Donor Story: Garland and Mollie Lasater

Some argue that that philanthropy is a battle between giving with your heart or giving with your head.

Garland and Mollie Lasater, longtime Fort Worth residents, are advocates of a completely different concept: they are firm believers that you can do both.

Through their donor advised fund at the North Texas Community Foundation – the Mollie and Garland Lasater Charitable Fund– the Lasaters have fulfilled their philanthropic mission of strategically giving to the causes and organizations they care about most. The Lasaters have given more than $423,000 away philanthropically since the start of their fund.

Community Foundation North Texas Toolbox Grants presentation in Fort Worth, Texas on May 6, 2014. (Photo by/Sharon Ellman)

Garland said the Community Foundation gives them time to plan and dispense funds, makes them more responsible in regards to bookkeeping and gives them the opportunity to be more creative in their giving.

“We are big believers in community foundations,” he said. “It’s a lay down hand for me. It’s so convenient.”

The Lasaters stood behind their words when they established the I Have a Dream Foundation Fund through the North Texas Community Foundation in 1989. For the past 21 years, this fund has not only helped area school children live out their dream of going to college with support and encouragement; it has financially supported these students through scholarships until they have their college degrees.

Another focus program established by the Lasaters, HS2, provides academically gifted and under-served Latino/a, African American and Native American high school students with advanced instruction in math, science, writing and college counseling over three consecutive summers.

Mollie, a former school board president in the Fort Worth ISD, has also found strategic giving to the Children’s Education Programs at Bass Performance Hall to be a “fun” and “heartwarming” experience.

The Lasater’s philanthropic legacy expanded in 2009 when their son, Edward, joined the family legacy and established the Ellison and Edward Lasater Charitable Fund through the North Texas Community Foundation.