The Powell Foundation was initially formed as an Indenture of Trust in 1967 by Ben H. Powell, Jr. and Kitty King Powell. It was originally governed by Mr. Powell and two business associates, Albert Maverick, III and Sim Gideon. Upon Mr. Powell’s death in 1989, Mrs. Powell and her daughter, Nancy Powell Moore joined Mr. Maverick as Directors of the Foundation and Mr. Maverick trained Ms. Moore in the intricacies of managing a foundation. Soon thereafter, Ben H. Powell V became a Director and Antonia S. Day, Independent Director.
In 1991 Nancy Powell Moore assumed the position of Managing Director of this Houston-based foundation. In 1999 the Foundation incorporated and emerged as a private, family foundation with articles of incorporation, by-laws and a succession plan for directors. At this time, additional seats on the board were created for all members of the second generation as well as third generation family members. As members of the third generation have come of age they have taken turns serving on the board. The Powell Foundation is viewed as a place where family members are able to build on their shared values and interests while continuing the philanthropic vision and intent of the founders. In 2002 the Foundation hired a non-family member, Caroline Sabin, as executive director to oversee the Foundation’s day to day operations.
Since its founding, the Foundation has awarded $19.5 million in grants to charitable organizations. During the year 2016, the Foundation made grants totaling $1,532,546 to organizations working in five program areas: education, (52.5%); the arts (17%); health (5.5%); conservation (18%); and other program areas (7%).