Harold Simmons Foundation: Grants for Global Development

OVERVIEW: Simmons supports global efforts in health, female empowerment and human rights.

IP TAKE: This Texas-based funder directs a large share of its annual grant dollars to organizations in its hometown of Dallas. However, it makes some substantial global health and development grants annually. Another plus: Simmons makes grants for project support as well as those to cover operating and capital expenses. 

PROFILE: Texas billionaire Harold Simmons was well-known as one of the biggest contributors to the GOP and conservative fundraising efforts. Established in 1988, the Harold Simmons Foundation received some $37 million and is now overseen by his daughters, Lisa Simmons and Serena Simmons Connelly. The Harold Simmons Foundation continues to support organizations that work to “improve the quality of life of all members” in its local community. However, the foundation also backs global efforts in two of its six areas of grantmaking interest.

While the foundation predominantly prioritizes giving to health and medical concerns, Simmons does not make a large number of annual grants to benefit global communities. The awards it does make are often multi-year grants, and relatively substantial. Its tax filings do not reveal a set pattern in its global giving. In the past, Simmons has supported efforts in health, female empowerment, and human rights. Thus far, it appears that most grants support large INGOs, such as Chiapas and Plan International.  

Grant amounts are limited to $5,000 to $20,000 for first time grantseekers. Those that have an established relationship with the foundation typically receive much larger, multi-year grants. For example, Simmons’ grant to Chiapas is a $150,000 commitment spread over three years.

The Simmons Foundation accepts unsolicited grant proposals throughout the year. Applicants should expect a response from the foundation within one to two months.

PEOPLE: 

  • Lisa K. Simmons, President
  • Serena S. Connelly, Executive Vice President

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