Bastrop County Cares, a nonprofit organization, is a county-wide partnership working to develop comprehensive community initiatives by identifying community priorities, collecting and analyzing data, and bringing together collaborative partnerships that will result in community solutions. We identify large community issues that one organization cannot tackle on its own and build public will, advance policy, and mobilize and leverage funding.
We want to ensure that all individuals in Bastrop County can share in the social fabric of our community, access great educational programs, be economically stable, and to live healthy full lives in our wonderful Bastrop County community.
As an intermediary organization, Bastrop County Cares supports the provision of services by other organizations rather than providing direct services itself. The seven main functions of Bastrop County Cares are to:
- Identify potential collaborative partners and support aligned activities;
- Identify comprehensive community initiatives by collecting and analyzing data;
- Guide the vision and strategies created through community collaboration ;
- Establish shared measurement practices ;
- Build public will;
- Advance policy; and
- Mobilize funding.
Bastrop County Cares brings people together to collaborate around large community challenges that no one organization can solve on its own to improve the conditions where our neighbors live, work, pray and play.
Bastrop County Cares achieves its mission through a variety of community partnerships and coalitions that bring together individuals and public, private, faith-based, and nonprofit organizations and institutions committed to creating the best Bastrop County. Our work must embody our core values of equity, inclusion, respect, trust, courage, and kindness.
We connect, empower, collaborate, support, advocate and act together to build the best Bastrop County.
HOW WE DO OUR WORK
- Connect – We connect with our community around large issues no one organization can solve on its own.
- Empower – We empower leaders from marginalized communities by including their voices at the table in shared decision-making.
- Collaborate – We collaborate with a diverse group of stakeholders to review data and create action steps to impact systems change.
- Support – We support emerging leaders to take action and provide training and capacity building to learn and grow.
- Advocate – We advocate for our partners and seek funding for countywide equity projects and new initiatives.
- Act – We take action alongside our coalition partners and move towards a more equitable and inclusive future for our community.
The Origin Story
In 2014, a small grassroots collaborative of primarily faith-based organizations identified a need to assess available resources, overlaps, and gaps in services. They envisioned a volunteer-run direct-service organization and quickly realized how much of a “heavy lift” finding volunteers and raising funds would be.
The group initially replicated the “Hutto Has Heart” model & defined the service area as BISD attendance zone. The group’s first success was convening the Interagency Networking Group.
Former County Judge Ronnie McDonald connected them Texas A&M, which led to the first pilot program: The Affordable Housing Coalition.
Bastrop Mayor Ken Kesselus invited Debbie Bresette to help define the group’s vision and mission. Debbie’s input expanded our vision to be county-wide and focused on systems change. From there, the group began doing intermediary work by pulling together coalitions & agencies across Bastrop County. County Judge Paul Pape & the Commissioners’ Court soon got on board.
In 2017, the St. David’s Foundation recognized the community development that was taking place and awarded funding for priorities that were determined.
St. David’s Foundation awarded pass-through funding to Bastrop County Cares to act as an intermediary in awarding $30,000 in funds to charitable food organizations whose supplies had been ravished due to demand created by the impact of Hurricane Harvey, the seventh federally-declared disaster to impact Bastrop County in eight years.
Bastrop County Cares identified Early Childhood funds from the State and created an Early Childhood Coalition with an initial investment of $400,000 from St. David’s Foundation.
The Early Childhood Grant from the State was $400,000 a year for a minimum of 5 years.
First Employee and Executive Director Hired
Debbie Bresette joined Bastrop County Cares as Executive Director. BCC had 3 active coalitions.
BCC Hires Second Staff
Dan Kleiner hired as Director of Finance and Operations, through a grant from the state. Dan was sent to grant school for $600 and wrote his first grant.
Early Childhood Coalition Launches
15 non-profit organizations and 200 local parents work to produce the Bastrop County Early Childhood Roadmap Report.
Mental Health, Resilience & Well-Being Launches
BCC expands its scope of work into Mental Health, Resilience & Well-Being with first grant from Hogg Foundation for $410,000. BCC hires Krystal Grimes, through a grant from the Hogg Foundation to lead the Well-Being in Rural Communities Initiative
Bastrop County Cares Expands
The St. David’s Foundation provides a $150,000 investment to fund the backbone operations of BCC and a $50,000 Early Childhood Planning Grant. BCC grows to five full-time employees, 11 active coalitions, and seven funding sources.
900 community volunteers were activated to build playgrounds in Stony Point and McDade.
First convening of Bastrop County Veterans Collaborative
Bastrop County Veterans Collaborative was formed to support the mental health, well-being, and resilience of Bastrop County veterans.
Community Resource Network Launches
The Community Resource Network launches its online volunteer engagement site. This site became pivotal in the community organization of testing and vaccinating Bastrop County residents for COVID-19. To date, over 3,000 volunteers are registered.
Older Wise Leaders (OWLs) Coalition Launches
20 senior citizens form a coalition to discuss aging in place in Bastrop County. The group met with St. David’s Foundation representatives and piloted an intergenerational project with local youth.
First Cohort of Network Weavers Begins
30 emerging leaders form the first cohort of Bastrop County Network Weavers. A seed fund was created and over $30,000 was distributed to Weavers to pilot change activities in their communities.
Breast Cancer Coalition Work Begins
Bastrop County Cares raised over $114,000 to partner with the Alliance for African American Health in Central Texas to provide no-cost breast health screenings to women of color in Bastrop County. To date, over 150 women have been screened.
First-Ever Bastrop County Youth Summit Takes Place
After two years of delay the Bastrop County Youth Summit, a full-day conference on teen mental health took place. The event was planned by local teens for their peers to destigmatize mental health. Over 180 students from every school in Bastrop County attended the conference.
Faith Communities in Collaboration
Bastrop County Accountable Communities for Health (BCACH) Launces
The Bastrop County Accountable Communities for Health (BCACH) vision is to be the county platform for bringing leaders, stakeholders, and community residents together to share accountability for and ownership in the transformation of systems, structures, and policies aimed at improving population health and ensuring greater equity on a sustainable basis. We are about relationship building, growth of personal confidence, strengthening self-efficacy; and working on all of the barriers that keep people from being successful. We address identifying solutions to barriers such as child care, financial and health literacy, food, and housing.
First Cohort of Community Health Workers Gets Trained
Our healthcare system sometimes fails to recognize cultural barriers to care, which is why Community Health Workers are trained to help their neighbors find access to the health resources they need. When people are connected to their community and its resources, they are better able to thrive.
Members of Faith Communities in Collaboration Receive Holy Currencies Training
Through the regular meetings of the Holy Currencies group, empower church and community leaders are empowered with skills and knowledge to serve their communities more inclusively by facilitating and developing access to their Holy Currencies, thereby making both the churches and their related communities more sustainable.
BCC Receives Grant for Parent Education Programs
Grant funding from Texas Department of Family and Protective Services supports Family Connects and Parents as Teachers.
BCC Receives Funding to Support Change in Mind Work
Funding from The Alliance for Strong Families and Communities’ Change in Mind Institute launched a Community Awareness Plan through the Early Childhood Coalition focusing on educating the community about Brain Science and how it impacts children’s brains, specifically from birth to five years.
Sustainable Food Systems Collaborative Begins
Announcement of Funding for Park Improvements and Mobile Recreation and Well-Being Unit
Thanks to funding from St. David’s Foundation and an investment from Bastrop County through the release of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding, park and public use facilities will be built at Stony Point County Park. Additionally, purchasing a Mobile Recreation & Well-Being Unit will provide recreational programming for children, as well as opportunities for health-focused organizations to distribute resources to underserved, rural communities throughout Bastrop County.
First-Ever Bastrop County Senior Expo Held
Many seniors in Bastrop County face issues known only to the senior population. The Senior Expo aims to ensure that all seniors have the ability to continue using their talents and treasures to improve the community, decrease isolation, and increase the ability to age in place.