The Welch Foundation is a legacy to the world from Robert Alonzo Welch, a self-made man with a strong sense of responsibility to humankind, an enthusiastic respect for chemistry and a deep love for his adopted state of Texas. Mr. Welch came to Houston as a youth and later made his fortune in oil and minerals. Over the course of his career and life, he became convinced of the importance of chemistry for the betterment of the world. He had a belief in science and the role it would play in the future. In his will, Mr. Welch stated: “I have long been impressed with the great possibilities for the betterment of Mankind that lay in the field of research in the domain of Chemistry.” With his death in 1952, Mr. Welch left a generous portion of his estate to his employees and their families. The balance began what is now The Welch Foundation.
The Welch Foundation, based in Houston, Texas, is one of the United States’ largest private funding sources for basic chemical research. Since its founding in 1954, the organization has contributed to the advancement of chemistry through research grants, departmental programs, endowed chairs and other special projects at educational institutions in Texas. The Foundation hosts an annual chemical research conference in Houston that attracts hundreds of the leading chemists and sponsors the Welch Award in Chemistry. The Foundation also bestows the Norman Hackerman Award in Chemical Research, an award that recognizes the work of scientists who are early in their careers and working in Texas.