Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation: Southwest (Texas) Grants

OVERVIEW: This Texas funder supports nonprofit efforts in water, clean energy, shale sustainability and sustainability education. In the coming years, it will also fund land conservation and community efforts in Galveston.

FUNDING AREAS: Water, clean energy, shale sustainability, environmental conservation, sustainability education

IP TAKE: This is a great environmentally focused funder to know if you’re working anywhere in Texas. The foundation’s president, Katherine Lorenz, was named one of The Chronicle of Philanthropy's "Women to Watch".

PROFILE: The Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation has offices in Austin and The Woodlands and was incorporated in 1978. Since then, it has awarded over $400 million to organizations and programs working in the areas of environmental protection, social equity, and economic vibrancy. The Mitchells earned their wealth in the energy business, committed themselves to a life of giving, and signed the Giving Pledge.

Marilu Hastings provided IP the following information about the foundation’s grantmaking perspective:

It is important to understand that the Mitchell Foundation’s practices are reflective and guided by the enduring philosophy and personal values of Cynthia and George Mitchell: Cynthia Mitchell’s abiding love for the arts and human well-being, and George Mitchell’s work as a renaissance businessman and entrepreneur, his love of science, and passion for seeking sustainable solutions to complex problems.

Although our resources are small compared to the challenges we hope to solve, we do our best to practice strategic philanthropy that seeks out and invests in innovative leaders, thinkers, and organizations as a collective means to an end—a model that is not risk averse and which seeks solutions that are replicable and scalable outside of Texas, whenever possible. We respect the need to listen and afford grantees the freedom and support to create meaningful impact.

The foundation’s four program areas are water, clean energy, shale sustainability and sustainability education: check out the links to learn more about what the foundation is looking for within those categories. In addition to these grantmaking programs, the foundation also gives to Cook’s Branch Conservancy and the Mitchell Institute for Fundamental Physics and Astronomy at Texas A&M University. All programs must focus on the state of Texas to be eligible for grants.

This foundation's grantmaking program is highly specialized, and it does not fund unsolicited grant applications. However, interested groups can submit a letter of inquiry to see if their programs are a fit.

Something that local grantseekers should know is that the Mitchell Foundation is in a period of transition and plans to roll out some new grantmaking programs in the years ahead. One new program will involve land conservation and another will address community development in Galveston, Texas. We’re expecting to start seeing the first grants for these new programs in 2019. The foundation's news section is updated regularly and is a resource for grantseekers. General questions can be submitted on the funder’s online contact form.

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