The Woody and Gayle Hunt Family Foundation is pleased to share our 2021 Annual Report. The report showcases the impact we are making and our commitment to the residents and institutions of the Borderplex region: a binational area that encompasses El Paso County, Texas, Doña Ana County, New Mexico, and Ciudad Juárez in México - and the place we call home. We invite you to learn more about our efforts by reading the 2021 Woody and Gayle Hunt Family Foundation Annual Report.
Dear community members, partners, and friends:
When we established the Woody and Gayle Hunt Family Foundation in 1987, we could have never imagined the true resiliency of our community. The strength, the growth and the opportunities seized are all because of the individuals and organizations that continue to make our hometown so special.
Our family foundation is fortunate to be able to strengthen and support this growth while still remaining focused on the six pillars that have guided our giving since 1987: healthcare, education, economic development, quality of life, arts and local heritage, and elevating the Borderplex region – El Paso, TX, South Central New Mexico, Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. Our giving in 2021 demonstrated our commitment to these pillars, and to the region we are proud to call home.Read More
Since 1987, roughly two thirds of all of our giving has targeted healthcare and education, and we are proud that El Paso is now home to both the Gayle Greve Hunt School Of Nursing and the Woody L. Hunt School of Dental Medicine. In 2021, we also continued to support our sister city of Ciudad Juárez, providing a $1M commitment to Fundacion Paso del Norte who is helping meet the health, education, and economic needs of families in Juárez. And we doubled down on our investment in the future of the Borderplex by launching new scholarship programs at UT Austin and Doña Ana Community College to help more Borderplex students pursue higher education.
In 2021, we bolstered economic development by deepening our partnership with El Paso County and UpTogether to provide 245 families with funds to meet the financial challenges caused by the pandemic. We know that investing in our families results in a strong and healthy workforce, which improves the region’s prosperity.
In the area of quality of life and arts and local heritage, 2021 saw the long-anticipated start of construction on the El Paso Children’s and Science Museum (which now has an official name – La Nube – and a live webcam where you can watch it being built). La Nube will be a cultural, family, and economic hub for our city. We have supported its development since day one, and we can’t wait to visit with our family members.
Our enthusiasm for elevating the Borderplex continued as we were able to play a small role in supporting leaders from our hometown, attend global seminars and participate in world renowned leadership programs through our Hunt Aspen Institute Fellowship.
Just as important as what we support is how we structure that support. We seek to not only build our capacity for resilience, but to encourage others to do the same, and so we use our commitments to encourage investment and engagement from across the region.
Change is often incremental, but the last 35 years offer powerful proof of what a difference patient and consistent investments can make. Thank you for being part of this journey, and for your continued support.
Woody L. Hunt and Josh W. Hunt
In 2021, the Woody and Gayle Hunt Family Foundation continued our commitment of investing in initiatives and organizations that help create a healthy and competitive Borderplex region: arts and local heritage, economic development, education, healthcare, and quality of life. We also supported organizations whose efforts in Texas or nationally, have a direct impact on the Borderplex region. Read about some of our grantees below.
For over 60 years, the El Paso Zoological Society has worked hand-in-hand with the El Paso Zoo to advance the Zoo’s conservation, education, and recreation programs. The Woody and Gayle Hunt Family Foundation has supported the Zoological Society’s work for more than a decade. While some of our giving has bolstered existing initiatives like educational programming and volunteer training, we also helped the Zoo find creative new ways to attract more visitors, expand revenues, and improve the overall quality of life in the Borderplex region.Read More
The Foundation was proud to sponsor two popular additions to the Zoo in recent years: the Hunt Family Desert Spring (aka, the Splash Pad) and the Endangered Species Carousel, which features 30 hand-painted endangered species from around the world, including an Asian elephant, Mexican grey wolf, white rhino, and western lowland gorilla. These attractions helped increase attendance at the Zoo in the years before the COVID-19 pandemic, and and continues to excite visitors since the Zoo welcomed guests back in 2021.
During the COVID pandemic, the Foundation helped the Zoo weather the shutdown with minimal impact to the animals and ongoing capital projects. The Zoo offers more than a fun day out for local families and visitors to the region; it provides a connection with the natural world that cannot be replicated by books or documentaries. We are proud to help El Pasoans better understand wildlife, our ecosystem, and the role we each can play in creating a sustainable city for future generations.
"When people ask what a successful public-private partnership looks like, I point them to the Hunt Family Foundation’s support for the El Paso Zoo. Thanks to the generosity, the Zoo has been able to do more than maintain its current exhibitions; it has been able to invest in fun educational attractions that draw more visitors and revenue to the Zoo and help us advance our mission of teaching the public about the importance of conservation." - Renee Neuert
Since 2016, the Hunt Center for Entrepreneurship at Arrowhead NMSU has created opportunities for entrepreneurs and innovators in the Borderplex region. Since its founding at New Mexico State University, the Hunt Center has helped launch and develop new businesses; move new technologies to market; and provide investment and industry expertise to NMSU students, faculty, and staff.Read More
The Center offers local inventors and entrepreneurs support and mentorship through business accelerators like Studio G and LAUNCH Licensing Studio and competitions like Aggie Shark Tank, which gives university students the opportunity to pitch their ideas to investors. In addition, the Center works to encourage a spirit of entrepreneurship and imagination in young people in grades K-12 through programs like Camp Innoventure, a week-long innovation and entrepreneurship experience. Partnerships with local organizations like the STTE Foundation will continue to expand opportunities for the Borderplex’s youngest entrepreneurs.
Thanks to support from the Woody and Gayle Hunt Family Foundation, Arrowhead Center has also assisted promising local startups with seed funding through the Arrowhead Innovation Fund. The Fund has directly invested in nineteen companies that have already created more than 140 new jobs in New Mexico.
The Hunt Center has significantly expanded the entrepreneurial expertise in the region, exemplified by supporting Entrepreneurs-in-Residence like Rodrigo Fuentes, a native El Pasoan and successful tech entrepreneur, who coaches entrepreneurs and university faculty in creating startups and commercializing technology.
“The Hunt Family Foundation has long worked to cultivate entrepreneurship and innovation with an eye to creating economic opportunity in the region, and it has positioned the Borderplex to be a big winner in the next 10 years,” said Kathryn Hansen, Director and Chief Executive Officer. “Thanks to their support, the Hunt Center has become a key resource for the next generation of entrepreneurs.”
The Lydia Patterson Institute (LPI) has provided a robust and well-rounded educational experience to students in grades 6-12 for over a century from its home in El Paso where it serves a population that consists primarily of Spanish-speaking and international students. The last two graduating classes at LPI achieved a 100% graduation rate, and those students are now attending colleges and universities located throughout the country.Read More
Out of the roughly 200 students that study at LPI every school year, 3 are able to attend the Institute on scholarship thanks to the philanthropic support of the Woody and Gayle Hunt Family Foundation, which has provided students from both El Paso and Ciudad Juarez the chance to access a high-quality education since 2005.
In 2021, scholarships funded by the Hunt Family Foundation helped dozens of students whose families had been impacted by the pandemic or faced general financial need. The scholarships aim to provide students with a high-caliber education, prepare them to successfully complete a college degree program, and, eventually, give back to their communities.
In addition to investing in El Paso and Ciudad Juarez and its young people, the Foundation is helping LPI complete crucial facility updates in the coming years. These updates will make the student experience at LPI more comfortable and help improve administrative functions, increase educator incentives, and improve teacher training.
“The advancement and success of our students would not have been possible without the generosity of the Hunt family. Over the last 17 years, the Foundation’s consistent commitments have changed the lives of hundreds of our students. We are incredibly thankful for their dedication to education in our community and the future of our region.” - Stephanie Schilling, Director of Development
In 2021, the Woody L. Hunt School of Dental Medicine became the first dental school to open in Texas in more than fifty years and the first Texas dental school ever to be situated in the western half of the state. From its home at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in El Paso (TTUHSC El Paso), the Hunt Dental School prepares future oral healthcare practitioners to fill a critical shortage of dentists in West Texas.Read More
In order to better serve the Borderplex community, the Hunt School bolsters the most innovative dental school curriculum in the country with coursework in conversational and medical Spanish as well as an on-site clinic that in its first year served more than 2,000 residents, many of whom would not have been otherwise able to access dental care. In addition, all students graduate with a community health certificate that they can apply towards a Master of Public Health degree.
The Woody and Gayle Hunt Family Foundation worked for years with public and private sector leaders to make an El Paso-based dental school a reality. Gum disease and poor dental health are linked to many chronic conditions, and data shows that regional health disparities are exacerbated by a shortage of dentists. The dental school also provides economic and professional opportunities for local young people who wish to pursue a rewarding career while serving our community.
“The Woody and Gayle Hunt Family Foundation’s support for El Paso’s dental school is more than a gift; it is an investment in our region that will transform access to quality oral health care, the future of dentistry, and economic growth,” said Andrea S. Tawney, PhD, Vice President Institutional Advancement. “The vision for what a health science center campus can contribute to the borderplex is realized with every student who achieves their dream of pursuing a degree at TTUHSC El Paso and goes on to serve our community as a healthcare leader of tomorrow.” - Dr. Andrea Tawney
For more than 40 years, the Center Against Sexual and Family Violence (CASFV) has been helping thousands of people who have survived domestic violence and sexual assault cope with their trauma and find hope, and a better future. The Center, which began as a telephone hotline in 1977, has since expaned into a full shelter, Family Resource Center, and Transitional Living Center, providing guidance and tools needed for recovery to those who have been directly and indirectly impacted by domestic violence or sexual assault.Read More
In 2018, the Center completed a massive remodel funded through a capital campaign that included funding by the Woody and Gayle Hunt Family Foundation, and leadership from Josh Hunt who served as the campaign’s co-chair. The Foundation’s investment helped spark additional funds to build and renovate the Center’s existing space to better serve the community. The Center went from 21 bedrooms (serving 106 residents) to 33 bedrooms (serving 198 residents), and also created a more functional commercial kitchen, a children’s development program and embedded their case management services within their residential area.
In 2021, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Center remained open, allowing each family a safer living environment. Because of the expansion, 80% of residents are in individual rooms versus shared living spaces. Larger bedrooms and the ability to self isolate helped stop community spread and created a healthier environment for everyone. This new space, which provides counseling, support groups, therapy and other resources, assisted a little over 850 clients, including more than 430 children last year alone.
"The generosity of the Woody and Gayle Hunt Family Foundation allowed us to identify obstacles and barriers in our previous facility, and correct the space to better serve our residents in need. We were able to design a facility that addressed our needs and better serve the community - advocating for safety and justice through intervention, education and community collaboration. It’s crucial that our doors remain open, even during a worldwide pandemic, and the Foundation allowed us to do just that.” - Sandra Nevarez Garcia, Executive Director.
The Aspen Institute Latinos and Society Program (AILAS) was founded in 2015 to promote opportunities for Latino leadership development, economic advancement and wealth creation. The Woody and Gayle Hunt Family Foundation has been a strong supporter of AILAS since its launch, and Woody Hunt sits on its national Advisory Board.Read More
Since 2020, the Woody and Gayle Hunt Family Foundation, in partnership with AILAS, has supported a fellowship program that provides academic, civic, and nonprofit leaders from the Borderplex region an opportunity to participate in Aspen Institute programs, events and seminars. As part of the Foundation’s commitment to elevating the Borderplex, the fellowship program not only provides thought leaders from the Borderplex with the opportunity to network with other world leaders and gain skills that increase their leadership, but it also provides a platform for others to learn about the Borderplex community, its incredible talent, and the unique work that is happening in this corner of the world.
A total of 10 leaders were selected as Hunt-Aspen fellows in 2021 and participated in a range of prestigious Aspen programs, including: Aspen Socrates Program, Aspen Executive Leadership Seminars, and Aspen Words. The fellows bring back their new skills and expanded networks to their respective organizations and their work. Since launching, the Hunt Aspen Fellowship has supported a total of 20 fellows and will continue to provide leadership development opportunities for more fellows in the year to come.
“It’s critical to involve voices from the border in conversations about what is happening in our country and our world,” said Domenika Lynch, executive director of Aspen Institute Latino and Society Program. “We are grateful to partner with the Woody and Gayle Hunt Family Foundation for generously establishing this fellowship to bring Borderplex leaders to the table.”
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For additional information on previous giving for the Woody and Gayle Hunt Family Foundation, please see the below annual reports.