Rich and Nancy Kinder are the founders and eponymous faces of the Kinder Foundation. They set the vision and strategic leadership for the Foundation.
The Kinders are supported by an outstanding team of staff and highly regarded subject matter experts in urban green space, education, and quality of life who help manage relationships with grantees, provide thought leadership and critical expertise, and oversee logistics to achieve maximum impact with the $411 million in gifts and pledges the Kinder Foundation has made to date.
Over the next few months, you will be introduced you to each Kinder Foundation team member through a series of blog posts. In addition to their professional accomplishments, we will share a revelatory Q&A from each staffer with the goal of highlighting the brilliant, dynamic people that comprise the Kinder Foundation.
First up is Patra Brannon-Isaac, Kinder Foundation’s director of education and community projects. In her role, Patra leads the foundation’s transformational education initiatives. Patra joined the Foundation in February 2020. We are excited to introduce you to her via the questions and answers below.
What is the most surprising or exciting part of your work with the Kinder Foundation?
It’s definitely been the opportunity to think through ways in which the Foundation can continue to be transformative in Houston’s education landscape. What makes this exciting is the process of broad-based learning, relationship building, thought partnership and risk taking. The Kinders have been quite supportive of cross engagement opportunities; and given my primary focus on education, there have also been unique opportunities to engage in non-education related projects. It’s also been exciting to think about transformational opportunities that intersect with other aspects of the Kinder Foundation’s portfolio.
How has your past work experience helped inform or prepare you for your work with the Kinder Foundation?
I’ve enjoyed varied experiences in my career. In the private sector, I worked in corporate audit, executive recruiting and human resource advisory roles across several industries before pivoting into education eight years ago. Once in education, I led talent management practices for a large district, and later launched a regional expansion for an education advocacy nonprofit. The skills I’ve obtained through these experiences – along with developing a solid network of exceptional education and industry leaders – has been critical for building context around the complexities abound in public education. I’m also a perpetual learner and consider myself a proud career generalist, which I believe serves me well in adapting to my work at the Foundation, to carry it out in the most meaningful and intentional way that positively benefits the Houston community.
What books, podcasts, articles or other content are you currently consuming? What are you enjoying or learning from them?
These days, I’m consuming more articles and podcasts than books it seems. I’m currently catching up on episodes of NPR’s Code Switch podcast which has been a go-to for exploring the complex dimensions of race and culture. They do a great job bringing different perspectives to light in a thoughtful and thought-provoking way. Last year, I focused on better understanding and facilitating racial equity concepts as a skill to personally develop. I’ve taken in lots of related content including The Racial Healing Handbook by Anneliese A. Singh, which is a really great resource I’d recommend for anyone interested.
If you had no commitments & a full weekend to spend in Houston, what would you do?
Can I schedule for this weekend? Well first, I’d prefer this commitment-free weekend to be in late fall or early spring so I can take advantage of the cool, crisp and sunny weather. I’d definitely frame it around a stay-cation at a luxury hotel in the city. I’d want to be inclusive of all meals including breakfast, brunch, lunch, supper and dinner so that I can explore new restaurant offerings in small doses! And I’d definitely make sure to take in a few different experiences – just recently my husband visited the Cistern at Buffalo Bayou Park and it was really neat! Overall, I’d center this commitment-free weekend on relaxation, foodie exploration and learning about unique treasures in my favorite city.
To learn more about Patra’s background and meet the rest of our team, please visit Our Team page.