FORT WORTH, TEXAS APRIL 18, 2023 | Urban Strategies, Inc., (USI) has received a $40,000 Meta Data Center Community Action Grant from Meta, the parent corporation of Facebook, to help improve STEM education for children in Fort Worth, Texas. Meta has been a part of the Tarrant County community since breaking ground on the Fort Worth Data Center in 2015.
The program, titled Dream, Explore, Connect, will create opportunities for community-based STEM education programming, including in-person and virtual workshops, at-home STEM kits, field trips and teen apprenticeships through a partnership with HAKing Innovation.
USI has worked since 2019 with a variety of agencies and stakeholders to bring assistance to 219 families in the former Cavile Place neighborhood, through a $35 million Choice Neighborhood investment awarded to Fort Worth Housing Solutions and the city of Fort Worth. The local USI team has provided services to ensure that the families’ housing remains stable, and that necessary supports and services are available in areas such as education, economic mobility, and health and wellness.
Esther Shin, president and chief executive officer of USI, said Meta understands the power of connection and has been vital in helping USI families get the broadband internet online access necessary to achieve their goals.
“This is not the first time Meta has funded our program. In 2021, Meta generously awarded us a grant to purchase 175 Chromebooks for all former Cavile Place families in need of a device,” Shin said. “The families have been able to access virtual workshops and activities, training programs, telehealth services and online education programs related to their goals. We’re thrilled to partner with Meta again to expand on critical STEM education opportunities.”
“STEM education fosters creativity, builds resilience, teaches problem-solving and encourages collaboration. We’re proud to support the Dream, Explore, Connect program through our Data Center Community Action Grants to benefit local families,” said Holli Davies, community development manager with Meta. “Meta is committed to investing in the vitality of the Fort Worth community and we embrace this opportunity to make a positive difference in partnership with USI.”
To date, local efforts by USI and its partners have led to a number of successes, including:
- an increased average annual household income to $19,770 currently, up from $9,680 in 2020
- an increased percentage of adults (age 18-64) earning wage income to 44.7% currently, up from 32.5% in 2020
- an increased percentage of adults and children accessing health care through a primary care provider to 90% currently, up from 82% in 2020
- an increased percentage of children (age 0-5) who are enrolled in high quality early learning programs to 56% currently, up from 29.7% in 2020
But more progress is needed, Shin said, particularly in education outcomes for school-age youth, where just 16% are at or above grade level in reading or English language arts and 18% of students are at or above grade level in math.
To help provide extended learning opportunities for former Cavile youth, USI introduced a pilot program for hands-on experiential STEM education in partnership with HAKing Innovation. So far, the pilot has been successful, with several students asking that the program not only continue but expand in the future.
Founded in 1978, Urban Strategies, Inc. is a national nonprofit leader with extensive experience in implementing results-based human capital development strategies in communities that are undergoing physical revitalization. USI supports communities while working with partners to develop economic opportunities, cradle-to-college/career success, high quality health services and a range of comprehensive service supports. The organization is leading people efforts and neighborhood transformation in 24 cities and 41 neighborhoods across the nation. For more information visit www.urbanstrategiesinc.org.
Through the Data Center Community Action Grants program, Meta provides funding for nonprofits and schools to support the long-term vitality of Tarrant County. They fund projects that help put the power of technology to use for community benefit, connect people online or off and improve STEM education.
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