Communities Foundation of Texas Names New Chief Philanthropy Officer » Dallas Innovates

Communities Foundation of Texas Names New Chief Philanthropy Officer » Dallas Innovates

Communities Foundation of Texas announced that Robert Kent has been selected as chief philanthropy officer and executive leadership team member at CFT, the largest community foundation in Texas and one of the largest in the U.S.

Kent will join CFT on June 17 and will lead its philanthropy department of grantmaking experts, providing strategic vision in aligning CFT’s mission with responsive outcomes that positively impact the community.

“Robert Kent is a strong advocate for North Texas and has extensive community knowledge and advocacy experience,” CFT President and CEO Wayne White said in a statement. “Robert’s experience locally, regionally, and across the state in collaborating with stakeholders, donors, and elected leaders, as well as his deep understanding of issues facing neighborhoods made him an exceptional candidate for this role.”

Kent said he was excited by the new opportunity to improve the quality of life for residents across Dallas and Texas through this leadership role.

“Communities Foundation of Texas is an exceptional organization with a strong track record for helping Texas become a more healthy, equitable, and livable state where all communities can thrive,” he said in a statement. “I’m grateful to be given the opportunity to put my skills and experience into service for the organization and the communities it serves.”

Common focus on public green space

Kent spent the last decade with Trust for Public Land, a national nonprofit with its Texas headquarters in Dallas, that works to make the health, climate, equity, and community benefits of parks and nature accessible to all. Most recently, he was its associate vice president and Texas state director, a position he’s held since 2019.

During that time, Kent led the organization’s work to acquire over 400 acres of land for new parks in Dallas, helped pass two bond packages providing over $655 million for parks and trails, developed an open space plan for city of Fort Worth, transform vacant lots and public schoolyards for use as neighborhood parks, and connected community members, stakeholders, and donors to realize a shared vision for parks and public spaces that benefit all.

CFT said it has a long history of supporting TPL, with the most recent grants being for the development of the 1.8-acre South Oak Cliff Renaissance Park and Trail near South Oak Cliff High School, and the creation of the 40-acre Judge Charles Rose, Sr. Park near Paul Quinn College. CFT said those two projects align with its vision of a thriving community, as access to green space can improve quality of life.

During the past decade at TPL under Kent’s leadership, the percentage of Dallas residents served by a park within a 10-minute walk of home increased from 54% to 73%, CFT said. TPL enjoyed numerous successes in the conservation space, including the preservation of the 300-acre Big Cedar Wilderness in southwest Dallas, leading the effort of the Dallas Greening Initiative, and executing on a plan to finally realize the 80-year-old vision of the Five Mile Creek Greenbelt, a network of 17 miles of new trails connecting three signature parks in Dallas’ Oak Cliff neighborhood.

Before joining TPL, Kent was the policy director for the North Texas Commission.

“Robert has the right experience to lead CFT during an exciting time for our organization as we seek to further leverage our philanthropic convening power and expand our community impact,” White said.

Kent will be the fourth executive to join CFT’s expanded executive leadership team under White’s tenure, CFT noted. Recent additions since Wayne joined CFT in July 2023 include the hiring of Calvert Collins-Bratton as chief relationships officer, the promotion of Carolyn Newham as general counsel, and the promotion of Nadine Dechausay as chief strategy & insights officer.

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