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Nonprofit Matters: More than $63 million awarded for legal aid services

Betty Dillard


More than $63 million awarded for legal aid services

Legal Aid of Northwest Texas and the Texas A&M Research Foundation-TAMU School of Law Clinic in Fort Worth are two of 30 nonprofit organizations across Texas to share $63,353,712 in grant funding from the Texas Access to Justice Foundation (TAJF).

Distributed over the next two years, the funds will provide civil legal aid to disadvantaged Texans. Legal Aid of Northwest Texas will receive $6,088,740 while the Texas A&M Research Foundation will receive $95,000.

With the help of grants from the TAJF, public interest and pro bono lawyers provide legal representation to low-income Texans with civil legal issues, such as benefits for veterans, health care for the elderly, domestic violence and foreclosures. Each year, TAJF grantees help more than 100,000 Texas families.

The grants are substantially funded through the $17.56 million biennium appropriation by the 84th Legislature for basic civil legal services. This funding is critical as historically low interest rates continue to deplete the Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Account program, a primary funding source for legal aid.

More than 5.6 million Texans qualify for legal aid, and because of a lack of resources, less than 20 percent of the civil legal needs of low-income Texans are being met. To be eligible for civil legal aid, an individual must earn no more than $14,713 a year. For a family of four, the annual household income cannot exceed $30,313.



United Way of Tarrant County has received a $602,779 federal grant for a new project called FREE (Falls Reduction Education and Empowerment) to help older adults prevent fall-related injuries.

The grant was one of seven awarded nationwide by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Community Living.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, falls are the leading cause of fatal injury among older adults. More than 60,000 Texans age 50 and older were hospitalized for a fall-related injury in 2011 alone.

Over the next two years, United Way of Tarrant County will work with eight Area Agencies on Aging, the Texas Falls Prevention Coalition and other organizations to offer the falls prevention program, called A Matter of Balance, in the metro areas of Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, Corpus Christi and El Paso. They will build on existing aging, public health, health care and community resources.

A Matter of Balance is a proven series of eight free classes taught by certified coaches that help participants reduce their fear of falling, increase their strength, balance and activity level through exercise, and teach them how to protect themselves and recover if they do fall.

United Way’s Area Agency on Aging brought the program to Tarrant County in 2008. A part of the agency’s LIVE WELL health initiative, the program is offered locally through Senior Citizen Services of Greater Tarrant County. More than 2,600 local residents have completed the program. The FREE project is committed to helping at least 3,406 more Texans complete A Matter of Balance training by the end of August 2017.



The Arlington Independent School District is partnering with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Arlington to include an after-school center in the new Peach Elementary, which is scheduled to open on Baird Farm Road in August 2016.

“This first-of-its-kind partnership will provide AISD families an on-campus option for after-school care focused on science, technology, engineering, art and math that is research-based and outcome-driven,” AISD Superintendent Marcelo Cavazos said. “The vision of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Arlington closely aligns with the district’s mission and will provide our students with access to academic, healthy lifestyle and character programs as well as evening meals.”

The 7,000-square-foot space will be funded by the Boys & Girls Clubs, with a lead matching grant from the Arlington Tomorrow Foundation.

The mixed-use space will serve 200 students per day. Since 1993, the Boys & Girls Clubs has operated a center in a portable building at nearby Roquemore Elementary that can only serve 110 students per day.



Jon Bonnell is used to running his award-winning restaurants, Bonnell’s Fine Texas Cuisine and Waters Fine Coastal Cuisine, as well as participating in numerous local celebrity chef charity fundraisers.

In October, the Fort Worth chef will participate in one of his greatest challenges. Bonnell will race in what has been described as “the most grueling one-day race in the world” at the International Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii.

The race consists of a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile run for a total of 140.6 miles.

As a member of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training, Bonnell is raising funds to help find cures and fund treatments for blood cancer patients. He’s making this race in memory of two Fort Worth people, David Publicover and Jack Duffy, who died of leukemia at early ages.

Bonnell will cover his own costs to participate in the race but is asking for donations to LLS. All donations will go directly to LLS and be fully tax deductible. To make a donation, visit http://pages.teamintraining.org/ntx/ironworl15/jbonnell.



Angel Unaware, the only dedicated pediatric hospice and respite care facility in Texas and only the third in the United States, officially opened July 23 in Fort Worth.

The nonprofit’s suite at the Ronald McDonald House of Fort Worth was unveiled during a ribbon cutting ceremony hosted by the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce. Cook Children’s Medical Center is partnering with Angel Unaware to provide a medically secure, nurturing environment for children with life-threatening illnesses.

A longtime dream of pediatric nurse Connie Koehler, Angel Unaware supports end-of-life care and the needs of chronically ill children and their families. It includes a full-time medical director, staff of nurses, chaplains, social workers, child life specialists and volunteers.



After two weeks of online voting, the nonprofit applicants in the Mission in Motion Contest to receive professional marketing services have been narrowed down to five area charitable organizations.

The initiative was developed by Immotion Studios, a Fort Worth-based brand development and advertising agency, and Texas Christian University to help nonprofits spread the word about their mission and raise awareness about their brand.

The five nonprofits that received the most votes in the competition are: Averting CAT-Astrophe, BIND: Brain Injury Network of Dallas, Irving-The Main Place, The Ladder Alliance and Victory Therapy Center.

The finalists will make presentations before a panel of local business leaders, media personnel, TCU professors and an Immotion Studios representative on Aug. 19. The panel will chose the three most deserving organizations based on criteria given to the candidates and award them free branding/marketing services.

The first-place winner will receive services valued at $8,000 from Immotion Studios. The two runners-up will each receive 300 hours of services from TCU’s School of Strategic Communications in the academic year 2015-2016.

The three winners will be announced on Aug. 24.


Goodwill Industries of Fort Worth Inc. celebrated the grand opening of its 22nd retail store on July 10.

The newest store is located at 56 East Interstate 20 (Mansfield Highway) in Kennedale. Goodwill’s retail shops provide not only affordable goods and services, but also jobs for those in need and revenue to support Goodwill’s charitable mission.

Last year, Goodwill Industries of Fort Worth helped place more than 40,000 people in jobs.

Through a grant from the Wal-Mart Foundation, Goodwill Fort Worth also has expanded Operation: GoodJobs, a program that helps veterans and their families connect with the training they need to get back to work and advance their careers. Operation: GoodJobs already has served more than 800 veterans and their families in the Fort Worth area.

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

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