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United Way of Tarrant County Announces KERNEL Winner

United Way of Tarrant County last night awarded $50,000 in seed funding to three finalists during its third annual KERNEL LIVE! event, the culmination of a competition designed to foster collaboration to advance social innovation. The winners are:

First place, $25, 000 – The Welman Project Fill a Classroom, Not a Landfill

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.

Second place, $15,000 – Rosa Es Rojo: Wellness and Cancer Prevention for Latinas in Tarrant County

This program makes wellness and prevention accessible for 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.

Third place, $10,000 – Taste Community Restaurant Pay-What-You-Can Breakfast

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 menu has no prices and guests are simply asked to either pay what they can afford, pay what the meal would typically cost or pay for what the meal would typically cost plus a little extra to help a neighbor in need. The restaurant has been serving lunch for some time, but the seed funding will now allow them to add a breakfast option to meet the needs of those heading to work or getting off a late shift.

The three organizations competed as finalists for the $50,000 pot via creative presentations in front of a panel of judges during the KERNEL LIVE! event on Thursday, Nov. 1, at the Four Day Weekend Theater in downtown Fort Worth.  The seed money is intended to help grow their ideas so the organizations can help solve some of the challenging social issues in Tarrant County. Prior to Thursday night’s competition, United Way of Tarrant County and other volunteers provided mentoring, technical assistance and guidance to the finalists.

“The Welman Project has set the standard for social innovation in our community,” said TD Smyers, president and CEO of United Way of Tarrant County. “This award is a testament to the social impact, innovative approach, and vision of its creators.”

Judges for the 2018 KERNEL LIVE! were Abe Minkara, Director of Business Development for Mark Cuban Companies; Lindsey Dula, Forensic Interviewer and Director of Program Services of Alliance for Children; David Minor, Managing Partner of Minor & Associates; Mike Micallef, President of Reata Restaurants; and Jasmin Brand, CEO of Launch DFW.

Sponsors of the event were David and Anita Minor, Fort Worth Weekly, Rising Social Media, CauseLabs, Four Day Weekend, Rising Tide Initiative, Accelerate DFW Foundation, Fort Worth Business Assistance Center, Tech Fort Worth, Fort Worth-Dallas Nonprofit News, Launch DFW and RH Media.

KERNEL, established in 2016 by the United Way of Tarrant County, fosters social innovation within Tarrant County and provides resources and seed funding for organizations and programs that comprise a combination of social impact, a sustainable revenue model, and an innovative approach to solving the social challenges in our community.