The Houston Texans, ConocoPhillips, Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages and Ashley awarded $400,000 through the Inspire Change Grant Fund to 15 local nonprofits and educational programs working to make a difference in the Houston community. The recipients were celebrated at reception at NRG Stadium today with Vice President of the Texans Foundation Hannah McNair, Texans players and Texans Legends.
The Texans and their partners announced the creation of the Inspire Change Grant Fund in 2021 to aid programs, seed projects, and create partnerships that support social justice and racial equity efforts. Since the fund's inception, $1.2 million has been provided to organizations across the Houston community. This year, more than 200 unique grant applications were submitted. An advisory committee comprised of partners, community leaders and Texans representatives, including Hannah McNair and Texans Legends Wade Smith and Fred Weary, reviewed all submissions and selected 14 organizations which received the funds. For the second year in a row, Texans players selected the 15th organization.
"We're so proud to support these deserving leaders as they work to create opportunities that inspire change across our community," McNair said. "Each organization's commitment to Houston is incredibly worthy of this recognition and we're honored to help them continue to make a positive impact in the city we love."
The grant recipients represent a wide range of social justice initiatives, including homelessness, education, mental health, mentoring, at-risk youth and supporting youth in foster care. Groups had the opportunity to apply for grants ranging from $10,000 to $50,000. The 2023 Inspire Change Grant recipients include:
- $50,000 awarded to HYPE Freedom Schools Inc., whose mission is to empower people with the knowledge they need to be successful and self-sufficient. HYPE provides equitable and just opportunities to enhance the quality of life of economically disadvantaged youth and their families as well as college-aged adults. The funds will be used to assign 75 first through third graders with a mentor from high school or college who meets with them monthly to help develop a love of literacy and learning. HYPE will also use the funds to train the cohort of 30 high school and college-aged teens to engage with their mentees' parents who will commit to reading with their child daily and to build a home library over the course of the school year.
- $35,000 awarded to Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse (AVDA), whose mission is to end family violence by advocating for the safety and self-determination of victims, promoting accountability for abusers, and fostering a community response to abuse. The funds will be used for a Client Emergency Assistance Fund, which is utilized to provide specific emergency support for clients from AVDA's Family Violence and Legal Advocacy Programs.
- $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 to support Casa de Esperanza's therapeutic foster care, family support and post-permanency services to underserved at-risk children, infants through age 6 and their families, ensuring safety and strengthening families for their future.
- $30,000 awarded to Prison Entrepreneurship Program (PEP), whose mission is to unite executives and inmates through entrepreneurial passion and servant leadership to transform lives, restore families and rebuild communities. The funds will be used to expand their post-release entrepreneurship services at the PEP Collider, a community solution for all Houston returning citizens. The services include business education, helping clients explore the viability of their business concepts, executive volunteer mentorship, access to commercial loans through PEP's in-house CDFI, and business support services.
- $25,000 awarded to Books Between Kids, a nonprofit organization serving Houston's at-risk children by providing them with books to build their home libraries. The funds will be used to purchase inclusion-centered books that promote diversity, ensure equity and foster inclusivity.
- $25,000 awarded to BridgeYear, which connects underserved youth to careers and educational pathways that provide economic stability and independence. The funds will be used to expand career accelerator events, designed exclusively for graduating seniors who are interested in short-term training programs or two-year postsecondary options.
- $25,000 awarded to EMERGE Fellowship, whose mission is to empower and equip top students from low-income communities to attend, thrive at, and graduate from the nation's best colleges and universities. The funds will be used to help continue to level the playing field for talented students from low-income background as they pursue their dreams.
- $25,000 awarded to EZ Kids Creativity Shell, a nonprofit organization which uses creative trades to educate and inspire the next generation of makers. The funds will be used to enhance programming in their Creative Cooks class, where youth learn to cook a diverse range of meals and are encouraged to obtain a food handling certification once they are released from incarceration to work in restaurants or create their own cooking/catering businesses.
- $25,000 awarded to Holocaust Museum Houston, which is dedicated to educating people about the Holocaust, remembering the six million Jews and other innocent victims, and honoring the survivors' legacy. The funds will be used to help translate The Kinsey Collection exhibit, set to begin in January, to Spanish, create curriculum and provide students free admission and bus reimbursement to low-income schools. The Kinsey Collection's goal is to fill in the blanks where Black American experiences are left out of history.
- $25,000 awarded to Mission Transformation Corp., whose mission is to motivate young men of color to become passionate, empowered and inspired to achieve greater, be greater and do greater. The funds will be used to enhance their Mission Ignite Program, a mentoring program which works with young men ages 10-15 until the completion of high school while providing consistent exposure to careers, concepts and ideas.
- $25,000 awarded to SHAPE Community Center, whose goal is to improve the quality of life for people of African descent through programs and activities, with emphasis on unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith. The funds will be used to hire part-time staff, allowing SHAPE to extend the program to high school students. Funds will also support the purchase of a van, enabling increased enrollment by providing student transportation.
- $25,000 awarded to U.S. Dream Academy Inc., whose mission is to inspire and invest in the lives of children of incarcerated parents and families in communities harmed by systemic inequities. The funds will go towards will the academy's Scott Street Youth Institute (SSYI) programming. SSYI works to create more equitable and non-violent neighborhoods by nurturing middle and high school students to become critical thinkers and neighborhood-involved citizens.
- $20,000 awarded to Family To Family Network, whose mission is to create success for children with disabilities by empowering their families with information, training, referrals and support as they navigate the complex education, health care, and social service systems to get help for their children. The funds will be used to enhance its capacity to serve the community, enabling Family to Family Network to expand their reach, provide more services, and make a transformative impact on the lives of children with disabilities and their families.
- $20,000 awarded to Houston Capital Investing in Development and Employment of Adults Inc. (Capital IDEA Houston), whose mission is to invest in adults and young adults by providing educational pathways from low-wage to living-wage careers. The organization enhances the well-being of Houston's disadvantaged communities by connecting under and unemployed young adults and opportunity youth with post-secondary educational opportunities, leading to stable employment and livable wages. The funds will be used to help fund program expenses, including education fees and wrap-around services.
- $15,000 awarded to Camp for All, which gives children and adults with challenging illnesses or special needs the opportunity to experience the joy and freedom of camping in an empowering environment. The funds will be used to cover camper scholarships and general operating expenses.
The NFL introduced the Inspire Change initiative in 2019 to create a positive impact in local communities and support programs that reduce barriers to opportunity. To learn more about the Houston Texans Inspire Change initiative, click here
The Houston Texans, ConocoPhillips, Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages and Ashley awarded $400,000 through the Inspire Change Grant Fund to 15 local nonprofits and educational programs working to make a difference in the Houston community. Grant recipients were celebrated at a reception at NRG Stadium with Texans Chair and CEO Cal McNair, Vice President of the Texans Foundation Hannah McNair, Texans players, Legends, Cheerleaders and TORO.