Editor’s note: At the request of the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, the following information was to be “embargoed” to media outlets today until 7 p.m. However, once Cheryl Hall of The Dallas Morning News posted a story (tagged “Exclusive”) containing the information well before 7, we had no choice but to follow suit.
Dallas Cowboys legend Troy Aikman has overseen the Troy Aikman Foundation for Children ever since establishing it in 1992. Now, however, the NFL Hall of Fame quarterback has decided to dissolve his foundation and transfer its $1 million in assets to the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas‘ Unite Forever Campaign. That campaign, an effort announced last year to support North Texas education, health, and financial stability, has raised more than $35 million so far toward its $100 million goal.
Aikman’s commitment will establish the “Troy Aikman Foundation Fund in the United Way Foundation of Metropolitan Dallas”—the first-ever donor-advised fund for United Way of Metropolitan Dallas. According to IRS guidelines, a donor-advised fund is a separately identified fund or account that’s maintained and legally controlled by a 501(c)(3) nonprofit group like United Way. The fund typically consists of contributions made by an individual donor who retains “advisory privileges” over the distribution and investment of the assets.
Using Aikman’s commitment as an example, the Dallas United Way is talking with others about establishing additional donor-advised funds. “The world is changing rapidly. And so are we,” said Jennifer Sampson, president and CEO of the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas. “Providing more, and more meaningful, opportunities for donor engagement for social impact is [our] mission. Donor-advised funds are a promising vehicle for us.”
Ed Galante, Unite Forever campaign co-chair, added in a statement: “This inaugural donor-advised fund marries [the] capabilities of United Way with the evolving interest and desire for engagement of today’s donors. It’s a win-win for all involved.”
Since its launch 24 years ago, Aikman’s foundation mainly has created colorful, “interactive playrooms” in children’s hospitals called Aikman’s End zones. These special recreation areas featured cutting-edge home theaters and computers networked with other children’s hospitals.
Aikman’s been involved with the local United Way for years. The winner of three Super Bowls with the Cowboys, he appeared during his playing days in a public service announcement for the agency. He joined the United Way Foundation of Metropolitan Dallas board of directors this year, after serving on the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas board from 2012-2015. He also served as co-chair of the local United Way’s 90th Anniversary Celebration alongside Charlotte Jones Anderson, and has been co-chair of the $25,000 Aikman/Staubach level of the Ruth Sharp Altshuler Tocqueville Society.