Kinder Institute for Urban Research at Rice University

Under the direction of the leadership of Director Ruth Lopez-Turley, the Kinder Institute for Urban Research builds better cities and improves people’s lives by bringing together data, research, engagement, and action.

Endowed with a $15 million grant in 2010 from the foundation, the Institute provides analysis on a range of pressing urban issues such as education, transportation, health, development, resiliency, immigration, and more. In addition to the long-running Kinder Houston Area Survey, the Institute produces research and leads the conversation on topics important to Houston, Sunbelt cities and all urban areas.

Also housed within the Kinder Institute for Urban Research is the Houston Education Research Consortium (HERC), a research partnership established in 2011 between Rice and Houston Independent School District. In April 2017, Kinder Foundation awarded a $10.7 million grant to HERC to expand its work to additional school districts in the Greater Houston region. The grant enabled HERC to focus on issues of regional importance such as segregation, effective curriculum and programs, and bilingual education. Along with school district leadership, HERC would also develop a regional research agenda, facilitate data sharing, and disseminate research findings that benefit the region.

In 2018, the foundation contributed $6 million for Rice University’s Kraft Hall for Social Sciences building to ensure KIUR would have a permanent home on the university campus.

In September 2022, Kinder Foundation granted $50 million to the institute as it focuses on a bold vision for “inclusive prosperity,” improving lives through data, research, engagement and action and equipping the institute to work with partners regardless of whether they can afford to pay for research. The grant also enables the institute to respond to community research needs quickly during times of crisis, such as a catastrophic storm or pandemic, when there isn’t time to raise funds first, and to build on existing partnerships with organizations and government entities across the city to improve outcomes, develop solutions and make systemic change.

Of the 2022 grant, Kinder Foundation Chairman Rich Kinder said, “Over the past decade, the Kinder Institute has played an integral role in shaping Houston. However, we can do more to inform and more directly address the challenges our communities face, particularly in the areas of housing, education, economic mobility, health and population research.”

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