Program Director - Arts and Parks and Impact Opportunities
Tonyel (Simon) Edwards oversees grantmaking that supports systemic approaches to ensuring children and youth have a strong social safety net and live in communities that support all families to thrive. Prior to joining Houston Endowment in 2015, Tonyel was the executive director of DiscoverU, where she led the expansion of out-of-school time programming for high school students across the greater Houston area. As a sixth generation Houstonian, Tonyel has worked as an educator in Houston’s Third Ward through Teach For America 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 both a master’s and doctorate degree in education from the University of Houston’s College of Education. She is an active member of the Junior League of Houston and is a senior fellow in the American Leadership Forum Class XLIII. Tonyel currently serves as an appointed member of the Texas Expanded Learning Opportunities Council. When she is not working, Tonyel enjoys home-cooked meals with her parents, traveling with her husband to any location with a beautiful beach and spending time with her nieces and nephews.