NET WORTH: $1.28 billion
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Affiliated Computer Services
FUNDING AREAS: Education, Health & Human Services, Arts & Culture
OVERVIEW: The Deason Foundation is the philanthropic vehicle of billionaire Darwin Deason and family. The foundation's president is son Doug Deason. The Deasons have given strong support to Southern Methodist University, with which the family has close connections. Other philanthropy is assorted, but includes interests in health and human services. Dallas and to a lesser extent San Diego serve as important sites of giving.
BACKGROUND: Born in Arkansas, Darwin Deason headed for Tulsa, Oklahoma, after high school graduation and got a job at Gulf Oil. Deason eventually joined Dallas data-processing firm MTech and later took it over. He sold MTech in 1988 and started Affiliated Computer Services to handle computer and other business process services. It handled services for E-ZPass, 7-Eleven, UPS, and other clients. In 2010, Deason sold his comany to Xerox for $6.4 billion.
EDUCATION: The Deasons have lent strong support to Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas. Doug's wife Holly attended the school, and their kids are SMU students. The Deasons recently gave $3.5 million to help establish the Deason Family Criminal Justice Reform Center in SMU's Dedman School of Law, where scholars will undertake "independent research and develop educational opportunities on topics such as the causes of wrongful convictions and over-incarceration, and ensuring the fair and ethical treatment of individuals at all stages of the criminal justice process." Doug Deason penned a passionate opinion piece on criminal justice reform for the New York Times. He also gave a $7.75 million gift to SMU to to establish the Darwin Deason Institute for Cyber Security and support the Deason Innovation Gym.
Away from SMU, the Deason Foundation's grantmaking has also supported places like UC San Diego Foundation and The Winners for Life Foundation, which works with at-risk kids. Note that in addition to Texas, Deason has a residence in San Diego.
HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES: The Deasons via their foundation have supported places like Children’s Cancer Fund, Hunger Dusters, AIDS Services of Dallas, Mayo Clinic, and S.M. Wright Foundation, which provides "support and stability to underprivileged children and less fortunate families through hunger relief, economic empowerment, and assistance in the areas of education, health and social services."
ARTS & CULTURE: The Deasons have given support to Dallas Museum of Art.
OTHER: The Deason Foundation's grantmaking has steadily helped fund I Love My Island Dog in St. Marten, an outfit that gives assistance to animals in distress. The connection here may be that Deason sails his mega-yacht to the island. The Deasons have also supported PowerPoint Ministries, and humanitarian organization CARE.
LOOKING FORWARD: Deason is in his 70s. In coming years keep up with his son Doug, particularly his interest in criminal justice reform and ties to SMU.
The Deason Foundation does not provide a clear avenue of contact, but below is an address:
The Deason Foundation
5956 Sherry Ln., Ste. 800
Dallas, TX 75225