Dallas Foundation Builds Bridge Between Supporters, University

Dr. Kennedy and Dr. Denise Park

Support from the Dallas Foundation is helping to boost the research of the aging mind conducted by Dr. Kristen Kennedy (left) and Dr. Denise C. Park, both of the Center for Vital Longevity at UT Dallas.

Study of the aging brain, pediatric hearing aids and social service to area families are among the UT Dallas efforts supported by recent grants through the University’s longtime partnership with the Dallas Foundation. 

The foundation oversees more than 300 funds, assisting philanthropists in connecting with projects in education, research and other areas. Several million dollars in gifts through the foundation, representing the interests of its benefactors, have supported work across the University beginning in the 1960s.   

The foundation’s AWARE fund has boosted research and treatment of the aging mind at the Center for Vital Longevity (CVL). Dr. Denise C. Park, director of research at CVL and Distinguished University Chair in Behavioral and Brain Sciences, will be receiving support for the Dallas Lifespan Brain Study. The study examines relationships among neural structure, brain function and cognition across the lifetime. Dr. Kristen Kennedy, also at CVL, received support to research genetic modifiers of how the brain changes with age and how this knowledge might be used to hold off cognitive decline. 

Through the foundation, the Bertice Carter Speck Fund will assist a life-changing project benefiting children at the Callier Center for Communication Disorders. Callier’s Pediatric Hearing Aid Project provides two hearing aids and three years of follow-up services to 120 young people with hearing loss from low-income families each year. 

Over the last several decades, the foundation has played an important role in moving UT Dallas forward in research and academics. We’re so grateful for this continued support from such an important community partner.

Dr. Kyle Edgington,
associate vice president for development

“This generous grant will help make it possible for these children to receive treatment, which will enable them to hear and connect with their family and friends,” said Dr. Thomas Campbell, the Ludwig A. Michael, MD, Callier Center Executive Director and Sara T. Martineau Professor. 

The Speck fund is designed to address the needs of disabled, blind, deaf or economically disadvantaged children. Such “field of interest funds” allow benefactors to address causes they wish to support and advance. The foundation then chooses organizations to receive these funds during a rigorous application process.  

“As a steward of the resources entrusted to us by our donors, the Dallas Foundation seeks philanthropic investments that will yield the greatest impact for our community,” said Mary M. Jalonick, president and CEO of the foundation. “We are proud of our long-standing partnerships at UT Dallas, supporting research and programs that have the potential to impact the lives of people of all ages across North Texas.” 

The foundation also supports UT Dallas through its Community Impact Fund, which backs a variety of causes, including social services, education, health care and the arts. The foundation supports the Center for Children and Families Infant Development Program, providing developmental screenings for children and individualized feedback, guidance and service referrals for their parents. The foundation also supports the center’s Juega Conmigo (Play with Me), a weekly parent-child learning and play session in English and Spanish for children up to 3 years old. 

“Over the last several decades, the foundation has played an important role in moving UT Dallas forward in research and academics,” said Dr. Kyle Edgington, associate vice president for development. “We’re so grateful for this continued support from such an important community partner.”

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].

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