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Nonprofit Matters: BRIT, Stock Show saddle up for Agricultural College Day

BRIT, Stock Show saddle up for Agricultural College Day Fourteen leading agricultural colleges and universities will participate Jan. 24 in Agricultural College Day, a student education event hosted by the Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT) and the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo. Students interested in earning degrees in ranch management, animal sciences, agribusiness, landscape architecture and other agriculture-related fields can get course and financial information from the colleges. The event is free and open to the public.

The event is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at BRIT, 1700 University Drive adjacent to the Stock Show grounds. “It allows students to see the big picture,” said Tracy Friday, director of BRIT SEED School. “They see the connection between soil, plants and livestock, which is just one part of the BRIT mission. That is why the partnership between the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo and BRIT is so important.”

Headquartered in Fort Worth, BRIT is a nonprofit international research and education center that studies plants and teaches about their importance to the world. The institute provides a forum for conversations about critical environmental issues. The colleges and universities represented are Texas Christian University, Texas Tech, Texas A&M Commerce, Angelo State, Sam Houston State, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, Abilene Christian, Stephen F. Austin, Sul Ross State, Prairie View A&M, Louisiana State, Tarleton State and New Mexico State. In addition to the university-related activities, trainers from Texas Instruments will promote the company’s new graphing calculator and will share ideas and activities for how to leverage the calculator’s capabilities with career and technology education classes.

YWCA GETS EARLY CHILDHOOD GRANT The U.S. Health and Human Services Department’s Administration for Children and Families awarded a preliminary $900,000 grant to the YWCA Fort Worth & Tarrant County to improve existing child care programs and expand access to high-quality care for infants and toddlers. YWCA is the only preliminarily selected grant applicant in Tarrant County to receive funding to offer care and services to infants and toddlers through Early Head Start. Early Head Start programs support comprehensive mental, social and emotional development services for children from birth to age 3. Programs also provide children and their families with health, nutrition, social and other services. The YWCA’s three child development centers in Fort Worth and Arlington provide early childhood education for more than 600 children annually. Four out of five of these children are from homeless or low-income families. In 2013, the YWCA served 75 percent of children age 5 and under from emergency shelters or transitional housing at no cost to their parents. In addition to early childhood education, the YWCA also provides housing services including emergency shelter and community-based housing for more than 300 women and families in extreme poverty and without homes. The YWCA directly affected 2,013 lives and assisted 1,016 others through information and referrals in fiscal year 2014.

MAKE-A-WISH A TOP-RATED CHARITY Sound fiscal management practices and a commitment to accountability and transparency have earned the Make-A-Wish Foundation of North Texas a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, the nation’s largest independent charity evaluator. Since 2002, using data-driven analysis, Charity Navigator has awarded only the most fiscally responsible organizations a 4-star rating. “Make-A-Wish Foundation of North Texas’ coveted 4-star rating puts it in a very select group of high-performing charities,” according to Ken Berger, president and CEO of Charity Navigator. “Out of the thousands of nonprofits Charity Navigator evaluates, approximately a quarter of the charities we evaluate have received our highest rating, indicating that Make-A-Wish Foundation of North Texas outperforms most other charities in America. This ‘exceptional’ designation from Charity Navigator differentiates Make-A-Wish Foundation of North Texas from its peers and demonstrates to the public it is worthy of their trust.” The Make-A-Wish Foundation of North Texas’ rating and other information about charitable giving are available on www.charitynavigator.org.

PRETTY IN PINK AT RODEO The Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo will go pink on Jan. 27 in honor of breast cancer survivors for the ninth consecutive year. Rodeo contestants, fans and breast cancer survivors will all wear pink in an effort to raise awareness of the disease. Through partnership with the Stock Show, Susan G. Komen Greater Fort Worth will receive 50 percent of the proceeds from general admission and rodeo ticket sales for that day. Last year, the Stock Show raised $20,160 for Komen Greater Fort Worth, a nonprofit that works to fight breast cancer.

FW MIDDLE SCHOOL HITS HIGH NOTE The music program at Handley Middle School in the Fort Worth Independent School District received a major contribution Dec. 2 just in time for the holidays. The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation donated 20 musical instruments to the school at a retail value of $19,360; the gift was made possible through the Sid W. Richardson Foundation. The instruments are five flutes, five clarinets, one trumpet, seven trombones and two euphoniums. The announcement of the gift was made using social media platforms. On Facebook and Twitter the foundation posted a photo of singers Natalie Maines and LeAnn Rimes holding a sign saluting Handley Middle School. Both artists agreed to help make the day special by providing the photo. “Natalie Maines and LeAnn Rimes join The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation in presenting a musical instrument donation to Handley Middle School. This donation means that 20 kids will no longer have to play old, broken instruments!” the post read.

Send nonprofit news to Betty Dillard at bdillard@bizpress.net  

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Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

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