COVID-19 charity

6 Texas billionaires lending financial help during the coronavirus crisis

6 Texas billionaires lending financial help during coronavirus crisis

Houston, Blue Bird Circle Gala with Lyle Lovett, April 2017, Bob McNair, Janice McNair, Lyle Lovett, Hannah McNair, Cal McNair
Janice McNair (second left) has donated $500,000 to local organizations.  Photo by Jenny Antill Clifton

Six Texas billionaires have received a shout-out from Forbes magazine for what they or their companies are doing to help people touched by the coronavirus pandemic.

Forbes has published a regularly updated roundup of the good deeds being done by billionaires or their companies amid the COVID-19 crisis. What follows are some of the acts of kindness being carried out by Texas billionaires.

Here in Houston, Janice McNair, majority owner of the Houston Texans, has contributed $500,000 to the Houston Food Bank and Interfaith Ministries of Greater Houston Meals on Wheels, according to Forbes. The Houston Food Bank, in particular, is in critical need of donations and supplies. 

Elsewhere, in Dallas, Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, is fully reimbursing employees for breakfast or lunch purchases made at independently owned eateries in the Dallas area, Forbes notes. In addition, employees of the American Airlines Center are being paid as if the NBA season hadn’t been paused.

Furthermore, Cuban has teamed up with Mavericks Luka Doncic and Dwight Powell to donate $500,000 to support healthcare workers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and Parkland Health & Hospital System, according to Forbes.

In Austin, the charitable foundation of tech executive Michael Dell is contributing $100 million to COVID-19 relief, including a $20 million pledge to Bill Gates’ COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator, according to Forbes. The remaining $80 million will be earmarked for health care systems, nonprofits, education initiatives, and small businesses.

Billionaire Stan Kroenke, who lives on a ranch near Wichita Falls, said March 14 that all hourly workers at Denver-based Kroenke Sports & Entertainment would be paid for the next 30 days, Forbes says. The company owns five professional sports teams.

His wife, Ann Walton Kroenke, along with Alice Walton of Fort Worth, are heirs to the Walmart fortune. On March 23, the Arkansas-based retailer said it would boost hourly pay for warehouse workers by $2 an hour, Forbes says. Before that, Walmart promised $550 million in cash bonuses for hourly workers, and Walmart and its charitable foundation committed $25 million for COVID-19 relief programs.

In addition, Walmart is waiving rent for store tenants, such as hair salons and restaurants, for the month of April.

On April 7, Forbes released its annual list of the world’s richest people, and Alice Walton once again came out on top among Texas billionaires. Globally, she ranks ninth, with an estimated net worth of $54.4 billion. She also ranks as the world’s richest woman.

Here are the other Texan billionaires who made Forbes’ top 200 worldwide:

  • Michael Dell, Austin — No. 33, $22.9 billion
  • Stan Kroenke, Electra, Texas — No. 135, $10 billion
  • Jerry Jones, Dallas — No. 169, $8 billion
  • Andy Beal, Dallas — No. 179, $7.9 billion 
  • Ann Walton Kroenke, Electra, Texas — No. 179, $7.9 billion