Amid Fort Bend County’s myriad nonprofits is one group dedicated to funding them.

Fort Bend Cares has awarded $1.4 million to nearly 60 area organizations and nonprofits since its inception in 2004.

The group focuses on helping disadvantaged children and was inspired by the founders’ own experiences with youth organizations, Chairman-elect Justin Flint said.

Funding Frenzy“It was a grass-roots effort,” he said. “They got together and said, ‘Let’s start raising some money to help these people.’”

Fort Bend Cares has a 20-member board of trustees, a 30-person advisory council, a 120-member women’s auxiliary group and three paid staff. Flint said the foundation relies on volunteers to read grant applications once a year. Volunteers form subcommittees, and each member investigates an application to decide whether it should be funded, he said.

“That kind of hands-on touch really tells you a lot that you can’t find from a grant application,” Flint said. “It also involves the community in a way that generates awareness.”

Recruiting volunteers can be difficult because, as Executive Director Angie Wierzbicki said, most people want to work with children directly. Fort Bend Cares only aims to fund such programs but will pitch in on occasion.

Boy Scouts of America, Access Health, Fort Bend Rainbow Room, Pooh’s Panda Special Needs Academy and the Texana Center are some of Fort Bend Cares’ beneficiaries.

Applying for GrantsTracey Shaw, director of development and community relations for the Texana Center, said her organization has received about $41,000 from Fort Bend Cares during the past five years.

“It’s made a tremendous difference,” she said. “We don’t really have money to do all these kinds of things,” including renovations to the behavior improvement center and new smartboards.

The nonprofit’s fundraising season lasts from October to March, including the biggest annual event—Road Trip Through The Wild Wild West, on Feb. 6. Wierzbicki said 17 percent of the dinner and auction’s proceeds go toward the event itself, which generated $260,000 in gross income last year.

The organization cannot guarantee funding each year, but in 2015 the group granted $170,000 for 28 charities.

“When it comes down to it, most of these programs, if they don’t get donations from us, their project doesn’t happen,” Flint said.

Fort Bend Cares

P.O. Box 17748, Sugar Land