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As I prepare to pack up my office after 30 years here, I am as excited about the power of philanthropy as I was in 1987. I’m especially positive about the role community foundations, like The Dallas Foundation, can play in bringing cities and regions together to analyze and address local challenges.
As the name implies, community foundations are deeply rooted in the place where they were established. They started more than 100 years ago as a way for people to leave bequests intended to improve life in the community they called home.
In the almost 90 years since we were founded, community foundations have grown in number and in scope. This foundation is an example of that. We have endowed funds started decades ago to help vulnerable groups, such as impoverished children and elders. We have scholarship funds and funds to help people recover after disasters. Our fastest-growing type of fund in recent years is called a donor-advised fund. These resemble private foundations but relieve donors of administrative tasks.
Our role in the community has changed. The Dallas Foundation has evolved from simply responding to grant requests to researching and prioritizing local needs and recruiting public and private partners to meet them. We bring funding to the table, but equally important, we bring knowledge and networks. Foundations are not just community institutions – we’re leaders in our communities.
It has been a rewarding, educational, challenging and fast 30 years. I am eager to see what lies ahead for The Dallas Foundation – and for me.
With best wishes,
Mary M. Jalonick
President & CEO
The board of governors of The Dallas Foundation has unanimously selected Matthew Randazzo as the foundation’s next president and chief executive officer. Now CEO of the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI), Randazzo will assume his new role mid-year 2018. Randazzo succeeds Mary Jalonick, who is retiring after 30 years of exemplary leadership.
The Dallas Foundation’s Chief Philanthropy Officer Helen Holman and former Dallas Foundation board member and nonprofit management consultant Jeanne Whitman Bobbitt will serve as interim co-presidents until Randazzo begins his full-time role.
“This is an extraordinary time for the foundation and its donors,” said Jim Moroney, chairman of The Dallas Foundation’s board of governors. “Matthew is a remarkable leader with a track record of achievement and innovation who will inspire our donors and shape a bright future for the charitable causes that enhance our community.”
“The Dallas Foundation has long been the heart of this community and is unparalleled in connecting donors with high-impact giving opportunities,” said Randazzo. “I’m honored to be joining the team.”
Randazzo was the front-runner in a large pool of highly qualified candidates and was selected for the position after an extensive national search, said Bobbitt.
“Matthew is a rising star with regard to national philanthropy who also happens to call Dallas home. He respects our history and is, at the same time, forward-thinking. He is the right choice to lead The Dallas Foundation into a new era of impact,” Bobbitt noted.
As CEO at NMSI, Randazzo led the organization’s efforts to improve teacher effectiveness and student achievement in communities across the country. He joined NMSI in 2014 as chief growth and strategy officer, responsible for planning and implementing NMSI’s external engagement strategies. Before joining NMSI, Randazzo served as founding president and CEO of Choose to Succeed and as chief growth officer for IDEA Public Schools.
“My work in education has been incredibly rewarding, and I look forward to focusing on the education issues championed by The Dallas Foundation,” said Randazzo. “But I’m also excited to have an opportunity to drive impact beyond that one sector.”
In 2016, Randazzo was named to the 10th class of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Children and Family Fellowship, a select group of leaders from the public, nonprofit and academic sectors dedicated to leading measurable improvements for children and families. The Fellows undergo a rigorous educational program calculated to equip them to lead on the national stage.
Randazzo earned his bachelor’s degree in political science and Latin American studies from Albion College in Michigan and his master’s in public affairs from the University of Texas at Austin. He and wife Amanpreet Randazzo, a clinical psychologist, have one son.
Elva Aguilar, RN, received her nursing degree in June and now works 12-hour shifts in a medical-surgical unit at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas.
“I love the hospital,” she said. “Every patient is different.”
Aguilar’s career path came despite the difficult circumstances in which she grew up. Her father was in and out of prison. Her mother struggled with health problems and the stress of trying to raise three daughters by herself in a crime-ridden neighborhood. And Aguilar’s extended family in Mexico had very traditional expectations for her: Once she turned 15, she was supposed to marry and have children.
Aguilar did give birth to a son during her senior year at Adamson High School, but instead of quitting school, she persevered. Her secret weapons were her determination, her mother’s encouragement, and a generous scholarship established by Chesapeake Energy and administered by The Dallas Foundation. Aguilar earned an associate degree from the Dallas County Community College District and a bachelor of science in nursing from theUniversity of Texas at Arlington (UTA).
“My family’s pretty big on my mom’s side, and I’m the first graduate with a bachelor’s degree,” Aguilar said. “They’re ecstatic. They brag about it all the time.”
Over the past 10 years, the Chesapeake Energy Scholarship program has helped more than 70 low-income, first-generation college students attain their educational goals. The Oklahoma-based energy company created the scholarships in 2007, when it began drilling in the Barnett Shale of North Texas. The company exited the Barnett Shale last year and, as previously planned, is winding down its local scholarships.
The scholarship fund was established at The Dallas Foundation to aid female and minority Dallas ISD students with a minimum 3.0 GPA and significant financial need. The students had to work with Education Is Freedom (EIF), a nonprofit agency that helps young people prepare for college academically and apply for admission and financial aid.
The Chesapeake program was especially valuable because it was a “gap scholarship”: applicants had to apply for financial aid and other scholarships, but if those offers came back and the student still had unmet need, Chesapeake filled the gap. The scholarship awards ranged from $2,000 to $20,000 per year and were renewable for three years. The goal was to help students graduate from college without debt.
“The biggest barrier our families face will always be financial,” said Daniel Cruz, who served as the EIF representative on the scholarship selection committee for several years. “More and more students are applying for more and more scholarships, but that does not mean that they’re getting more money. This [Chesapeake] scholarship provides security for students to stay in school.”
Every year, between 150 and 200 high school seniors applied for the Chesapeake scholarship.After multiple reviews, the full selection committee, which included educators, local public officials and others, met to choose about a half-dozen winners.
“There were long, hard discussions, because these were the top students in DISD,” said Lynsie Laughlin, who coordinates all Dallas Foundation scholarship funds. “They were all impressive and had amazing stories.”
“The committee paid close attention to applicants’ academic preparation and test scores, their fields of study, and where they planned to go to school,” Laughlin said. More than 70 percent of winners enrolled in Texas institutions, but others attended colleges in Maine, North Carolina, Colorado, California and beyond. They studied business, political science, education, mechanical engineering and, of course, nursing.
Every year, The Dallas Foundation holds a reception to recognize new recipients and their families; past scholarship winners attend too.
“We’ve always tried to create a family atmosphere where the older students can support the younger students,” Laughlin said. “Many of these kids have similar background stories, so it’s easy for them to find common ground.”
Ganga Bhandari, his mother and two older siblings arrived in Dallas as refugees from Nepal in 2011. Within a few years, he was a student leader at DISD’s Conrad High School – co-captain of the varsity football team, a key member of the community service club and an enthusiastic participant in the multicultural club. He took eight AP classes and kept up a 3.80 GPA. He graduated in 2017 and subsequently joined the last class of The Dallas Foundation’s Chesapeake scholars.
“I was so surprised when I received the email about the Chesapeake scholarship,” Bhandari said. “My mother did not believe me at first. I had to show her the email. She was so relieved we were getting help from Chesapeake to support my education.”
This fall, he enrolled in nursing school at UTA. “My plan is to earn my master of science in nursing and be able to help my family and community,” he said. “It’s going good. I’m loving it.”
For information about scholarships available through The Dallas Foundation, please visit dallasfoundation.org and follow the link on the homepage about scholarships. To learn more about starting a scholarship fund, please contact Gary W. Garcia, senior director of development, email@example.com.
Photo credit: Jason Janik Photography
John Field Scovell is as rooted in Dallas as they come. He’s lived here almost all his life – 68 years of it on the same street – and graduated from Dallas ISD’s Preston Hollow Elementary School, Franklin Middle School and Hillcrest High School. His parents were charter members of Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church, which he still attends.
And like his parents, Scovell and his wife, Diane, give generously to the community they call home.
“My folks were always giving back,” he said, sitting in his downtown Dallas office overlooking Klyde Warren Park. “If somebody asked you to do something, you did it. You really never could say no.”
Scovell, founder and chairman of Woodbine Development Corp., served on The Dallas Foundation’s board of governors in the 1980s. Over time, the foundation has become a trusted partner in the Scovells’ family philanthropy. The couple established a donor-advised fund as a vehicle for their charitable giving, and their sons have followed suit. One of their sons also has served on a grant selection committee and is a member of the Good Works Under 40 committee.
“It is such fun to give,” Scovell said. “The Dallas Foundation facilitates giving. It encourages you; it gives you the return on investment; it gives you the mechanics to give.”
One of the biggest benefits of a donor-advised fund, he said, is that it allows him to plan and manage his philanthropy.
“When you have the opportunity, you can give to the foundation,” he explained.
Then, when there’s a capital campaign or a nonprofit program you want to support, you have money set aside in the donor-advised fund to make those gifts. He said he also appreciates that foundation staff members know community needs and agencies and are always available for advice.
John and Diane Scovell believe that their sons’ donor-advised funds will help carry on the family legacy of giving. But the parents do not tell their sons what causes or organizations to support.“We’ve never suggested,” Scovell said. “We’ve never asked. You provide a good example, then you walk away.”
The strategy worked, said Lesley Martinelli, senior director of donor services. The couple’s sons, together with their wives, regularly recommend gifts from their donor-advised funds. “John instinctively got it right,” Martinelli said. “All the experts in family philanthropy say that the best way to encourage charity in the next generation is to let them give to the causes they care about.
”Following his parents’ example, Scovell gives anonymously. “I never knew what my parents did,” he said. “The purpose is to help, not to be recognized.”
And successful philanthropy, like a successful business, depends on strong relationships among people and organizations.
“It’s always a team sport,” he said.
Dallas’ new Better Together Fund (BTF) is more popular than ice cream on an August afternoon. The fund, which encourages nonprofits to explore thoughtful, formal collaboration, had its debut in June. Since then, dozens of agencies have contacted fund organizers seeking advice and support.
In fact, the BTF received more requests for consultation in its first six weeks of existence than a similar effort in a peer city had during its first year, said Helen Holman, chief philanthropy officer of The Dallas Foundation.
“The buzz in the community about this shows it was really needed,” she said. “It’s allowing agencies to think out of the box in ways they never would have before.”
The fund’s goal is to improve the sector’s performance through formal collaboration – to help nonprofits reach more clients, lower overhead costs, reduce duplication, strengthen leadership and take worthwhile risks.
At the summit to launch the fund, speakers described examples that showed the power of collaboration. Two struggling museums in Chattanooga consolidated their administrative functions with a popular aquarium and reduced administrative costs while preserving their programmatic independence. In Boston, two agencies that focused on helping homeless adults merged to create a single agency with a broader array of services.
“We didn’t know what our experience with this would be in Dallas,” said Margaret Black, senior strategic associate of LH Holdings, Inc./Lyda Hill Foundation. “We’re seeing interest from across the nonprofit spectrum.”
The BTF is the result of four funders – the Lyda Hill Foundation, The Dallas Foundation, The Meadows Foundation and United Way of Metropolitan Dallas – working together to address a local challenge. Each funder wanted to help the Dallas nonprofit sector become more effective, and each believed that more nonprofits working closely together could help achieve that goal. The funders also recognized that nonprofits need extra resources to analyze their existing operations and develop and implement formal collaborations – resources they rarely have.
Representatives of the four funders serve on the BTF steering committee. Each member provides financial support and staff expertise. For example, The Dallas Foundation serves as the fund’s administrator and provides the online portal for grant applications. Nonprofits can apply for varying levels of support, from a few thousand dollars to underwrite a readiness assessment to $350,000 for successful collaborations that are ready to grow and innovate.
To date, the BTF has completed two funding cycles and has awarded 21 grants to support the exploration of formal collaboration; this includes readiness assessments grants, feasibility grants and planning grants. Since its launch in June, the BTF has had over 100 unique collaborations come forth with innovative ideas. “This is not about forcing nonprofits to merge,” Holman said. “It is about nonprofits voluntarily coming together to transform how they do their work and accomplish their mission.”
For more information about the new fund and its application process, please visit bettertogetherfund.org.
The Dallas Foundation isn’t in the business of rescuing drivers from flooded roads or classifying tornado damage. But we do have valuable expertise in helping communities in the weeks and months following a disaster. The foundation has provided back-office support and specialized knowledge to local public agencies working to recover from disasters.
For example, in September 2005, then-Mayor Laura Miller asked The Dallas Foundation to administer a fund created to help victims of Hurricane Katrina who landed in Dallas and, in some cases, planned to stay here permanently. That public-private partnership allowed city employees to focus on providing services, not processing donations and monitoring disbursements.“Like everyone, we want to help after a disaster,” said Gary W. Garcia, the foundation’s senior director of development. “We’ve found that our skills, knowledge and professional networks can be really useful to communities after major emergencies.”
The foundation can assist with more specialized relief funds too. After Hurricane Harvey struck the Texas coast late this summer, executives of Houston-based Cafe Express, a restaurant brand with a heritage of giving back, moved quickly to help their 200 employees stranded in Houston.
The company’s leaders opened a relief fund at The Dallas Foundation and worked with our staff to develop a simple, online grant application. Some Houston employees requested a grant to make a down payment on a car to replace one that flooded, or money to replace clothes or to cover the cost of moving to a new apartment.
“We wanted to respond quickly and wanted to make it easy for our employees,” said Cafe Express Chairman Rick O’Brien. “The Dallas Foundation certainly made it easy for us to accomplish those goals.”
The Dallas Foundation has opened 20 emergency relief funds since 2001. The first helped the local branch of the American Red Cross, which served as a communications hub after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, purchase and install equipment to handle a huge surge in demand. The foundation also administered several other funds related to Hurricane Katrina, including the Mayor’s Disaster Relief Fund.
One of the foundation’s more recent emergency funds grew out of a man-made disaster: the ambush and murder of five police officers in downtown Dallas in July 2016. In partnership with Mayor Mike Rawlings, the foundation established the Line of Duty Fund to accept donations for the families of the slain and injured officers. Our staff processed hundreds of donations, then helped police and city officials make sure the gifts provided long-term support for the officers’ loved ones.
The Dallas Foundation opened another set of disaster funds this summer, after Hurricane Harvey savaged Texas’ Gulf Coast from Rockport to Port Arthur. Harvey was the most expensive widespread disaster in modern Texas history. More than 780,000 Texans evacuated their homes, and 61 communities temporarily lost city water systems. FEMA estimated that more than 80,000 homes took on at least 18 inches of water, and the Insurance Council of Texas tallied that at least 250,000 private vehicles were flooded.
We established the Hurricane Harvey Disaster Relief Fund the day after the storm made landfall. Within a few weeks, it received more than $310,000 in donations. Foundation staff members are working with colleagues in southeast Texas to direct grants to outlying areas with significant needs and very limited resources.
Experience has made the process of opening an emergency relief fund fast and straightforward. But there are still challenges to getting help to those who need it.
“Sometimes, it’s hard to get a check or make an electronic transfer to disaster victims who have lost all their identification and been displaced from their homes,” Garcia said. “But we find a way to be as responsive as possible in times of need.”
For information about setting up an emergency relief fund, please contact Gary W. Garcia, senior director of development, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Did you know that The Dallas Foundation is a player in big-time college football?
To be a bit more precise, The Dallas Foundation provides administrative support for the College Football Playoff (CFP) Foundation, receiving all donations to the organization and processing all administrative payments on its behalf. The CFP Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the College Football Playoff, a series of top-tier, post-season bowl games. (The playoff system series was created in 2012 as a way to crown an official national college football champion. The College Football Playoff includes 10 Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) conferences – formerly called NCAA Division 1A conferences – and FBS independent schools.)
The CFP Foundation uses the popularity and influence of college football to support an important cause: K-12 education. Through partnerships and other fundraising, the CFP Foundation has raised and distributed more than $12 million to education projects. Fans of college football will see its logo and ads during televised games throughout the season.
“The core of our work is elevating the teaching profession,” said Britton Banowsky, executive director of the CFP Foundation.
The CFP Foundation accomplishes that through a variety of strategies: providing classroom resources, recognizing teachers and funding professional development. For example, the CFP Foundation partnered with several other organizations to raise $2 million in support of a three-year literacy training program for early elementary teachers in Atlanta, site of the upcoming College Football Playoff National Championship.
But the foundation is increasingly focused on teacher recruitment and retention.
Through a series of videos and ads across traditional and social media platforms, the CFP Foundation is showcasing its Extra Yard for Teachers campaign and raising awareness of the positive impact a teacher can have on a young athlete. One campaign features interviews with Troy Aikman, Tim Brown, Russell Maryland and Darren Woodson.
“We’re trying to address the ‘pipeline issue,’” Banowsky said. “We believe you can’t have a great society without great education, and you can’t have great education unless you have great teachers.”
To learn more about the College Football Playoff Foundation, please visit cfp-foundation.org.
Elizabeth Viney, a volunteer with Advocates for Community Transformation, won The Dallas Foundation’s eighth annual Good Works Under 40 Award. The award program, offered in partnership with The Dallas Morning News, highlights outstanding volunteers under the age of 40.
This year’s winner earned a $10,000 prize for her favorite charity.
Elizabeth used her legal skills to work with West Dallas residents, law enforcement and the civil justice system to reduce crime by forcing owners of drug houses to clean up problem properties.
In addition to the winner, four finalists received $3,500 checks for the nonprofit agencies that nominated them. New this year is the People’s Choice Award, a $1,000 grant to the nonprofit of the finalist who garnered the most online votes from the community. Dominic Lacy received the inaugural People’s Choice Award on behalf of the Deaf Action Center.
Stephanie Giddens, founder of the Vickery Trading Company. This agency hires refugee women with very limited English skills and job experience to sew girls’ dresses, paying them a fair wage and offering English and computer classes as well.
Dr. Lana Harder, a board member of Dallas CASA. A pediatric neuropsychologist, Harder began volunteering for CASA in 2009. She has worked as an advocate for 12 children and helped the organization redesign an important research study of the agency’s outcomes.
Dominic Lacy, president of the board of the Deaf Action Center. Under his leadership, the Deaf Action Center financed, built and opened a new headquarters campus that included 100 apartments with special accommodations for people with severe hearing loss.
Robert Taylor, cofounder of The Educator Collective. The agency, launched in 2013, supports promising early-career teachers by providing access to financial resources for classroom needs, networking and professional development. It has served more than 100 teachers in seven schools.