KERRVILLE, TEXAS, September 17, 2019 – On Tuesday, September 17, local contractors and neighbors gathered at the H. E. Butt Foundation offices at 719 Earl Garrett to celebrate the grand opening of three new buildings.
“We are headquartered in Kerrville,” President David Rogers told guests over lunch, “and we want our main campus to be just as beautiful as the facilities our guests use at our Foundation Camps near Leakey.” The Foundation operates six camping and retreat facilities at the headwaters of the Frio River that serve over 30,000 guests annually.
Campus improvements in Kerrville consist of three new buildings facing Earl Garrett, Barnett, and Washington, each designed to look like the two historic houses built in the early 1930s at 719 and 721 Earl Garrett.
Those cottages were originally built by Howard Butt, Sr., and Mary Holdsworth Butt, one for his brother Eugene Butt, former Postmaster of Kerrville, and the other for his mother Florence Butt who started the family’s first grocery store in Kerrville in 1905. (The foundation and H-E-B are separate organizations with distinct missions.) The Butts lived in the cottages on Earl Garrett until the 1970s when the buildings became the main offices of the H. E. Butt Foundation.
Trey Tull, the foundation’s director of property planning and stewardship, said, “The one question we keep getting is about the type of rock.” Construction teams and stonemasons had to match the exterior of the cottages from the 1930s, an unusual mix of stone that is nearly a century old.
“That stone mix can’t be purchased any more,” Tull said, “so we actually had to excavate some of the stone by hand on a ranch near Llano.”
Contractors and foundation employees designed landscaping to unify the buildings into one campus. They planted over 100 trees and, except for the grass, used all native plants.
“We worked hard to make the campus environmentally sustainable and built to be the Foundation’s home for the long term,” Tull said.
“We want to do our part for Kerrville 2050 in the Garden District,” said Rogers, “and we hope this campus makes it a little more beautiful and welcoming.” The foundation currently employs 113 people full time between the camping property near Leakey, San Antonio, and Kerrville, most of which office here in Kerrville. During the summers, camp leaders hire another 300 college students to live and work on the camp property, many of whom commute to Kerrville on their days off.
Dating back to 1933, the H. E. Butt Foundation is one of the oldest in the state of Texas. As an operating foundation, it does not receive traditional grant requests. Rather, it supports five camping programs: Foundation Camps, Foundation Outdoor School, Laity Lodge, Laity Lodge Youth Camp, and Laity Lodge Family Camp. The foundation is also developing community initiatives around a range of objectives, including addressing inequity in San Antonio and rural development in Leakey. As an operating foundation, they do not receive traditional grant requests.
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The H. E. Butt Foundation (www.hebfdn.org) exists to cultivate wholeness in people and institutions for the transformation of communities. We are a private operating foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with offices in Kerrville and San Antonio, Texas. We are a distinct financial and legal entity from the H-E-B Grocery Company.