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Author: Gilbert Venegas

New Southern Dallas Thrives Fund to Deepen Our Impact in the Southern Sector

At United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, we celebrated Giving Tuesday—an annual day of generosity that is recognized around the globe—by announcing some historic news: the launch of a new Southern Dallas Thrives Fund.  

Supported in part by current and retired PepsiCo Foods North America employees, the fund is designed to address the short- and long-term challenges of our neighbors in the southern sector. Together with PepsiCo, we’ve set an ambitious goal of raising $20 million for the fund—and progress toward that goal is already well underway.

Uniting Around a Common Goal 

The Southern Dallas Thrives Fund may be new, but it’s already poised to make a significant impact. We’ve secured $8 million in commitments toward the $20 million goal—a milestone that PepsiCo hopes to reach by fall 2025, in time for our Centennial anniversary. We chose Giving Tuesday as the day to announce the fund in celebration of the generosity of its corporate, civic and philanthropic partners.  

“These financial commitments are transformational for the Southern Dallas community, and for current and future programs that work to improve education, income and health—the building blocks of opportunity—for residents of this traditionally under-resourced area of our city,” said Jennifer Sampson, McDermott-Templeton President and CEO of United Way of Metropolitan Dallas. “As we build the Southern Dallas Thrives endowment fund, we hope this initial generosity serves as a catalyst to inspire others in the community to join us in providing the opportunity and access to thrive for people across North Texas.”

Video Source: Fox 4

Created in partnership with the PepsiCo Foundation and Frito-Lay North America, Southern Dallas Thrives provides vital investment opportunities to the Southern Dallas community to create lasting change and measurable impact. The four key goals of Southern Dallas Thrives are to:  

  • Improve the quality of preschool education 
  • Provide families with nutritious meals 
  • Prepare high school students for college or career 
  • Provide supportive services and workforce development training in high-growth industries to women 

“More than a program, Southern Dallas Thrives is a model partnership and collaboration that advances economic mobility for some of Dallas’ most vulnerable and marginalized residents,” said Steven Williams, chief executive officer of PepsiCo Foods North America and United Way of Metropolitan Dallas Board chair. “We know that in order to create a community where everyone has the opportunity to thrive, we also have to create the access to thrive, and that’s exactly why Southern Dallas Thrives is so successful and why we endorse and support it wholeheartedly.” 

Other organizations that have already made generous investments in Southern Dallas Thrives include Celanese, Vistra, AT&T, Comerica, Trinity Industries, Oncor, Hilti and Bank of Texas.  

Partners in Change 
Since partnering with the PepsiCo Foundation and Frito-Lay North America to launch Southern Dallas Thrives in 2018, PepsiCo has positioned itself as a leading agent of change in our region, always willing to put boots on the ground at events like its annual Day of Caring and make direct investments during its alumni dinners to improve education, income and health outcomes in the Southern Dallas community.  

In the last year alone, Southern Dallas Thrives programs impacted thousands of our neighbors in Southern Dallas, delivering more than 137,000 meals to families and community organizations, providing over 86,000 hours of childcare service through our childcare assistance initiative, and improving access to digital technology for 4,500 students, teachers and neighbors through our community hubs. 

We are so grateful to PepsiCo’s current and former employees who have committed to supporting the Southern Dallas Thrives Fund—and to those who will pledge their support between now and our Centennial. And thank you to Steven Williams for leading the way on this life-changing fundraising effort, which will benefit generations of residents in Southern Dallas.


In The News

  • The Dallas Morning News

    PepsiCo plans to raise $20 million for Southern Dallas Thrives Fund by 2025

    Read more


    United Way of Metro Dallas announces major fund benefitting Southern Dallas

    Read more

  • WFAA

    Midday News

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The Perot Foundation Makes a Historic Investment in the Future of North Texas


United Way of Metropolitan Dallas has received a historic $15 million donation from The Perot Foundation, the largest single investment in the 98-year history of our organization. The donation will enable United Way to accelerate our work with community impact partners to drive measurable progress toward the Aspire United 2030 community goals focused on improving access to education, income and health—the building blocks of opportunity.

“This extraordinary investment will be catalytic for our community, not only for the size of the commitment but equally important for how United Way is structured to leverage it,” said Jennifer Sampson, McDermott-Templeton president and CEO of United Way of Metropolitan Dallas. “With carefully researched goals for our region and strategic partners who are deeply invested in achieving them, we are uniquely positioned to create transformative change across our North Texas communities.”

The Perot gift will accelerate impact with 144 community impact partners, which range from long-standing proven impact providers to grassroots organizations bringing bold new strategies to our community’s most pervasive challenges in education, income and health. We selected these community impact partners because of their track record of creating measurable impact toward our Aspire United 2030 community goals.

Achieving these community goals for North Texas will mean more students graduating high school on a path to success in college or career, more families achieving financial stability and more North Texans having the access and resources to live longer, healthier lives.

“United, we can do more,” Sampson said. “With this investment we are harnessing the power of many to directly address systemic barriers and advance racial equity that will change lives for generations to come.”

The United Way model of working together around a shared set of community goals is what fuels the progress toward a North Texas where everyone has the access and opportunity to thrive. Driving systemic, generational change requires a collective approach—because these challenges related to education, income and health are too big for any single organization to solve. But united, we can create lasting, systems-level change that will positively impact individuals and families across North Texas. This investment by The Perot Foundation will add even more energy to our community-wide Live United movement, accelerating progress toward our goals for years to come.

As Carolyn Perot Rathjen, vice president and executive director of The Perot Foundation, explained, the Perot family has supported the mission of United Way for more than 50 years. “This investment is a testament to the meaningful impact United Way and its trusted network of community impact partners create,” she said. “We hope this gift inspires others to join us in advancing United Way’s Aspire United 2030 goals on Giving Tuesday and every day.”