Why we chose to support Lead for Tomorrow
donors share why they were moved to support the campaign
The blount Family
Twenty-two years after graduating from Highland Park High School, Robert Blount ‘01 and his wife Mandy feel fortunate to raise their family in the community that meant so much to him growing up.
“This community, including the wonderful families, teachers and coaches all had such a profound impact on shaping my life, making me the husband and father that I am today,” explained Robert, vice chairman of CBRE’s Dallas-Fort Worth Advisory & Transaction Services team. “I don’t take it for granted. I always hoped for the same experience for my children someday.”
The Blounts recently created a Legacy Fund, a permanent fund in the Tartan Endowment, to support the district’s greatest needs and to further a tradition of excellence for their children Blakely, 8, Macon, 5, and Mathis, 1, and future generations too.
“We want to do everything we can to support our great community and build upon it for the next generation,” said Robert, who played football and was active in student government at Highland Park High School. “We want to leave our community better than we found it.”
For the Blounts, that means also giving their time to the schools they care so much about. Mandy is a past board member of the Hyer Preschool Association and volunteers with the Hyer PTA. Robert is a member of the Highland Park Education Foundation Board of Directors.
“We care so deeply about the district,” said Mandy. “That’s why we give our time and resources. To give back and continue raising our children in such a special place.”
The Clark Family
Bob Clark ‘64 still treasures a photo of his first-grade teacher Mrs. McCrary at University Park Elementary School and his classmates, many of whom are still his “best pals.” Both Bob and his wife of 55 years, Gail ‘64, have nurtured the roots that their parents put down long ago, remaining in the Park Cities community that they hold so dearly. “When we were growing up, many of the kids were the children of SMU professors or their parents played in the symphony,” explained Gail. “As the Park Cities have grown, that has changed.”
But, Bob said, “What hasn't changed is the quality of the community and the quality of the education. It is and has been extraordinary for our entire lives.” They created the Gail and Bob Clark Legacy Fund to help continue that tradition of excellence for the next generation, which includes all of their grandchildren. Their son Bobby ‘89 is the father of Rob ‘22 and Mary Jane, a Highland Park High School sophomore. The Clark’s other son Ben also attended Highland Park schools for several years, and hopes his twin daughter and son will soon do the same. “We want to give back to Highland Park because it’s made the lives of our entire family so much better.” said Bob. Bob also finds ways to build the district up by mentoring students. An architect, Bob worked with the HPHS Moody Advanced Professional (MAPS) environmental architecture class. His firm restored the Elbert Williams house, purchased by Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones, and helped students bring to life a playhouse replica of the historical home. Their Legacy Fund provides ongoing support for the district’s greatest need, which is currently closing the gap in teachers’ salaries. “We want to see the high quality of education offered continue and we want our teachers to be paid better,” Gail explained. “We don’t want to hear that they can go to Plano or Frisco for a better salary. We hope our support helps keep them in our wonderful district.”
The Halpin Family
Longtime supporters of the Highland Park Education Foundation, Mollie and Bobby Halpin were among the first to step forward and support the Lead for Tomorrow Campaign both as donors and volunteers on the Leadership Committee. “We live in a special place,” Bobby ’69 said, “and I want it to stay special the way it was for me, for my four children, and hopefully, the way it will be for my grandchildren.”
They established the Halpin Family Legacy Fund to support the greatest needs of the Highland Park Independent School District. “My career began with a great education at Highland Park High School,” said Bobby, who graduated from The University of Texas and has worked in real estate for more than 50 years.
“All four of our children were super prepared for college and did well because of their background at Highland Park,” said Mollie, one of the managers of the Scot Shop, a community “spirit” store located in Highlander Stadium. The profits support the needs of HP teams and the athletic department through the HP Sports Club. She explained that “Scots find a way” is a key expression that HPHS kids say. “And, that is what we are doing with this campaign,” she said. “Scots will find a way to keep the schools as successful as they’ve always been.”
The Halpins are passionate about increasing teacher salaries, but they chose to create an unrestricted fund to ensure flexibility for critical needs today and in the future. “A public school system that provides the level of education that Highland Park ISD offers is a rare commodity these days,” Bobby said. The Halpins hope that their participation in the campaign will inspire others to give as well.
“If you want to invest in something that will be good for your children, your grandchildren, the value of your home, and your community,” Bobby said, “then you want the best public schools in the country right where you live. To me, investing in Highland Park is a no-brainer.”
The massey Family
The Massey Family
As high school sweethearts, Anne and Preston Massey, both Class of ’91, felt lucky to have found each other at Highland Park High School (HPHS). The Park Cities was not only home, but their school district also provided tremendous learning environments across academics, athletics and social settings.
Now, as proud parents of Caroline ‘20 and Katherine Anne ‘22, the Masseys are giving back to the community that they believe has given them so much.
The Anne and Preston Massey Legacy Fund ensures that future generations receive these same benefits and that the district’s greatest needs are met through the Tartan Endowment.
“As kids, we felt so fortunate to be in a school like Highland Park,” explained Anne. “Now as parents with students at UT (The University of Texas at Austin), both of our daughters have told me that they’re really thankful for the education and training they received at Highland Park, which has given them an advantage over classmates from other high schools,” said Anne, a UT Austin graduate and former elementary school teacher.
Caroline is an honors student in UT’s College of Education and the current captain of the UT Austin Cheerleading Program. Katherine Anne, a 2022 HPHS Blanket Award honoree, is an honors student pursuing a finance degree at UT’s McCombs School of Business.
“At Highland Park, the opportunity for students to pursue their passion is incredible, regardless of whether it is in academics, athletics, performing arts, or some other area of specialization,” said Preston. “They are going to be tested and have to compete against the very best,” he said.
“From our perspective, that extremely competitive environment is actually the best training for life,” said Preston. “Wherever you go. Whatever your calling. You will have been battle-tested at HP. That competition, we believe, was the best thing that could’ve happened to us and our girls.”
The Masseys’ Legacy Fund benefits Highland Park ISD’s area of greatest need, which is currently bridging the funding gap for teachers.
“Within our state and community, we have tried to identify acute needs and underserved parts of the education system and then use our financial resources and experiences to help make a difference,” explained Preston. “No matter where you're from, everyone in Texas is impacted by public education. We’re all stakeholders in it,” said Preston, an SMU and UT Austin graduate.
“We hope our gift will provide direct benefits and that it will spread awareness that sparks others to give. Even though our kids are no longer in the school district, we believe our responsibility continues to help make a meaningful impact on the educational system.”
The Gwinn Family
As Tina and Steve ’82 Gwinn watched sons Logan ’17 and Landen ’19 grow up, they saw them navigate successes and struggles with the support of their Highland Park school community.
“My family has been blessed to see the school system develop and grow,” explained Steve. “The support our youngest son, who has dyslexia, received from teachers at every level enabled him to learn with and cope with his diagnosis. These teachers and staff set him up for success so that he was able to finish college on time and earn a 3.9 GPA during his last semester. Our eldest son is currently in law school.”
The Gwinns hope to ensure the success of the school district for future generations with the creation of the Gwinn Family Legacy Fund.
“For us, it boiled down to a realization that we could bless others as we have been blessed,” said Tina. “When we started a family, we were not living in the Park Cities. We both knew, however, that living and raising a family in the Park Cities was not just a goal, it was a necessity. This school system is important for giving students who we believe will grow to be leaders a foundation upon which they will be able to build successful lives.”
While their children were in HPISD, the Gwinns volunteered their time in the cafeteria, the school store and with the cross country team. Now that Logan and Landen have graduated, the family’s legacy will live on through their endowed gift.
“Our family recognizes that the continued ability of our schools to provide the solid foundation for all students is important, and it becomes incumbent on all of us – even those who no longer have school-age children – to help ensure that Highland Park schools remain at the top of the educational food chain.”
When you are moved to give, there are many reasons and ways to do so.
Learn more about how to establish a Legacy Fund.