Brown Foundation: Texas Grants

OVERVIEW: The Brown Foundation primarily focuses on public education and arts giving in the Houston area of Texas.

FUNDING AREAS: Primary and secondary public education, visual and performing arts, service for children and families

IP TAKE: Although public education has always been the Brown Foundation’s top priority, support for the arts and civil affairs has been on the rise lately. Historically, grantmaking has been focused in Houston, but the trustees have recently been branching out and supporting nonprofits outside state borders as well.

PROFILE: Established in 1951, the Brown Foundation is the creation of two wealthy couples, Herman and Margarett Root Brown and George R. and Alice Pratt Brown. Herman and George were brothers, Texas natives, and successful oil and construction businessmen. Herman founded Brown and Root, a construction firm that became one of the largest engineering companies in the world in the 1950s with top jobs at the Naval Air Station at Corpus Christi and global projects in the UK, Iran, and the Persian Gulf. Along with some other investors, Herman purchased millions of dollars of pipelines and founded the Texas Eastern Transmission Corporation, which was sold to the Halliburton Company in 1962. George Brown took over as president of Brown and Root after Herman’s death. He also served as a director of the Halliburton Company, Armco Steel Corporation, Louisiana Land and Exploration Company, International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation, Trans-World Airlines, Southland Paper Company, First City Bancorporation, and Highland Oil Company. Today, the foundation aims to “distribute funds for public charitable purposes, principally for support, encouragement, and assistance to education, the arts, and community service.”

The Brown Foundation’s primary grantmaking focus area is public education at both the primary and secondary levels. Many grants go towards improving the public education system in the state of Texas. As second tier interest areas, Brown supports visual and performing arts and community service projects that serve local children and families. This foundation is more concerned about addressing the root causes of problems instead of merely treating symptoms of problems. The foundation staff looks for grantees that stimulate collaborative efforts across different sectors of the community and promise lasting impact well beyond a grant’s value.

Grants from this foundation range from $1,000 to over $4 million. Learn more about past giving in the funder’s annual reports. Approximately 80 percent of grants have stayed inside the state of Texas. Since the beginning, the foundation has given priority to nonprofits in the city of Houston. The foundation does not award any scholarships or grants to individuals.

The Brown Foundation accepts unsolicited grant applications from nonprofits. There are no application deadlines to apply for a Brown Foundation grant, and the trustees typically meet to discuss requests each month. Mail applications the foundation’s executive director, and prospective grantees can expect to hear back within a few months of submission. Contact the Brown Foundation with general questions at 713-523-6867 or via email at bfi@brownfoundation.org.

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