OVERVIEW: Lyda Hill, a successful entrepreneur and granddaughter of an oil tycoon, established her own philanthropic foundation in 1997 to support scientific and environmental innovations in Texas and Colorado.
FUNDING AREAS: Early stage bio-medical research, environment, ocean preservation, alternative energy, science and math education, cancer research
IP TAKE: Unfortunately for grantseekers, the Lyda Hill Foundation does not accept unsolicited inquires. In addition to the current foundation priorities, there are several other causes that are close to Lyda's heart. As a breast cancer survivor, she has contributed generously to cancer research in the past. Ocean and marine life preservation and medical device innovation also strike a chord with her.
PROFILE: Lyda Hill describes herself as a “serial entrepreneur,” and she comes from a long line of successful business leaders in Texas. She’s a Dallas native and the granddaughter of oil tycoon and conservative Republican political activist, H.L. Hunt. Hill is a resident of both Texas and Colorado, so not surprisingly, her charitable giving is focused in these two states. Hill established her own philanthropic foundation in 1997, and she donated $63.2 million to charity in 2013.
Not only is Hill an oil heiress, she also made a name for herself in the industries of travel, business, and philanthropy. In 1967, Hill launched Hill World Travel, which became the largest travel agency in Dallas and one of the largest in the country until she sold it in 1982. In the early '90s, she made a significant investment in the Fort Worth Stockyards, which is a historic tourist area that highlights the city’s western heritage. In 1970, she became President of Seven Falls, a tourist attraction near Colorado Springs, and in 1995, she developed the Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Center in Colorado Springs.
The Lyda Hill Foundation believes that science is the answer to the world’s problems, and it interested in funding organizations that make game-changing advances in nature and science research. Staying true to her interests in science and medicine, Hill founded a women’s breast cancer care center, funded a venture capital fund for biomedical products and therapies, and supports science and math education programs for institutions that she's personally affiliated with.
Past local grantees include the American Red Cross of Dallas, the Baylor Health Care System Foundation, The Trinity Trust, and the Southwestern Medical Foundation. She made headlines in 2012 after donating $1 million to the local Dallas National Public Radio affiliate and more recently for her $50 million contribution to the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center's Moon Shots Program to fight cancer. This is an especially meaningful show of support because Hill is a breast cancer survivor and many other members of her family have been affected by cancer too.
Over the years, Hill has been a big supporter of natural resources and the environment. She recently gave $7 million to the Nature Conservatory for marine conservation efforts. She’s also teamed up with Pew Charitable Trusts and other funders to preserve ocean habitats. Early stage bio-medical research and alternative energy are also primary interest areas.
In a recent year, the Lyda Hill Foundation reported just over $8.5 million in assets and a little over a million dollars in total giving. Now devoted to philanthropy full time, the health-conscious and trim woman in her early 70s has signed the Giving Pledge to maximize the impact of her giving. Given Hill’s family background, this all comes very naturally.
“I didn’t know voluntarism was voluntary, because my mother always took me along when she volunteered,” Hill explained. “My family has always made contributions and supported things.”
Unfortunately for grantseekers, the Lyda Hill Foundation does not accept unsolicited grant requests at this time. If your organization is preapproved to apply for a grant, you are only then able to fill out an application form online. As a general rule, grants are not awarded to individuals, religious entities, or for scholarships. You can reach out to the staff at 214-922-1100 with general questions.