Brown Foundation

By: Katherine B. Dobelman

Type: General Entry

Published: November 1, 1994

Updated: August 11, 2016

The Brown Foundation, in Houston, Texas, was established in 1951 by Margarett and Herman Brown and Alice and George R. Brown as a nonprofit charitable foundation. The Browns accumulated substantial wealth from the mid-1900s construction and oil pipeline industry. In 1962 the Browns gave additional resources to the foundation; in 1963, after their deaths, the estate of Margarett and Herman Brown was given to the Brown Foundation. All funds donated to the foundation and income generated from these funds are to be used for public charitable purposes, principally for support, encouragement, and assistance to the arts and education. The Brown Foundation awards grants to artistic, educational, medical, and other charitable organizations. The affairs of the foundation are managed by a board of trustees composed of ten members, nine of whom are related either by blood, adoption, or marriage to one of the four original donors. Since 1951, the Brown Foundation has awarded at least $1.4 billion in grants, with nearly 80 percent staying within the state of Texas. By 2014, the foundation reported $1.3 billion in assets and almost $75 million in total giving. Local education grants included $68,000 to the Children's Center for Self Esteem, $50,000 to the Brenda and John H. Duncan Rise School of Houston, $25,000 to Houston's Center for Hearing and Speech. The foundation regularly awards grants to nonprofits outside of Texas, including San Francisco, Tulsa, Boston, and Little Rock. Additionally, the Brown Foundation contributed $10,000 to the Aurora Picture Show, $100,000 to the Center for African American Military History, and $225,000 to the Contemporary Arts Museum of Houston. Recent grant amounts range from $1,000 to $4.2 million. The Brown Foundation funds projects that address root causes of a concern rather than treating symptoms, serve as a catalyst to stimulate collaborative efforts by several sectors of the community, result in a growing and long lasting impact on the situation beyond the value of the grant itself, and reflect and encourage sound financial planning and solid management practices in administration of the project.

The Hooper Directory of Texas Foundations.

Time Periods:
  • Texas Post World War II
  • Houston
  • Upper Gulf Coast
  • East Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Katherine B. Dobelman, “Brown Foundation,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 28, 2022,

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November 1, 1994
August 11, 2016

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