Linda and Jack Morris grew up in Texas, Linda in Abilene and Jack in Fort Worth. Their desire to help those who were less fortunate – particularly children – was not a calling they learned over time. It was a philosophy of life. Jack, who passed away in 2004, grew up during The Great Depression and spent his childhood living in an apartment above his father’s mattress factory on the south side of town.
Even though they, too, didn’t have much for themselves, his parents were acutely aware of the needs of those around them. Jack would carry pots of cooked beans to each neighbor in need. Linda once asked Jack, “Why didn’t your mom fill up the bucket with dry beans so it was easier for you to carry, and let them cook them?” Jack replied, “It was because these families didn’t have utilities, gas or electric. They didn’t have jobs. They couldn’t afford anything.”
Jack left school before finishing the ninth grade to work in his father’s factories. He grew up with a very strong work ethic and became a successful entrepreneur, businessman and investor. After studying avionics for use in military aircraft during World War II, Jack returned home and took over his father’s company. It was during that time Jack invented the process for creating the polyurethane carpet padding we know today.
He married Linda, a school teacher, and they took pleasure in rearing their family. Jack and Linda became active supporters of charitable organizations in Tarrant County. They spent a great deal of time choosing causes to support, especially in education.
Jack sold his business in 1986 and became a successful investor. In 1986, Linda and Jack created The Morris Foundation to maximize their charitable giving. For the next sixteen years, until Jack’s passing in 2004, Jack and Linda were an inseparable team. Together they offered both financial and leadership support. Linda has continued that legacy, and has sat on the board of many organizations, including Cassata Learning Center, Cook Children’s Hospital, Texas Health Resources’ Doris Kupferle Breast Center, and Austin College. She continues to be engaged in the operations of The Foundation.
Former Executive Director Joe Monteleone, a longtime friend of the Morris family, along with Linda and management, expanded The Morris Foundation’s reach while maintaining its roots in Fort Worth. The Morris Foundation is still very much a family foundation, with Jack and Linda’s children also taking on roles within the foundation at various points over the years. Linda said, “We wanted to keep it in Tarrant County, and we wanted to keep it in the family.”
Linda said, “Jack was unique and a very giving person. For me, it’s a bit selfish in a way because I take great pleasure in being able to help. So, looking for the best ways to help those with the greatest need became our mission – to provide opportunities for the most vulnerable, whether they were sick or under-educated. It’s been an adventure. It still is an adventure.”