Meadows Foundation, celebrating its 75th anniversary, wins praise from Danny King

WESLACO, Texas – The Meadows Foundation, a private family philanthropy committed to improving the quality of life for Texans, celebrated its 75th anniversary on July 14, 2023. 

Founded in Dallas in 1948 by Al and Virginia Meadows, the Foundation funds programs that span arts and culture, civic and public affairs, education, environment, health, and human services. 

One of the largest private, statewide funders in Texas, its grants range from $15 to $45 million. 

It has supported programs across the entire state, leaving an enduring legacy, its supporters say, in all 254 counties. 

Over three-quarters of a century, the Foundation has provided $1.36 billion through more than 10,000 grants to 3,700 different organizations and groups throughout Texas. 

“As we commemorate our anniversary, we honor the people of Texas, whom Al and Virginia loved for their compassionate spirit and generous hearts,” said Peter M. Miller, President and CEO of The Meadows Foundation. “Together, we have continued our founders’ mission to look out for one another with kindness and understanding and paint a brighter future for all Texans.”  

Miller, pictured above, said that as The Meadows Foundation embarks on its next chapter, it remains committed to advancing the mission of its founders and fostering positive change across Texas. 

The Meadows Foundation’s impact on the Rio Grande Valley

The Meadows Foundation provided this fact sheet about its work in the Rio Grande Valley:

  • Provided approximately $16 million through nearly 200 grants benefitting more than 100 organizations. 
  • First grant: Marine Military Academy – December 1975. 
  • Notable grants:
  • The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley: Helped launch a sustainable, affordable teacher residency model in the Rio Grande Valley. 
  • Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD: Provided support towards creating a new teacher pipeline model in the Rio Grande Valley.
  • Starr County Historical Foundation: Helped purchase the historic inn, La Borde House, as a central site for the Los Caminos del Rio historic tourism initiative and a center for community revitalization efforts. 
  • Provided early funding to Texas A&M University Kingsville for its work (in Weslaco) with a new experimental orchard that forever changed the grapefruit/citrus industry. 

The Rio Grande Guardian International News Service asked Dr. Daniel P. King, executive director of Region One Education Service Center, for his opinion on The Meadows Foundation. He was fulsome in his praise.

“The Meadows Foundation does great impact work. When I was superintendent at PSJA I hosted them on a visit to the Rio Grande Valley to look at both the needs and points of pride, the progress in education in particular,” King recalled.

“I remember we applied for a grant from The Meadows Foundation while I was at PSJA. We purchased ACT-RGV, an alternative certification program for teachers. PSJA had its own in-house certification program and approached The Meadows Foundation to enhance the quality of that.”

King said that as a result of The Meadows Foundation grant, PSJA was able to do a number of things.

“One was to connect with the New Teacher Center, which is a world class coaching model, to support beginning teachers. A lot of times what has been found to be missing in teacher development programs is strong coaching support for the new teachers. Teaching is a very tough occupation and it has a high dropout rate in the early years,” King said.

“So getting that early coaching support for new teachers as they are working on their certification was important. The Meadows Foundation supported that. Through their funding, PSJA strengthened the qualify of its alternative certification program,” King explained.

King said Dr. Alejandro Elias, the new superintendent at PSJA, and his team are continuing to use the ACT-RGV.

“PSJA is one of only a small number – Houston ISD is another – of districts across the state of Texas that have their own alternative certification program. Many thanks to the team at The Meadows Foundation for supporting that work.”

Asked for a wrap-up comment on The Meadows Foundation, King said: “The Meadows Foundation is an outstanding foundation. We look forward to continuing partnerships to help in terms of raising educational quality here in the RGV.”

A statewide leader with a similar opinion of The Meadows Foundation is former Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, Joe Straus.

“I have had many opportunities to personally witness the positive difference The Meadows Foundation has made. I applaud their transformative work and their ongoing efforts to elevate countless lives and communities, leaving an enduring legacy of progress and hope,” Straus said.

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