Brownsville Community Foundation

OVERVIEW: This funder has a competitive grant process that supports Brownsville, Texas, groups in education, economic development, health, housing, the arts, historic preservation, and the environment.

FUNDING AREAS: Education, economic development, health, housing, the arts, historic preservation, the environment

IP TAKE:  Competitive grantmaking from BCF has been known to take a year off. Check their website for up-to-date grant availability.  

PROFILE: The Brownsville Community Foundation (BCF), in Brownsville, Texas, was established in 1997 to support the local community. Since then, it has awarded around $5 million through donor-directed grants in the following interest areas: education, economic development, health, housing, the arts, historic preservation, and the environment. Targeted grantmaking areas may change slightly from year to year.

BCF funds local groups in an annual cycle. Its competitive process reviews requests for grants out of the foundation’s unrestricted fund and also from donor-advised funds. BCF gives preference to requests from collaborating nonprofits. Requests should not exceed $10,000, and projects should be completed within a year.

In a recent year, BCF made a total of $59,500 in grants to local nonprofits; prior years saw $95,000 and $54,525. Grantees include the Bishop Enrique San Pedro Ozanam Center and Good Neighbor Settlement House for the Homeless After-Hours Transportation project, Moody Clinic and Brownsville Community Health Clinic, which collaborated on behalf of children with special needs in the community, and the Gorgas Science Foundation for the Sabal Palm Sanctuary Education Center. Learn more about past grants here.

Grant decisions are made by a volunteer board composed of area business and civic leaders. Board member bios are published on the funder’s website. Check the Grant Timeline page to see if grants are going to be awarded in the current year and what the due dates are. If so, a link to the grant proposal PDF will be provided. In the past, the foundation has required grantseekers to mail three copies of applications, and also to email a copy, before the deadline. The most currently available foundation financial data can be viewed here.

In 2017, the foundation held its first citywide giving event, The Big Give Brownsville, a 24-hour fundraising initiative. The first BCF initiative was Youth in Philanthropy, in which BCF created a donor-advised Common Goal Fund. As part of the initiative, high school students at all six BISD public high schools spent a semester learning about the world of philanthropy and taught about grantmaking.

General questions can be directed to the foundation at 956-572-3730 or info@brownsvillecommunityfoundation.org. A good contact is Diane Garza, a consultant to the board at 956-572-0180 dianegarza@brownsvillecommunityfoundation.org. Garza has also been the vice president of the board, holds a doctorate in special education, and is a consultant with BISD’s special education department. The funder’s mailing address is 1950 Parades Line Road, Brownsville, Texas 78520.

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