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Encountering God.
Experiencing Transformation.

Explore 1,900 acres in one of the most picturesque spots in the Texas Hill Country. Nestled along the Frio River Canyon, the property has been deemed by many as a thin place between heaven and earth. Our distinct programs provide time for rest, reflection, and renewal—the things we crave but don’t seem to find time for in everyday living. Whether you are a single adult, couple, family, or young person, The H. E. Butt Family Foundation has something for every season of life.

Introduction and Video

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Programs and content for every season of life

Whether you step foot into the breathtaking Frio River Canyon or navigate our digital spaces from work or home, our goal is to provide you incredible experiences that parallel your particular path in life.

Our mission is the renewal of society through the renewal of the Church; Church renewal through the renewal of the family; family renewal through renewed individuals.

The core purpose of each program is to create opportunities for people to encounter God for the transformation of daily life, work, and our world.

About Us

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About Us


Deborah and David Rogers are serving as the next generation of The H. E. Butt Family Foundation leadership. As President of the Foundation, David is using the decades of the Butt family philanthropy as a guiding post to cast a strong vision for the future.  Together, he and Deborah are strategically ensuring the resources are available and that the right people are in place so that the mission and vision remain at the forefront of the programs and in the national outreach.

Today, having been involved in the leadership for more than two decades, fourth generation family members Deborah and David Rogers lead the Foundation. They have three adult children—Katherine, Alexandra, and Jackson—all of whom have benefited from a life of engagement in the work.

Four generations of the Butt family

The “Laity” vision began through one family who made a move to Texas at the turn of the 20th century. Florence Butt moved her ill husband, Charles, and three small sons, Charles Jr., Eugene, and Howard, from Memphis, Tennessee, to Kerrville, Texas, in 1905.

In those early years, the family struggled in poverty. Yet that close-knit community and the amazing geography of the Hill Country worked wonders for Howard, the youngest son, who loved the outdoors. Some of his favorite memories included experiences at a friend’s ranch. Those fortuitous early years sparked what would later be transferred to hundreds of thousands of people.

Howard pursued a natural bent for the grocery business. After serving in the U.S. Navy during World War I, he established H-E-B, one of the largest privately held grocery companies in the country. In 1924, Howard married the gifted Mary Elizabeth Holdsworth who possessed a selfless regard for the well-being of others. They were blessed with three children, Howard Jr., Eleanor, and Charles. The family prospered as the children were reared within a heritage of Christian values implemented in the grocery business.

Together, in 1933, Howard and Mary established one of Texas’ earliest foundations for their charitable, educational, and philanthropic purposes. In those early years, Mary, who served as the Foundation’s first President, focused on literacy through public school programs and libraries. Care for the health and well-being of those less fortunate was a major focus for the Butts. They helped fund a number of recreational and child care facilities as well as tuberculosis treatment to help curtail the epidemic that had taken so many lives. Mary was also a tireless leader in a movement to improve conditions for those suffering from mental illness and mental retardation. In the mid-1950s, she was appointed the first woman to the governing board of the Texas State Hospitals and Special Schools. That role lasted nearly two decades and spanned the terms of a number of Texas governors.

Then, in 1954, Howard’s boyhood dream came to life when he and Mary purchased a 1900-acre ranch near Leakey, Texas, and immediately contributed the land to their Foundation. Mary’s diary records their hope to provide a free camping experience for “maybe 100 boys and girls at one time.” Never could they have imagined how their dream would multiply from that day to the present.

In 1961, Howard, Jr. was given Laity Lodge, the adult retreat center, as a tool on the property to pursue his personal ministry. Five years later, Laity Lodge Youth Camp was established. In 1982, Howard, Jr. became President of the Foundation and developed significant national outreach for leaders over the next decades. In 2013, the Foundation constructed Headwaters, a state-of-the-art family camping facility on the property, that now serves families year round through Laity Lodge Family Camp and the Foundation Camp program.

Today, having been involved in the leadership for more than two decades, fourth generation family members Deborah and David Rogers lead the Foundation. New programs continue to emerge, including Outdoor Education for Texas schools as well as continued focus on leaders. More than 25,000 boys and girls, families, and adults each year are benefiting from this early vision … and tens of thousands more are being served through the online resources.



Our Family of Programs

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Our Family of Programs

The H. E. Butt Family Foundation runs five distinct programs tailored to varying needs at different seasons of life.

H. E. Butt Foundation Camps

The H. E. Butt Foundation Camp partners with more than 250 qualifying churches, schools, and nonprofit groups each year to provide exceptional facilities, free of charge, for camping experiences conducive to Christian character development. The program especially targets children and youth in Texas who would not otherwise be able to afford such an experience.

Laity Lodge is an ecumenical Christian retreat center established in 1961 in the heart of the Texas Hill Country. Scholars, theologians, musicians, artists, and guests from all walks of life gather in our outpost along the Frio River for the purpose of encouraging and renewing the laity—the people of God. We aim to recover a sense of the sacred: God at work, in and among us, in the most ordinary of activities.

Laity Lodge Youth Camp (LLYC) was established in 1966 along the Frio River Canyon as a co-ed summer youth camping program for boys and girls who have completed second through tenth grades. Today, LLYC focuses on spontaneity, fun, and relationships to show kids the best two weeks of their lives, while sharing with them the Gospel message and love of Jesus Christ. LLYC is dedicated to providing campers with healthy fun in an emotionally safe learning environment.

Laity Lodge Family Camp offers Christian retreats for families on the weekends throughout the school year and during five weeks in the summer for uninterrupted time together for refreshment and growth through shared adventures in the Texas Hill Country.

Steeped in outrageous hospitality in exceptional facilities, Laity Lodge Family Camp creates moments to connect with family, God, and other guests. Our program is tailored to accommodate a broad spectrum of age ranges and to allow families to be enriched through a mixture of worshipful rest and structured activities.

The High Calling is an online community offering inspirational content in a thoughtful and creative environment.

Our content is free and developed to help a broad audience find meaning in everyday life, work, and faith. We encourage readers to engage through conversations on our website, through our social media channels, and in face-to-face conversations with those they meet each day—at work, at home, in their faith community, and in their neighborhood.


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Giving is an essential part of Christian transformation. When someone makes a gift, we hope it is a thoughtful, prayerful, and joyful experience.

From assistance for camp and retreat scholarships, provision for program excellence, or support for capital needs, your gifts help touch and change lives at The H. E. Butt Family Foundation.

To speak with a member of the Development team, call 830-315-9206. Checks should be made out to Friends of HEBFF and sent to The H. E. Butt Family Foundation at 719 Earl Garrett Street, Kerrville, Texas 78028.