East Texas Communities Foundation

OVERVIEW: The East Texas Communities Foundation has several grantmaking funds that address areas of interest that include libraries, community, environment, nursing, music, and education.

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

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

PROFILE: Established by community leaders in 1989, the East Texas Communities Foundation is based in Tyler, Texas. 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. Foundation areas of interest include community, libraries, environment, nursing, music, and education.

There are several funds at the foundation that grantseekers can apply to for grants. 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 Evans-Merrick Music Grants Fund supports classical music in East Texas through free and publicly available programs. Application deadlines are in mid-August. The Mrs. A.D. Francis Endowment Fund supports Winnsboro, Texas, nonprofits up to a total of $5,000. Finally, 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.

Overall, foundation grants range between $1,000 and $10,000. The foundation does not have an online grants database, but it does post blog articles on its website. Grantmaking has exceeded $7.7 million in recent years, with over $6.5 in grants going out each year. This foundation supports nonprofits that provide services for the people of East Texas.

Some of the foundation’s funds accept unsolicited grant applications, while others operate on an invitation-only basis. Also, each fund has its own unique guidelines and deadlines. Direct general questions to the staff at 903-533-0208 or via online form.

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