How the King Foundation Approaches Grantmaking in North & West Texas

With over $75 million in assets, the Carl B. and Florence E. King Foundation awards about $2 million in grants each year to groups in North Texas, West Texas, and Arkansas. Like many Texas philanthropists, the couple found success in the oil industry and have used that wealth to fuel their philanthropy. The foundation originally had a nationwide focus, but narrowed that down to just Texas and Arkansas in 2004 and even further to only specific regions those states in 2009. Since the foundation was established in 1966, it has given over $60 million in grants to nonprofits.

North Texas Grantmaking

Over the last five years, the bulk of foundation grantmaking (65 percent) has gone to North Texas. The five North Texas counties in focus are Dallas, Tarrant, Denton, Collin, and Rockwall. Based on conversations the foundation recently had with North Texas nonprofits, King has narrowed its giving scope within the past year. These are the current competitive grantmaking programs in North Texas:

  • Aging population
  • Arts, culture & history
  • Children & youth
  • Education
  • Indigent People

We’re expecting to learn more about King’s North Texas strategy later this year. However, there’s typically a spring and fall grant cycle, with grants awarded in June and December.

West Texas Grantmaking

However, it’s a goal of the foundation to increase giving in West Texas, as well as Arkansas, in the years ahead. Although grantmaking here is on a smaller scale, it also covers a broader area, encompassing 38 counties in the Permian Basin, Concho Valley, and Big Bend regions. In addition to the program categories listed above for North Texas, the foundation also provides nonprofit capacity support in West Texas to build the infrastructure of organizations working in these areas.

One local event in the area is called the West Texas Rural Philanthropy Days, which is a conference held every two years that’s aimed at training rural nonprofits and connecting them with local grantmakers. Over 130 people from 90 nonprofits attended the 2015 event, and the next one is tentatively scheduled for July 2017. In the off-years, this organization occasionally offers small-group trainings for rural Texas nonprofits, which are worth looking into. Spring and fall grant cycles typically apply for West Texas applicants as well.

Program Support

Regardless of the geographic location, most King Foundation funding comes in the form of program support. On occasion, capital support is provided, too. However, capital grants only account for about 10 percent of annual foundation funding, and most of those grants go to rural areas. Both single-year and multi-year grants are considered.

Review Process

From start to finish, the King Foundation’s review process takes about six months, so prepare yourself with patience. Letters of inquiry are accepted through an online portal, and site visits and telephone calls may follow. As a general rule, two years must pass before an organization receives repeat funding from King. Make sure to check out the foundation’s Tips for Grantseekers, including insightful advice like this:

  • Call the foundation to talk to a staff member before submitting anything
  • Meticulously proofread your documents for typos
  • Focus the proposal on the people you’re serving, not on your organization
  • Limit the number of staff at your site visit

You can get an overall sense of what the foundation cares about at any given time by scanning through its news section. Recent posts are about affordable housing, community health centers, engagement in the arts, veterans, and support for the poor.

Grantmaking questions can be directed to staff at 214-750-1884 or Info@KingFoundation.com. There’s a four-person staff at the Carl B. and Florence E. King Foundation comprised of a president, program director, program associate, and controller. 

To learn more about this funder, check out our full profile of the Carl B. and Florence E. King Foundation