Mandatory Credit: Photo by Trask Smith/CSM/Shutterstock (12441706ge) Houston Texans mascot Toro enters the field prior to an NFL football game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium in Houston, TX. The Texans won the game 37 to 21 NFL Jaguars vs Texans, Houston, USA – 12 Sep 2021
As part of the Inspire Change Grant Fund, the Houston Texans and several partners awarded $400,000 on Monday to 15 local nonprofit organizations.
Alongside Texans players and Legends, Texans President Greg Grissom and Vice President of the Texans Foundation Hannah McNair hosted the event Monday at NRG Park.
The Texans and several partners created the Inspire Change Grant Fund in 2021 to aid programs, seed projects, and create partnerships that support social justice and racial equity efforts.
In this second year of the fund, more than 300 unique grant applications were submitted. An advisory committee comprised of partners, community leaders, and Texans representatives, including Hannah McNair and Texans, Legend Wade Smith, reviewed all submissions and selected 14 organizations that received the funds. Texans players selected the 15th organization, which supports family growth and empowerment.
“We know it takes all of us to inspire change, and we’re honored to support these incredible leaders as they work to create opportunities across our community,” said McNair. “Each organization’s commitment to Houston is unique and special, and we’re proud to help them continue to make a positive impact on the next generation.”
The awards were granted to the following nonprofit organizations:
- $50,000 awarded to Project Row Houses, which empowers people and enriches communities through engagement, art, and direct action. Project Row Houses ensures Black artists and those from other historically disadvantaged communities have a place to learn and expand their practice, show their work to a broad audience, and grow in their chosen profession. The funds will be used to install essential air and heating technology, allowing the organization to use its spaces year-round, add programming, and expand opportunities for their community in Houston’s historic Third Ward.
- $40,000 awarded to Bread of Life, whose goal is to eradicate food insecurities, improve health outcomes in vulnerable communities and provide essential human needs. Bread of Life recently launched the Bread of Life Academy to provide educational certification programs and teach trade skills to young adults emerging from foster care in Houston to increase employment opportunities for at-risk transition-age youth. The funds will be used to support an employed community health worker who will support students with life barriers that could hinder their success, such as assisting with housing, food, childcare, and living costs while enrolled in the program, ensuring safe and consistent engagement.
- $40,000 awarded to Bo’s Place, which enhances the lives of those who have experienced the death of a loved one. The funds will be used to expand the School Grief Support Program to 24 Greater Houston area Title I schools that serve a majority Hispanic/Latino(a) or Black/African American population. The goal is to train 500 school professionals through Good Grief for School Professionals Trainings and deliver Healing Hearts Grief Resource Bookbags, which contain age-appropriate grief literature books for K-12 schools.
- $40,000 awarded to Santa Maria Hostel, which empowers women and their families to lead healthy, successful, productive, and self-fulfilling lives. The funds will be used to provide scholarships for recovery housing so women and their children with no other means of financial support can have the opportunity for safe, recovery-friendly housing while they access quality behavioral health and mental health support to strengthen parent-child bonds and optimize child brain development. Funds will also provide for Recovery Wellness Spaces on campuses that promote healing from trauma, expose participants to positive activities that can replace drug and alcohol use, and encourage positive peer and family bonding.
- $30,000 awarded to Casa de Esperanza de los Ninos, Inc., which strives to break the cycle of child abuse and neglect for at-risk infants, children, and their families by providing comprehensive residential and family support programs that transform people and communities. The funds will be used for direct client assistance and caseworker expenses, including food vouchers, gift cards for clothing and personal care items, transportation for medical or mental health appointments, job training, and employment searches so birth parents can provide a stable home for their children with the ultimate goal of reunification for families.
- $25,000 awarded to the She is a CEO Foundation, which encourages entrepreneurship, builds self-esteem, independence, and the love of charity among young girls and women. The funds will be used to sponsor deserving girls to participate in the upcoming Entrepreneurship Academy and Pitch Competitions, as well as provide scholarships and seed investments to each of the first small businesses.
- $25,000 awarded to 100 Black Men of Metropolitan Houston, which enhances educational and economic opportunities for black boys and young men in grades 6-12 through mentorship and community service. The funds will be used to expand the Mentoring the 100 Way, hosted on the campus of high school partners, which focuses on topics such as self-esteem, career exploration, entrepreneurship, healthy lifestyle choices, and financial literacy, reinforcing the educational aspects of the program. This project seeks to create an impact on the educational system in Houston and disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline.
- $25,000 awarded to Bridgehaven Children’s Advocacy Center, which provides hope and care to children of Liberty and Chambers counties who are victims of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, and fosters a working relationship with the government agencies of the two counties to protect and defend victims. The funds will be used to supply the Rainbow Room, which has toys for all ages, art sets, games, clothes, gift cards, and personal items to help abused children in their healing process. Funds will also be used to provide room makeovers for abused children to allow kids to have their safe place back with a fresh, new look and feel from the room where they experienced their abuse.
- $25,000 awarded to Angel Reach, which helps children and youth aging out of the foster care system achieve their full potential in spite of the obstacles placed on them by broken families and a broken system. The funds will be used to support the Transitional Living Program, a three-tiered housing program that, while meeting the immediate needs of safe housing and food security, also provides support and guidance through programming that will help make a long-term change in an individual’s life and allow them to obtain success as a stable community member.
- $25,000 awarded to Black Girls Do Engineer, which provides access, awareness, and advocacy for Black girls ages 6 to 21 to pursue S.T.E.M. The funds will be used to support BGDE’s College Prep and Training Program, which is geared towards young women in grades 9 through 12.
- $20,000 awarded to After Military Service aka Camp Shield, which empowers women veterans emotionally, socially, and physically to ensure she thrives after military service. The Department of Veteran Affairs reports that women veterans have a suicide rate nearly twice the suicide rate of non-veteran women. The funds will be used to support programming to reduce the risk of women veterans’ homelessness, depression, and suicide by providing a secure and comfortable environment for veterans and their children to heal through workshops, peer support groups, and retreats.
- $20,000 awarded to Second Servings, which alleviates hunger and reduces waste in Houston by rescuing perfectly edible surplus food and delivering it directly to local nonprofits. Impoverished people, especially communities of color, often lack access to sufficient nutritious food, due primarily to lack of nearby supermarkets and affordability. The funds will be used to provide “PopUp Grocery Stores” to bring an array of perishable groceries, including bagged salads, meat, dairy, fruit, sandwiches, vegetables, family meal kits and more directly to participating low-income housing sites and community centers where residents can “shop” for fresh food at no cost.
- $15,000 awarded to The Periwinkle Foundation, which develops and provides programs that positively change the lives of children, young adults, and families who are challenged by cancer and other life-threatening illnesses and who are cared for at Texas Children’s Hospital. The funds will be used to support the provision of incidentals, including clothing, bedding, and towels for Camp Periwinkle campers in 2023. Camp Periwinkle is a week-long summer camp for children from Texas Children’s ages 7-15 with cancer and their siblings.
- $10,000 awarded to Young Women’s Preparatory Network, which supports single-gender, college-preparatory, public education in Texas and beyond, giving young women the academic and leadership skills to achieve success in college and in life. The funds will be used to drive the College Success Initiative that drives girls to and through college.
- Texans players chose to award $10,000 to CoolxDad, which works to aid and uplift all fathers of color striving to build a better world for their children and serve their communities. CoolxDad’s purpose is to help correct the distorted image of black and brown families and debunk the myth that the black father is absent, disinterested, and disinvested in his heritage or his legacy. The funds will be used to impact and expand signature programming in the areas of education, financial literacy, physical and mental wellness, art, and literature.
Learn more about the Houston Texans Inspire Change Initiative at https://www.houstontexans.com/community/programs/inspire-change.