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$2 Million Gift From Generous Houston Billionaire Couple’s Foundation Boosts Discovery Green, Makes This Gala Extra Green

Keeping the Park That Helped Transform Downtown Vital

BY // 03.01.23
photography Lawrence Elizabeth Knox

Celebrating Discovery Green’s 15th anniversary with “Gala on the Green” was indeed cause for major celebration with announcement that benefactors Nancy and Rich Kinder through their Kinder Foundation have committed $2 million for the establishment of an endowment that insures the parks longterm viability.

“It is very fulfilling to have watched Discovery Green thrive, and to see the neighborhood around the park evolve,” Kinder Foundation chair Rich Kinder says in a statement. “An endowment fund will help sustain the park for future generations.”

The family foundation has contributed more than $20.2 million to the downtown park since its inception when Nancy Kinder was founding chair of the Discovery Green Conservancy. While it is a public park, Discovery Green operates without city funding. This gift is one of many generous contributions that the foundation has made toward enhancing Houston’s green spaces.

K Cody Patel, Kusum Patel (Photo by Lawrence Elizabeth Knox)
Gala chairs K.Cody & Kusum Patel at the Gala on the Green benefiting Discovery Green. (Photo by Lawrence Elizabeth Knox)

Park coffers were enhanced by an additional $800,000 on this evening thanks to the leadership of gala chairs Kusum and K. Cody Patel. The fundraiser honored longtime president and park director Barry Mandel and Discovery Green programming director Susanne Theis, who has been leading the efforts to bring performing and visual arts to the park since 2007.

“Looking at downtown Houston now, it’s easy to forget it used to be an expanse of ugly concrete that everybody fled at 5 pm on Friday,” Mandel notes. “Thanks to the generosity of the Kinder Foundation Discovery Green is now and will continue to be a vital place for Houstonians to gather with family and friends, and to enjoy the culture and diversity of the city.”

Remarkably, the creation of Discovery Green, according to real estate records, was the catalyst for more than $1.8 billion in development that sprang up in a two-block radius around the park.

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Derrick Shore, Local Artist Ange Hillz (Photo by Lawrence Elizabeth Knox)
Emcee Derrick Shore, artist Ange Hillz at the Gala on the Green benefiting Discovery Green. (Photo by Lawrence Elizabeth Knox)

The evening was a casual affair with a “park chic” dress code, dinner and dancing beneath a party tent on the Grace Event Lawn. KPRC Channel 2 Houston Life’s Derrick Shore served as gala emcee for the evening which concluded with dancing to the sounds of the Ernest Walker Band.

PC Seen:  Saundria and Jerome Gray, Kara Kinder Vidal, Lisa Helfman, Stephen Klineberg, Linda and Mark Evans, Julie and Drew Sudduth, Brandon Bourque, Bill White, Elaine Finger, Ed Finger, Sofia Adrogué, Robert Gallegos,  Lacey Dalcour-Salas and Jason Salas Audrey and Stan Leong, and Gayle and Bob Eury.

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