Beloved Houston philanthropists, Rich and Nancy Kinder, recently wrote a huge check to the United Way of Greater Houston — and with their gift came a brand new level of leadership giving.
The Kinders' $1 million gift establishes the Luminary level of giving for individuals making gifts to the non-profit’s annual community campaign. Anyone else who makes a million-dollar (or above) gift will be recognized at that level. The Luminary level is part of the United Way of Greater Houston’s Alexis de Tocqueville Society, a group comprised of hundreds of generous individuals who together contributed more than $17 million to United Way last year.
The Kinders' gift enables the United Way to continue its mission to help those in need throughout the Houston community. The charity assists Houston's most vulnerable with basic needs assistance, job training and financial coaching, early childhood education, youth development services, and affordable health care.
“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,” said Anna M. Babin, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Houston in a press release announcing the gift. “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 Kinders emphasized the necessary work done throughout the community by the United Way and said those efforts inspired them to make this gift. But they also recognize that more gifts by individual donors are necessary.
“The United Way anticipates that the role of the individual donor will be increasingly important in the decades ahead, and Rich and I agree,” said Nancy Kinder, CEO of the Kinder Foundation, in a statement. “We support the strategic plan of the organization.”
That plan, called Second Century Vision, strengthens its focus on helping the working poor, and those living below the poverty level, to attain a more sustainable quality of life.
This isn't this first large check the Kinders have written. In 2018, the couple revealed a historic, $70 million grant to Memorial Park.