Thank you for visiting our website to learn more about the activities of the Albert and Margaret Alkek Foundation. As a Private Foundation we do not articulate the strategies we pursue with our grant making activities. However, we do include a fair amount of detail about grant payments so that you can gain some sense of our current priorities. Generally speaking, grants are developed through personal relationships or through proactive initiatives. Rarely do we make grants from inquiries that were received on an unsolicited basis. This continues the philanthropic philosophy developed by our founders … Albert and Margaret Alkek.
Albert B. Alkek was an astute businessman and – as those fortunate enough to have met him know – possessed a charismatic personality. I admired him for being a man of clear vision and determination. With decades of experience in personal philanthropy, he knew exactly how he wanted to establish his legacy.
Mr. Alkek practiced strategic philanthropy. During his lifetime, he was a careful steward of his own fortune and selected charitable organizations in the same way that he researched additions to his stock portfolio – by looking for the best return on his investment. When asked for money, he rarely agreed immediately, unless he already knew the organization’s leaders from previous business or social dealings. In those situations he could be very spontaneous with his gifts, sometimes dizzyingly so. He trusted his instincts.
Personal relationships were key to Mr. Alkek’s philanthropic philosophy. His friendship with the world-renowned Dr. Michael DeBakey led to his involvement with Baylor College of Medicine and other institutions in the Texas Medical Center. Mr. Alkek’s admiration for the sacrifice and commitment of the Center’s doctors and leaders led him to develop close personal friendships. Sharing the entrepreneur’s spirit in pioneering ventures, these individuals described their dreams for the future and Mr. Alkek worked with them to bring their ideas to fruition.
Strategic philanthropy, however, is more than just choosing a worthwhile charity. It’s also about targeting your gift, within that charity’s overall plan and purpose. Alkek grants deliver maximum benefit – such as influencing additional fund raising, attracting top talent, initiating new programs, or building a facility that can then support enhanced and expanded missions. Mr. Alkek realized that focused, thoughtful investments could be leveraged quickly to achieve greater impact.
To implement his philanthropic vision, Mr. Alkek selected eleven executors in his will who would serve as the Foundation’s original directors. He charged us with establishing the Albert and Margaret Alkek Foundation and stewarding its assets to assure a permanent legacy. Seven of those executors still serve as directors of the Foundation, as does the president of Baylor College of Medicine.
From inception of the Foundation we have been chaired by a family member. Margaret Alkek served as the initial Chairman until her death in 2005. Margaret Alkek was a lady of amazing grace and she continued the philanthropic leadership established by her husband. When Margaret Alkek passed away, their only daughter, Margaret Alkek Williams stepped forward to assume the role. She, too, for all who know her, is a lady of amazing grace.
From 1997 through 2012, the Foundation has been most fortunate to have made grant distributions of over $156 million while at the same time growing our asset base from $178 million to more than $220 million.
The Foundation’s grants advance both Albert and Margaret’s philanthropic vision. They continue programs at institutions they helped build, while starting – and then enriching – worthy new projects that they would have embraced. As you review the list of grants, perhaps you will gain some sense the impact that the Foundation’s strategic, targeted giving has had on the Texas Medical Center, as well as other research and medical facilities, the arts, community-based organizations, and schools.
The directors and I are proud to participate in such a noble undertaking. It is both a tremendous responsibility and a great honor to represent the wishes of Albert and Margaret Alkek, whose generosity changes lives and betters our world to this day. The Albert and Margaret Alkek Foundation ensures that the work of the Alkek family and their legacy will continue for generations to come.
Scott B. Seaman