Three Key Things to Know about the Houston Endowment

With assets over $1.5 billion, the Houston Endowment is one of the most powerful grantmakers in Texas. This foundation has well-defined, yet broad program focus areas and hands out around $75 million in grants each year. 

Here are three key things to know about the Houston Endowment.

Grants Stay in the Houston Area

Houston Endowment is almost exclusively focused on grantmaking in Texas’ Harris County and the contiguous counties of Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Liberty, Montgomery and Waller. Jessie H. and Mary Gibbs Jones established Houston Endowment in 1937 to improve the lives of people in the Greater Houston area, and with just a few exceptions, all grantmaking stays local.

Education and Human Services are Top Priorities

Out of $72 million in total 2013 grantmaking, more than $21 million went toward education and $21.3 million went to human services nonprofits. These have been the top two grantmaking categories for several years now.

The foundation’s education program supports initiatives in early childhood education all the way up to higher education, with an emphasis on the 1.25 million Houston-area students attending public school. Recent education grants have been as low as $30,000 (Collaborative for Children) and as high as $6 million (Houston Independent School District Foundation). The foundation awarded over $5 million in scholarships through the Jesse H. and Mary Gibbs Jones Scholars Program in 2013. Recent human services grants have generally fallen in the $20,000 to $300,000 range. Basic human needs and community-building programs tend to see the most grant money.

Unsolicited Applications Are Accepted All Year

Fortunately for grantseekers, this is a foundation that welcomes unsolicited grant applications and doesn’t make you update your calendar with a list of deadlines. Also refreshing, Houston Endowment provides funding for general operating support, project support, capital improvements, capacity building, innovative approaches, public policy, and research.

But keep in mind that first-time grantseekers, organizations outside the geographical focus area, organizations who’ve previously been rejected by the endowment, and grantseekers looking for public policy or research funds need to start the process by completing a pre-application. To learn more, take a look at the foundation’s Types of Investment page and the How to Apply page.

Related - Houston Endowment: Texas Grants