Rainwater Charitable Foundation: Texas Grants

OVERVIEW: The Rainwater Charitable Foundation supports mostly education causes around Fort Worth Texas but also research for neurodegenerative diseases.

FUNDING AREAS: Early childhood education, K-12 education, public schools, teacher and principal training, neurodegenerative disease research

IP TAKE: Nonprofits have the best chance of catching Rainwater’s attention with an early childhood education or teacher/principal training program. This is a funder especially partial to the Fort Worth area.

PROFILE: Established in the early 1990s, the Rainwater Charitable Foundation is the foundation of the late investment billionaire Richard Rainwater. The founder got his start in the investment industry for the Bass family in the 1970s. As an independent investor, Rainwater founded ENSCO International, Columbia Hospital Corporation, Mid Ocean Limited, and Crescent Real Estate Equities. Grantmaking areas of interest are early childhood education, K-12 education, public schools, teacher and principal training, and neurodegenerative disease research.

Early childhood education has always been a big focus of the foundation. Grants support public education through 12th grade, with specific efforts on school leadership. believes that improving education begins with principals and supports development programs for principals as well as teachers. The Rainwater Leadership Alliance was established in 2008 to bring districts, nonprofits, and foundations together to improve principal and teacher quality. Education efforts in both Fort Worth and South Carolina, where Rainwater’s wife is from, are the geographic focus areas.

In 2009, Rainwater was diagnosed with progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), and started supporting research for neurodegenerative diseases. This is a disease with no known cause, treatment, or cure, and the foundation’s personal connection to it has expanded overall grantmaking. Rainwater formed the Tau Consortium with at least 35 leading physicians and researchers in the field to find a cure. Rainwater has given millions to this cause.

Foundation grants are often in the $100,000 to $500,000 range. The funder does not share an online grants database on its website. Past grantees include $500,000 to UNTHSC’s healthy aging programs, the Zero to Five Funders Collaborative, Real School Gardens, and the Morningside Children’s Partnership. The founder spent much of his life in Fort Worth, Texas, and therefore, a significant portion of grants are made in this region. Giving in Texas has largely been focused on the birth-to-five demographic in recent years.

The Rainwater Foundation does not accept unsolicited grant proposals or letters of inquiry. Direct general questions to the foundation staff at information@rainwatercf.org.

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