In 1885 Isla Randa Carroll was born in a small rural town near Temple, Texas, little did she know that she would become one of the faces of philanthropy. Like W. K. Kellogg and Andrew Carnegie, Isla Carroll Sterling-Turner was one of those fortunate people who generously shared her treasure with her friends and other Texans in need. Subsequently, the lives of untold numbers of Texans have been and will continue to be improved because of her industry, her thoughtfulness, and her consideration for others.
Mrs. Turner’s first husband, Frank Prior Sterling, was one of the founders of The Humble Oil & Refining Company (today’s Exxon Mobil Corporation). The first wells were drilled in the early 20th century in Humble, Texas (near Houston).
This photograph of Mrs. Isla Carroll Sterling Turner was taken in her later years following the establishment in 1960 of the Turner Charitable Foundation that later (in 1999) became known as Sterling-Turner Foundation the original purpose was to support charities in Harris County, Texas. In 1982 the geographic support area was expanded from only Harris County Texas to the entire State of Texas but with the ability to be restricted by the Board of Trustees. In 2003 the Board restricted funding to only support charities in only five counties across Texas and they are; Tom Green, Kerr, Travis, Fort Bend and Harris Counties.
The Sterling-Turner Foundation only supports organizations that are 501(c)(3) organization or government agencies that are to be treated like a 501(a)(3) organization in the above listed counties in The State of Texas. The Foundation is not permitted to assist individuals. Restrictions by geography or any other restrictions that fall within the governance of the charter may be imposed by the Board.
Some of Mrs. Isla Carroll Sterling-Turner’s gifts have benefitted organizations such as Texas Children’s Hospital, University of Houston, Open Door Mission, Star of Hope, Community Foundation of The Hill Country, MATCH, St. Thomas High School, Stages, Inc., Trotter Family YMCA (Formerly Post Oak YMCA), San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts, Alley Theatre, Bayou Preservation Association, BCFS Health and Human Services, Bridges to Life, CanCare of Houston, Casa de Esperanza de los Ninos, Center for Hearing & Speech, Crime Stoppers of Houston, Clayton Dabney, Zina Garrison All Court Tennis Academy, Hill Country Arts Foundation, Hill Country Court Appointed Special Advocates, Hill Country Youth Ranch, Houston Arboretum and Nature Center, Houston Ballet Foundation, Houston Center for Literacy, Houston Council on Alcoholism, Houston Food Bank, Houston Grand Opera, Houston Museum of Natural Science, Houston Symphony, Houston Zoo, Hunt Volunteer Fire Department, Ingram Volunteer Fire Department, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Katy Prairie Conservancy, KIPP, Inc., Laity Renewal Foundation, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Pathways for Little Feet, Rise School of Houston, The Briarwood School, St. Luke’s Methodist Church for Nick Finnegan Counseling Center, Salvation Army, Schreiner University, Small Steps Nurturing Center, Spaulding for Children, DePelchin Children’s Center, Strake Jesuit College Preparatory, Taping for the Blind (Sight Into Sound), TRIP Depot, Workshop Houston, YMCA of Greater Houston and many others.