HOUSTON ENDOWMENT. Houston Endowment was established in 1937 by Mary (Gibbs) and Jesse Holman Jones as an extension of their personal philanthropy. They made substantial gifts to the foundation, and it became the principal beneficiary of their estates after their deaths. The foundation, whose purpose is the support of any charitable undertaking, contributes to a broad spectrum of programs in education, health care, human services, cultural arts, and other areas. Although the Joneses imposed no geographic restrictions on grants, their actions and words supported a policy that the majority of funds be directed to programs serving the people of the greater Houston area and the state of Texas. The foundation is governed by a board of directors and is managed by its professional staff. The directors meet regularly to determine investment and administrative policies and to consider grant requests. In the early 1990s Houston Endowment Incorporated was the largest private philanthropic foundation in Texas and ranked among the largest in the nation. During its first twenty-five years, the foundation made grants totaling about $24 million, and by the end of 2000 grants in excess of $749 million had been disbursed. An endowment valued at more than $1.5 billion in 2001 allowed annual giving of some $67 million.
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