2024 J. Erik Jonsson Ethics Award


The Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility

is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2024


Thursday, April 11, 2024
12:00 - 1:30 pm
Southern Methodist University
Martha Proctor Mack Ballroom | Umphrey Lee Center
3300 Dyer Street, Dallas, TX 75205



Purchase Tickets and Sponsorships Here


About Ashlee and Chris Kleinert


This year’s recognition of Ashlee and Chris Kleinert honors their leadership in creating innovative and community-wide solutions to assist those who need a hand up. To become catalysts for change, they created the Good Foundation in 2017 with a mission to serve those in need of a chance. The process begins by researching gaps in services to underserved populations, and then enlisting the support of community partners who provide not only a means of recovery but also the resources necessary to generate a fresh start. In this way, the Foundation helps empower our community to “do good” as we stand together for positive change. 


Many of us know about Ashlee’s food truck, Ruthie’s Fueled by Good. It was started in 2010 as an enterprise on a mission to make a difference in the DFW community by providing employment for individuals seeking a second chance and supporting local non-profit organizations, all while serving up delicious comfort food. For example, Ruthie’s partners with Unlocking Doors as a resource for hiring individuals impacted by the justice system. Recently, this amazing “rolling kitchen” partnered with the Dallas Mavericks to deliver “Snacks of Kindness” to community organizations such as Bachman Lake Together, Texas Native Health, Family Compass, and more. In January, Ruthie’s announced a brick-and-mortar restaurant to be opened this summer on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in South Dallas. The latest development is a partnership with the St. Philip’s School and Community Center, a private school that serves low to moderate income families with elementary and middle school students.


Those who know the Kleinerts best know that positivity, joy, and making an impact drive their interactions. In 2022, The Good Foundation forged a strategic partnership with Dallas Doing Good, a digital media platform focused on creating and sharing stories that support good news and good community work in North Texas. In an era when our community yearns for good news, we find it in our own backyards.


Both Ashlee and Chris are not just builders, they are doers.  Ashlee has held numerous leadership roles including board chair for Genesis Women’s Shelter, Executive Board member of SMU’s Dedman College, Advisory Board member of SMU’s Maguire Ethics Center, advisory roles for New Friends New Life, and St. Philip’s School and Community Center. Furthermore, her involvement with “United to Learn” as a DISD school liaison and graduate of the FBI Citizens Academy showcases Ashlee's dedication to community service and education. Her tireless commitment serves as a powerful call to action, inspiring us all to actively engage in initiatives that make a meaningful difference in the lives of others.


Similarly, Chris brings a wealth of leadership experience to his role overseeing real estate, investments, and ranching operations for Hunt Consolidated, Inc. Chris extends his passion for leadership within the community where he has served on several non-profit, school and civic boards, including Communities Foundation of Texas for 10 years. He was the inaugural chairman of the Men’s Advocacy Group (MAG) of New Friends New Life, a Dallas non-profit actively combating sex trafficking through advocacy and education.  In addition, he chaired the capital campaign for the Charles A. Sammons Tower at Methodist Health System – Dallas, one of three level-one trauma centers in the metroplex.  Chris brings his commitment to doing good to his various board roles, including Austin Street Center, SMU’s Cox School of Business, and the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation. Along with Kyle Miller, Chris is a cofounder of Boulevard Collective, a Name Image Likeness initiative that offers SMU student-athletes purpose-driven opportunities focusing on community engagement and life-skills development. Chris’s extensive leadership, marked by his unwavering dedication to combating societal issues and fostering community engagement, serves as a compelling reminder that each of us possess the ability to affect positive change.


Ashlee and Chris Kleinert are true exemplars of public virtue, channeling their passion, knowledge, and commitment towards creating a profound and enduring positive impact within our community. Their efforts are making a lasting impact on North Texas, today and for generations to come.


Ashlee and Chris Kleinert…they don’t just “talk the talk,” they “walk the walk” for constructive change in our community, every day!


26 Years of the J. Erik Jonsson Ethics Award




For 26 years, SMU’s Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility has endeavored to recognize extraordinary men and women of Dallas whose deeds and character are exemplary and whose service to our community is exceptional. They look beyond what they need and see greatness in the potential of others and know that goodness is the only investment that never fails. With enterprising spirits and unbound resilience, they give life to our city by looking for and championing the good. Recipients of the J. Erik Jonsson Ethics Award make Dallas what it is: a global gateway with limitless possibilities.





About the Award


Since 1997, the J. Erik Jonsson Ethics Award luncheon has served as the Center’s sole fundraising event, supporting our dynamic programs that serve the SMU faculty, staff, and student body as well as our community at-large. The support from this event directly funds the Center’s annual operations and ensures its continued success.

The J. Erik Jonsson Ethics Award is named in honor of the public-spirited former mayor of Dallas.  It is given to individuals who epitomize the spirit of moral leadership and public virtue.  The founders of our nation foresaw that the ideal of liberty alone would not sustain our country unless accompanied by the concept of "public virtue," a sacrifice of self and resources for the public good.  The Maguire Center is proud to present this award to people whose careers should be recognized, honored, and modeled.




2024 J. Erik Jonsson Ethics Award
Host Committee

Host Committee Co-Chairs

Richie Butler
Tracey Nash-Huntley
Bobby B. Lyle
Elizabeth Carlock Phillips
Ronald Steinhart 

Jan Hart Black

Randy and Jill Bowman

Peter and Lael Brodsky

Nita and Cullum Clark

Linda Pitts Custard

Bianca Davis

Christopher J. Durovich

Ruben E. Esquivel

Terry J. Flowers

Margo E. Goodwin

Michelle Staubach Grimes and John Grimes

Nancy Strauss Halbreich

Douglas D. Hawthorne

Blainey Maguire Hess

Regen Horchow and Ken Hersh

Walter J. Humann

Sophia and Willis Johnson

Elizabeth and Fehmi Karahan

Dana and David Kleiman

Jan Langbein

Carol and John Levy

Janey and Jack Lowe, Jr.

Deb and Clint McDonnough

Frank Mihalopoulos

Katie and Grant Moise

Erle Nye

Lizzie and Dan Routman

Roslyn Dawson Thompson

Annette and Jack Vaughn

Dee and Trey Velvin

Kern Wildenthal

Abigail and Todd Williams

Amy and Steve Yeager



Past Award Recipients

Peter Brodsky (2023)
Michael Sorrell (2022)
Cary M. Maguire (2021)
Ross Perot, Jr. (2020)
Nancy Strauss Halbreich (2019)
Bobby Lyle (2018)
David Brown (2017)
Terry Flowers (2016)
Lyda Hill (2015)Award 
Gail G. Thomas  (2014)
Nancy Ann and Ray L. Hunt (2013)
Walter J. Humann (2012)
Ruth Altshuler (2011)
Bob Buford (2010)
Ronald G. Steinhart (2009)
Michael M. Boone (2008)
Zan W. Holmes Jr., M.Th (2007)
Roger Staubach (2006)
Caren Prothro (2005)
Tom Luce (2004)
Ron Anderson, M.D. (2003)
Jack Lowe, Jr. (2002)
William T. Solomon (2000)
Stanley H. Marcus (1999)
Charles C. Sprague, M.D. (1998)
Curtis W. Meadows, Jr. (1997)




Mayor J. Erik Jonsson


J. Erik Jonsson, a founder of Texas Instruments, was a selfless civic worker, former Dallas mayor, and committed philanthropist.  He exemplified the highest ethical standards in his many business and civic endeavors. As a visionary, he sought to repay the debt that all businesses owe their community through selfless work as a civic leader and through his philanthropy in education.

Mr. Jonsson transformed Texas Instruments from a company offering geophysical services to one that pioneered the high-tech world of electronics and semiconductors. His accomplishments were recognized in 1975 when he was one of only four living Americans to be selected for the newly created National Business Hall of Fame, joining such historical luminaries as Henry Ford, J. Pierpont Morgan, Alfred P. Sloan, and Andrew Carnegie.

Mr. Jonsson insisted on the highest ethical standards for Texas Instruments. The company set an early example in formalizing a code of ethics for its executives and employees.

His own leadership in Dallas’s civic affairs culminated when he was selected to be mayor in the dark period following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Under his guidance from 1964-1971, the city built a new city hall, a new municipal library, and the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. He founded and largely financed the Goals for Dallas program that, for the first time in the city’s history, involved people of all races in establishing long-range municipal goals.

A mechanical engineer educated at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Mr. Jonsson was born in Brooklyn of Swedish immigrant parents, spent his early life in New Jersey, and moved to Dallas in 1934 to join the company that was a predecessor to Texas Instruments.