Communities Foundation of Texas Awards $106M in 2018, Names New Board Members and Chair-Elect

Since the Foundation was founded in 1953, it has awarded over $1.8 billion in grants.

The North Texas Giving Day event is a major fundraising event of the Communities Foundation of Texas. [Photo by Kimberly Yee/City of Arlington]

Dallas-based Communities Foundation of Texas has wrapped up its 2018, and is moving strongly into the new year. To continue growth, CFT announced three new members of its board of trustees, and named a new board chair-elect. The foundation also released the amount of its community grants for the 2018 fiscal year: $106 million.

The trustees are Matrice Ellis-Kirk, Gunjan Jain, and Debra Brennan Tagg, and the chair-elect is Alfreda Norman. President and CEO Dave Scullin said that as Communities Foundation of Texas continues to expand its positive impact, the new board members will provide the fresh perspective that’s necessary.

“We are fortunate to have outstanding business and community leaders who accept the call to be trustees,” Board Chair Jim Bass said in a statement. “The varied experience and knowledge that Matrice, Gunjan, and Debra are bringing to our board will help guide CFT as we work together to strengthen North Texas and improve lives across our entire state and beyond.”

Communities Foundation of Texas was founded in 1953 and has awarded over $1.8 billion in grants. The foundation said its trustees serve as stewards of $1.1 billion in assets, as of the end of the 2018 fiscal year, across over 1,000 charitable funds. CFT is the largest community foundation in Texas and one of the largest in the nation, ranking in the top 20 nationally for assets managed, gifts received, and grants paid. With this year’s $106 million given in community grants, CFT said that this is the fifth year in a row it has passed $100 million.

Annually, CFT sponsors North Texas Giving Day, an 18-hour online giving event designed to encourage people to give back to their communities by supporting local causes and nonprofits. In 2018—the tenth annual event—more than $48 million for 2,690 nonprofits was raised, surpassing the prior year’s record of $39 million.

The foundation also operates Educate Texas, a statewide education initiative.

The new Communities Foundation of Texas trustees

foundation Matrice Ellis-Kirk

Matrice Ellis-Kirk

Matrice Ellis-Kirk
Civic and business leader
Ellis-Kirk is a senior member of the RSR Partners’ Board Recruiting and Chief Executive Officers Practices, and a member of the RSR Partners Executive Committee. She has over 20 years of experience in the executive search industry, having led board and CEO assignments at two large global search firms prior to RSR Partners. Currently, she also chairs the AT&T Performing Arts Center board and is a Dallas City Council appointed board member of the DFW Airport Authority.

Gunjan Jain

Gunjan Jain

Gunjan Jain
Business and financial leader
Jain is one of the owners of Access Healthcare Services USA LLC, and serves as the acting controller for the company and its international operations. She’s also one of the founders of Laurus Edutech, one of India’s top vocational training companies. She has been involved with various nonprofit organizations, most recently serving The Global Fund for Children, and has created “Kids Against Hunger” for the North Texas Food Bank.

foundation Debra Brennan Tagg

Debra Brennan Tagg

Debra Brennan Tagg
Expert financial planner and community leader
Brennan Tagg is president of wealth management firm, Brennan Financial Services. She is a Certified Financial Planner practitioner and created the DBT360 Financial Plan, a proprietary program that helps her clients prioritize their goals, leverage their resources, and address their risks. She serves on the board of the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, she helped to launch the GroundFloor at United Way, and also serves on the Children’s Medical Center Dallas board of directors and Children’s Health Foundation board.

foundation Alfreda Norman

Alfreda Norman

Alfreda Norman
The CFT board said that Norman will become the next chair in 2020, becoming the second woman to assume that role with the foundation, following Ruth Altshuler. Norman is senior vice president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, leading its communications and public outreach.

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