Get to Know the Kinder Foundation Team: Sabrina Kirwin

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.  Continue reading “Get to Know the Kinder Foundation Team: Sabrina Kirwin”

Get to Know the Kinder Foundation Team: Patra Brannon-Isaac

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. Continue reading “Get to Know the Kinder Foundation Team: Patra Brannon-Isaac”

Connecting with Excellence: Kinder Excellence in Teaching Awards 2020

Every year since 2001, the Kinder Foundation has honored a handful of Houston’s most distinguished teachers with the Kinder Excellence in Teaching Award in recognition of their commitment and innovation. The honors are given at an awards dinner each Fall, where current and past winners share their stories and are shown gratitude by their peers, administrators, and Rich and Nancy Kinder.

The pandemic forced the Kinder Foundation to cancel the Kinder Excellence in Teaching Awards this year. Nevertheless, we still wanted to meaningfully connect with those doing the heroic work of educating Houston’s kids and highlight the challenges and adjustments teachers are making in this new normal.

To nurture the camaraderie past winners have built over the years, we invited all KETA educators to a virtual call organized by our director of education and community projects, Patra Brannon-Isaac. Of the 154 past winners, approximately 40 joined us on October 27. It was a privilege and opportunity to hear from these amazing teachers who are so committed to their craft despite the present circumstances. Their reflections helped us keep a pulse on what educators are experiencing in this moment and how they are adjusting. Continue reading “Connecting with Excellence: Kinder Excellence in Teaching Awards 2020”

Kinder Foundation’s Guy Hagstette Reflects on Five Years of Buffalo Bayou Park

Guy Hagstette, Kinder Foundation vice president of parks and civic projects and Buffalo Bayou Partnership board member, joined Scott McCready, principal at SWA Group, on September 24, 2020 to host a webinar in celebration of Buffalo Bayou Park’s fifth anniversary. Reunited five years after the completion of the park they both helped make a reality (Hagstette served as project consultant; McCready as lead designer), their presentation addressed the careful thought and planning that went into the realization of Buffalo Bayou Park. You may watch the full conversation below or by clicking this link.

Continue reading “Kinder Foundation’s Guy Hagstette Reflects on Five Years of Buffalo Bayou Park”

Keeping Buffalo Bayou Clean & Green

Floating debris and litter that has made its way to the bayou.

From plastic water and soda bottles, to takeout containers and coffee cups, and even a rare basketball, the debris and litter which finds its way to Buffalo Bayou is an ongoing and nearly overwhelming problem.

Houston’s stormwater drainage system runs in such a way that following any rain event, litter from the streets is swept up in currents of water which travel into curb catch basins. From there, the debris journeys through an underground system, ultimately finding its way to the bayous, where it floats along as unsightly trash. If not managed properly, the rafts of litter, which can grow to be quite large, carry on to Galveston Bay and beyond.

Recognizing the negative environmental impact to water quality and wildlife habitats, as well as the detrimental affect visible trash has on the recreational appeal of Buffalo Bayou Park, Buffalo Bayou Partnership set into motion a series of initiatives to reclaim the bayou with the establishment of its Clean & Green Program. Continue reading “Keeping Buffalo Bayou Clean & Green”

COVID-19 and Houston

Kinder Foundation believes in Houston’s ability to rise to a challenge. Despite these trying and uncertain times, we encourage every Houstonian to stay positive, calm, and follow the direction of our County Judge and Mayor.

Rich and I have witnessed, time and time again, Houstonians’ collective grit and resiliency. Together, we will emerge a stronger and more united city.

To learn about the Kinder Foundation’s COVID-19 relief efforts, please click here.

Nancy Kinder
President and CEO

Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy’s Justin Dyer featured on Our Voices Matter podcast

Justin Dyer is the director of the Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy at the University of Missouri. He is responsible for leading a vibrant, diverse community of scholars who share an academic interest in rigorously unpacking the complex history of constitutional democracy in the U.S. and around the globe. He is also one of the nation’s leading experts on the United States Constitution.

Dyer was recently featured on the Our Voices Matter podcast, hosted by Houston journalist Linda Lorelle. By coincidence, his episode was recorded on December 10, 2019, the same day the United States House of Representatives unveiled two articles of impeachment against U.S. President Donald Trump. Per the episode description, “during the conversation, he helps put the current political landscape into historical context and shares his hopes and fears for post-impeachment America, based on the document our founders created.”

Take a listen to the episode here or watch it below:

Building the Bayou Greenways: Greens Bayou

Over the past six months, we have highlighted the progress made along each of Houston’s Bayou Greenways as part of the Houston Parks Board’s Kinder Foundation-supported Bayou Greenways 2020 project. This is the sixth in the series of posts, all of which can be found here

More than six years ago, the Houston Parks Board announced a $50 million catalyst gift from the Kinder Foundation to support the ambitious Bayou Greenways 2020 initiative. Construction began at the end of 2014, and since then, Houston Parks Board (HPB) and its partners Houston Parks and Recreation Department and Harris County Flood Control District have made remarkable progress.

Today, we take a look at Greens Bayou Greenway, the linear hike-and-bike trail in North Houston and lower Greens within the city limits. Continue reading “Building the Bayou Greenways: Greens Bayou”

2019 Year in Review: Kinder Institute for Urban Research

Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research (KIUR) continues to extend the reach and impact of its work in Houston and beyond.

The Kinder Institute released 16 reports in 2019, covering critical issues, which included street safety, food insecurity, the impact of arts education, and housing voucher mobility. Continue reading “2019 Year in Review: Kinder Institute for Urban Research”

Building the Bayou Greenways: Conservation and Maintenance

In a series of blog posts throughout the year, we will highlight the progress made along Houston’s Bayou Greenways as part of the Houston Parks Board’s Kinder Foundation-supported Bayou Greenways 2020 project. This post focuses on the Parks Board’s Bayou Greenways-related conservation and maintenance efforts.

By the end of next year, 150 miles of trails will weave through 3,000 acres of Greater Houston’s greenspace, connecting residents to nature and each other. The Houston Parks Board has spent the past five years designing and constructing this network of trails which comprises the Bayou Greenways 2020 initiative.

But the work does not stop when the last trail is christened. The Houston Parks Board has and will continue to invest significant resources toward routine maintenance and conservation, ensuring the highest standard of safety, beauty and ecological integrity of the trails and bayou system’s riparian zones.

Continue reading “Building the Bayou Greenways: Conservation and Maintenance”