The Una Chapman Cox Foundation works with the Department of State and other program partners to support a strong U.S. Foreign Service. The Foundation focuses on recruiting and retaining the best possible cadre of career officers and educating a broad constituency to better understand and appreciate the Foreign Service. Our programs include reports and recommendations on the function of diplomacy, professional development programs and activities, sabbaticals and scholarships, and programs that assist Foreign Service family members.

A 509(a)3 and 501(c)3 tax exempt foundation with its financial office in Texas and its program office in Washington, D.C., the Cox Foundation is governed by five trustees working with an advisory board, the Policy Council. The Policy Council assists in identifying the kind of innovative programs that Mrs. Cox had advocated. The Policy Council’s members are active duty and retired Foreign Service officers and other distinguished individuals with experience in public service, education and charitable organizations.


Una Chapman Cox, of Chapman Ranch near Corpus Christi, Texas, was a woman of many interests and an enthusiastic world traveler. While visiting Bombay in 1948, she failed to take her passport with her as she went ashore from her cruise ship and was detained. She never forgot Royal Bisbee, the young Foreign Service Officer who took a personal interest in her and brought her food, a bottle of wine and some books to read while he arranged for her release and the means to return to her cruise ship. In 1980 Mrs. Cox established the first nonprofit foundation to support the effectiveness and professionalism of the U.S. Foreign Service. With the help of her attorney, Harvie Branscomb, Jr., she established the Una Chapman Cox Foundation first on a small scale while she was living. Early programs of the Foundation, such as the Sabbatical Leave Fellowships, were developed in discussions that Mrs. Cox and Mr. Branscomb had with State Department officials including Ambassador Viron P. Vaky and Ambassador Paul H. Boeker, and reflected Mrs. Cox’s wishes that her Foundation work to identify specific programs and ideas that she hoped would have a lasting impact.

Mrs. Cox served as sole trustee of the Foundation during her life. After her death, the trustees have included Mr. Branscomb, a member of the Chapman family, and an experienced Foreign Service Officer, as well as others who are dedicated to Mrs. Cox’s mission. Over the years, Mrs. Cox’s vision has motivated, and continues to motivate, participants in the Cox Foundation’s activities.

Mrs. Una Chapman Cox endowed a foundation that requires a think tank. To accomplish the mission of the foundation, someone has to think of things that will strengthen the Foreign Service; to make it more effective. The main reason the Cox Foundation is valuable from a public standpoint is that it provides an independent think tank that focuses on ways to improve and strengthen the Foreign Service and it has some money to use as seed money for its ideas.
— Harvie Branscomb, Jr