our history

In 2013, Barbara Bush’s son Neil and his wife Maria formed the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation in the family’s hometown, to advance Mrs. Bush’s literacy legacy, separate from the national Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. Established in response to the literacy crisis in the nation’s most diverse and fourth largest city, the Foundation focuses deeply on increasing awareness and literacy services and support. 

Our Mission

Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation aims to improve the quality of lives through the power of literacy.


Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation envisions a thriving city where every person possesses the literacy skills needed to reach his or her full potential in life and that the cycle of low literacy and poverty among families comes to an end.


Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation commits to combating Houston’s literacy crisis by playing the following key roles:

  • Increase Awareness
  • Mobilize Volunteers
  • Contribute Research & Innovation
  • Invest in Community Impact

Serves as a champion for the literacy cause in Houston by communicating important and timely information to the community and implementing effective strategies to raise literacy as a priority for the city.


Works diligently to expand the capacity of school districts, libraries, and community-based literacy service providers to serve people in need through volunteerism and service. 


Serves as a thought leader across the community, conducting and publishing local literacy-focused research and articles with distribution to diverse stakeholders. 


Tackle low literacy by uniting education, philanthropy, faith, government, business, health, civic, nonprofit community-based organizations, and citizens to have impact in geographic areas where there is the greatest need by expanding programs and services. 

“Everyone deserves the opportunity to reach his or her God-given potential, which is why it is critically important that we attack Houston’s literacy crisis with every resource possible and invest in effective strategies as outlined in Houston’s Literacy Crisis: A Blueprint for Community Action.”
— Neil and Maria Bush