These philanthropists approached then-Mayor Bill White with an idea to acquire the Houston Center Gardens adjacent to downtown Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center property and create a permanent downtown greenspace and public park. In addition to committing a grant of $10 million from the foundation, Nancy Kinder served as the founding chairman of Discovery Green Conservancy, the nonprofit organization that built and now operates the park. The park was an immediate success with thousands of visitors flocking to the park – weekdays and weekends – to enjoy its natural features but also its active programming offered free to the public.discoverygreen.com
10th Anniversary and Beyond
The park, which marked its 10thanniversary in 2018, has had a tremendous impact. It is a destination for Houstonians and visitors alike, attracting more than a million people every year and hosting hundreds of events ranging from festivals, concerts, films, exercise classes, toddler activities, and more. In April 2019, Discovery Green was named one of the year’s “Great Places in Texas” by the Texas Chapter of the American Planning Association.
To commemorate the anniversary and support future improvements to the park, the foundation granted $3 million in 2017.
The foundation went on to support the Bayou City Music Series, a new concert series honoring the great jazz, blues and zydeco musicians of Houston in free concerts taking place in Discovery Green, Buffalo Bayou Park and Emancipation Park.
In February 2023, Kinder Foundation made a $2 million grant enabling the Discovery Green Conservancy, which is not funded by the city, to establish an endowment.
News & Press
- Hear from some of the women who founded Discovery Green —Blog Post
- Kinder Foundation grants $2M to create Discovery Green endowment —Houston Business Journal
- Kinder Foundation Initiates an Endowment Fund for Discovery Green® —Press Release
- Three Houston Parks Team Up To Bring Back Jazzy Sundays In The Parks —Press Release
- There’s a world to discover at this ‘gem’ in downtown Houston —Houston Chronicle
- Mavis Staples to headline rescheduled free concert series in Houston parks —Houston Chronicle Preview
- Introducing Discovery Green’s new playground —Blog Post
- Discovery Green receives a $12 million upgrade and a glowing gateway —Houston Chronicle
- New theater, Discovery Green offer HSPVA students more exposure —Houston Chronicle
- Discovery Green named one of America’s Great Places —Houston Chronicle
- Downtown’s Discovery Green blooms with prestigious statewide honor —CultureMap
- Dominique Sachse and Houston’s A-listers go green at beloved park’s gala —CultureMap
- Discovery Green launches $12 million renovation —Houston Chronicle
- Houston’s Showcase Downtown Park is Getting a $12 Million Makeover — a New Discovery Green is Coming —PaperCity
- Houston Is the New Capital Of Southern Cool —GQ
- BAYOU CITY MUSIC SERIES CONTINUES THIS FALL WITH CONCERTS AT BUFFALO BAYOU PARK, DISCOVERY GREEN AND EMANCIPATION PARK —Press Release