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About the Foundation

Founded in 1997 by Julie and Ken Hersh, the Hersh Foundation is a private family foundation located in North Texas.  The Hersh Foundation is committed to enriching and improving the quality of life for all people by supporting organizations with demonstrable results in efforts that support our mission and focus areas. 


The mission of the Hersh Foundation is to cultivate future leaders and to promote mental health through innovative strategies.


The vision of the Hersh Foundation is to cultivate future leaders and to promote mental health through innovative strategies.

Our Founders

Kenneth A. Hersh

Founder & Chairman

Kenneth A. Hersh, 54, is Chairman of the Hersh Foundation and President and Chief Executive Officer of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, a Dallas-based non-partisan institution which houses the George W. Bush Library and Museum and the George W. Bush Institute. The Bush Center’s mission is to engage communities in the U.S. and around the world by developing leaders, advancing policy, and taking action to solve today’s most pressing challenges. Under his leadership and that of Executive Director, Holly Kuzmich, the Institute focuses its efforts on initiatives impacting economic growth, education reform, human freedom, global health, military service, and women’s empowerment.

He also serves as Co-Founder and Advisory Partner of NGP Energy Capital Management where he assists with the strategic direction of the firm. NGP is a premier private equity investment franchise in the natural resources industry managing over $15.8 billion of cumulative committed capital since inception in 1988. Through 2015, Mr. Hersh served as NGP’s Chief Executive Officer. From 1988 through 2015, under his leadership, NGP invested over $10 billion and achieved a 28-year gross IRR of 30% (net IRR of 19%), making it one of the nation’s leading investment firms during that period.

Mr. Hersh currently serves as a Senior Advisor and the Deputy Chief Investment Officer for The Carlyle Group’s natural resources division and sits on the Board of the Texas Rangers Baseball Club. In addition, Mr. Hersh serves on the Board of Overseers of the Hoover Institution, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the National Council of the American Enterprise Institute, the Dallas Citizens Council, and the World Economic Forum where he has been a featured speaker at its annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland. He also sits on the Dean’s Council of the Harvard Kennedy School. Mr. Hersh served on the Advisory Council of Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business from 2009 through 2015. In 2014, he was recognized as Master Entrepreneur of the Year for the Southwest Region by Ernst & Young during its Entrepreneur of the Year program.

Mr. Hersh has also been very involved in the nonprofit arena both nationally and locally on a personal basis and through the efforts of The Hersh Foundation, his family’s private foundation. He serves on the boards of the Communities Foundation of Texas, Baylor Health Care System Foundation, and the National Association for Urban Debate Leagues. From 1998 through 2015, Mr. Hersh served on the board of St. Mark’s School of Texas, where he held numerous positions including President from 2010 through 2012. In 2015, Mr. Hersh received the St. Mark’s School of Texas Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Prior to co-founding NGP, Mr. Hersh was employed by Morgan Stanley & Co. where he was a member of the firm’s energy group specializing in oil and gas financing and merger and acquisition transactions.

Mr. Hersh was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. After graduating from St. Mark’s, he attended Princeton University where he graduated magna cum laude with a degree in Politics in 1985. In 1989, Mr. Hersh earned his M.B.A. from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business where he graduated as an Arjay Miller Scholar.

Mr. Hersh and his wife, Julie reside in Dallas, Texas. 

Julie K. Hersh

Founder & President

Julie Hersh is President of the Hersh Foundation, an outspoken advocate for mental health awareness and author of the book Struck by Living: From Depression to Hope. Published in April of 2010, Struck by Living is already in reprint and was released in 2014 in Spanish as Decidí Vivir. Featured on Fox and Friends, PBS (KERA Think! with Krys Boyd), Dallas Morning News and numerous radio programs, Julie's goal is to provide a living example that mental illness is a manageable disease. She has conducted hundreds of talks since release of the book to a wide range of audiences. Mental Health America of Greater Dallas awarded her the Ruth Altschuler Prism Award in October 2010 for her advocacy in mental health. She is also the recipient of the 2018 TACA Silver Cup Award.

Hersh revealed her story in her book to dispel myths about depression and to open the conversation about mental health. "Despite medical advances," Julie says, "too many people don't understand how to protect their brains from mental illness. Sleep, exercise, nutrition, stress management and social support systems are as critical to brain health as not smoking is to lung health." Often mental illness is left undetected or untreated, leaving millions to needlessly suffer. Hersh believes early intervention and good brain health habits can save lives. Her Struck by Living blog is featured on the Psychology Today website. Recently, Julie and her son Daniel were featured in a story for the Mental Health Channel. In addtion, Julie and Ken were featured on's True Champions series.  

After earning her BBA at the University of Notre Dame, Hersh worked in high-tech product development and marketing/sales in Silicon Valley. She "retired" from a lucrative sales management position after the birth of her first child. A long-time member of the Cooper Center, Hersh ran her first marathon at age 48. Julie is a board member of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Foundation, a member of the Undergraduate Advisory Experience Council at the University of Notre Dame, participant on the International Society of ECT and Neurostimulation Patient Advisory Council, and on the advisory board for the Center for Depression Research and Clinical Care at UT Southwestern.  A longtime supporter of the arts, Hersh is also the current Board Chairwoman for the Dallas Theater Center and a supporter of the Dallas Museum of Art. She lives with her family in Dallas, Texas.

Our Team

Kristi Bernstein

Foundation Director

Kristi Bernstein is the Foundation Director for the Hersh Foundation.  Prior to joining the Hersh Foundation in February 2014, Kristi worked for 6 years as the Associate Vice President of Development for the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas, managing the Annual Support Campaign of the 23 branches in the Dallas Metropolitan Area raising over $4,000,000 per year.  She brings to the Hersh Foundation over 20 years of non-profit experience.  Kristi leverages her knowledge of processes, strategic planning and the many years of non-profit development experience to assist the Hersh family direct and manage their giving in the community.  She takes great pride in the work of that the Hersh Foundation is doing in the community, especially in the field of mental health.  A graduate of Old Dominion University with a degree in International and Intercultural Communication, Kristi is a native Virginian.  She lives in Dallas with her husband, Jon, and her three children, Jack, Eva and Dottie. 

About The Hersh Foundation

Founded in 1997 by Julie and Ken Hersh, The Hersh Foundation is a private family foundation located in North Texas. The Hersh Foundation is committed to enriching and improving the quality of life for all people by supporting organizations with demonstrable results in efforts that support our mission and focus areas.

  • The Towers at Williams Square East
    5221 North O’Connor Blvd., Suite 1200
    Irving, Texas 75039
  • P: (972) 432-3850
  • F: (972) 432-3801
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