July 10 marked the 131st birthday of Miss Ima Hogg (July 10, 1882–Aug. 19, 1975). Miss Ima was a true Texas original whose huge philanthropic footprint continues to shape mental health in our state. Miss Ima’s passion for alleviating the suffering of people with mental health conditions — first displayed when she was a child accompanying her father (Gov. James Hogg) on tours of state hospitals, schools and prisons — eventually drove her to become one of the state’s exemplary humanitarians.
Miss Ima and her brother Mike first established the Hogg Foundation for Mental Hygiene at The University of Texas at Austin in September 1940. The original $2.5 million endowment came from the estate of their late brother, Will. The new foundation set itself apart with its emphasis on the humanity of people with mental health conditions, sending experts and university scholars to small communities and rural areas across the state to promote positive, preventive and therapeutic aspects of mental health.
Since Miss Ima’s death in 1975, the Hogg Foundation has awarded millions of dollars in grants and scholarships to fulfill her vision, and to build upon the groundwork laid by the Hogg family of promoting learning about the mental health challenges that affect millions of people.
These are just some of the things that we are grateful to Miss Ima for:
- For establishing the Hogg Foundation for Mental Hygiene, now the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, in 1940.
- For establishing the Ima Hogg Endowment to support mental health services for children, youth and their families in Houston and Harris County. Since its establishment in 1976, the endowment has awarded more than $28 million in grants.
- For her overall spirit of generosity. For example, in 1966 Ima donated Bayou Bend, her River Oaks mansion, to the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston along with her collection of early American art and antiques. The next year, she donated to The University of Texas at Austin a complex of historic buildings and surrounding land in the community of Winedale near Round Top, Texas.
- For cutting an iconoclastic figure that stands as a model on how to be an agent for change, and setting an example for others to follow!
For more on this remarkable woman, check out this video retrospective on Miss Ima Hogg.