Mailing Address: PO BOX 1808, Brownsville, Texas 78523
Phone number: 956.572.0304

The Brownsville Community Foundation

The Brownsville Community Foundation 

The Brownsville Community Foundation was founded with the mission of improving the lives of people in Brownsville by creating a permanent endowment in order to respond to community needs. It is also provides a vehicle and service for donors with varied interests while serving the philanthropic community.  

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The BCF Announces 2015 Grant Recipients

In their 2015 granting cycle, the Brownsville Community Foundation awarded grants totaling $59,500.00 to seven non-profits in the Brownsville community. For a second year, the Foundation focused on collaborative projects, bringing together charitable organizations and enabling recipients of our grant funds to pool resources and expertise to bring about collective impact.

Below are the organizations and projects that were awarded grants. 



Grant Award

Bishop Enrique San Pedro Ozanam Center and Good Neighbor Settlement House

Homeless After Hours Transportation


Good Samaritan Community Services


Asset Building for Clients


Gorgas Science Foundation

Sabal Palm Sanctuary Education Center


Moody Clinic and Brownsville Community Health Clinic

Collaboration for Children with Special Needs in our Community


Saint Joseph Academy and Guadalupe Regional Middle School

The Montagne Project


United Way of Southern Cameron County, the Community Development Corporation of Brownsville BISD, Brownsville PUB, Texas Southmost Colllege, and UTB

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program


Tip of Texas Family Outreach,

Brownsville Housing Authority

At Risk Prevention Services



Brownsville Rio Grande Scholar Starts Classes at the University of Texas



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                             Contact: Alisa Cohen Victoria


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AUSTIN, Texas —Stephen “Michael” Garcia, a 2015 Homer Hanna High School graduate, begins his Longhorn education as the new academic year gets kicked off at The University of Texas at Austin this week. Named the newest recipient of the Rio Grande Valley Scholarship, Garcia will receive full tuition to the university for four years.

Established in 2011 in a partnership between UT Austin and Texas Exes, the scholarship strives to provide opportunity for high-achieving students in South Texas. Brownsville Community Foundation supported the effort with a $10,000 challenge donation and was met with great favor by community businesses such as Valley Baptist Health System, Falcon Bank, Burton McCumber & Cortez, Lone Star National Bank, and Rio Bank, along with area UT alumni to make this scholarship possible.

“Providing a deserving Brownsville student with the means to attend The University of Texas was a unique opportunity that dovetails with our mission. We hope Michael will obtain his degree and return to our community to share his abilities and encourage others to aspire to higher education,” says Mary Lou Ryan Ray, board president of Brownsville Community Foundation.

A well-rounded and active student, Garcia, a National Honor Society member, graduated in the top 5% of his class. He played trumpet in the marching band, participated on the Math Team, acted as a physics tutor, and even competed in chess. Garcia has been accepted into the College of Natural Sciences as a TIP Scholar and plans to study biology in hopes of becoming a neurologist. He is also a new member of the Longhorn Band. The fourth recipient of this scholarship, Garcia says he has always been a Longhorn at heart, and he wants to prove to those who have invested in him that they made the right choice.

“Like many in high school, going to college is a financial hardship. This scholarship brought relief and joy to both my parents and myself,” says Garcia. “My goal for the next four years is to inspire those back home and to become a successful student at UT.”

Funded by $600,000 in endowed funds as well as additional annual gifts, the Rio Grande Valley Scholarship Program aims to fund one new scholar from the Upper, Middle, or Lower Rio Grande Valley each year. Scholars receive a $10,000 annual award to The University of Texas at Austin, renewable for four years, and are selected by Rio Grande Valley alumni and friends based on financial need, excellence in academics, leadership, and community service.


News: IRA Charitable Rollover

Breaking: House and Senate Negotiators Agree to Permanently Extend IRA Charitable Rollover


The Council of Foundations is delighted to report a major step toward victory for the charitable sector. In a deal announced this afternoon, the IRA charitable rollover would be made permanent law.

The ultimate outcome of the negotiated tax provision package may rest on the response of the White House. The Administration has in the past objected to the permanent extension of expired tax provisions if the resulting revenue loss is not offset. Nonetheless, this is a major step forward on a policy the Council has
long supported. Thank you to all of our members who helped secure this policy success—lawmakers heard your voices loud and clear.
Word from Capitol Hill is that House and Senate negotiators have worked out a deal on the 55 expired tax provisions known as "tax extenders," including the IRA charitable rollover. The publication Tax Notes reports that ten extenders (temporary tax provisions that must be renewed periodically) would become permanent law.

A permanent IRA charitable rollover will eliminate the harmful cycle of expiration and renewal that has created so much uncertainty for donors and nonprofits over the years. It will allow donors to plan their charitable gifts in advance, which will create increased charitable investment for your organizations and the communities you serve.

A permanent rollover is also a significant milestone towards the ultimate goal of expanding the rollover to other giving vehicles, including donor advised funds, private foundations, and supporting organizations.

The negotiated deal would also make nine other extenders permanent, including the deduction for conservation easement contributions and the deduction for gifts of food inventory. Two provisions would be eliminated entirely, while the 43 other expired provisions would be temporarily renewed through 2015.

While we wanted to share this news with you immediately, we are still waiting on further details.

One important caveat is that White House support for the deal is not certain at this point.
We will keep you informed as we work to ensure that this significant policy win becomes law!

News: Grants for Collective Impact

Grants for Collective Impact


Catalyzing New Collaborations between Non-profits


Brownsville Community Foundation announces the release of a new Grant Cycle to promote outcome goals of collaborative program plans.


BCF wants to build a strong collaborative framework for enabling the recipients of our grant funds to pool resources and expertise, creating synergies in cross-disciplinary programs to bring about collective impact.


With the announcement of BCF’s new interest in building a strong collaborative framework within the non-profits of our community, we will look most favourably on grant proposals written in collaboration by two or more non-profits or a non-profit and another agency/group such as a school, museum, hospital or other agency/group involved in activities covered by the Foundation’s areas of interest.


Collaborative grants support beneficial projects and programs that are undertaken by multiple non-profit organizations because the scope or complexity of the project will benefit from each organization’s particular expertise or provided services, and will enable more effective and efficient delivery of the program or services than individual organizations working alone or separately.

News: New Board Members

The Brownsville Community Foundation is proud to announce new Board members for the 2014-2017 Term

Raymond Cisneros 

Raymond Cisneros is currently Executive Vice President and Chief Credit Officer for Lone Star National Bank.  He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in finance and he earned his Masters of Business Administration degree from Pan American University at Brownsville, Texas.  He has served on the Boards for Brownsville Chamber of Commerce as president, United Way of Southern Cameron County as president and campaign chair, State chapter of the American Heart Association, Brownsville Economic Development Corporation, Cameron County Housing Finance Corporation as president, Rio Grande Multibank as president, and many other boards. 


Claudia Cantu- Grimaldo

Claudia Cantu-Grimaldo is Lower RGV District Manager for Wells Fargo.  She graduated from the University of Texas- Pan American in 1996 with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance.  She has over 17 years banking experience all with Wells Fargo and has worked in Webb County, Hidalgo County and now in Cameron County during her tenure.  She is currently in the boards of the Brownsville Chamber of Commerce, United Way of Southern Cameron County, and UTB School of Business Advisory Board.


 Ben Pena

Ben Pena is an assurance services partner with Burton, McCumber & Cortez, LLP in Brownsville, Texas (“BMC”). Ben graduated from the University of Texas Pan American in 1996 with a BBA in Accounting and has been with BMC for over 17 years. He is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Fraud Examiner and Certified Internal Controls Auditor. Ben currently serves as President of the Rio Grande Valley Chapter of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners and is Taylor Christian School board member.  Ben also serves as state director at-large for the Texas Society of CPAs.


Amy Tipton

Originally from Storm Lake, Iowa, Amy Tipton is a retired English teacher.  She earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Iowa and taught at various schools in Brownsville, ending her twenty-six year career at St. Joseph Academy.  She is currently a member of the St. Joseph Academy School Board and EV Chapter of PEO and past member of the National Council of Teachers of English, International Reading Association, Texas Council of Teachers of English, and the First Tee of Greater Brownsville Board. 


Marcela Ronquillo Hinojosa

Originally from Matamoros, Marcela lives in Brownsville and is married to Baltazar Hinojosa. They have three daughters.  Marcela has be very active on both sides of the border for many years.  Her resume includes: Founder And President of Creators Art Foundation (www.creators-art.com), Liaison Coordinator in “Fundacion Solo Por Ayudar” USA-Mexico, 2004-2010, Director “Fundacion SIIMMON”, 2005-2010. (Information System of Migrant Youth), President of DIF (Desarrollo Integral de la Familia) Matamoros, 2005-2007, Board President of “Festival Otoño Matamoros”, Board President of “Festival Internacional Tamaulipas” Matamoros 2005-2007, Founder & President - Jovenes Unidos Por Mexico A. C. And Internationa United Youth Chapter., Founder and President of American Marketing Association in ITESM, Founder of Museo del Desierto , Saltillo, Coahuila, 1996-201, Director / Owner of Rancho Las Vacas, Matamoros, Mex. (www.rancholasvacas.com.mx), President of Board Friends of Frida Kahlo Casa Azul & Diego Rivera Anahucalli Museums¨, Executive Director of Brownsvlle Museum of Fine Art (2011-2014).

News: New Consultant Position Announced

The Brownsville Community Foundation is proud to announce the creation of a new professional position. 

Diane Milliken Garza will be our first Consultant to the Board of Directors. 

Diane will be researching fundamental projects for the Foundation and will act as a liaison with the Brownsville public and business community.

Diane had been a Board Member since 2005 and has served in many capacities including President of the Board.

She is married to David C. Garza, who is an attorney in Brownsville. They have two daughters.

She has her PhD in Education from The University of Texas at Austin.