Houston Texans’ Inspire Change Grant awards $400,000 to 15 local nonprofits

Written by Lindsay Tooker

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 a reception on December 12 at NRG Stadium with Texans President Greg Grissom, Vice President of the Texans Foundation Hannah McNair, Texans players, and Texans Legends.

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. 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.

Last year, the Inspire Change Grant Fund awarded $400,000 in grants. In this second year of the fund, more than 300 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 which received funds. Texans players selected the 15th organization.

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 2022 Inspire Change Grant recipients include:

Project Row Houses | $50,000
Project Row Houses 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 wide audience, and grow in their chosen profession. Funds will be used for the installation of essential air and heating technology allowing the organization to use their spaces year-round, additional programing, and expanded opportunities for the community in Houston’s historic Third Ward.

Bread of Life | $40,000
Bread of Life‘s goal is to eradicate food insecurities, improve health outcomes in vulnerable communities, and provide essential human needs. They 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 in 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.

Bo’s Place | $40,000
Bo’s Place 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.

Santa Maria Hostel | $40,000
Santa Maria Hostel empowers women and their families to lead healthy, successful, productive, and self-fulfilling lives. 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 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.

Casa de Esperanza de los Ninos, Inc. | $30,000
Casa de Esperanza de los Ninos, Inc. 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. 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.

She is a CEO Foundation | $25,000
She is a CEO Foundation encourages entrepreneurship and builds self-esteem, independence, and the love of charity among young girls and women. 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.

100 Black Men of Metropolitan Houston | $25,000
100 Black Men of Metropolitan Houston enhances educational and economic opportunities for black boys and young men in grades 6-12 through mentorship and community service. 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.

Bridgehaven Children’s Advocacy Center | $25,000
Bridgehaven Children’s Advocacy Center 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 the 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.

Angel Reach | $25,000
Angel Reach 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. 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.

Black Girls Do Engineer | $25,000
Black Girls Do Engineer 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.

After Military Service aka Camp Shield | $20,000
After Military Service aka Camp Shield empowers women veterans emotionally, socially, and physically to ensure they thrive 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. Funds will be used to support programming to reduce the risk of women veteran’s 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.

Second Servings | $20,000
Second Servings alleviates hunger and reduces waste in Houston by rescuing perfectly edible surplus food and delivering it directly to local nonprofits. Impoverished people, especially in communities of color, often lack access to sufficient nutritious food, primarily due to a lack of nearby supermarkets and affordability. 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.

The Periwinkle Foundation | $15,000
The Periwinkle Foundation 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. 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.

Young Women’s Preparatory Network | $10,000
Young Women’s Preparatory Network 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. Funds will be used to support the College Success Initiative that drives girls to and through college.

CoolxDad | $10,000
Texans players chose to award $10,000 to CoolxDad, which works to aid and uplift all fathers of color striving to build a better word 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.

Congratulations to the 2022 Inspire Change Initiative awardees! Learn more about the Houston Texans Inspire Change initiative, here. publishes every week.
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About the author

Lindsay Tooker

Lindsay has worked professionally in the nonprofit world since 2006 in both programmatic and development roles. She graduated from Baylor University in 2009 with a BA in Communication, and has specialized in grant writing and fundraising communications for more than five years.
Lindsay is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the Junior League.