United Way of Tarrant County today announced three KERNEL finalists for its social innovation competition event, KERNEL Live! The finalists, competing for $50,000 in seed money to grow their ideas, are Feel the Color, Shared Housing Program and Furniture Changing Lives.
Finalists will present their ideas to a distinguished panel of judges during the KERNEL Live! event from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 7, at Four Day Weekend Theater, 312 Houston Street, Fort Worth, TX 76102. Contestants will split the seed funding, with first place earning $25,000, second place earning $15,000 and third place earning $10,000.
Following are descriptions of the finalists’ programs:
- Feel the Color – This program creates embroidered fabric tags with braille, alphabet lettering and symbols. These revolutionary tags enable the visually impaired, including those who are colorblind, the opportunity to feel the color of their clothes. With these tags, the visually impaired will be able to separate their clothes, organize their clothes and match their clothes, helping them be more confident, self-reliant and socially independent.
- Shared Worth Tarrant County – This program will meet a need for affordable housing and supportive community for individuals overcoming homelessness and/or domestic violence; low-income families who are unable to afford market rent; and elderly homeowners struggling with living costs on fixed incomes. Shared Housing Program’s vision is to attract and leverage social impact investments to create sustainable co-share rental housing and supportive shared housing communities in high-need neighborhoods. By using social impact bonds to fund the future purchase and rehabilitation of properties in high-need neighborhoods, Shared Worth will be able to create safe and welcoming housing while keeping rents affordable and stable for low-income households and individuals experiencing homelessness.
- Tarrant County Furniture Bank – Tarrant County Furniture Bank is seeking to develop a centralized location for furniture that social services agencies can turn to as a resource when assisting those transitioning out of homelessness. The organization provides an innovative way to address a gap in homeless services by securing furniture donations and developing strong relationships with distribution partners. While federal funding can be used to house the homeless, it cannot be used for furniture. Thus, many homeless individuals start out without a bed, sofa or table.
“This is one of my favorite United Way of Tarrant County events, as it introduces to the community individuals and organizations with a true passion for solving social issues,” said TD Smyers, president and CEO of United Way of Tarrant County. “Through our KERNEL program, we encourage not only creative thinking and entrepreneurship, but solutions to help solve some of the most challenging needs in our community.”
KERNEL, established in 2016 by United Way of Tarrant County, fosters social innovation within Tarrant County and provides resources and seed funding for organizations and programs that utilize a combination of social impact, a sustainable revenue model and an innovative approach to solving the social challenges in our community.
The KERNEL program’s primary purpose is encouraging social innovation, connecting with community initiatives to nurture great ideas and making significant changes in key community challenges. By working with a cross-sector of people, organizations, nonprofits, for-profits and entrepreneurs to solve problems, we believe KERNEL can uncover world-changing ideas and help bring them to life.
For ticket information, please visit, kernellive.eventbrite.com.