2018 Non-Profit of the Year
This Westie is awarded to a non-profit organization that has recognized a need within our community and who through community responsibility, innovation, growth, sound business practices and community partnerships has served our community with vision and integrity.
Finalist: Foster Angels of Central Texas
Foster Angels of Central Texas helps meet the many unfulfilled needs of children in foster care. We believe all kids deserve to feel “normal,” so we make sure they receive the basic essentials and, whenever possible, provide life-enhancing opportunities. Through our partnership with Child Protective Services and other nonprofit agencies, Foster Angels identifies the gaps and quickly responds to children’s circumstances so they, too, can have supportive, loving childhood experiences with long-felt positive impact.
Since 2010 we have provided assistance to over 23,000 children through our six impact areas:
Daily requests- Every day Foster Angels processes requests to provide immediate assistance in eight focus areas: education, housing/shelter, recreation, clothing, food, transportation, special occasions and medical expenses.
Bright Angel Scholars- Annual scholarships that help current or former foster youth with their college expenses and ensure they stay in school. The funds are used to assist with dorms/housing, books, supplies, computers, food and other living expenses associated with college.
Keys to Success- A savings match donation that provides guidance to young adults in foster care that are buying their first car.
Port Aransas Fishing Trip- A special vacation experience for foster youth filled with fishing, dolphin watching hanging out on the beach, a bonfire and new friendships.
Back to School- Over 1,500 children and youth receive backpacks filled with school supplies to start the school year with everything they need to succeed.
Toys for Teens – 160+ foster teens experience a very special holiday. Many of these teens have been in foster care for a long time, waiting to age out of the system and will feel the magic of the holiday season for the very first time.
Foster Angels has become the “go-to” agency in our community. We work with several like-minded organizations such as CASA, Helping Hand Home, SAFE, UpBring and Pop-Up Birthday.
Finalist: Friends of the Westbank Community Library
The Friends of the Westbank Community Library District aims to promote the interests and welfare of the Westbank Community Library District as a cultural and educational asset. The Friends activities include raising funds and acquiring items for the benefit of the Library, promoting volunteerism for the Library, and any other supporting activities deemed appropriate by the Board of Trustees of the Library.
The Friends have produced an Artisans' Market for the past four years, bringing together hundreds of people in the community to showcase talented local artisans. Much of the proceeds go to scholarships to support the high school seniors who have volunteered over fifty hours at the library. The Friends also provide additional program support for library activities, for example, the popular chess pieces at Laura's Library. Friends are also involved with the summer and winter reading programs, as well as many other specialized educational offerings. Partnerships have been developed with dozens of nearby businesses that support the Friends with their very generous donations to the silent auction at the Artisan's Market. The Friends have no employees and all proceeds from fundraisers involve supporting our wonderful, innovative, evolving library!
Finalist: Start-Up! Kids Club
Start-Up! Kids Club came to life after recognizing the need for life skills beyond the classroom. Not every kid will end up a lifelong entrepreneur, but every kid will interface with business and needs foundational interpersonal skills in order to succeed.
The semester-long programming pairs social emotional learning with the building blocks of entrepreneurship to help kids bring their ideas to life and start a real business. We partner with the wealth of knowledge within this great community to deliver our curriculum. Linking up with local business owners and individuals with expertise in a particular aspect of business is a win-win-win: kids get to learn from multi-generational individuals, volunteers get to give an hour of their time to help build more resilient future generations, and Start-Up! Kids Club get the joy of bringing it all together for the good of the entire community.
Start-Up! Kids Club’s modern approach to life skills is presented using peer reviewed trademarked curriculum created by local founder, Amber Wakem. The organization gains feedback and insight, constantly working to fine-tune, improve, and stay current to provide kids with the best programming possible.
The program is inclusive and welcomes all learning styles and household incomes. Part of their commitment to the community is to welcome alternative learners and a minimum of 50% scholarship enrollment. This commitment is turning out some great success metrics and Start-Up! Kids Club is proud to serve Westlake.
Last Year's Winner: Mobile Loaves & Fishes
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