The Interagency Coordinating Group highlights effective models and best practices for government & nonprofit collaboration. By working together, we can share resources, build capacity for organizations, and increase overall support for the nonprofit sector in Texas. Maintaining open communication and a strong network is critical to achieving the goal of the ICG – to build a strong public sector that ensures social services and resources are reaching Texas communities.
In 2021, the ICG highlighted best practices in collaboration with faith-based and community organizations to ensure a coordinated and widespread response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are three Texas state agencies that took unique approaches to working with fellow public sector organizations to extend their impact.
- Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) excels at building bridges for organizations and providing information and resources to community members. As capacity boosters, TDEM recognizes each organization has its own mission and conducts outreach to consider all perspectives when responding to emergency situations. One of the ways TDEM accomplishes this is by engaging Voluntary Organizations in Disaster (VOAD), a network of faith-based and community organizations that have made disaster work a priority. When a disaster happens, they support VOADs in understanding the needs and facilitate partnership with local organizations to discuss the availability of vital resources. As a result, TDEM brings diverse efforts together and fosters conversations on how the network can collectively serve Texans.
- The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) works with Texas faith-based and community organizations to promote vaccination in local communities. DSHS operates the Texas Vaccine Outreach and Education Grant Program, which addresses vaccine hesitancy in communities. Community organizations were awarded funds to engage their community in COVID-19 vaccine education and other activities to increase the number of vaccinated Texans. The program advises organizations with strategies to increase knowledge of and access to COVID-19 vaccines for those who have been disproportionality affected by COVID-19. DSHS relies on the community expertise of these nonprofits to build stakeholder buy-in within individual communities to best address Texans’ needs.
- The Texas Department of Family Services (DFPS) partners with the faith community, foundations, advocates, and volunteers to improve service delivery for children, families, and adults. The agency has partnered with CarePortal, an interdenominational network of churches that collaborate for the benefit of children and families in their communities. Through the online platform, caseworkers identify needs and submit them through careportal.org, which enables greater reach to local faith communities equipped to fulfill the requests. To date, resources through the CarePortal have helped serve more than 16,000 children across 51 counties Texas, with an estimated economic impact of $4.4 million. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the platform was expanded include to families in Adult Protective Services to ensure that needs are being met for all Texans.
For more examples of how nonprofit organizations and government collaborate, check out the latest 2021 Interagency Coordinating Group legislative report linked here.
Program Specialist, Nonprofit Strong