The Kinder Foundation today announced that Guy Hagstette, FAIA, has joined the foundation as Director of Parks and Civic Projects and Duncan F. Klussmann Ed.D has joined as Director of Education.
“As a foundation, we are focusing more effectively on our key areas of giving and have brought in two of the best in their respective fields,” said Nancy Kinder, president of the Kinder Foundation. “Guy and Duncan have had a profound impact on greenspace and education initiatives and we are excited about broadening those efforts in the greater Houston community and beyond.” Read more…
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, broke ground today on the 14-acre Fayez S. Sarofim Campus and the new Glassell School of Art launching the first phase of construction on the campus plan. The reimagined campus “will transform the visitor’s experience of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and create an urban oasis here in the heart of the Museum District,” said MFAH Chairman Rich Kinder. Read more about the progress of the project.
The Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy had a memorable week in October 2015. On Oct. 7, the Institute hosted a free lecture by two-time Pulitzer-Prize-winning author David McCullough at the Missouri Theatre with lines stretching around the building. The following morning, on Oct. 8, the Institute’s benefactor, Rich Kinder, BA ’66, JD ’68, announced a $25 million gift from the Kinder Foundation, a family foundation established by he and his wife Nancy Kinder, to fund the program in perpetuity and allow the university to hire additional new faculty to expand the programs of the institute serve in it. Of the gift, Kinder said, “Future generations should have the opportunity to study and understand the history and importance of how our country and government system was created.” You can read more about the lecture and the gift announcement, or view the full announcement below.
It was a colorful opening for Buffalo Bayou Park on Oct. 3. Rich and Nancy Kinder and their family joined dignitaries and the public at the recently-complete Water Works, the new park gateway on Sabine Street, for some colorful salutes. Mayor Annise Parker remarked that Nancy Kinder was a “tough negotiator” in the partnership with the City. And on a personal note, Rich Kinder said that he hoped his grandchildren, and all Houstonians, would continue to enjoy the park until his age and beyond.
With a dramatic drumroll by Batala and an explosion of colorful confetti, the ribbon was cut and the festivities ramped up. Throughout the day, thousands of park goers enjoyed and explored the new destinations in the 160-acre park. The $58 million Buffalo Bayou Park project is a public-private partnership led by Buffalo Bayou Partnership, the City of Houston through the Houston Parks and Recreation Department, the Harris County Flood Control District and the Kinder Foundation. In the short four years of construction, improvements to the park include new hike and bike trails, pedestrian bridges, lighting, public art work, gardens and overall improvements to the landscape, as well as major destinations like the Johnny Steele Dog Park, Barbara Fish Daniel Nature Play Area, and The Water Works. Read more and explore Buffalo Bayou Park with audio tours by Houston Public Media.
Twelve (12) Houston-area school teachers were honored with the Kinder Excellence in Teaching Award and a collective $240,000 in grants at a reception on September 26. The honorees and guests heard the heartfelt testimonials from several past recipients on how they used their award. James S., a 2012 KETA winner, said that his gift award helped him and his wife become parents to their son, Gus, through fertility treatments that they otherwise could not afford. The award also allowed him to go on “sell[ing] the importance of reading, writing, and thinking deeply about this world” to his students. Another moving testimonial came from 2014 KETA winner Naureen A., who used her gift award to pay off her hard-working mother’s mortgage – a promise she made herself eight years prior.
The annual awards were established in honor of Edna C. Kinder, who taught special education students in Cape Girardeau, MO. Her son, Rich Kinder, and his wife Nancy Kinder, wished to recognize innovative and results-oriented teaching and raise public awareness of the importance of effective and committed teachers.
The Kinder Institute for Urban Research’s Bill Fulton writes in his August Director’s Message that “So much of what happens in a city depends on the people, and not necessarily on the place” and why the Institute’s “expanded program areas will focus on both people and place –and often on the interplay between the two.” Follow Fulton @BillFultonVTA and read more here.
Discovery Green welcomed the return of Maravilloso!, a contemporary circus and dance event featuring talent from all over the world and from Houston on June 5-6, 2015. More than 5,000 park goers attended the two-day event featuring graceful performances on Kinder Lake created by Belgium’s artistic company Chanson d’Eau. The festival also included a new commissioned dance performance celebrating water, called “DRENCH,” by Karen Stokes Dance. Maravilloso! was made possible by grants from the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Kinder Foundation.
Richard Kinder – the Kinder-Morgan CEO who has spent millions of dollars beautifying Houston’s public spaces – says philanthropists should be careful to take a deliberate, targeted approach when using their money to improve their communities.
The downtown Houston park, Discovery Green marked its seventh birthday in April 2015. Supporters of the park marked the occasion on April 9 with an Art Car sneak preview and concert by Aaron Neville. Read more in this CultureMap story.
Park officials also collected favorite memories of and made at the park. Below is just a sampling of what park visitors have shared when asked “What is your favorite memory at Discovery Green?”
“When my husband proposed to me one year ago near the fountain.” – Brenda M.
“Gathering our family together for a small reunion.” – Steven S.
“Introducing my daughter to [the] joy of writing through WITS on Saturday mornings.” – Carrie P.