Interesting article in yesterday's Dallas Morning News. It's about the transformational impact Dallas' wealthy philanthropic community...
"[Dallas'] philanthropists may be the most civic-minded in the country. Over several decades, Dallas’ superrich have transformed their city, making it the “American capital of philanthropy,” according to Richard Fisher, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and himself a member of the giving class."
"“Dallas has always been a city driven by private philanthropy, with active civic involvement going hand in glove with the accumulation of wealth,” Fisher says. “Now, with the enormous riches that have come with Texas’ economic boom — not just in oil and gas but in financial and business services, technology, health care and other areas — the levels of philanthropic giving have skyrocketed to levels that would be unimaginable most anywhere else in America.”"
"The Dallas donors have funded everything from world-class cultural institutions to parks and even bridges, showing the power of American philanthropy to contribute to urban flourishing..."
"The city’s wealthiest philanthropists are also sometimes called the new Medicis, and there’s something to the comparison: Not a single major cultural institution in Dallas would exist in its current form — or exist at all, in many cases — without their help, whether it’s the Dallas Museum of Art, the Nasher Sculpture Center, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science or the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. The George W. Bush Presidential Library arose on property donated by Ray Hunt, head of a global petroleum company."
"The philanthropists’ generosity extends beyond cultural organizations. The superb new bridge that spans the Trinity River, designed by famed Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, was partly funded by Margaret McDermott, the vivacious centenarian widow of the founder of Texas Instruments and the “queen mother” of Texan philanthropy. (McDermott attributes her longevity to the vodka martinis she drinks with her meals.)"
"Yet Hunt rejects the Medici comparison. “We are new rich — we’ve made our own fortunes, starting from nothing, in one generation,” he says. This swiftly made wealth, he thinks, motivates generosity: “We know we have been lucky.”" (Full article can be read here).
To be sure, Dallas looks different - especially downtown. It looks positively wealthy!
But Sharon Grigsby, Deputy Editorial Page Editor, raises a question I've been chewing on in a different way: why doesn't this largess extend to some of Dallas' most poor citizens?!