Get to Know the Kinder Foundation Team: Gary Dudley
The Kinder Foundation is supported by an exceptional staff of smart and experienced professionals whose work helps carry out the mission of the Foundation. Over the past several months, we have introduced you to various staffers as part of our ongoing blog series and today we are pleased to spotlight Gary Dudley. As the Kinder Foundation’s Chief of Staff, Gary oversees the operations of the Kinder Foundation and Family Office.
Read on to learn more about Gary below. You can find past staffer Q&As here and read about the full Kinder Foundation team here.
What books, podcasts, articles or other content are you currently consuming? What are you enjoying or learning from them?
I am avid consumer of the various historical series on PBS and am currently watching an 8-part series on New York by Ric Burns, and other series including The Roosevelts, Hemingway, and Reconstruction. It is always good to hear and see that the historic human struggle is never as straight forward as the ultimate results may seem and the unintended consequences (good and bad) that result.
Is there something about the Kinder Foundation that is meaningful to you that many people may not know?
My role at the Foundation offers me a way of trying to give back and pay it forward after a very satisfying career in public accounting with Deloitte. I started with Deloitte straight out of college and retired 36 years later as a Tax Partner. I was ready to do something completely different and the Kinders gave me a great chance to make a difference outside my own family and sphere.
What, in your opinion, makes the Kinder Foundation unique amongst its peers?
We are not afraid of risks and trying to make a transformation where other organizations would not attempt. I also like our agility – we are able to make large decisions quickly when we know something is for the best of the city and needs to be done. We lead by example.
What is the most surprising or exciting part of your work with the Kinder Foundation?
Two things stand out to me as memorable: (1) meeting the outstanding and dedicated people of the organizations we support and (2) visiting the spaces we helped improve or make happen. As a runner, it is particularly exciting to experience the various green spaces as a park user.
What do you hope to see accomplished in Houston’s green space sector in 20 years?
I hope the Foundation helps Houston create a contagious civic pride that preserves and grows these projects as part of the culture of the City. We saw this in action at Buffalo Bayou Park following Hurricane Harvey – the people of Houston immediately set out to restore the Park from flood damage and continue to protect it day after day.
If you had no commitments and a full weekend to spend in Houston, what would you do?
My wife and I would start each morning with a visit to a green space or park for exercise, an art museum after brunch, and a live performance of music or stage that night. We would have to work in a Rockets or Astros game too, just for balance. We would have to get some good Cajun food and we have come to love the joy of Zydeco music too!