There are positive signs of a continued economic recovery in Texas. Our state has outperformed the nation in both job growth and residential construction. Housing markets across Texas are expected to continue moderate gains in the year ahead, once again outpacing the nation. In addition, the state’s sales tax collections have increased for 19 consecutive months, boosted by stronger business spending in the oil/natural gas and manufacturing sectors, and to a lesser extent by retail sales activity.
Despite these positive indicators, our state faces a critical budget shortfall and must find ways to maintain essential services while keeping up with Texas’ vigorous population growth. Most of these cuts have impacted important areas of our grantmaking, particularly in public education and mental health. And within our environmental initiative, we are looking at the impact that the prolonged drought conditions and long-term effects of wildfires will have on land habitat and our already fragile water resources.
Many Texas nonprofit agencies remain challenged by reduced government funding and decreased giving by individuals negatively impacted by the recession. How our leaders in both the public and private sectors respond to a higher level of need with fewer resources will have a profound effect on the future of Texas.
The Meadows Foundation is sensitive to these pressures. While some emergency operating support and capital funding for agencies may be necessary in 2013, we will target our grants toward the greatest needs, including those within our three initiative areas: improving public education, increasing access to mental health services, and protecting the natural environment. We also will seek to strengthen the capacity of the nonprofit sector, support efforts to reduce crime and recidivism, and fund projects that address the importance of the human-animal connection.
To address these issues, we will continue to partner with our foundation colleagues and stay engaged with policy makers. While we realize that philanthropy alone cannot fill the gaps created by reductions in funding, we are hopeful that together, we can find creative solutions to improve the lives of all Texans.
Linda Perryman Evans
President and Chief Executive Officer