Skip to main content

Did you have a chance to attend the screening of a film during the recent AFI Dallas International Film Festival? My wife and I were able to see a couple of them. And much to my surprise, the film that moved us the most was an unexpected view into the world of high school debate, Resolved.

“Moving” probably isn’t a word you associate with high school debate. (More likely, it’s a word such as “geek.”) Debate pits teams of students against each other, alternating in their academic arguments for and against a topic. The topic always begins, “Resolved: _______________.” Often these topics are focused on the economy, or foreign policy, or a thorny constitutional issue. In other words, the debates have the potential to be dry as toast.

However, Resolved is anything but dry. Modern debate is not familiar to most of us. It involves rapid-fire delivery (up to 400 words per minute; try it yourself) of intricately researched arguments amid dizzying layers of logic. That alone is amazing to watch. But even more amazing is how the lives of four debaters, two from Highland Park and two from Long Beach, California, tell a compelling story about real life and preparing for what lies beyond high school.

CFT stepped into the world of high school debate a couple of times during the past year. Once was through a discretionary grant to the National Center for Policy Analysis for its “Debate Central” website, an easily-accessed, common source of research material for all students about the national debate topic. The second was through a discretionary grant to the Dallas Urban Debate Alliance in support of a summer debate institute for the growing number of Dallas ISD kids participating in high school debate.

There is evidence that competitive debate programs can be remarkably effective ways to engage students. That’s true both at schools where you might expect it, and at schools where you might not, such as urban campuses in economically challenged neighborhoods. Engaged students stay in school. They learn how to overcome obstacles. They graduate. And, they are better prepared for whatever life holds after high school.

Steve Blow, columnist for The Dallas Morning News, stirred up some controversy recently by explaining his view about why some kids drop out of high school. He asserted that because many of them probably would not wind up in college, they are essentially “pushed out by schools fixated on a college-prep curriculum.”

Yikes. It’s true that some students won’t go on to pursue four-year bachelor’s degrees. But, those who don’t may pursue a two-year associate’s degree or seek specialized technical training. Our world is becoming more complicated each day in nearly every aspect. All students benefit from facing appropriately rigorous challenges throughout their school years. Rigor produces results—it doesn’t excuse giving up.

That’s why CFT has made two grants for debate-related programs. We are resolved that new education strategies can lead to rigorous, relevant experiences in school—and stronger citizens.

Brent E. Christopher

President and Chief Executive Officer

Read More

  • Community|Nonprofits|Advisors|Fund Holders|Educate Texas|CFT For Business

    08.27.2019| 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

    North Texas Giving Day: Donor Stewardship Training

    Interested in learning how to retain donors and build lasting relationships? Then join us for a Donor Stewardship training!

  • Community|Fund Holders|CFT For Business

    08.28.2019| 3:30 pm

    August Coffee and Tea with CFT4B

    Are you are a company, nonprofit or curious professional who wants to make a difference? Come learn more about the benefits of our CFT for Business (CFT4B) network! Join us for our monthly coffee and tea series with CFT's Sejal Desai and Kymberlaine Banks on the fourth Wednesday of every month at 3:30 pm: August 28, September 25, October 30 and November 27.

  • Nonprofits

    08.29.2019| 5 pm

    Fall Grant Application Deadline for Nonprofits

    As part of CFT's fall letter of inquiry (LOI) process, grant funding is available to local nonprofits in in the areas of: community services (social services, veterans, youth), environment, health, and racial equity. There is also a special grant opportunity for organizations who plan to recognize the centennial of the 19th Amendment through events and programs. Applications are now open and are due by 5pm on August 29.

  • Community|Nonprofits|CFT For Business

    09.05.2019| 4:30 PM - 6:30 PM

    Cause-Minded Conversation: Latino Giving and Philanthropy

    In celebration of North Texas Giving Day and Hispanic Heritage month, CFT is excited to present this enlightening conversation. As we continue to leverage the values of diversity and encourage philanthropy across all communities, this event is aimed to unite our community around creating impact. Our panelists for the event include Latino business leaders and influencers who will share their insight on trends in philanthropy in the Latino community and a demographic snapshot of North Texas Hispanics.

  • CFT For Business

    09.11.2019|

    CFT4B's 18th Annual Freedom Day

    Join us for CFT4B's 18th annual Freedom Day to honor the lives lost and forever changed on 9.11.2001. Over the past 17 years, Freedom Day events have brought together more than 13,000 volunteers, who donated a total of more than 45,000 volunteer service hours.

  • Community|Nonprofits|Advisors|Fund Holders|Educate Texas|CFT For Business

    09.19.2019|

    CFT's 11th Annual North Texas Giving Day

    Communities Foundation of Texas’ 11th Annual North Texas Giving Day is the nation's largest 18-hour online community-wide giving event designed to empower every person to give back by supporting any and all of the 2,700 local nonprofits and causes they care about in one easy-to-use platform. During North Texas Giving Day, everyone has the opportunity to be a philanthropist to build a stronger and more vibrant community. Save the date to get up and give!

  • Community|Fund Holders|CFT For Business

    09.25.2019| 3:30 pm

    September Coffee and Tea with CFT4B

    Are you are a company, nonprofit or curious professional who wants to make a difference? Come learn more about the benefits of our CFT for Business (CFT4B) network! Join us for our monthly coffee and tea series with CFT's Sejal Desai and Kymberlaine Banks on the fourth Wednesday of every month at 3:30 pm: September 25, October 30 and November 27.

  • Community|Fund Holders|CFT For Business

    10.30.2019| 3:30 pm

    October Coffee and Tea with CFT4B

    Are you are a company, nonprofit or curious professional who wants to make a difference? Come learn more about the benefits of our CFT for Business (CFT4B) network! Join us for our monthly coffee and tea series with CFT's Sejal Desai and Kymberlaine Banks on the fourth Wednesday of every month at 3:30 pm: October 30 and November 27.

  • Community|Fund Holders|CFT For Business

    11.27.2019| 3:30 pm

    November Coffee and Tea with CFT4B

    Are you are a company, nonprofit or curious professional who wants to make a difference? Come learn more about the benefits of our CFT for Business (CFT4B) network! Join us for our monthly coffee and tea series with CFT's Sejal Desai and Kymberlaine Banks on the fourth Wednesday of every month at 3:30 pm.