History and Founders
The Craig and Kathryn Hall Foundation embodies the shared values of its two founders, spouses Craig Hall and Kathryn Walt Hall. Starting early in their lives, both were deeply committed to giving back to their communities through service and philanthropy. Craig Hall worked to promote equal access to opportunity for all Americans chiefly through professional and charitable work related to entrepreneurship, including founding the North Texas chapter of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship in 2004. Kathryn Walt contributed through her professional roles in law, government, business, and policy-making, as well as through her leadership in establishing the North Texas Food Bank, which has helped to fight food insecurity in the Dallas/Fort-Worth area since 1982.
Following their marriage in 1993, Craig and Kathryn joined forces to build the foundation that shares their names. They have focused the Foundation’s charitable work on the interests that unite them, including investment in their local communities of North Texas and Napa Valley, California. In these communities, the Foundation has provided instrumental support to many arts organizations and projects, including investing in the development of Klyde Warren Park in Dallas, and providing ongoing support to Festival Napa Valley. The Foundation has also supports access to affordable health care in Napa Valley through Ole Health. Together, Craig and Kathryn also have continued to invest in entrepreneurship, establishing the Kathryn and Craig Hall Fulbright-Hall Distinguished Chair for Entrepreneurship in Central Europe in 2001.
In 2009, Craig and Kathryn’s adult children joined the Foundation’s board of directors, and daughter Brijetta Hall Waller was named its Executive Director. Under the ongoing mission and values leadership of Craig and Kathryn, the Foundation continues to invest in the creativity, effort, and vision of people who are improving the communities of North Texas and Napa Valley, California, while also investing in inclusive entrepreneurship nationwide.
Founder Craig Hall
Craig Hall is chairman and founder of Dallas-based HALL Group. His career in business and as an author, civic leader, and philanthropist reflects the highest qualities of entrepreneurship. He formed HALL Group in 1968 at age 18 with the purchase of his first property, a rooming house on the University of Michigan campus, using $4,000 saved from small ventures begun at age 10. Growing up in the 1960s, Hall was moved by the social issues of the time, and even as a young entrepreneur believed that everyone should have access to the American Dream. In 1977 at the age of 25, Craig organized the “HALL Foundation for Individual Opportunity” to focus on making entrepreneurship available to all. This original foundation would later become The Craig and Kathryn Hall Foundation.
Since those early days, Hall Group has continued to grow and diversify. Today, the company’s business interests include active operations in commercial real estate ownership, development, and management; structured financial lending; winemaking; and early-stage investments in promising start-ups.
Craig actively supports new entrepreneurs, nurtures young start-ups, and often speaks publicly about the importance of encouraging entrepreneurship worldwide, a value he continues to promote both in his business and charitable work. Craig is the author of six published books, including his most recent, the New York Times bestselling A Perfect Score (Hachette, 2016), which he co-authored with his wife; The Responsible Entrepreneur (Career Press, 2001); and Boom: Bridging the Opportunity Gap to Reignite Startups forthcoming May 14, 2019, from Post Hill Press.
Craig consistently contributes time and resources at local, national and international levels to support a variety of community causes with an emphasis on art, education, and entrepreneurship. He has served on the Board of Trustees of the American University in Bulgaria, the American-Austrian Fulbright Board, and the Board of the Horatio Alger Association for Distinguished Americans.
A lifelong art collector, Craig believes art nourishes the human spirit and can make a profound difference in people’s lives. Artworks from Craig’s personal collection, the HALL Collection, are on display throughout his businesses for the public’s enjoyment. Important works by artists from all over the world can be seen at HALL Park in Frisco, Texas, at the HALL Arts development in the Dallas Arts District, and at HALL St. Helena and HALL Rutherford, the Hall family’s two destination wineries in Napa Valley.
Craig and his companies are often recognized for significant achievements and contributions. Craig received the 2002 Obelisk Award from the Dallas Business Committee for the Arts for his long-time support of Texas artists, and was named Real Estate Entrepreneur of the Year in 2002 by Ernst & Young. In 2006, he received the American Jewish Committee’s Institute of Human Relations Award and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Mortgage Bankers Association.
In 2007, Craig was named a lifetime member of the prestigious Horatio Alger Association for Distinguished Americans, and was inducted into the North Texas Commercial Real Estate Hall of Fame and the Entrepreneurs Foundation of North Texas’s Ring of Honor. In 2013 he was named D Magazine’s Real Estate Executive of the Year, and in 2016 was inducted into the Junior Achievement of Dallas Business Hall of Fame. Most recently, Craig and Kathryn were co-awarded the 2017 Master Entrepreneur of the Year award for the Southwest Region of the United States from the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year program and were named finalists in the national real estate category award.
Founder Kathryn Hall
Kathryn Walt Hall has had a distinguished career as a successful businesswoman, attorney, community activist, and as the United States Ambassador to Austria. She has expressed her deep commitment to humanitarian values in multiple charitable roles.
Since her family first purchased a vineyard in the 1970s, Kathryn has been involved in the California wine industry. She and her brother managed the family vineyard from 1982 to 1992, selling grapes to other wineries, as well as producing sauvignon blanc and cabernet sauvignon under the WALT Vineyards label. She continues as proprietor of WALT Wines, and is co-proprietor of HALL Wines along with her husband Craig.
Kathryn began her public career as assistant city attorney in Berkeley, California. Later, she joined Safeway Stores, where she was responsible for developing and administering one of the nation’s first and largest affirmative action programs. Subsequently, she worked as an attorney and businesswoman in Dallas, Texas, where she was president of an inner city development company and partner of Hall Financial Group, Inc.
Long committed to social issues, Kathryn has served on many non-profit and institutional boards, addressing issues related to social services and mental health. She co-founded the North Texas Food Bank, served on the U.S. House of Representatives Hunger Advisory Committee, and was the director/vice president of the Texas Mental Health Association. She has served on the National Advisory Council for Violence Against Women and as a trustee of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Kathryn also serves on the Napa Legal Aid Board of Directors.
From 1997 to 2001, Kathryn served as the United States Ambassador to Austria, where one of her many objectives was the promotion of American agriculture. Building on this experience following her return to the United States, she was appointed in 2001 to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for international trade, and to Texas One, promoting international investment in Texas.
Kathryn is fluent in French and German. She earned a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley, a joint MBA from UC California, Berkeley, and Columbia University, and a J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of Law.