Kinder Foundation: Texas Grants

OVERVIEW: Richard and Nancy Kinder established a family foundation in 1997 to contribute to parks, education, and human services in and around their hometown of Houston. Richard, the Chairman and CEO of energy company Kinder Morgan, is worth an estimated $7 billion, which is down from the over $12 billion in recent years. He and his wife have committed to giving 95 percent of their wealth away to charity. 

FUNDING AREAS: Urban green space, education, hunger, emergency shelter, heart and cancer treatment, children’s hospitals

IP TAKE: Preserving Houston’s parks and making them more accessible is one of the most important aspects of Kinder Foundation grantmaking. Unfortunately for grantseekers, the Kinder Foundation doesn’t accept unsolicited grant requests of any kind.

PROFILE: The Kinder Foundation is focused on enriching the lives in people in the Greater Houston area through grants for urban green space, education, and quality of life. Formerly known as the Richard D. Kinder Foundation, this is a family foundation that’s solely funded by Richard and Nancy Kinder. The couple created their own foundation in 1997 and although they grew up in small towns in Missouri and Louisiana, Houston is their beloved longtime home.

Since the foundation was established, it has granted over $260 million in gifts and pledges. And since 2008, grantmaking has increased steadily. In a past year for example, Kinder awarded at least $41.5 million in grants with over $15.2 million going towards quality of life, over $21.2 million to parks and green space projects, and nearly $5 million to education. Sizeable grants in the first two categories have already been approved through 2020.

Check out the Major Gifts page for an update on what Kinder has been funding lately.

Buffalo Bayou is the most significant natural resource in Houston, so maintaining and preserving the park is a priority of the Kinder Foundation. The foundation announced plans to give $50 million to the Houston Parks Board’s Bayou Greenways 2020 project to create new parkland and trails to connect green spaces along the bayous in the city.

The Kinders were hardcore George W. Bush supporters and helped create the George W. Bush Institute and the George W. Bush Presidential Center with a $10 million grant. The Bush Center is located on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, and the Bush Institute is the policy arm of the center. The Kinders have also been longtime supporters of Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts, Catholic schools through the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, and the Nau Center for Texas Cultural Heritage. Kinder Quality of Life grants have gone to the Texas Heart Institute, the DePelchin Children’s Center, the Houston Food Bank, and the MD Anderson Cancer Center. Grants in the millions of dollars are not uncommon to see from this funder.

Kinder is focused primarily, but not exclusively, on the Houston metropolitan area and the state of Texas. Unfortunately for grantseekers, this is a foundation that does not accept unsolicited requests for grants. Like many private family foundations, Kinder only contributes to pre-selected charitable organizations.

The best way to get in touch with the foundation is by sending a letter to the foundation’s president, Nancy Kinder, at PO Box 130776, Houston, TX 77219. Nancy is the focused philanthropist in the family and serves on the board of directors of DePelchin Children’s Center Foundation, Discovery Green Corporation, and the MD Anderson Cancer Center.

The couple signed the Giving Pledge in 2011 and has committed to giving 95 percent of their wealth to charitable causes either during their lifetimes or at their deaths.


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