In 1954, the family purchased the 1900-acre ranch near Leakey, Texas, and immediately contributed the land to their Foundation for the purpose of offering outdoor educational opportunities to students throughout Texas and making first-rate retreat facilities available to groups who would not otherwise be able to afford them. These efforts continue to this day with the H. E. Butt Foundation Outdoor School and H. E. Butt Foundation Camp programs.
In 1961, Howard and Mary’s son, Howard, Jr., founded Laity Lodge, an ecumenical Christian retreat center designed as a place of rest, reflection, and relationship-building for the “laity”–ordinary Christians. The Lodge immediately became, and has remained, a leading spiritual retreat center for people from all walks of life. One of Howard’s final projects, The High Calling, was a popular radio broadcast and daily website exploring issues of faith and work. Between 2001 and 2015, the spots aired on more than 2000 radio stations nationwide. (All of the spots are available online at Soundcloud.)