A $15 million grant from the W.W. Caruth, Jr. Fund at Communities Foundation of Texas to the Dallas Police Department (DPD) was the largest ever made from the foundation created by Will Caruth and entrusted to CFT, and also the largest grant on record made through a public foundation to a police department anywhere in the country. One aspect of the grant funded the groundbreaking Caruth Police Institute prepares leaders in the DPD to become better educated, better trained officers who effectively protect and serve the citizens of Dallas. With additional key support from the University of Texas at Dallas, the institute will provide high-quality leadership training for all levels of the DPD.
CFT INVESTS in FUTURE of DALLAS
Impact Newsletter Article, Fall 2005
Communities Foundation of Texas has made an unprecedented investment in the City of Dallas. Charles J. Wyly, Jr., Chairman of the Board, announced at a press conference August 4 that a three-year, $15 million grant has been made from the W. W. Caruth, Jr. Foundation Fund of CFT to the Dallas Police Department to improve public safety.
Dallas City Mayor Laura Miller, City Manager Mary Suhm, and the Police Department’s full ommand and control officer corps, the police bagpipers, color guard and choir, and the canine, equestrian and helicopter units joined CFT trustees, officers and donors for the announcement ceremonies at the Mabel Peters Caruth Center. The grant, the largest ever made from the W. W. Caruth, Jr. Foundation Fund, and the largest on record from a community foundation to any municipal police force in the United States, will be used initially to fund approximately $5 million in critical equipment needs outlined by Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle. The remaining $10 million has been allocated to the DPD to study best police practices and to develop and implement a comprehensive strategic plan to reduce Dallas’ unacceptably high crime rate. But the grant is not simply about fighting crime. As J. Cook, CFT vice president of grants, notes, "That would be too transitory.
This is a grant, true to the remarkable legacy of Will Caruth, that is, instead, transforming. It’s about developing and sustaining a successful program to deliver public safety in Dallas." In honoring Mr. Caruth’s explicit commitment to public safety, CFT has previously funded a number of specific police department programs and equipment needs, but never anything so comprehensive or on such a scale as this grant. CFT trustees first learned of the opportunity to make their unique investment when immediate past chairman of the board Ruth Altshuler attended a meeting of foundations sponsored by Safer Dallas, Better Dallas and hosted by the Meadows Foundation. As the civic leaders there delineated the DPD’s immediate equipment needs, Mrs. Altshuler recognized that the community’s need to address its staggering public safety statistics was a perfect "fit" for CFT’s W. W. Caruth, Jr. Foundation Fund resources. In ensuing discussions with Police Chief David Kunkle, the City of Dallas, and Jack Hammack and Charles Terrell of Safer Dallas, Better Dallas, the trustees realized that to make a real, lasting difference – the kind that Will Caruth always advocated – they would need to make a bolder commitment beyond equipment by marshaling additional expertise and support.
"The timing was right," Mr. Wyly explains. "The resources were available. Command leadership was in place. Our intention is to empower the Dallas Police Department – using new equipment, training and expertise – to improve public safety and restore community confidence."
Mayor Laura Miller thanked the Foundation for its investment and for entrusting the City to meet its challenge. At a City Hall ceremony in September, the Mayor also issued an official proclamation honoring Communities Foundation of Texas for its leadership and support. She said the City shares CFT’s hope that its investment will serve as a model for additional philanthropic commitments and for collaborative public safety efforts across the country.