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Dave Scullin: We’re a hub of philanthropy and we want to build the spirit of giving. Not just for those very wealthy but for those who love their community and want to contribute in some way, shape or fashion.
There’s thousands of nonprofits here in North Texas. And those individuals who as they build that deeper sense of giving want it to have an impact, to make a difference in that community and that’s where we come in because we know all of the nonprofit organizations. We have the community feedback as to the things that matter most.
Trust is everything. When you think of people that have saved their money all of their lives—the fact that they’re going to bestow it on a third party to give to the community—that is a deep sense of trust that it takes. And they have to not only listen to your words but they have to see your actions. And they need to see that those are completely aligned. And if they are then you become the largest community foundation in the community.
So, we’re here and we want to act always that we can be completely trusted. And anybody who works with us, like Aldridge, we look at that dimension and we look for that in the people that we hire. Aldridge understands our mission and gets it. And gets the culture and the chemistry within our offices. You can’t work in this organization without being connected to it.
Leigh Schaefers: Communities Foundation of Texas is a community foundation which means we take in donations from very generous donors in our community. And help them amplify their giving as they give them to nonprofits.
Dave: As you go out to some of those nonprofits and they say, “You’re with Communities Foundation of Texas, you do North Texas Giving Day.” Or, “You’ve done this for us with this grant. Here’s what we’ve been able to do.”
Hurricane Harvey, when it hit, we put together funds to help keep young people in schools. And I got letters for about three months afterwards from those students. Those are the things that stick in your mind.
Leigh: We help an individual donor to make their own impact in the community. Our philanthropy department can help our donors in the area of their interest—if it’s animals or if it’s special needs or if it’s the performing arts—and find ways to make those dollars go further for the community.
Dave: The name really matters. Community. That part of CFT is what drives everything. We work very hard to be catalysts in our community so we amplify the impact of those funds that are given to us and entrusted to us.
And we’re involved in so many areas. One that’s especially exciting is North Texas Giving Day. Something we designed ten years ago and had no idea what it would become. It’s a one-day online giving event. The first year we were blown away that we generated $4 million.
Fast forward to year nine—we generated $39 million from almost 80,000 donors to support 2,700 nonprofits. It’s just become this enormously successful event; it’s the largest in the country.
Everybody is a potential donor as long as you love your community. If you start with love of community, you could be a donor to CFT. We’re set up to really build on that spirit of giving but also to help direct people to what it is they want to do and how they want to help.