Harold Simmons Foundation President
Lisa K. Simmons, president of the Harold Simmons Foundation in Dallas since 1988, has a notable list of current and past board memberships:
- TexProtects (Texas Association for the Protection of Children)
- Texas Women’s Foundation (formerly Dallas Women’s Foundation)
- Dallas Black Dance Theatre
- Dallas Arboretum
- Southwestern Medical Foundation
- Media Projects
- HOPES (Healthy Outcomes Through Prevention and Early Support)
- Greenhill School
She’s also an executive board member of the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development at SMU, and her professional affiliations include Philanthropy Southwest, the Fund for a Safer Future, and Zero to Five Funders Collaborative.
Lisa started working with her father, famed Texas businessman, investor, and philanthropist Harold C. Simmons, in 1982 after moving back to Dallas post college and a stint as a VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) volunteer.
“I was based in Raleigh, North Carolina, working with the city on a child abuse prevention initiative,” Lisa said. “That was my first experience with direct social services and impacted what I wanted to do going forward.”
Harold created and built a large holding corporation with various investments but made charitable contributions along the way. He asked Lisa for help organizing his giving, which is where her philanthropic work began.
Now she’s the president of his foundation, which has supported a variety of nonprofits primarily in the Dallas area for 35 years. Partnerships have included “everything from capital projects to medical research to operating support for the arts and social services,” Lisa says.
“In its mission to support safety, dignity, and opportunities for everyone in the community, the foundation strives to maintain a balance between investment in critical direct services and public policy innovation,” Lisa said. “We encourage our nonprofit partners to seek creative solutions to community problems.”
Some of the organization’s nonprofit partners include Every Texan, which prioritizes policies that will measurably improve equity in and access to healthcare, food security, education, and financial security, and TexProtects, which develops and advocates for policy that protects children from child abuse and empowers Texas families to thrive.
“Currently, the issues of early childhood through grade 12 social-emotional health and gun safety are top priorities,” Lisa said. “We support education, research, and prevention programs and advocate for effective, evidence-based solutions.”