The Kinder Foundation is committed to making impactful gifts which improve Houston in significant ways. Our mission since 1996 has been to support Greater Houston as a model city for economic opportunity and quality of life by providing transformation grants in the areas of urban green space, education and quality of life.
This ambitious vision set forth by founders Rich and Nancy Kinder are made a reality in large part by the talented team supporting the foundation.
As we continue our blog series introducing the team that comprises the Kinder Foundation, today we highlight Sabrina Kirwin, our chief financial officer, who oversees the financial planning, analysis, and reporting for the foundation. Her guidance and oversight are essential to operating the foundation which has given $468 million in gifts and pledges to date.
Below you will find a Q&A with Sabrina. Read past staffer Q&As here, and to learn more about the rest of our team, stay tuned for future blog posts.
Is there something about the Kinder Foundation that is meaningful to you that many people may not know?
One of the things I love most about the Kinder Foundation is my day-to-day interaction and the constant accessibility I have to the Kinders themselves. I take for granted, and many are surprised to learn, that Rich and Nancy are here in the office with our team each and every day. They are as hands on with the work and vision of this organization as anyone else in our office. While their resources could easily allow them to delegate this work, I truly believe they would not want to be anywhere else. I am so thankful to have had and continue to have the opportunity to work alongside them and learn from them such that we can carry on their legacy for many, many years to come.
What, in your opinion, makes the Kinder Foundation unique amongst its peers?
One unique aspect of the Kinder Foundation is our ability to impart such transformative change on the city of Houston with such a small team. Led by and including Rich and Nancy, we are a group of only about 10 individuals. Our diverse backgrounds and skillsets allow us to work together and wear many different hats to collectively carry out the mission of the Kinder Foundation.
What is the most surprising or exciting part of your work with the Kinder Foundation?
The most exciting and surprising aspect of my job with the Kinders is always wondering what will come next (and knowing that I get the opportunity to be a part it of). What area of Houston will be forever changed as a result of the kindness and generosity of the Kinders? While I’m never able to predict what their next big project will be, it will certainly always be bigger and better than I could have ever imagined.
How has your past work experience helped inform or prepare you for your work with the Kinder Foundation?
In my former career, I enjoyed nine years with Deloitte Tax here in Houston. I worked as both a manager in the Private Wealth practice for the bulk of that time and also spent about 2 years as chief of staff for the lead tax partner of the Houston office. Deloitte was an amazing organization to “grow-up” in professionally and I owe them a huge debt of gratitude for enabling me to acquire the skillset that ultimately afforded me my role with the Kinders. While high-net worth tax compliance is still a small part of my current job and not a day goes by that I don’t find myself in an Excel spreadsheet, I find that the soft skills I learned have proven the most valuable to me since. Deloitte invested a considerable amount of time to allow me to become an effective listener, a confident leader, and a good communicator, professional skills I regularly use in my role with the Kinder Foundation.
What books, podcasts, articles or other content are you currently consuming? What are you enjoying or learning from them?
As a working mom of two young boys, I am not left with a ton of free time to consume much of anything these days, unfortunately. That said, when I do have free time in the evenings, I tend to try and escape the reality of my day-to-day for a bit with a good glass of wine and an episode of Bridgerton, Yellowstone, the Queens Gambit or whatever other show I’m binge watching at the time. While I may not learn anything of significant value, it’s exactly the break I need at the end of a busy day.