How One West Texas Foundation is Ramping Up Its Support for Children and Housing

It’s been a little while since we caught up with the Permian Basin Area Foundation (PBAF) to see how its grantmaking strategy has been playing out. Remember, this is a West Texas grantmaker based in Midland that funds a wide range of issues. Long-time areas of interest have been human services, education, youth, health, housing, community development, and arts and culture.

PBAF admits that 2016 was a challenging year for the region, and grantmaking was down a bit last year compared to previous years. In the recent past, grant and scholarship totals have exceeded $10 million, but the 2016 total was more like $7.3 million. Still, it’s worth a closer look to see where PBAF grants have been going and what issues have been emerging as top priorities for this funder.

Before the close of 2016, PBAF announced $1,005,000 in year-end grants to regional nonprofits, including $911,500 to semi-annual competitive grant recipients. Twenty-nine groups received new PBAF grants, including schools, museums, and beautification efforts.

But what stood out to us about this new batch of grantees is the foundation’s strong interest in children and youth issues. Across multiple funding topics, groups serving children received a sizable portion of this funder’s support. Examples of new child-focused grantees are Buckner Children & Family Services, High Sky Children’s Ranch, Midland Children’s Rehabilitation Center, and Harmony Home Children’s Advocacy Center. Meanwhile, just a couple groups supporting older adults in the region received support, including the Alzheimer’s Association West Texas Chapter and Mission Center Adult Day Service.

Another significant development in PBAF’s grantmaking is its growing support for affordable housing. Aside from the competitive grant awards noted above, this foundation also made $93,500 in grants from the Midland Housing Trust Fund. As the name suggests, the geographic focus of this fund is Midland County Texas, and its purpose is to support the development of housing resources for low-income and disadvantaged country residents.

“It’s been a challenging year by any standard, particularly for area nonprofits. In spite of that, these organizations continue to make critical and positive contributions to countless lives here in West Texas,” said Andrew Semer of the foundation’s grants committee. “Every year brings new milestones in the number served and the quality of programs offered. In terms of human capital, their investment in the people of West Texas is priceless.”

The next PBAF deadline to keep in mind is April 1, which is when spring grant pre-applications are due. But before you apply, call the foundation to schedule a preliminary interview—that’s the way PBAF likes to do things. Learn more about the application procedures here.

Since PBAF was established in 1989, it has given out over $83 million in grants and scholarships and has assets of over $120 million.