a hefty serving

Houston's billionaire benefactors gift $1.3M to star chef Chris Williams' food charity

Houston's Kinders gift $1.3M to star chef Chris Williams' food charity

Chef Chris Williams Lucille's
Chris Williams established Lucille's 1913 in 2020. Photo by Bear Hands Media
Lucille's 1913 van fleet
The donation funded the purchase of new vans. Courtesy of Lucille's 1913
Kinder Foundation Lucille's 1913 holiday meal
Chris Williams with Nancy and Rich Kinder. Photo by Darryl Howard
Chef Chris Williams Lucille's
Lucille's 1913 van fleet
Kinder Foundation Lucille's 1913 holiday meal

One of Houston’s premier charitable foundations has provided a local nonprofit with a game-changing donation that will allow it to feed more Houstonians in need.

The Kinder Foundation has contributed $1.315 million to Lucille’s 1913, a 501(c)3 started by Lucille’s Hospitality Group founder Chris Williams that fights food insecurity in Houston. Founded in 2020, the organization has served 400,000 meals to residents in neighborhoods such as Sunnyside, Acres Homes, Fifth Ward, and Third Ward. Williams has received national acclaim for Lucille’s 1913, including a Heads of the Table award from Bon Appetit, an appearance on Top Chef, and a James Beard Award finalist nomination for Outstanding Restaurateur.

The donation provides $700,000 that will allow Lucille’s 1913 to expand its prepared meal delivery from hundreds of meals per day to thousands. Another $315,000 will allow the organization to expand its missions of training and employment for residents of traditionally under-resourced neighborhoods and “[empowering] communities to discover a self-sustainable livelihood through food,” according to a release. Already, the organization has used some of the funds to purchase new vans to deliver more meals per day and expand its ability to respond to future disasters.

“Our hope at the Kinder Foundation is that no one in Houston will go hungry,” Kinder Foundation CEO Nancy Kinder said in a statement. “We applaud Chris Williams and Lucille’s 1913 for the work they do to feed so many Houstonians in need, especially with their current effort to feed seniors in Third Ward and surrounding communities. We are deeply proud to support their mission.”

The donation deepens a relationship that began in 2020, when the Kinder Foundation donated $70,000 to Lucille’s 1913 that allowed it to distribute 5,000 meals in time for Christmas.

“We are thrilled to be expanding our relationship with Kinder Foundation,” Williams said. “They have supported our vision from the beginning, and this donation truly changes Lucille’s 1913’s immediate impact. Their belief in our expanded mission will enable us to get out there and do what we do best — use food to create a sustainable livelihood for Houstonians in need.”

Supporting Lucille’s 1913 is just one way that the Kinder Foundation has improved Houston. Its $70 million gift to Memorial Park helped fund the new land bridge that opens this week. In January, the Foundation announced it contributed funds as part of a $20 million effort to establish the Houston Local News Initiative, a non-profit journalism project.