A Star to
Steer By

Illuminating the educational
journey for students in Texas

Annual Report 2022

Shining examples of collaboration and innovation

About Greater
Texas Foundation

Lighting the Path for Students in Texas

The journey to a postsecondary credential or
degree is certainly worth taking. Research tells us
that education beyond high school benefits the
student as well as their community. Yet, in reality,
many students need help to complete a journey
that can be complex and expensive.

Students looking to further their education have

  • weigh the myriad options available to them,
  • navigate diverse application processes and
    meet competing deadlines,
  • find a way to pay for school, and
  • stay on course, even in the face of life’s

It’s no wonder that in 2021, only 45% of public
high school graduates enrolled in an institution of
higher education in Texas directly after completing
high school.

We have made transfer, transition, and advising a strategic priority for our work because we believe every student deserves pathways that are affordable, clear, and efficient.

Thankfully, we are not alone in our commitment. In this report, we shine a light on the tremendous work our partners have done to help more Texas students get on pathways that lead them to their goals.

We invite you to come along for the ride and be inspired!

Sue McMillin
President and Chief Executive Officer

Greater Texas Foundation supports system-level changes to make the education pipeline more seamless and to help more students find their way through it.

Meet Marcus

Marcus is a highly motivated and smart public high school
student balancing time between school assignments and
working at his parents’ business. Neither of his parents
attended college, and although they run a successful small
business, they are unfamiliar with the college application
process and are not sure they can afford college for Marcus.
To achieve his potential, Marcus is going to need advising and

Start: High School to Community College

After watching a close family member battle a serious illness, Marcus is inspired to try a career in healthcare. But with so many possible career and postsecondary options, he isn’t sure where to start. With guidance from his high school’s college advisor, Marcus decides to pursue a nursing program at his local community college, which will help him keep costs down and stay close to home. His advisor steers him through the application and FAFSA process.

Illumination for the Journey

Shining examples of collaboration and innovation funded by Greater Texas Foundation

Walk along with us as we follow a typical student navigating the higher education system in Texas – the challenges and barriers they may face and the organizations and coalitions across the state who are working to make the journey more seamless.

The Importance of Advising

Thoughtful, one-on-one advising can make the difference between a student like Marcus who meets important application and registration deadlines and a student who misses their chance to enroll in their program of choice. Despite the important role advisors play, school districts and institutions of higher education have competing priorities that make it difficult to provide the sheer number of advisors needed to do this work. In response to this critical need, Greater Texas Foundation has partnered with organizations working to increase students’ access to high-quality advising across the state. These organizations bolster advisors and increase their efficacy, develop and test new models of advising that enlist non-advisor educators and professionals, and leverage technology to reach more students.

The Texas College Access Network (TxCAN)

Texas College Access Network (TxCAN) is a coalition of statewide leaders including the Texas Education Agency, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, Texas Workforce Commission, regional education coalitions, and funders. The coalition is focused on connecting and supporting college access efforts across Texas. By reducing duplication of efforts among partners and encouraging meaningful collaboration and best practice sharing, TxCAN hopes to increase Texas student enrollment in postsecondary programs directly from high school to at least 65% by 2030. In addition to their coalition work, TxCAN serves as a go-to resource for college and career advisors by publishing a newsletter and blog that compiles the latest college access information, best practices, and training opportunities. Currently, the newsletter serves more than 3,500 practitioners across the state.
Since 2017, Greater Texas
Foundation has given over
$2.5 million
to support TxCAN.

CAST Schools

CAST Schools, a network of STEM-focused charter schools in San Antonio, are taking an innovative approach to advising that empowers students to proactively seek support from a network of trusted adults. Their student-centered approach democratizes the role of advising. CAST students are connected to a network of adults, including industry mentors, who facilitate conversations about career and college. Starting in the 9th grade, all students participate in a purpose-planning process in which they identify postsecondary education, career, and life goals. In addition to long term goal setting and visioning, students participate in guided college and career reflection activities throughout their high school experience to take ownership of their educational path.

The model has helped more CAST school students enroll in college. According to a survey of their students:

  • 84% indicated they could find colleges/ universities that would help them achieve their career goal
  • 84% said the career planning they are doing or have done throughout high school will be of benefit to their future
  • 89% of students know what tasks they must complete in the next year to keep on track with their post-secondary plans
  • 85% of CAST school graduates reported attending college

The Urban Education Institute at UTSA

With support from Greater Texas Foundation, the Urban Education Institute at The University of Texas at San Antonio partnered with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to evaluate the impact of ADVi, a chatbot which interfaces directly with students to answer their questions. High school students can text ADVi for general information about key milestones in the college application process, get answers to common questions, and can receive nudges with suggested action steps. Students with more specific questions are referred to the Virtual Advising Project’s staff of advisers.

Initial findings show ADVi allowed counselors to spend less time answering routine questions/providing basic information, and gave them more time for personalized support. In order to fully utilize ADVi, students needed direction and endorsement from counselors – the integration of the technology with human advisors is critical.

Lessons Learned in College Student Advising

Having effective academic advising in college is critical to ensuring students take the right courses in the right sequences to help them achieve their goals. Greater Texas Foundation supported research at Sam Houston State University to understand how academic advisors adapted their practice during the COVID pandemic and how institutions can support those practices to improve advising into the future.

Based on their findings, the researchers developed a set of recommendations for advising leaders:

  • Consider remote and virtual services that should be retained as institutions transition to an endemic phase of COVID-19
  • Ensure advisors are involved in institutional decisions that affect them
  • Continue and expand advising professional development opportunities that address new contexts for advisors
  • Develop plans and incentives to fill and sustain the advisor pipeline
  • Assist institutions in redefining the role of advisors to focus on student needs

Continue: Community
College to University

After two semesters in community college, Marcus is feeling confident. He has decided he wants to be a registered nurse and knows he will need a bachelor’s degree. Marcus identifies a nursing program at the regional university but finds that his current major is not stackable with the program. With his advisor’s help, he decides to switch to a different associate’s degree plan that will transfer more credits to his desired four-year program.

Almost half of students earning associate degrees and more than two thirds of students completing bachelor’s degrees earned credits from more than one institution.1


Many students transfer on their way to completing a credential. By far the most common pathway is for students to transfer from a community college to a four-year university. Almost a third of Texas community college students will transfer within six years2. Despite the high number of students moving between institutions3, however, credit mobility remains a barrier to timely completion of a credential. According to the Government Accountability Office, 43% of transfer students’ credits do not apply to their new institution. Such significant loss of credit wastes students‘ time and money and jeopardizes their chances of completing a credential. Greater Texas Foundation has supported several statewide collaborations to bridge the gap between the two-year sector, four-year sector, and state agencies and to coordinate efficient pathways to degree for students.

Texas Success Center

The Texas Association of Community Colleges’ Texas Success Center (TSC) designs and manages the coherent, statewide framework for action and supports 48 community college districts in the state as they evaluate, align, and integrate their work to increase student success through the Texas Pathways strategy.

All Texas community colleges have committed to Texas Pathways to implement guided pathways at scale. The Texas Success Center supports all community colleges as they build capacity to implement and scale practices to help more students earn meaningful credentials, transfer to universities with no loss of credit, and gain employment in careers with value in the labor market.

Since 2017, Greater Texas Foundation has awarded more than $3 million to support the Texas Success Center. With this funding, the TSC convenes all community colleges through regular institutes and meetings and provides curricula and coaching to help community college leaders streamline academic pathways and improve supports for their students. To measure their impact, the Texas Success Center monitors early momentum metrics and long-term outcomes that measure student outcomes in the first term, first year, and after three years. As a result of Texas Pathways, community colleges are seeing growth in early momentum measures. For example, from 2015 to 2020, the proportion of students meeting key indicators in the first year increased for math completion (+9%), writing completion (+7%),  reading completion (+4%), reading, writing, & math completion (+8%),  earning 15+ credits (+6%), and earning 30+ credits (+3%). Early trends in long-term outcomes show positive signs as well; between 2015 and 2020, the proportion of students earning an associate degree or certificate increased by 2%, a number the Center expects to see accelerate as Texas Pathways matures in more institutions.

Texas Transfer Alliance

The Texas Transfer Alliance seeks to bring two- and four-year institutions of higher education together to ensure that all students have equitable access to and opportunity for success within and across institutions in rigorous pathways aligned and relevant to their long-term goals. Funds from Greater Texas Foundation supported four partnerships between four-year institutions and two-year institutions across the state facilitated by the Charles A. Dana Center at The University of Texas at Austin. Partnership teams set goals and created action plans to increase transfer to four-year colleges, improve student experience with transfer, and support transfer students at four-year colleges once enrolled.

Each partnership engaged in rapid 90-day action cycles to implement changes to meet their goals. Activities include:

  • Needs assessments
  • Cross-institution and within-institution meetings of administrators, faculty, and advisors
  • Exchanging student data
  • Implementing creative enrollment structures
  • Facilitating student trips to four-year institutions
  • Recruiting events at two-year institutions
  • Providing scholarships
  • Improving the operational aspects of transfer
Students impacted by this work emphasized the importance of implementing institutional policies that facilitated easy transfer, such as adopting the Texas Common Course Numbering System and providing students access to caring advisors.

Complete: University to Graduation

Marcus does very well in his first year at university, connecting with faculty and joining the Student Nurses Association. However, his car breaks down leaving him with costly repairs. With no public transportation options from his home to the university and insufficient savings to pay for the repairs, Marcus considers withdrawing from school. Fortunately, one of his professors refers Marcus to the campus emergency aid program. Two days after submitting an application, Marcus receives a check to cover the cost of the repairs and is able to return his focus to succeeding in school.

Thanks to his hard work and determination, and support from faculty and staff, Marcus graduates with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and is hired at the local hospital.

Emergency Aid

A short-term financial emergency can become an insurmountable hurdle for a college student trying to complete a degree. Whether the student’s emergency is brought about by a hurricane, a pandemic, the loss of a part-time job, or an unexpected medical bill, timely and targeted emergency aid can help them stay in school and earn the credential they need for a brighter future.

While institutions understand this reality and want to direct financial resources to students in need, they don’t always have the systems to administer emergency aid efficiently or effectively. With funding from Greater Texas Foundation and facilitation by Reos Partners, the Texas Emergency Aid Roadmap program is helping 10 community colleges develop efficient, equitable, and sustainable emergency aid programs.

Learn more in our case study
Small Dollars for Big Impact: How Texas Community Colleges are Creating Effective Models for Emergency Aid

Lessons learned:
  • Learn to define “emergency” from the student’s point of view. Understand the very real consequences that unforeseen expenses can have on their lives.
  • Start with a Yes rather than a No. Embracing this philosophy allows schools to help more students through positive, creative solutions to student challenges.
  • Build a multi-departmental team. Teams that include financial aid staff (to maximize and package the best form of aid), business office staff (to process checks), and case management (to connect students to community resources and address root causes of need) are essential to success.
  • Understand the staffing time required. The time commitment to establish and sustain an effective program is significant.
  • Strive for flexible systems and processes and evolve them when they do not serve students well.
  • Create a lean application process involving fewer people and fewer approvals that is easily accessible to students through a concise online form.
  • Use data to enhance fundraising by telling the impact story. Tracking retention and completion of recipients along with aid request amounts and needs is crucial.

Reflected Light

Marcus’ successful completion of a degree has put him on a path to a high-paying and in-demand career. And it has also positively impacted his family. His aunt Camilla started college years ago but dropped out when her oldest daughter was born. Camilla has been working as a bookkeeper for 10 years. After seeing her nephew cross the stage with a diploma in hand, Camilla is inspired to finish her education.  The admissions advisor at her local college recommends Camilla enroll in a competency-based education program to decrease her time to degree. Using prior learning assessments, she earns academic credit for her knowledge of accounting and business administration, helping her complete her bachelor’s degree in two years and join Marcus as a proud college graduate.



Alternative credentialing and instructional approaches, such as prior learning assessments (PLA) and competency-based education (CBE), can be especially beneficial to adult students seeking to complete a credential. These practices place the focus on the outcomes of learning and competency rather than credit hours completed. This shift rewards adults with significant work experience who can move quickly through material they have mastered outside of the classroom while giving flexibility to students who need additional time or support to become competent in the material. Greater Texas Foundation has supported several colleges and universities across the state to develop CBE pathways for their students.


Texas State Technical College (TSTC) is piloting several technical training programs through performance-based education (PBE) models. The programs will allow students to receive credit for prior life and learning experience, accelerate through their technical education based on demonstrated mastery of key competencies, and graduate with a comprehensive record of their skills and knowledge.


The Competency-Based Education Network (C-BEN) launched the Texas CBE Design Collaboratory to support a cohort of public universities across the state in planning and developing competency-based education programs leading to high-wage careers. The program offers personalized technical assistance to each institution and establishes a community of practice to engage institutions in the work. In the summer of 2022, Greater Texas Foundation awarded a second grant to C-BEN to provide institutions the opportunity to implement their CBE pathways.


Texas A&M-Commerce is designing two innovative competency-based pathways particularly geared toward learners with prior credits or certifications. In addition to providing these new pathways, a central component of the project also establishes academic success teams to guide students enrolled in these programs to efficient completion of a credential. Reflecting on lessons learned from this project, a representative noted, “Establishing relationships is essential to academic success. Internally, having an Advisor and Undergraduate Enrollment specialist that can address student concerns quickly is important, especially for adult learners who may be re-joining the university after many years away, and/or after an initial experience that may not have been favorable.”

Read more about competency-based education in our Issue Brief: Success Strategies for Adult Students

GTF Scholars in the Spotlight

Our GTF Scholars program is the very embodiment of our strategy to enhance transfer, transition, and advising for Texas students.

The program’s holistic approach to supporting Early College High School graduates as they transition to college includes a cohort of scholars, a program coordinator at each college campus,  wraparound support services, and scholarship funding. As a result, GTF Scholars have significantly better persistence and graduation rates, and lower loan debt than other ECHS graduates.

Scholar Stories

Hear GTF Scholars reflect on their transistions from ECHS to college in this video.

Beaming Brightly​

Meet two of our GTF Scholars and hear about their journeys.​

Derik Gutierrez 

Texas A&M University
Graduating Fall 2026
Majoring in Biomedical Science
Attended Rivera Early College High School in Brownsville

We caught up with Derik on a Friday, after his early-morning trip to the gym on campus. Exercise and a healthy lifestyle are priorities for Derik in school and in planning for his future.

What are you studying at Texas A&M and what do you hope to do after graduation?

I am majoring in Biomedical Science because I want to go to graduate school and become a Physician’s Assistant. Initially, I wanted to be a cardiothoracic surgeon but that takes a grueling amount of school and there is a lot of depression and burnout that comes with being a doctor. I want to have a healthy work/life balance and be in a profession that I can stay in for a long time. As a PA, I can help people, earn a good income, and still see my family.

I got a Pharmacy Tech certification in high school, so I will probably work in that field for a while and save money before graduate school.

What challenges did you experience in making the transition from high school to college? And how did the GTF Scholars program help you meet those challenges?

Honestly, the workload is much heavier now than in high school. I have to study much more every week. And I miss my family. Plus, I’m a broke college student. 

We have a GTF Scholars class that meets every Wednesday where we hear from mentors, get resumé help, learn about financial literacy–things that can help us in school and in life. Plus, I meet once a month with my mentor, Sophia, who gives me help and guidance and recommendations on which professors to select for classes.

Also, our campus coordinator Bonnie Davila has meals for us all the time. She provides “meal prep” packages for us on Mondays and Crock Pot meals on Thursdays. So that means fewer meals of ramen noodles for us college kids! Plus, she creates social events off campus for GTF Scholars.

What has gone well in your first year of college?

Success for me means giving back. I volunteer with a friend at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore and help with walking dogs at the Humane Society. I remember meeting a cute, three-legged dog named “Trike.” I walked with him for only about three weeks before he got adopted.

When did you know you wanted to go to college?

It was always instilled in me by my parents because neither of them was able to go to college. They worked hard and provided for me and I want to make them proud. I want to make a good income so I can help my parents retire. 

Plus, mi tías, my aunts, have been very influential. We are close in age and they are really smart. One of them is one of the first in our family to graduate from college and the other aunt is in college now, in a nursing program. I see her pushing herself and I want to push myself and take advantage of the opportunities I have.

What do you like to do when you are not studying?

I like to play volleyball with friends on the court that is near my dorm. And the rec center is really important to me. I go to the gym five-to-six days a week, to try to build my body as well as my mind. 

GTF Scholars in the Spotlight 

Chloe Bruno

Texas A&M University – San Antonio
Graduating Spring 2025
Majoring in Cybersecurity
Attended Brackenridge Early College High School in San Antonio

When we talked to Chloe she was preparing to be part of a panel discussion at the Women in Tech Summit, sharing her experiences with K-12 students. With interests in leadership, technology, music, and creativity, Chloe keeps busy all the time.

Where does your drive and ambition come from?

While many individuals have role models growing up, I did not grow up with any significant ones. My parents faced challenges with addiction, mental health, and alcoholism, and my grandmother ultimately adopted me out of foster care. In response to these experiences, I frequently remind myself, “You have so much potential. Don’t get to a point where you’re going to waste it.” After being raised in a low-income household, and struggling with ADHD, my aspiration is to achieve financial stability for myself and provide for my siblings. 

According to my grandmother, I was a curious child. I have a passion for learning that dates back to middle school, and it was then that I knew I wanted to pursue higher education. As a high school student, I graduated in the top ten of my class and, through hard work,  received more scholarships than the valedictorian. 

How has the GTF Scholars program helped you make the transition to college?

It has been reassuring to be with people who are navigating the same experiences as me – a junior in my first year. Our campus coordinator is both encouraging and upbeat and checks in on us. And, we have alumni students who offer their perspectives and share their experiences.

Attending the GTF Scholars leadership conference was a fantastic experience. Participating in the StrengthsFinder session provided me with a greater understanding of my strengths and weaknesses. And meeting the poet Joaquin Zihuatanejo was particularly inspiring, given that his story resonated with my own. In middle school, I wrote poetry and seeing Joaquin perform encouraged me to share my poem with the whole group.

What are some of your proudest accomplishments from your first year of college?

I’ve become involved in numerous campus organizations, such as Women in Cybersecurity, where I was initially a DEI officer, have since advanced to the role of vice president, and will soon become the president. I also just designed our newest shirts. I am a part of the AFCEA student chapter where I also designed that organization’s logo and t-shirt. And, I’ve created logos for several other campus organizations in which I am involved. 

In addition to my academic pursuits, I work as a help desk technician for the San Antonio Independent School District’s IT department. It is incredibly rewarding to be working in my field at such an early stage in my life, helping students, teachers, and parents resolve issues with technology including computers and printers. I also work as a financial secretary for a local church handling finances. 

I am also a member of the inaugural cohort of Alamo Fellows, a talent retention program for STEM majors sponsored by Greater SATX. It has provided me with a fantastic opportunity to connect with individuals in senior positions throughout the city who are eager to lend their support. As part of this program, I became a mentor for a group of students in the Highlands High School P-Tech pathway.

What do you hope to do after you graduate from college?

My goal is to work for the military, the government, or the FBI. As a high school junior, I participated in an FBI Teen Academy, and I was particularly interested in the role of a cybersecurity analyst. As the internet continues to expand, the prevalence of threats also increases. I want to make a difference and help protect people from cyber threats and crimes like sex trafficking, and drug trafficking, or use digital forensics to solve crimes. 

What do you do to relax?

I enjoy various forms of creative expression, such as painting, drawing, sculpting, and jewelry making. I am continuously seeking out new learning opportunities, including sign language and Morse code. I play four instruments and am currently learning to play the flute and guitar. Music is a great source of relaxation and comfort for me.

Any final thoughts?

One of my favorite quotes is, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. Either shoot your shot and maybe miss or never know the thrill of excitement you would have gotten if you would have done it”. It is crucial to take risks and pursue opportunities that may seem challenging or uncertain. Even mistakes provide valuable learning experiences. 

Grant Activity

In 2022, Greater Texas Foundation’s board of directors approved 60 grants for a total of $21,316,209 in new funding to improve postsecondary outcomes for Texas students.

Transfer, Transition, and Advising

2022 National Conference: Career and College – Building a BELIEVE Culture for Every Student

To support NPSI’s 2022 national conference, March 1-4, 2022 (virtually). Participation from nearly 900 educators, including teams of executive leaders from 95 LEAs. Key speakers included Arne Duncan, Dr. Janice Jackson (former CEO of Chicago Public Schools), Eloy Oakley (Chancellor of CA Community College System and Senior Advisor to Secretary Cardona) and Sarah Allen from the Gates Foundation. (National Postsecondary Strategy Institute)

Back on Track in Texas Community of Practice and Policy Research

To support the creation of a Community of Practice for Texas reengagement schools and programs to learn about the Back on Track model, and for schools and programs already implementing Back on Track to strengthen and further build out their practices. Funding will also support the analysis of available funding streams to support Back on Track pathways in three regions of the state, and development of two ideal funding models: one for High School Equivalency programs and one for diploma-granting alternative schools. (Jobs for the Future, Inc.)

Can Recommended Course Sequence Reforms Facilitate Transfer Student Success?

To support a multi-method research study designed to inform transfer policy and practice in Texas and across the nation and provide evidence of the benefits of the MapMyPath tool for improving transfer students’ college outcomes. (The University of Texas at Austin)

Higher Education Issue – Fostering Families Today

To support a special issue of Fostering Families Today focused on higher education. The issue will include information for foster families and youth on financial aid, on-campus foster youth programs available to them, among other important topics. (Fostering Media Connections)

Improving the Effectiveness of Industry Certification + Certificate/Degree (iC+C/D) Pathways

To support a series of activities to examine and align education and workforce stakeholders’ processes and policies in order to better support low-income and first-generation learners to complete industry certification + certificate/degree (iC+C/D pathways), earn postsecondary credentials of value, and enter the workforce. (Workcred, Inc.)

Philanthropy Advocates Pathways to College & Career Policy Work Group Research

To support research commissioned by Philanthropy Advocates through their 2022-2023 Pathways to College & Career work group to inform policymakers on the impact of past policies enacted by the Texas Legislature, both from House Bill 5 in 2013 and through many years of state policy influencing student and institutional behavior as it relates to college and career readiness and postsecondary transitions. (Communities Foundation of Texas, Inc.)

Resource Equity in Emergency Aid Funding

To support a research project designed to document promising practices in emergency aid for higher education students in Texas by evaluating how equitably federal relief funds were allocated to students and how effectively they supported students’ ability to persist and complete their degree. (The Education Trust)

Rural Learning Track at 2022 National Conference

To support a rural learning track at NCAN’s annual conference held in Atlanta, GA on September 12-14, 2022. This year’s conference theme is “Advancing the Right to Postsecondary Attainment.” (National College Attainment Network)

Texas CBE Collaboratory for Talent Strong

To support C-BEN in providing technical assistance and support to 7 programs at 6 institutions to build and implement CBE programs. In addition, lessons learned will be captured to inform other Texas schools, including documenting state policy barriers and incentives that would allow CBE to scale in Texas. (Competency-Based Education Network)

Student Supports

2022 Texas Male Leadership Summit

To support the Texas Male Leadership Summit to provide both leadership and college and career information to young men of color from several regions of the state. (The University of Texas at Austin)

Advancing Texas Community College’s Racial Equity and Student Success Goals through Achieving the Dream’s Racial Equity Leadership Academy

To support two Texas community colleges in advancing their racial equity goals through participation in the second cohort of the ATD and USC Race and Equity Center Racial Equity Leadership Academy. (Achieving the Dream, Inc.)

Education Reach for Texans Annual Conference, Foster Care Liaison Training, and Strategic Planning ($95,700)

To support Education Reach for Texans’ education and networking initiatives, strategic planning, and technical assistance services on research and projects that improve post-secondary education success for students with experience in foster care. (Texas Center for Child and Family Studies)

Expanding PelotonU to Post-Traditional Texans Everywhere

To enable PelotonU to build partnerships across the state, through which PelotonU will expand its virtual, on-demand, college completion coaching to post-traditional Texans anywhere. (PelotonU) 

Grantmakers for Education 2022 Annual Conference

To support GFE’s annual conference, which brings together a mix of education grantmakers, practitioners, youth and experts to share knowledge, insights and strategies. The conference was held in Austin, TX from October 18-20, 2022. (Grantmakers for Education)

Higher Education Event Series on the Impacts of COVID-19 in Texas

To support the presentation of four events in different regions of the state to raise awareness of higher education issues in Texas, particularly those heightened by the coronavirus pandemic. (Texas Tribune, Inc.)

Increasing Postsecondary Attainment Rates in Rural West Texas – A Place Based Approach

To support degree attainment among rural West Texas’s underserved and underrepresented students, while contributing toward a developing body of evidence to inform and advance research on rural adult student success. (WGU Advancement)

Latino Adult Student Success Academy (LASS): Continued Collaboration with LASS Texas Institutions to Improve and Evaluate Adult Learner Outcomes

To support continued change management work with four Texas institutions that were part of CAEL’s 2018-2021 Latino Adult Student Success Academy (LASS). The two-year initiative will provide a more intensive focus to drive results in four key areas that arose as the most challenging issues during the Academy’s initial work. (Strada Collaborative, Inc.)

Talent Strong Texas Pathways

To support the Texas Success Center’s centrally coordinated statewide reform activities dedicated to community college student success. (Texas Community College Education Initiative)

Texas District Postsecondary Fellowship Network

To support the Texas District Postsecondary Fellowship Network, a partnership between the National Postsecondary Strategy Institute (NPSI) and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) to deepen the work of districts in the THECB’s Texas OnCourse Fellowship program. (National Postsecondary Strategy Institute)

Texas Rural Funders – Strategic Planning

To support Texas Rural Funders’ strategic planning under the guidance of Boldly Go Philanthropy. (Waco Foundation)

UTeach at Prairie View A&M: Diversifying the STEM Teacher Workforce

To support the development of a UTeach secondary STEM teacher preparation program at Prairie View A&M University which will address both the need to produce more, highly qualified secondary STEM teachers for Texas students and to diversify the STEM teacher workforce. (The University of Texas at Austin)

Rural Collaborations

2022 Brazos Valley Gives – Matching Funds for Participating ISD Education Foundations

To support eight Brazos Valley Independent School Districts participating in the annual Brazos Valley Gives Day: College Station ISD, Bryan ISD, Caldwell ISD, Brenham ISD, Burton ISD, Navasota ISD, Centerville ISD, and Somerville ISD. (Community Foundation of the Brazos Valley)

New Regional Collaborative in the Permian Basin

To support the design and launch of one new rural, multi-district, cross sector collaborative pilot in the Permian Basin that will expand opportunities for underserved students to access high-quality, robust college and career pathways. (Empower Schools, Inc.)

Rural College Promise Cohort 2 Planning

To support a minimum of three rural community college leadership teams to plan for a Rural College Promise Cohort 2. The goal for the Rural College Promise program is to help more high school-graduating seniors enroll and complete a higher education degree through a tailored program to meet the unique needs of rural communities. (The Dallas Foundation)

Rural Student Success Initiative

To support the final grant-funded phase of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Rural Student Success Initiative which is designed to improve the capabilities of small, isolated rural school districts to provide appropriate and appropriately sequenced college access advising services to Grade 8-12 students and their families. (Texas A&M Foundation)

Math for Success

Improved Middle and High School Math Instruction through Leadership Development

To support Instruction Partners’ ongoing work with Brownsville ISD instructional leadership, specifically at Lopez Early College High School and Besteiro Middle School, to help principals, assistant principals, and deans to establish and implement a vision for middle- and high-school math instruction that successfully prepares students to succeed; coach them on that implementation; and help them to assess the impact of that vision on instructional quality and student outcomes. (Instruction Partners)


Institutional Collaboration Center: Designing THECB Supports

To support the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to develop the Institutional Collaboration Center, designed to help schools expand course offerings and create efficiencies through collaboration. (Texas Higher Education Foundation)

Pilot Implementation Grant: Summer Certification Cohort Program

To support a pilot summer cohort of 50 students from low-income communities in Houston to obtain industry-recognized credentials in Summer 2022. (BridgeYear)

The Aspen Opportunity Youth Forum and Texas OY Network Innovation Fund

To support the launch of the Aspen Opportunity Youth Forum (OYF) and Texas Opportunity Youth Network (TOYN) Innovation Fund designed to increase community and program expertise and capacity to leverage state policy and public/private funding partnerships to build sustainable and scalable opportunity youth pathways statewide. (The Aspen Institute, Inc.)

Virtual Reality Career Exploration and Training for Healthcare in the San Angelo Region

To support a public-private partnership that includes Howard College, Shannon Health, TRANSFR and regional partners, to provide healthcare education and training in the San Angelo region by equipping students with innovative virtual reality (VR) technology for career awareness and career exploration in middle school and career preparation in high school. (Shannon Medical Center)

Student Financial Aid

Denise M. Trauth Endowed Scholarship

To support the Denise M. Trauth Endowed Scholarship honoring President Trauth’s dedication to the support and success of Texas State students for over twenty years. (Texas State University Development Foundation)

Greater Texas Foundation (GTF) Scholars Program

To increase the number of Texas early college high school (ECHS) graduates who successfully transition to a four-year institution of higher education and complete a baccalaureate degree. University partners include:

  • Texas A&M University – $1,515,000
  • Texas A&M University-Central Texas – $1,560,000
  • Texas A&M-Corpus Christi – $1,560,000
  • Texas A&M San Antonio – $1,445,000
  • The University of Houston-Downtown – $1,445,000
  • University of North Texas at Dallas – $1,560,000
  • The University of Texas at El Paso – $1,515,000
  • The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley – $1,515,000

GTF Board Retreat Speaker – Scholarship Support 


To support a need-based scholarship for a returning adult student at UTRGV. This support is on behalf of Dr. Paul LeBlanc. (University of Texas Rio Grande Valley)

GTF Board Retreat Speaker – Scholarship Support 

To support general scholarships at Houston Community College. This support is on behalf of Andres Alcantar. (Houston Community College Foundation)

GTF Board Retreat Speaker – Scholarship Support 

To support the EPCC Finish Strong Fund that provides scholarships for students within one or two semesters of completing their degree cross the finish line to graduation. This support is on behalf of Dr. William Serrata and Ms. Melissa Henderson. (El Paso Community College Foundation)


2022 Texas Higher Education Leadership Conference

To support the 2022 Texas Higher Education Leadership Conference hosted by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. With a theme of “Our Future. In Focus.” the conference centered on the bold goals outlined in the state’s strategic plan, Building a Talent Strong Texas. (Texas Higher Education Foundation)

Diana Natalicio – UTEP Book Project

To support the production of a book focused on the story of the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) as a national model of a student success focused institution under the leadership of Dr. Diana Natalicio. (Excelencia in Education, Inc.)

Texas Rural Schools Spring Conference 2023

To support the 2023 Texas Rural Schools Spring Conference which provides a unique venue for rural educators to network and share local instructional and administrative solutions across Texas. (Education Service Center Region XIII)


2022 Membership Support

To support the foundation’s 2022 membership dues to Council on Foundations. (Council on Foundations, Inc.)

2022 Membership Support

To support the foundation’s 2022 membership dues to Grantmakers for Education. (Grantmakers for Education)

2023 Membership Support

To support the foundation’s 2023 membership dues to Council on Foundations.
(Council on Foundations, Inc.)

2023 Membership

To support the foundation’s 2023 membership dues to Peak Grantmaking. (PEAK Grantmaking, Inc.)

GTF Educational Matching Grant Program

GTF Educational Matching Grant Program 2022

This program is meant to encourage giving by Greater Texas Foundation officers, board members, external committee members, managers, and employees to educational institutions or organizations supporting education through scholarships or programs related to any of GTF’s strategic goals. The foundation will match contributions up to $5,000 on a 3:1 basis. 

  • Baylor University
  • Blinn College Foundation, Inc.
  • Howard Payne University
  • Southwestern University
  • Texas A&M Foundation (2)
  • Texas A&M University – Texarkana
  • Texas State University Development Foundation
  • The Texas A&M University Commerce Foundation (3)

The Journey Ahead

In 2022, Greater Texas Foundation’s board approved  $21 million in grants to create systems-level improvements that lead Texas students to postsecondary education. By funding research, forming partnerships, sponsoring program innovations, convening leaders, and sharing knowledge we create local and statewide change that helps students see a brighter future for themselves.

As we continue in our commitment to illuminate paths to and through higher education, we are exploring new ways to make those pathways more seamless, more transparent, more affordable, and more valuable. In this effort, we are excited to have three new partner schools join our GTF Scholars family and look forward to welcoming their first cohorts of students in the fall of 2023. 

We are also excited to see so many of our partners and leaders across the state increasing their focus on aligning postsecondary credentials to workforce needs. We know a student’s journey doesn’t end with a diploma in hand and we look forward to helping ensure the hard work students put into obtaining a credential will pay off.

We express deep gratitude to all of our partners whose ingenuity, dedication, and singular focus on student success will mean a brighter future for our entire state. Their work paves the way for students to aspire, commit, and achieve.  

To all of our partners and the students they serve, we say, “shine on!”


Greater Texas Foundation’s vision is for all Texas students to have equal opportunity to access and succeed in postsecondary education.


Greater Texas Foundation supports efforts to ensure all Texas students are prepared for, have access to, persist in, and complete postsecondary education. We put particular focus on helping underserved and socioeconomically disadvantaged populations. We pursue our mission by forming partnerships, supporting research, sharing knowledge, and making grants.

Board Of Directors

  • Ralph Rushing, Chair
  • Dr. Samuel Gillespie, Vice Chair, Finance & Investment Committee Chair
  • Bill Youngkin, Secretary, Audit & Accountability Committee Chair
  • Dr. John Moss, Charitable Activities Committee Co-Chair
  • Dr. Alonzo Sosa, Charitable Activities Committee Co-Chair
  • Dr. Donald Thompson, Strategy & Learning Committee Chair
  • Judy Holt, Director
  • A.D. James, Jr., Director
  • Dr. Terry Jones, Director


  • Tina Gridiron, Advisor to the Strategy & Learning Committee
  • Janet Handley, Advisor to the Finance & Investment Committee
  • Dr. Mary Hendrix, Advisor to the Charitable Activities Committee
  • Jodi Jones, Advisor to the Audit & Accountability Committee


  • Sue McMillin, President & CEO
  • Nancy Mader, Office Manager
  • Erin Arnold, Senior Accountant
  • Amber Bass, Chief Financial Officer
  • Leslie Gurrola, Director of Programs & Strategy
  • Carol Miller, Director of Grants Management
  • Allison Pennington, Programs & Strategy Associate
  • Tessa Pennington, Programs & Strategy Associate
  • Dr. Andrea Robledo, Programs & Strategy Officer
  • Chris Woodruff, Senior Grants Management Associate

Student Assistants

  • Laurel Kelley
  • Mariah Vasquez
  • Codi Lamb
  • Kaci Herman
  • Paige Hubert

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