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At Communities Foundation of Texas (CFT), our charge is to put giving to work. CFT professionally manages more than 1,000 charitable funds for families, companies, foundations and nonprofits and has awarded more than $2 billion in grants since its founding in 1953. We believe that where giving thrives, communities thrive, too.

CFT’s Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy (ELP) program seeks to educate, engage, and broaden the philanthropic impact of the next generation of leaders in North Texas to ensure that our region’s legacy of generosity continues to thrive and grow. We hope that young professionals with a mind and heart for their community can learn to set their personal strategies for giving, have a deeper understanding of how to approach philanthropic issues, and connect with others who have a diverse background but share a commitment to be engaged.

Applications for the 2020-21 cohort are now closed. Applicants will be notified of acceptance in mid-August.

If you have any questions or would wish to receive communications about when applications open for the 2021 cohort, please email Tina Lin at

Who should apply:

  • Leaders ages 25-40 interested in learning, engaging, and broadening their impact through philanthropy and strategic giving

What you can expect out of the program:

  • The program is divided into two sections:
    • Framework - building the foundation for your personal strategy and learning about the landscape of philanthropy in North Texas
    • Grantmaking "lab" - with the cohort, go through an abbreviated grantmaking process from drafting a mission statement to granting funding to one or more nonprofits
  • Monthly meetings from September to May
    • Time and location varies to accomodate different schedules
    • Must attend at least two out of the first four sessions to participate in grantmaking
  • Hear from engaging speakers and community leaders
  • Site visits to a variety of effective nonprofit organizations in Dallas
  • Opportunity to grant funding (provided by donors) to one or more nonprofits
  • Optional volunteerism and networking opportunities
  • PLEASE NOTE: due to COVID-19 concerns, the 2020-21 cohort sessions will be move to virtual programming (subject to change)

View our previous cohorts here

View the tentative syllabus here

We sincerely appreciate the generous funding provided by an anonymous funder to support the launch of the ELP program.

Special Thanks to our Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy Steering Committee: 
Aline Bass, Megan Bowdon, Jennifer Lan, Noble Modu, Gunnar Rawlings, Tucker Robinson, DeVaughdric Ross, Jose Manuel Santoyo, Sally Sha, David Shields, and Lucas Shelton

Where giving thrives, communities thrive too.

Side by side, we can build a thriving community for all.

Learn more about our community impact