Lifelong Learning

aka Friends of the Houston Public Library   |   Houston, TX   |


The Houston Public Library Foundation unites partners who value lifelong learning.

Notes from the nonprofit

We are a small nonprofit with a big impact on the quality of life in Houston.

Ruling year info


Board Chair

Ms. Licia Green Ellis

Main address

550 McKinney Street

Houston, TX 77002 USA

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Formerly known as

Houston Library Board



NTEE code info

Single Organization Support (B11)

Public, Society Benefit - Multipurpose and Other N.E.C. (W99)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Lifelong Learning

Lifelong learning begins with a child’s strong foundation of basic knowledge and skills. It grows as children expand their horizons and develop new skills. Reading is paramount in every child’s education. Teens and tweens continue their learning explorations through interactive and engaging programs focused on increasing their knowledge of the world and positive interactions. Adults continue the learning continuum through enhanced library services based upon interest. Older adults can engage in programs that promote new skills and socialization.

Population(s) Served
Age groups
Ethnic and racial groups
Family relationships
Social and economic status
Work status and occupations

Houston's in-demand fields require highly-skilled employees with a post high school education.

Population(s) Served
Age groups
Work status and occupations

The digital divide is a growing segmentation of our society. It is essential to know how to use technology and to have access to online resources.

Population(s) Served
Age groups

Conversation of documents and historically significant items preserves the past and allows long-term usability of the items for studies and research.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Your Houston Public Library system links people to the world through educational, recreational, and cultural programs for persons of all ages, ethnicity, and life stages. These essential programs exist through the generosity of individuals, foundations, organizations, and businesses who share our collective belief in the transformational power of lifelong learning.

The Library positively affects over 2,000,000 people every year. The Houston Public Library Foundation and Friends of HPL share a common purpose to advocate for literacy and lifelong learning while financially supporting the Library's community programs.

We aim to offer digital resources and WiFi to all library patrons, allow youth the homework help and tutoring needed to succeed, to help Houstonians find well-paying jobs, and to preserve the past through three special collections.

This work is guided by the following:
Mission Statement: Through advocacy and fundraising, the Houston Public Library Foundation supports the Houston Public Library's wide range of initiatives with particular emphasis on its neighborhood libraries and their community programs.

Vision Statement: Provide the funding and partnership resources for HPL to lead the nation in library services.

Core Competencies: Accountability, Responsibility, Transparency

The following goals support HPL Foundation/Friends of HPL operations that ultimately benefit the Houston Public Library system through increased fundraising and advocacy.

Update HPLF's nonprofit business model to minimize risks and maximize business opportunities.
• Acknowledge the past to prioritize the present
• Maximize existing resources
• Remove duplication of effort (create collaborative mindset)
• Document processes and update policies
• Clear database of obsolete records
• Integrate the mission, vision, and core values into all materials and platforms

Increase awareness and community support
• Establish key messages and branding that creates an overarching campaign theme
• Empower advocates to share key messages
• Feature individuals/supporters' success stories
• Create events that cultivate the community
• Collaborate with HPL to determine synergistic events

Build strong relationships
• Create guidelines and seek relationships with a mission match
• Find opportunities to support COH and HPL
• Offer workshops and cultivation events
• Ask for collaborative ways to support ongoing activities and events
• Establish ways of work to appreciate partners and donors

Raise funds for financial independence and programmatic support
• Expand into board networks, YPG organizations, etc.
• Identify revenue pipeline, fix leaks, and maximize potential
• Diversify revenue pipeline to add new donors/ways to donate
• Strengthen relationships with legacy families
• Align events to the organizational mission and vision

Collaborative Conversations
• Attend HPL meetings to align with marketing, program, outreach and civic priorities and annual goals, project through 2020
• Work with HPL to capture program outcomes, success stories, program goals, and processes
• Support FHPL's goals and provide assistance in growing their initiatives through social media and community networks.

The Houston Public Library Foundation is in a position of dynamic growth. Through efforts including establishing business excellence, connecting with the community, driving awareness of the Houston Public Library and building strong relationships, we will be able to achieve and surpass our goals.

Our staff bring core strengths to lead this work:
Executive Director - International business acumen in for-profit and nonprofit ventures.
Marketing & Events Director - Successful public awareness campaigns and well-executed events.
Philanthropy Coordinator - Database mastery and nonprofit organizational expertise

Our volunteers are committed to the mission and lend their experience in:
Nonprofit board leadership
Financial oversight
Organizational management
Public affairs
Government affairs

Improved database accuracy and utilization - Only 20% of the current records in the database are complete and viable constituents. Clean up will continue to mark inactive records by the end of this fiscal year.

Increased public support - Donations continue to increase and are being tracked against monetary goals. FY 17 is on target to achieve revenue goals.

Increased public engagement - Increased attendance at HPL Foundation and Friends of HPL events. Event attendance has increase throughout FY 17 and additional events/activities are planned for FY 18 to continue this trend.

Improved partnerships - Increase the promotion of current partnerships and add new partnerships with corporate and nonprofit entities to maximize visibility. New partnerships highlight the viability and vitality of library programs.

Outcome measurements - Design outcome measurement models for HPL planning and program evaluation. This process is underway and will begin in earnest in FY 18.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection, The feedback is protected by state privacy laws for public libraries.



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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Board of directors
as of 02/07/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Ms. Licia Green - Ellis

The Waterman Steele Group

Term: 2020 - 2023

Board co-chair

Mrs. Zarine Boyce

The Boyce Consultancy Group LLP

Term: 2020 - 2023

Neil Thomas

Adan Vega

Alia Vinson

Mary Jane Wakefield

Rachel Cevallos

Nicolas Jimenez

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 2/7/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Black/African American
Gender identity
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation


We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Equity strategies

Last updated: 05/03/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.