The Dudley T. Dougherty Foundation

Texans Together Grant Request to Extend Our Programs

Grant Information
Categories Community , Education
Location South Texas
Cycle Year 2016
Organization Information
Organization Name (provided by applicant) Texans Together Education Fund
Organization Name (provided by automatic EIN validation)
Contact Information
Contact Name Charhonda Cox
Phone 7137828833
4001 N Shepherd
Suite 205
Additional Information
Used for Funding from the Dougherty Foundation will be used to support direct program costs for TTEF’s successful, ongoing Empower Houston Leaders EHL) and related projects, Apartments are Communities and Parental School Engagement. Through these programs, TTEF identifies, trains and mentors new leaders in historically disengaged and underserved communities to engage with their neighbors in civic engagement projects that improve their lives. Direct program costs include staff time for trainers, printing of classroom materials, and data input and processing to build a social media network for effective communications and organizing.
Benefits An investment in TTEF directly benefits the world by encouraging and empowering new leaders in traditionally disengaged areas to improve their communities, acquire concrete skills to constructively tackle these issues, and see measurable results from their efforts. TTEF leadership programs work because they: 1) provide practical organizing skills to working minorities; 2) engage experienced trainers from minority, working class backgrounds; 3) are rooted in the community; 4) develop leadership skills through hand-on supervised field projects; 5) continue to develop leadership skills after the classroom training ends; and 6) contribute to the establishment of a grassroots leadership network for long term sustainability. TTEF leaders plan and implement concrete projects that engage members of their communities to improve their communities and lives in ways that they define for themselves.
Proposal Description Texans Together Education Fund (TTEF) engages underserved minority communities in leadership development programs that help them develop their own resources to improve their lives through community service, parental engagement and civic participation projects. TTEF’s mission is to identify and train community leaders in historically disengaged and underserved neighborhoods, creating sustained, neighbor-to-neighbor networks of empowered leaders who engage their communities civically through education, advocacy, outreach and concrete projects that improve their lives. Our vision is to transform disengaged populations into thriving, collaboratively resourced, confident advocates improving the conditions of their own lives by re-envisioning and strengthening community.

TTEF empowers historically disengaged Texans by developing grassroots leaders with the skills and experience to engage their communities. TTEF addresses this crucial need by teaching constructive grassroots leadership development geared to lower income minorities: practical, basic civic organizing skills; supervision and guidance on civic engagement projects of their choosing; mentoring; and establishment of a grassroots civic leadership support network. We believe “renewing and building civic participation… requires person-to-person connections, leading to positive experiences within a supportive community addressing personally felt issues. Effective grassroots leaders are active at the heart of these endeavors.”

TTEF’s leadership development work is grounded in three core programs:

• Empower Houston Leaders
• Apartments are Communities
• Parental School Engagement

Launched in 2009, Empower Houston Leaders (EHL) has trained more than 500 lower income leaders and engaged them on their own small team community projects. EHL graduates have worked on 110 different concrete local projects to build empowered, resourced communities, including establishing health fairs, hosting education forums, collecting Affordable Care Act referrals, and making other human services referrals. This year, EHL graduates are implementing a City-supported project called Community Health Leaders to increase referrals to and participation in programs and services offered at the new, expanded Multi-Service Centers (MSCs).

The Apartments are Communities program works with lower-income people living in large apartment complexes to improve their quality of life and build community right where they live. Engaged residents lead their communities to reduce residential transience, diminish crime and build community trust. As a result of this program, for example, the Falls at Bellaire Apartment complex has seen measurable decreases in crime (20%), improved renter retention (20%), and increased resident civic participation (voting in 2010 increased 112%).

Our Parental School Engagement initiative encourages lower-income parents to actively participate in improving their children's education through after school programs and other student activities. Research overwhelmingly demonstrates that parental engagement improves students’ educational achievement, as well as their schools. We currently work with parents of Landis Elementary School students in Alief ISD in connection with our Resource Center at Falls of Bellaire.

TTEF serves and works in predominantly minority, lower income neighborhoods throughout Harris County, but with a special focus on southwest Houston. For example, nearly one-third of all TTEF’s work takes place in Alief, a “majority-minority” community comprising 42% Hispanic, 28% African American, 15% Asian/Pacific Islander, 14% Caucasian and 1% other. Seventy-five percent of students in Alief ISD live at or below the federal poverty level. Nearly 30% of adults living in that school district have less than a high school diploma. TTEF has worked in Alief for more than 10 years.

TTEF requests funding for activities directly supporting our leadership development program. Funding from the Dougherty Foundation will support activities critical to carrying out these programs, including staff time for EHL trainers and mentors, educational classroom materials, and data input and processing to build social media networks for effective communications between EHL leaders and the communities they are working in.