Our Story

Our Mission

Mission of Ray C. Fish Foundation is to assist in the support and/or advancement of qualified educational, scientific, and other charitable organizations to achieve their charitable purposes.

Our Vision

We envision Texas as a vibrant state with a history where opportunity and "can do" encouragement are "norms" in pursuing healthy community activities.

About Us

Ray C. Fish respected the qualities of knowledge, success, and decency; and in last few years of his life discovered the importance of spirituality in a person’s life. Throughout his business career, he constantly encouraged his associates and employees to set goals on “the horizons” and go on to achieve them with boldness and purpose.

In 1957, Ray established the Ray C. Fish Foundation to benefit present and future generations of Texans in their pursuit of the American Dream through supporting the establishment, operation or advancement of qualified educational, scientific, and other charitable organizations that assist others in developing their entrepreneurial spirit and achieve their goals in life through individual effort and hard work.

Since its inception, over 300 different Texas institutions have received support from the Ray C. Fish Foundation. The diverse group includes universities and colleges, hospitals, medical research programs, children’s aid groups, museums, schools, libraries, parks, and many others.

Giving History

Past Major and Significant grants by the Ray C. Fish Foundation:

  • M.D. Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute(Houston, Tx)
  • Austin College (Sherman, Tx)
  • The Center for Hearing and Speech (Houston, Tx)
  • Cowboys Artists of America Museum (Kerrville, Tx)
  • Hill Country Youth Ranch (Ingram, Tx)
  • Houston Museum of Natural Science (Houston, Tx)
  • The Museum of Fine Arts (Houston, Tx)
  • Rice University Baker Institute for Public Policy (Houston, Tx)
  • St. John’s School (Houston, Tx)
  • Schreiner University – Library and Nursing School (Kerrville, Tx)
  • The Stehlin Foundation for Cancer Research(Houston, Tx)
  • Texas A&M University – George Bush Presidential
  • Library, founding grant (College Station, Tx)
  • Texas Heart Institute – founding grant (Houston, Tx)
  • Wortham Theatre – founding grant (Houston, Tx).

Our Founder

Ray C. Fish was born in 1902 to a Rhode Island family of modest means.  His grandfather was the captain of a “Yankee Clipper” sailing South Pacific Trade Routes in the mid 1800’s and was a moving force in Ray’s vision of opportunities “beyond the horizon”.

In his formative years, going to college was not the trend at this time.  Not being afraid of hard work, Ray at the age of 21, chose to go west across the country to work in the oil patch in California during the Post World War I era of the 1920’s.  As a hard worker, he gained working knowledge of pipeline construction by rough-necking in the oil fields and doing other construction work.  He became wise in the management of men, oil field construction, and goal setting for achieving his objectives.  His professional career was launched in 1927 when he began supervising the engineering and construction of gasoline and refining plants for J.A. Campbell Company of Los Angeles.

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Ray’s big opportunity developed in the 1930’s when he went to work for Stearns-Roger Company of Denver, Colorado, because they were “constructing something everywhere.”  He stayed there for 14 years, designing, constructing, and installing all types of oil and gas equipment.  He supervised the design and construction of gas pipeline delivery systems, finding himself on the rising wave of a new industry – pipelines for transmission of natural gas and oil.

Recognized for his leadership and management skills, Stearns-Rogers appointed Ray to be Project Director for the design and construction of the first intercontinental gas pipeline built during World War II to transport natural gas from the Gulf Coast to New Jersey.  This later became the Texas Eastern Transmission Company.

After the successful completion of this first major pipeline project, “navigation instincts” inherited from his grandfather gave Ray the insight to see a horizon filled with pipeline systems carrying low cost energy to major population centers.  In pursuit of this vision, he made a career decision in the late 1940’s and left Stearns-Rogers with a key group of associates to launch the first of several Fish Companies – The Fish Engineering Corporation.  Starting up a new company in competition against giants in the construction field, required Ray’s total commitment and use of his keen management skills, salesmanship, and reputation to deliver a project completed “on time, within budget, and in accordance with specifications.”

Ray and his team built the Fish Companies into an enterprise that participated in almost every natural gas transmission project built in the Post World War II era.  These projects included the Transcontinental Gas Pipeline, the Texas-Illinois Natural Gas Pipeline, and the 1500-mile Pacific Northwest Pipeline, which later was merged with the El Paso Natural Gas Company.

In 1957, the Fish team went international by constructing an 1100-mile natural gas pipeline in South America from the Bolivian border to Buenos Aires, Argentina.  The Argentina pipeline led to another Fish project, which was the engineering and construction of an Argentine petrochemical complex.  This complex used the new raw materials brought by the pipeline for the first synthetic rubber plant in South America in a cooperative undertaking called PASA.

Ray’s success exceeded his own goals.  Within a decade, the Fish companies engineered and constructed thousands of miles of pipelines and were responsible for the creation of millions of dollars in new gas utilities around the country.  He acquired the title of “Mr. Pipeliner” in a thriving transcontinental gas market.  The people who trained under him went on to become recognized industry leaders in later years.

Prior to his untimely death in 1962, Ray had a “life after death” experience which profoundly impacted the last few years of his life.  Spiritual development which had been missing most of his life, became an essential ingredient for his life which led to the decision to leave the bulk of his wealth upon his death to the Ray C. Fish Foundation for the benefit of the people of Texas.