Responding to inequities and mounting calls for change after the murder of George Floyd, Mayor Sylvester Turner and a group of Houston business executives and civic leaders have announced a pivotal new tool to help the Black community.
The new Houston Fund for Social Justice and Economic Equity aims to improve social and economic inequalities specifically by investing in grassroots nonprofit organizations and supporting economic development initiatives that empower, per a press release.
“This is a critical time for our city and country, and it is imperative that we come together and address systemic problems in the Black community,” Turner noted in a statement. “While Houston has deep philanthropic roots, this fund is the first of its kind in our city, and we will build a movement that makes Houston a national leader in opportunity and equality.”
Currently the fund has a goal of $25 million. Fund leaders are calling on corporations, foundations, and citizens to back and donate to the initiative.
Special attention will be paid to nonprofit organizations that focus on social and racial justice, economic development, youth empowerment and education, and community building, press materials note. The fund’s creators say they envision a city “where equal opportunity exists for individuals, families and businesses to grow, innovate and thrive.”
A veritable who’s-who of local power brokers manage the new fund. The board of directors includes Turner; Thomas Jones (Partner, McConnell Jones LLP); Interim Executive Director and Secretary, Stephanie Nellons-Paige (Texas Central), Vice President, Barron Wallace (Partner, Bracewell LLP); Treasurer, Winell Herron (Group Vice President of Public Affairs, Diversity and Environmental Affairs, H-E-B).
Board Members are Gerald Alley (President/CEO, Con-Real, LP); Gaurdie Banister Jr. (CEO, Different Points of View); Paul Cannings (Managing Partner, Paul Alexander Company); Shauna Clark (Global and US Chair; US Head of Employment and Labor, Norton Rose Fulbright US); Dr. Bernard A. Harris, Jr. (CEO, National Math & Science Initiative); Vanessa Gilmore (United States District Judge); Kimberly Slaughter (CEO, SYSTRA USA); and Valerie M. Williams (Independent Board and Audit Committee Member).
Administratively, the fund will initially be administered by the Greater Houston Community Foundation (GHCF). Plans dictate the fund will operate as an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with administrative staff.
For more information or to donate, visit the official website.