About Us

Established in 1947 by Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen, The Cullen Foundation has a history of giving generously to support cultural arts, education, health care and public service in Texas, primarily in the Greater Houston Metropolitan Area. Cullen Family members still take active roles as Directors of the Foundation continuing the legacy of giving initiated by Mr. and Mrs. Cullen during their lifetimes.

The original gift from Mr. and Mrs. Cullen to establish the Foundation consisted of working interests in oil and gas properties. Over the ensuing years the working interests, later converted into royalty interests, were gradually depleted and the residual holdings were disposed of in 2000 for approximately $10 million. As the Foundation reduced its dependence on oil and gas income, its portfolio of marketable securities and other investments began to grow and currently has an approximate market value of $275 million.

The list of organizations receiving grants from the Foundation is long and diverse, covering a wide range of needs. The Foundation has distributed over $475 million in grants since inception; the University of Houston and various entities in the Texas Medical Center as well as numerous cultural arts and public service institutions are representative recipients.

These charitable distributions include approximately $130 million in grants made to endow various Cullen Endowments and fund three Cullen Trusts in the late 1970’s. Each Cullen Trust has an independent board, designated beneficiaries, and is dedicated to a single purpose: a Trust for Health Care, a Trust for Higher Education and a Trust for the Performing Arts. These trusts and endowments have and will continue to generate additional distributions of their own each year, similar to the “compounding” effect of an investment. Combined, they have an approximate market value of over $500 million and have made distributions of over $400 million since they were funded by the Foundation. As a result, the Foundation has been directly or indirectly responsible for charitable distributions of almost $1 billion.

Please visit our Grants page for funding details for the most recent years and grant payment amounts by program area since inception.