Life is meant to be shared and enjoyed


Jeremy Smith, ED of the Rainwater Foundation, drafted an Op-Ed piece for the Fort Worth newspaper originally to be jointly signed. I tweaked it some and it was submitted. It clearly states our joint position about giving students in Fort Worth public schools a chance for scholarship that when added to Pell grants etc should let them get a degree without debt. Rainwater Charitable Foundation and the David Nathan Meyerson Foundation are the joint sponsors with the Star Telegram as our partner providing in-kind marketing contributions. We strongly believe in the mission and I hope you will resonate with it as we do.

On an overcast Saturday this month, ten Fort Worth area high school students made their way to our downtown office to interview for a new four-year scholarship competition. A big part of the scholarship design from the outset was rooted in our belief that some students may not have the perfect high school “resume” but still have the potential to succeed in college because of their determination, which is a proxy for that personal quality that transcends even GPA to indicate that a student is going to make it. All of our finalists were strong students, but each persevered to achieve through circumstances that seemed impossible. We decided to create the Dream Big Fort Worth Determined Scholarship Award program because it has become more and more difficult for a child growing up in challenging circumstances to make it to and through college. New research indicates that economic mobility is on the decline in our nation. And while there are system-wide efforts underway to address educational inequities in our city, we felt the need to act now, even if only in a small way. This sense of urgency is not only driven by compassion, but also because our destinies are tied with the future of every child who grows up in our city. When our children reach their full potential we reap the benefits. When they don’t we pay the price. We wish each and every reader could have been with us during these interviews. We got a glimpse of the future, through the hopes and dreams of the finalists. The very real fates of these students’ friends, neighbors and family members, those who had not been able to get a good education and reach their full potential, is a stark reality. Our scholars clearly understood what was at stake for them and their entire family. And they, in turn, helped us understand what’s at stake for everyone in our community. Here’s what we took away from the day:

  • Our students are resilient. We’ve long believed that what happens to you is not as important as what happens inside you, and our 2017 Determined Scholars demonstrate that despite the very real effects of things like homelessness, abuse and extreme poverty, if given hope and opportunity, students will rise.
  • Whether or not we have school-aged children, we all have supporting roles to play. It was inspiring to hear how a guidance counselor or an employer went out of her way, or how a volunteer who spent a little extra time can have powerful positive effects on our students along the way. We will be deprived of our students’ full potential if we deprive them of ours.

These are gifts that will keep on giving. The ten scholarship finalists we interviewed had a variety of interests from art to engineering, but they all had something in common. Each of them was not only committed to their own learning but also committed to future professions where they would care for, inspire and lift up others.

Most important it’s clear that we need more opportunity. For every student we interviewed there are countless more like them. 400 students started the Determined Scholars process just in this inaugural year. Helping students who are working hard is addictive and we intend to do more. For more information about the Determined Scholars program see Please consider donating so that we can expand the program to help more students.

Our 2017 Determined Scholars:

In late June, Mort and his granddaughter, Hannah, embarked on a DNMF philanthropy road trip around the Hudson Valley, visiting various nonprofits. On the second day, they visited The Sylvia Center’s: Katchkie Farm – an organization dedicated to educating low income youth about healthy lifestyles. The Sylvia Center focuses on exposing local inner city kids to healthy cooking by teaching them to plant, tend, and harvest plants that they can use in their own meals.

For lunch, Mort and Hannah were treated to a fresh salad and eggplant lasagna made only out of ingredients on the farm; Mort said the meal was “outer space good.”

They were blown away meeting the founders and learning about the mission of the Center. In Mort’s words, “they are simply amazing in what they do.”

To learn more about The Sylvia Center and Katchkie Farm, click here.

unnamedVíctor Hernández received The 2015 David Nathan Meyerson Prize for Fiction from the Southwest Review for his short story, “The Many Deaths of Zaragoza Matjeel,” which was published in Vol. 100, No 4, issued in the winter of 2015.

In addition to publication of the story in the Southwest Review, The David Nathan Meyerson Prize for Fiction includes a cash award, which is supported by Morton H. Meyerson and Marlene Nathan Meyerson in memory of their late son.

Víctor Hernández, who was born and grew up in Torreón, Mexico, is a recent graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. In 2012, during his first year at UT, Victor received the Prize in Ethics for an essay he submitted to The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity. He was also the winner of the James F. Parker Prize for Fiction in 2013.

Morton invited Victor Hernandez to come to Dallas for a meeting with him in early 2016. Following their discussions of Victor’s plans for the future and the generalities of the meaning of life, Victor wrote the following essay about the experience. The essay follows in both English and Spanish. To read click here.

It is worth noting that Victor was so gracious and oblique in his request for support, that Morton was surprised by the title of the essay.  The two have since settled on friendship as the ultimate support.

We recently paired up with a great non-profit organization, VNA (Visiting Nurses Association), that helps our elderly neighbors maintain their independence by providing services that allow them to age where they are happiest and most comfortable – at home. Among the many programs offered, we had the opportunity to take part in the Meals on Wheels program in Dallas County.

Through this well-known program – Meals on Wheels – VNA delivers nutritious and freshly prepared hot meals to over 4,000 Dallas County residents. It was truly a humbling experience, to say the least, and we’re very grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of something special.

To bring comfort and happiness to our aging neighbors click here to get involved.

One of my friends in Israel, Ori Yardeni, is the creator of the Free2B innovative and interactive 3D programs for students. These sessions lead them to better decision making on topics such as bullying, alcohol, drugs, etc. There are 6 modules that are used in every public school in Israel. In October of 2015, Dallas had a pilot program with several schools and it was hugely successful. Our foundation is solidly behind expanding the programs with dates in 2016.

Click here to watch what the Mavericks produced for their media sponsorship.

DNMF sharing with Marlene’s Foundation gave money this summer for a “pay it forward” program to be used by a “foster” children program in LA. I have been out to the classes and was so impressed. The anonymous money is given in $200 increments for the foster kids to do something good for others on the theory that to help others helps yourself and give you some dignity. Here is what happens in LA  worth the 2 minutes:

Food for thought about the way we live our lives sent by Morton Meyerson…

Written by: David Brooks | May 29, 2015

A few weeks ago, I asked readers to send in essays describing their purpose in life and how they found it. A few thousand submitted contributions, and many essays are online. I’ll write more about the lessons they shared in the weeks ahead, but one common theme surprised me.

I expected most contributors would follow the commencement-speech clichés of our high-achieving culture: dream big; set ambitious goals; try to change the world. In fact, a surprising number of people found their purpose by going the other way, by pursuing the small, happy life.

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A typical Sunday morning walk; Morton is out making the world a cleaner place and living our values.  If you are interested in making a bit more out of your walks we recommend the PikStik litter stick.

2015-04-12 The PikStik in Action

EDCS LogoOn an early spring morning, two 2Mers showed up at East Dallas Community Schools (EDCS) to be a part of a beautification day taking place. The busyness of the school grounds that morning included several volunteers ready to work and many staff members eager and cheerful. EDCS is a 33-year-old nonprofit school in East Dallas for children nine and younger. Read More

The Stewpot Concert for the Homeless

Be a part of something bigger than yourself. Have courage to make an impact wherever you are. Hold humility to the highest. All of these are important values for an office where employees seek to be more than just “on the clock”. Read More

New Orleans Women's Shelter Logo

Dan Silverman was interviewed in the August 2010 issue of New Orleans Living Magazine about The New Orleans Women’s Shelter (NOWS). The interview focuses on his organization and the struggle of the poor to survive post Katrina.

We’ve been broken, and it’s going to take a long time to fix what was probably already broken before the storm.

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