John Bradshaw | July 28, 2015
Cities matter, and Houston happens to matter a great deal to me.
As a fifth-generation Houstonian, I trace my lineage back through twists and turns, where all roads lead to the Bayou City. My ancestral entry points to Houston speak of a typical American immigrant story, diverse cultural backgrounds, and economic opportunism that uniquely intersect with the industries and enterprises that have made this city great.
My family has constituted some of Houston’s more colorful characters. Some are prominent like my father, a bestselling author and public speaker. Some are relatively unknown, like my cousin who faithfully served with the Houston Police Department.
Each branch of the family has intersected with key components in Houston’s history. Each brought with them perspectives that reflected their distinct backgrounds. And yet each has embodied that unique flavor of Texas and the “can-do” spirit that we wear like a badge of honor here.
My perceptions about this city have evolved since I left for college in 1988 and returned 20 years later. During that time, the city has transformed itself: neighborhoods like Midtown, the Heights, and the East End have been reinvented and are booming. As Stephen Klineberg’s research shows, diversity continues to grow exponentially, enhancing the cultural landscape of the city.
Despite (or perhaps due to) its peccadillos and eccentricities, Houston is a compelling city to call home. I am invested in the future of this city, how it achieves resiliency and sustainability as a diverse metropolis, and the ways urban development here present opportunities for other cities.
My appointment as director of development is part of the Kinder Institute’s larger expansion plan conceived and fueled by our director Bill Fulton. That plan builds upon Klineberg’s solid work with the Kinder Houston Area Survey – now in its 35th year– and will expand our efforts to strategically address the pressing issues facing Houston and cities across the nation.
My career in fundraising has centered on connecting people to outstanding causes and projects that engage their minds and hearts. Before joining the Kinder Institute, I spent roughly a decade working with nonprofit organizations addressing urban disparity in the Los Angeles area. I spent the last four years working at Asia Society Texas as it opened its new Museum District home.
As the Kinder Institute’s director of development, my job is to engage and connect people to our work in substantive, meaningful ways. More practically, my time will focus on managing the prestigious annual luncheon, building key relationships in the corporate community, and launching a new donor group to allow supporters more access to the fine work being done by our resident scholars and fellows.
It’s a supreme pleasure to work for an organization near and dear to my personal interests and passions. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.