The gift — a ninetieth birthday present to Cree from her family, as per her request — is the largest gift to date to the United Way's $100 million endowment campaign, which has raised more than $70 million. In recognition of the gift, the organization will name its headquarters building after Cree, who also gave $1 million to the organization in October 2018 in honor of her late mother, Rosine Smith Sammons.
"I'm a Dallas girl, and I like that [United Way] does many, many good things for local people who don't have the benefits that our family certainly had," Cree, the daughter of billionaire Charles Sammons and chair of the Sammons Center for the Arts, told the Dallas Morning News.
"Having my name on this building will forever associate me with an organization that has always meant so much to me and my family," she added in a statement released to the press. "Something special happens when we as a community come together, united in a common goal. I'm incredibly honored by my family's donation to a cause strengthening education, income, and health [and] creating a brighter future for Dallas."
"Mary Anne Sammons Cree has enriched the lives of generations of North Texans through her generous support of United Way of Metropolitan Dallas," said Jennifer Sampson, the McDermott-Templeton president and CEO of United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, in a statement. "Her ongoing devotion to our community has supplied a radiant and powerful example for others to follow. This transformational gift in her honor will continue the legacy of putting opportunity in the hands of all North Texans in perpetuity."