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Norman Brinker Scholarship at CFT

Norman Brinker Scholarship at CFT

Legendary restaurateur’s legacy of excellence continues to inspire

Norman Brinker’s integrity, entrepreneurship and competitive spirit made him a legend, but it was his generosity and the desire to help raise the skill of others that made him beloved by his family, peers, employees, and the countless lives he touched.

The quintessential entrepreneur and founder of Brinker International, Norman Brinker created, acquired and grew many of today’s most beloved restaurant chains. His impact on the culinary world can be felt by everyone from customers to the thousands of people he inspired to believe in themselves, their ideas and the highest standards possible—principles he practiced throughout his life.

While Norman founded and funded numerous nonprofits during his lifetime, he had a special relationship with CFT. For more than 30 years, CFT had the privilege, honor and pleasure to work with him. He served on CFT’s Advisory Council and supported many charitable organizations including The Chiapas Project, SMU, Dallas Museum of Art, and The Salvation Army.

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After Norman’s death, his daughters Brenda Brinker Bottum and Cindy Brinker Simmons have continued to work with CFT to further the charitable work their father started and continued with CFT through his estate plans. In order to connect their father’s career with his desire to give back, Cindy and Brenda established the Norman E. Brinker Family Scholarship that will support students pursuing a degree at the University of Houston’s renowned Conrad Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management.

“Oh, what one person can do to create a better world," Cindy Brinker Simmons says. "Passing on a legacy of giving to the next generation is such a blessing!” 

While both Brenda and Cindy are active philanthropists on their own, they turned to CFT to help establish and manage this scholarship, ensuring that their father’s legacy of excellence continues to influence the next generation of restaurateurs.

Leaving Legacies of Love: Future Newlyweds Rise to the Occasion

Leaving Legacies of Love: Future Newlyweds Rise to the Occasion

Newlyweds open a charitable giving fund for their guests to make a charitable donation in lieu of a gift.


“We were so excited to tell our parents about our charitable fund. They are deeply proud of our choice. The response from our friends and family has been extremely positive,” said Sarah.

Leaving Legacies of Love: The Cole Wehunt Fund

Leaving Legacies of Love: The Cole Wehunt Fund

Parents honor late son's legacy through fund at CFT


“Cole inspired giving. He was such a generous person. We wanted to give back to our community because North Texas was Cole’s home and where he thrived growing up,” said Kay.

Inspiring Giving From Generation to Generation

Inspiring Giving From Generation to Generation

The Fallen Family Fund at CFT supports Freedom Day


“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.”

Spurring Social Innovation

Spurring Social Innovation

Across Public Safety, Education & Health Through CFT's Caruth Fund


“Our new approach to Caruth grantmaking seeks to increase access for organizations of different sizes, both within and across our priority issue areas of education, health, and public safety, and their intersections,” said Nadine Dechausay, Community Philanthropy Director. “We’re providing funding not only to projects that are fully implemented or expanding, but also to projects in initial development that we believe will be transformational for our community.”

Raising the Bar of Generosity

Raising the Bar of Generosity

CFT's North Texas Giving Day Rallies 100,000 People to Give Back


In 2019, CFT’s North Texas Giving Day raised $50 million benefiting nearly 3,000 local nonprofits, bringing the eleven-year total to over $290 million for our community. North Texas Giving Day is the largest community-wide giving event in the nation and this year more than 169,000 gifts poured in from 50 states and 25 countries.

We're Furthering Family Values

We're Furthering Family Values

Involving our children in our charitable giving plans beyond our lifetime from the very beginning!


“GiveWisely gave us an opportunity to come together around giving. We learned a lot about our kids and their unique and overlapping passions by going through the values-based exercises. It was a great experience to bond us in ways we hadn’t thought of before, and have us focus as a family on causes we care about,” said Ann. “There are many worthy causes, so being able to focus and know what’s most important to us as a family and being able to align that with the charitable giving we do has been really meaningful.”

Investing In Our Neighbors

Investing In Our Neighbors

"CFT was the perfect avenue for us to dig deep to make a difference in Collin County."


“There has been tremendous economic opportunity, but it’s important that each of our neighbors has an opportunity to come along on Collin County’s journey of growth. There are a lot of challenges and quiet needs here that many people don’t see,” noted Brian.

We're Building Bridges to Opportunity

We're Building Bridges to Opportunity

Giving life-changing scholarships to students enrolled in Bishop Lynch High School and beyond.


“We’re giving good, solid kids who earn Bs and Cs a leg up with this scholarship. It’s not only life-changing for them, it’s life-changing for me in my involvement,” said son Michael. “Our role was just planting the seed in each recipient to show that we believe in their ability, and the students have done all the rest,” said Jackie.

Engaging Employees for Good

Engaging Employees for Good

We're growing employee engagement and volunteer programs one business at a time.


“We value the tremendous expertise of the CFT4B team in growing our program, sharing best practices and connecting us to opportunities we didn’t even know existed. In addition to providing custom volunteer projects, they helped us create an engaging volunteer fair and a nonprofit board leadership training program for employees...”

Uplifting the Underrepresented

Uplifting the Underrepresented

Ross & Rebecca were both largely inspired by their families, particularly their mothers, to give of our time, talent and treasure.


Ross and Rebecca Anthony are tremendously intentional about their charitable giving, and have partnered with CFT in a variety of ways to align their values with their personal giving strategies.

You can't take it with you!

You can't take it with you!

Ford Lacy and Cece Smith Plan Their Community Legacy


"YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU!" is the first thing Ford Lacy said when we asked what spurred him and his wife, Cece Smith, to plan in advance how they would give to charity through their wills.

Inspiring Students and Uplifting Educators

Inspiring Students and Uplifting Educators

Carter Creech creates lasting impact in his hometown through CFT


Since 2005, Carter Creech has partnered with CFT on his charitable giving as he’s looked to “think bigger,” leading by example to encourage others.

Learning to Heal

Learning to Heal

Simon Greenstone creates a scholarship fund for those impacted by cancer


“We’re so pleased to have CFT as our partners as we make a real difference in the lives of so many deserving kids” says Simon Greenstone, founding shareholder of the law firm Simon Greenstone Panatier.

Racing Toward a Cure

Racing Toward a Cure

Shelby family furthers pancreatic cancer treatment options


The Shelby Family has made meaningful investments in the diagnosis and treatment of pancreatic cancer by working with CFT staff and funding clinical trials through donor-advised funds at CFT.

Working Side by Side to Simplify a Donor's Life

Working Side by Side to Simplify a Donor's Life

Beverly Brown finds joy converting family foundation to CFT fund


Beverly Brown is a fifth-generation native Texan with a quick smile, who grew up in Farmers Branch. As a child, she would often accompany her mom to area charities where they volunteered to help others who were homeless or hungry. Those early lessons have fueled Beverly’s heart for giving back through active volunteerism, board leadership and donor support.