21 minutes | Sep 15th 2020

Everyone Can Be a Philanthropist Through Communities Foundation of Texas

Subscribe on iTunes! Subscribe on Google Play Podcast RSS Feed   In this week’s episode, let’s debunk the notion that only wealthy people can make a difference in their community. We discuss some of the things the Communities Foundation of Texas is doing to serve our communities, including their notion that every person is a philanthropist. Educate Texas, Working Families Success, the W.W. Caruth Jr Fund, and North Texas Giving Day are just a few of the huge ways they spread the love and give back to those in need. CFT manages more than donor-advised funds and agency funds focused on trying to better the quality of life of residents in Collin County.   SHOW NOTES: [00:45] History of CFT & Programs [7:55]  Expanding in Collin County [10:10] COVID-19 North Texas Cares Fund [11:14] North Texas Giving Day [17:10] How to get involved LINKS & RESOURCES: NorthTexasGivingDay.org | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram Website: Communities Foundation of Texas Communities Foundation of Texas on Lifestyle Frisco Email Sarah Beeks Humphrey: shumphrey@cftexas.org Connect with Lifestyle Frisco on:  YouTube Facebook Instagram Twitter LinkedIn Transcript Machine-generated. Kelly: Welcome to today’s episode of the Frisco podcast. Sitting in for Scott Ellis today I’m your host Kelly Walker. We’re talking nonprofits and community giving today. We have Communities Foundation of Texas with us and joining us with Communities Foundation of Texas. We have Sarah Beeks Humphrey. She is the Director of Charitable Giving Collin County and Jeri Chambers, the Donors Relations Officer Collin County. Welcome ladies. How are you guys doing today? Thank you, Kelly. It’s a pleasure to be here today. Thank you for the opportunity. Yeah. We’re excited to tell our audience about what you’re doing over there at Communities Foundation of Texas. So to give us just sort of a little history, can you, um, can you give us a brief history and what Communities Foundation of Texas is? Sarah: Absolutely. Communities Foundation of Texas is the largest community foundation in the state of Texas. We were founded in 1953 and we were founded by a number of philanthropic families that saw the need and certainly the benefit of a community foundation to serve the nonprofits and the individuals and the businesses to really match the needs that are in the community with the philanthropists and those that want to have life improved in DFW and in North Texas. So we started our community foundation as the Community Chest Trust, and that was back in 1953. So we’ve been in operation here in DFW and North Texas for a good number of years. We run several programs in house, such as our Educate Texas program, which is a statewide program, transforming public K through 12 and higher education systems across the state of Texas, really trying to improve every student’s chance for success through our programs that we run our partnerships that we have with a number of foundations and individuals and corporations across the United States and our policy work. So we have staff in Dallas and in Austin working with the state legislature on policy issues for education. And then we also have staff in the Rio Grande Valley working with very at risk youth in working to get resources for them, for improvement of the education system in the Rio Grande Valley. Kelly: We probably, um, with Educate Texas, it wasn’t something I was very familiar with before, you know, learning about you guys. That’s probably something that touches, like you said, all over Texas. Many of us that have school age children sounds like it reaches everyone K through 12. That’s probably something that you guys are impacting, you know, our daily lives and we not even know it. Sarah: That’s exactly right. That’s exactly right. Our partners are the school districts, the colleges, the universities across the state of Texas, obviously the businesses and the workforce organizations working on workforce development, many philanthropic agencies and foundations across the country, as well as the state of Texas. And of course the state agencies and policy-making organizations to really change the trajectory of how like education going forward. So we work with foundations, corporations, the Texas education agency, as well as the Texas workforce commission to really make education a priority in the state of Texas. Kelly: That’s a big one. What are some other initiatives that you guys have? Sarah: Yes, indeed. We also work with the Working Families Success model, and that is an economic security for working families. It is providing a framework for nonprofits to deliver key services and financial support, to low income families using an integrated approach for many nonprofit agencies working together in three core services. So we work with employment services to provide skill assessment, job training, and job search and placement assistance. We also work with businesses and corporations on income support or benefits, screening applications, assistance, um, housing assistance, tax prep, and such. And we also provide an opportunity for the third area, which is the financial coaching. So it provides financial education counseling access to financial services. So that is a another really important program that our philanthropic team are really in charge of and make sure that they are addressing the issues in the low income families so that we can provide some additional assistance and provide resources to help them, their families going forward. Kelly: Can you tell me about the WW Caruth Jr. Fund and what that is? Sarah: Yes. The WW Caruth Jr Fund is one of our large, uh, supporting organizations that is administered through CFT., WW Caruth Jr and his family set up the fund with CFT back in 1974. And the thrust of this fund was to provide transformational multi-year grants in the areas of education, health, and scientific research and public safety. So it’s a large portion of our asset base. Communities Foundation of Texas, $1.2 billion under management assets under management. And that includes over a thousand donor advised funds and agency firms and several supporting organizations like our larger WW Caruth Fund. So it allows our team, our philanthropy team and our organization too, to make very large grants, uh, to really make a difference in our DFW and North Texas region. And then our bulk of our work and our bread and butter, if you will, is our donor advised funds. So we have the opportunity, Jeri and I have the opportunity in Collin County in particular to work with individuals and families and businesses and nonprofit agencies trying to better the quality of life for all of our residents in calling County. Kelly: So you said that’s the donor advice fund? Yes. So, I mean, I take that as you, you and Jeri work with donors on helping them helping direct to, to the, put the funds in the best place or helping donations get to the best place and have to get the most out of them. And the best use? Sarah: That’s exactly right. We’re thinking of a matchmaker. We match the needs that are there in the community with those that want to give back whether it’s an individual or a family or business, or the nonprofits, of course, which are on the front lines with boots on the ground, delivering those resources and programs to help those in need. Kelly: That’s fantastic because there’s probably some, some large donors out there. I mean, even me as just, you know, kind of your everyday small donor, um, you want to know that your money is where it’s going or where it’s going to end up. And so, especially, I’m sure if you’re a large donor or you have a family trust or something you’re trying to direct funds to, you really want to work with somebody and know where that money’s going and how it’s getting put to use the best. You probably feel better and end up donating more when you have that partnership with you. Sarah: That’s exactly right. Kelly: So tell me about how you’re expanding and the needs are expanding of CFT in the Collin County area. Sarah: Of course, thank you. Collin County communities are some of the fastest growing communities in the country. And as a community foundation, one of the services that we provide is an opportunity to identify some of the needs in a growing community and be able to garner resources to address some of those needs directly, be it through the corporate fundraising and philanthropy or individuals and families. And we work with nonprofit agencies to help them and assist them in identifying those that are in need and developing their programs, sustaining and providing capacity building to bring a stronger philanthropic base for those growing communities. And so we established an office at Hall Park in Frisco, to address the community directly. So at that time we established a fund for Collin County, which would address the, the needs of the community and those nonprofits in Collin County that are serving that vulnerable population. So we were very excited to be able to seed that fund for Collin County initially with $500,000 from the Mabel Peter’s Caruth fund at CFT. And then we were offering a challenge to the community to join us in building that fund for Collin County to a million dollars so that we would have a fund that would be longstanding and sustainable over time to address those needs in Collin County for many, many years to come. And we’re pleased that over 95 donors and businesses and foundations stepped up, helped us raise the additional million. We’re a little over 1,060,000 and growing. And we have an opportunity of course, to continue to grow that fund over time. Kelly: In addition to the existing programs and initiatives that you run, I’m sure that the COVID-19 pandemic has created new challenges for you. So tell me how you have been able to react to those needs. Sarah: Communities Foundation of Texas as a community foundation does have the opportunity to pivot, to move very quickly to mobilize funding for disaster relief. And so we certainly have, um, established a number of COVID response funds like the North Texas Cares fund and do a lot of collaborative work with partners across the DFW region to address those that are suffering. You know, we’ve got over 32 collaborative partners for our North Texas Cares fund, and we’ve been able to generate about $40 million out to nonprofits that are addressing, the community that are directly related to COVID-19. Kelly: Now, Thursday, September 17th is coming up. It’s right around the corner. It’s North Texas Giving Day, 12 years of giving in Texas. We’ve talked a lot about this already with Lifestyle Frisco, but I want to let listeners hear it from you. Tell me a little about what North Texas giving day is. What are some of the goals for this year’s giving day? Jeri: Well, I’ll take that one. And this is our 12th year for doing North Texas Giving Day. And it started with the idea that every person is a philanthropist and we have this notion that only very wealthy people can, can make a difference in their community. And we, we, we debunk that notion. In 2019, we raised $50 million in one day by the generosity of over a hundred thousand donors. So it was an incredible day, incredible opportunity for our community. This year, we certainly are very, um, straightforward with the idea that our nonprofits now need their support now more than ever because of the pandemic and what has happened to organizations, they now suddenly have an unbelievable increase in need to do services. For instance, the storehouse in Collin County has increased their clientele over 103% from January to August. So they’re seeing double the amount of clients of the clients that are food pantries and food banks. We’re seeing 60, 70% of those people are first time users, never done that. They’ve never done this. They’ve had to ask for food for before. Kelly: It’s a recent need that they’ve been asking themselves. Jeri: It’s a recent need. It’s something that because of COVID-19 because of loss of wages or loss of job or whatever the situation is, um, people are hurting. And, and we are in an interesting situation because North Texas Giving Day is all about events and highlighting nonprofits and having a big, you know, big gatherings of people. And that’s not going to be able to happen this year. So we have not moved virtually and we depend on to help us get the word out so that people know, know the need and also know how they can make a difference. So September the 17th or 6:00 AM, until midnight people can go to the North Texas Giving Day.org website and go shopping. We have 3,325 nonprofits participating this year. That’s over. Is it’s, 20 counties, I guess 15, I think it’s 20 counties and 421 of them identify as being in Collin County. Jeri: That’s an uptick. It’s, it’s a hundred, about a hundred more than what we saw in 2018 and about 50, more than last year. So we were increasing at about 50 nonprofits every year. Uh, we demonstrate 27 different causes. That go, I mean, you may, I mean, it’s a, cause it was from arts to domestic violence to, um, food security. You could go to our website and check out. So if, if that is something that you’re passionate about animals, you can go to our sites, North Texas Giving Day.org and search the causes and find where your passion is and where your interests are. And you can make a choice about that. Kelly: So the donors, um, they do get to choose where their donations end up? If it’s, you know, like you said, animals, it’s not just going in general to North Texas giving day. It is getting you get to pick and choose. Jeri: I think one of the things is really important for everyone to understand is the North Texas giving day site is up 365 days of the year. So if someone decides in April that they have a passion for, um, I don’t know, there’s so many different fields. I don’t know which one to pick women and childre. Go to our website at April and search women and children, and then see what nonprofits, um, address those issues. So the day is about getting some energy, getting some excitement about that Giving Day, but I use it all the time when I’m trying to look for a cause or an organization, um, that page will tell you about the organization. They may have a video about their organization and they’ll have a direct link to their website. So it’s just a really great tool for everyone in North Texas to use all the time. So there is that, and we did start early giving because we don’t want people to feel like they have to only give on the 17th. So September 1st, early giving began. And I checked the website before talking with you Kelly today, and we’re at over a million at this point, which is further than we have been in previous years. So we don’t know what that means as far as what will happen on giving day, but we certainly are on pace. You’re not, you’re not noticing, you know, behind or anything at this point. Kelly: That’s good, but the people can, I hear this? You can go on right now and donate. Yeah, there’s no need to wait for the 17th. The 17th is the big push day where you’re going to hear about it a lot that day. And, and the, and that’s probably where the bulk of your, of when the bulk of your donations do come in, I’m guessing. Jeri: Yes, yes, absolutely. And the other thing that you need to know is that when COVID first happened, we recognized as a community, we needed to respond immediately, so we partnered with United way and the Dallas Cowboys. And we did at North Texas giving Tuesday Now at the beginning of may. And so on that day, which was planned with less than five weeks, um, our normal day is a whole 12 month process ready, but in five weeks we had a day, May 5th, and we raised over $20 million on that day, so that we have a very generous community. In fact, North Texas is one of the most generous communities in the country. And we know that we need that generosity now to show itself, um, more than ever. Kelly: Well, speaking of that, speaking of generous, um, area North, Texas, and, and Colling County, um, beyond donating before or on the 17th for North Texas giving day, what in general can people do if they want to get involved by being, uh, you know, if you need extra hands, if you need volunteers, in addition to donations throughout the year. Sarah: In addition to being able to give dollars on North Texas giving day through the platform, we for the first time did a volunteer, component, and you could actually volunteer hours as well. So on the platform North Texas giving day.org, it does give you the opportunity to say how many hours you’d like to pledge. And each of the nonprofit agencies will have on their profile page on North Texas giving day.org, what those volunteer opportunities could be. So it is a really important day and period of time, really from September 1st to September 17th, for each of the nonprofit agencies, to tell their story, to address some of the issues and the concerns and the resources that they need within their organization, to be able to provide, funding and support and programs to the community at large. So it’s an opportunity for us, not only to raise funds on that day, but also raise the awareness of the programs, all the great nonprofits and their work out in, in the community each and every day. So it allows the nonprofit to put their profile out, to tell their story, let the community know where they might volunteer and the needs that are, that are required on that day in terms of funding. Jeri: I just wanted to add to that, as far as right now in this moment, people sharing their giving- giving begets giving, and so letting people know I participated in North Texas giving day and hope that you will too, is the best message we can ask for people to do. We really see ourselves as somewhat of a matchmaker. Um, we match people with their money and their time to, to a nonprofit that they can be passionate about. And so that’s really our role. And so we’re really consultants for people and our resource for them. And if they are to a point where they want to be more strategic in their giving, we have tools that we can do to make, um, and to help that process for people. So we work side by side with the donors and we work side by side with the nonprofits to bring those two pieces together. Kelly: Well, thank you, Sarah and Jeri, for your time today. And everyone at Communities Foundation of Texas for all the time and energy and resources that you put forward to really just benefit the community, our communities as a whole, and, um, North Texas as a whole and the thousands and thousands of nonprofits and families that benefit from all of your work. So everyone listening, NorthTexasGivingday.org is that website. You can also find out more from communities foundation of Texas, about some of the other nonprofits and funds that they manage. Um, those links will be in the show notes for this podcast at lifestylefrisco.com and ladies, thank you so much for your time. Good luck for North Texas giving day big push on the 17th. Thank you.  
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