Dallas, TX

This Dallas billionaire is having fun giving all her money away

Ash Jurberg

"I will enjoy seeing it spent. I want it to go down with me."

There have been a lot of success stories coming out of Dallas, but one that is particularly inspiring is that of Lyda Hill.

Hill, who amassed a multi-billion dollar fortune, made a pledge to give it away and is doing her best to do so.

Let's take a look at her story.

This Dallas billionaire is giving away her fortune

Lyda Hill was born in Dallas in 1942, the granddaughter of oil tycoon H.L. Hunt

She attended the Hockaday School, an all-girl boarding school in Dallas, graduating in 1960. When Hill was 25, she launched a Dallas travel agency that became one of the largest n the United States. In 1982, she sold her travel agency and became a venture capitalist, making her very wealthy. One of her investments was in the Fort Worth Stockyards, which she bought into in 1990.

Lyda Hill became a billionaire when her family sold Hunt Petroleum Corp. for $4.2 billion in 2008 to Fort Worth-based XTO.

And ever since, she has worked on giving most of it away.


Since retiring, Hill has devoted most of her life to philanthropy.

She established Lyda Hill Philanthropies, which "is committed to funding transformational advances in science and nature, empowering nonprofit organizations and improving the Texas and Colorado communities."

I devote nearly all of my time to philanthropy. This third stage of my professional life is dedicated to supporting game-changing advances in science and nature, and to improving the local communities of greatest importance to me, Dallas and Colorado Springs.

In 2011, Hill signed the Giving Pledge in which she promised to give away most of her fortune while she was still alive.

I decided long ago that I'm not looking for Band-Aids or incremental change. I'm looking for solutions. I want to invest in transformational initiatives that have the potential to impact global issues like food safety, ocean conservation, medical research, and related efforts.

And Hill seems to enjoy her charitable efforts. The Dallas Morning News once described her as "having a blast giving away big chunks of her fortune."

Some of her contributions include:

  • Founding the Oklahoma Breast Care Center
  • a $50 million grant to the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center’s Moon Shots Program, which aims to combat and eliminate cancer
  • a $25 million grant to the University of Texas Southwestern (UTSW) Medical Center
  • a $20 million grant to her alma mater, The Hockaday School, to fund a Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) program
  • a $10 million grant to the UTSW Medical Center for various initiatives, including an Endowment for Systems Biology
  • $110 million in Dallas-based Remeditex Ventures, a venture capital fund that focuses on getting early biomedical research
  • assisting in the funding of the Perot Museum of Nature and Science
  • assisting in the funding of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge in Dallas
"My goal is to have that last check bounce on my way out. I’ve got it charted out to 110.”

Readers, what do you think of Lyda Hill's goal to give her all of her wealth? What other organizations in Dallas would you like to see her support?

Please leave your comments below.

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