The Sarofim Foundation Honors the Late Houston philanthropist Fayez Sarofim
Fayez Sarofim was an admirer of Houston and lived its spirit. This outsider found a welcome home among Houston’s oil tycoons; for them it served as a source of pride that his wardrobe featured London-made three-piece suits from London tailors.
His charitable giving was extensive. One of his major gifts was one which established the Susan and Fayez Sarofim Galleries at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston.
Early Life and Education
Sarofim was known for his low-key style and infrequent public comments; yet his influence and philanthropy attracted significant crowds.
He quietly amassed, over 60 years, one of America’s premier collections of American art as well as European painting and antiquities, including masterpieces by Lucas Cranach the Elder, El Greco, Winslow Homer Mary Cassatt and Edward Hopper – and more besides.
His agreement with MFAH will place these masterworks on extended loan for exhibition at its gallery buildings beginning in 2023. Other gifts have included millions to Southwestern University in Georgetown – recently, its $25 million visual and dramatic arts building was named in his honor.
Sarofim earned his multibillion-dollar fortune through investing heavily in blue chip stocks and holding unwavering faith in America’s economic potential. Additionally, his philanthropy made him well-known throughout Houston and Texas.
The Foundation seeks a dynamic, diplomatic, and experienced team player as its inaugural employee. The Executive Director (ED) will lead in strategic planning as well as building and managing systems that scale with our organization as it grows.
The Executive Director must feel at home working closely with the Board in a hands-on capacity to develop strategy, processes and systems that will adapt with the Foundation as it grows. They must possess an in-depth knowledge of their community as well as be ready to lead in ways that will shape its future.
Achievement and Honors
Fayez Sarofim was an esteemed Houston philanthropist renowned for his generous donations, and the Gala Ball honoring his legacy brought out all members of Houston society – both old and new – for an evening at Cullinan Hall at the Museum of Fine Arts where 43 pieces from Sarofim’s vast collection adorned the room.
In 1997, he was honored by Texas Business Hall of Fame with induction as an honoree for his pioneering leadership in investment management and generous philanthropy. He served on multiple nonprofit boards of organizations like Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Baylor College of Medicine and Museum of Fine Arts Houston.
His generosity extended to Southwestern University as well, including giving generously to fund its Humanities department and creating the Allison Sarofim Distinguished Teaching Professorship in Humanities. He made one of his largest contributions – $15 Million towards renovating Alma Thomas Fine Arts Center – which would later bear his name.
Fayez Sarofim amassed an immense fortune through his investment firm and generous Houston philanthropy, becoming known as “The Sphinx.” Due to his quiet demeanor and rare public remarks as well as Egyptian heritage and pedigree he acquired blue chip stocks which quickly appreciated in value; reflecting his faith in America’s economic potential.
Sarofim spent 60 years amassing one of America’s premier private collections of American art, earning a spot on Artnews’ Top 200 Collectors list. He amassed pieces by Old Masters such as Lucas Cranach the Elder and El Greco as well as modernist American artists Winslow Homer and Mark Rothko – not forgetting ancient Coptic art and American Indian objects which he collected avidly.
Courtney Lanier Sarofim has continued the family’s emphasis on arts and education both locally and worldwide. She currently serves on the board for St. John’s School and supports Lyford Cay International School in the Bahamas which caters to students from many nations.
Fayez Sarofim & Co. stands out from many investment management firms by serving a diverse clientele that spans from high-net-worth individuals to investment companies, pooled investment vehicles, pension and profit-sharing plans, charities, government entities, as well as several private equity funds that it manages – in addition to being registered broker-dealers themselves.
Coptic-American Sarofim, as an heir of his family’s fortune, is worth billions. He owns significant stakes in Kinder Morgan and Houston Texans of the National Football League as well as managing an investment firm with more than $30 billion assets under management.
Susan has long been involved with Houston community organizations, such as Memorial Hermann Foundation (she recently made a $25 million gift that helped fund construction of their Susan and Fayez Sarofim Pavilion), as well as founding board member of Educate All Children.