Press Release

Hilton Foundation approves record number of new grants totaling $50 million

By Marc Moorghen, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, December 19, 2014

Funding supports 42 organizations, furthering the foundation's priority areas

The board of directors of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation has awarded nearly $50 million in grants to a record 42 organizations working in key program areas.

Los Angeles, December 19, 2014 – The board of directors of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation has awarded nearly $50 million in grants to a record 42 organizations working in key program areas, including Catholic Sisters, foster youth, homelessness, substance use prevention, access to safe water, disaster preparedness, Catholic education, hospitality, Multiple Sclerosis research, safeguarding vision, and other areas of priority.

“This is the largest number of grants in both number and dollar amount ever approved by our board,” said Ed Cain, Vice President, Grant Programs. “This record-breaking number of grants reflects the momentum of the Foundation’s strategic grantmaking, the intent of our board, and the vital work of our partners.”

Catholic Sisters

The foundation granted a total of $5.4 million to enable Sisters to advance human development more widely and effectively. Of that amount, African Sisters Education Collaborating will receive $575, 000 to help increase its fundraising capacity. Anderson Robbins Research LLC will receive $300,000 to research the public perceptions of Catholic Sisters in the United States. Georgetown University was awarded $750,000 to study and support cross-sector collaboration involving Catholic sisters serving in health care ministries in peri-urban slums in Accra, Ghana. Holy See has been awarded $750,000, supporting initiatives of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life during the Year of Consecrated Life. The Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University will receive $750,000 to help with the Women of Wisdom and Action Initiative (WWA), providing graduate education in theology and on-the-ground networking for sisters across Asia. Loyola Institute for Ministry was granted $900,000 to provide sisters with graduate-level instruction in theology and communications and to help congregations produce digital media that effectively communicate their charisms. Medicines for Humanity was granted $400,000, helping build the capacity of Catholic sisters in Haiti to deliver and manage effective maternal and child health services. The Foundation is also committing $1 million to Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, supporting key programs and building organizational capacity of the Inter-congregational Leadership Collaborative to prepare young sisters in the United States for leadership positions.

Foster Youth

The foundation awarded $3.2 million in total to achieve healthy and productive lives for transition-age foster youth in New York City and Los Angeles County. This includes $675,000 to the Federation Employment and Guidance Service, helping support the FEGS’ Academy program which provides high school education, robust college access and employment pathways for foster youth in New York City. The Alliance for Children’s Rights will receive $1.05 million to support a network of critical services and advocacy for foster youth in Los Angeles with the goals of increasing graduation rates, college readiness, and employment. The Foundation also allocated $1.5 million to support the United Friends of the Children with the College Readiness Program, which helps foster youth graduate high school and continue with success in college.


The Foundation has allocated $500,000 to The National Alliance to End Homelessness, advancing efforts to end homelessness with an emphasis on chronically homeless individuals in Los Angeles.

Substance Use Prevention

As part of its mission to advance innovative prevention and early intervention approaches to reduce youth substance use, the Foundation has awarded $5.8 million to four partners. The Behavioral Health System Baltimore will receive $1million to integrate adolescent Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) into high schools and pediatric primary care settings across Maryland. The Center for Social Innovation has been awarded $1.5 million, aiding in the development of peer-based approaches for adolescent SBIRT in health care settings. Also, the Boston Children’s Hospital has been awarded $2 million to conduct a research project to improve SBIRT for adolescents in primary care settings. Lastly, the Legal Action Center will receive $1.35 million to support implementation of SBIRT under the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act and Affordable Care Act.

Safe Water

Over $5 million was committed to forward the foundation’s goal of improving the well-being of the ultra poor in developing countries by increasing sustainable access to safe water. WaterAid America, Inc. has been awarded $1.2 million to build on efforts to sustain water access programs in Burkina Faso. World Vision will receive $4 million, supporting efforts to sustain water access programs in Ghana, Mali and Niger.


As part of its goal to support both immediate and longer-term assistance for people in the aftermath of natural disasters, the Foundation has awarded $1 million to PATH. These funds will help develop a Smart Chlorine Generator for making safe water available in Emergency Response and Relief Settings.

Catholic Education

The foundation awarded more than $2.25 million in total to improve the quality of—and increase access to—Catholic education. Big Shoulders Fund will receive $750,000, which will provide support for the development of a value-add model to evaluate a school’s performance while taking demographic information into account. The Diocese of San Jose has also been awarded $1 million, supporting the Drexel Initiative to advance a network of Catholic Schools that models a new governance structure and provides the highest quality affordable Catholic education. Additionally, St. Louis Area Women Religious Collaborative Ministries will receive $500,000 to provide support to Catholic sisters offering on-site English language skills to Catholic school children from refugee and immigrant families.


The Foundation has earmarked $485,000 to Liberty’s Kitchen to expand the Youth Development Program. This program provides disconnected young people with a path to self-sufficiency through foodservice-based training, mental health, education, and work readiness programs in the New Orleans area.

Multiple Sclerosis Research

A total of $5.7 million has been awarded to continue seeking a cure and improving quality of life for those who live with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). The National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Southern California & Nevada Chapter has been awarded $1.1 million for the Fast Forward Fund, which funds pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies developing innovative therapeutics and diagnostic strategies for Multiple Sclerosis. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Southern California & Nevada Chapter has been awarded another $1 million to fund a cost-benefit analysis of current MS Adult Day Programs. J. David Gladstone Institutes will receive $495,000 aimed at exploring the potential of the coagulation cascade as a unique niche for biomarkers in progressive MS. Johns Hopkins University has been awarded $900,000 to identify lipid biomarkers of progressive MS. The Foundation will also award $900,000 to the Oregon Health and Science University to use magnetic resonance imaging techniques to map human brain metabolic activity in MS and determine if metabolic deficits predict brain tissue loss. The Salk Institute for Biological Studies will receive $900,000 to support the development of in vitro models to study subtypes of MS using human cells. Washington University has also been awarded $900,000 to utilize the gradient echo plural contract imaging technique to detect and measure evolution of progressive MS. Lastly, Winthrop University Hospital Association will receive $440,000 to develop a minimally invasive DNA-based biomarker assay for the detection of cell loss in autoimmune diseases.

Safeguarding Vision

The Foundation has awarded $5.3 million to continue preventing blindness and empowering those facing the challenges of visual impairment. The Himalayan Cataract Project Inc. has been awarded $1.5 million to improve access to high quality cataract surgery in Ethiopia. Sightsavers International, Inc. will receive $1.6 million, which will support the organization’s trachoma-elimination efforts in Tanzania. The Foundation has also awarded $2.2 million to WaterAid America, Inc. to improve access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene at healthcare facilities located in trachoma-endemic communities in Mali.

The remainder of the grants supported other areas:

Other/Arts & Culture The Foundation has awarded $1 million to the National World War II Museum to support the Transforming Nations Gallery - Marshall Plan.

Other/Education Emory University will receive $2 million to endow the Conrad N. Hilton Chair in Global Health Ethics at the Emory School of Public Health.

Other/Health The Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research was awarded $5 million, helping support the ‘Nutrition, Early Detection and Prevention of Colorectal Cancer’ project. The Foundation also awarded $2 million to the Nevada Medical Center, Inc. towards establishing the Nevada Medical Center.

Other/Program Support A total of $2.5 million has been earmarked to other programmatic support efforts. KCRW Foundation, Inc. has been awarded $1 million to produce multiyear media coverage of issues affecting disadvantaged and vulnerable populations in Los Angeles. The Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation will receive $1.5 million to partner with Draper Richards Kaplan in their social venture seed fund that will invest in the growth and scaling of 100 social entrepreneurs over the next 5 years.

Other/Social Services The Criminal Justice Legal Foundation will receive $1 million, which will support the creation of an endowment for ongoing operating support. UNITY of Greater New Orleans, Inc. was awarded $500,000 for the completion of UNITY’s third permanent supportive housing development in New Orleans.


About the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation

The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation was created in 1944 by international business pioneer Conrad N. Hilton, who founded Hilton Hotels and left his fortune to help the world’s disadvantaged and vulnerable people. The Foundation currently conducts strategic initiatives in six priority areas: providing safe water, ending chronic homelessness, preventing substance abuse, helping children affected by HIV and AIDS, supporting transition-age youth in foster care, and extending Conrad Hilton’s support for the work of Catholic Sisters. In addition, following selection by an independent international jury, the Foundation annually awards the $1.5 million Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize to a nonprofit organization doing extraordinary work to reduce human suffering. From its inception, the Foundation has awarded more than $1 billion in grants, distributing $92 million in the U.S. and around the world in 2013. The Foundation’s current assets are approximately $2.4 billion. For more information, please visit

Former Communications Director

Former Communications Director

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