The foundation was first incorporated in 1969 as the Health, Education, and Conservation (HEC) Foundation soon after President Johnson left the White House. The HEC Foundation was formed by Harry H. Ransom, Frank C. Erwin, Jr., and William W. Heath, who were elected as the foundation’s first trustees, to support the LBJ Presidential Library and The LBJ School of Public Affairs.
In 1973, the HEC Foundation was renamed the Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation. The mission, however, remained the same—to provide support for the educational and historical work of the library and the school. Harry Middleton, who was the director of the library, was asked to serve as executive director of the foundation, a position that he held until his retirement in 2002. Harry Ransom was selected as the first president of the Board of Trustees of the foundation, and was succeeded in that role by Frank Erwin in 1971. In 1980, Tom Johnson took over as chairman of the Board of Trustees, where he served for 30 years until 2010.
The LBJ Presidential Library is one of thirteen presidential libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration. It was the first presidential library to establish a foundation to provide financial support for its programs and services, and since its inception, The Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation has served as a model that has been emulated by other presidential libraries.
Today, under the leadership of the current chairman, Larry Temple; Vice Chairmen Ben Barnes and Lyndon Olson; and president, Elizabeth Christian, the LBJ Foundation continues to support the many diverse programs and activities of the LBJ Presidential Library and the LBJ School of Public Affairs.
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