Harold Simmons Foundation

OVERVIEW: The Harold Simmons Foundation focuses its grantmaking on Dallas, Texas nonprofits in the areas of education, health care, social welfare, human rights, civic improvement, and culture and arts.

FUNDING AREAS: Education, health care, social welfare, human rights, civic improvement, culture and arts

IP TAKE: This is a local funder for Dallas-area nonprofits to get in touch with because grantmaking is expected to increase following the founder’s passing. The grantmaking categories are broad, but the geographic focus is narrow.

PROFILE: Established in 1988, the Harold Simmons Foundation is a funder based in Dallas, Texas. Harold Simmons used his wealth from the Cortran Corporation, a family trust, to establish the Harold Simmons Foundation. As a buyout investor, he earned over a billion dollars by selling Titanium Metals. Over the years, Cortran has held major stock in publicly traded companies like Valhi Inc., NL Industries Inc., Kronos Worldwide Inc. and CompX International, Inc. Harold passed away in 2013 and left most of his $8 billion fortune under the control of his daughters, Lisa K. Simmons and Serena Simmons Connelly. The foundation aims to “improve the quality of life of all members of our community and to ensure they have the resources and opportunities to live with dignity and meaning.” Grantmaking areas of interest are education, health care, social welfare, human rights, civic improvement, and culture and arts.

During his lifetime, the founder and University of Texas graduate gave at least $177 million to UT Southwestern and his funds built the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center. In a general sense, the foundation supports programs that promote human dignity, a safe and enriching environment, and comprehensive support systems for individuals, children, and families. The bulk of grants have been for health and medical organizations lately, followed by social welfare, education, and youth. Past health grantees include Bryan’s House, PediPlace, the SpiritHorse Therapeutic Center, and Healing Hands Ministries. Social welfare grantees include the Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity and the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas, and education grantees include East Dallas Community School and the Montessori Institute of North Texas. The foundation has also supported gun safety, anti-death penalty efforts, tenant groups, political transparency organizations, and the economic security of women.

Thus far, most grants have been between $5,000 and $20,000 each, and go towards everything from operating expenses to capital needs and special projects. View a list of past grants on the funder’s website. Grantmaking is generally limited to the Dallas metropolitan area.

There are no application deadlines, and the foundation accepts grant proposals all throughout the year. Submit proposals via mail or email. To get in touch with the staff, complete the online contact form with questions.


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