A Letter From Our Leadership:

Communities Foundation of Texas

2020 Annual Report

Now, more than ever.
This is a phrase that we’ve lived daily since the pandemic began, from the urgency in the siren call to address inequities across our community to the depth of our neighbors’ needs, to the ways our community’s doers and givers have responded with astounding levels of generosity.

While things around us continue to evolve, our goal and commitment to you remain the same – to help you help others. We are steadfast in our commitment to see our community, and you, our donors, through uncertain times. We also recognize there are silver linings amidst these trying times – moments of collaboration and triumph. Moments that allow us to lift others up, to give hope and help to those around us.

This year, even though we have not gathered, met, or celebrated in person as frequently as we did a year ago, your generosity – now, more than ever – continues to bind you even closer to the organizations and communities you love so dearly during a time when they need you most. Your trust and investment in Communities Foundation of Texas has built a place where giving truly thrives and does more good.

Whether responding to an unforeseen crisis like COVID-19 or providing ongoing support to our communities as we seek solutions to racial inequity and economic disparity, as a community foundation, CFT has acted rapidly to support immediate needs without altering our long-term lens toward our vision of building thriving communities for all.

Our relationships with our charitable fund holders, donors, and nonprofit and community partners have been critical to our ability to learn, adapt, and respond during what may be our community’s most challenging time in recent history. CFT is proud to steward these relationships and charitable dollars and multiply their impact to address critical and emerging needs.

A year as unique as 2020 demanded an annual report reflective of the many pivots required of our team and our community in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and social and racial turmoil. This report is about North Texans responding in unprecedented ways to an unprecedented crisis, highlighting the collaborative efforts of working side by side with donors and partners, who stepped in as early responders to equitably provide resources and relief.

The word “we” is used throughout this publication to honor the many donors, partners, and collaborators that prove how we are significantly better together than we are apart.

While there are still many unknowns about what the coming days will bring, one thing is clear – we cannot shift back to normal. We must, in service to our mission, move forward to make each tomorrow better and more equitable. As we usher in a new phase of recovery, we invite you to learn alongside us in navigating how to best support our community through the needs and opportunities ahead. Even in challenging times, we look with optimism and purpose to our next collective chapter. Together, let us continue to strive for more.

Dave Scullin, President and CEO
Alfreda Norman, Chair, Board of Trustees
Communities Foundation of Texas

At Communities Foundation of Texas, our grantmaking and programs are key to our vision of building thriving communities for all. We believe that a thriving community is one in which all people feel cared for, invested in, nourished, and valued, and have an equitable opportunity to contribute to the well-being and growth of themselves, their families, and their communities.

We take a 360° approach to supporting the needs of individuals and their communities through four intersectional pillars of thriving: Health, Wealth, Living, and Learning. At the heart, what we’re striving to achieve through attention to these areas is equity, connectedness, and belonging for all.



The Chocolate MINT Foundation, located in DeSoto, and Artes de la Rosa Cultural Center for the Arts, located in Fort Worth, were two of 200 nonprofits who received grants from CFT’s North Texas Community Response Fund to address COVID-19 related needs. View the details of each of these grants at CFTexas.org/COVID19grants.

Listen to the first two seasons of our new Philanthropy 360 podcast centered on health, wealth, living, and learning at: CFTEXAS.ORG/PODCAST


HEALTH is a holistic concept engaging the biological, psychological, and behavioral dimensions of life. What affects a person’s health encompasses everything from their local environmental conditions to access to things like grocery stores and parks, pets as companions, transportation, preventive medicine, and education. To move the needle on health, interventions must move upstream and engage the choices people make and the environments in which they live.

WEALTH is defined as financial security, which is significantly impacted by employment opportunities for individuals and economic development within communities. While the majority of people living in poverty have jobs, millions of adults live paycheck to paycheck, unable to cover a surprise expense – demonstrating that employment is not enough to ensure financial security. We must aim for financial resilience in the face of economic shocks, pathways to progressively improving opportunities, and the state of prosperity in which people have enough money to fulfill their needs and many of their wants.

LIVING ZIP code can be more predictive than genetic code when it comes to life outcomes. Decisions surrounding community planning, engagement, and design; access to arts, culture and parks; as well as the presence of crime prevention strategies and justice system processes, can have a significant impact on the physical, social, and mental health of community members and their ability to thrive today and across generations.

LEARNING Education has the power to change a life. Educating our youth to maximize their potential also provides the foundation to power the workforce of tomorrow. The pursuit of a certification or postsecondary degree significantly affects the earning potential for an individual, impacting the community they live in and the legacy of their future generations. Training and skills growth also provides individuals an opportunity to reinvent themselves as circumstances change throughout their lifetime.

Sarah Cotton Nelson

Chief Philanthropy Officer



To learn more about our 360° approach advances CFT’s vision of a thriving community for all, click the “next” arrow.

Supporting the community through crisis is something that’s been part of CFT’s work for decades. The COVID-19 pandemic has further amplified the importance of being flexible in our responsiveness and the critical role we play in matching the generosity of North Texans with our community’s greatest needs. As the pandemic has unfolded, we’ve seen firsthand the increased importance of having a philanthropic resource that is actively part of the relief and recovery response.

In addition to establishing relief and recovery funds and making emergency grants to nonprofits, CFT often plays a convening and leadership role when disasters strike, helping to coordinate with other philanthropic leaders and funders, the City of Dallas, and Dallas County to identify emerging needs and gaps between government and nonprofit resources.

While we have seen thousands of individuals tragically impacted across our community, we have also witnessed the incredible generosity of our community through increased giving in support of those in need.

Since March, Communities Foundation of Texas has helped mobilize $175 million for nonprofits through our leadership of community relief efforts such as North Texas Cares, North Texas Giving Day, and North Texas Giving Tuesday Now, as well as the generosity of our donor-advised fund holders and the creation of eight different COVID-19 related relief funds.


Eight COVID-19 response funds have been established at CFT:

Uncertainty can often seed innovation. As communities face challenges, coming together to offer what you have, what you know, and how to provide a solution is the true definition of collaboration. At the start of the pandemic, we worked with local philanthropy partners, businesses, and city and government officials to create a number of relief and recovery funds in response to growing community needs. Collectively, more than $12.6 million has been raised for COVID-19 community response funds held at CFT. CFT also partnered with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas to deploy $1 million to nonprofits across Texas.

In March, we launched our North Texas Community Response Fund, which was established to provide a way to quickly mobilize financial support to local nonprofits providing critical response in the early days of the pandemic. We shifted our discretionary grantmaking to prioritize funding emergency relief efforts through North Texas Cares. CFT fund holders and others donated almost $3 million to this fund, and 200 grants have now been distributed to nonprofits. Our philanthropy department will continue to distribute more grants as additional North Texas Cares applications are reviewed.

When a crisis occurs, CFT is often a partner in deploying creative solutions to expedite and grow community giving, providing structure and oversight, administrative assistance, and charitable fund management. These new coalitions and funds have resulted in stronger collaborations, streamlined resource deployment, and most importantly, provided responsive grants to nonprofits working with communities disproportionately impacted by economic consequences of the pandemic.

We are grateful for the support of so many partner foundations, CFT fund holders, and generous individuals and companies who have been part of these collective efforts. By opening a charitable giving account or giving through CFT, you have demonstrated your belief in the power of philanthropy. It is going to take all of us – pulling together – to help light the way ahead in ensuring our future is brighter than our past.

Monica Egert Smith

Chief Relationship Officer



Click the navigation below to learn more about our impact.

Over the course of a week in March, CFT helped create, launch, and lead a funder collaborative called North Texas Cares to help streamline the process for nonprofits applying for COVID-19 related emergency funding, through the creation of a shared online grant application. What launched with 15 participating foundations and United Ways coming together to provide support for organizations that serve those most affected by the pandemic, quickly grew to more than 30 participating funders. Each participating funder is able to see and review submitted grant applications and make independent funding decisions.

Between April and July 2020, 1,400 grants totaling over $40 million were awarded to 630 area nonprofits through the North Texas Cares application process. This success inspired a second phase in August that launched with 35 funders and closed in October, to support nonprofits serving individuals and families across the focus areas of economic security, education, health, safety and well-being, and social justice. The funders are now reviewing an additional $100 million in funding requests from nearly 800 nonprofits. Learn more about the current priority funding areas at NorthTexasCares.org.

North Texas Cares has been a brilliant success, brought about by an extraordinary level of collaboration among North Texas funding organizations. To be able to deploy $40 million from 30 different funding organizations through a shared grant application during a time of unprecedented need has been nothing short of remarkable. Nonprofits have swiftly responded to the crisis by forging new partnerships and adapting programs and services to meet emergent demands. While the work continues, and the hills to climb remain steep, we applaud our nonprofit partners that rapidly rose to this historic occasion, tirelessly working to fulfill critical missions that strengthen our community and support those who call it home.

View the full list of North Texas Cares partners at NorthTexasCares.org

Spotlight on North Texas grantees

“During this extraordinary time of service to our community, the efficiency of the North Texas Cares application has been a game changer. Being able to complete one grant application and have it reviewed by 30+ funders has saved time and alleviated some of the stress associated with serving during this pandemic. Sharing Life is deeply grateful to have received funding from multiple North Texas Cares partners, allowing us to assist thousands of first-time clients in addition to our client base who are experiencing new levels of need.”

– Teresa Jackson, CEO & Founder, Sharing Life Outreach

Sharing Life’s assistance programs support more than 20,000 residents across 35 ZIP codes in North Texas, providing stability for families in crisis. Services include a food pantry, clothes closet, financial assistance, financial coaching, and employment training. Before COVID-19, they were assisting a record number of clients daily. Now, they continue to experience an even greater influx of families needing support services in food and financial assistance, with 20% of these families being new clients.

This narrative of increased need is resoundingly consistent with what we’ve learned from nonprofits applying for funding through North Texas Cares. For many nonprofits, demand for services has increased by two to three times their previous rate.

Sarah Cotton Nelson

Chief Philanthropy Officer



While 2020 has challenged our community in many ways, we have seen an extraordinary outpouring of support as North Texans have rallied together to be there for each other.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused individuals, families, and communities to reimagine life in a rapidly changing landscape. As the force behind the largest giving day in the nation, North Texas Giving Day, we at Communities Foundation of Texas learned how to make a swift pirouette in order to react, relate, and respond. In listening to our community, our nonprofit leaders, and people on the ground, we learned to partner and scale more effectively and encouraged an already generous community to dig a little deeper to give help and hope.

Through two giving days, one emergency pop up day in May – North Texas Giving Tuesday Now – and the regularly scheduled fall event – North Texas Giving Day – our community raised nearly $80 million dollars to fuel the vital work that keeps our region surviving, growing and thriving.

While our community continues to face new obstacles, CFT is committed to supporting the nonprofits providing vital services for those in need, vital services for those on the front lines, and vital support for those creating and teaching, feeding and clothing, and caring for friends, neighbors, and strangers across our region.

Like you, we have been heartened by the numerous acts of kindness, generosity, and empathy that have touched every corner of our community throughout this difficult year. They provide us hope, promise, and guidance for a brighter future.


*Total dollars raised on North Texas Giving Tuesday Now

Susan Swan Smith

Chief North Texas Giving Day Officer



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CFT’s Educate Texas works to ensure students are able to maximize their potential and fuel a thriving Texas. Our focus has been on strengthening our Texas public and higher education systems to address our highest-need students and families.

Building off the success of our 20×2020 strategic plan, Educate Texas is launching a new 2025 strategy.


The pandemic created additional challenges that have exacerbated the racial, education, and economic disparities for students and families across the country. As our partners across the state have been working on the safe and effective reopening of schools, Educate Texas has supported three critical efforts to address our educational needs: closing the digital divide, delivering effective teaching and learning – both on campus and remotely – and creating the workforce of today and tomorrow.

John Fitzpatrick

Executive Director, Educate Texas



George Tang

Managing Director, Educate Texas



Click the navigation below to learn more about our recent focus on increasing equity.

CFT’s Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy 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. Now in its third annual cohort, we’re creating a network of like-hearted doers and givers who are working to build a thriving community for all.

View our full Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy cohort members here.

20 members of CFT’s 2020 Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy cohort share their hopes for the future and what they believe our community needs now more than ever.

Monica Egert Smith

Chief Relationship Officer



Click the navigation below to read their inspiring responses.

2020 Financial Highlights

Investment Managers

Aberdeen Asset Management, PLC
Alphadyne Asset Management LP
BNY Mellon Cash Investment Strategies
Breckinridge Capital Advisors, Inc.
Brookfield Investment Management
Burgundy Asset Management Ltd.

Dimensional Fund Advisors
Disciplined Growth Investors, Inc.
DL & Partners Investment Company
Freshford Fund Ltd.
GQG Partners, LLC
HHR Asset Management, LLC
Lazard Asset Management

Parametric Portfolio Associates, LLC
Renaissance Technologies, LLC
State Street Global Advisors
Trinity Street Asset Management
Two Sigma
Western Asset Management Company


Financials for Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 2020

Total Assets:

Total Grants Paid:

Total Gifts Received:

Number of Funds:

Cumulative Grants:

ASSETS (in millions, unaudited)
2020 COMPOSITION OF ASSETS (in millions, unaudited)
GIFTS (in millions, unaudited)
2020 COMPOSITION OF GIFTS (in millions, unaudited)
TOTAL GRANTS PAID (in millions, unaudited)

For a listing of named funds at CFT and to review the annual independent audit report and the related audited consolidated financial statements with footnotes, please click here.

Our Team

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