Fort Worth

Tarrant County women-led agency to include men on governing board

The Center for Transforming Lives helps women, children and their families move from poverty to independence through housing stability, high-quality affordable child care and financial self-sufficiency. It also offers early education programs and child care for families. The Center for Transforming Lives was formerly known as the YWCA.
The Center for Transforming Lives helps women, children and their families move from poverty to independence through housing stability, high-quality affordable child care and financial self-sufficiency. It also offers early education programs and child care for families. The Center for Transforming Lives was formerly known as the YWCA. Star-Telegram

The Center for Transforming Lives is coining a catchphrase: “Men on board.”

The social service organization, which serves women and children struggling with poverty, was formerly known as YWCA Fort Worth & Tarrant County. As a YWCA organization, its governing board of directors was restricted to women, but the board makeup is about to make history with the addition of four men.

“Diversifying our board will help our work on behalf of women and children to be better understood throughout our community,” CEO Carol Klocek said in a news release.

The anti-poverty nonprofit had been led by a woman-only board in Tarrant County for more than 100 years. The new members are businessman Houston Kauffman, Mark Linenberger, Scott Lydick and Benjamin Rosenthal.

Klocek said men have been long been serving the as volunteers and on advisory boards, but the move to include men on the governing board signals a new era for the agency. In the past, the nonprofit had say no to men who wanted to serve on the board, she said.

We will continue providing help to women and their families by moving them from poverty to independence and diversifying our leadership and membership composition will make an immediate and lasting impact.

Carol Klocek, CEO of Center for Transforming Lives

Poverty and homelessness are community issues, not just women’s issues, she said.

The YWCA, based in downtown Fort Worth, began as a boardinghouse, cafeteria and employment bureau for women more than 100 years ago. Early programs included housing and an employment bureau to help women find jobs. Today, the agency provides safe housing for women and families, early childhood education programs, financial empowerment services including one-on-one coaching, and job training in Tarrant County.

In fiscal 2016 the nonprofit served about 3,700 women and children through housing, child development and financial empowerment programs.

613women and children were safely housed during fiscal year 2016 by the Center for Transforming Lives

Kauffman, a businessman with a long career in the oil and gas industry, said the inclusion of men is a “natural part” of the agency’s efforts to increase impact among struggling families.

“Life experiences don’t always give an individual the tools to transform themselves,” he said in a statement. “That’s where we come in. We give them the tools and coaching they need. We follow up to make sure they maintain their transformation. It’s very satisfying to me to a part of this process.”

Linenberger, senior vice president and general manager for Linbeck Construction, said he is honored to serve on the board. He said he too is ready to help mothers and children carve better futures for themselves. He said mothers who get assistance at the center are better able to guide their youngsters to reach their true potential.

1,327volunteers helped the Center for Transforming Lives in fiscal year 2016

“There is no such thing as a bad child,” he said. “A child is a product of his or her environment.”

Last fall, the YWCA announced it was changing its name to the Center for Transforming Lives. It also revamped bylaws so that men could begin to serve on the board, Klocek said. The board has 23 members but can have up to 25.

Klocek said the nonprofit has a goal of serving 10,000 woman and children by 2023. The goal includes helping move 2,500 permanently out of poverty each year.

The agency’s annual operating budget is more than $6 million.

This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.

Diane A. Smith: 817-390-7675, @dianeasmith1

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