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Nonprofit Matters: Tarrant Inter-church organization

Tarrant inter-church organization rebrands in milestone year

In the early 1950s, ministers from three churches in Fort Worth saw a need for an organization that would bring congregations from all denominations together to serve the community. The original Fort Worth Council of Churches expanded its reach during the 1980s and became the Tarrant Area Community of Churches. This year, as part of its ongoing 60th anniversary year, the organization has rebranded, changing its name to Tarrant Churches Together and rolling out a new logo and website. “We decided the time was right to update our name, logo and more,” said Melinda Veatch, executive director. “Our updated brand better reflects our mission of connection congregations and community groups to build unity, bridge divisions and address needs.” On an ongoing basis, the nonprofit addresses issues such as educational inequality, poverty and homelessness. Tarrant Churches Together partnered with Thrive PR to create and launch its rebranding campaign.

Camp Fire closes in on campaign goal Camp Fire First Texas’ “Campaign for El Tesoro” received a $250,000 challenge grant from the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation, bringing the organization closer to reaching its goal of $10.7 million. To date, Camp Fire has raised $8.6 million, and needs to raise $785,859 by April 1, 2015, to receive the challenge grant. Camp Fire has been raising funds since 2010 to renovate and update Camp El Tesoro, the camp owned and operation by the 100-year-old organization for 81 years. The campaign has completed the first phase of renovations, including a new challenge course, 12,500-square-foot covered riding arena and equestrian center, dining hall, health house, office, store, multi-purpose sports court and renovations to Horizon Lodge. The second phase added eight cabins that opened this summer. Remaining projects include adding 12 more cabins, repurposing a building for a welcome and outdoor education center, creating an arts village, adding staff housing, pool renovations and improving infrastructure. For information on the Campaign for El Tesoro, visit or call 817-831-2111.

Fort Worth Showdown Chef Juan Rodriguez of Reata Restaurant will challenge Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price in a benefit cookoff on July 8, 6:30 p.m., at Fort Worth Central Market Cooking School. Sponsored by the Velvet Box, the Iron Chef Style event gives each chef a mystery basket to cook dinner with. Every guest will taste the dishes and then vote for their favorite. All proceeds benefit AIDS Outreach Center of Tarrant County. The proceeds will be matched 100 percent by the Meadows Foundation. Tickets are $100 per person and are tax deductible. Online registration is required. Visit or


United Way helps college-bound Girls Inc. members Fifty-eight college-bound young women from Girls Incorporated of Tarrant County received backpacks donated as part of United Way of Tarrant County’s 2014 Day of Action project on June 21. Members of the United Way Young Leaders Society organized the contributions and also wrote notes of encouragement for the 58 recipients headed for college. Boxes of notebooks, pens, binders and other school supplies were contributed along with flash drives, restaurant gift cards, towels and even bigger items, including laptops and printers.

Free parenting classes continue The Parenting Center is partnering with Babies “R” Us to offer free parenting classes to the community at the Babies “R” Us Overton Ridge location, 5800 Overton Ridge Blvd. in Fort Worth. In May, The Parenting Center began providing one class per month to the parents of children age birth to five years old. The next “Discipline for Young Children” class will be July 15 while “Time to Potty” will be Aug. 19. “Parenting 101” will be offered again on Sept. 16 and “From Bottles to Blocks” on Oct. 21. All classes are presented from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. To register or for class information visit or call 817-332-6348.

March of Dimes to host baby showers The March of Dimes will host community baby showers in Fort Worth and Dallas on Aug. 8 for local pregnant women and parents who participate in the organization’s community education programs: Becoming A Mom/Comenzando bien, CenteringPregnancy and Honey Child. Proceeds from the shower encourage pregnant women to seek early and consistent prenatal care through incentive-based community education programs. Community members are asked to drop off new or gently-used baby items (no car seats, cribs, strollers or recalled items) and/or monetary donations for the benefiting agencies. Items of the greatest need are diapers, wipes, bath accessories, bottles and new or gently-used preemie, infant, toddler and maternity clothes. Monetary donations can be made online prior to the event at The event will be Aug. 8, 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Fort Worth March of Dimes office, 555 Hemphill St., and in Dallas at 12660 Coit Road. CBS 11 will broadcast live from both donation sites. Contact Melissa McClary in Fort Worth (, 682-201-3036) or Marilyn Herrick in Dallas (, 972-232-1346) for partnership opportunities or to donate.

Texas Ballet Theater continues free lessons for kids Texas Ballet Theater received a $10,000 grant from Texas Women for the Arts for its CityDance Outreach Education Program, which provides free professional ballet training to underserved children in North Texas. The funding will help the program increase the number of elementary students in the upcoming year. During the 2013-2014 school year, 700 students participated in CityDance. Texas Ballet Theater also awarded scholarships to four CityDance students who participated last year.

Lighthouse receives grant Lighthouse for the Blind of Fort Worth is a recent recipient of a $40,000 grant from the Thomas M., Helen McKee & John P. Ryan Foundation. The funding will be used in the upgrading and enhancing of job training programs and rehabilitation services.

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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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