Unite Forever Legacy Leaders | United Way of Metropolitan Dallas

These are historic moments for United Way of Metropolitan Dallas. The outpouring of generosity and support for our Unite Forever Campaign has amplified our demonstrated commitment to Dallas’ future and to ensuring that North Texas is the best place for our children and their children to live and raise families.

Growing our endowment by 500% in 10 years was thought by many to be impossible. But for others, it became a rallying cry and passionate motivation – and we will now surpass our goal a full three years ahead of schedule.

Leadership gifts from such prominent local philanthropists as Diane and Hal Brierley, Lyda Hill, and the family of Caroline Rose Hunt during the Campaign’s early years are but a few, representative examples of how the collective passion for endowing the United Way Foundation of Metropolitan Dallas took root and flourished.

Caroline Rose Hunt event

Nineteen grandchildren of Caroline Rose Hunt – daughter of the legendary wildcatter H.L. Hunt – made a lead $5 million gift in honor of their grandmother’s longstanding support of the United Way and its Foundation. It was the largest commitment to the Campaign at the time.

“Our grandmother has been an extraordinary example of volunteerism and hard work,” Haven Sands Heinrichs, trustee of The Rosewood Foundation, said. “To show our family’s love and appreciation for all she has done for United Way and the community, we are making this legacy gift in her honor, and we are delighted to carry the torch, and hope to inspire the next generation in our community to get involved.”

Caroline Rose Hunt established The Rosewood Corporation and was the guiding force behind some of Dallas’ most luxurious landmark hotels like The Mansion on Turtle Creek and The Crescent. Mrs. Hunt was involved with United Way for more than five decades. As a young UT graduate, she went door to door soliciting donations to the Dallas Community Chest before it became United Way in 1999. Prior to her passing in 2018, she served in myriad leadership roles with the United Way, including co-chair of the Alexis de Tocqueville Giving Society in 1990 and 1994, honorary vice-chair of the United Way Foundation and honorary chair of the Unite Forever Campaign.

In recognition of her leadership, she was presented the United Way’s most prestigious honor, the J. Erik Jonsson Award in 2003.

Today, Mrs. Hunt’s legacy continues as granddaughter Julia Sands Cunningham serves as a Unite Forever Vice Chair and granddaughter Lauren Rose Sands is a member of the March Tocqueville Fellows. The Rosewood Foundation Director, Lynn Fisher, also serves in a number of volunteer roles for United Way as a Unite Forever Vice Chair and on the Women of Tocqueville Fund Advisory Council.

“We are delighted to carry the torch, and hope to inspire the next generation in our community to get involved.”

Haven Sands Heinrichs
Trustee, The Rosewood Foundation

Dallas philanthropic leaders Diane and Hal Brierley were also early committers. Their $5 million gift, the largest-ever donation to a social service organization, included $2 million to enow their annual $100,000 Tocqueville Society gift and a $3 million bequest earmarked in part to support United Way’s Social Innovation Fund. Additionally, the Brierleys made a $500 thousand Campaign capstone gift to provide matching funds for United Way Life insurance policies – giving other United Way supporters an opportunity to double their giving.

“United Way of Metropolitan Dallas has developed strategies and technologies that will be models for United Ways around the country as the seek to identify solutions, engage volunteers, and re-shape the future,” said Hal Brierley. “Diane and I are proud to be part of the United Forever Campaign, and to take this step to perpetuate our support of United Way and its mission to fortify the fabric of this great city for all who live and work here.”

While perhaps best known for their love of the arts and animals, the Brierleys not only support United Way with resources, but also with their time. They have been United Way Tocqueville Society members for more than two decades and members of the Tocqueville La Societe Nationale, recognizing those who give $100,000 or more to United way, and longtime members of the $25,000 Circle of the Ruth Sharp Altshuler Tocqueville Society, chaired by Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach. Hal has served on the Board of Directors of the United Way Foundation since 2009 and serves as Vice-Chair of the Unite Forever Campaign Committee – leading the Endow Tocqueville strategy. Diane and Hal served as Dinner Co-Chairs for United Way’s 90th Anniversary Gala in 2015.”

“The Brierleys have been a driving force behind many important endeavors in the city of Dallas,” said Sampson. “Their longtime involvement and service at United Way provide strategic direction, sage wisdom, and vast resources. We ae grateful to them for this generous gift, which is sure to unite our community in creating secure futures for generations to come.”

The Brierleys said they hoped their gift would serve as a catalyst to encourage others to perpetuate their annual support of United Way. And it certainly did.

Dallas philanthropist and entrepreneur Lyda Hill contributed $2.5 million to help United Way maintain its long-term financial strength for responding to the evolving demands of the North Texas community – and to demonstrate her commitment to continuing her family’s legacy of support.

“Before Margaret Hunt Hill was a bridge, she was a supporter of the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas,” said Miss Hill, Chairman, Lyda Hill Philanthropies and LH Capital. “I began my civic career in Dallas as a community volunteer – following the example of my mother, an early United Way volunteer – and I am now delighted to help the United Way accelerate its effectiveness as a vital agent for change in the Metroplex.”

“Lyda Hill is the creative – and financial – force behind many daring ideas to build a better Dallas and a better world,” said Sampson. “Her questions and her leadership push us to seek big change.”

Miss Hill’s leadership at United Way is decades-long, having chaired two United Way agencies and served on the budget review panel for Health and Rehabilitation. In a precursor of her interest in maximizing the impact of nonprofits, she led the “E3” (Efficient Evaluation of Effectiveness) team that studied and revolutionized the United Way Dallas grants process. The recommendation led to the current multi-year funding process that allows United Way to provide stronger support to its agencies.

She has also served on the United Way Foundation of Metropolitan Dallas Board and has been of a member of the Ruth Sharp Altshuler Tocqueville Society in Dallas for more than 20 years as well as a Tocqueville member in both Ft. Worth and Colorado Springs. In conjunction with her Tocqueville Society involvement, she is also a Unite Forever campaign Honorary Co-Chair.

During the last seven years, extraordinary commitments have continued. The family of Mary Anne Sammons Cree, for example, made a $10 million gift to the Unite Forever Campaign in honor of her 90th birthday – adding to the original $1 million gift that Cree herself made in honor of her mother, Rosine Smith Sammons. The Lamar Street headquarters now bears Mary Anne Sammons Cree’s name.

Cree, daughter of the late, legendary self-made billionaire Charles Sammons, passed away in 2021. She served on the United Way Foundation Board of Directors and as an Honorary Campaign Co-Chair. She was an avid supporter of United Way for many years.

“Mary Anne Sammons Cree has enriched the lives of generations of North Texans through her generous giving,” said Sampson. “Her ongoing devotion to our community has supplied a radiant and powerful example for other to follow. This transformational gift in her honor will continue the legacy of putting opportunity in the hands of all North Texans in perpetuity.”

Additional seven-figure contributions from others, such as Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman to create United Way’s first donor-advised fund and North Texas founding families like Sally and Forrest Hoglund and Margot and Ross Perot, Sr., have continued to perpetuate inspiration and decisive commitments – including second, capstone gifts that are pushing the Campaign toward the finish line.

“Margot Perot was one of the first to courier a $1 million check for the Campaign to Ruth Altshuler – along with chicken soup as Ruth was under the weather just before our 90th Anniversary,” remembered Sampson. “The Perot family is extremely important to the United Way family. Margot has served as a Tocqueville Chair and as a founding member of the Tocqueville Society since 1986, and she and her late husband, Ross Sr., are also honorary Campaign Co-chairs. Her family continues the tradition of giving as daughter, Carolyn Perot Rathjen, serves on our United Way Foundation Board.”

Moreover, Margot Perot just contributed an additional $2 million capstone gift to help close the Campaign.

“I believe our message is resonating . . . 100 million times,” said United Way Foundation Board member Ed Galante, who agreed to serve as Unite Forever Campaign Co-Chair after crafting the vision and building the strategy for growing the Foundation’s endowment. Cathie and Ed Galante and the Galante family made an initial $1 million Campaign commitment and then invited the Brierleys to join them in making an additional $500 thousand capstone gift to provide matching funds for the United Way Life insurance policies – setting a remarkable example of leadership giving for others to follow. The family’s cumulative Unite Forever contributions exceed $1.6 million.

“Our goal was to raise $100 million by our 100th anniversary in 2025, and now it is becoming reality. Our gratitude runs deep – as does our vision for changing lives as we march toward our second century of service.”

There is still time for you to be a change maker, too. To ensure resources are readily available for the next generation to live and thrive, despite a challenging and uncertain future.

We look forward to celebrating your remarkable generosity on May 12.

Missed the other stories in our special endowment series?

The Unite Forever Campaign  Origin & Leadership