We are particularly interested in opportunities that:
- Have great potential to sustain or increase the vibrancy of greater Houston
- Address the most critical issues for our region
- Recognize the interconnectedness of issues
- Drive our stated priorities
- Have the potential to benefit large numbers of residents
- Are “ripe” for investment, that is, where circumstances are favorable for positive impact
Houston Endowment program officers share a passion for our mission and a commitment to excellence. They are available to discuss whether potential proposals drive our priorities. Multiple program officers work within each focus area and priority. The program officer listed next to each priority area below is the first point of contact; he or she will direct inquiries to other staff members as appropriate.
Strong Civic Assets
Strong Arts Ecosystem – Long Chu
Equitable Arts Engagement – Long Chu
Park Equity – Elizabeth Love
Access to Healthcare – Elizabeth Love
Effective Systems of Support – Meghna Goswami
Resilient Communities – Tonyel Simon
Vice President for Programs, Lisa Hall (not pictured), leads the Program Team.
Program Officer Contact
Long oversees grantmaking for the majority of the foundation’s arts and culture portfolio. Prior to joining Houston Endowment in 2015, Long was associate director of the literary-education nonprofit Writers in the Schools (WITS) where he developed his extensive background in literacy, arts, and community engagement and worked in collaboration with a wide variety of Houston-area institutions and organizations, including Art League Houston, Houston Grand Opera, Texas Children’s Hospital and University of Houston Moores School of Music. Long has also written and presented extensively on writing pedagogy, the connection between art and the refugee experience, and non-profit programming. Originally from Vietnam, Long earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and psychology from Houston Baptist University and a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing from the University of Houston Creative Writing Program. His poems and essays have been published in several anthologies, including The New Anthology of American Poetry: Postmodernisms 1950-Present and From Both Sides Now: The Poetry of the Vietnam War and Its Aftermath. His libretto for HGO’s East + West initiative, Bound, premiered in 2014. Long has served on the boards of DiverseWorks and Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts.
Meghna oversees the foundation’s efforts to develop and strengthen systems of support for under-resourced communities; her work includes domestic violence, homelessness and immigration among other emerging issues. She has extensive experience addressing complex social justice issues through broad cross-sectoral collaboratives. Prior to joining Houston Endowment in 2010, Meghna provided operational and clinical leadership at Daya, an organization working with South Asian survivors of domestic violence in Houston. Her previous experience includes work across a range of issues in the field of international development, including gender equality, immigrant rights and affordable housing. Meghna has an undergraduate degree in economics from Delhi University, India and a graduate degree in social work from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in India; she is a licensed social worker in the state of Texas. Originally from India, Meghna has called Houston her home since 2003. In her spare time, she loves exploring Houston, traveling to less-touristy places and spending time with her husband and two sons.
As vice president for programs, Lisa leads the foundation’s grant activities and serves on the executive team. Prior to joining Houston Endowment in 2013, Lisa was general counsel and vice president for talent support at YES Prep Public Schools, where she served on the management team of the charter management organization. Prior to joining YES Prep, Lisa provided consulting services on a variety of education related projects, including development of the Rice University Children’s Campus and assessment and planning for Rice’s K-12 initiatives. She has also been a visiting professor at Texas Southern University Law School. Earlier in her career, Lisa served as director of professional development for the Texas offices of McKinsey & Company and practiced labor and employment law as a partner at Bracewell in Houston. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and a law degree from the University of California, Los Angeles. A native Texan, Lisa enjoys spending time with her family, including several rescue dogs currently living in their home.
As senior program officer, Elizabeth oversees grantmaking for the foundation’s health and environmental portfolios as well as a portion of the arts and culture portfolio. Prior to joining the foundation in 2009, Elizabeth served as Director of Harris County Public Health’s Office of Policy and Planning, where she led strategic planning activities concerning health promotion, infectious disease, air and water quality, neighborhood conditions, climate change and emergency response. In addition, Elizabeth oversaw the department’s legislative activities, community-based assessment processes and outcomes evaluation framework. In the late 1990’s, Elizabeth served as a fellow for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Elizabeth received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Rice University and a master’s degree from the University of Texas School of Public Health. A native of Oxford, Mississippi, Elizabeth is a past President of the Junior League of Houston, and she and her husband Jason are the proud parents of sons Jay and Tait.
Russ oversees the foundation’s focus on ensuring post-secondary success through promoting school systems that effectively educate all students, increasing the number of highly effective teachers and school leaders, and strengthening the systems that increase college completion. A Houston native, Russ earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Texas A&M University and a Masters of Public Policy concentrating on K-12 Education Policy from Peabody College at Vanderbilt University. Russ has experience in a range of positions across elementary, middle, and high schools — including work as a teacher, teacher trainer, assistant principal, and principal — within both public and charter school systems. Additionally, Russ has training in educational research and evaluation, with work experience at both the district and university level. Prior to joining the Houston Endowment in 2017, he served as a middle school assistant principal and Manager of School Climate Systems for KIPP: New Orleans Schools, where he led professional development focused on improving school climate, implementing restorative practices, and developing leadership skills. His favorite class to teach is Algebra II. In his free time, Russ enjoys playing the trombone, coaching youth sports, and spending time outdoors with his wife, Carrie, and their dog, Franklin.
Tonyel oversees grantmaking that supports systemic approaches to ensuring children and youth have a strong social safety net and live in communities that support positive family development. Prior to joining Houston Endowment in 2015, Tonyel was the Executive Director of DiscoverU. Tonyel has also worked as an educator in Houston’s Third Ward and began her career as an analyst in global markets and investment banking in the Houston office of Merrill Lynch. Tonyel earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a concentration in finance from Howard University. She also holds a master’s degree in education and is a candidate in the Professional Leadership doctoral program at the University of Houston’s College of Education. When she is not working, Tonyel enjoys home-cooked meals with her parents, traveling and volunteering as a member of the Junior League of Houston.