Greater Texas Foundation emerged in its present form following the election of its predecessor entity, the Greater Texas Student Loan Corporation, to expand its charitable purpose. Headquartered in Bryan, Texas, the foundation serves the citizens and educational institutions of Texas by supporting initiatives that increase rates of post-secondary enrollment and completion for all Texas students, with a particular focus on students who may encounter barriers to post-secondary success.
Additionally, the foundation invests in math and science education, more specifically in programs from the fourth grade through high school that aim to increase post-secondary readiness by emphasizing completion of Algebra II. Algebra II is shown to be a strong predictor of post-secondary readiness and success. The foundation’s hypothesis is that high-quality math and science education is essential to success both within the educational system and in the working world.
The foundation realizes that many of the challenges facing Texas are enormous, much bigger than we alone can address. For this reason the foundation works hard to engage other state and national funders to partner with in achieving our specific goals and objectives. During our time as a grantmaking entity, we have come far and learned much about the challenges that Texas students face on their road to post-secondary completion. This is why we continue to focus our efforts on helping students overcome many of these challenges.
If you would like to read more about this journey, please see our recent strategic plan.
More detailed historical information can be found in the Foundation History section to the right.
Our foundation has a long history as a non-profit organization serving the citizens of the state of Texas. Please read on to better understand how we came to be in our present form.
From 1980 until 2001, the foundation (known as Greater Texas Student Loan Corporation until 2001) was dedicated to the exclusive purpose of providing financial assistance to Texas students seeking a higher education by encouraging financial institutions to participate in the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) and providing information to schools and students regarding this program. It accomplished this mission primarily by raising funds in the tax-exempt financial markets and acquiring student loans originated by lenders participating in its programs.
In 2001, the organization made an election to expand its charitable purpose, and subsequently Greater Texas Foundation emerged in its current form. The loan corporation became known as LoanSTAR Systems, Inc. and was transformed into a for-profit subsidiary. In 2005, Greater Texas Foundation sold its stock in LoanSTAR adding to the foundation’s investable assets. Soon after the sale, the board began an intense study of how to best achieve its mission with the greater resources made available by the sale of its assets while continuing to grant within its existing funding principles. This study led the board to believe that in order for Texas and Texans to compete in the contemporary economy, a greater mastery of math, science, engineering, and other technological fields is necessary. The board concluded that Texas, like America as a whole, had begun to especially fall behind in those areas of education and added improving math and science education as a funding principle.
2005 to 2008:
From 2005 to 2008, Greater Texas Foundation grew substantially in terms of personnel, IT infrastructure, and general capacity. In 2007, the foundation welcomed seven new employees, including its first executive director and its first grants manager. Additionally, the foundation introduced a Web-interface grants database, which allows the entire grant process to be handled electronically, and a completely redesigned and user-friendly Website (which was again updated in 2009).
As the foundation ramped up its capacity as a grant making organization, it had the opportunity to support a diverse spectrum of education-related programs and initiatives. From books for local school children to robotics competitions for high school students to induction and training support for aspiring teachers, the foundation’s work impacted students of all ages and circumstances throughout the state.
From 2005 through 2008, the foundation awarded 237 grants totaling $21.2 Million. High priority areas included scholarships for underserved students and initiatives which resulted in improved teaching and/or improved curricula for students, with a particular focus on math and science. To search the online database of all the foundation’s grants, see the sidebar on our homepage. The following examples illustrate the scope of the foundation’s grantmaking during this period.
Removing Educational Barriers. Providing financial assistance through scholarships for underserved and first generation students has been a long-term focus of the foundation. Significantly, 2008 was the final year for the foundation’s Removing Educational Barriers endowed scholarship matching program. As a result of this multi-year program, 33 out of the 34 institutions of higher education in Texas endowed need-based scholarships, with 22 institutions fully matching the foundation’s $100,000 challenge, resulting in 5.7 Million in endowments around the state.
Greater Texas Teachers. Based on the data-supported links between teacher effectiveness and student success, in 2008 the foundation released its Greater Texas Teachers RFP to solicit proposals for the development of a program that would increase the number of highly qualified middle school math and science teachers with deep subject matter knowledge. Through this initiative, the foundation awarded $3,000,000 to Texas Tech University for the Middle School Math and Science (MS)2: Understanding by Design master’s degree program and $3,000,000 to University of Houston (in 2009) for the Integrated Science, Math and Reflective Thinking (iSMART) master’s degree program.
Advanced Mathematical Decision Making. Aware of the importance of adequate math preparation for students’ post-secondary success, during this period the foundation awarded $410,000 to the Dana Center at The University of Texas at Austin for the development of Advance Mathematical Decision Making (AMDM), a rigorous and engaging high school mathematics capstone course designed to follow Algebra II. (In 2009, the foundation awarded an additional $250,000 for the development of the teacher professional development and support program for the AMDM course.)
The growth and overall increase in internal capacity of the previous years provided an opportunity for staff and directors to think more strategically about the initiatives and programs the foundation supported. In order to have an even greater impact on the tough and persistent challenges facing education in Texas, in 2009 the foundation engaged FSG Social Impact Advisors in a six-month process to examine its mission, vision, funding principles and internal operations, and to develop a strategic plan for the five-year period from 2010 to 2014.
Through the strategic planning process, the foundation laid extensive groundwork to be more focused in its funding as it moves into 2010 and beyond. Importantly, this included the following revisions to the foundation’s vision and mission statements:
Vision. The foundation’s vision is for all Texas students to have equal opportunity to access and succeed in post-secondary education.
Mission. Greater Texas Foundation supports efforts to ensure all Texas students are prepared for, have access to, persist in, and complete post-secondary education. We pursue our mission by forming partnerships, supporting research, sharing knowledge, and making grants, and we put particular focus on helping underserved and disadvantaged populations.
Through this process, the foundation learned a great deal about the challenges that Texas students face on the road to post-secondary completion and how efforts can be focused to help students overcome these challenges. In 2010 and beyond, the foundation will implement this knowledge to achieve its new vision and thereby continue its extensive history of improving educational outcomes for Texas students.
This is a very exciting time, and everyone at Greater Texas Foundation looks forward to what the future holds. Please visit the strategic planning section of our site to learn more about the process, the rationale, and the results, and continue to visit this site regularly for periodic updates and changes.
“Greater Texas Foundation’s vision is for all Texas students to have equal opportunity to access and succeed in post-secondary education.”
Texas is a rapidly growing state, with an increasingly diverse population. An educated workforce is essential for our dynamic economy, particularly as Texas businesses continue to expand and new companies relocate to our state. If we hope to maintain that momentum and at the same time help young people, moving students to, through, and to completion of post-secondary education is essential. For that reason, the Board of Greater Texas Foundation has made access to and success in post-secondary education the cornerstone of our vision.
“Greater Texas Foundation supports efforts to ensure all Texas students are prepared for, have access to, persist in, and complete post-secondary education.
- We put particular focus on helping underserved and disadvantaged populations.
- We pursue our mission by forming partnerships, supporting research, sharing knowledge, and making grants.”
Our mission statement says a great deal about the core values of Greater Texas Foundation and our commitment to education in Texas. As part of that commitment, we work to develop relationships with numerous educational institutions, organizations, governmental agencies, and others involved in education.
Our state is large—in geography, population, and many other measures. The challenges facing Texas education are enormous and greater than one single entity can address. For that reason, the foundation works to achieve specific program goals and five-year objectives through partnerships and by engaging all of its capabilities (grantmaking, strategic scholarships, research, convening, etc.). GTF is a proactive grantmaker and primarily seeks funding opportunities through RFP’s or by invitation.
There is a growing movement within the philanthropic sector for organizations to share more information regarding their operations with the public. Greater Texas Foundation’s Board of Directors have always taken seriously their oversight responsibility, and to that end the following items are offered for public review.
The foundation’s most recent annual reports are available by clicking the following links: 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007. These reports include reviews of the previous year’s grantmaking and other operations.
Charitable Activities Annual Report
Conflicts of Interest Policy
It is considered a practice of excellent governance to utilize a conflicts of interest policy that (1) requires board members and staff to disclose conflicts and (2) provides a process to resolve conflicts. The foundation’s policy is available here.
In 2010, the Greater Texas Foundation set out to design and build the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certified facility in the Brazos Valley. To view an interactive presentation about our building, please click here.