The Philanthropy Roundtable is pleased to announce the selection of David Weekley as the 2015 recipient of the William E. Simon Prize for Philanthropic Leadership. The Simon Prize honors the ideals and principles that guided Mr. Simon’s giving, including personal responsibility, resourcefulness, volunteerism, scholarship, individual freedom, faith in God, and helping people to help themselves.
Mr. Weekley founded a homebuilding company at the age of 23, with a capital investment from his brother Dick. Weekley Homes began as a lone trailer in the middle of a field outside Houston, but with its attention to creative design and focus on customer satisfaction, it soon distinguished itself as a “David” against the “Goliath” of national chains. Since 1976, it has grown to become the largest privately held homebuilder in America, expanding to 20 metropolitan areas and closing over $1.3 billion worth of new homes in 2014.
The company and its founder have earned multiple honors in the areas of product design, marketing, management, entrepreneurship, and customer service, appearing twice on Inc.’s list of America’s 500 Fastest Growing Companies, twice as Professional Builder’s National Builder of the Year, and nine times as one of Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For.”
Mr. Weekley and his wife, Bonnie, have been committed to charitable giving throughout their 38-year marriage, through both local and international donations. Mr. Weekley gives not only of his wealth but also of himself to philanthropic work, dedicating fully half his time as well as half his income to charity for the past two decades. He is an engaged mentor to entrepreneurial nonprofits at home in Houston and internationally, expecting and coaching them to meet high standards, grow to scale, and achieve self-sufficiency.
As president of the David Weekley Family Foundation, he practices a venture-philanthropy model of investing treasure, time, and talent to grow nonprofits and social enterprises serving the poor and disadvantaged. The foundation’s international portfolio concentrates on improving education, health, and economic opportunity, with a focus on helping young, innovative organizations expand their proven models to reduce global poverty.
He is a passionate supporter of programs that develop character, from the Boy Scouts—a proud Eagle Scout, alongside his brothers and sons, Mr. Weekley has held several leadership roles within the organization at the local and national level—to the Positive Coaching Alliance to Young Life. An active player in education reform, Mr. Weekley supports KIPP, YES Prep, and Cristo Rey schools. He is a community leader, serving on the boards of professional and nonprofit organizations throughout the Houston area.
Previous winners of the William E. Simon Prize for Philanthropic Leadership include Jon Huntsman Sr., Eli and Edythe Broad, Bernie Marcus, Charles Koch, Roger Hertog, Phil and Nancy Anschutz, Dr. Ben Carson, the late Sir John Templeton, and the late John Walton. The prize includes a $250,000 award, payable to the charity designated by the winner.
Mr. Weekley will be honored on Thursday, October 15, at the Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas in Las Colinas, Texas, during a special dinner at the 2015 Annual Meeting of The Philanthropy Roundtable.