Turning to the Next Generation

By
H’Krih Shelhamer
San Antonio
Texas

H’Krih Shelhamer’s grandparents were pioneers in the Florida Thoroughbred horse industry, but their heart was in Quail Roost Farm, which included Thoroughbred breeding and training, a commercial beef operation, and an exotic game preserve.

In 2003, after her grandparents passed away nearly 2 months apart, H’Krih’s father, with H’Krih’s blessing as his only daughter, set up the foundation to help others with the gift of his inheritance. The decision continued her grandparents’ and her father’s legacies of giving back.

Making the Most of Small Gifts

The Quail Roost Foundation invests in the creation of a more just, healthy, and sustainable world. Its holistic approach recognizes some of H’Krih’s grandparents’ interests while also reflecting the ideas and values of the younger generations.

“It’s really gratifying to get letters back that show just how much our dollars and cents can do. We make small grants, often to small organizations, but a small amount can go far at the right organizations. We’ve had good luck finding the right organizations and the right people.”

In addition to making the most of its small grants, the foundation tries to minimize the burden of paperwork on its grantees. They’ve also delved into mission related investing, trying to thoughtfully align their investments with their charitable goals.

Building a Board of Directors

The Quail Roost Foundation is run by an executive director and an 11-member volunteer board. With a small family and H’Krih, then in her mid-20s, at a busy stage of young adulthood, she and her father invited close family friends to join the board—all chosen for their professional expertise, worldly experience, or particular personality traits that would benefit the board. From all walks of life, they bring a broad base of knowledge in the foundation’s areas of giving. They also bring skill in business, finance, and the management of nonprofit organizations, all of which have proven invaluable.

Although the board meets in person just once annually, they’re in touch nearly every day and enjoy working together. “It helps to have nonfamily members on the board,” says H’Krih, “because we can have disagreements without animosity. When we get together for our meetings, we have a great time and get a lot done.”

“One of my priorities is to keep this harmony going for multiple generations.”

Although H’Krih spent her early years in Florida close to her grandparents’ farm, she now lives in San Antonio with her husband and two young children. “I’ve been thinking a lot about when to involve my kids. I would like to involve them as early as possible, but we’ll need to see their maturity and what they’re ready to do. I don’t want to force them.”

Giving to Exponent Philanthropy and Getting Back

A member of Exponent Philanthropy’s Next Generation Advisory Committee, which helps to shape our programs and services for those ages 18–35, give or take, H’Krih finds the experience energizing. “It’s really nice to be able to toss around ideas and know that folks have the same issues—or different ones that I can start thinking about ahead of time.”

H’Krih also served on the 2010 National Conference Host Committee, excited to have the Austin-based conference so close to home. “My fellow trustee and our executive director were both energized by the National Conference, and I’ve presented what I learned to our board.”

H’Krih and the Quail Roost Foundation have also supported Exponent Philanthropy with a grant above dues. “It would’ve taken us far longer and much more money to get started if we hadn’t had Exponent Philanthropy as a resource. We’re so appreciative of Foundation in a Box, the opportunities to network, and the staff who have answers to our questions or know someone who does.”

“We also appreciate how much you have invited me to be involved in Exponent Philanthropy. Making a grant to Exponent Philanthropy felt like the right thing to do.”