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A Responsibility to the Future


Shirley and Ralph Alexander moved to the Houston area 31 years ago. They were a young couple, newly married and anxiously awaiting the arrival of a child, and they were comforted knowing that family from New York had also recently relocated to nearby Spring, Texas.

Soon after the move, the Alexanders’ young niece was diagnosed with leukemia. Her best choice for treatment was Texas Children’s Hospital.

“It worked, and they saved her life,” Ralph Alexander recalled. “I’m not sure she could have gotten the same treatment where she came from, so it was a wonderful outcome.”

In the decades that followed, a career in the energy industry took Shirley and Ralph around the world. During that time, they hung their hats in many places — New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Cleveland and even the United Kingdom. But Texas always seemed to draw them back. After 15 years of living overseas, they decided to return “home” to Texas once more and settled in The Woodlands.

“We liked the newness of The Woodlands — the freshness,” Shirley said. “It was a great place to think about the next chapters in our life — settling here and enjoying all the things that this community brings.”

Since returning to the area, the Alexanders have witnessed many things, including astronomical growth. New commercial and residential developments are constantly cropping up, and with them, new people and new opportunities. But the most striking thing Shirley and Ralph have noticed about The Woodlands is the sense of community inherent in its residents and the generous spirit of civic and philanthropic responsibility.

“If you have a desire to help, to be constructive, to create progress for our community, you can do it here,” Ralph said. “Shirley and I have had the pleasure of meeting wonderful people who give of themselves — not just money, but time, to make this a better place, and that’s really exciting.”

“It’s not time to give when you can — it’s time to give when it’s needed.”
– Ralph Alexander

The Alexanders began exploring ways to become involved. The choice immediately became clear to them when they learned that Texas Children’s Hospital was working to bring its world-class health care to the communities north of Houston. Shirley and Ralph recently made a generous gift of $250,000 to Promise: The Campaign for Texas Children’s Hospital that will specifically support Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands.

“Why are we so supportive of Texas Children’s? I’d have to say the first reason is because we can be,” Ralph said. “And those of us who can be, I think, have a responsibility to do that. But also, we’re getting the opportunity to get something that is absolutely best on the planet here. Texas Children’s is world-class, and it’s great for the community.”

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