Simmons Foundation

OVERVIEW: The Simmons Foundation primarily supports local organizations in the Greater Houston area and Harris County. Grantmaking interests are health, youth, civic and community, and human services.

FUNDING AREAS: Education, health, civic and community, human services, homeless populations, immigrants/refugees/victims of human trafficking, at-risk youth, women and children

IP TAKE: Check out the past annual reports to see the trends within each of Simmons’ broad categories of giving.

PROFILE: Established in 1993, the Simmons Foundation is the foundation of Ola and L.B. Simmons’ granddaughter. This is a separate grantmaking entity from the Harold Simmons Foundation, which is also based in Texas. Simmons aims to “partner with organizations that strengthen women, youth and families while building an educated, tolerant and resilient community.” The foundation focuses grantmaking on education, health, civic & community, and human services causes in Harris County, the Greater Houston area, and the surrounding Texas counties.

Health grants are the target of the first quarter of each year and focused on health advocacy and research, access to care, mental health, and reproductive health. Youth grants are awarded for the second quarter and focus on systems change for advocacy and research, child welfare, and prevention and intervention. The third quarter is for civic and community grants, which address community advocacy and research, community engagement, equity, and immigrants and refugees. Finally, fourth quarter grants are for human services, especially homelessness, domestic violence, re-entry, and advocacy related to root causes and systemic barriers. This funder likes matching grants and has offered many types of funding, including operating support, emergency funds, technical assistance, seed money, equipment, capacity building, program development, and scholarships.

Foundation grants tend to range from $10,000 to $100,000. See the foundation’s grant spending page to learn more about past grantees. Although Harris County is the primary geographical focus, Simmons occasionally funds organizations in other parts of Texas that provide services that directly benefit the county. Counties in focus are Harris, Brazoria, Galveston, Fort Bend, and Montgomery.

The Simmons Foundation accepts unsolicited letters of inquiry from nonprofits and provides information sessions for prospective grantseekers each quarter. These information sessions are mandatory for current and prospective grantees. From there, the application process is online. Direct questions to the staff at 713-268-8099 or via email


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