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Nonprofit Matters: Fort Worth homeless shelter opens new women and children’s center

🕐 7 min read

Women and children began moving June 6 into a new interim housing facility at Fort Worth-based Presbyterian Night Shelter on the city’s Near East Side.

The Morris Foundation Women and Children’s Center, located at 1105 E. Presidio St., is a 30,000-square-foot, mixed-use facility designed to meet the needs of families with growing children. Presbyterian Night Shelter’s new transitional housing program is designed to “increase the quality, capacity and impact of support services the agency offers homeless women and children to move to stable, permanent housing,” according to Toby Owen, chief executive officer of Presbyterian Night Shelter.

“As the largest provider of services to the Fort Worth and Tarrant County homeless community, our new Women and Children’s Center is not a traditional emergency shelter,” Owen said. “Our goal is to move people into permanent housing. Our length of stay is three months. We’ve got a good system that provides good turnover. We want to continue to do that.”

Funding for the $8.4 million building, which was designed by architecture firm Bennett Benner Partners, came entirely from foundations and individual donors.

The facility features 40 private dormitory-style residences, up from 12. The additional space increases the capacity for women with children by 33 percent, from 30 families to 40 families.

Construction will begin soon on the former 7,500-square-foot facility for women and children. That building will be renovated to increase capacity for single women by 20 percent, from 130 up to 160.

The new center also boasts a larger dining room, a state-of-the-art kitchen that Owen said can be leased to caterers and food trucks, connecting bathrooms, an indoor playroom and study hall, and a large outdoor play area. A 1,000-square-foot retail space will be home to a future social enterprise business that will provide internships, job training and revenue. There is also dedicated office space for community partners.

“We’re providing a significant increase in our level of dignity we’re offering our families,” Owen said. “It’s a superb building. It’s long term. We’ve built it to be around for a long, long time.”

Owen said Presbyterian Night Shelter continues to see a steady demand for its services. In 2015, the nonprofit served a total of 4,335 homeless clients, including 602 individuals through the women and children’s facility. A total of 1,020 clients transitioned to safe and appropriate housing.

“Occupany for women and children last year was 104 percent,” Owen said. “But our length of stay has decreased, which is what you want to happen.”

General contractor for the Morris Foundation Women and Children’s Center was Linbeck Construction.

Cold Climb for The WARM Place

Two local firefighters, Alex Cramer – photo – of the Arlington Fire Department, and Clint Brewer – photo – of the Fort Worth Fire Department, will set out to climb Alaska’s Mt. Denali in mid-June to raise awareness and funds for The WARM Place, a grief support center for children based in Fort Worth.

Cramer experienced the death of his step-sister in high school, and Brewer has worked with the agency in the past.

“Working as a firefighter, I know some of the horrors children can experience, and I want to do anything and everything I can do to support those that support them,” Brewer said.

The climbers are trying to raise $20,310 (the elevation of Denali) for “A Cold Climb for The WARM Place.” The second of two fund-raising events will be June 7 at GRACE in downtown Fort Worth, where the firefighters will serve as celebrity bartenders. All donations will directly benefit children enrolled in grief support at The WARM Place. The nonprofit was the first grief support center for children in Texas and remains the only one in Tarrant County.

Local Alzheimer’s chapter donates largest research gift

The Alzheimer’s Association-North Central Texas Chapter awarded $500,000 in funding – its largest financial research gift to date – to five new investigator grants, including a Texas-based study to correlate Alzheimer’s disease with traumatic brain injuries.

Ines Moreno-Gonzalez, Ph.D., Alzheimer’s researcher for the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, said the grant will allow her to continue studying the risk of developing Alzheimer’s after brain trauma, such as concussions.

The other four new investigator research grants include: Karen Rodrigue, Ph.D., and the study of brain iron and beta-amyloid deposition at the University of Texas at Dallas; Wen Hu, Ph.D., and the study of abnormal phosphorylation and tau protein at New York State Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities; Laura Beth McIntire, Ph.D., and the study of the method, CRISPR, to screen and identify genes at Columbia University Medical Center; and Sandra Almeida, Ph.D., and the study of molecular pathogenic pathways and frontotemporal dementia at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Hinojosa scores Ben Hogan scholarship to Wesleyan

Joshua Hinojosa – photo — will be the first in his family to attend a four-year university and pursue a bachelor’s degree thanks to a $100,000 scholarship award from the Ben Hogan Foundation, The First Tee of Fort Worth and Texas Wesleyan University.

Hinojosa, 18, of Fort Worth, is the fourth recipient of the Ben Hogan Foundation Mentor Scholarship. The award covers four years of tuition, fees and books at Texas Wesleyan, and also pairs Hinojosa with Jason Snider, senior director at TPG Capital, an investment management firm in Fort Worth.

“Mr. Hogan was a strong believer in education; helping young people pursue a college career is one of the core pursuits of the Ben Hogan Foundation,” said Robert Stennett, executive director of the foundation.

Hinojosa has been active with The First Tee since he was five years old but will not play golf at Texas Wesleyan. He plans to major in computer science.

“Golf is a hobby for me, and I want to keep my focus on academics,” Hinojosa said. “To be good at golf, or really excel at anything you want to accomplish, you have to put in hard work and practice.”

Snider will work with Hinojosa to help guide him through his studies, and offer career advice and networking opportunities.

The First Tee of Fort Worth, which teaches life skills through golf, nominates students who meet the criteria and have excelled in its program. The foundation then interviews the applicants and selects the winner.

The scholarship is the foundation’s largest one and the university’s largest privately-funded scholarship program.

“It is a privilege to partner with the Ben Hogan Foundation and The First Tee to honor Mr. Hogan’s legacy in Fort Worth through this program,” said Texas Wesleyan University President Frederick G. Slabach.

And the funds go to…Texas Health Ben Hogan Sports Medicine and the Ben Hogan Foundation presented the inaugural high school Ben Hogan Award of Perseverance to Sarah Maynard, a senior at Peaster High School, and the collegiate award to Jamakia Hughes from the University of Texas at Arlington. The $10,000 award will be given to each athlete and then divided equally between the athlete and her school/university, each receiving $5,000. The athletes must use the award to fund her education…More than 200 people attended the Fort Worth Public Library Foundation’s 19th annual Cigar Smoker fundraiser, where 400 cigars were smoked and more than $130,000 was raised…Northwestern Mutual, through its foundation, presented Mid-Cities Care Corps a $15,000 grant on behalf of Jim Newton, a recipient of the company’s Community Service Award, and the annual Partnership Celebration…The Sundt Foundation, the charitable arm of Sundt Construction Inc., recently made $20,800 in grants to Texas nonprofits in Dallas-Fort Worth, El Paso and San Antonio, including $2,772 to The Gatehouse, a supportive living community for disadvantaged women in Grapevine…The Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation’s Texas/Southeast Division presented checks totaling $430,000 to 23 local nonprofit organizations at its annual grants reception. The grants ranged from $5,000 to $40,000. Recipients included ACH Child & Family Services, Assessment Center of Tarrant County, Casa Mañana and Victory Therapy Center…Kohl’s donated $330,817 to Children’s Medical Center Foundation for its Play Well Stay Well Program. The donation is made possible through the Kohl’s Cares cause merchandise program.

Send nonprofit news to Betty Dillard at

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