News From The Dallas Foundation - Read More
Letter From the President:
We’re excited, but we don’t like to brag, so we’ll just whisper this news: “We’re number one! We’re number one!”
To explain: The Center for Effective Philanthropy surveys donors at community foundations across the country every two years. Its 2011 survey included 26 community foundations. This year’s survey included more than 50. In both surveys, The Dallas Foundation ranked first in donor satisfaction. We are so honored! We promise to work hard to hold on to that top spot in future surveys.
Our staff deserves the credit for that high ranking, so I’ll take this chance to introduce the newest member of our team, Brittani Trusty. A Texas native, Brittani grew up in Houston and is mom to two very active elementary school kids. She is a program officer in the grants department, focused primarily on our annual competitive grantmaking.
Last, please remember: You don’t need to brave the malls to find a perfect holiday gift. We have one that is one-size-fits-all and never clashes with the décor. It’s our Giving for Good card, a gift card for the philanthropically minded. You can purchase and “spend” them online. For information, please visit dallasfoundation.org.
With warmest wishes,
Mary M. Jalonick
Dealey Plaza Reclaimed From Notoriety and Neglect
Before November 1963, the grassy slopes at downtown Dallas’s western edge had only local significance. Pioneer John Neely Bryan built his cabin there in the 1840s, starting the settlement that would eventually grow into modern Dallas. The park of interwoven streets and green space was officially named Dealey Plaza in 1935.
President John F. Kennedy’s assassination seared the site into the nation’s collective memory. Dealey Plaza became a source of global fascination – and local shame. The stately, symmetric plaza, with its Art Deco pergolas and low, rectangular fountains, was allowed to decay for decades. Concrete chipped and cracked. Paint peeled. Landscaping withered.
Now, Dealey Plaza has been restored to its original elegance. Crews completed the $1.65 million project this summer, in time for the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s death. Judith Garrett Segura, retired historian for the media corporation once guided by G.B. Dealey, led the fundraising drive and monitored the restoration’s progress. The Dallas Foundation held the collective funds for the project and supported the effort through a discretionary grant.
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“It’s a painful episode in Dallas history, especially to those of us who were born here and lived through it,” said Mary Jalonick, president of The Dallas Foundation. “But we can’t erase the tragedy by neglecting the plaza. Restoring the park underscores that we have a history that predates and postdates the assassination.”
Dallas was built along the Trinity River, a capricious, occasionally vicious stream. After severe floods swamped the city in the early 1900s, civic leaders embarked on an ambitious urban-design effort to tame the river and transform the town. The plan included moving the Trinity near downtown a half-mile west. One of the most ardent champions of the plan was George Bannerman Dealey, publisher of The Dallas Morning News.
When the river shifted west, land opened up on the western edge of downtown. Main, Commerce and Elm streets threaded through an innovative triple underpass, with railroad tracks running above. The land between the streets and train tracks became Dealey Plaza.
During the Great Depression, members of the Work Projects Administration and the National Youth Administration built many of the plaza’s architectural features.
The pergolas, stairs and fountains, freshly repaired and painted, look much as they did when new. The fountains have new plumbing, timers and heads and a modern filtration system. Pansies blossom in neat rows, and interpretive signs help visitors understand the history of the area.
Dealey Plaza is abuzz with activity, heavily trafficked, and a point of interest for tourists and visitors. And now it is again an attractive entryway to downtown.
It’s also a gateway between old and new Dallas. Looking west from the plaza, you see the graceful white arch of the recently opened Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge rising above the trees. Looking east, you see Old Red – the ornate, 1892 red sandstone courthouse – and the sleek Bank of America tower looming behind it.
Dealey Plaza is not a place to fixate on one tragic moment in time, but a place to contemplate the entire arc of Dallas history.
“What I feel when I’m there has nothing to do with the assassination,” Segura said. “It has to do with Dallas taking care of its beautiful places, respecting its own story, and taking pride in the architecturally designed places that gave Dallas a very good reputation from the early days as a city that was clean and well-planned and well-cared-for.”
Dallas Foundation Celebrates the Nasher’s 10th Anniversary
To celebrate its 10th anniversary, the Nasher Sculpture Center has turned neighborhoods across Dallas into art galleries. The center commissioned 10 artists to create installations that reflect or comment on the communities in which they sit. The Dallas Foundation sponsored Moore to the Point, a quirky pink arrow looming over City Hall plaza and drawing attention to a local treasure, the Henry Moore sculpture titled The Dallas Piece.
On November 12, dozens of Dallas Foundation donors, advisory council members and friends learned about the Nasher XChange project at the Foundation’s Fall Philanthropy Forum. The guests gathered at NorthPark Center – an appropriate location, because it was developed by the late Raymond Nasher, who donated much of his modern sculpture collection to his namesake sculpture center.
Mary Jalonick, president of The Dallas Foundation, told the group that Foundation governors had immediately liked the idea of participating in the Nasher XChange. The Foundation has a long history of supporting the arts in Dallas, and it provided funds to clean and restore the Henry Moore sculpture in front of City Hall. Underwriting an installation to celebrate the Moore sculpture and 10 years for the Nasher “was an easy sell,” she said.
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Nasher Sculpture Center Director Jeremy Strick explained the vision behind the XChange project.
“It takes art out of the confines of the museum and into the hands, hearts and minds of the citizens of Dallas,” Strick said. “It’s a new initiative that has never before been undertaken by an art museum – not in Dallas or anywhere else.”
Strick said museum leaders wanted the scattered art installations – each by a different artist and using many different styles and materials – to reflect the diverse physical, cultural, social and historical landscapes of the city. They were intended to “introduce the world to Dallas,” he said. “But we also…want to introduce Dallas to itself.”
The evening’s centerpiece, a Nasher XChange commission called Fountainhead, puzzled guests at first. The sculpture was a large, white, vaguely head-like object with video-projected dollar bills streaming down its sides. Docents and an interpretive sign helped explain the piece: It was a modern wishing well. Visitors could swipe a credit card on a low pedestal to donate to one of three charities, then touch an iPad to toss a virtual coin into the fountain. The coin then appeared on the sculpture and tumbled down its face.
“It’s a great idea,” said Jeanene Hulsey, a member of The Dallas Foundation’s Legacy Society. “It just makes it fun to donate. It’s a very different experience than writing a check.”
Professional advisor David Work and his wife, Pamela, were equally enthusiastic. “It’s terrific,” he said. “What a unique way to give.”
The Works said they plan to drive around Dallas with their daughters to view more of the Nasher XChange pieces. “I think bringing art to the community is fabulous,” Pamela Work said.
For more information about the Nasher XChange and a map of the installations, visit
nashersculpturecenter.org/Exhibitions/nasher-xchange. The exhibit runs through February 16, 2014.
Good Works Under 40 Award
If you view Memorial Day as a somber time to remember friends who died in Iraq or Afghanistan, it can be frustrating to watch neighbors and colleagues use it to sleep late or go shopping.
In 2011, former U.S. Navy SEALs Clint Bruce and Stephen Holley decided to tackle that issue. They founded Carry The Load to reclaim the original meaning of Memorial Day. The nonprofit group’s Memorial Day march and other events have raised more than $2 million to support charities that help servicemen and servicewomen, veterans, first responders, and their families. Bruce and Holley’s volunteer efforts earned them The Dallas Foundation’s 2014 Good Works Under 40 Award.
The Good Works initiative, offered in partnership with The Dallas Morning News, honors the contributions of outstanding local volunteers under the age of 40. As part of their prize, Holley accepted an $8,000 donation for Carry The Load at a November 7 reception at Old Parkland. The four finalists for the award also received $2,500 checks for their favorite nonprofit agencies.
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Loren Koziol, who leads the Good Works advisory committee, said choosing a winner seems more difficult now than when the award started in 2010.
“The talent pool seems stronger each year,” he said. Each of the finalists deserved an award, he said, but Carry The Load’s explosive growth set it apart. “It’s that military mentality – everybody fall in.”
The finalists represented a wide range of charitable efforts. Brittany K. Bird was nominated for her work creating Girls Embracing Mothers, which helps daughters establish and maintain relationships with their incarcerated mothers. Paige Chenault founded The Birthday Party Project to solicit donations and volunteers to throw birthday parties for homeless children. Dr. J Mack Slaughter, Jr., who spent his early years as a child actor, established a program that provides musical instruments and lessons to teenagers being treated at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children. And the SPCA of Texas nominated Cassie Evans for her tireless efforts on behalf of animals.
The SPCA’s Julie Siegel lauded both her agency’s nominee and the Good Works Under 40 initiative. Young professionals may not realize the good they can do even if they can’t make million-dollar gifts, she said.
“I love the idea of singling out younger people because I think it’s inspirational,” Siegel said.
For more information about Carry The Load, visit carrytheload.org. For information about all finalists and the nomination process, visit dallasfoundation.org and follow the link to the Good Works Under 40 Award.
Early Childhood Fact Box
The human brain grows at an astonishing pace during early childhood. Between three and 15 months after birth, synapses – the junctions between nerve cells – can form at a peak rate of nearly 40,000 per second.
Source: Preventing Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Disorders Among Young People: Progress and Possibilities, National Academy of Sciences, 2009.
North Texas Giving Day Sets New Record
It had been a difficult summer at In-Sync Exotics Wildlife Rescue and Education Center. An outbreak of canine distemper virus at the Wylie animal sanctuary sickened more than a dozen big cats, killing seven. The group’s veterinary bills exceeded $100,000.
So In-Sync’s supporters were overjoyed with their results from the fifth annual North Texas Giving Day. The group received 443 individual donations totaling $33,140 during the September 19 online give-a-thon. Then they won an extra $10,000 prize, sponsored by The Dallas Foundation, for being the small organization with the highest number of gifts from unique donors.
“We certainly did not anticipate winning the big jackpot,” said Lisa Williams, a volunteer who serves as the group’s media director. “We were pleasantly surprised, to say the least.”
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North Texas Giving Day helps draw attention to DonorBridge, an online resource for philanthropy that profiles more than 1,000 local nonprofit organizations. The website was launched in 2009 by Communities Foundation of Texas, with ongoing support from The Dallas Foundation and the Center for Nonprofit Management. This year, Giving Day raised more than $25.2 million for charity, including prizes and matching funds.
This year, donations arrived from all 50 states and 35 countries. More than 50,000 people made gifts, and about a quarter of them said they were giving to the nonprofit for the first time.
“These are remarkable figures,” said Mary Jalonick, president of The Dallas Foundation. “Giving Day has become a wonderful way for nonprofit agencies to publicize their work and encourage donations.”
Rarely Has Doing Good Tasted So Good
On a lovely September evening, dozens of Dallas Foundation supporters enjoyed a four-course meal at Parigi prepared and served partly by former residents of Dallas County’s Youth Village, a residential facility for male juvenile offenders ages 10 to 17. The culinary arts program teaches valuable food-handling skills to the teens so they can find jobs after they leave Youth Village. The Dallas Foundation has awarded several grants to Youth Village Resources of Dallas, which created the program.
“We know these young men are at a higher risk of cycling back into the justice system if they lack the skills needed to find and keep living-wage jobs,” said Laura Ward, director of Community Philanthropy at The Dallas Foundation. “These special programs give them a much better chance at success.”
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The meal included curried butternut squash soup, a petit filet mignon and other courses, each paired with local wines. The special meals are produced by Café Momentum, led by well-known chef Chad Houser. Café Momentum dinners pop up monthly at different locations and with different head chefs. The events give graduates of the Youth Village program a chance to practice kitchen and front-of-the-house skills and make connections that could lead to jobs.
The plan paid off for Calvin Thomas, a lively young man with a contagious smile who now works at Parigi. “When I first got here, I didn’t know what to do, how to act,” he said. “It’s a total life change.”
To learn more about Youth Village Resources of Dallas or Café Momentum, visit youthvillagefoundation.org or cafemomentum.org.
Save the Dates
The Dallas Foundation is bringing nationally known charitable-planning expert Kathryn Miree to Dallas in January for a philanthropy double-header. The first event, on January 30, is an intensive, four-hour seminar for nonprofit executives and board members seeking to build endowments. The January 31 event is our annual Charitable Planning Seminar for professional advisors.
Pre-registration is required for both events. The cost is $50 for the nonprofit seminar and $75 for the Charitable Planning Seminar. Continuing Education credit is pending for the Charitable Planning Seminar. For more information, contact Gary W. Garcia at 214.741.3210 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our 2012-2013 Report to the Community Is Now Online
If you haven’t seen our latest Report to the Community, visit the link on our website, dallasfoundation.org. This year’s report describes some of our investments into early childhood education and welfare. It also describes how Dallas Foundation grants in other areas improve the lives of older kids and adults – and even our four-footed friends. Take a look.