Community Projects


Community Projects

Small Steps Nurturing Center logo

There from the beginning

Small Steps Nurturing Center was founded in 1995 and now operates two preschools for at-risk children living in the Houston area. Small Steps provides a high-quality education, social and emotional support, a nurturing Christian environment, transportation and nutritious meals to children ages two through six who live in poverty. Small Steps operates five days a week, 10 months each year, at no financial cost to the families it serves.

Since its inception, EnCap Managing Partner and Founder Marty Phillips has been a key leader and supporter of Small Steps. He helped initiate the Small Steps Energy Classic Golf tournament. The first tournament grossed $170,000 and provided funding to build Small Steps’ first campus. Thanks to Marty’s guidance and continued service on the Energy Classic Advisory Board, the tournament is now one of the most successful fundraising golf events in Houston. It remains the largest fundraiser for Small Steps and has generated more than $15.2 million over the past 23 years.  

Marty served on the Small Steps board of directors from 1996 to 2009 and leveraged EnCap Investments’ industry contacts to expand the organization’s fundraising efforts. Over the years many of EnCap’s senior leaders have also served on the board.  Board members for 2019 include Brooks Despot and Ryan Devlin.

Marty was instrumental in helping Small Steps expand its facilities, an effort that today allows Small Steps to serve 180 economically at-risk children and their families. After completing several consecutive terms on the board, Marty transitioned to the Small Steps Advisory Board, where he serves today alongside EnCap Partner Wynne Snoots. Both are consulting with Small Steps on a comprehensive outcomes study, which tracks the academic progress of students and alumni.  

EnCap Investments staff and family volunteer much of their time in support of Small Steps Nurturing Center. Pictured above: staff, family and friends gather to help serve Thanksgiving dinner for the school's children and their families in 2018, including Mike Pierce of Vinson & Elkins, Wynne Snoots, Marty and Liane Phillips, Mark and Connally Burroughs and their children, and Sophia Liaw.

Pictured above: Jo Ludwig, Joanna Drake, Lisa Miller, Mitch Hovendick, Stacy Triplett, Matt Tekulve, Matt Crystal and Melissa Standley.