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Inspiring Giving From Generation to Generation

The Fallen Family Fund at CFT supports Freedom Day

For Nancy Fallen and her family, giving and serving the community has been a family effort that began with her grandfather, the late Raymond Fallen, who died in 2009.

Raymond was born in Dorchester, TX. Because they were sharecroppers, his family moved quite a bit during his early years, finally settling in Ennis. Times were tough, so Raymond worked before and after school to contribute to the household income. During the Depression, he faced a challenging decision: stay in school or quit and work full-time. With great resolve and perseverance, he decided to finish high school and join The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) – a government-sponsored construction organization carrying out public works projects, including building roads, bridges, and campsites. Most of his meager earnings were sent back home to the family, even after he joined the US Army in 1941. He served until 1946, when, with a new wife and son in tow, he moved back to Ennis to help establish and grow a new family business: Ennis Automotive. His company became a large automotive parts remanufacturing organization with customers nationwide and was at one time the largest employer in Ennis. Nancy vividly remembers working there every summer.

Nancy reflected on how generous her grandfather was, especially to the town of Ennis. As a part of his legacy, he gave back through both financial contributions and volunteerism. He made the founding gift that helped establish the Boys and Girls Club in Ennis and volunteered or made contributions to Baylor Hospital, Methodist Children’s Home, First United Methodist Church Ennis, Helping Hands Food Pantry and more. In his will, he set up a charitable giving fund, The Fallen Family Fund at Communities Foundation of Texas, which he designated for his family to distribute after his passing. Raymond was the quintessential model for giving; his life of generosity continues to impact those he loved long beyond his lifetime.

“It’s been the greatest gift,” said Nancy. “I feel like what granddad gave us was an opportunity – an opportunity to make a difference and to explore within ourselves something he had already figured out: lifting up the people around you is what matters most. He knew that the fund could bring good to others but also to us as we practiced generosity together.”

To honor his legacy, the Fallens give through their family fund to the organizations that were closest to their grandfather’s heart. They also make grants to organizations and efforts that align with their own interests and passions – one of which is CFT’s Freedom Day, an annual day of service on September 11.

Nancy was introduced to Freedom Day through a connection her employer had with CFT and Sejal Desai, business engagement director of CFT for Business. Nancy quickly discovered her deep love and appreciation for Freedom Day, especially as she began donating her time to serve on the Freedom Day Steering Committee to help ensure the day’s success.
 
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“Freedom Day is a jewel. It’s a wonderful way to spend time doing something positive on a day that typically has negative connotations,” said Nancy.

For the Fallen family and many families around DFW, the projects on Freedom Day empower children to get excited about the ways they can contribute to society through volunteerism. Through Freedom Day, the Fallen family has volunteered with a number of nonprofits in support of their missions, including Dallas Holocaust Museum, Hunger Busters, and Love in Motion.

“We have an obligation to give back where we live and to invest in our communities. The children grow up learning a culture of community service, helping others and seeing themselves as part of the community narrative.”

For Nancy, her connection to Freedom Day is even deeper than giving back and inspiring the next generation. It allows her family to be a part of something her grandfather would’ve deeply appreciated. As the granddaughter of veterans, Nancy feels indebted to those who have served our country. It’s her way to honor their selfless sacrifices and support those in the community deeply affected by the loss of loved ones in service to our country.

 “I would love to get more companies and CFT fund holder families involved in Freedom Day, whether that be through volunteer participation, sponsoring the day, or both. CFT’s North Texas Giving Day and Freedom Day are two intentional and thoughtful ways to directly impact the community and I know more families would benefit from joining us,” said Nancy.

Learn more about freedom day here

 
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