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About the Foundation

Founded in 1997 by Julie Hersh Kosnik 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, 58, is President, Chief Executive Officer, and board member of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, a Dallas-based non-partisan institution which houses the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum and the George W. Bush Institute. Mr. Hersh focuses on executing the strategy to sustain the Bush Center’s mission of engaging communities in the U.S. and around the world by developing leaders, advancing policy, and taking action to solve today’s most pressing challenges.

In addition, he oversees his family office as Chairman of Hersh Family Investments (HFI). HFI focuses on investing in growth companies across the sectors of real estate, technology, sports and entertainment, and industrial goods and services.

He is the Co-Founder and former CEO of NGP Energy Capital Management, a premier private equity investment franchise in the natural resources industry managing over $20 billion of cumulative committed capital since inception in 1988. Until 2016, Mr. Hersh served as NGP’s Chief Executive Officer. From 1988 through the end of 2015, under his leadership, NGP invested over $12 billion and achieved significant investment returns making it one of the nation’s leading private equity firms.

Mr. Hersh currently serves as Senior Advisor to The Carlyle Group’s natural resources division. He also sits on the boards of the Texas Rangers Baseball Club and the Dallas Citizens Council. 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, and 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, and in 2017 received the Oil & Gas Council’s Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2020, Mr. Hersh received the L. Frank Pitts Energy Leadership Award conferred by the SMU Cox School of Business for demonstrating outstanding leadership and innovation in the field of energy.

Mr. Hersh is also very involved in the nonprofit arena both nationally and locally on a personal basis and through the efforts of the Hersh Foundation. He serves on the boards of the Global War on Terrorism Memorial Foundation, the Communities Foundation of Texas, 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. In 2019, he received the Henry Cohn Humanitarian Award, presented by the Texoma region of the Anti-Defamation League for his work in advancing the cause of human rights, dignity, and equal opportunity.

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 resides in Dallas, Texas.

Julie Hersh Kosnik

Founder & President

Julie Hersh Kosnik is President of the Hersh Foundation, philanthropist and author of the book Struck by Living: From Depression to Hope. Struck by Living was released in 2014 in Spanish as Decidí Vivir and the latest English version was released in 2017. 

Through the Hersh Foundation, Julie provided the initial funding for the Center for Depression and Clinical Care at UT Southwestern (CDCC).  Dr. Madhukar Trivedi, Director of the CDCC, focuses on early detection and measurement of depression utilizing a software assessment tool called Vital Sign 6. Over 60,000 patients have been screened using Vital Sign6 in 19 Primary Care offices in the Dallas area. In a short time since creation of the center, Trivedi and his team have developed a blood test to more scientifically administer psychiatric medication based on a biomarker indicating inflammation.

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. Julie believes that mental health can be managed by using Common SENSE: Sleep, Exercise, Nutrition, Stress Management and External Support.  She has also written a version of her Common SENSE list for College Students called, College SENSE. In addition, Julie’s Struck by Living blog is featured on her website as well as prior years on Psychology Today. Julie and her son Daniel were featured in a story for the Mental Health Channel.

As Board Chair of the 2017 Tony Award winning Dallas Theater Center, she encourages the measurement of the impact of the arts on mental health of a community. Through the combined efforts of Dallas Theater Center’s Public Works Dallas, UT Southwestern and the existing research of Linguistic anthropologist Shirley Brice Heath, she hopes to give more evidence to support the arts as an underutilized benefit to mental health.

After earning her BBA at the University of Notre Dame, Ms. Kosnik 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. Julie is a board trustee of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Foundation and a member of the Undergraduate Advisory Experience Council at the University of Notre Dame. Julie received the TACA Silver Cup for her outstanding support of the arts including Dallas Black Dance Theater, Cara Mia, Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Dallas Museum of Art.  Julie lives in Tyler, TX.

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 the Hersh Foundation 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.

  • Freedom Place at Old Parkland
    4143 Maple Avenue
    Suite 350
    Dallas, TX 75219
  • P: (972) 432-3850
  • F: (972) 432-3801
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