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From Library Books to Home Repairs, Dallas Foundation Donors Aid Hurricane Recovery Efforts
The state’s Hurricane Harvey Disaster Declaration covered 60 counties. Of those, few light up more brightly on damage maps than Orange County, tucked between Beaumont and the Louisiana border. Harvey’s torrential rain affected 80 percent of the county’s land and all of its residents.
|FEMA Assistance Data for Texas; Post-Hurricane Harvey; Map created and designed by
The Episcopal Health Foundation. Reprinted with permission from
The Episcopal Health Foundation.
Most homes and apartments sustained some type of damage; only 12 percent of homeowners had flood insurance. Businesses, churches, and schools were inundated.
“We had from two to four feet of water in all of our campuses except one,” said Sherry Combs, community relations coordinator for the Little Cypress-Mauriceville Consolidated Independent School District (LCMCISD) in Orange County. “The water just sat there for days. The libraries were a total loss in two schools, and a 90 percent loss in another. About 65 percent of our staff and students have been displaced.”
Months later, life has not returned to normal, but recovery efforts are making progress.
Generous donors to The Dallas Foundation have helped ensure that when two renovated LCMCISD elementary schools reopen, their library shelves will be filled with new books. The Dallas Foundation awarded $150,000 from its Hurricane Harvey Disaster Relief Fund to The Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries, which has expertise at restoring libraries affected by natural disasters. Federal and state dollars will help repair school buildings; the Dallas Foundation grant will help pay for new books for the Little Cypress and Mauriceville elementary school libraries.
“We wanted to focus our disaster resources in smaller coastal and inland communities that haven’t received a lot of media attention, places where we think our grants can make a real difference,” said Helen Holman, The Dallas Foundation’s chief philanthropy officer.
Within a day of the storm’s initial landfall near Rockport, the Foundation opened the Hurricane Harvey Disaster Relief Fund to accept gifts from donors and others who wanted to help storm victims.
The Hurricane Harvey Disaster Relief Fund was intended to help wherever help was needed most. Donors ultimately contributed over $430,000 to the fund, and Dallas Foundation staff members worked with colleagues in Southeast Texas to identify needs and potential grantees. Those vetted agencies were invited to apply for grants. The Foundation made the application process as simple as possible while maintaining appropriate oversight, because local conditions on the ground changed frequently and many local officials were working exhausting shifts.
Five agencies ultimately received awards (see sidebar). The grants will help with a diverse array of needs across multiple counties impacted by Hurricane Harvey.
Getting money to agencies in a disaster zone is not always a straightforward process. The United Way of Orange County, for example, had to update its original grant application several times as the situation changed. Its original request was for funds to buy drywall to repair damaged homes. Then United Way received a grant from another source to cover drywall and insulation, so United Way executives asked The Dallas Foundation for permission to buy a broader range of home repair materials, such as cabinetry, plumbing supplies, and windows, with the grant. The Foundation said yes.
“It would have been foolish – and even unkind – to deny this minor change in the United Way request,” Holman said. “A house with drywall but no plumbing or wiring isn’t much of a home. Our donors want to help make homes livable again, and as long as United Way is keeping us informed, we’re happy to be flexible.”
Agency leaders are grateful for that flexibility.
“It was wonderful that The Dallas Foundation worked with us and let us revise it,” said Maureen McAllister, president and CEO of the United Way of Orange County.
Eight months after Hurricane Harvey struck, many residents are still struggling. Apartment owners must move renters out to make repairs – but there’s no spare housing for renters to move into. Some people who lost homes also lost vehicles and jobs. The stress takes its toll, McAllister said, with increases in domestic violence and substance abuse.
Survivors of other natural disasters have warned Orange County residents that rebuilding will take years, McAllister said, adding that she sees the truth in that statement.
“If you’re not in the disaster area, it might be hard to understand,” she said. “There are so many moving parts. All this stuff just takes a really long time.”
The Dallas Foundation’s Relief Fund was established in 2017 to help address needs in the aftermath of a public emergency or other crisis event primarily within North Texas. The fund may be used to address weather calamities such as hurricanes, tornadoes, or floods; industrial accidents; fire; chemical emergencies; public heath crisis; public safety; or acts of terrorism. The Relief program may also grant to first-response organizations if community needs dictate or address lingering community needs once emergency issues are addressed. Contributions may be made by clicking here.
Early in my career, a colleague gave me a bit of valuable job advice. “Be in the work,” she said. “Focus on results. Be less concerned about your next career move. And be more concerned about the impact you can have in your current role.”
That idea has guided my professional life and has energized and inspired me to drive results and make an impact in the communities I have served. While much of my work up to this point has focused on the field of education, what I’ve learned is that education is only part of what contributes to a community’s success. What I’m most excited about in this new role is the opportunity to work across sectors on multiple issues simultaneously.
The Dallas Foundation has an almost 90-year history of working in this community, of making it healthier, safer, greener, better educated, more humane, and more culturally rich. We are a trusted partner to donors, civic leaders, and grantees. We are in a unique position to convene partners to solve local challenges and to continue to serve as a trusted partner to make Dallas an even more vibrant community. It’s a daunting task, but also an exhilarating one.
While it is my great privilege to lead this process, ultimately, it is not my call to decide the handful of issues we should make priorities. To determine where we want to go and how to get there, we need a map. We need to understand deeply the current civic and philanthropic landscape to know where The Dallas Foundation can serve most effectively as a thought leader and catalyst. Over the coming months and in partnership with our board, we will develop that map through our strategic planning process, engaging not only donors and staff but also key civic leaders, funders, and nonprofit executives. We are willing to listen and to lead.
I invite you to “be in the work” with us. A rewarding, challenging adventure lies ahead.
President & CEO
Welcome Thoughts from Matthew Randazzo
Matthew Randazzo started at The Dallas Foundation on May 15, as only the second full-time president and CEO in the organization’s 89-year history. During a six-month transition period, he wrapped up several projects at the National Math and Science Initiative, where he most recently served as CEO, then handed over the organization’s care to his successor.
He also took time to meet with current and former Dallas Foundation governors, donors, staff members, and with executives at community foundations across the country. Randazzo said the listening tour helped him gain a deeper understanding of the possibilities for community foundations in civic life and of The Dallas Foundation’s particular strengths. He reflected on what he’s learned so far:
Q: What do you find most exciting about coming into this new position?
A: Without a doubt, The Dallas Foundation is going to remain steadfastly committed to Dallas as a community. At the same time, it is exciting to imagine how Dallas can differentiate itself from other large metropolitan areas across the country. The Dallas Foundation offers a unique opportunity to create coalitions to address this community’s biggest challenges. We have a great team, a great board, a remarkable brand in the community. We want to deeply engage our governors and donors, educate and activate them, and invite them to influence our strategy. We can also highlight the good work nonprofits do in our community, help them connect with one another, and help them be more effective.
Q: What role will The Dallas Foundation play in community life?
A: The City has sought our philanthropic expertise in times of crisis, such as the terrible ambush of police officers in July 2016, or opportunity, such as the building of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge. We respond and help however we are needed. That is part of our mission as a community foundation. The Dallas Foundation is a trusted partner to all stakeholders – donors, board members, nonprofit agencies, local officials, and the general public – who want to improve life in Dallas.
Increasingly, we will be a thought leader and information source. After working in North Texas for almost 90 years, The Dallas Foundation has a tremendous knowledge base. In meeting after meeting, I’ve witnessed our team’s remarkable depth of understanding about the Dallas community, its history and context. That knowledge is critical to wisely investing philanthropic and public resources.
We also must be willing to step further into civic leadership. We can leverage our knowledge and the trust the Foundation has earned over the years to help drive change that makes Dallas a better place for all of us. We have to be clear about our goals and transparent about how to achieve them, and hold ourselves accountable for results and impact. With civic leadership, there is risk. There is controversy. There will be failures. We have to work closely with our donors and board to learn from those mistakes. But for community foundations to remain relevant, we have to unapologetically step into that role of local leadership.
Q: What new initiatives or projects will The Dallas Foundation pursue?
A: We have had great success and recognition with our efforts to improve early childhood education. There is still room to improve, so we remain committed to that issue. But The Dallas Foundation seeks to curate a handful of initiatives where we step into a thought and civic leadership role. I don’t know what those issues are right now; that is something our strategic planning process will determine with input from all our stakeholders. For example, this foundation has supported a wide range of cultural institutions and projects. In the future, what is the unique role this foundation and its donors can play in keeping those institutions accessible to all? By engaging deeply with donors and our board, by figuring out when it’s possible to align our efforts with that of other funders and public agencies, we can expand our capacity for doing good. And that will give us more resources to tackle the issues we decide to address.
Texas Pride Impact Funds (TPIF) is a foundation within a foundation. It’s a component fund of The Dallas Foundation but has its own governing board, internal funds, and grant-making process. Its goal is to enrich and expand services and philanthropic opportunities for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Texans.
“There are a lot of national organizations with strong volunteer bases in major metropolitan areas, but most of them focus on equality issues,” said Roger Wedell, one of TPIF’s founding board members.
“There hasn’t been a statewide organization looking to increase the funding to LGBTQ nonprofit organizations and services. That need is significant.”
TPIF grew out of a well-known local event, the Black Tie Dinner. It raises funds for a variety of North Texas beneficiaries, many of which primarily serve LGBTQ individuals and families or people with HIV or AIDS. The Black Tie Dinner essentially starts from scratch each year, raising money and granting it all out annually.
TPIF organizers wanted to establish a fund with a longer timeline and wider geographic reach. The new fund allows donors interested in LGBTQ causes to give multiyear or legacy gifts, give noncash assets, and establish donor-advised funds, explained Ron Guillard, another founding board member. TPIF’s philanthropy also spans the entire state. The Dallas Foundation administers TPIF, processing gifts, overseeing investments, and monitoring payouts.
TPIF’s initial project was a first-of-its-kind statewide assessment of LGBTQ needs, services, and service providers.
“As we looked at other LGBTQ foundations, we realized that conducting a needs assessment was a best practice in terms of informed giving,” Wedell said. “Before we begin recommending grants, we wanted to understand community needs and gaps in services.”
TPIF hired researchers from the University of Texas at Dallas to produce the study. They used a survey, data analysis, focus groups, and in-depth interviews to explore the demographics and concerns of the state’s LGBTQ population. The researchers worked to include rural, urban, and suburban residents, as well as a variety of ages and racial and ethnic backgrounds. They also surveyed nonprofit providers to understand what sort of services are available and where.
The results were both predictable and surprising. Access to primary healthcare was a top concern.
“That’s not a surprise, because that’s a high priority for people regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” Wedell said. “What was surprising was that the cultural competency of the providers was an issue. Providers are uninformed about special health issues and concerns of LGBTQ individuals.”
Safe, stable housing was a worry for the youngest and oldest respondents. Employment opportunities, especially for transgender Texans, were an issue. And respondents living outside major metropolitan areas cited a need for more social support networks.
TPIF released the results of the needs assessment at a town-hall-style meeting in Austin in June. The full report is available here.
Meanwhile, TPIF volunteers are evaluating their first group of grant applications, which were due April 16.
“We received inquiries [about the grants] from groups across the state – and the people who sent questions are all doing quite different things,” Wedell said. “It’s going to be interesting.”
For more information about Texas Pride Impact Funds, please visit txpif.org.
Metrocrest Hospital Authority Grant Propels Success
The Woven Health Clinic in Farmers Branch delivers results that any doctor would envy: patients with chronic conditions get better. The small, nonprofit clinic’s PREVENT Disease NOW! program helps patients lose weight, address depression and anxiety, eat more healthful diets, increase exercise, and stay up-to-date on immunizations.
“I’d put our clinic, and our results, up against anybody’s,” said Woven Health Clinic Executive Director Lisa Rigby, who helped develop the program. “Our costs show we’re incredibly efficient.”
The Metrocrest Hospital Authority (MHA) Fund of The Dallas Foundation has helped propel the clinic’s success, which focuses on preventive, integrated care.
Previously known as Metrocrest Community Clinic, the nonprofit had served low-income, uninsured residents since 1994 but until recently had never applied for a competitive grant. The clinic doesn’t accept insurance, and before securing the MHA Fund grant, it had survived mostly on funding from Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) and gifts from churches and other loyal supporters. Patients typically pay a $20-$25 co-pay for each primary care visit, which provides a small revenue stream to help cover the clinic’s costs.
Rigby and others on staff had studied best practice recommendations from major medical and health associations and developed the PREVENT Disease NOW! program. It emphasizes screening for and working with patients on plans to lower health risk factors, such as smoking and obesity. It integrates care for mental and physical conditions, because that improves health outcomes. And it is always looking for outside resources to help its patients. For example, Woven Health partners with The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and uses its VitalSign6 depression-screening program.
The entire disease-prevention program costs, per patient, about $600 per year.
“None of this is rocket science,” Rigby said. “It’s best practices.”
When Rigby met MHA Fund Grants Manager Krista Weinstein, she was looking for ways to expand the program. Weinstein explained the MHA Fund grant process and encouraged Rigby to apply. She did – and succeeded. The MHA Fund awarded Woven Health $180,000 during the fund’s inaugural competitive grant cycle. The clinic was subsequently awarded a $250,000 grant for the PREVENT Disease NOW! program in 2017.
But the Foundation offered more than financial support. It helped Woven Health identify other potential funders and collaborators.
“It helped me make connections,” Rigby said. “The Dallas Foundation grant also gave us credibility to apply for more grants.”
Woven Health leveraged that first success and raised another $380,000 in grants for the prevention program.
“This clinic is leveraging resources in creative ways to come up with programs to serve the community,” Weinstein said. “In partnership with the American Heart Association, they tested a home blood
pressure monitoring program, and now it’s being rolled out nationally. Powerful results are coming out of this small, charity clinic.”
The Metrocrest Hospital Authority Fund was established at The Dallas Foundation as part of a larger transition. The City of Farmers Branch created the hospital authority in 1975 to help meet healthcare needs in the area. It later changed its name to the Metrocrest Hospital Authority to reflect that it served residents of a larger geographic region. After it sold a hospital a few years ago, MHA board members began developing a new strategy for meeting its service area’s healthcare needs.
A consultant suggested establishing a private foundation. Craig Greenway, current president of the MHA board, disagreed. Greenway, a certified public accountant, recommended opening a fund at a community foundation. He’d been part of another organization in a similar situation, and after researching the issues, he learned that community foundations offer almost as much flexibility as private foundations but have much lower administrative burdens. He had even opened his own donor-advised fund at The Dallas Foundation to facilitate his personal philanthropy.
The MHA board ultimately opened a field-of-interest fund at The Dallas Foundation.
The Foundation hired Krista Weinstein to serve as grants manager for the MHA Fund. Her first task was to identify unmet needs and nonprofit agencies already working in the service area. She also met with MHA board members to clarify the authority’s charitable goals, developed a grant application process and timeline, and created accountability measures for grantees. The MHA board wanted to remain deeply involved, so its community service committee reviews applications, visits agencies, and selects grant recipients.
The fund awarded nearly $2 million in grants last year. MHA board members are very happy with the impact its grants are having on the community and with their decision to establish a fund at The Dallas Foundation to carry out their grant-making.
“Everybody’s been very excited and pleased with the outcome,” Greenway said.
After8toEducate Wins Annual Pegasus Prize
The Dallas Foundation’s annual Pegasus Prize has a dual purpose. The $50,000 award acknowledges innovative solutions to social problems. And the process of selecting the winner teaches a team of volunteers about community issues and making grants.
“It’s an eye-opening experience to be exposed to all these nonprofit organizations,” said Lizzie Routman, chairwoman of the Pegasus Prize Committee and a member of The Dallas Foundation’s Board of Governors. “It’s difficult to choose just one we think is really going to move the needle.”
After site visits, reviewing applications, and a heartfelt discussion, Pegasus committee members selected After8toEducate as this year’s prizewinner. After8toEducate is a collaboration working to open an emergency shelter and 24-hour drop-in center for Dallas ISD homeless high school students and other youth ages 14-21.
“These young people are very underserved,” Routman said. “The four entities in After8toEducate are going to address many different needs while providing stability for these youth and, ultimately, place them on a path to a better situation.”
This year, Dallas Foundation staff and Pegasus committee volunteers select three finalists for the award. The agencies involved don’t have to be new, but they have to be doing something new to address a perennial challenge, such as economic disparities or education. Past winners include Bonton Farms, an urban farm in a South Dallas food desert, and 2S Industries, which trains ex-convicts in the construction trades by renovating houses in low-income neighborhoods.
This year, the Pegasus Prize Committee learned about Trinity Environmental Academy, a charter school on the Paul Quinn College campus; After8toEducate; and ScholarShot, a program that helps Dallas high school students prepare for and succeed in college. The committee selected After8toEducate because of the strong collaboration among its partners and its innovative approach to helping homeless youth.
Dallas ISD enrolls 3,500 students who lack permanent housing, according to district statistics. About 450 are high school students, and many of them have no housing at all. After8toEducate collaborators want to offer shelter and safety and to re-engage homeless youth with their education.
The collaborating organizations include Dallas ISD, Promise House, CitySquare, and Social Venture Partners Dallas (SVP Dallas). The school district is allowing After8toEducate to renovate and lease an abandoned school, the former Fannie C. Harris Elementary, near Fair Park. It also will pay for utilities, security, and basic maintenance.
Promise House, which operates a shelter for youth and parenting teens in Oak Cliff, will oversee a new 35-bed emergency shelter at the former school. And CitySquare’s TRAC program, which serves youth aging out of foster care, will operate the 24-hour drop-in center. SVP Dallas is working in partnership with After8toEducate to manage the collaboration and to oversee the ongoing evaluation of After8toEducate service providers to ensure the program’s effectiveness. Total cost for the renovations is about $2 million, with about $500,000 already raised or pledged. The goal is to open the drop-in center by the start of the 2018-2019 school year and the shelter a few months after that.
“We’re excited to be part of this first-of-its-kind project,” said Madeline Reedy, senior director of TRAC.
Reedy said a variety of factors push older teens and young adults into homelessness. A young person may be running away from physical or sexual abuse or neglect. Still others may be pregnant or parenting or are no longer welcome at home. Some may have aged out of the foster care system and have no network of support to help them transition to adulthood.
Without intervention, homeless youth face an extreme risk of academic failure, unemployment, substance abuse, depression, anxiety, sexual exploitation, and involvement with the juvenile and adult criminal justice systems. The new drop-in center and shelter would give youth a safe place to sleep, do homework, work with counselors and tutors, socialize, and get help finding additional services and housing.
“This wonderful project will transform an abandoned building into a community asset, and it will help some of our city’s most vulnerable residents transform their lives. It’s smart, it’s creative, and it’s exactly what the Pegasus Prize is meant to support,” said Brittani Trusty, the Foundation’s program officer who works with the Pegasus Committee.
Hillary Evans, executive director of After8toEducate, said winning the prize is an honor and adds to the project’s credibility and visibility.
“The recognition from The Dallas Foundation is a huge boost for us,” she said. “We are extremely grateful for the support and hope it will catalyze other investors.”
Legacy Luncheon Features Tom Luce
Dallas native Tom Luce loves Texas, but he’s concerned about its future. The attorney, nonprofit entrepreneur, and recent Linz Award winner told attendees at The Dallas Foundation’s 2018 Legacy Luncheon that median family incomes are on a path to decline by 2036. To maintain its current 4 percent unemployment rate, Texas will need to create 7 million new jobs – more than exist today in Dallas and Houston combined. And in 2036, the year Texas celebrates its bicentennial, three-quarters of the state budget will go to healthcare.
These outcomes are not inevitable, he stressed at the May 2 event.
“Texans have always been willing to decide they want to do their part to shape the future,” Luce said. “I hope we will change what we want Texas to be.”
Careful planning and wise public-private investments in infrastructure, education, and other key areas could alter the negative trends and produce a more prosperous future, he said. He is developing a long-range strategic plan, Texas 2036, to guide state and local policymakers and civic leaders as they make decisions about the future.
The plan is designed to be nonpartisan and citizen-led. He hopes to have a draft plan completed by the end of the year. Initially, Luce partnered with The Dallas Foundation to hold funds raised in support of Texas 2036; the organization has since obtained its own charitable status.
It’s an ambitious project, but Luce has experience tackling difficult challenges. He founded organizations to increase accountability in public education and to improve the teaching of science and math nationwide. More recently, he served as founding president and CEO of the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute, a Dallas-based nonprofit that works to improve and expand mental health services across the state.
The Legacy Luncheon honors donors who have named The Dallas Foundation as the beneficiary of a bequest or other planned gift, as well as current and former foundation governors. The annual luncheon features speakers whose work has a lasting influence on our community. For more information about planned giving or the Legacy Society, please contact Gift Development Officer Kim Montez at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Snapshots of Spring