Celebrating a legacy gift of $10 million to the Unite Forever campaign by her family, United Way of Metropolitan Dallas will name its building in honor of longtime supporter and benefactor Mary Anne Sammons Cree. Inspired by Cree’s support of United Way and in honor of her 90th birthday celebrated on January 8, the donation is the largest contribution to the Unite Forever campaign to date. With this gift, the endowment campaign has now raised $72 million in commitments towards its $100 million goal.
The family of Mary Anne Sammons Cree has a longstanding history of supporting United Way. Her mother, Rosine Smith Sammons, provided the first pro-bono public relations services for the Community Chest before it became United Way, while generously participating in the storied Women’s Division as early as the 1950s. Rosine wrote a weekly column known as “The Chester” that highlighted the work of community volunteers and local philanthropists. She also went door-to-door soliciting funds for the Community Chest, and Mary Anne often accompanied her. Cree contributed $1 million to the Unite Forever campaign in October 2018 to honor her mother. She currently serves on the board of directors for the United Way Foundation of Metropolitan Dallas. Through the decades, the family’s support of United Way has provided countless resources to the community, preparing students for success, equipping local families for financial stability, and ensuring more neighbors are living healthy lives.
“Mary Anne Sammons Cree has enriched the lives of generations of North Texans through her generous support of United Way of Metropolitan Dallas,” said Jennifer Sampson, McDermott-Templeton President and CEO, United Way of Metropolitan Dallas. “Her ongoing devotion to our community has supplied a radiant and powerful example for others to follow. This transformational gift in her honor will continue the legacy of putting opportunity in the hands of all North Texans in perpetuity.”
United Way of Metropolitan Dallas and the United Way Foundation of Metropolitan Dallas will celebrate this historic gift and its boost to the growing Unite Forever campaign at a luncheon on Friday, January 10, at its 1800 North Lamar Street headquarters in Dallas. The family of Mary Anne Sammons Cree will formally announce the testamentary gift and reveal the building’s new plaque with her name to supporters in attendance.
“Having my name on this building will forever associate me with an organization that has always meant so much to me and my family,” said Mary Anne Sammons Cree. “Something special happens when we as a community come together, united in a common goal. I’m incredibly honored by my family’s donation to a cause strengthening education, income and health, creating a brighter future for Dallas.”
This gift to honor their mother’s legacy by Mary Anne Cree’s family comes during United Way’s annual campaign led by Karen and Tom Falk, who have a particular interest in supporting mothers and empowering women to lead the next generation. Tom Falk serves as Executive Chairman of Kimberly-Clark Corporation.
Established in 1999, the United Way Foundation of Metropolitan Dallas was created to provide a permanent source of funding to support programs of United Way of Metropolitan Dallas. Complementing annual campaign efforts, the Foundation offers donors’ support to endure the test of time, providing solutions for the community’s most vulnerable citizens and families for generations to come.
Gifts managed through the Foundation and its permanent fund are invested in perpetuity, with earnings and interest distributed annually. Historically, the primary recipient of the Foundation’s distributions has been United Way’s competitive grants process, which awards multi-year funding to the most effective community-based programs operating in three impact areas: education, financial stability, and health.
To secure this future, United Way and the Foundation launched the $100 million Unite Forever campaign in 2015, led by co-chairs Ed Galante, Roger Staubach and the late Ruth Sharp Altshuler. Its goal is to establish permanent funding for United Way that will provide a more predictable, sustainable, and stable future to withstand economic fluctuations that can impact funding cycles, grow ability to invest in strategic partnerships outside of the standard grants process, and offer the flexibility needed to fund new and emerging solutions for the unseen needs of the future.
“The Unite Forever endowment campaign is an ideal example of our organization’s successful focus on revenue diversification, beyond the traditional annual workplace campaign,” said Sampson. “United Way Dallas leads the worldwide network of United Ways in endowment giving.”
In addition to the family of Mary Anne Sammons Cree, other prominent Unite Forever campaign donors include Capa and Troy Aikman, Diane and Hal Brierley, Karen and Tom Falk, Lyda Hill, Sally and Forrest Hoglund, The Family of Caroline Rose Hunt, The Eugene McDermott Foundation, Margot and the late Ross Perot, and Mary and Rich Templeton.
About United Way of Metropolitan Dallas: United Way of Metropolitan Dallas is a community-based social change organization that puts opportunity in the hands of all North Texans. Working with our determined supporters, we lead the charge to improve education, income and health—the building blocks of opportunity. We invite all change-seekers in our community to Live United to achieve lasting results right here at home. To give, advocate or volunteer, visit www.UnitedWayDallas.org.