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Monday, January 22, 2018

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The Trull Foundation: Supporting the Cultural, Social, Religious, Educational, and Environmental Well being of Texas
Denise Wissing

August, 2005

For many of you, especially those living in Palacios and South Texas, the Trull name is a familiar one. That may be because the Trull family has been active in Texas for over 90 years as philanthropists, entrepreneurs, activists, and visionaries. Their Texas roots were planted by Florence Trull and her husband, Bruce W. Trull in the early 1900s when they moved from Kansas to Midfield and then Palacios, Texas along the Texas Gulf Coast where they embarked on several successful business ventures in banking, farming, real estate, and mineral interests. Being faithful members of the Presbyterian Church and wanting to help those in need within their community, the Trulls established the first B.W. Trull Foundation in 1948 setting their principle giving toward religious, charitable, and educational purposes. This foundation later expired in 1973 due to terms of indenture, but was replaced by a second Trull Foundation in 1967, established by Florence and her children in honor of her husband who died ten years prior. Along with its second coming, the foundation transformed, adding cultural and social programs to their giving areas and allocating a majority of its gifts to Texas, especially to the Palacios and Matagorda County regions.

In recent years, the foundation and its priorities have continued to change. In 1999, Robert B. Trull, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, and his sister, Jean T. Herlin, a trustee, resigned from the Board and were awarded the honorary titles of Trustee Emeritus. Following their resignations, a new Board of Trustees was assembled:

Colleen Claybourn Chairman of the Board
Rose Lancaster Vice-Chairman
J. Fred Huitt Secretary/Treasurer
Sarah Olfers Trustee (daughter of Jean T. Herlin)
R. Scott Trull Trustee (son of R.B. Trull)

Trustee Emeritus: Advisory Trustees:
Robert B. Trull Cara P. Herlin
Jean T. Herlin Susan Herlin

Revamping the Foundation

In 2000, the new Board of Trustees along with the Foundation’s Executive Director, Gail Purvis, gathered at a Trull Foundation Retreat to examine the foundation’s goals and to set new giving priorities. For over fifty years, the Trull Foundations had upheld the values of Florence and Bruce Trull by investing in programs and organizations that fostered the educational, religious, cultural, and social needs of Texans, while working to improve the quality of life of those people living in poor or oppressed conditions. But the question remained on how they could even better meet the needs of the people living in their immediate communities and better keep the philanthropic spirits of the Trulls alive through their grantmaking efforts. The result was the development of four priority giving areas:

  1. A concern for the needs of the Palacios, Matagorda County area, where the Foundation has its roots. Local health care, the senior center, and other local projects were considered and supported.
  2. A concern for children and families. Grants are given to organizations and programs that direct and channel lives away from child abuse, neglect from hunger, and poverty.
  3. A concern for those persons and families devastated by the effects of substance abuse.
  4. A concern for the coastal Texas environment recognizing and including farming, ranching, aquiculture, and birds. This is a new priority.

Within these areas, the Trull Foundation supports programs in the arts, culture, and humanities; education and technology; housing, urban development, conservation, and preservation; youth development, and religious objectives.

Gail Purvis, the Executive Director of the Trull Foundations states, “ We seek to help and strengthen the grantee. We help students achieve higher education. We strive for social change by supporting organizations such as Planned Parenthood. These are the wishes of our founders and donors and we carry them out through our current grant making focuses.”

So, How Can I Apply for Funding?

First, only organizations with a current 501 © (3) document or that are departments or agencies within the federal, state, or local government or affiliated with organized religions and religious bodies are eligible to apply. Additionally, your organization and/or project must match the pursuits of the foundation. In other words, it must match one or more of their charitable directives (educational, religious, charitable, and social), and, as always, the more it fits within their four priority areas the better! Oftentimes, the foundation will assist prospective grantees in determining appropriate projects and help plan project assistance, as well as support established agencies in head starting a new program or in the expansion of an existing one. They also provide matches and offer challenge grants including the ones made to the Palacios Hospital and Library. They will not, however, make long- term commitments, make grants for endowments, buildings, research, or Gala events, make repeat grants to the same project for more than three years (sometimes five), fund operational expenses except during the organization’s initial years, make grants to private K-12 schools or give scholarships and funds to individuals.

Okay- I’m Eligible…Now What??

After you have reviewed and determined that you meet ALL of the eligibility requirements, you can then submit a brief letter of inquiry summarizing your project/program. If your project/program is approved, a full proposal is then warranted and must include the following information and format:

  1. Cover letter (two page maximum)
  2. Proposal fact sheet (2-page maximum and use form provided on website)
  3. Current Agency operating budget (one page), including sources of income
  4. Project budget (one page) if different from operating budget
  5. IRS information
  6. Selected additional information or material (limit 5 pages; optional)

Purvis gives this advice to applying organizations. “ Make sure to read the guidelines thoroughly and look at our past giving history to determine an appropriate request amount. If you are funded, then a six-month and annual report are required and occasionally site visits will be made.”

Once you submit your letter of inquiry and proposal, the contributions committee (comprised of four members of the Board of Trustees) will meet and carefully review each proposal and determine whether or not an organization will be funded and determine the grant amount. Although the contributions committee and Board of Trustees have the final say, the Foundation’s Executive Director will also meet with them to give her input, suggestions, and recommendations, but is not a voting member. Likewise, community input is also utilized in certain instances. The Board meets three to five times per year, while the contributions committee meets every month. Therefore, notification should be expected within six weeks of receiving your proposal.

Sample Grants

Texans Care for Children: This is a non-profit, non-partisan statewide coalition of organizations and individuals who care about the well being of Texas kids. They advocate for the care and protection of children and youth by supporting laws, policies, and funding strategies that address child well being in Texas; offering awareness by publicizing urgent child care facts; mobilizing people and communities to act for improvement of child well being throughout the state; and collaborating with mental health, health, educational, and human services organizations that serve Texas children.

When asked why the Trull Foundation supports Texans Care for Children, Purvis said, “ One of the Trull Foundation’s four main focuses is a concern for children and families. Grants are given to direct and channel lives away from child abuse, neglect, and poverty. The Trull Foundation has given grants to Texans Care for Children since 1999 because their mission addresses the Foundation’s focus on families and children. Texans Care for Children continues to support laws, policies, and funding strategies that address the well being of children in the state of Texas.”

“ The most recent TCFC initiative that the Trull Foundation is supporting is called the Children’s Campaign: An Agenda for the Decade. This campaign will increase public awareness of the condition of Texas children and advocate at the local, state, and federal levels for positive, measurable changes in the mental, physical, social, and economic well being of children.”

Zachary Scott Theatre Center: As one of Austin's most vibrant and innovative arts organizations and Central Texas’ oldest professional theatre, the Zachary Scott Theatre Center (ZACH) is a worthy organization for Trull Foundation support. Their mission is “to engage Central Texas in a dialogue by producing professional theatre of the highest artistic quality, inspired by a unique artistic vision and to offer a diverse theatre experience which is accessible to the community as a whole.” They also foster artistic education, expression, and development in children, teens and adults through a variety of outreach opportunities including ZACH’s PROJECT DISCOVERY (brings Austin’s elementary, middle school, and high school students to see main stage productions for under $5.00), ZACH’s PERFORMING ARTS SCHOOL (offers theatre classes to over 7,500 students of all ages), and PROJECT INTERACT (professional theatre for youth company in its 25th season).

The Trull Foundation awarded the Zachary Scott Theatre Center $4,200 to subsidize their Touring Performances of Project InterAct.

Environmental Defense Fund: The Trull Foundation’s newest addition to their priority giving areas concerns the preservation and conservation of Coastal Texas. Funding the Environmental Defense Fund, therefore, would make sense since they are the leading national nonprofit organization representing more than 400,000 members, all of which are dedicated to protecting the environmental rights- clean air, clean water, healthy food, and flourishing ecosystems- of all people. The Trull Foundation granted them $7,500 for their Managing Coastal Resources: Gulf of Mexico Reed Fish and Shrimp Fisheries and Bay and Estuarine Ecosystems program.

Planned Parenthood of San Antonio & South Central Texas: Planned Parenthood is the oldest and largest family planning and sexual health care agency in South Central Texas with clinics in Alice, Kingsville and six clinic locations in San Antonio. Their mission is to provide and protect the sexual and reproductive health care and information people need to plan their families and their futures. In 2003, they received a $5,000 grant from the Trull Foundation for their South Texas Family Planning Program- just another way that the Trull Foundation is working to improve the quality of life of Texans and striving for social change.

Loaves & Fishes of the Rio Grande Valley, Inc.: Mr. and Mrs. Trull were religiously devout and used their money to assist local religious organizations and bodies in their charitable work. Today, the Trull Foundation supports organizations such as the Loaves & Fishes of the Rio Grande Valley, Inc.- a non-profit charitable association of congregations and local denominational bodies that work to address the needs of God’s people throughout the Rio Grande Valley and achieve this through the cooperation and coordination with other area agencies. The Trull Foundation awarded them $3,000 for their Job Shop Program in 2003.

For more information or to download a proposal fact sheet, visit the Trull Foundation website at Also check out their profile on!


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