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Sharing Values & Planning Your Legacy

Sharing Values & Planning Your Legacy

A conversation with Ray and Linda Pekowski

Q: The two of you are noted Texas entrepreneurs and your business mission has been to help people perform at a higher level. How has that driven plans for ensuring your charitable legacy?

A: We’ve been very blessed as a company and as a family and wanted to pass on those blessings. At our annual family meeting, we sat down with the kids and our business consultant to plan the next steps for our business and to hear our children’s expectations for the future. We decided to keep our company in the family rather than selling it, and needed to update our estate plan.
Out of that planning, we elected to leave 50 percent of our assets to charity. We spoke with Eric, our estate planner, and told him we were thinking about setting up a foundation to manage our charitable giving. Eric listened and advised, and we learned that running a foundation is similar to running a business. As an alternative, Eric brought up partnering with Communities Foundation of Texas to establish a donor-advised fund, which works similarly but without the administrative burden of a private foundation. Establishing the Pekowski Charitable Fund at CFT gave us an easy and effective way to give now and through our estate.

Q: What did you find most beneficial in working with CFT on your charitable legacy and giving? How are you including your children and grandchildren in your legacy?

A: CFT guided us every step of the way. They recommended we participate in their GiveWisely course and attend a nonprofit site visit with their staff. We brought our children to that and it was very helpful in choosing the charities we wanted to donate to as a family. At our most recent family meeting, our children presented what they learned in GiveWisely, and we talked about the gifts we’ve made in the past year. We also brought the values card activity we did with CFT staff to our family meeting and talked about what values matter most to each of us. We’ve been holding family meetings since 1999, and in the past few years have begun to include the grandchildren. The youngest is 6 and the oldest is 15, and they’re having fun helping to select the nonprofits we support. We talk and pray about stewardship and share with them stories about our lives and about giving. We continue to stress the importance of our family legacy, and we feel confident that they want to continue that legacy of giving.
Getting Creative to Fund the Arts

Getting Creative to Fund the Arts

Craig Hall Transforms Real Estate into Real Impact


Craig Hall, founder of Hall Group and fund holder at Communities Foundation of Texas, structured a complex donation of two premium restaurant spaces in the Dallas Arts District to his fund at CFT.

Your Guide to Simplified Complex Giving

Your Guide to Simplified Complex Giving

Did you know Communities Foundation of Texas can accept a wide range of gifts, even real estate, art and antiques?


Did you know Communities Foundation of Texas can accept a wide range of gifts, even real estate, art and antiques?

Supporting the Heart of a Champion

Supporting the Heart of a Champion

Gini Florer uses CFT's GiveWisely class to guide her charitable giving


Following a stroke in utero that left her son with his brain severely damaged, Gini Florer has become a champion for children with special needs.

Intentional Giving

Intentional Giving

Darryl Rose & Melisa Ambers feel the power of giving back


“KNOWING WE WANTED TO GIVE BACK in our community on a more significant level, my initial thought was to start my own foundation,” says Melisa Ambers. “But after we discovered CFT, we realized they have the resources and knowledge to help us make intentional gifts in this community. Why reinvent the wheel?”

Chip Off the Old Block

Chip Off the Old Block

Meredith Woodworth administers grants from her grandfather's fund


Before there were Morton’s Potato Chips, there was Granville C. Morton, honing his potato chip recipe in the kitchen of his Dallas sandwich shop.

Strikeouts Save Lives

Strikeouts Save Lives

Clayton Kershaw Uses CFT Fund to Raise Money for African Children


Dallas native and Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw fused his natural baseball ability with helping children in need last season when he began pledging $100 for every strikeout to support children in Africa.

Casey McManemin keeps his grandfather's legacy alive

Casey McManemin keeps his grandfather's legacy alive

Casey & Megan McManemin bring Mack's Barber Shop to The Bridge


Casey’s grandfather was an unassuming man. He opened a barbershop in 1920 when he moved to Dallas. Today, Megan and Casey are continuing his grandfather’s legacy by funding a barbershop at The Bridge, a homeless shelter in downtown Dallas through their fund at CFT.

Choreographing a Campaign

Choreographing a Campaign

Dallas Black Dance Theatre works to secure its financial future


Dallas Black Dance Theatre, the premier professional dance company in Dallas, has taken steps to secure its financial future. In 2008, Dallas Black Dance Theatre successfully completed a $10.8 million capital campaign to secure a permanent home and established a fund with Communities Foundation of Texas to make continued giving easy for donors.

Neiman Marcus Employees Support Disaster Relief

Neiman Marcus Employees Support Disaster Relief

Neimans uses their business-advised fund to engage employees and respond to natural disasters


Disasters are life’s great equalizers. They remind us that being human is being vulnerable. When a disaster happens to others, we know it just as easily could have happened to us, and our inborn urge to help swells. Neiman Marcus wanted to give its employees a way to participate in disaster response and recovery efforts through the company’s annual charitable giving campaign.

Joining together to help Japan

Joining together to help Japan


On the morning of March 11, 2011, a catastrophic 9.0 earthquake spawned a 30-foot-high tsunami that destroyed the northeastern coast of Japan. Anna McFarland, witnessing news coverage of the disaster, knew she had to help. As the executive director of the Japan-America Society of Dallas/Fort Worth, a friendship organization connecting the two countries, Anna quickly turned to Communities Foundation of Texas for assistance.

Focusing on Kids' Futures

Focusing on Kids' Futures

Trinity River Mission uses scholarship funds to focus kids' on their futures


The children who complete the Believe and Achieve program offered through Trinity River Mission (TRM) receive more than the enhanced self-esteem that comes from academic success.  “The high school seniors are pretty much guaranteed a $4,000 scholarship to college,” said Dolores Sosa Green, executive director, referring to the $500-per-semester scholarship that is funded and administered through CFT.

The Art of Financial Management

The Art of Financial Management


Looking to raise a large amount of money to help restore the original Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts campus and build a new state-of-the-art facility adjacent to the 1922 building—without spending resources on staff and infrastructure to manage those funds—the Arts Magnet Advisory Board partnered with Communities Foundation of Texas (CFT) when they launched a capital campaign.

The Art of Giving

The Art of Giving

Linda and Bob Buford donate art to CFT to use proceeds for charitable good


When Linda and Bob Buford purchased a contemporary painting in New York 27 years ago, little did they realize it would produce so many rewards. The large painting by abstract expressionist painter Joan Mitchell, with its active brush strokes and vibrant yellows and blues, captured the spirit of the bright, sunny landscapes of the South of France. Along with another work by the same artist, the painting hung in the Bufords’ guest bedroom where Bob often read and admired the two favorites from their art collection.

Michelle Hall honors her mother's passion

Michelle Hall honors her mother's passion

Hall uses her donor-advised fund to honor her mother


“My mother was a tireless champion of education and community improvement,” says Michelle.  “She has always been an inspiration for me and now for my four daughters as well.”It’s hard to overstate the effect Margarita De Nocochea had on Calexico, California.

Pet Adoption Advocate

Pet Adoption Advocate

Kit and her daughter, Gloria, opened the Saving Hope Fund at Communities Foundation of Texas after finding and adopting an abandoned and severely abused dog on her ranch outside of Fort Worth 


Kit and her daughter, Gloria, opened the Saving Hope Fund at Communities Foundation of Texas after finding and adopting an abandoned and severely abused dog on her ranch outside of Fort Worth, Texas. Kit Moncrief always had a soft spot for animals. The socialite and animal lover adopted her fair share of rescue animals in the past, so when she heard that an abused dog turned up on her family’s ranch, she knew she had to take action.