Communities Foundation of Texas funds UNT at Dallas master plan

Thursday, October 30, 2003

DALLAS (UNT), Texas — Communities Foundation of Texas (CFT) has announced that it will fund a planning grant for $500,000, payable over three years, asa lead gift to fund a master plan for the new permanent campus for the Universityof North Texas (UNT) at Dallas. Communities Foundation of Texas is proud to helpset a high standard for developing the first four-year public university in thecity of Dallas. The grant was announced during a public celebration at the futureUNT at Dallas campus property (located at Camp Wisdom and Houston School roadsin Oak Cliff) on October 30, at 10 a.m.

Along with a host of area legislators, honored guests at the celebration included Texas House Speaker Tom Craddick, Sen. Steve Ogden of College Station, Sen. Florence Shapiro of Plano, Sen. Royce West of Dallas, Rep. Jim Pitts of Waxahachie, Dallas Mayor Laura Miller and members of the Dallas City Council.

CFT salutes the donors who created the named funds at Communities Foundation that made this planning grant possible. This grant involved ten funds at CFT including Basil Georges, Ledbetter/Styron, Pearl C. Anderson, Jesse N. Bigbee, Roberta Coke Camp, Frank and Carolyn Ryburn, Sammons Fund, Travis T. Wallace, Lone Star Endowment, and the Fund for Education. These donors cared deeply about the needs of their community and in particular, education. Their philanthropic intentions live on in grants such as this one.

"The Trustees of the Communities Foundation of Texas have stepped forward to generously fund the initial campus master plan for UNT at Dallas. A university can be an exceptional place, distinctive in its neighborhood and city, but only with careful planning. This timely CFT gift will help UNT establish the character and image of Dallas' newest university," says UNT System Chancellor Lee Jackson. "Enrollment has grown steadily for the past four years at our temporary location in Dallas, and we want to be ready now with a very high quality design for the permanent campus that will attract and serve students well, while creating a major regional asset."

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to impact the lives of generations of community residents who will benefit from the creation of a public university that will serve as a regional center for intellectual activity and economic development. CFT is pleased to lead in the creation of this new university that, as UNT officials project, will feature an eventual enrollment of 16,000 students, 3,850 faculty and staff, and a total economic impact of $237 million by 2030," says Jeverley Cook, Vice Presidents of Grants at CFT.

In order to accomplish this mission, a strong planning process is being put in place. The planning process will evaluate campus design in order to build a unique identity and have a positive impact on the surrounding community.

The first building at UNT at Dallas has been approved for funding and will be designed in 2004 after completion of the master site plan. Construction will begin in late 2004, as soon as master planning for needed utility extensions, transportation and other services can be completed. Teaching in Dallas willmove to the new campus in the fall of 2007.

The 264-acre campus is located in Oak Cliff in the southern sector of the City of Dallas and Dallas County. The new campus is projected to increase educational access to more than 910,000 citizens in southern Dallas and Ellis counties and to serve students who transfer to UNT at Dallas from Dallas, Tarrant and Navarro county community colleges.

Ed Fjordbak, president of Communities Foundation of Texas says, "There is no better way to achieve the goals of philanthropists than to encourage a more thorough education of our citizens. All the things we do to make life better are less effective if our citizens are not able to understand, appreciate, or take advantage of those enhancements because they have an inadequate education. To provide for tomorrow’s families, a breadwinner must have the tools that only an education can give. We must take every reasonable step to provide easy access to higher education. That will enable a working parent or aspiring young person to conveniently get to class while caring for family and often working one or more jobs. A four-year degree is necessary to have an impact on all areas of the community. This is money well spent."

This is a particularly important year for the Foundation. CFT is celebrating fifty years of giving since its founding in 1953. During that time, CFT has fulfilled the unique philanthropic visions of donors, both living and departed, to meet the educational, medical, civic, artistic, cultural, social service, and other needs of their community. Acting on behalf of these donors, the Foundation has distributed more than half a billion dollars in charitable grants since it was founded.

UNT News Service Phone Number: (940) 565-2108