Austin, Texas is a growing hub for philanthropy, thanks to wealthy couples leading the way with their steady charitable giving. One such couple is Suzanne Deal Booth and David Booth, who are based in Austin and joined the Giving Pledge in May 2018. Suzanne Deal Booth and David G. Booth Inc. is the name of the couple’s philanthropic vehicle, and it’s becoming an interesting one to keep an eye on, especially if you’re running a nonprofit organization in Texas.
With an estimated net worth of $1.8 billion and a fortune built on mutual funds and investment management, David G. Booth is yet another example of a finance winner turning to large-scale philanthropy. He founded Dimensional Fund Advisors back in 1981 and is perhaps best known in the charitable world for his $300 million gift to the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business, where he earned his MBA.
Along with his wife, David Booth have channeled a lot of their philanthropic giving through the California Community Foundation. However, Texas is a key geographic focus for the couple. Suzanne is a Texas native and a long-time philanthropist and art collector/advisor. She earned an art history degree from Rice University, as well as a Master of Arts in art history and conservation from the Institute of Fine Arts and Conservation Center at New York University. She serves on the boards of Texas-based arts organizations, including the Contemporary in Austin and the Ballroom Marfa. Her work is also affiliated with the University of Texas.
As you might expect with these types of connections and affiliations, the arts are a big deal to the Booth couple, and it certainly shows in their grantmaking. Past Booth support has gone to the Chinati Foundation, a contemporary art museum in Marfa, Texas, the Dallas Museum of Art, Fusebox, an arts nonprofit in Austin that puts on live performances, and the Austin Film Festival. The couple also make possible the Suzanne Deal Booth Art Prize, an unrestricted $100,000 grant that’s given to an artist every two years.
The Booths have been paying attention to education and environmental causes at the local level, too. For example, other grantees are the University of Houston, University of Texas at Austin, Rice University, Austin Achieve Public Schools, and the Waller Creek Conservancy.
Although Suzanne Deal Booth has her own website that details her personal vision and projects, the couple’s philanthropic foundation does not yet have a website of its own. Furthermore, the tax records for Suzanne Deal Booth and David G. Booth Inc. indicate that the couple only makes contributions to pre-selected charitable organizations and does not accept unsolicited requests for grants. Although this could change in the future if the couple settles into retirement and focuses more on philanthropy, obtaining funding is still a bit of a challenge for unaffiliated arts groups based in Austin. Looking forward, we expect to see even more commitments for the arts in Texas and Southern California, as well as continued support for the couple’s alma maters.