Gracie Cavnar, Chairman of the Board
Writer, Philanthropist, Founder, Chairman & CEO of Recipe for Success


Gracie Cavnar believes that you can do anything you put your mind to, and she's spent a lifetime proving it.

In 1998, following careers in architecture, hospitality and public relations, Gracie retired to write feature stories for local, regional and national publications. But, after she learned about the childhood obesity epidemic and its astounding effect on American lives and wallets, she spent years researching best practices around the world and then launched Recipe for Success Foundation in 2005 to change the way children understand, appreciate and eat their food.

Celebrating its 10th anniversary year and 30,000+ children taught, Recipe for Success Foundation is the largest initiative of its kind in the country and has attracted attention from many activists, the White House and national press. Gracie served as an adviser to the First Lady's Lets Move! Task Force, which was when she was asked to bring her Foundation's programs to national scale. Its signature Seed-to-Plate Nutrition Education™ is now available in schools nationwide. Her annual public service campaigns: the VegOut! Challenge and farmers marKIDS days designed to raise awareness, normalize the concept of healthy eating and drive behavioral change are catching fire throughout the country and her vision for Hope Farms and the Rolling Green Market, an urban agricultural project designed to provide affordable produce in food deserts and train a new generation of farmers, is taking root in Sunnyside in south Houston. Gracie's first children's cookbook combined with an adventure story, Eat It! Food Adventures with Marco Polo was published in 2012 and has snared a dozen national awards. She has another installment of that series in the works along with a commemorative book celebrating her foundation's 10th year: We're Cooking Now!

She has received numerous high profile awards for her work. In 2008 Gracie was honored for her groundbreaking work with Recipe for Success by Dr. Mehmet Oz at The Enchanted Garden Gala in New York; with The Houston Junior Forum's Shining Star Award, the 36th annual SAVVY Award from Macy's and the Houston Chronicle, the 2008 Mayor's Volunteer Houston Award, and the President's Volunteer Service Gold Award from President George W. Bush. She was selected as a 2008 L'Oreal Paris Woman of Worth Honoree, was a 2009 Houston Women of Distinction and was selected by Harlequin Publishing to receive their 2010 More than Words award. In 2010 she was recognized with the Glynwood Good Food For Health Harvest Award and as one of Houston's Most Influential Women. Texas Medical Association Foundation honored Gracie in 2011 as Houston Health Leader, Self Magazine selected her as one of the 2011 Women Doing Good, and Longines and Town&Country Magazine honored her as one of their 2011 Women Who Make a Difference. In 2012, she was inducted into the Greater Houston Women's Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame and in 2013 garnered a dozen awards for her first children's book, Eat It! Food Advnetures with Marco Polo. In 2014, the Dell Center for Healthy Living recognized Gracie with their Texas Health Champion Award and in 2016 she recieved the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Award.

A San Antonio native, Gracie also holds board and advisory positions with Inprint, Hermann Park Conservancy, Arte Publico, Lawndale Art Center, The Houston Grand Opera and KIPP Academy Houston. She serves on the GoHealthyHouston Task Force, American Heart Association Texas State Leadership Council, YMCA Childhood Obesity Task Force and is active on several committees for the Center for Science in the Public Interest. In 2013, Gracie founded the Houston Chapter of the International Women's Forum and serves as its President. In 1999 she created the Essence of Mexico Foundation to capture the disappearing festivals of indigenous people. The resulting photography anthology, which was donated to the Latin American collection of the San Antonio Museum of Art, has traveled the world and in 2008 was featured in a Smithsonian Exhibition. She has chaired nearly a dozen high-profile charity galas that raised many millions of dollars.

During her professional career spanning more than forty-five years, her job titles have included: model, architect, designer, caterer, restaurateur, special event coordinator, hospitality, marketing and public relations executive, journalist and writer. She has owned her own businesses and worked for others including multinational corporations, but she considers creating and shepherding Recipe for Success Foundation her ultimate calling and most gratifying achievement. "We have the opportunity to literally save the next generation and I will do everything I can to eliminate this deadly epidemic, which threatens to rob them of their health and well being."

As former Houston Mayor Bill White says, "Gracie Cavnar can get things done."

Gracie married Bob Cavnar in 1996 and they have three children: Justin Hamilton (m. to Lucia Tschen), Robert, Jr. (m. to Kristin Zumo) and Gina (m. to Philip Seibert), and four grandchildren who are all very healthy eaters: Joey Seibert, Vivienne Grace & Lyla Jane Hamilton and Chloe Marie Cavnar; plus three very spoiled canines.