A unique element of LeadershipClass is the execution of Issues Initiative projects performed by participant teams that positively impact the Fort Worth Community.
These carefully identified strategic projects allow all class members to gain in-depth knowledge about a specific community problem, to interact with those most involved with that issue and to connect their resources and networks to make a positive difference.
Issues of concern in the community are identified in conjunction with the mayor and other content experts. Teams of (8-12 depending on class size) class members work together throughout the program year using a structured approach to develop solutions that will ultimately be presented to key community stakeholder audiences and the LFW Forum membership.
The goals of the LFW Issues Initiatives are to complete high-impact projects that:
What will be different in our community because of each Issues Initiative project?Is the plan realistic? Are the results tangible? Will the results stick?
City of Fort Worth
Worked in conjunction with the city on Tex Rail.
Leadership Fort Worth
Engaged Leader Kids alumni as beta group to address stay in school concerns.
Tarrant County Public Health
Implemented a water bottle project in elementary schools.
Worked with Directions Home on employment for the homeless.
Fort Worth Arts Council
Developed a report for the arts council addressing sustainability concerns and solutions
Tarrant County Water District
Developed an implementation plan for an internet-based advisory system that will let each resident know exactly how much water their yard requires on a weekly basis.
Conducted a web-based opinion survey soliciting responses on a proposed circulator trolley/bus system that would serve specific city center areas.
Tarrant Area Food Bank/FWISD
Created a “students teaching students” video with high school students developing recipes, scripting, and starring in cooking demonstrations for elementary school kids.
PUBLIC TRANSIT & MOBILITY:
Engaged LFW alumni and the general public in surveys and other opportunities to provide community input to the Master Plan.
HEALTH & FITNESS:
City of Fort Worth
Developed a Resources packet geared toward after-school programs at community centers, including recommended activity / food plans, and resources for families.
Tarrant County Water District
Developed a campaign to promote water conservation and distributed it through personal networks and selected homeowners’ associations and community partners. Delivery of a class on SMART landscaping.
Tarrant County Homeless Coalition
Developed an online networking tool to connect homeless job-seekers with willing employers. This platform features video testimonials and employer success stories.
EARLY CHILDHOOD LEARNING:
Created a “playhouse” prototype model to develop parents’ knowledge of teaching (play) strategies that can be incorporated into their everyday routines. Provided it at Morningside Elementary at their fair following kindergarten graduation to approximately 400 adults.
HOMELESSNESS AND HIGHER EDUCATION:
Tarrant County College
Developed a summer “bridge” program (Ascend to Success) for 11th grade homeless students. The program provides a transition to college and allows students to gain college credits while still in high school.
Near Southside, Inc.
Developed a model micro-park in the Near Southside. For sustainability, created and distributed a how-to guide for use by neighborhood groups, property developers, and others.
CRISIS TEXT SERVICES:
Created the business / funding plan for MHMR’s new text-based crisis hotline.
HEALTH & FITNESS:
Developed a plan for a food truck in an identified food desert; procured truck and potential partners
EARLY CHILDHOOD LEARNING:
Early Childhood Learning Alliance
Collected and analyzed budget data from private, local and federal agencies and groups involved in early childhood learning. Identified needs, opportunities and priorities in funding.
Increased Catholic Charities’ driver volunteer pool; developed a marketing and outreach strategy to provide transportation solutions for those in need.
OVERCOMING STUDENT BARRIERS TO HIGHER EDUCATION:
Junior Achievement of the Chisholm Trail
The problem: For many Tarrant County students, leaving high school and attending a college or university is a challenge for which they are unprepared for a variety of reasons.
Innovative intervention: Provided new and existing integrated classroom content in conjunction with AVID teachers at Eastern Hills High School to help at-risk students transition to higher education.
EMPLOYMENT FOR THE INTELLECTUALLY DISABLED:
The problem: Tarrant County has 100,000 individuals with IDD (Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities) who want meaningful work and a chance to connect and interact with others in the community.
Innovative intervention: Created a professionally developed toolkit to educate employers about hiring workers with IDD and a comprehensive plan to enhance the current recognition program to increase employer participation.
The problem: The poverty rate in Fort Worth has risen from between 12-14% to 16%. Pathfinders provides self-sufficiency mentoring services, but has more clients than mentors available.
Innovative intervention: Developed a comprehensive mentor recruiting strategy, including marketing and social media plans, resulting in 25 new Pathfinders mentors.
Child Abuse Prevention:
The Parenting Center
The problem: Tarrant County has the second-highest number of child abuse / neglect cases in the state: 6000+ annually.
Innovative intervention: Established “No-hit zones” – Where schools, hospitals, and other institutions adopt a policy addressing the unacceptability of kids hitting kids, adults hitting kids, and adults hitting adults.
Creative, Inviting Bus Stops/Shelters:
Near Southside, Inc.
The problem: Fort Worth’s exponential growth has led to formidable traffic problems. Part of the Fort Worth Transportation Authority’s Master Plan includes improving bus stops and shelters.
Innovative intervention: Created and implemented a competition among local architectural firms, universities and high schools to design a bus stop or shelter that meets selected criteria (safety, comfort, aesthetics, etc.); entries were judged and prizes presented to top professional and top student entries. These designs will be implemented by The T.
SPACE-SHARING: Matching UNDERUTILIZED Churches with Social Service Programs:
Partners for Sacred Places & MHMR Early Childhood Intervention
The problem: Social service delivery works best in a non-threatening, convenient, and familiar location. Today, many churches are dying; more often than not, there is unused space – also, you can find a church in nearly every neighborhood.
Innovative intervention: MHMR’s Early Childhood services will be delivered in four churches across the city.
CREATING A RESILIENT AND TRAUMA-AWARE COMMUNITY:
Mental Health Connection
The problem: Trauma is pervasive in the lives of individuals and communities. Consequences include illness, reduced income, crime, job loss, etc.
Innovative intervention: Created comprehensive communication plan to reach key community stakeholders; piloted with selected stakeholders. Created ambassador program to engage the business community.
RECRUITING LOCAL FOSTER CARE FAMILIES:
Our Community. Our Kids. (A division of ACH Services)
The problem: An inadequate number of local families is signing up as foster parents, so children have to move to different cities.
Innovative intervention: Created a customizable video for recruiting families; developed an improved strategy / toolkit for recruiting local foster parents; developed training materials and piloted them with foster agency recruiting staff.
PREVENTING FINANCIAL EXPLOITATION:
The problem: Financial exploitation of vulnerable adults is a largely silent problem in Tarrant County. Until recently, perpetrators were rarely prosecuted.
Innovative intervention: Created infrastructure for tracking client / community contacts. Engaged banks through a targeted communication plan.
OVERCOMING MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT THE VETERAN WORKFORCE:
Fort Worth Veteran Professionals
The problem: Highly qualified veterans experience difficulty in obtaining jobs because many employers hold multiple stereotypes.
Innovative intervention: Created and piloted a high-level employer presentation and handout materials including a customizable brochure
COMMUNITY-WIDE BOARD TRAINING/BOARD BANK:
Leadership Fort Worth and United Way
The problem: No ongoing, community-wide program is in place to recruit and train emerging, diverse leaders for nonprofit board service.
Innovative intervention: Developed complete business plan for an online nonprofit board training / board bank; created outlines of seven training modules; developed relationship with Four Day Weekend for delivering the training
AFTER SCHOOL ARTS: Imagination Fort Worth
Challenge: To create and provide a relevant, innovative and impactful informal educational opportunity for middle school youth that:
Is offered during “out of school time”
Addresses social/emotional gaps in the youth
Integrates arts experiences
Meets real world interests and needs of kids in high-need communities
Outcome: Designed one ‘OST’ (out of school time) program with compelling appeal that 1-2 learning sites in FWISD will wish to implement. The program will be piloted at Como Montessori School and at one community program location in the Stop Six area during the 2019-20 academic year.
BOARD DEVELOPMENT TRAINING: LFW and United Way Tarrant County
Challenge: To market a new world-class board training and matching program to untapped and eager community members.
Outcome: Created a marketing strategy to recruit businesses, nonprofits, and individuals to participate in world-class board development program that yields a large pipeline of high-quality, diverse leaders, as well as a mechanism for matching these candidates to open positions on non-profit boards of directors.
RECRUITING LOCAL FOSTER FAMILIES: Our Community Our Kids
Challenge: To increase local capacity by an additional 250 foster families and to keep our abused and neglected children here in our community, rather than being relocated, so they can receive the care and support that they need to become self-sustaining, healthy individuals.
Outcome: Designed a comprehensive social media strategy and marketing campaign to increase the number of families licensed as foster families so there can be more local placements of children in our community. This strategy was deployed to all placement agencies in Tarrant County to provide an easy, low-cost marketing solution that addresses a big need.
PREVENTING FINANCIAL EXPLOITATION: Guardianship Services
Challenge: Prevent, protect, and prosecute financial exploitation of aging and/or disabled vulnerable adults in Tarrant County.
Outcome: Designed an in-home financial literacy program to expand GSI’s Money Management Program to serve the at-risk elder population and prevent financial abuse.
ACCESS TO GAINFUL EMPLOYMENT: City of Fort Worth Neighborhood Services Department
Challenge: To build a comprehensive employment and training strategy that utilizes the community’s resources and addresses the barriers to self-sufficiency associated with employment and training?
Outcome: Created a comprehensive strategy to facilitate access to the community’s employment and wraparound resources. Addressed the barriers to self-sufficiency associated with employment and training through the strategy launch at the newly opened EnVision Center in Cavile/Stop Six.
INTERNATIONAL DATABASE: Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce
Challenge: Identify those global target markets that align with our industries, culture and resources to promote foreign direct investment in our area.Outcome: Developed a strategy to pursue targeted international markets for business development purposes for the Fort Worth area. The database and initial interviews have provided a sustainable approach that the Chamber of Commerce will use to continue their research and identify the benefits and opportunities in marketing Fort Worth to new international businesses and industries.
WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT/ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT: The NET Fort Worth
Job Readiness for Trafficking Survivors
Challenge: Victims of trafficking and exploitation struggle to obtain gainful employment due to their educational background and criminal record.
Goal: Research shows that comprehensive programs [to trafficking victims] should include an economic empowerment component.
Deliverable: A trauma-informed job training and readiness program for women with a history of abuse, addiction, and interaction with the criminal justice system.
ARTS EDUCATION: Imagination Fort Worth
Challenge: Gaps in funding available to provide a sustainable and replicable OST arts education program.
Goal: To provide a replicable and sustainable OST arts program for middle school youth in FWISD.
Deliverable: Develop partner development/sustainability plan (and implement) to build brand, awareness and possible seek out funding partners
COLLEGE AND CAREER READINESS: Texas Christian University
Access to Higher Education
Challenge: While small, one-off programs/tours are available for 6-8 graders on local campuses, dedicated programs/staff are not available to create access for this age group on a consistent basis. Furthermore, more and more schools, community groups, and other programs are designed to introduce higher education to this population of students.
Goal: To create a collaborative access event with local colleges and universities that will introduce higher education to middle school students in the Fort Worth community.
Deliverable: Design a collaborative event for FWISD middle school students that will take place twice a year (fall and spring) that introduces them to local colleges/universities and higher education.
JUSTICE/MENTAL HEALTH: Guardianship Services, Inc.
De-criminalizing Mental Illness
Challenge: Tarrant County currently lacks the infrastructure and programming to divert people with mental illnesses from jail to treatment
Goal: Research and identify best practices for diversion programs in counties in Texas and beyond
Deliverable: Conduct a guided study on best practices in decriminalizing mental illness in counties in Texas and beyond
COMMUNITY TRUSTEESHIP (Race and Culture, Justice, Economic Development: Office of Tarrant County Commissioner, Pct.2
Census 2020 Awareness Campaign
Challenge: The State of Texas has experienced massive population growth over the last decade, however state funding has not been granted to support the 2020 Census. Undercounting can result in lack of federal funding and other resources
Goal: Create awareness of the critical ways an accurate count in 2020 will support economic, civic, education, transportation, and other areas development
Deliverable: Create and launch a Census 2020 marketing campaign that increases awareness for residents and other stakeholder groups
WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT/ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT: Child Care Associates
Early Childhood Education
Challenge: Raising awareness within the business community on the importance and impact of early childhood education
Goal: Localize and personalize a business case on why childcare & early education matters.
Deliverable: Media campaign
Create a packet on why childcare & early education matter
Create business and community advocates to be part of the discussion of why childcare & early education matter to our community