The same month I arrived at CFT 11 years ago, the massive Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast at New Orleans, Louisiana.
As our country struggled with how to respond to the catastrophic results, thousands of beleaguered people began pouring into our own community in North Texas. Local elected officials and nonprofit leaders sprang into action. At CFT, I quickly learned about the range of tools available for responding to human need, and the depth of generosity within the hearts of our neighbors. Both are astounding.
During those early days, I had an opportunity to share publicly some words of Theodore Roosevelt that have inspired me for many years. The quote included this admonition: “Far better it is to dare mighty things…”
Far better it is, indeed. Back then, I had no idea how many things we would dare together. With an ever-stronger combination of donors, trustees, staff and community colleagues, CFT didn’t shy away from those mighty things, such as:
helping to make quality education available to students across the state, regardless of their backgrounds or zip codes;
boosting the effectiveness of local organizations serving a surprisingly large population of low-income working families that are literally “one crisis away” from financial disaster; and
building the largest single-day communitywide charitable giving event anywhere in the country.
No one ever flinched. Instead, we acknowledged together that smart collaboration, fueled by incredibly generous donors, can accomplish wonders. It’s true that plenty of challenges remain. But the way we crave – and work hard to produce – real impact in the lives of people will never be the same.
As I leave CFT, I am deeply grateful that I had the chance to dare mighty things alongside you. Thank you for that privilege. And I can’t wait to see what you tackle next.
Former President and CEO