Houston Endowment Grant

Houston Endowment

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Grant amount: Up to US $1,000,000

Deadline: Rolling

Applicant type: Indigenous Group Government Entity Nonprofit

Funding uses: Training / Capacity Building, Capital Project, General Operating Expense, Education / Outreach, Research, Project / Program

Location of project: Counties in Texas: Brazoria County, Chambers County, Fort Bend County, Galveston County, Harris County Show all

Location of residency: Counties in Texas: Brazoria County, Chambers County, Fort Bend County, Galveston County, Harris County Show all

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About this funder:



Houston Endowment welcomes inquiries from organizations that will help us drive our priorities as we work to enhance the vibrancy of greater Houston and advance equity of opportunity for the people who live here.

Focus Areas

The issues we seek to address are complex, interrelated and often involve a complex policy framework and complicated public systems. To address these challenges, we work with urgency and in collaboration with others, embracing bold or innovative ideas with potential for significant impact.

We are particularly interested in opportunities that:

Have great potential to sustain or increase the vibrancy of greater Houston

  • Address the most critical issues for our region
  • Recognize the interconnectedness of issues
  • Drive our stated priorities
  • Have the potential to benefit large numbers of residents
  • Are “ripe” for investment, that is, where circumstances are favorable for positive impact

Strong Civic Assets

Ensure that great cultural assets and civic amenities are available to all

Strong Arts Ecosystem

  • Build the capacity of arts organizations and strengthen greater Houston’s arts ecosystem

Greater Houston is home to a wide array of dynamic arts and cultural institutions that provide opportunities for personal enrichment; bring communities together to celebrate, reflect and learn; and contribute to civic pride and our region’s economic well-being. However, many arts organizations face challenges to operational sustainability as they pursue their missions. Houston Endowment provides support to sustain and enhance the arts sector.

The foundation currently engages in efforts to:

  • Provide innovative solutions to system challenges such as inclusion, relevance and financial sustainability;
  • Build the capacity of arts and culture organizations that contribute to sector vibrancy, resiliency and impact; and
  • Enhance public policy benefiting the greater Houston arts and culture sector.

Equitable Arts Engagement

  • Create opportunities for all to engage in diverse and meaningful arts and culture experiences

Exposure to the arts develops essential skills such as creativity, perception and critical thinking and contributes to positive community norms such as empathy and free expression. However, a number of geographic, socioeconomic and cultural barriers may prevent residents in our region from fully engaging in high-quality arts and cultural experiences. Houston Endowment invests in strategic initiatives to expand access to arts and culture for all residents.

The foundation currently engages in efforts to:

  • Cultivate audiences that reflect greater Houston;
  • Increase understanding of the cultural needs and interests of the broad public;
  • Expand broad-scale programming that results in greater access to high-quality, high-impact arts education for children; and
  • Infuse arts and culture into multi-sector community initiatives.

Park Equity

  • Seed and transform parks and greenspaces to increase park equity

Parks and natural landscapes provide opportunities for physical activity and social connectivity and contribute to a community’s character. Fewer than half of Houston’s residents live within the recommended 10-minute walk of a park. Houston Endowment seeks to seed and transform parks and other greenspaces that support recreation and connectivity, with emphasis on underserved areas.

The foundation currently engages in efforts to:

  • Assess the availability and condition of local parks, estimate future risks and plan for improvement;
  • Acquire, enhance and ensure access to parks and greenspaces, emphasizing underserved areas; and
  • Strengthen the capacity of organizations carrying out strategic park development.

Thriving Residents

  • Cultivate conditions in which residents can thrive
Access to Healthcare

  • Increase access to comprehensive primary and preventive healthcare

Houston Endowment believes all residents should have access to high-quality, comprehensive clinical care, regardless of their income or the neighborhood they call home. A substantial portion of residents do not have health insurance, and are thus less likely to access the care they need in the most appropriate setting. Further, greater Houston’s community-based system for primary, preventive, mental health and substance abuse services is inadequate to meet demand. Houston Endowment invests in efforts to expand access and improve the quality and efficiency of essential care.

The foundation currently engages in efforts to:

  • Coordinate across providers to improve the quality, accessibility and sustainability of the community clinic system;
  • Align systems and policies to increase access to mental and behavioral health services; and
  • Encourage stakeholders to ensure health insurance coverage for under-resourced populations.

Effective Systems of Support

  • Align systems of support to provide efficient and effective services for under-resourced populations

Houston Endowment seeks to improve the systems and policies addressing under-resourced populations across the region, with a particular focus on addressing adverse childhood experiences – potentially traumatic events such as abuse, neglect or exposure to challenging family circumstances – that can have negative, lasting effects on health and well-being. We are especially interested in multi-system initiatives with the potential to positively influence regional policies and practices.

The foundation currently engages in efforts to:

  • Strengthen the social safety net for all children and under-resourced populations;
  • Support effective centers of community; and
  • Support proof-of-concept initiatives with potential to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of systems that enhance the well-being of the children of greater Houston.
 The foundation currently works in the following areas:
  • Domestic violence
  • Homelessness
  • Immigration
  • Justice reform
  • Juvenile welfare
  • Reproductive health

Resilient Communities

  • Foster resilient communities

Living in a community with access to safe and stable housing, healthy food, green spaces, high-quality education, support services and opportunities for civic engagement is necessary for personal well-being and resilience. Houston Endowment seeks to improve the well-being of people in greater Houston by helping communities strengthen and leverage their assets and mitigate the social and environmental factors that have a significant negative impact on residents.

The foundation currently engages in efforts to:

  • Mitigate barriers to health and social well-being through systems and policy change; and
  • Work collaboratively to address multiple challenges within a particular community.

Post-Secondary Success

  • Ensure all students have the opportunity to achieve post-secondary success

Effective School Systems

  • Promote school systems that effectively educate all students

To effectively educate all students and develop the next generation of leaders, the region must have high-quality school systems. These school systems must work in partnership with youth, parents, educators and the community to meet the needs of all students. Houston Endowment supports initiatives that promote high-quality school systems across greater Houston.

The foundation currently engages in efforts to:

  • Support innovation and growth within high-performing school systems;
  • Build capacity in communities and schools to provide effective and aligned support for student success; and
  • Equip leaders with high-quality research and data to inform decision-making.

Great Teachers and Leaders

  • Increase the number of highly effective teachers and school leaders

Numerous studies point to the impact of teacher and school leader quality on student achievement. Houston Endowment seeks to strengthen the effectiveness of greater Houston’s teachers and school leaders, with particular emphasis on systems-level solutions.

The foundation currently engages in efforts to:

  • Strengthen the pipeline of effective new teachers and school leaders in the region; and
  • Promote system-level approaches to teacher and school leader training to advance student success.

College Success

  • Strengthen the systems that increase college completion

Education beyond high school provides expanded career options and greater opportunity for financial stability. However, students across greater Houston face numerous barriers to achieving post-secondary success. Houston Endowment seeks to strengthen the systems that promote college readiness and access and support college persistence and completion, with a focus on students from under-resourced backgrounds. The foundation has a particular interest in collaborative initiatives that coordinate multiple systems to support these students.

The foundation currently engages in efforts to:

  • Increase the number of high school students who are college-ready;
  • Support college access programs; and
  • Invest in innovative programs in which multiple systems collaborate to support students.

Stronger Region

Strengthen the capacity and resiliency of greater Houston

Healthy Environment

  • Protect the air, land and water resources that benefit the region’s residents

aGreater Houston sits at the confluence of a number of distinct ecosystems, each providing benefits to local residents, such as reducing urban flooding and improving air and water quality. Houston Endowment seeks to preserve valuable natural resources so that all residents can thrive as the region grows.

The foundation currently engages in efforts to:

  • Understand and communicate the conditions of the natural environment, estimate future risks and assess opportunities for improvement;
  • Encourage stakeholders to advance policy and practice change;
  • Engage communities in efforts to protect natural resources;
  • Leverage public and private resources to protect valuable lands; and
  • Strengthen the capacity of organizations that carry out strategic resource protection efforts.

Strong Urban Landscape

  • Ensure sustainable development patterns, efficient transportation and safe neighborhoods

Houston faces housing, mobility and infrastructure challenges that negatively impact access to opportunity, quality of life and the local environment. Houston Endowment seeks to foster urban environments with sustainable development patterns that provide all of Houston’s residents with vibrant neighborhoods, access to efficient transportation and safe streets for walking and bicycling.

The foundation currently engages in efforts to:

  • Understand and communicate the conditions of the urban environment, estimate future risks and assess opportunities for improvement;
  • Encourage stakeholders to engage in urban planning and advance policy and practice change;
  • Engage communities in efforts to advocate for a high-functioning urban environment; and
  • Strengthen the capacity of organizations that carry out strategic urban development efforts.

Preparing for the Future

  • Increase the region’s capacity to plan for future needs

As one of the fastest growing and most diverse metropolitan areas of the country, greater Houston faces a number of complex challenges related to rapid growth, geographic spread and a multiplicity of public entities. Houston Endowment supports public and private sector initiatives to strengthen the region’s ability to meet the needs of residents today and help its leaders more effectively plan for the future.

  • While by their nature these types of investments are unique, they may be focused on one or more of the following:
  • Increasing informed civic engagement;
  • Empowering residents to be effective advocates regarding key community issues;
  • Providing reliable data and information to help decision-makers act to protect and enhance the well-being of residents; or
  • Building the capacity of institutions to plan for, prevent or respond to climate change, natural disasters or other serious and widespread threats to the population.

 A number of initiatives within our other focus areas also contribute toward building the capacity and resiliency of the region.

Types of Investments

Houston Endowment makes grants for a wide range of purposes to organizations and entities serving greater Houston. Houston Endowment is open to providing funding for appropriate administrative expenses related to relevant operations.

  • Building Capacity Grants are for efforts intended to strengthen organizations by expanding institutional knowledge, skills or abilities that will be maintained over time. This effort must be likely to lead to demonstrably better results for the people the organization serves.
  • Capital Improvement Grants are for the acquisition, construction or improvement of a physical asset that is critical in order to obtain demonstrably better results for the people the organization serves.
  • General Operating Support are unrestricted funds for organizations that are strongly aligned with the program goals of the foundation and operate effectively with ambitious, clearly defined strategic priorities that benefit the greater Houston area.
  • Project Support Grants are for programs or projects sponsored by entities that have a verifiable record of success leading to measurable results. Existing programs, expanding programs, new programs and onetime projects are eligible.
  • Public Policy and Engagement Grants are for efforts to inform public decision-making and improve the public’s ability to address a specific issue affecting a clearly defined population. Examples include community engagement activities, efforts to educate stakeholders and policymakers and public awareness initiatives. At a minimum, applications must demonstrate that the proposed effort is well researched and will lead to benefits for the defined population.
  • Research Grants are for investigations that provide actionable data on a particular field through objective analysis of a specific system, issue or condition that affects greater Houston or its residents. At a minimum, applications must demonstrate that the proposed research is rigorously designed and will have the potential to make a significant impact on the system, issue or condition being investigated.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • Funding inquiries will be considered if and only if all of the following criteria are met:
    • The submitting organization is a 501(c)(3) organization described in section 509(a)(1), (2), or (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. This includes public charities, governmental organizations, and eligible supporting organizations. (Organizations will be reviewed throughout the process to verify eligibility.)
    • The concept advances one or more of our priorities.
    • The concept will benefit the people of greater Houston, including Harris County and its contiguous counties (Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Liberty, Montgomery and Waller counties).
  • In addition to determining basic eligibility, we consider additional organizational criteria as part of our due diligence process, including:
    • Strong, stable leadership and governance
    • Sound financial management
    • Ability to achieve impact and help drive our vision and mission
    • Awareness of current context
    • Recognition of the interconnected nature of challenges facing our community
    • Deep engagement with those whom the entity serves
    • Demonstrated commitment to partner and collaborate to achieve impact
    • Evidence that the proposed approach is likely to be effective and/or provide a significant opportunity to advance the field
    • Commitment to defining clear goals and tracking results, learning and adapting, and sharing results and learnings with others


  • Houston Endowment awards funds for a number of purposes. Typically, we do not fund:
    • Student scholarships
    • Endowment funds
    • Fundraising events or galas
    • Individual memorials
    • Lobbying efforts, as defined by the Internal Revenue Service
    • Religious activities