Greater Houston Community Foundation: Texas Grants

  • OVERVIEW: The vision of the Greater Houston Community Foundation is to expand philanthropic impact in the Houston area. It bridges the gap between local donors and nonprofits furthering the causes they want to support. Most grantmaking stays local, but there’s some national and international grantmaking, too. Recent grants made through these funds have often ranged anywhere between a couple thousand dollars to a couple million.

FUNDING AREAS: Arts, education, health, human services, public benefit, religion

IP TAKE: Even though the Greater Houston Community Foundation has about 1,488 funds, nonprofits can only directly apply to a handful of these. GHCF does not issue requests for proposals or accept grant applications. Grantseekers should check out the foundation’s Community Funds and Private Foundations page to learn more about the trusts and foundations that you can actually apply to and those relevant deadlines.

PROFILE: The Greater Houston Community Foundation (GHCF) began its operations in 1995 and has at least $559 million in assets from many funds. And in a recent year, GHCF donors gave over $112 million in 3,444 grants to nonprofit organizations. Like many community foundations across the country, GHCF’s primary mission is to connect local donors with the causes they care about and maximize the impact of their giving.

GHCF grants fall under the categories of arts, education, health, human services, public benefit, religion, international. In one recent year, 22.8 percent of grants went to public benefit organizations, 22.3 percent to education, 17 percent to health, 13.4 percent to human services, 12.7 percent to religion, 6.1 percent to arts, 2.9 percent to environmental, and 2.9 percent to international. Compare this the previous year , when 41.7 percent of grants went toward education, followed by 14.7 percent to heath, and 12.4 percent for public benefit. Most grantmaking stays local, and only 1.5 percent of GHCF grants went overseas. GHCF also supports the higher education endeavors of students through over a dozen GHCF administered scholarships.

The foundation makes investments to achieve long-term growth of capital and emphasizes aggregate returns from capital appreciation and dividend and interest income. The investment committee of the governing board, comprised of board members and volunteer investment professionals, manages foundation assets.

The number of funds, contributions, and grants have steadily increased each year during recent years. So basically, this foundation pegs itself as a flexible and tax-advantaged way to give to the community. The board typically meets four times per year to review grantmaking activities.

Unlike some community foundations, GHCF does not have a discretionary grantmaking program and it doesn’t accept applications. However, GHCF does administer a couple community funds, including the Cullen Trust for Health Care and the Port Arthur Communities Fund. Cullen Trust awards grants to institutions that provide health care, conduct health-related research, and train health care providers in the greater Houston area. Port Arthur has been supporting social and economic development in Port Arthur since 2007.

To help donors narrow down their focus and learn more about local nonprofits, the foundation hosts DonorHouston, a database of more than 350 nonprofits in the area. To add a nonprofit organization to the current database, contact, Eileen Alexander at To get in touch with the staff for general inquiries, you can call 713-333-2200.


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