passedVariable: science


MD Anderson Cancer Center
Dr. Mills Laboratory, Houston, Texas

Investing in Science

Lyda Hill believes “science is the answer.” She invests in science-related projects that fall into four areas of focus:

  • Research

    Lyda Hill Philanthropies invests in projects that are on the cutting edge of advancing scientific discovery. It is Miss Hill’s belief that as government funding for basic research is declining, it is more critical than ever to fund benchmark and early-stage discovery science. While she will look broadly, she favors projects and organizations that work in her preferred geographic and interest areas (such as cancer). Miss Hill aims to make investments that encourage collaboration, take calculated risks and seek to solve big problems. She is willing to fund and support early-stage and emerging science and scientists. She makes these investments through both her for-profit and not-for-profit ventures.

  • Science Education

    Because she believes most problems will be solved by science, Lyda Hill also believes we must significantly increase scientific literacy among our students, our communities, our agencies and our nation. Miss Hill invests in organizations committed to creating a workforce for the future by inspiring students to pursue careers in science. In 2018, Lyda Hill Philanthropies launched a new initiative — If/Then — which seeks to further advance women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by empowering current innovators and inspiring the next generation of pioneers.

  • Direct Services

    With the big picture in mind, Lyda Hill believes in investing in the organizations that provide critical direct services in our community.

  • Systemic Change

    As Miss Hill invests in projects and issue-specific causes, she also recognizes that transformational change comes from studying, understanding and driving significant change at a broad and systemic level. She invests in organizations and partners that are driving change at the national level and on the global stage that will have a lasting and sustainable impact in the areas about which she is passionate

  • “Do your givin’ while you’re livin’… then you’ll be knowin’ where it’s goin’.”

  • “The best philanthropy is constantly in search of the finalities
    – a search for a cause, an attempt to cure evils at their source.”

  • “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.”

  • “The highest use of capital is not to make more money, but to make money do more for the betterment of life.”

  • “The proper aim of giving is to put the recipients in a state where they no longer need our gifts.”

  • “Philanthropy is the practice of applying assets of knowledge, passion and wealth to bring about constructive change.”

  • “The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”

  • “Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.”

  • “Philanthropy is almost the only virtue which is sufficiently appreciated by mankind.”

  • “What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal.”

  • “A man’s true wealth is the good he does in this world.”

  • “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

  • “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”

  • “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.”

  • “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.”

Program Highlights in Science

  • If/Then

    If/Then, an extension of Lyda Hill Philanthropies’ commitment to fund game-changing advancements in science and nature, seeks to further advance women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by empowering current innovators and inspiring the next generation of pioneers. The initiative aims to create a platform to elevate positive and successful female STEM professionals with a focus on funding their work and sharing their stories, developing and supporting programs for middle school girls to learn about STEM opportunities and engaging media partners to help shift the perception of women in STEM. If/Then’s mission is to inspire the next generation of girls to pursue careers in STEM.

  • MD Anderson Cancer Center

    The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center is one of the world’s most respected centers devoted exclusively to cancer patient care, research, education and prevention. It is located in central Houston in the Texas Medical Center.


    Project Highlight: Moon Shots Program

    Lyda Hill’s passionate belief that ‘science is the answer’ motivated her to take action, making a $50 million grant to The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center’s Moon Shots Program™. Inspired by America’s drive a generation ago to put a man on the moon, the Moon Shots Program is a comprehensive action plan to make a giant leap for patients, and to rapidly and dramatically reduce mortality and suffering of several major cancers.

  • Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute for Texas

    Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute (MMHPI) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to change the condition of mental health in Texas. MMHPI brings together diverse mental health resources and services to identify and affect the policies, practices and recommendations that impact how health care is implemented.


    Project Highlight: Seed Funding

    Recognizing that people with mental illness can live productive and successful lives with the necessary treatment and support, Lyda Hill Philanthropies joined The Meadows Foundation by seeding MMHPI with a $10 million grant to formally launch in 2014 and another large grant in 2018 to further its mission.

  • National Geographic Society

    The National Geographic Society is a leading nonprofit that invests in bold people and transformative ideas in the fields of exploration, scientific research, storytelling and education. The Society aspires to create a community of change, advancing key insights about the planet and probing some of the most pressing scientific questions of our time, all while ensuring that the next generation is armed with geographic knowledge and global understanding. Its goal is measurable impact: furthering exploration and educating people around the world to inspire solutions for the greater good.


    Project Highlight: Women Explorers

    In 2018, Lyda Hill made a $1 million grant to the National Geographic Society, dedicated to supporting female scientists and explorers. The gift will provide more than 60 female National Geographic Explorers much-needed capital and support to gain new skills in their fields, travel to and participate in conferences, take advantage of career-building opportunities, invest in professional development, and cover family and dependent care costs. In addition, the grant will support an exploration fellowship and several grants to mid-career female Explorers.


    Other Projects Include:

    Lyda Hill Philanthropies has supported many National Geographic Explorers over the years, including:

    • Gregg Treinish, Founder and Executive Director of Adventure Scientists
    • Jess Cramp, Shark researcher, marine conservationist and Founder of Sharks Pacific
    • Lee Berger, Paleoanthropologist and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence
    • Rae Wynn-Grant, Large carnivore ecologist and current National Geographic Society fellow
    • Sarah Parcak, Space archaeologist and Founder and President of GlobalXplorer
    • Topher White, Engineer, physicist, inventor and Founder of Rainforest Connection

  • Parkland Foundation

    Parkland Health & Hospital System first opened its doors in 1894 and is now one of the largest public hospital systems in the country. The hospital averages more than 1.2 million patient visits annually. Services include a Level I Trauma Center, the second largest civilian burn center in the U.S. and a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. The system also includes 20 community-based clinics, 12 school-based clinics and numerous outreach and education programs. Parkland is the primary teaching hospital for the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.


    Project Highlight: Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation (PCCI)

    PCCI is an advanced, nonprofit healthcare analytics R&D organization with a team of expert data scientists and knowledgeable healthcare professionals that go beyond analyzing a patient’s medical data to provide all-encompassing insights that are revolutionizing healthcare. PCCI’s mission is to reimagine and expand the knowledge base of healthcare through prescriptive analytics and artificial intelligence to deliver precision medicine. Lyda Hill Philanthropies’ gift to the Parkland Foundation/PCCI toward the development of technology in the new Parkland campus enables one of the top public hospitals in the country to be a trailblazer in reimagining the hospital of the future. To date, Lyda Hill Philanthropies’ gift has impacted over 1.2 million patient lives, enabled Parkland to realize a cost savings of over $18 million through PCCI-developed solutions and advanced 13 projects and six predictive models that improve patient safety and patient-centered and value-based care.


    Other Projects Include:

    • Comprehensive Breast Center

  • Perot Museum of Nature and Science

    The Perot Museum of Nature and Science’s mission is to inspire minds through nature and science. The Perot Museum of Nature and Science located in Victory Park, near Downtown Dallas, is said to be a “world of wonder” by The Dallas Morning News. Passing the test of school children, inspiring curiosity in all ages and acting as a living science lesson, the Museum opened its doors to the public on Dec. 1, 2012 and has seen over four million visitors to date.


    Project Highlight: STEM Education

  • Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children

    Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children treats many of the world’s most complex orthopedic cases, as well as certain related arthritic and neurological disorders and learning disorders, such as dyslexia. For example, researchers at Scottish Rite Hospital are constantly searching for ways to improve treatment, care and diagnosis for children with developmental disabilities.


    Project Highlight:

    Recognizing that people with orthopedic conditions such as scoliosis, clubfoot, hand differences, hip disorders, sports injuries and fractures, as well as certain related arthritic and neurological disorders and learning disorders deserve specialized diagnosis, management and treatment by experts, Lyda Hill supported Scottish Rite’s first capital campaign in 97 years, The Boundless Centennial Campaign. The Campaign celebrates the hospital’s first century of milestones and accomplishments while paving the way for the next 100 years of discovery and innovation, and Miss Hill’s gift is funding much needed state-of-the-art equipment to assist in childrens care.

  • The Pew Charitable Trusts

    The Pew Charitable Trusts is a global research and public policy organization driven by the power of knowledge to solve today’s most challenging problems. Lyda Hill has a long-standing philanthropic relationship with Pew and has supported its researchers, advocacy experts and strategists across a number of its global programs.


    Project Highlight: Antibiotic Resistance

    Lyda Hill’s interest in advancing science has also led her to support Pew’s work to encourage the development of new antibiotics and improve the efficiency of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s ability to promote safe and effective medical treatments and advance drug and medical device innovation.


    Other Projects Include:

    • Ending Illegal Fishing Project
    • Global Ocean Legacy
    • Protecting Life in the Arctic
    • Restore America’s Parks
    • Safe Food Project

  • UT Southwestern Medical Center

    UT Southwestern, one of the premier academic medical centers in the nation, integrates pioneering biomedical research with exceptional clinical care and education. The institution’s faculty includes many distinguished members, including six who have been awarded Nobel Prizes since 1985. The faculty of more than 2,700 is responsible for groundbreaking medical advances and is committed to translating science-driven research quickly to new clinical treatments. UT Southwestern physicians provide medical care in 40 specialties to about 92,000 hospitalized patients and oversee approximately 2.1 million outpatient visits a year.


    Project Highlight: Lyda Hill Department of Bioinformatics

    In 2015, her $25 million gift funded the establishment of the Lyda Hill Department of Bioinformatics to bridge research and clinical care. The Department is dedicated to developing UT Southwestern’s capability in bioinformatics, a discipline that provides tools for managing and analyzing the extremely large data sets that are increasingly key to addressing the most important scientific and medical challenges. Finding the patterns in these data sets has become an essential component of biomedical discovery and is crucial to developing new therapeutic strategies and to understanding the foundations of life and the defects that cause disease.


    Other Projects Include:

    • Advancing Human Papillomavirus Vaccine Delivery
    • The Cecil H. and Ida Green Comprehensive Center for Molecular, Computational and Systems Biology
    • The Center for the Genetics of Host Defense
    • The Dennis Stone Fund
    • Transverse Myelitis and Neuromyelitis Optica Program

Other Science Grantees

This is a list of representative beneficiaries and should not be considered all inclusive.

  • B612 Foundation

  • Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

  • Conservation International

  • Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas

  • Global Health Corps

  • Global Xplorer

  • National Museum of Natural History

  • Ocean Exploration Trust

  • Reasoning Mind

  • Rockefeller University

  • Science Philanthropy Alliance

  • ScienceCounts

  • Shumla Archaeological Research & Education Center

  • The Cooper Institute

  • University of Colorado – Colorado Springs

  • UT Dallas Center for Brain Health