A private philanthropic organization with headquarters in Fort Worth, the Sid W. Richardson Foundation provides grant support for public and nonprofit educational, health, human services, and arts and humanities programs within Texas. Richardson, a wealthy oilman and rancher, had already awarded a number of scholarships and gifts to deserving local organizations when his friend and fellow philanthropist Amon Carter, persuaded him to systematize and expand his giving through the establishment of a foundation in 1947. For the remainder of his life Richardson used the foundation to channel gifts to various schools, churches, libraries, medical facilities, and civic organizations within Texas. Upon his death in 1959 Richardson bequeathed the majority of his wealth, including securities, land, and oil leases, to the foundation. The complicated nature of these holdings delayed most of the organization's use of its funds until 1962, when tax claims against its assets had been settled. Since income from assets provides its granting funds, the foundation's charitable awards during this period totaled only $7,000 in 1961, $14,500 in 1962, and $52,000 in 1963. After 1965, however, the foundation began to make more substantial awards. By December 31, 1983, the foundation had provided grants totaling $74,209,386 while amassing assets of $138,786,882. Although its awards grew substantially, requests for foundation aid also increased. For this reason in the 1980s the organization limited its activities to four categories of need and focused on specific programs within each. Its interest in education had shifted from a preference toward providing physical facilities for colleges and universities to an emphasis upon improving the quality of educational programs in the state's public elementary and secondary schools. The emphasis in health care had changed from general support of facilities and research to encouragement of research in preventive health and to the provision of health services to low-income populations. Proposals from throughout the state are considered in the education and health care fields. The foundation's human services program receives the largest number of awards. This category serves a variety of recipients, including United Way organizations, the young, the elderly, and the disabled. The foundation also supports the arts on a limited basis. Only programs from the Fort Worth area are considered for arts and human service awards. No grants are made to individuals.
In 1982 the Sid W. Richardson Foundation moved to new offices in a recently restored area of downtown Fort Worth. Displayed on the headquarters' first floor is the Sid Richardson Collection of Western Art, which consists of paintings by Frederic Remington and Charles M. Russell purchased by Richardson during his lifetime. Foundation offices are located on the second floor. Since Richardson's death, the foundation has been managed by a four-person board of directors, most of whom are family or former business associates of Richardson. An eight-member staff headed by an executive vice president handles day-to-day operation. The foundation's activities are documented by yearly reports. The current director of the foundation is Jan Brenneman.