The Houston Endowment is a grantmaking foundation founded in 1937 by Jesse H. Jones and Mary Gibbs Jones as an extension of their personal philanthropy. The organization gives grants to organization throughout the greater Houston area. Today, the endowment gives approximately $80,000,000 each year to organizations including some left-wing immigration and environmental groups.
Support of Left-Wing Immigration Policy
The Houston Endowment has taken liberal stances on immigration policy and has worked with other groups to support their left-wing views. In 2017, the Houston Endowment signed onto a letter from Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR) opposing the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, an Obama administration policy granting legal status to certain illegal immigrants which critics claim exceeded Presidential authority. Other left-wing groups that signed the letter include the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, Crossroads Fund, Hispanics in Philanthropy, and Liberty Hill Foundation. In 2018, the Houston Endowment signed onto another GCIR letter opposing the Trump Administration’s zero-tolerance policy at the border, which liberal organizations such as the Ford Foundation, NEO Philanthropy, and The James Irvine Foundation signed as well. The Houston Endowment also co-sponsored a 2018 GCIR trip that focused on how illegal immigrants were being affected by increased immigration enforcement and the administration’s rollback of the DACA and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) programs.
In 2018, the Houston Endowment cosponsored an event hosted by the Migration Policy Institute. The event featured speakers from left-of-center groups Mi Familia Vota, Council on American-Islamic Relations Texas, and United We Dream. The speakers focused on how ending DACA and TPS would affect illegal immigrants.
In 2013, the Houston Endowment helped to form the in the Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative (HILSC) which provides services to illegal immigrants. One such service is the Immigrant Rights Hotline, which the Houston Endowment highlights on its website. The hotline is a project supported by various left-wing groups including the ACLU of Texas and United We Dream. HILSC encourages illegal immigrants to apply for Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and DACA. From 2016 to 2017 the Houston Endowment provides $875,000 in funding to the HILSC.
Leftist Environmental Policy
The Houston Endowment helped to found the One Breath Partnership (OBP). The OBP pushes left-wing environmental policies such as higher fuel efficiency standards, increased federal intervention in local environmental issues, and opposition to the Trump administration’s push to reduce the burden of environmental regulations on businesses.   The OBP gained national attention in the wake of Hurricane Harvey for its focus on how Harvey affected air pollution in Houston.
A notable left-wing partner of the Houston Foundation is the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). In 2016, the Houston Endowment gave $1,620,000 to the EDF for a public awareness campaign. The campaign was also supported by left-of-center groups Environmental Integrity Project, Environment Texas, and Public Citizen.
Democratic Party Connections
Lina Hidalgo (D) was sworn into office as Harris County Judge January 1st, 2019. One of her first actions in office was to announce a major community engagement program supported by the Houston Endowment and left-of-center Ford Foundation.
During the 2018 election, the Democratic candidate for Texas’s 2nd Congressional District was Todd Litton, a former employee of the Houston Endowment.