Conrad N. Hilton Foundation

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Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
Conrad N Hilton Foundation.jpg
Conrad N. Hilton Foundation logo
FounderConrad N. Hilton
TypePrivate foundation
(IRS status): 501(c)(3)
Key people
Steven M. Hilton, chairman of the board
Peter Laugharn, president and CEO
Endowment$2.6 billion

The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation is an American non-profit charitable foundation, established in 1944 by hotel entrepreneur Conrad N. Hilton. It remained relatively small until his death on January 3, 1979 when it was named the principal beneficiary of his estate. In 2007, Conrad's son, Barron Hilton announced that he would leave about 97% of his fortune (estimated at $2.3 billion),[1] to a charitable remainder unitrust which will eventually be merged with the Foundation,[2] of which he is currently a member of the board of directors.[1]

Program areas[edit]

The Foundation's mission is derived from the last will and testament of Conrad N. Hilton that directs the organization to "relieve the suffering, the distressed, and the destitute."[3] The Foundation now focuses on six strategic areas: ending chronic homelessness, preventing teen substance abuse, helping youth make the transition out of foster care, providing access to safe water, support for the work of Catholic Sisters, and working with young children affected by HIV and AIDS. The Foundation also funds five smaller program areas: confronting sight loss; overcoming multiple sclerosis; responding to disasters; nurturing Catholic schools; and educating students for hospitality industry.[4] Typically, the foundation awards large, long-term grants to nonprofit organizations.[5] “Increasingly, we are being more strategic in our areas of interest,” said Ed Cain, Vice President of Grant Programs. “We’re trying to make the biggest difference possible with the resources at our disposal, and making sure that these projects deliver tangible results.”[6]

Financial information[edit]

The Foundation's current assets are approximately $2.5 billion. Since inception, the Foundation has awarded more than $1.5 billion in grants. Currently more than 50% supports international charitable projects.[7]


Conrad Hilton's grandson Steven M. Hilton is currently the chairman of the organization. He started working at the foundation in 1983 and served as its CEO from 2005 to 2015.[8] Hilton retired as president and CEO, and was succeeded by Peter Laugharn.[9][10] In his retirement announcement, Hilton said, “When I joined the Hilton Foundation in 1983, I couldn’t imagine the path that lay ahead. At that time, a handful of staff guided about $6 million in grants annually. Fast forward to today, and we have grown to a staff of over 50 and have awarded over a billion dollars in grants to improve the lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable people around the world.”[11] Peter Laugharn began his tenure as president and CEO on January 1, 2016.[12]

Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize[edit]

The Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize is awarded annually by the Foundation. It was inaugurated in 1996 and is the largest humanitarian award in the world. Its annual award of USD 1.5 million was increased in 2015 to 2 million to commemorate its 20th Hilton Humanitarian Prize laureate, Landesa. It is currently larger than any one of the six Nobel Prizes.[13]

The award is presented to a nonprofit organization judged to have made exemplary and extraordinary contributions in alleviating human suffering. Following initial background and legal review, the Hilton Humanitarian Prize staff conducts an extensive evaluation of the candidates, which is then submitted to an independent, international jury that makes the final selection.

According to the Foundation, "The Prize is not only intended to recognize and advance the efforts of the recipient organization, but also to call attention to the worldwide need for humanitarian aid and encourage others to expand their support." The creation of the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize by the Foundation was inspired by the will of Conrad Hilton.

"There is a natural law, a Divine law, that obliges you and me to relieve the suffering, the distressed and the destitute. Charity is a supreme virtue, and the great channel through which the mercy of God is passed on to mankind. It is the virtue that unites men and inspires their noblest efforts.[3]

— Conrad N. Hilton

Prize Recipients[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Barron Hilton to Donate 97% of Estate to Hilton Foundation". Planned Giving Design Center, LLC. December 26, 2007. Retrieved April 2, 2011.
  2. ^ "Hilton fortune to go to charity". BBC News. 2007-12-27. Retrieved 2010-04-26.
  3. ^ a b Excerpt from the Last Will and Testament of Conrad N. Hilton Archived 2008-10-02 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Conrad N. Hilton Foundation website
  5. ^ "Steve Hilton Takes His Grandfather's Philanthropy to a New Level". Retrieved 2014-03-31.
  6. ^ "Conrad N. Hilton Foundation Announces $38.3 Million Give". Retrieved 2014-03-31.
  7. ^ "New Frontiers in Doing Good: A Family Foundation". Leaders Magazine. 2011-04-02. Retrieved 2011-09-16.
  8. ^ "Steve Hilton on the Hilton Humanitarian Prize—and Its Impact". The Bridgespan Group "Give Smart". 2013-04-16. Retrieved 2013-09-27.
  9. ^ "Head of Conrad Hilton Foundation to step down at the end of 2015". Los Angeles Times. 2014-03-25. Retrieved 2014-03-31.
  10. ^ "Peter Laugharn Named Chief Executive of Conrad N. Hilton Foundation". Chronicle of Philanthropy. 2015-05-20. Retrieved 2016-04-27.
  11. ^ "Steven M. Hilton To Step Down As President And CEO Of The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation". Archived from the original on 2014-04-07. Retrieved 2014-03-31.
  12. ^ Di Mento, Maria (May 20, 2015). "Peter Laugharn Named Chief Executive of Conrad N. Hilton Foundation". The Chroncile of Philanthropy. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  13. ^ Tattersall, Nick (2007-08-12). "Grass roots African group wins top world aid award". Reuters online. Reuters. Retrieved 2007-08-30.[permanent dead link]
  14. ^ Caroline Bermudez, Charities That Support People With Mental Illness Win Hilton Prize, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, July 18, 2014
  15. ^ "$2 Million Hilton Prize To Be Awarded To Bangladesh Health Research Group" (PDF). The Beverly Hills Courier. August 25, 2017. p. 2. Retrieved August 25, 2017.
  16. ^ Ariella Phillips, Group Serving Kenya Slums Wins $2 Million Hilton Humanitarian Award, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, August 22, 2018

External links[edit]