In the early 1950s, Nicea Howard, a Providence resident long active in supporting young artists, established contact with Henry Wriston, President of Brown University with the assistance of her financial advisor, Robert W. Kenyon of the Brown Class of 1936. After a lengthy process of consultation and deliberation, the Howard Foundation was officially established in 1952 and offered its first fellowships in 1954. For its first few years, Miss Howard provided an annual stipend to support the Foundation's activities, and in 1955 she made a substantial gift to the Foundation, a gift that was augmented in 1956 when her friend Frances Tracy bequeathed a sum to the Foundation on her death. Miss Howard continued to serve on the Board of Administration of the Foundation for many years, and upon her death in 1970 she bequeathed her residual estate to the Foundation. Since 1954 more than 400 Howard Fellowships have been awarded.