About Us

Members of The Dallas 40 believe it is imperative to learn more about important community issues by “drilling down” into a subject. . .listening to, learning from and interacting with those who are leading the way. Our speakers, all prominent in their own spheres of influence, address our meetings to educate our members on these issues and to enable them to influence the direction of our community based upon informed choice. By providing entree to circles of business, professional and community leaders, The Dallas 40 affords its members and invited guests the opportunity to engage the community’s best and brightest in a dialogue that makes a difference.

Over the years I had the privilege to speak to The Dallas 40 and find that its members are well-informed and engaged. They offer an opportunity to discuss many ideas in-depth as well as consider different opinions and ideas while in a relaxed, positive environment.

—Mike Rawlings, Mayor of Dallas

The members of The Dallas 40 are informed, engaged, curious, involved and connected. Anyone hoping to advance an idea or project should speak to this group – it is a “must.”

—Kathy Ingle, LBJ Corridor Champion

Members of The Dallas 40 are well-informed business, professional and community leaders who are making a difference in Dallas. Speaking to this group allows for a give-and-take discussion with people who are involved and who care about our community.

—Margaret Keliher, ED
Texas Business for Clean Air

I’m a strong believer in the power of dialogue to change, to inform, to bring to consensus and to empower. The Dallas 40 is the kind of forum that leads to discussion both there and in the community. Sometimes it leads to needed change, but it’s an investment of time worth of the effort.

—Ron Anderson, M.D.




The Dallas 40 was formed in 1967 by Charlie Terrell and a small group of other young men, most of them in their 30s. The group was envisioned to be a politically non-aligned organization that would meet periodically to focus on topics of mutual interest and importance to Dallas. The original 20 members selected 20 more of their friends, all under the age of 40, and The Dallas 40 was born – 40 individuals (all men) under the age of 40.

Several years after the group’s founding, Lee Cullum became its first female member and later, Judy Youngs served as the first female chair. Today, The Dallas 40 membership is open to men and women of all ages, while remaining a nonpartisan organization.

The initial meeting of The Dallas 40 focused on city issues and frustrations with the city leaders’ “archaic thinking.” Founding member and then-Texas State Representative Charles Kirkham was quoted as saying, “What we want is a responsible group of civic leaders in all areas—racially, geographically, economically—who will be objective in their opinions. Mayor (J. Erik) Jonsson shouldn’t have to stay awake at night thinking about us.” This founding group of civic leaders began to invite the newsworthy and noteworthy to join the group for informal, “off the record” dialogue sessions. The membership roster, speakers and invited guests for The Dallas 40 meetings over the years reads like a leadership “Who’s Who,” and includes governors, mayors, judges and politicians, as well as civic, business and religious leaders.

We invite you to join the dialogue!