Foundation FAQs

Q: Did Mr. Mitchell’s estate bequeath funds to the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation?

A: For many decades before their passing, Cynthia and George Mitchell planned to leave most of their wealth to charity. When George signed the Giving Pledge sponsored by Warren Buffet and Bill and Melinda Gates, he made public their long-held private intent that the majority of their wealth would be donated to philanthropic initiatives.  The foundation is dutifully and purposely committed to carrying out George and Cynthia’s philanthropic legacy—supporting the issues and organizations that reflect their values and vision. 

Q:What criteria do the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation use to make funding decisions?

A: For more than 35 years, the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation has partnered with visionary organizations and individuals who have helped to change Texas and the world for the better.

The foundation’s resources are small compared to the challenges we address, but we do our best to invest carefully as we practice a unique kind of philanthropy—one that is strategic in seeking out and supporting innovative leaders, thinkers, and organizations as engines of change in both policy and practice. We strive to support high-impact projects at the nexus of environmental protection, social equity, and economic vibrancy, focusing primarily in the state of Texas.

Funded projects fit specifically within a series of integrated program strategies. We do not accept unsolicited grant applications and are able to fund only a small fraction of submitted requests.

Q: What is the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation’s plan regarding future grantmaking programs and initiatives?

A: Cynthia and George Mitchell were very generous people who were deeply committed to supporting the people and organizations important to them. The Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation is committed to carrying out the philanthropic legacy of both Cynthia and George—supporting the issues and organizations that reflect their values and vision. 

The foundation is undergoing a transition and is in the midst of a vigorous planning process that will span the next few years. During this transition, our Water, Clean Energy, Shale Sustainability, Sustainability Education, and Cook’s Branch Conservancy programs will continue to operate as they have for the past several years. The foundation is currently designing a Land Conservation program and a Galveston program, both of which will formally launch in the next few years. Beyond these programs, we do not anticipate creating new program areas in the foreseeable future.

Q: What is the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation’s plan in regard to funding issues related to sustainability?

A: The Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation understands the challenge of humans and nature coexisting in a market-driven economy. As a risk-taking capitalist, George P. Mitchell certainly was not naïve to the marketplace. He always believed, however, that the collective “we” could do better.   

We will continue to utilize a sustainability science approach in our programs due to its rigorous scientific framework, interdisciplinary approach, and focus on real-world challenges of balancing economic, social, and environmental trade-offs.

The foundation is undergoing a transition and is in the midst of a vigorous planning process that will span the next few years. During this transition, our Water, Clean Energy, Shale Sustainability, Sustainability Education, and Cook’s Branch Conservancy programs will continue to operate as they have for the past several years. The foundation is currently designing a Land Conservation program and a Galveston program, both of which will launch in the next few years. Beyond these programs, we do not anticipate creating new program areas in the foreseeable future.

Q: What is the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation’s plan in regard to funding issues related to science?

A: Cynthia and George Mitchell, and the foundation, have invested significantly in science-related issues and organizations, including the Mitchell Institute for Fundamental Physics and Astronomy at Texas A&M, the Giant Magellan Telescope consortium, the Houston Advanced Research Center, the National Academy of Sciences, the Baylor College of Medicine, the University of Texas Health Science Center, the McDonald Observatory at the University of Texas at Austin, and many other worthwhile science-related organizations.

The foundation is undergoing a transition and is in the midst of a vigorous planning process that will span the next few years. Our science-related philanthropic investments will continue to operate as they have for the past several years, and all outstanding commitments will be honored.

Q: What is the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation’s plan in regard to funding issues related to the arts?

A: Inspired by Cynthia’s passion for the arts, coupled with her commitment that the arts should be accessible to all, she and George, and the foundation, have funded myriad organizations related to popular and classical music, opera, dance, and the performing arts.

The foundation is undergoing a transition and is in the midst of a vigorous planning process that will span the next few years. While the foundation does not currently have a grantmaking program related to the arts, we do anticipate supporting organizations and issues that were important to both Cynthia and George Mitchell when the foundation is fully funded in 2019.

Q: What is the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation’s plan in regard to funding issues related to the City of Galveston?

A: Cynthia and George Mitchell have a long history of supporting the economic revitalization of George’s hometown of Galveston. Funding initiatives have helped drive the revitalization of Galveston’s historic neighborhoods and commercial districts, affording new hope to a declining urban core.  

In 2008, George directed a massive cleanup and restoration of downtown Galveston and beachfront areas immediately following the devastation of Hurricane Ike.  

The foundation is undergoing a transition and is in the midst of a vigorous planning process that will span the next few years. The foundation is currently developing a grantmaking program specifically focused on Galveston, and we anticipate launching this strategic initiative targeting poverty alleviation through education in Galveston in 2019. Although details of this program are yet to be finalized, the foundation intends to make Galveston a priority.

© 2012-2017 Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation.