Civil Rights Summit increases donations to LBJ Foundation

Alex Wilts

Along with bringing four U.S. presidents to the University, the Civil Rights Summit also brought an increase in donations to the LBJ Foundation, according to LBJ Library spokeswoman Anne Wheeler.

The LBJ Foundation is a nonprofit that supports the library and the University’s LBJ School of Public Affairs.

Wheeler said legacy memberships of the library also increased as a result of the Summit, as well as donation funds. According to Wheeler, between Feb. 1 and the beginning of the summit on April 8, memberships grew from 26 to 62. By donating $1,000 to the foundation to become a legacy member, members were able to receive two tickets to the speeches of former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter and gained access to all of the summit’s afternoon panels.

“The LBJ Foundation was very pleased with the support it received from the Austin community and national sponsors,” Wheeler said. “This support demonstrates the importance of recognizing the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act and shows that [the library and LBJ School] present thought-provoking and bipartisan examinations of current issues, along with remembering historic events.”  

According to Wheeler, the report showing the number of monetary contributions during the summit has not been compiled yet, but the event had two $200,000 sponsors, Coca-Cola and the GM Foundation, and five $100,000 sponsors, including Google and H-E-B.

James Harris, director of Supplier Diversity for H-E-B, said that when first considering sponsoring an event, H-E-B management determines whether it represents part of the business’s core values. According to Harris, H-E-B strongly supports education and cultural celebrations of Texas.

“We supported [the summit] because of the fact that LBJ was tied into it and he was an iconic figure in the state of Texas,” Harris said. “It fit within our core given strategy.”

Along with creating positive publicity for H-E-B, advertising assistant professor Brad Love said the summit also enhanced the national image of the University.

“The University again demonstrated it can handle large, nationally significant events,” Love said. “Having an event that focuses on discussing important ideas from a range of perspectives shows the quality of thought and intellectual work that we want around here.”