Frees Foundation: Grants for Global Development

OVERVIEW: The Frees Foundation’s global development grantmaking focuses on health, education, housing, and community services with the overall goal of helping marginalized populations become self-sufficient.

IP TAKE: Frees seeks social change agents that work at the systems level to achieve meaningful and measurable results.

PROFILE: During his lifetime, C. Norman Frees, founder of the Houston-based company Petrotex International, spent over 40 years living in Mexico. It was there that he and his wife Shirley developed an interest in fostering the economic and financial stability of underserved and marginalized populations. The Frees Foundation seeks to support "[e]fforts that assist vulnerable and underserved populations achieve self-sufficiency," and predominately focuses on funding projects related to health, education, housing, and community services. Although the foundation prioritizes international aid and emergency relief organizations, geographically, Frees prioritizes Texas-based organizations, extending special consideration to those located in Houston.

Despite living in Mexico for decades, the Frees have not restricted the foundation’s international giving to it. Instead, it awards grants to organizations operating in countries around the world where the need is most acute.

The Frees Foundation is cautious in its grantmaking, especially regarding grants to support international projects and programs. The majority of awards fall in the $10,000 to $25,000 range. To learn more about the types of organizations the foundation supports, visit its Grant History page, which offers detailed grant information over the course of multiple years.  

The Frees Foundation does not accept unsolicited inquiries; grants are made by invitation only.


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