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Altrusa Club of Dallas Foundation, Inc.

History of the Foundation

The original purpose of the Altrusa Club of Dallas Foundation, Inc. was to honor Altrusan Ruth W. Behrens and to receive and administer resources for educational, scientific, literary, and charitable purposes in the field of crime prevention. Ruth Behrens became an Altrusan in 1959 and served as President of the Dallas Club and on various committees at the local, district, and international levels. This lovely, vivacious person was murdered in her home by an intruder on February 15, 1972. In 1986, the Foundation was expanded to include other charitable activities of the Club. In addition to the Ruth Behrens Fund, the Edith DeBusk Scholarship Fund and a Ways and Means Committee were added to the umbrella of the Foundation. The Ways and Means Committee was established to organize fund raising efforts of the Foundation. In 1997, the Foundation was further expanded to include the Dr. Nina Fay Calhoun Scholarship Fund by dissolution of the existing trust and creation of a separate fund under the auspices of the Foundation. The Foundation is supervised by a Board of Directors comprised of the same elected officers and directors of the Club, except that the Club Assistant Treasurer acts as the Treasurer for the Foundation. The members of Altrusa International, Inc. of Dallas, Texas are the members of the Altrusa Club of Dallas Foundation, Inc. Each year, community needs are evaluated and projects selected.  Listed below are the projects and non-profit organizations that Altrusa International of Dallas, TX, Inc. supported during the 2015-16 club year:
  • Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children.     
  • Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center.
  • Martin Luther King Learning Center in Dallas.
  • Mosaic Family Services.
  • Our Friends Place.
  • Patriot Paws.

Ruth Behrens Fund for Crime Prevention 

This fund receives and administers resources for stated purposes in the field of crime prevention. Through the years, the Ruth Behrens Fund has purchased bicycles and repair kits for patrol officers, and funded many crime prevention initiatives including valuable research into blood spatter evidence, a crime prevention robot, deadbolt locks for the elderly residents of low-income areas, and many others. A committee appointed annually by the President and approved by the Board of Directors researches potential distribution of the funds. Proposals are presented to the Altrusa Club of Dallas Foundation, Inc. Board of Directors for approval.

Edith Debusk Scholarship Fund for Legal Studies

  Edith DeBusk, the second International President from the Altrusa Club of Dallas, served during the years of 1963-1965 and was Legal Advisor to Altrusa International from 1969 to 1981. When the Club established the scholarship honoring our first International President, Dr. Nina Fay Calhoun, Mrs. DeBusk handled the legal work. Many members believed that the Club should also honor Mrs. DeBusk. The Edith DeBusk Scholarship for Legal Studies was established in 1987. The first two scholarships were awarded in January 1988. Each year, scholarships for the study of law may be awarded to students from Southern Methodist University. In addition, scholarships for paralegal study may be awarded to students attending El Centro College. The scholarship fund is administered by a committee appointed by the President and approved by the Foundation Board of Directors.

Dr. Nina Fay Calhoun Scholarship Fund for Nursing Studies

The Dr. Nina Fay Calhoun Scholarship Fund Trust was established in 1981 to honor our charter member and past International President, Dr. Nina Fay Calhoun. The fund was established to bestow nursing scholarships. The initial corpus of $5,000.00 (donated by the Club) is never to be depleted. In 1997, the Trust was dissolved and the funds were put under the jurisdiction of the Foundation Board of Directors. Scholarships are available to second, third, and fourth year nursing students in the Dallas metropolitan area, and determination of eligibility is based on need, ability, and potential. Grants have been given to nursing students attending Dallas Baptist College, Texas Woman’s University, El Centro College, Baylor University, and Trinity Valley College. A committee appointed by the President and approved by the Foundation Board of Directors administers the Scholarship fund. The committee serves a term of one year. Traditionally, the Immediate Past President serves as chair of the committee.

Leita Marsh Scholarship Fund for Pharmaceutical Studies

In 1997, the club presented the Leita Marsh Leadership in Service Award to a member of the Dallas community who embodied the concepts of leadership and altruism. Leita Marsh, a charter member of the Dallas club and a pioneering professional woman, exemplified those very attributes by devoting her time and resources to serving her community. Our club funded the presentation of a plaque to the recipients, acknowledging their achievement as a leader in service. In addition, we made a donation to a 501(c)(3) organization of the recipient’s choice as approved by our Board of Directors. In 2002, the club changed the award to a $500 scholarship in pharmaceutical studies to a deserving student, and in 2005, we added the Leita Marsh Scholarship Fund for Pharmaceutical Studies under the umbrella of our Foundation.

Ways and Means Committee

Ways and Means funds are used primarily for the Club projects sponsored by the Service Committee, although any standing committee could sponsor a community service project and request funds from the Foundation.  All members are encouraged to assist in raising the money to be used for funding our service projects and scholarships for the coming club year.