Albert and Margaret Alkek Foundation

OVERVIEW: This funder awards grants in the areas of medicine, education, community, and culture in Texas. Letters of inquiry are accepted throughout the year.

FUNDING AREAS: Medicine, education, community, culture

IP TAKE:  This is a tightly knit family funder that usually sticks to grantees it has a personal affiliation with. The best opportunities for local groups are in building and renovating educational and medical facilities—this is where the big money goes.

PROFILE: Based in Houston, the Albert and Margaret Alkek Foundation is focused on giving back to the people of Texas in alignment with the founders’ interests. Albert Alkek was a self-made man, stock trader, and entrepreneur. Margaret Alkek was a strong believer in education and assisted Albert with his business. During the couple’s lifetime, most of their donations were channeled towards medical research and education.

Current areas of foundation funding are medicine, education, community, and culture. A list of past grantees can be viewed on the funder’s Grants page. In a past year, for example, the funder gave over $9.9 million to medical causes, over $1 million to educational causes, $427,000 to community causes, and $631,000 to cultural causes. Annual giving has hovered around the $10 million mark for many years.

During a 15-year period, the foundation awarded over $156 million in grants and grew its asset base from $178 million to over $220 million. Recent tax return information can be viewed here.

This family foundation is a private one and does not articulate its grantmaking strategies. However, we do know that the Alkek Foundation almost always chooses grantees based on personal relationships and proactive initiatives. Unsolicited inquiries are rarely funded.

Grantmaking is limited to organizations and projects that serve Texas. Although the foundation does not welcome unsolicited full applications, it does accept brief letters of inquiry throughout the year with no deadlines. Such a letter should be one or two pages in length and specify the amount of money requested. Most past grants have been between $10,000 and $500,000. Occasionally grants over $1 million have been awarded for hospital construction projects. Otherwise, most grants have gone to program support, not general operating support.

Keep in mind that this funder does not like to support fundraising events, sports teams, student service clubs, direct scholarships to students, or anything political. You’ll have to send your letter of inquiry in via snail mail to the funder’s 1100 Louisiana, Suite 5250 address because fax and email submissions are not accepted.

The foundation is run by a board of nine and staff of three. The president, Charles A. Williams, is the grandson of Albert and Margaret Alkek. General questions can be directed to the foundation at 713-652-6601 or via email at info@alkek.org.

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