The groundbreaking $100 million Unite Forever Campaign is racing toward the finish line three years ahead of schedule. The first endowment campaign in United Way of Metropolitan Dallas’ history, Unite Forever boasts generous support from legendary Dallas philanthropists whose early gifts fueled the Campaign and set it on an unparalleled path to success.
The endowment already provides more than $2.5 million each year to strategic community initiatives and is poised to one day yield more than $5 million in annual earnings. When that happens, the Foundation’s endowment will become the largest annual funding source for continuing United Way’s work, forever.
“In our quest to ensure that everyone in North Texas has access and opportunity to realize their full potential both now and in the future, we have been able to mobilize the best and brightest people, organizations, funders, philanthropists and community partners to achieve what many thought was impossible,” said Jennifer Sampson, McDermott-Templeton President and CEO. “And we are inspiring other people to come along this journey with us to become difference-makers for our community.”
You will not want to miss the incredible evening of celebration for May 12 at The Star in Frisco.
“It was not long ago when the idea of having a secure income stream in perpetuity was just a dream – when growing the endowment wasn’t even yet an idea on a page,” said Sampson. “And the fact that we were first able to set this enormous goal and now see that we can achieve it three years ahead of schedule is beyond extraordinary. The amazing people who love United Way and wholeheartedly believe in what we do — and in the impact we have — are the ones who have made it possible. This endowment enables their impact to continue and grow.”
Just seven years ago we gathered on the occasion of United Way’s 90th anniversary to share the vision and launch this groundbreaking campaign. Visionary leaders, several of whom have since passed away, made significant, pace-setting investments that have inspired more than 2,000 others to join them during these last seven years. Ruth Sharp Altshuler, Margaret McDermott, Caroline Rose Hunt, Ross Perot, Sr., and Mary Anne Sammons Cree, each demonstrated unwavering belief in the importance of helping to ensure a permanent financial base for United Way that can contribute annually and reliably to community needs as they emerge or change. Their collective, early giving to the Campaign exceeded $20 million and established the initial momentum.
“If you believe in the United Way business model for harnessing the collective capacity of the community to give, then why not consider a gift that enables that good work to continue in perpetuity?” said Board member and community volunteer Ed Galante, whose early vision sparked a passion that led him to take on the role of Campaign co-chair. He shared with Sampson and the United Way staff a strategic reflection based on the words of Thomas Edison ”Vision without execution is hallucination.” These words inspired the team.
“Ed has been the chief architect and designer leading us through our very first endowment Campaign,” said Sampson. “His steady guidance and deliberate strategy have been our north star for the last seven years.”
It could not have happened without the generosity of our donors. Our appreciation for their investments cannot be overstated.
“We all got focused and got to work,” said Galante. “And I am very proud of all that our Campaign cabinet and our colleagues at United Way have done,” he recounted. “But it could not have happened without the generosity of our donors. Our appreciation for their investments cannot be overstated.”
Legendary civic leader, philanthropist, and United Way devotee Ruth Sharp Altshuler originally co-chaired the Unite Forever Campaign with Galante, prior to her passing in 2017. Mrs. Altshuler, who founded the United Way Tocqueville Society in 1986, which was later renamed the Ruth Sharp Altshuler Tocqueville Society in her honor, was also the first woman to chair the United Way annual campaign. In 1989, she was the recipient of United Way’s J. Erik Jonsson Award and was one of the organization’s 90th Anniversary Honorary Chairs. She is an honorary lifetime board member.
“Just as significantly as her leadership, Ruth was our friend,” said Sampson. “When any of us from the United Way staff showed up at her house to talk over Campaign business, we talked first of the news, what was happening with our families and hers, over lemonade and cookies. And each time we left, it was her breezy, ‘now call me!’ that always lingered in our hearts.
“And we continue to instinctively reach for the phone to call her with news of each generous Campaign gift today – even after all these years,” Sampson continued. “Her imprint on this Campaign – and on United Way – will be forever. And we are forever grateful.”
It was beloved philanthropist and community volunteer Mary Templeton, wife of Texas Instruments Chairman, President and CEO, Rich Templeton, who stepped into the co-chair role after the loss of her dear friend.
“As I considered the role and the enormity of the task, I thought to myself, what would Ruth say?” Mrs. Templeton reflected. “She would say yes, and so I said yes.”
“I knew I had big shoes to fill,” she continued. “She wore Louboutin’s, and I usually wear Uggs; but our love for United Way and the community are enduring, shared passions. I am honored to serve in the co-chair role to finish the campaign that Ruth helped launch.”
“Only Mary could step in for Ruth Altshuler, her dear friend,” said Sampson. “And when Mary takes on a project – she is all in, leaving no stone unturned. She leads with an authentic authority and credibility that, coupled with her wit, brings out the best in each of us.”
Under the incredible leadership of Templeton and Galante, more than $92 million in endowment funding has been raised to date. Gift conversations are still underway as the momentum continues, and some supporters are increasing their original gifts.
There is still time for you to leave a legacy as well. To create long-term impact in our community.
We look forward to celebrating your extraordinary generosity and the leadership of our Unite Forever Campaign committee on May 12. And in the weeks ahead, we will pay tribute to those who first envisioned the need to secure United Way of Metropolitan Dallas’ future through endowment and whose bold vision continues to inspire bold giving.