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Todd and Abby Williams photo credit: Simon Luna

Texas Woman’s University will present the 2024 Virginia Chandler Dykes Leadership Award to Abigail “Abby” and Todd Williams at the Dallas Leadership Luncheon, set for Thursday, March 21 at noon at The Arts District Mansion.

The luncheon is a TWU signature event that generates funds for TWU graduate student scholarships and pays tribute to the life and contributions of Virginia Chandler Dykes (1930-2022), the luncheon founder, who was a distinguished TWU alumna, donor and member of the university’s board of regents.

“The Dallas Leadership Luncheon is a favorite moment for us each year,” Texas Woman’s Chancellor Carine Feyten said. “Not only is it an opportunity to recognize outstanding Dallas leaders like Abby and Todd Williams; it’s an opportunity to shine a spotlight on our amazing graduate programs and the importance of providing access to graduate studies for students from all walks of life.”

About the 2024 award recipients: Philanthropists Abigail “Abby” and Todd Williams have spent their careers as public education advocates. Founder and CEO of Dallas-based education nonprofit United to Learn (U2L), Abby Williams and the U2L team are changing lives by transforming the relationship between community and schools. U2L is focused on accelerating literacy student achievement across 75 Dallas ISD elementary schools with plans to expand to all District Title 1 elementaries over the next two years. Key to this model is mobilizing community partnerships with business, high schools, faith-based organizations, individuals and groups. Todd Williams is the founding Chairman and CEO of The Commit Partnership, the nation’s largest educational collective impact organization with over 200 institutions and educating more than 790,000 students with a focus on improving post-secondary completion and economic mobility levels across the north Texas region and the state overall.

In 2007, Abby and Todd helped found a K-12 free tuition public charter school operated by Uplift Education that educates 1,500 primarily low-income children in northwest Dallas. Together, the couple also served as the founding chairs of Teach for America DFW’s Regional Advisory Board. Abby and Todd have successfully advocated locally and in the Texas Legislature for investments in education and have sponsored hundreds of scholarships to increase college accessibility for local students.

“Ensuring access to a quality education is our life’s mission, so Todd and I are excited to have the opportunity to support Texas Woman’s University graduate programs, which is doing exactly that for countless students every day,” said Abby Williams. “My mother, a single parent who worked tirelessly to provide for and encourage my siblings and me, also trusted in the transformative power of education to break the cycle of poverty for us and put her faith in generous benefactors who might support me through that process. Scholarships didn’t just pay my tuition and fees; they changed my life’s trajectory.”

About the Luncheon:  Established in 2002, the Virginia Chandler Dykes Leadership Award is presented annually at the Dallas Leadership Luncheon to a Dallas leader(s) who has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to improving the quality of life in the community and to furthering the importance of education.

The award honors the life work of Virginia Chandler Dykes as an outstanding healthcare provider whose professional and civic achievements represent a lifetime committed to helping others. Recent award recipients include Lucy Billingsley (2023), Arcilia Acosta (2022), Cynt Marshall (2021), and Jennifer Staubach Gates (2020). Here’s more about Virginia Chandler Dykes.

The Dallas Leadership Luncheon will take place at noon on March 21 at The Arts District Mansion (2101 Ross Ave., Dallas 75201), following a VIP reception at 11 a.m. Proceeds from the luncheon benefit Texas Woman’s graduate student scholarships.

This year’s presenting luncheon sponsor is Luther King Capital Management. The event chair is Ralph Hawkins; committee members are Arcilia Acosta, Lucy Billingsley, and TWU Chancellor Carine Feyten.

To reserve tables or tickets: Individual tickets for the Dallas Leadership Luncheon are $175; couple tickets are $300. Table sponsorships begin at $1,500.

To learn more or make a ticket purchase, call 940.898.3870 or visit twu.edu/DallasLeadership

HANDOUT IMAGE (Abby and Todd Williams): Download here.

Photo credit: Simon Luna

About TWU
Texas Woman’s University is the nation’s largest woman-focused university system with campuses in Denton, Dallas and Houston. Founded in 1901, TWU has built a reputation on contributions in nursing, healthcare, education, the arts and sciences and business. TWU’s inclusive culture prioritizes experiential learning, leadership, service, discovery and health and well-being, and national media have recognized the university as a top college for student-parents, veterans and social mobility. In 2023, TWU publicly launched Dream Big, a $125 million fundraising effort to support programming, equipment, scholarships and faculty. To learn more about the campaign or the university, visit dreambig.twu.eduor twu.edu, or connect with TWU on Facebook @TexasWomansUniversity, Instagram @txwomans, Twitter @txwomans, and LinkedIn @texaswomansuniversity.

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