Who We Are–Our Mission
We are a Texas-based 501(C)(3) nonprofit cultural resources preservation organization. Our mission is to partner with the Texas Historical Commission to preserve and protect the cultural heritage of Texas, securing private philanthropic resources to ensure a lasting legacy for future generations.
What We Do
Through our work we preserve and promote historic resources for the education and enjoyment of present and future generations—to share Texas’s story through place-based educational opportunities, enhance the visitor experience to historic locations, and empower the preservation community through technical training and mentoring.
We believe in exploration and preservation through proactive collaboration. We respect ALL Texans, their varied and complex stories, and their support. And we always let authenticity, dependability, and trust guide our operations.
That there exists ample support and advocacy for the Texas Historical Commission’s projects and initiatives, and that through a statewide network of educational and philanthropic resources, we can actualize this support.
How We Got Here
When the Texas Historical Survey Committee was formed in 1953, the Legislature called for the creation of a private foundation—the Texas Historical Foundation—to raise philanthropic support for the committee.
The Committee and the Foundation worked closely for 20 years until 1973, when the committee earned its new name (the Texas Historical Commission), and with it, more protective powers, an expanded leadership role, and broader educational responsibilities. With its new state resources, it no longer relied heavily on the foundation that had supported it.
That was until the discovery of La Belle in 1996. Once the THC discovered the shipwreck and Fort St. Louis, the need for greater philanthropic support and an affiliated nonprofit became imperative. Thus, the Friends of the Texas Historical Commission (FTHC) was brought to life, created by THC staff members Dr. Jim Bruseth, Dr. Curtis Tunnell, and Anice Read.
Our nonprofit was incorporated in 1996 as a 501c(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization. Harriett Latimer became the first volunteer chair and president.
In 2007, per donor requests, the FTHC was approved to update its IRS designation to a 501c(3) nonprofit organization further designated as a 509a(1) public charity.
In 2003, we received our first endowment gift—the Bob & Kathleen Gilmore Fund—to support French and Spanish colonial archeology and research in Texas. That same year, we created the Texas Heroes program, now known as the Spirit of Texas Program, comprised of donors who make an annual unrestricted gift to support strategic initiatives, critical needs, and unique opportunities.
As fundraising for the excavation and conservation of La Belle and Fort St. Louis came to a close, the Friends of the THC began actively raising funds for the THC’s growing list of other special projects and future successes.
History is an essential component of a rich and rewarding life. It drives our desire to know our past, enrich our present, and cultivate the future. We are fortunate, as citizens of Texas, to be surrounded by a magnificent history that has shaped all of our lives. The Friends of the Texas Historical Commission is pleased to play a vital role in preserving the real places that tell the real stories of Texas. We hope you will join us on this great adventure.