East Texas Communities Foundation

OVERVIEW: This funder has about eight grantmaking funds. Areas of interest include libraries, community, environment, nursing, music, and education.

FUNDING AREAS: Community, libraries, environment, nursing, music, and education

IP TAKE:  There are distinct funds at this community foundation that you may need to apply to. But guidelines are straightforward, and program officers are on hand for any questions.

PROFILE: Based in Tyler, Texas, the East Texas Communities Foundation was established in 1989 by community leaders. Early organizers were Isadore Roosth, Norman Shtofman, “Dub” Riter, and the United Way of Tyler/Smith County. In 1997, the directors made financial commitments to hire a full-time staff.

This foundation supports nonprofits that provide services for the people of East Texas. There are about eight funds at the foundation that you can directly apply to for grants. The TransCanada Charitable Fund supports the East Texas counties that are traversed by the pipeline of the same name. These counties are Angelina, Chambers, Cherokee, Delta, Fannin, Franklin, Hardin, Harris, Hopkins, Jefferson, Lamar, Liberty, Nacogdoches, Polk, Rusk, Smith, Upshur, and Wood. Funding areas are community, safety, and the environment. Grant requests up to $5,000 are accepted, for a total of up to $25,000 per year across all nonprofits supported.

The Tyler Library Foundation Fund supports public libraries in Smith County, as well as Smith County Area Libraries Together. Applications for this grant are invitation-only, and the total funds available in a recent year was $32,500. The Edwin A. Blue and Janice Owen Miller Charitable Fund supports Henderson County with grants up to $10,000. Funds available in a recent year reached $114,660.

The Betty and Roy Erickson Charitable Fund for Nursing supports nursing education in projects, technology, supplies, and equipment. Eligible groups must be from one of the following East Texas counties: Anderson, Angelina, Bowie, Camp, Cass, Cherokee, Delta, Franklin, Freestone, Gregg, Harrison, Henderson, Hopkins, Houston, Lamar, Leon, Marion, Morris, Nacogdoches, Panola, Rains, Red River, Rusk, Sabine, San Augustine, Shelby, Smith, Titus, Trinity, Upshur, Van Zandt, or Wood. The Retail Merchants Association of Tyler Charitable Fund benefits 19 specific nonprofits in Smith County. Applications are not accepted for this fund.

The Evans-Merrick Music Grants Fund supports classical music in East Texas through free and publicly available programs. Application deadlines have fallen in mid-August. The Mrs. A.D. Francis Endowment Fund supports Winnsboro, Texas, nonprofits up to a total of $5,000. The Gladys and Thomas TB Stewart Community Education Fund supports a variety of educational programs, including financial literacy and job skills training, for individual requests up to $2,000.

At the end of a recent year, the funder reported over $80 million in assets, up nearly $5 million from the previous year. Grantmaking has exceeded $7.7 million in recent years, with over $6.5 in grants going out each year.

General questions can be directed to the staff at 903-533-0208. There are typically four to six staff members, led by the president, Kyle Penney. There are about 11 members of the executive committee and a board of directors, advisory board, and emeritus board.


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