KERNEL, a program 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 have 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 purpose is to encourage social innovation by connecting organizations with community initiatives and nurture great ideas designed to make 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.

How does it work?

1.

We connect with partner agencies, non-profits, businesses, entrepreneurs and individuals to provide proposed solutions for social issues affecting our community. We put out a call-to-action to come up with innovative solutions with measurable results to help ADDRESS THESE CHALLENGES.

2.

As a community, we come together at the KERNEL Live! pitch competition where our esteemed judges choose which solutions have the greatest potential to succeed. These winners receive seed funding from United Way of Tarrant County to help implement their solutions over the next year.

3.

United Way of Tarrant County works with the winners to help execute and provide measurable results. To ensure success, we provide the winners with mentorship, technical assistance, help, access and possibilities for additional funding.

Meet Our 2019 Finalists!

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 Housing Program: 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.

Furniture Changing Lives: It’s More Than Comfort

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.

Meet Our 2018 Winners!

The Welman Project

The Welman Project is taking the problem of excess commercial waste and turning it into a solution for the second problem – the lack of resources in schools.  The organization picks up surplus materials from businesses and delivers them to classrooms free of charge while working one-on-one with teachers to provide creative reuse and repair alternatives to purchasing new supplies. The Welman Project was awarded $25,000 in seed funding at KERNEL LIVE! 2018.

Rosa es rojo

This program makes wellness and prevention accessible to the high-risk cancer population of Latina women by training them on the topics of nutrition, physical activity, emotional health and positive thinking. The program fits into the organization’s education model, “The Rojo Way,” and is shared in Spanish through on-site workshops, one-on-one support sessions, an ambassadors program, conferences, support groups, digital platforms and downloadable guides. Rosa Es Rojo was awarded $15,000 in seed funding at KERNEL LIVE! 2018.

Taste Project

Taste Community Restaurant is the first project of the Taste Project organization designed to help feed, educate and serve Tarrant County’s food-insecure population.  The solution is a fresh and healthy pay-what-you-can restaurant where everyone in the community regardless of financial means can enjoy a healthy, high-quality meal. The restaurant has been serving lunch for some time, but the seed funding will now allow them to add a breakfast option. Taste Project was awarded $10,000 at KERNEL LIVE! 2018.

2019 KEY DATES

May 31 – Application available
July 25 – Applications due
September 12 – Semifinalists selected
September 26 – Finalists selected at Public Pitch Night at TCU
November 7 – KERNEL LIVE! GET TICKETS

Interested in being part or attending KERNEL? Fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch with event updates, exciting announcements and more!

See Pictures from KERNEL LIVE! 2018