Houston Pi Beta Phi Foundation

Foundation Board of Trustees, 2022–2023

Jolyn West Scheirman, President
Julie Daigrepont McCuen, Vice President
Melissa Garlington, Secretary
Julie Fletcher Grandt, Treasurer

Heidi Burkholder Binet
Jennifer Brown
Mary Hurst Chaffin
Elizabeth Moore Elder
Becky Herren
Stephanie Sneed Langenstein
Leslie Arnold Loftis
Laura Sheffield
Eloise Bolton Taussig
Aimee Carlin Verheeck
Christine Bain Williams

On March 23, 1994, the Pi Beta Phi Houston Alumnae Club voted unanimously to create the Houston Pi Beta Phi Foundation to receive and distribute funds for charitable literacy purposes in the greater Houston area. The Houston Foundation was incorporated in the State of Texas on March 29, 1994, and was approved as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.

The mailing address of the Houston Foundation is:
1940 Fountain View #424
Houston, Texas 77057

The Houston Pi Beta Phi Foundation receives and disburses funds to:

Pi Beta Phi Patient Family Library at Texas Children’s Hospital Medical Center

In 1984, the Pi Beta Phi Houston Alumnae Club opened the first Pi Beta Phi patient family library in a refurbished linen closet at Texas Children’s Hospital. Today, the library has a much larger space and offers something for everyone: books for all ages, computers, foreign language books, a family resource room, DVDs, games, puzzles, plus special events and story times. Open Monday through Friday, the library serves over 2,700 patients and visitors.

Pi Beta Phi Book Nooks

In 1999 Pi Beta Phi Book Nooks were introduced for the reading enjoyment of those who visit all the numerous Texas Children’s Pediatric Associates, health centers, and on-campus clinics. Since COVID, the Book Nooks have had all books removed due to infection control concerns. We await permission to refill them. Now, the libraries supply books to be given away in many areas and at Texas Children’s Pediatric Associates’ practices. Additionally, book carts with books to give away visit the inpatients rooms and some clinics. Over 8,100 books were given away in 2021.

Pi Beta Phi Patient Family Library at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus

Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus opened in 2011, and with the Pi Beta Phi Patient Family Library’s central location, it is a favorite spot for inpatients, outpatients, and their families. It is much like the main campus library offering a broad array of resources, thus providing much needed diversion and enjoyment for patients and their families.

Pi Beta Phi Literacy Enrichment Program at Md Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital

This program provides an opportunity to promote active-reading practices throughout the Children’s Cancer Hospital for patients and their families adjusting to life with cancer. Patients and their families have the active use of the Pi Beta Phi mobile library, Pi Beta Phi book fun shelves, and literacy through the arts.

Bo’s Place Pi Beta Phi Library

Bo’s Place provides children, families, and adults who have faced a significant loss a safe place where they can express their feelings openly with others in grief and begin the healing needed to continue their lives in a healthy and productive manner. Clients have the opportunity to select books of interest from the Pi Beta Phi Lending Library. Books are selected to respond to varied readers, including children, teens, young adults, and parents. The Pi Beta Phi lending library is available to the children and family members who attend Bo’s Place grief support groups.

Children’s Museum of Houston

The Houston Pi Beta Phi Foundation supports education and literacy through Children’s Museum Houston’s weekly free family night storytimes program. Museum educators facilitate three storytimes every Thursday evening, facilitating them in English and Spanish and then encouraging every child to select a book to take home from a wide selection of popular English, Spanish, and bilingual titles. This program provides free books to children, enabling parents to continue the storytime experience in their own homes.

Literacy Now

Literacy Now provides reading readiness and reading intervention programs, a mentorship program with trained volunteers, and an interactive parent engagement: elements that contribute to children’s long-term success. We support children and their families in HISD and Aldine ISD and community sites throughout Houston, increasing the likelihood that children will graduate from high school and be ready to pursue postsecondary goals. The Houston Pi Beta Phi Foundation provides critical funding for materials and supplies for Literacy Now’s reading intervention program, which provides 25 weeks of individualized small-group reading instruction for K through second graders with the goal of creating proficient readers by the end of third grade. The program is specifically designed to close the gap between students’ reading-grade level and their actual grade level.

Nehemiah Center Pi Beta Phi Library

The Nehemiah Center is a unique initiative offering a personal, intimate private education to children living in poverty. The mission of Nehemiah Center is “Neighbors helping neighbors create a safe haven in which children are motivated, inspired, and equipped to realize their God-given potential.” The Nehemiah Center Pi Beta Phi Library provides books for early childhood, pre-kindergarten, and elementary levels, as well as textbooks and reading books for Nehemiah Middle School.

Neuhaus Center Pi Beta Phi Library

Neuhaus Education Center has provided teaches professional development in research-based methods of literacy instruction for more than 30 years. The center and the Houston Pi Beta Phi Foundation are working together to further the development of an audio and video library, which will provide audio books for both parents and children. In addition, funding assists Neuhaus in providing most-valuable-parent seminars on the web for use locally, nationally, and internationally.

Pi Beta Phi Book Center at Depelchin Children’s Center

DePelchin Children Center serves 500 Houston-area children annually through its foster care and residential treatment center programs. Additionally, thousands of at-risk children in our community receive mental health and family strengthening services, provided by an array of DePelchin programs. Pi Beta Phi provides funding for books selected by the children’s case managers and therapists, which are included in special gift packets for each child. Books are available in English and Spanish; many are selected by DePelchin staff to help children to heal from past trauma. A recent focus has been on books that promote inclusivity and that address challenges that are specific to “children from hard places”: those who have lost family members to COVID, have been bullied, or have experienced hardship for a broad number of reasons.

Small Steps Nurturing Center

Small Steps Nurturing Center’s comprehensive, high-quality early childhood education program prepares children living in poverty for success in elementary school and life. Small Steps’ nationally accredited program seeks to narrow the opportunity gap for their students and supports their holistic development, with the ultimate goal of changing the cycle of intergenerational poverty for their families and community. Small Steps lays the groundwork for student success by providing a high-quality education, social and emotional support, a nurturing Christian environment, nutritious meals, and transportation to children ages two through six. Through operating two preschools serving the Fifth Ward and Gulfton/Sharpstown areas, they create a community of learning and support for their students and families. The Houston Pi Beta Phi Foundation funds books and literacy resources for Small Steps Nurturing Center that promote literacy and help break the cycle of poverty.


Founded in 2009, the iWRITE Non-profit Organization builds student confidence through writing. iWRITE provides opportunities to students in the third through 12th grades that encourage creativity and success. Over 2,000 students have been professionally published through the annual publishing contest, thousands of students have utilized iWRITE’s curriculum through in-school and after-school writing programs, and aspiring writers participate in youth club, internships and become contributors to the iWRITER Magazine. The Houston Pi Beta Phi Foundation funds educational programs and materials utilized inside some of Houston’s most underserved elementary schools that increase a love for literacy and boosts writing confidence.

Yellowstone Academy

Yellowstone Academy was founded in 2001 to provide a high quality, faith-based education exclusively for children from very low-income families in Houston’s inner city. The school provides children living in poverty with the academic, social, and spiritual foundation they need to reach their full potential. Yellowstone currently serves more than 300 students from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. The Houston Pi Beta Phi Foundation funds books and educational programs for Yellowstone that promote literacy and help break the cycle of poverty for at risk students.