Skip to main content

Q&A with March Tocqueville Fellow Graduate Grace Cook

Learn how Grace Cook developed a passion for philanthropy and found her fit as a 2021 March Tocqueville Fellow.

June 3, 2024

My journey toward giving back to the community started at birth, being deeply influenced by my family’s legacy of philanthropy.

At United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, developing a pipeline of change-makers to advance our work to achieve lasting results in our community is at the heart of the March Tocqueville Fellows initiative made possible by Carol and Kevin March. 

The multi-year fellowship provides young professionals in North Texas with a unique opportunity to engage in a multi-year learning, giving and volunteering experience with the people and partners of the Live United movement. 

To give you an inside look into the fellowship, we caught up with March Fellows graduate Grace Cook to recap her time in the program: 

Describe what keeps you busy during the day/what you do for a living. 

Grace Cook: In terms of my professional involvement, I serve as a board member for many organizations across Dallas and North Texas. They include Planned Parenthood, The Lamplighter School, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Thomsen Foundation, and much of the arts located on Flora Street, including the Dallas Museum of Art, the Nasher, Symphony, AT&T Performing Arts Center and TACA. Additionally, I serve as an advisory board member at the Trinity River Audubon Center. 

Juggling these roles keeps me on my toes, bouncing between meetings and events. But when I need a breather, I head straight to my ranch just south of Forestburg, Texas. There, surrounded by nature and my furry friends—dogs, chickens, and cows—I soak up the tranquility away from the city buzz. It’s my little slice of heaven, where I can reconnect with the land and admire the wildlife, from annoying feral hogs to elegant deer and the occasional bobcat. 

Tell us about your decision to become a March Tocqueville Fellow through your family foundation. 

Grace Cook: When considering opportunities for community engagement, the invitation to become a March Tocqueville Fellow was one I couldn’t refuse, especially with Jennifer Sampson at the helm. But beyond that initial pull, I wanted to dig deeper into what Dallas truly needs. I thought that if I could really get into the nitty-gritty of the issues concerning education, income, and health I could figure out where I could do the most good. 

My grandma’s always been my guiding light, showing me what it means to be caring and giving. Her values have strongly influenced mine. I want to be just like her—helping out and making a real difference in people’s lives. Although I’m still learning the ropes, being part of the March Tocqueville Fellowship has been like a crash course in making an impact. 

What is your biggest highlight from the program? 

Grace Cook: What stood out most to me during my time with the March Tocqueville Fellows was a transformative experience at Bonton Farms. Amidst the festivities like the renowned Templeton Christmas party and the epic United Way 100 kick-off party at Reunion Tower, this visit struck a chord with me. As we are brunched on food from the lush garden that surrounded us, I was deeply moved by the community’s dedication to addressing food insecurity in one of South Dallas’ food deserts. 

The highlight for me (besides hanging out with the goats) was hearing about Bonton Farms’ Tiny House Village project. They provide housing for people facing tough times, and it hit me how dire affordable housing is in Dallas. Seeing the Bonton community rally like that was a real eye-opener. It just goes to show how powerful grassroots efforts can be in tackling major issues. 

Outside of being a fellow, how are you involved with UWMD? 

Grace Cook: Apart from being involved with The March Tocqueville Society, I’ve had a blast mentoring with Entryway Dallas in United Way’s Social Innovation Accelerator program. Witnessing the growth of new nonprofit groups has been truly inspiring. Every step of the way, from the initial stages to The Pitch, where the top 5 received $25,000, and more, has been incredibly fulfilling. 

Watching the dedication and hard work of these individuals as they make a real, quantitative impact in our community is truly motivating. Providing guidance and support along the journey has been an exciting and challenging experience. United Way’s Social Innovation Accelerator program emphasizes teamwork and creative thinking, and I’ve cherished being part of it. 

Tell us about the moment in life that fueled your desire to give back.  

Grace Cook: My journey toward giving back to the community started at birth, being deeply influenced by my family’s legacy of philanthropy. Growing up in a household where generosity was a fundamental value, I was inspired by the examples set by my grandma and mom. 

My grandma played a pivotal role in the development of significant institutions such as the Dallas Museum of Art and UT Southwestern Medical Center. Her background as a journalist for The Dallas Morning News equipped her with a keen ability to ask insightful questions, enabling her to get to the heart of an organization in minutes. 

My mom has continued to support Dallas, keeping the family giving spirit alive. Currently, she’s very focused on the Dallas Zoo and the DMA. Ever since I was born, I’ve seen how much she cares about making a difference in people’s lives, and I strive to do the same. 


Create Meaningful Change with Us

Volunteer with us and help shape the future of our community. We make it easy to find virtual and in-person volunteer opportunities to improve education, income and health in North Texas.