Richard Rainwater is another one of these billionaire investors who began channeling wealth into philanthropic causes in middle-age. And while Rainwater has some lofty ambitions for his giving, he's also a place-based funder who often gives preferential treatment to his hometown and his wife's home state.
Rainwater established the Rainwater Charitable Foundation (RCF) in 1991 with the intention of helping children born into poverty. Over the years, foundation grantmaking has evolved to rally around two program areas and two geographic regions. To date, the foundation has awarded over $265 million in grants to benefit causes for higher education and children who have degenerative neurological diseases. Here are a few key details about how Richard Rainwater gives his money away in Texas.
Focus on Fort Worth
Rainwater has spent much of his life in the Fort Worth area and he’s committed to strengthening community efforts close to home. However, Texas nonprofits also share the stage with organizations in South Carolina, where his wife, Darla, is from.
These are the two primary geographical focus areas; however, RCF has also supported over 400 organizations around the country since grantmaking began.
Recent local grants in Fort Worth include $300,000 to Real School Gardens, $27,500 to the University of North Texas Health Science Center, $10,000 to paschal High School Booster Club, and $10,000 to the Tarrant Area Food Bank.
Fort Worth Texas and South Carolina are the focus of RCF’s education grantmaking, and the specific grant programs involve early childhood education and school leadership development. RCF looks for early education organizations that scale high-quality learning programs for the birth-to-five demographic, such as the Zero to Five Funders Collaborative and East Dallas Community Schools.
RCF also commonly supports teacher improvement programs and believes that better teachers will help bridge the achievement gap between white and non-white students. The foundation developed the Rainwater Leadership Alliance in 2008 and published A New Approach to Principal Preparation in 2010 to guide other training programs.
Medical Research Grantmaking
Rainwater has been diagnosed with progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), a neurodegenerative brain disease, and he has dedicated much of his foundation’s medical research grantmaking to finding a treatment and cure. To do so, he organized and funded the Tau Consortium, which is comprised of over 30 top researchers and physicians from around the world. However, the foundation has also consistently supported research for Alzheimer’s and dementia as well.
But unfortunately for new grantseekers, RCF only accepts grant applications from organizations by invitation. To learn more about this process, you can reach out to the staff at firstname.lastname@example.org.