “Economic Mobility” score card, and get it into the hands of families and college access providers. 
Stand for Children Texas

Building the Case for Scale: Texas Home Visit Project Evaluation

Stand for Children has collected internal metrics that suggest that when teachers visit their students at home, the students’ behavior and the teacher’s satisfaction improve. Partnering with scholars from Brown University, a randomized controlled trial evaluation will be conducted to determine the true effects of this low-cost, relationship-based intervention. 
Teaching Trust

Codifying Impact: A Roadmap for Growth

Educator effectiveness is one of the most important school-based factors in student achievement. When teachers leave the profession, they cite negative school culture, lack of support, burnout, and student discipline problems as the main reasons. Teaching Trust provides high-impact coaching to school leadership teams in ways that directly address those issues. This grant will allow Teaching Trust to codify their methods to enable further expansion in North Texas. 
UNT Foundation

Enhancing STEM Teacher Prep with an Augmented Reality Classroom

Based on successful experience using Augmented Reality scenarios, UNT will use this grant to add modules specifically for math and science teachers to improve their classroom management skills. This should improve teacher retention for UNT graduates and other area teacher prep programs who will be able to access the technology at a discounted cost.
Collaborative for Fresh Produce

Fusionware Technology: Linking Farms and  Foodbanks

Farmers and packers leave an estimated 20 billion pounds of edible produce in fields each year. The Collaborative for Fresh Produce (CFP) helps salvage that food and get it to food banks. This grant will enable CFP to automate the process using Fusionware technology.
Crossroads Community Services

The SNAPAppointment Coordination Evaluation: Using Behavioral Economics to Improve Health

By the time most people get to a food pantry, they have exhausted their food stamp benefits and are hungry. This grant will allow behavioral economists to partner with two of our largest local food pantries to try to modify that behavior, leading to better health outcomes and informing practice for food pantries nationwide.
Dallas Children's Advocacy Center

Restoring Children of Abuse: Scaling Evidenced-Based Therapy Interventions

Health, Public Safety
Children who survive physical or sexual abuse face a lifetime of abuse-related complications. Fortunately, evidence-based treatments exist that can restore health and break the intergenerational cycle of violence. Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center will use this grant to increase access to  treatment, while also strengthening their own practice by incorporating fidelity checks and practitioners with advanced Psychology degrees.

Taking Nurse Home Visiting to Scale: Planning for a Pilot of Family Connects 

Health, Public Safety
Texas is home to 10% of new births in the country but has no coordinated infant-toddler strategy. TexProtects is organizing a statewide coalition for 0-3 policy, while seeking to pilot Family Connects in DFW, an evidence-based home visiting model for families with newborns.
Bridges To Life

Expanding Restorative Justice: Promoting Healing  in North Texas Communities

Public Safety
Restorative justice is a relationship-based practice that brings crime victims and perpetrators together to consider the harm done and make amends. Bridges To Life will use this grant to expand its program into more male and female prisons and addiction treatment facilities in North Texas. 
The Trust for Public Land

Green Beginning: The Alice Branch Creek Health-and-Wellness Greenbelt

Public Safety, Education, Health
The lot across the street from South Oak Cliff High School has become an overgrown mass of underbrush and invasive species, a dumping ground for trash, and a magnet for crime and disorder. In partnership with the community, the Trust for Public Land will use this grant to build the Alice Branch Creek Park, which will be connected to a new greenbelt and include a traffic appeasement strategy.  
About Communities Foundation of Texas
With the goal of building thriving communities for all, Communities Foundation of Texas (CFT) works with many individuals, families, companies and nonprofits through a variety of charitable funds and strategic grantmaking initiatives. In 1974, W.W. Caruth, Jr. established his fund as part of the Communities Foundation of Texas with philanthropic goals to support frontier-advancing projects in education, scientific research, medical advancement and public safety. Like it does for the Caruth family, CFT professionally manages more than 1,000 charitable funds and has awarded more than $1.8 billion in grants since its founding in 1953.  CFT is committed to serving and understanding donor needs, expertly handling complex gifts, wisely managing charitable funds and leveraging its community knowledge to increase charitable impact.

Learn more: @GiveWisely #CFTImpact
Related Posts

Challenges await Texas students of color after the end of affirmative action

They will need support to ensure equal opportunity in education.

Shareea Woods is the director of Texas College Access Network at Educate Texas, an initiative of the Communities Foundation of Texas. She wrote this column for The Dallas Morning News.

North Texas Funders Come Together to Provide Essential Support to Nonprofits Leading COVID-19 Recovery

As the U.S. has emerged from the pandemic lockdown and moved toward navigating around the virus, there has been a lot of discussion about lasting impacts — especially in relation to how local funders and nonprofits continue to work together to support our communities most in need. In January 2021, The Dallas Foundation, Communities Foundation of Texas, and Lyda Hill Philanthropies came together to partner with Catchafire to bring time-sensitive, virtual support to more than 300 nonprofit organizations in the North Texas region.

Putting the Success in Working Families Success

Gratitude for the WFS Advisory Council

In 2020, as part of CFT’s WFS Network, we formed an Advisory Council to highlight some of our most engaged WFS members who love what they do and love, equally, sharing the lessons they’ve learned with others. This blog is the first in a series highlighting our Advisory Council members – smart, passionate, hard-working leaders who also want to see others like them grow and succeed.