Houston Couple’s $1 Million Gift Pushes United Way Philanthropy to New Level in Bayou City
Raising the Bar to Inspire an Even More Generous Gifting CampaignBY Shelby Hodge // 02.28.20
Houston singer Ashley Tamar Davis performs at the United Way Appreciation Dinner. (Photo by Si Vo)
United Way community campaign chair Dan Gilbane demonstrating that help is only a 211 phone call away.(Photo by Quy Tran)
Decie Autin, Marty Goossen, Becky Rush (Photo by Quy Tran)
Rich & Nancy Kinder the first to make a $1 million donation to the United Way of Greater Houston thereby establishing a new level of giving. (Photo by Karen Sacher)
Anne Neeson, Bobby & Phoebe Tudor (Photo by Quy Tran)
Jeff & Wendy Hines (Photo by Quy Tran)
Amy & Jonathan Homeyer (Photo by Quy Tran)
Terry & Carol Koonce, Marianne & Neil Duffin (Photo by Quy Tran)
Stewart O'Dell, Lynn Mathre (Photo by Quy Tran)
Lynne Liberato, George Connelly (Photo by Quy Tran)
Frank Wilson IV & Donna Sims Wilson (Photo by Quy Tran)
Jamey & Melissa Rootes (Photo by Quy Tran)
Anna & SJ Babin (Photo by Quy Tran)
Corina & Armando Perez (Photo by Quy Tran)
Keith Gurule, Heather Wilkinson (Photo by Quy Tran)
Mike & Robin Yeager (Photo by Quy Tran)
Kathy Goossen, Anita Smith (Photo by Quy Tran)
Merrill & Joe Hafner (Photo by Quy Tran)
Dorthy & Mickey Ables, Laura Bellows (Photo by Quy Tran)
Lex Gillian, Cathy Nunnally (Photo by Quy Tran)
Blake & Dawn Pounds (Photo by Si Vo)
Not since Bill Gates and Warren Buffet founded The Giving Pledge has philanthropy enjoyed such a boost as the recent uptick in giving levels announced by the United Way of Greater Houston at its annual Alexis de Toqueville Society dinner. Those committing $1 million join the elite giving level of Luminary.
First to the table with the seven-figure contribution are Nancy and Rich Kinder, who are ranked No. 67 on Forbes list of billionaires and widely recognized as the city’s most generous philanthropists.
When their gift from The Kinder Foundation was announced in mid-January both the couple and United Way president and CEO Anna Babin expressed their hope that the Luminary giving level will inspire others to join them and to give generously during the current 2019-20 campaign.
“We know that 40 percent of our neighbors in this community – over 800,000 households — are struggling every day just to make ends meet. It is an issue we must all address and generous donors like Rich and Nancy Kinder are leading the way by investing in this community so that more families can thrive,” Babin said in a statement. “We created the name Luminary because it describes how the Kinders are lighting the path to a better future for others through their support of United Way.”
The $1 million gift was officially announced at the de Toqueville Society appreciation dinner held in the soaring lobby of the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts. More than 300 society members, those who personally commit $10,000 each year to the United Way, gathered for the dinner.
The local United Way boasts 650 society members, who together contributed $16 million to fuel United Way’s work in the community, a figure that is likely to grow in the final months of United Way’s community campaign.
The local office reports that the new giving level has been “very well-received and sparked great conversations about the impact on United Way’s work.” However, it is too early in the discussion stage to confirm if there are donors arranging a gift at this level.
The evening also served as a swan song for Babin, who is retiring at the end of March after 14 years of serving the nonprofit. The salute included a special toast and performance of “I Look to You,” performed by Grammy-nominated Houston artist Ashley Tamar Davis.
PC Seen: Dorothy and Mickey Ables, Merrill and Joe Hafner, Anita Smith, Kathy and Marty Goossen, Corina and Armando Perez, Melissa and Jamey Rootes, Phoebe and Bobby Tudor, Lynne Liberato, Donna Sims Wilson and Frank Wilson IV, Anna McLean and Wendy and Jeff Hines.