The Hogg Foundation: Born to Bolster Resilient Texans

In eighty years of Hogg Foundation history, Texas communities have experienced many challenging times. As trained and passionate care givers from diverse educational, cultural and ethnic backgrounds, providing resources and expert support during good and bad times is what we do. It’s what we’ve always done, because it is who we are. Below are a few examples documenting the Foundation’s supportive history.

World War II

The tragic attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 and the launching of the U.S. into World War II created complex and rapid societal, economic, familial and demographic changes and a great number of needs and demands for the newly formed Hogg Foundation. To meet these needs, Foundation staff developed and hosted seminars, workshops and training sessions.  In doing so, the Foundation helped men in the military, their wives and children, and thousands of employees working in industry for the first time, cope with their greatly changed society. By war’s end, the Foundation had worked with an astonishing 2,000 groups in 152 communities, helping over 400,000 people.​

At the conclusion of the war, the Foundation announced that chaplains trained in counseling had reduced the number of psychiatric discharges at Fort Hood by over 50 percent.* To build on this success, in 1955 The Foundation awarded grants to continue training military chaplains as mental health counselors. Month-long training projects and funding for publications were provided “to present recent knowledge about the dynamics of human behavior.” Seminars helped chaplains provide “preventive counseling” to stressed soldiers. In return, the chaplains provided feedback about the types of mental health challenges they encountered.​ By 1960, Dr. Bernice Milburn Moore had served as the director of eight month-long seminars, attended by 241 chaplains.

Throughout wartime and beyond, The Hogg Foundation’s leader and Director, Dr. Robert Sutherland, fought for causes that today we call social justice. Sutherland urged audiences of civic leaders, educators, and employers to resist the growing propensity of  people “learning to hate” citizens whose ancestors came from Axis/enemy countries to the United States, stating that it was “proof of the need for positive mental health… (urging people) to hate a bad system of control, but not a fourth of the world’s population” and to find instead “purposeful activities” that could focus anxieties productively. In addition to fighting systemic racism, the Foundation and Sutherland attacked sexism. Proclaiming that “The Women’s Army Corps has helped destroy the final tabu [sic], assuring an equal status for women in the post-war world,”  and further declaring in one talk:

(the Women’s Army Corps have) helped remove the few lingering superstitions about the efficiency of women workers. When during wartime, women can replace men in important types of military work, their ability to be trained for almost any type of service is established…(which) should lead to the more complete acceptance of women in the task of post-war planning. In the future, conference tables will have men and women working together planning the solution of international problems, as well as home front affairs.**

The promised societal changes from those wartime experiences have taken much longer and have sadly been diluted over the years as wartime circumstances “readjusted”, in spite of Sutherland’s optimistic, powerful words and actions. However, positive changes played out wherever Sutherland was in charge, with the Foundation continuing to hire and employ women in pivotal roles.

Tornadoes Over Texas

Dr. Harry Moore’s book, Tornadoes Over Texas, published by UT Press in 1958, was an in depth study of the effects and consequences of the devastating tornadoes which hit Waco and San Angelo, Texas on the same day, May 11, 1953. To compound the devastation even further for San Angelo, another storm hit almost exactly one year later, crippling the rebuilding process. With a broad spectrum of experts collaborating on the detailed overview, Tornadoes Over Texas described more than the events themselves, evaluating the short and long term aftermath for these communities after the initial storm damage. Dr. Moore, a professor of sociology at The University of Texas at Austin, soon became known as an expert on disaster research.  He and his team dissected the societal costs, financial and otherwise, of the storms and subsequent  institutional failures.

Upon closer inspection, many legal and governmental problems were revealed, which had exacerbated and even multiplied the tragedies. As is often the case, the worst impacts were further magnified for those from minority ethnic groups and those lower in socio economic status. Based on this research, groundbreaking work developing detailed plans for disaster preparedness and forming public safety nets began in earnest. This pioneering work was done with support from The Hogg Foundation, and from other departments across UT including the Office of Emergency Planning of the President, the Office of Civil Defense, and the dean of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Alton Burdine.*** It established the course of disaster preparedness planning for the coming decades nationwide, most importantly the subsequent evolvement of mental health strategies to help communities cope, especially for those who are most vulnerable.

Another lasting legacy grew from this study of disasters and their impacts on society in the form of The Moore Fellowship at The University of Texas at Austin. Established in 1995 by the estate of Dr. Bernice Moore, the award is made in honor of her late husband’s vocation studying the human experience in crisis and adversity. Candidates are doctoral students from diverse fields such as psychiatry, nursing, social work, sociology and other relevant research fields. Eligible students apply for an unrestricted, one-time $20,000 award in support of completion of their dissertations.

These examples from The Hogg Foundation’s historical archives demonstrate the profound dedication of our team, which we continue to carry with us today. Whether by providing direct financial support as we have done in times of distress like in 2017 via The Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, or through collaborative works with grantees, such as PeerFest in 2016, The Hogg Foundation for Mental Health has proven its ongoing commitment to finding and sharing innovative, restorative, and effective methods for helping Texans thrive.

Making the most of the small exhibit space and the even smaller budget required creativity! I loved having the opportunity to visually share some of the historical gems I had mined during my two years at The Hogg Foundation.
Programs and a crystal vase were some of the most beautiful reminders of how The Hogg Foundation has made a real difference in the lives and mental health of Texans over the last eighty years.


Legislative History, Federal Disaster Act: Public Law 875, (81st Congress – 2nd Session).

Moore, H. E. (1964). An island within an island; A story of Hurricane Carla … from and the winds blew. Austin, TX: Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, University of Texas.

Riley, J. A. (1971). Disaster – storm ahead. Austin: The Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, University of Texas.

  • Circuit Riders for Mental Health, p. 35

** Circuit Riders for Mental Health, p. 36

***(from the forward written by Dr. Robert Sutherland in 1971’s Hogg Foundation publication, “Disaster…Storm Ahead”).

The link to the final blog post:

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