Communities Foundation of Texas (CFT) is thrilled to announce that John Bergner has been selected as CFT’s 2022 Vester Hughes Award honoree. When Vester passed in 2017, CFT created the Vester Hughes Award in honor of his legacy, his longstanding commitment to charitable causes, and his support of CFT’s philanthropic initiatives. Vester first began working with CFT in 1958 and served as CFT’s general counsel or senior tax counsel for more than 50 years. During Vester’s tenure, CFT grew into one of the most prominent community foundations in the country, and the largest in Texas.
As legal counsel for W.W. Caruth, Jr., Vester helped create the W.W. Caruth, Jr. Fund at CFT, which continues to grant millions of dollars to nonprofits across our community each year. Beyond his work with CFT, Vester was a brilliant tax attorney, influencing many aspects of federal taxation; arguing cases before the United States Supreme Court, and successfully lobbying Congress on several occasions to amend federal tax laws.
In selecting a recipient of the Vester Hughes Award, CFT seeks out an outstanding professional advisor who has contributed exceptionally to their field, who has championed charitable giving, and supports CFT’s mission of growing community giving. Recipients are devoted to assisting clients with charitable giving and serve as thoughtful and impactful mentors to other advisors in the field of philanthropy.
“John Bergner embodies the best qualities of Vester Hughes, and we are excited to recognize him as our 2022 Vester Hughes Award Recipient,” said Dave Scullin, CFT president and CEO. “CFT has witnessed firsthand the incredible impact John makes in support of the causes that matter most to him, and the mentorship he provides to many in his field.”
Bergner is a shareholder in the Dallas office of Winstead PC and serves as co-chairman of the wealth preservation practice group. His practice encompasses tax estate and business succession planning and administration of estates. With over 40 years of experience as an attorney, Bergner is nationally recognized for his work.
He’s served as a speaker, lecturer, and professional resource across the country. Bergner has shared his knowledge with emerging attorneys by leading tax and estate planning seminars. He’s also a visiting adjunct professor at the University of Miami Law School.
Bergner’s professional and community involvement is extensive. He’s active in the American Bar Association (ABA), having served as a past Council Director, Chair of the Estate and Gift Tax Committee, and Chair of the Continuing Legal Education Committee of the ABA’s Tax Section. He is also a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, currently serving as a member of the Estate and Gift Tax Committee.
CFT has partnered with Bergner since 1987, when he joined the organization’s Advisory Council. He’s provided CFT with feedback to inform its work and services and has helped secure speakers and high-quality content for professional seminars. Bergner also engages in personal philanthropy through his charitable fund at CFT.
Bergner has an expansive impact with clients and nonprofits, and CFT is honored to recognize him for his leadership and community involvement with this year’s Vester Hughes Award.