How the Permian Basin Area Foundation Gives in West Texas

The Permian Basin Area Foundation is just one of more than 700 community foundations across the country, but it’s a lifeline for local groups in West Texas. This funder has been on the philanthropy scene since 1989 and promotes a philosophy of “giving where you live.”

PBAF just announced $1.17 million in new local grants to be split among 34 nonprofits. Now the 2015 total for giving is expected to reach $10 million. Odessa American provides a nice overview of the recent grants and what the money will be used for.

Let’s take a closer look at the types of causes PBAF funds.


An example of a PBAF education grantee is Catholic Charities Community Services, which will use the grant to offer adult education services like GED training and computer literacy. Adult literacy is a topic of interest for this funder, which also awarded a grant to Midland Need to Read for this cause. The foundation also awarded a grant to the Marfa Education Foundation to cover tuition and books for economically disadvantaged students.

Arts & Culture

One example of a recent arts and culture grantee is the Midland Community Theater, which secured a grant for educational programs. The Arts Council of Midland also received a grant for its 33rd Annual Celebration of the Arts in May.

Health and Human Services

Health grantees from this recent round include the Dawson Medical Foundation in Lamesa for a facility for EMTs. The foundation also funded grants to help people living with aphasia and to educate new parents about raising children from birth to age five.

Community Development

One new grant in this category went to the Midland Community Development Corporation to acquire land to develop affordable housing for low-income residents. Midland Habitat for Humanity also received a grant to build homes for low-income families in Odessa.

The Elderly

Senior citizens often play a role in PBAF’s grantmaking. For example, the Midland and Odessa branches of Christmas in Action Midland just received grants to buy materials to help elderly and disabled homeowners.

“Just as oil prices have dropped, so have services, generally speaking,” said Guy McCrary, president of the foundation. “But the demand for services has not declined. In most cases, it’s increased.”

In July 2015, the foundation awarded $1,174,000 to 32 nonprofits, of which $885,204 was part of the semi-annual competitive grant cycle. At the end the third quarter, the foundation reported over $117 million in assets, and has given over $65 million in grants, distributions, and scholarships throughout West Texas. There are at least 286 permanent funds at PBAF, but a big part of the foundation’s grants is the competitive grant program.

The foundation typically reviews grant applications in the spring and fall of each year. Check out the Grants section of the foundation website to learn more about the priorities and procedures. Our full profile, Permian Basin Area Foundation: Texas Grants, offers additional insights and resources.