Dallas’ Hoblitzelle Foundation Adds Mike Rawlings and Lizzie Horchow Routman to its Board of Directors

Coinciding with the election of former Mayor Mike Rawlings and Lizzie Horchow Routman, a member of the legacy Horchow Family, the Hoblitzelle Foundation has elected a new slate of officers that includes its first female Chair.

Dallas’ Hoblitzelle Foundation, which provides grants to social service, cultural, educational, and medical organizations in Texas, has made some major board and executive changes to boost its next era of funding.

Two notable local leaders have been elected to the Hoblitzelle Foundation’s board of directors: Mike Rawlings, who served as the Dallas Mayor from 2011 to 2019, and Lizzie Horchow Routman, a member of the legacy Horchow Family, which has paved the way for service in the Dallas community. The organization has also appointed its new slate of officers, which includes its first-ever female board chair.

Mike Rawlings

Before serving as mayor, Rawlings had a long-ranging career. He spent time in advertising, was CEO of Pizza Hut from 1997 to 2002, and founded private equity firm CIC Partners in 2004. He is known to champion anti-poverty efforts and previously served as the Dallas Homeless Czar.

He has also spent time on initiatives related to preventing domestic violence, been the Parks and Recreation Board President, and elected the Chairman for the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau. He was also instrumental in the Grow South Initiative, which aims to support and enhance growth in Southern Dallas.

Rawlings is also known for being in office longer than any mayor since R.L. Thornton 58 years ago.

Lizzie Horchow Routman

Horchow Routman has served myriad leading roles throughout the region, most recently chairing the UT Southwestern President’s Advisory Board. She is also a board member at The Dallas Foundation and has provided leadership to The Hockaday School, Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, and Visiting Nurse Association.

Her father, Roger Horchow died earlier this year. The Dallas legend started The Horchow Collection, the first high-end mail-order catalog not preceded by brick-and-mortar, and was a two-time Tony-winning Broadway producer.

Katie Robbins, president and CEO of the foundation, said the team is thrilled to welcome Rawlings and Horchow Routman as new board directors. “Their leadership and engagement in our community coupled with their knowledge of critical needs in our city will be a tremendous benefit to those we serve,” she said.

Established in 1942 by Karl and Esther Hoblitzelle, the Foundation supports the capital projects of nonprofits in the state, mostly in the Dallas area. It began when Karl was serving as an event manager for the St. Louis World Fair in his early 20s and learned that the south “lacked venues” to showcase performers’ talent.

According to the Foundation, he ventured to Dallas with $2,500 to build a chain of vaudeville theaters under the Interstate Theater Company. The theaters transformed into movie houses and garnered capital success that Karl was able to invest in oil and gas, real estate, and banking industries in Texas. 

Karl and Esther, a Broadway starlet who came to Dallas to perform, married in 1920. That resulted in the later forming of the Foundation.

“Both were active in the social, civic, and cultural activities of Dallas, and did not have any descendants,” the Hoblitzelle Foundation said. “Prudent management of their financial assets resulted in the accumulation of significant wealth, which upon the death of Mrs. Hoblitzelle in 1943 and Mr. Hoblitzelle in 1967, became the corpus of Hoblitzelle Foundation.”

The Foundation’s grants are made in seven funding categories—arts & culture, civic, disabled, education, environment, medical, and social services—but are not for debt retirement, endowments, media productions, operations, programs, research, or scholarships.

Since founding, the Foundation said its Board has approved 3,280 grants to 990 agencies. That amounts to more than $240 million in investments.

The Board made a pivot earlier this year in response to the pandemic to exclusively invest in COVID-19 relief. The applications were sourced through the North Texas Cares funders collaborative.

According to the team, the Foundation was able to fund Feeding Texas and a variety of Dallas nonprofits. For its upcoming cycle, COVID-19 relief will continue, along with regular capital projects. There has been an increase in requests for assistance with renovations and tech platforms to allow agencies to deliver services virtually, the Foundation told us.

Meet the new officers

Leading the next wave of grants at the Hoblitzelle Foundation is its newly elected slate of officers. Each will serve a three-year term. 

The new officers are:

• Karen L. Shuford, the first female Chair in the organization’s 78-year history
• Jere W. Thompson, Jr., Vice Chair
• Holland P. Gary, Treasurer

The Foundation’s other board members are:

• State Rep. Rafael M. Anchia
• Lydia H. Novakov
• Daniel K. Podolsky, M.D.
• Catherine M. Rose

The Foundation’s most recent Chair John W. Dayton was elected as Honorary Lifetime Director upon completing his service. Others serving as Honorary Lifetime Directors include:

• Linda P. Custard
• Jerry Farrington
• Gerald W. Fronterhouse
• Paul W. Harris
• Caren H. Prothro
• Deedie Potter Rose
• George A. Shafer
• William T. Solomon
• Kern Wildenthal, M.D., Ph.D.
• McDonald (Don) Williams

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