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2008 Annual Summary
December 1, 2009

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Included in the pages that follow are highlights of the activities of The Rees-Jones Foundation during the 2008 calendar year. Funding has been provided to approximately 140 organizations operating primarily in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Over $45 million in new grants were approved, and of that, more than $17.5 million was paid during the year with the balance being distributable over a period of years. During 2008, the Foundation also paid approximately $4 million from prior year grant commitments, bringing the total grant payments in 2008 to $21.5 million.

As you review the work that was done, the temptation will be to focus primarily on the large grants, the most notable of which is of course the Foundation’s multi-year commitment to Parkland Hospital and the construction of its new facility which is expected to commence in 2010. Certainly, the new Parkland will benefit many thousands of people in our community who would otherwise have no or very limited access to high quality medical services. But the mission and vision of the Foundation is captured not by any one or two large grants. Taking all of the grants as a whole, hopefully you will see a consistent commitment on the part of the Foundation to reach the people of North Texas who, for various reasons, do not have access to the opportunities or services that so many of us take for granted. Affordable housing, quality education, basic medical care and mental health services, secure food sources, jobs and a safe and secure family environment are important to the overall well-being of our citizens. Out of its mission of Christian service, the Foundation seeks to help these people, especially the children and others who find themselves in adverse circumstances that are beyond their control. We can do so only by supporting the organizations on the front lines. Often they are small but their programs are no less important, so we salute all of those who have dedicated their lives to helping others.

There are many ways to view our activities. The material which follows divides the grants among six general categories which reveal a lot about our activity. As you look at these, I would invite you also to consider how they address the Foundation’s desire to advance three broad objectives; (i) addressing basic human needs such as food, shelter, medical attention and safety; (ii) offering means to achieve improvements in life circumstances, notably through quality educational opportunities; and (iii) providing life enrichment activities to our economically disadvantaged citizens.

It is important to the Foundation that certain basic needs of our citizens be satisfied. Food insecurity may create more stress than any other single factor, so the Foundation has continued to support food banks, pantries, schools and other institutions that offer nutritious meals to those who might otherwise be hungry. A safe and secure place to live is another basic need that too often is unavailable, especially in deteriorating economic circumstances, so the Foundation has supported projects providing affordable housing and preventing homelessness. And nothing can derail the lives of families more than unexpected medical conditions, chronic illness or mental or physical disability, or the inability to access the healthcare system in our community, so the Foundation has supported organizations that offer free or reduced-cost quality healthcare services. Certainly, these basic human needs are addressed in the grants to Parkland, the West Dallas Housing Collaborative and the Tarrant Area Food Bank, but they are also addressed through grants to Captain Hope’s Kids, the Family Place and Heroes for Children, among others. The care of our most vulnerable citizens, the abandoned and abused children in our society, deserves our significant support through organizations such as the Child Abuse Prevention Center and the Institute of Child Development at TCU. And those who suffer from mental illness and disability, often the most neglected citizens in our community, need the ongoing work of organizations such as The Well, LifeNet and the Child & Family Guidance Center.

As important as it is to assure people that their basic needs are met, it is also important to offer ways for people to improve their life circumstances through education and employment. Many of the grants made by the Foundation are directed to organizations seeking to improve the educational experience and opportunities of the children in our community. Often, the school day alone is not sufficient, so after-school and out-of-school-time programs are essential to enable children who need extra time, attention, encouragement and mentoring to progress with their class work. Our desire to make available a quality educational experience to our children is highlighted by the grant to the highly acclaimed Teach for America program, but no less important are the grants to Educational First Steps, Education is Freedom, Communities in Schools, Bea’s Kids, and Circle of Support, among many others. Children need parental involvement so the Foundation also has assisted organizations such as East Dallas Community School and Dallas Concilio that offer parenting training and encouragement to parents to assist in the process of educating their children. All of these are working to keep kids in school and to enable them to succeed in a world in which education is increasingly important.

Children and families need basic goods and services and certainly quality education, but a Foundation objective is also to support programs that provide recreation and life enrichment activities. These activities offer not only the enjoyment that comes from new experiences; they also offer a chance to develop skills, understand nature and develop character. The Foundation values these experiences and seeks to expand the opportunities for children to participate in them, especially those children who face economic limitations or physical disabilities that would otherwise prevent their participation. Examples of the Foundation’s commitment to these kinds of activities are its grants to camping organizations, including those that offer character development and spiritual growth components in addition to recreation, such as Kids Across America, and those that offer parents and children respite from the constant care needed for children with illness and disabilities, such as Camp Sweeney (Southwestern Diabetic Foundation) and Camp Summit. These camps provide week long opportunities for recreation and growth. Opportunities for daily programming are no less important and the Foundation has continued its support for organizations that encourage children and promote positive character development throughout the year such as Young Life, Voice of Hope, Youth Believing in Change, the various Boys and Girls Clubs in the Metroplex, The First Tee of Dallas, Junior Players, the Children’s Chorus of Greater Dallas and the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas. These and many others are developing the skills, character and spiritual growth of the children in our community.

A word about the economy. The year 2008 ended in economic uncertainty for the country in general and for non-profit organizations in particular as they all faced the certainty of declining contributions at the end of 2008 and into 2009. The Foundation was not immune to the declining markets and our capacity to support worthy organizations has been eroded. To respond to increasing needs, we have dedicated more of our resources to helping those agencies working in our core areas function in the current economic climate. Almost all are responding responsibly to the reality of greater need and reduced resources. The next year will be much the same, but to the extent we are able, we will stand with them in their work and look forward to better economic times while at the same time addressing effectively the needs of our community.

Thornton Hardie, President



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