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The Scanlan Foundation: Interview with Larry Massey on The Petrus Development Show

Larry W. Massey, Jr., President, Scanlan Foundation

In this episode, Andrew visits with President of the Scanlan Foundation, Larry Massey. The Scanlan Foundation funds Catholic non profit organizations primarily in the Houston area. Their mission is to promote the Roman Catholic Church of Texas. Larry discusses his role with the Scanlan Foundation, as well as Scanlan’s history and impact on the Houston community and the state of Texas. He also gives practical advice for how to interact with foundations like Scanlan and others.

Show Notes:

  • The Scanlan Foundation was formed on January 25, 1947.
  • Timothy Scanlan came to Houston, Texas from Ireland in 1837 at 21 years of age. An industrious, civic-minded gentleman, he became one of the richest men in Houston as a merchant and savvy businessman. He was elected Mayor of Houston in 1870 and also served as Postmaster General under Ulysses S. Grant. He was the driving force behind construction of the main, major infrastructure in Houston, including the gas company, water company, trolley, railroad, and more.
  • Timothy Scanlan and his wife, Edith, had eight daughters, who began other civic organizations throughout the city, such as The Museum of Fine Arts, the San Jose Clinic, and numerous other Catholic Projects. When the last two Scanlan daughters passed away, they gave their fortunes to begin the Scanlan Foundation.
  • The Scanlan Foundation gave money to the University of St. Thomas as it was founded.
  • In 72 years since its creation the Scanlan Foundation has given away over $125,000,000 to Catholic ministries in Texas.
  • The foundation is 100% Catholic and gives money to all 15 dioceses in Texas.
  • Half of the foundation’s funds go to Catholic education
  • About one third of the foundation’s funds is given to Catholic ministries.
  • Larry offers advice to fundees:
    • Be grateful (send thank you letters)
    • Keep your databases updated! (Use the correct name in thank you notes)
    • Know the foundations you work with/their dynamics
    • Maintain/cultivate these relationships
    • Don’t give up. (May not get funding the first time you apply)
  • Larry also discusses what characteristics make the best development officers:
    • Great writing skills
    • Manners and diplomacy
    • Culture
    • Computer savvy/Computer literate
    • Organized
    • Sociable/Outgoing/Conversational

For more information about Larry Massey and the Scanlan Foundation, visit or email Larry at [email protected].

Giving to religious causes vastly exceeds any other category in the nonprofit sector, but faith-based organizations often struggle the most with fundraising effectively. Join Andrew Robison, President of Petrus Development, as he explores this topic through honest and revealing conversations with church leaders, executive directors and development professionals from the nonprofit community.


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