Boost to Education: Hunt, TI Foundations & Texas Workforce Commission Donate Funds to Local Schools

EDUCATION ROUNDUP  |  The students of today are the workforce of tomorrow. Several local schools have received grants or donations that will help develop programming and scholarships to set kids up for their future careers.

Tiffany Cason


The Nancy Ann Hunt Foundation has given Southern Methodist University a $15 million gift to continue support of the prestigious Hunt Leadership Scholars Program.

The donation will be split, with $10 million dedicated to an endowment and $5 million funding scholarships over the next several years. 

“We wanted to help SMU attract truly outstanding students who demonstrate a strong potential to be a leader throughout their lives — young men and women who will stand up, speak out, and make a positive difference to a broader community,” Nancy Ann Hunt said in a statement from the university. 

Nancy Ann and Ray L. Hunt’s overall contributions to the scholars program total $65 million since it launched in 1993.

The program issues merit-based awards, and, to date, has provided scholarships to 372 students who have gone on to pursue a range of occupations. SMU selects about 20 entering first-year students as Hunt Leadership Scholars each year. Those named for the class of 2022 will each receive $42,000 annually for a sum of $168,000 over four years.

“We are grateful for the impact this program has had upon the lives of so many students, both at SMU and beyond, in terms of preserving and enhancing the entrepreneurial spirit and ‘Texas heritage’ which Nancy Ann and I enjoyed years ago when we were both students at SMU,” said Ray L. Hunt. in the release. 


Robotics throughout the Dallas ISD will get a boost, thanks to a recent Texas Instruments Foundation grant of $350,000 grant.

The award is being used to bring robotics to more students, and to help fund DISD teams participating in competitive robotics events during the 2017-2018 academic school year, according to the school district. 

Robotics activities often go hand in hand with science, technology, engineering and mathematics development. Steven Smith, a TI engineer who volunteers with robotics clubs at Emmett J. Conrad High School along with fellow TI engineer Bart Basile, said the programs help impart STEM skills to students who might otherwise not have the opportunity to learn them.

“Many of the students at Conrad enter the classroom lacking not only the skillsets necessary to succeed in STEM professions, but also lacking a model for what an adult with those skills looks like,” said Smith on The Hub, the district’s news site. “So for them, the Conrad robotics club often becomes more than just a place to build robots; it becomes a comfortable place to go most days after school, where they can be challenged intellectually in a fun and engaging way that also nurtures teamwork, comradery and confidence.”

Andy Smith, executive director of the TI Foundation, also noted that the grant funding also will help provided opportunities to female, African-American, and Hispanic students, who are traditionally underserved in STEM studies.


Red Oak High School has used a $263,602 grant from the Texas Workforce Commission to create a virtual hospital training students interested in pursuing careers in health sciences.

The virtual hospital consists of a phlebotomy room, 10 hospital beds, simulated mannequin patients, and an airflow machine that compounds chemotherapy medicines. A birthing suite, which simulates a pregnant woman who was involved in a car accident, is also part of the set-up, reported the Waxahachie Daily Light.

Though the hospital is “virtual,” the goal of the program is anything but. Students interested in a career in health sciences can graduate with three potential certifications — phlebotomist, patient care technology, and pharmaceutical technologist.

“We try to offer industry certification so that [students] are very desirable when they leave to be employees,” CTE Director Lisa Menton told the Waxahachie Daily Light.


The Episcopal School of Dallas has received $300,000 from the Hoblitzelle Foundation to help build a new lower school on ESD’s Merrell Road Campus. The grant is ESD’s 11th from the Dallas-based foundation, which supports educational, scientific, cultural, and other charitable organizations.

Three students from the University of Texas at Dallas each won a $15,000 scholarship from the Texas Business Hall of Fame Foundation. Omen Shams, Rachel L. Hugo, and Vijay Bhagvath were selected based on entrepreneurial aspirations, academic credentials, and leadership skills.

Dallas’ Teach for America program was one of several Texas programs that received $728,000 in funding from OneStar Foundation. Other Teach for America programs to benefit are in Houston, the Rio Grande Valley, and San Antonio. Teach for America encourages college students to commit to two years of teaching in high-need urban and rural schools.

Capital One and Heart of America Foundation teamed up to fund a technology lab at the Young Women’s Leadership Academy at Arnold in Grand Prairie. The school at 1204 E. Marshall Drive recently opened the lab, which offers tools including a 3D printer, multimedia center, and cutting-edge software. The partnership’s donation is part of Capital One’s $150-million Future Edge initiative, designed to providing skills to help Americans navigate the digital economy.

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