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The ancient African proverb is true: It takes a village to raise a child. And in our modern context the “village” includes billion-dollar corporations. That’s why we’re encouraged by the revival of the once-moribund Dallas Education Foundation which, under the leadership of executive director Mita Havlick, has raised more than $3.1 million in corporate donations to restore campuses destroyed by a tornado a year ago. The latest donation, $1 million from the grocery chain Central Market, was given Monday, on the eve of the one-year anniversary of the storm.

Havlick is careful to note that Central Market’s donation was not restricted exclusively to tornado relief. Nor were most of the contributions totaling almost $6 million over the past year. But the storm was an impetus for many of those gifts.

Donations like these are evidence that corporate citizens see Dallas schools as a worthy investment. But they’re also evidence of renewed trust. Havlick stepped into her role last September and went to work building structures like a vision statement, communications strategy and areas of focus. She was on the job less than a month when the tornado struck, so her work relaunching the foundation has been upstaged a bit by crisis response. But now the foundation’s renewed professionalism is paying dividends.

When she started, Havlick told us, the foundation had about a dozen active donors. Now it has 650.

“People do not give to organizations that they do not trust,” Havlick said. “Now what we’re seeing is that because of our transparency, because they see that we have structures in place, that we’re not going anywhere other than forward, that there is that trust. That is a big thing when it comes to nonprofits and the development world.”

From left, Mita Havlick, executive director of Dallas Education Foundation, Edwin Flores, Dallas ISD Board Trustees for District 1, and Dr. Michael Hinojosa (right), superintendent of Dallas ISD, react to receiving a $1 million check during a ceremony announcing charitable donations for tornado rebuilding projects at the Central Market Preston Royal location in Dallas on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020. H-E-B/Central Market made a $1 million donation to Dallas ISD's Dallas Education Foundation on Monday, while also gifting 50 trees and announcing an April/May 2021 completion date for its Preston Royal store reopening after a tornado tore through the area a year ago. (Lynda M. González/The Dallas Morning News)