While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


Katherine B. Dobelman
Herman Brown
Herman Brown. Courtesy of Gittings Photography and Rice University. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.
Margarett Root Brown
Margarett Root Brown. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.
George A. and Alice Brown with Oveta Culp Hobby
George R. and Alice Pratt Brown with Oveta Culp Hobby. Courtesy of Fondren Library at Rice University. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

BROWN FOUNDATION. 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.

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


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

Handbook of Texas Online, Katherine B. Dobelman, "BROWN FOUNDATION," accessed July 02, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/vrb01.

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Modified on August 17, 2016. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...