Meet Dallas' giants of generosity



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Posted on October 4, 2010 at 11:20 PM

DALLAS — Though most wouldn't recognize their faces, there are a small and elite group of people who are the city's giants of generosity; philanthropists who give away more money than most can ever imagine, often without publicity.

Trevor Rees-Jones donated $25 million to the Boy Scouts Circle Ten Council on Monday to establish an endowment and help recruit less fortunate boys.

"It's somewhat overwhelming," he said. "We normally just write checks."

Rees-Jones is an Eagle Scout and a former attorney who made a fortune in the Barnett Shale. His generous donation was engineered by Rex Tillerson, CEO of ExxonMobil, who also serves as president of the Boy Scouts of America.

"I called him up and said, 'I wanted to come talk to you.' I don't know if he was expecting a $25 million 'ask' when he invited me to come see him," Tillerson said.

Rees-Jones' gift is the largest ever to a local Boy Scouts chapter.

"Major donors are looking for programs that they know are going to have a lasting impact on our society," Tillerson said, "Even in this economy."

One-hundred and twenty-nine donors gave more than $1 million each to help build venues at the Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Dallas.

Hunt Oil contributed $12 million to help build the new Margaret Hunt Hill bridge in honor of the family's late matriarch.

And UT Southwestern received $100 million last summer, said to be the largest single donation to a civic organization in Dallas history — courtesy of former Texas Gov. Bill Clements.

"If you have enough to share, share it," he said, "because there are people out there who need the help."