Communities Foundation of Texas (CFT) announced that State Senator
Florence Shapiro has been appointed as a new trustee.
CFT trustees are selected for their wide-ranging knowledge of community needs, record of charitable service, and fiscal responsibility. The board is composed of respected community leaders from diverse backgrounds whose charge is to understand donors’ interests and the roles of nonprofits. They are stewards for more than $769 million in assets across nearly 900 charitable funds.
Florence Shapiro and the CFT board colleagues lead the largest community foundation in Texas and one of the largest in the United States, ranked in the top 15 nationally for assets managed, gifts received and grants paid. CFT simultaneously announced distribution of $79 million in charitable grants in its 2011 fiscal year. Since its founding in 1953, CFT has paid more than $1.1 billion in grants to the community.
“We are excited about the commitment and broad depth of experience Florence brings to our already outstanding CFT board,” said Fred Hegi, Chairman of the CFT board. “In particular, her years of dedication to the education sector and more will prove invaluable as CFT continues to enhance the experience and impact of giving for our current and future donors.”
NEW TRUSTEE: FLORENCE SHAPIRO - Local leader dedicated to improving education
New trustee Florence Shapiro, Texas State Senator since 1993, worked to reform public education and served as a fierce defender of the individual rights, transportation and public safety. As a former teacher and small business owner, her journey into Texas politics began more than three decades ago as City Council member and Mayor of Plano.
In 2003, the Senator became chair of the Senate Education Committee. She swiftly moved to pass legislation overhauling the state's school finance system while improving accountability and creating excellence in the classroom. Under Senator Shapiro’s leadership, Texas was the first state to create college and career readiness curriculum standards.
Senator Shapiro became involved with Communities Foundation of Texas through the creation of Educate Texas (formerly known as the Texas High School Project). With the goal of increasing college readiness and postsecondary success for all Texas students, this unique public-private initiative partners with the Texas Education Agency, Governor’s Office, Texas Legislature, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, The Meadows Foundation and Greater Texas Foundation. It was Senator Shapiro’s legislation that helped create this successful partnership.
In addition to CFT’s impact on statewide education, another reason Senator Shapiro is eager to be a part of the CFT board of trustees is her belief in personally teaching the next generation about philanthropy. Growing up in Dallas, and ultimately raising her family here, Senator Shapiro has known of Communities Foundation for many years. She looks forward to passing along this legacy to the next generation.
“Being involved with Communities Foundation of Texas allows me to instill a philanthropic spirit that will be passed down to my children and grandchildren. I am honored to become a member of a community- based group of trustees whose vision makes Texas better every day,” she said.
Senator Shapiro's consistent leadership has earned her glowing praise and a bevy of honors. The Senator was recognized for her outstanding contributions to education, transportation and her work to improve the lives of children across Texas. She has been honored in this for her great dedication to this community and statewide.
In Addition to chairing the Senate Education Committee, she also serves on the Senate Committees on Finance, Transportation and Homeland Security, and Administration. A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, Senator Shapiro holds a bachelor's degree in secondary education. The Senator lives with her husband, Howard, and they have three children and nine grandchildren.
CFT FOCUS ON EDUCATION
CFT grants support in all areas of the community: education, youth, arts and culture, social services, health care, public safety among them. In 2011, CFT paid $79 million in grants, 26 percent of which were in the area of education. The following are a few highlights of education projects supported by CFT both in 2011 and in previous years:
• Teach for America: A $1.5 million grant to bring the program—and its dedicated teachers—to
Dallas, seeking to expand the educational opportunity of students in low-performing schools.
• Big Thought: A $1 million grant to expand and enhance the Thriving Minds Out of School Time initiative, a coordinated system of comprehensive Out of School Time learning for DISD students.
• Uplift Education: CFT donated their previous office building and property for the creation of
Peak Preparatory, a charter school in Dallas.
One of CFT’s largest ongoing education initiatives is Educate Texas. The program is dedicated to significantly improving the postsecondary readiness of low-income students. Currently, the program serves more than 84,000 students across Texas and has allocated more than $375 million to ensure that all Texas students are postsecondary ready. Its initiatives include seeding school models like Early College High Schools and T-STEM Academies (Texas science, technology, engineering and mathematics) as well as programs to improve teacher effectiveness.
Senator Shapiro’s support and involvement with Educate Texas from the very beginning was crucial in getting the initiative up and running.
“During her years of public service, Florence Shapiro has been a leader in addressing critical issues facing Dallas and our state,” says Educate Texas Executive Director John Fitzpatrick. “The senator’s support of Educate Texas has been instrumental to our effectiveness and success. Her experience and expertise will no doubt be a valuable asset on the CFT board.”
Senator Shapiro’s leadership and dedication to education—a cause deeply rooted in CFT—make her a perfect addition to the CFT Board of Trustees.
At CFT, the election of trustees reinforces their mission to stimulate creative solutions to key challenges in the community. Brent Christopher, CEO of Communities Foundation of Texas, further notes, “All of us at CFT are deeply grateful to Senator Florence Shapiro for her commitment, support and leadership. Florence brings a level of energy, business and community experience that will help advance CFT’s mission as we introduce new initiatives to encourage effective charitable giving and expand our impact.”
Other trustees continuing their service on the CFT board are Chair Fred Hegi, Vice Chair Frank Risch, Jim Bass, Becky Bright, Jeanne T. Cox, Judith W. Gibbs, Jack M. Kinnebrew, Bobby B. Lyle, John McStay, Harold Montgomery, Carlos Gonzalez Pena, Karen Shuford, and Tederma
L. Ussery II. Former chairmen Ruth Altshuler and Jody Grant are ex-officio members of the board.
As the largest community foundation in Texas and one of the largest in the nation, Communities Foundation of Texas (CFT) works with families, companies and nonprofits to strengthen our community through a variety of charitable funds and strategic grantmaking initiatives. CFT is committed to serving and understanding donor needs, expertly handling complex gifts, wisely managing charitable funds, and leveraging its community knowledge to increase charitable impact. The foundation professionally manages nearly 900 charitable funds and has awarded over $1.1 billion in grants since its founding in