Guest post by Jim Wilkes, President of Texland Petroleum LP
The year starts off as poverty awareness month, and I like to begin my year budgeting my annual grant recommendations from our donor advised fund at the North Texas Community Foundation. It is the best time of the year to evaluate the effectiveness of each non-profit and to prioritize the grants to meet the needs of the community. This takes time and effort, but that is required to maximize the efficiency of the grants and effectively employ them. This makes budgeting at the non-profits much easier than them wondering throughout the year if yearend donations will fill their budget gap. Considering the impact of COVID on our community, this is more important than ever.
I’ve spent some time looking back on the organizations I’ve given to in 2020, and who rose to the occasion in ways that may have even surprised me. In honor of this reflection, I want to share a few that have hard-earned another investment from me in 2021, in hopes that you too might consider moving your giving up and equipping our essential nonprofits with what they need to plan the incredible things they’ll do this year.
Catholic Charities Fort Worth
This powerhouse organization is really ending poverty. With multiple studies backed by the Lab for Economic Research at the University of Notre Dame and a signature case management model, they’re walking with families for the average 3-5 years it takes to lift a family out of poverty for good. Their Stay the Course college persistence program saw every single student graduate in May that had anticipated graduating, in spite of the pandemic. And 116 households met the qualifications to be considered out of poverty, many of whom had been saving with the help of a case manager in case of an emergency- or 2020. As a result of the pandemic, CCFW answered over 10,000 calls, launching a new short-term case management program that feeds into the larger and longer work of serving families. In addition, they turned their transportation fleet into a mobile food-delivery service in partnership with several area nonprofits. With a strong board, 110-year history, innovative and efficient operations, and opening their doors to serve anyone in need regardless of faith, ethnicity, creed, or culture, they are a sure bet.
This startup organization’s mission is to “ensure more Tarrant County students have the training skills and they need to thrive in today’s workforce.” Employers are reporting more and more challenges filling high demand positions with people who have the right mix of technical and workforce readiness skills. Only 23% of Tarrant County Students in the 8th grade cohort complete a postsecondary credential within 6 years of high school graduation, and the trend only intensifies for economically disadvantaged students. T3 wants to double the pace of degree attainment by addressing key gaps in the educational pipeline that hinder students from being prepared for, enrolling in, and finishing postsecondary pathways. T3 will partner and connect crucial leaders including Fort Worth ISD, Tarrant County College, 4-Year Universities, business partners, and local nonprofits to provide better information, guidance, and financial aid services to students in Tarrant County. With initial seed funding from The Rainwater Charitable Foundation, T3 will provide additional college and career guidance services, connection to industry opportunities, scholarships, and mentoring services to middle school, high school, and postsecondary students. As education is essential for career development, this is the direction of the future.
Whole Life Authentic Care
Another newcomer to our community, Whole Life Authentic Care had over 900 women pre-register to become patients before their doors even opened. Millions of women suffer from gynecological issues that are often band-aided with hormonal solutions, which can mask an underlying disease for years. WholeLife saw this gap in restorative medicine and set out to change this by offering a world-class clinic that offers services morally acceptable to all faiths, is versatile at any stage of a woman’s life, and promotes standardized and objective client education and medical care. This allows women in our community not to have to drive to Houston or Omaha for care. In addition, they use surgical NaProTECHNOLOGY to treat issues such as infertility, offer services for fertility awareness methods by way of the Creighton Model FertilityCare System, and also have a post-graduate program to educate and develop practitioners. They just opened their doors when the pandemic hit, managed to modify virtual visits, and served 1,300 people last year, some from as far away as New Mexico. With three physicians on staff, including a physician who is one of only thirty doctors nationwide surgically trained in NAProTechnology, WholeLife is changing the face of healthcare for our community.
These organizations, and countless more, were creative and incredible stewards during the hardest season most of them have weathered in helping people who needed help. Let’s help them out and give sooner, so they can plan more confidently in handling what is sure to be the continued aftermath of the pandemic.