Houston, TX

Houston philanthropist has donated almost $500 million

Ash Jurberg

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In 2011 Houston billionaire Richard Kinder promised to give away 95% of his billion-dollar fortune.

As longtime residents of [Houston], we have witnessed its extraordinary culture of entrepreneurship, which has enabled Houstonians of all backgrounds to improve their lives, use their talents and creativity, and pursue their dreams. In Houston, you are what you achieve. This stirs and motivates us to continue giving.” Richard Kinder

While many people make grand promises, Richard Kinder continues to follow through on this pledge.

This month he donated $25 million to The University of Missouri to increase educational opportunities within the Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy.

In less than a decade, the Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy has grown from an idea to an institute with study offerings in Oxford and Washington D.C., and now we are adding an honors study program,” Rich Kinder

It is the latest in a long line of generous donations that Kinder has made.

The Houston philanthropist

Richard Kinder, who has a net worth of $7.7 billion, was the president of energy giant Enron before he stepped down in 1997 to start his own business- Kinder Morgan. Kinder Morgan is now the largest energy infrastructure firm in the United States and has over 84,000 miles of pipelines that transport natural gas, refined petroleum products, CO2, and crude oil.

Kinder Morgan has been named one of Fortune magazine's Most Admired Companies in America and has been recognized as the top company among all industries for "Quality of Management."

He stepped down as the Chairman of his company in 2015 and now receives a salary of $1 a year. Despite his token wage, he is still the major shareholder in the company and has a multi-billion dollar net worth.

The Kinder Foundation

In 1997, Kinder set up the Kinder Foundation to "enrich the lives of people in the Greater Houston area through transformational grants that impact urban green space, education, and quality of life." The foundation is primarily focused on supporting organizations in the Greater Houston Community.

The Kinder Foundation has given $477.7 million in gifts.

Last month the Kinder Foundation gave Rice University in Houston a $50 million grant to support staff and program expansion at the Kinder Institute for Urban Research and to catalyze inclusive prosperity across the region.

“The Kinder Institute has been a critical community partner in helping us tackle some of Greater Houston’s most complex challenges for families working to land on their feet and stay there. This visionary gift from the Kinder Foundation will transform the Kinder Institute’s ability to leverage data and research with community partners to create lasting change in our community.” United Way of Greater Houston President and CEO Amanda McMillian.

This $50 million is on top of a previous $30 million made from the Kinder Foundation to Rice University.

Over the past decade, the Kinder Institute has played an integral role in shaping Houston. However, we can do more to inform and more directly address the challenges our communities face, particularly in the areas of housing, education, economic mobility, health, and population research.” Richard Kinder, chairman of the Kinder Foundation.

It seems that Richard Kinder is making good on his promise to give 95% of his fortune away.

Your thoughts

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