Mayor's Office Press Release
Mayor Turner Will Serve as Honorary Chair of the Houston Fund for Social Justice and Economic Equity
May 20, 2021 -- Today, Mayor Sylvester Turner, along with a group of Houston business executives and civic thought leaders, announced the launch of the Houston Fund for Social Justice and Economic Equity.
The newly created philanthropic organization was founded in response to the murder of George Floyd that created an undeniable turning point in the need to address historical challenges and ensure equal opportunities for the Black community.
The Fund is dedicated to improving social and economic inequalities by investing resources in grassroots nonprofit organizations and supporting economic development initiatives that empower and uplift.
“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,” said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. “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.”
The Fund is committed to closing the economic gaps that create barriers in accessing the tools needed to pursue a path of opportunity and are distinctly linked to overall quality of life. Driving transformational change, the Fund will invest in nonprofit organizations that focus on social and racial justice, economic development, youth empowerment and education, and community building. The Fund’s leadership envisions a city where equal opportunity exists for individuals, families and businesses to grow, innovate and thrive.
“The murder of George Floyd highlighted the urgent need to increase support of initiatives that positively impact the Black community,” said Stephanie Nellons-Paige, Board Secretary and Interim Executive Director. “Houston is a city of immeasurable talent, heart, and opportunity, and all of us are dedicated to being part of the solution.”
The Fund is managed by a Board of Directors including Houston leaders from many different sectors: Honorary Board Chair, Mayor Sylvester Turner; President, 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); and Board Members 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).
“All of our Board members are passionate about this cause and have invested significant time, talent and resources to ensure the success of the Fund and our mission,” said Thomas Jones, Board President.
“There are too many disparities in education, economic advancement and equal opportunities in our community, and we will not rest until we have successfully changed this narrative.”
The Board is committed to a fundraising goal of $25 million and is calling on corporations, foundations and fellow Houstonians to stand up for change and a better future by supporting the Houston Fund for Social Justice and Economic Equity.
The Fund will initially be administered by the Greater Houston Community Foundation (GHCF) but will ultimately operate as an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with administrative staff to facilitate and implement its charitable purposes.
The GHCF will provide administrative support and offer extensive research of key issues and organizations in the Houston community.