A partnership has been announced for an equity inclusion project that focuses on key neighborhoods in the 76104 Tarrant County ZIP code. The new collaboration will provide support to organizations addressing education, healthcare and unemployment disparities in the region east of I-35W.
Led by United Way of Tarrant County and BRAVE/R TOGETHER, the project collaborates with nonprofit, public officials, community leaders, and the private sector to improve the Morningside, Hillside and the Historic Southside neighborhoods.
About 38 percent of residents in the 76104 ZIP code are Black and 43 percent are Hispanic – representing a recent demographic shift. According to census data, 45 percent of households (or more than 2,800) in the ZIP code earn less than $25,750 a year, which is the federal poverty level for a family of four. About 1,200 of those households earned less than $10,000 a year.
In addition, life expectancy in 76104 neighborhoods is the lowest in the state of Texas. The average life expectancy is just under 67, which is 12 years younger than the national average. And this area is among the hardest hit in terms of the number of coronavirus cases per capita.
“The inequities in 76104 aren’t unique in our society; in fact, we can point to structural and systemic racism as the catalyst to the crumbling of Black and Brown communities across the country,” said Shawn Lassiter, founder of BRAVE/R Together. “What is unique are the people of 76104. The people in the community have a history of showing up for each other and refusing to wait on a person or group to save them. BRAVE/R Together has an opportunity to create an avenue to connect and align resources needed to dismantle those inequities and be unapologetic in our pursuit to restore the Black and Brown families in 76104.”
Key activities for the BRAVE/R Together project include an equity audit, convening leaders and residents for cohorts focused on racial inequities, building team capacity for community conversations, creating a community grant program, building data and training participants on how to use data to achieve equitable outcomes. The foundation of the BRAVE/R Together initiative is a group of community-based ambassadors who work alongside community leaders and leverage grassroots organizations, corporate partners, public officials and area residents to envision and fund innovative solutions.
The ambassadors are at the forefront of addressing inequities in 76104 and have committed to focus on the four core inequities by convening other community leaders. The BRAVE/R Together Ambassadors and the sectors they will serve are:·
- Wallace Bridges, Education/Housing
- Dr. Michael Brooks, Healthcare
- Mark Carter, Education
- Nakia Cole, Business/Employment
- Johnny Cook-Muhammad, Education
- Dominique Cooke, Education
- Roger Foggle, Business/Employment
- Lachelle Goodrich, Healthcare/Housing
- Jesse Herrera, Healthcare
- Tony McGilveary, Healthcare
- Angela Rainey, Healthcare
- Katrina Rischer-Carpenter, Business/Employment
- Dione Sims, Education
- Dr. Carlos Walker, Education
- Dante Williams, Business/Employment
Efforts also include the BRAVE/R Together Community Grant, which makes up to $10,000 available to eligible 501(c)(3) organizations, grassroots entities and individuals working to address disparities in the prioritized communities. Funds can be used for various purposes, including specific projects, programming and capacity building, and will be tracked to ensure accountability in achieving the program’s goals and creating opportunity in the neighborhood.
The grants will be focused on the project’s four key areas:
- Business/Employment: BRAVE/R Together is striving to build on the legacy Black and Brown entrepreneurs and business owners have developed in 76104 and provide well-paying jobs for the community.
- Education: Grants will support educators and those advocating for children and families, with the goal of addressing inequities in the school system such as the need for affordable and accessible afterschool programs.
- Healthcare: 76104 has the lowest life expectancy (66.7 years) in Texas despite being the home of Fort Worth’s Medical District. BRAVE/R Together seeks to improve health outcomes in the community via nutrition, mental health and physical well-being.
- Housing: An affordable place to live is the foundation of community. These grant funds can be used to help residents establish roots and thrive in 76104 such as assisting families with finding affordable housing and financing.
“The proud history and legacy of Morningside, Hillside and the Historic Southside communities demands that we pay attention to these neighborhoods and provide them with equal opportunities to prosper,” said Leah King, president and CEO of United Way of Tarrant County. “Bringing together people is key to the success of the project. Through listening and learning, coupled with a strategic and data-driven approach, we can develop innovative solutions to rebuild and transform 76104 into vibrant neighborhoods.”
Initial funders for the BRAVE/R Together are the Rainwater Foundation, Bank of America and the North Texas Community Foundation.