November 29, 2023
Greater Houston Community Foundation Launches New Grantmaking Initiative to Address Intergenerational Poverty
HOUSTON, TX (November 29, 2023) – As Houston evolves, so does the Greater Houston Community Foundation (Foundation), steadfast in its commitment to driving positive change within the community. With a rich history spanning almost three decades, the Foundation officially launched its Community Impact Fund aimed at making a meaningful difference in the lives of Houstonians through efforts that speak to data, collaboration, and lasting impact. The Fund supports three key pillars of work — Understanding Houston, the Greater Houston Disaster Alliance, and a new High-Impact Grantmaking Initiative.
The High-Impact Grantmaking initiative represents a dynamic effort by the Foundation to tackle Houston’s most pressing social and economic challenges through the power of grantmaking and strategic partnerships. Informed by data, the initiative seeks to guide impactful, philanthropic investments over time to address pressing community needs, ultimately forging a brighter future for all Houstonians.
The Foundation embarked on a one-year learning journey to identify the area of focus for its new High-Impact Grantmaking initiative. Data and insights from Understanding Houston, a regional indicators project established by the Foundation in 2019, were used to identify areas where Houston has experienced worsening quality-of-life outcomes in the last decade and compared to Texas or the U.S. In addition, the Foundation engaged over 175 stakeholders, including community voices, via interviews and focus groups to hear directly how these issues impact Houstonians and where the Foundation could add the most value.
The Foundation’s Governing Board has approved a concentrated effort on supporting economic mobility with a focus on intergenerational poverty as a pivotal issue for the future of Houston. Economic mobility is an issue that offers the ability to pursue holistic strategies and initiatives that both research and promising practice suggest are required to overcome persistent disparities and systemic challenges.
In one of the wealthiest cities in the world, the reality is stark — one in four children in Harris County lives in poverty, with approximately 300,000 children experiencing the traumatic effects of growing up in impoverished conditions, according to Understanding Houston.
“Our aim is to create a Houston where every child, no matter where they start, can dream, contribute, and succeed. By prioritizing this vital issue, we hope to not only make a difference in individual lives but to collectively shape a future where opportunities are accessible to all,” stated Stephen Maislin, President and CEO. “Crucial to this journey is the recognition that we cannot do this alone. Collaboration is at the heart of our approach, working hand in hand with community partners who share our dedication to breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty.”
Over the last five years alone, Foundation donors have granted $84 million to nonprofits dedicated to community revitalization and essential services like emergency housing, food, healthcare, and more. This financial commitment underscores the Foundation donor community’s commitment to poverty alleviation and holistic, place-based solutions that will be built upon through this new collaborative effort.
Recognizing the complex landscape and the many organizations that have been working on this issue area for years, the Foundation understands the importance of centering community voices, using data and research to inform our efforts, and building genuine partnerships with other community leaders and institutions. Given the extensive needs in our community, we believe that collective action is essential for meaningful and sustainable change. In this spirit, the grantmaking will be led by a Community Grantmaking Committee that represents a diverse group of community leaders that will guide the investment strategy to support upward economic mobility.
Greater Houston Community Foundation’s ongoing efforts aim to cultivate collaboration among donors and the community, enabling them to champion causes they are passionate about and address local needs. The Foundation is actively mobilizing resources to sustainably support the efforts of the Community Impact Fund. Next steps for the High-Impact Grantmaking initiative include establishing the Community Grantmaking Committee with an aim to disburse $500,000 by the end of 2024.
For more information about the Foundation’s Community Impact work, visit www.ghcf.org/community-impact.
About Greater Houston Community Foundation
Since 1995, Greater Houston Community Foundation has helped Houston thrive by convening philanthropic resources and knowledge to drive philanthropy in our community, distributing over $2.2 billion in grants at the direction of its donors since inception. Through various charitable vehicles, including donor advised funds, the Foundation partners with donors to meet their objectives by supporting grant making, including providing programming, advising, and educational opportunities for donors to maximize their philanthropic impact.
Greater Houston Community Foundation is widely considered to be the go-to partner for high-profile philanthropic partnerships in the Greater Houston area, including major disaster relief initiatives, such as the Houston Harris County Winter Storm Relief Fund, the Greater Houston COVID-19 Recovery Fund, and, most notably, the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund. The Foundation leads collaborations that support the wellbeing and vitality of Houston including Understanding Houston, a regional indicators partnership with the Kinder Institute for Urban Research that provides key data for philanthropists, business and nonprofit leaders, to drive decision-making in important areas of investment in Houston including economic opportunity, housing and education.