How Matthew Randazzo, president and CEO of the Dallas Foundation, plans to ‘lean in’ on Dallas education – Dallas Business Journal

Matthew Randazzo took over as president and CEO of North Texas’ third-largest charitable foundation effective May 15.

His appointment was announced in November and he succeeds Mary Jalonick, who retired after 30 years in the position.

Randazzo formerly worked as CEO of the National Math and Science Initiative after joining in 2014 as chief growth and strategy officer. Previously, he was founding president and CEO of Choose to Succeed, a nonprofit that works to bring tuition-free, public charter schools to San Antonio, and as chief growth officer for IDEA Public Schools.

In his new role with the Dallas Foundation, Randazzo will oversee an organization with more than $400 million in assets in over 650 funds. The organization helps donors create charitable funds to support their choice nonprofits.

With his background in education, Randazzo plans to focus on promoting Dallas’ education system to create the city’s future workforce.

He’s also working with leaders across the city to identify other key issues the foundation can support.

He told the Dallas Business Journal more about his strategy as CEO.

What attracted you to the Dallas Foundation?

The Dallas Foundation has a remarkable track record and history in connecting donors to the causes they care the most about. I spent most of my career working in public education, and I came to the place that high-quality education is necessary but insufficient for communities to thrive. The position the Dallas Foundation holds helping communities with education, homelessness, the arts, etc., seemed like a high-impact opportunity

How will your past experience help you in this new role?

First, there is remarkable complexity as we think about the pre-K through 16 continuum. Recognizing that complexity and levers you have to pull on to get the outcomes you want for students, schools and communities is akin to what a community foundation does. One (aspect we’ll focus on) is grant-making. But that’s not the only lever. One could be around the convening power that we have and understanding how we can pull together disparate actors to focus on a big issue facing the Dallas community. Another lever a lot of community foundations pull is around advocacy and ensuring leaders understand challenges and opportunities for the future of Dallas. Lastly, I would say broader civic leadership is one of the most important civic roles that a community foundation can play. It’s similar to a convening power except that you’re pulling together donors, nonprofit leaders, business leaders and city officials to drive results on behalf to he community.

In your opinion, what are the biggest civic issues facing Dallas?

Some of what’s most exciting about this role is (the ability to) to lean in and understand the issues and opportunities. I’ve probably had six or seven dozen meetings as I transitioned into the role, and the top questions is what we’ll focus on. I’m frankly going to pivot and say there’s no shortage of opportunities around high-quality pre-K through 16 (education) so we have an educated workforce that spurs the economic growth of North Texas. We also have challenges with housing insecurity and homelessness. Prices are rising high in Dallas, and that’s pushing people out of the city and families are more precariously housed. We know that access to quality health care is tough if you are low income in this community. We know there’s a continued challenge around workforce development opportunities. But I would flip that to say that we have great community assets, like arts and cultural institutions, that are providing open access to members of our community. We have one of the most philanthropic communities in the country and a lot of businesses that support that. As I move into this role, we’re going to be intentional about convening those stakeholders, including people in the community and people who are beneficiaries of the Dallas Foundation to see how we can lean in and support. We’ll continue our focus on early learning and see the three to five other opportunities to curate thought and civic leadership and funding around.

North Texas Foundations

Ranked by Most Recent Fiscal Year Available Total Revenue

Rank Foundation Most Recent Fiscal Year Available Total Revenue 1 Communities Foundation of Texas $166.54 million 2 Atlantic Housing Foundation $97.89 million 3 The Dallas Foundation $79.55 million View This List

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