Newsletter
Volume 5, Issue 7
July 2023
Heading Here

Message from Keith Henderson
President, Board of Directors

Dear TRP Family,

The Texas Ramp Project continues strong in 2023, with nearly 1,100 ramps provided as of June 30. It looks like TRP will easily exceed the 1,900+ ramps built in 2022. This commendable performance is a testament to the positive, life-changing impact TRP volunteers have on low-income people with disabilities across the state. 
 
TRP’s financial position has remained strong as well. We are on track to meet or exceed 2023 revenue projections of $1.6 million. Despite the impact of rising lumber costs over the past several years and overall inflationary pressures, we have successfully managed our income and expenditures, with 93% of our income going directly to ramp construction. Our strong financial position is thanks to the unwavering support of our donors, sponsors, volunteers and partners and our fiscally conservative management of these funds.
 
TRP leadership remains strong and committed. We continue to focus on succession planning to ensure we are building talent and stability for key positions in the organization. Over the past year, we have added new members on the board as well as in the field. These new additions have significant operational experience as well as commitment and passion for the TRP mission.
 
While we celebrate these achievements, we know we have many opportunities for improvement ahead. The board will continue to focus on core aspects of the organization, including:

  • Sourcing and identifying volunteers in all communities.
  • Developing more build teams in our 40+ regions, especially in areas where demand is evident. 
  • Continuing succession planning processes.
  • Enhancing internal systems, processes and procedures. 
  • Continuing the search for new sources of funding.

The vision, commitment and hard work that John Laine inspired 37 years ago remain as strong as ever. Thanks to thousands of volunteers and donors, the Texas Ramp Project has become among the top 5% of all nonprofits in the United States, while never wavering from its mission and vision.

Thanks to all of you who have contributed your time and money to make the Texas Ramp Project such a success. 

Keith Henderson

Search Begins for New Executive Director


The Texas Ramp Project has started its search for a new executive director, replacing the retiring John Laine. John has led the organization since its founding in 2006. Before that, he led the Dallas Ramp Project for nearly 20 years. John is a visionary whose dedication and entrepreneurial spirit turned TRP into the success it is today. He will retire at the end of the year.

The job search was posted on July 1. The job description is attached. The position’s key functions will be to provide strategic leadership, organizational growth, financial sustainability, stakeholder engagement, and program impact. Coming out of the pandemic, TRP has regained its earlier growth trajectory, and we are looking for continued leadership to build on this momentum.

We encourage you to review the job description. If you or anyone you know feels like a good fit for this position, please contact TRP president Keith Henderson at president@texasramps.org.
San Angelo Hosts Survey Saturday
The Power Puff Team from Sierra Vista United Methodist Church in San Angelo hosted a one-day training event for surveyors last month. The resulting 20 surveys will keep builders busy into the fall.
If your region needs to develop new surveying talent, consider holding a similar event. In addition, it is a perfect way to keep volunteers engaged in the summer months when construction slows down.
Summer Building Reminders

Canopies. Make sure canopies cover the ramp during construction and also shade the miter saw. During construction, move the canopy down as you go. It is important to put up the canopies before you start building to make sure your volunteers are protected from the start. There should be two canopies on each site.

Schedule earlier. Try to schedule the summer builds as early as 7 a.m. to avoid the heat of the day. Everybody can get home an hour earlier, too.

Hydrate! It is critical that we keep our volunteers hydrated by having plenty of water on site. Also consider providing cooling towels that can be placed around the neck for a faster cool-down. 
Canyon Lake JROTC Painting Crew
This ramp was originally completed last October. The painting project was scheduled shortly thereafter. However, Mother Nature intervened a number of times.

Finally, dry and hot weather arrived, and the painting was accomplished thanks to eight Canyon Lake JROTC volunteers. What a great group of eager young people! They worked really hard and finished the paint job in two hours, leaving the homeowner grateful and happy. 
TRP Featured in TSAHC Annual Report
The Texas Ramp Project made the Texas State Affordable Housing Corporation’s 2022 annual report. Go to slide 16 (pages 29–30) to see little Axel in the McAllen region on his new ramp. Thanks to Alan Moore for supplying the photos.
In 2022, TRP received $15,000 through TSAHC’s Texas Foundations Fund. TSAHC was created in 1994 as a self-sustaining nonprofit housing organization targeting the housing needs of low-income families. The TSAHC’s annual report is distributed to thousands of bankers across Texas, giving TRP some good visibility as a qualified recipient of Community Reinvestment Act funding.
Volunteer of the Month: Wayne Williams
East Texas Emory 
It’s a long way from Big Spring in the Permian Basin to Midway Island and Vietnam, but not so far when you’re doing it by air. Wayne Williams made it back to Mineola, Texas, 47 years ago, but before that he was a Naval aviator, fighting the Cold War in the Pacific airborne radar barrier and doing offshore surveillance as a decorated pilot in Vietnam.
 
After 14 years in the Navy, Wayne launched a second career as a pilot for Frontier and Braniff Airways, then a third career with the Federal Aviation Administration. He retired in 2006 but was an aviation safety consultant another eight years before full retirement.

Which doesn’t mean Wayne was not busy with other things. He and his wife, Lillian, have belonged to Broad Street Church of Christ for their 47 years in Mineola, and that’s where he and his good friend and fellow church member Gene Strause discovered the Texas Ramp Project. Together, they made TRP a ministry for the church. They were trained by Tom Lewis, Emory region coordinator, and set to work. Since then the Broad Street Ramp Ministry has built 194 ramps.
 
“Ramp building was a great ministry for me and all the team,” says Wayne. “What better way to serve the Lord than by helping others in need? We are always humbled by the needs of others and our labor to help them have freedom to leave their homes safely.”
 
Since starting in 2016, Wayne has worked on ramp builds, kept records, and handled reporting. When Tom Lewis decided to retire from ramp building last year, Wayne stepped up. The Emory region team now consists of Michael Noell and Jeff Mulkey for Rains and Wood counties, respectively.
 
Wayne’s time is pretty much taken up with church work and ramps. Prior to the pandemic, he and Lillian traveled with their RV for three months each summer to the mountains in New Mexico and Colorado, but they take shorter trips today. The couple is celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary this July. They have three grown children and two granddaughters.
 
Wayne’s work with TRP is an extension of his years-long devotion to his church. An expression of his faith comes with every ramp: “With the client’s permission, we always end the build in prayer. (We have never been refused.)”
A Great Week in the Valley
TRP board member Pete Carey spent a week in early July volunteering with a group of young people from Humanitarian XP. This organization is spending six weeks in the McAllen region, building ramps on Monday through Thursday and constructing modules on Friday. Pete volunteered to lead the group while Alan Moore and wife Cindy took the week off. 
Pete was so inspired that he promised to do it again next year. "The young people pictured really made a difference," he says. "I believe they also learned invaluable lessons of what it means to serve those in need, what hard work feels like, and how lucky they are positioned in their lives." 
Recent Grants and Donations
Civic clubs are a great place to look for financial support. During June TRP received a total of $35,600 from Texas Rotary clubs--$19,000 of that from the El Paso Rotary alone. Another $3,400 came from a local Kiwanis club. If you or your volunteers belong to a Rotary, Lions, Kiwanis or similar organization, consider asking to be included in their fundraising efforts.
 
Major grants and donations in June included the following:
  • $20,000 for San Antonio Central from the Greehey Family Foundation.
  • $19,000 for El Paso from Rotary Club of El Paso.
  • $10,000 for statewide from Isla Carroll Turner Friendship Trust.
  • $10,000 for Amarillo from C.J. & Syble Fowlston Charitable Trust.
  • $10,000 for East Texas from Louis & Peaches Owen Family Foundation.
  • $5,953 for Bryan/College Station from College Station Rotary Club.
  • $5,000 for El Paso from Hunt Family Foundation.
  • $3,730 for Waco South from Waco Habitat for Humanity.
  • $3,400 for NCT East (Hunt County) from Golden K Kiwanis Club.
  • $3,000 for NCT South (Ellis County) from Waxahachie Rotary Club.
  • $3,000 for statewide from Puffin Foundation West, Ltd.
  • $3,000 for Bryan/College Station from Chilifest.
  • $2,500 for Dallas from Rotary Club of Grant Prairie.
  • $2,000 for San Antonio Central from Army Residence Community Protestant Chapel.
  • $2,000 for Dallas from Southwest Jewish Congress.
  • $1,500 for San Antonio Central from Oak Hills Church Crownridge.
  • $1,400 for Austin South (Caldwell County) from Resurrection Life Church.
  • $1,200 for Austin East from Rotary Club of La Grange.
  • $1,100 for Dallas from Texas Instruments Foundation.
  • $1,000 for San Antonio South from South Texas Electric Cooperative.
  • $1,000 for Bryan/College Station from Bryan Rotary Club.
  • $1,000 for East Texas Jacksonville from David W. Barnard Agency.
  • $833 for Corpus Christi from U.M. ARMY.
  • $814 for Austin Central from First United Methodist Church.
  • $800 for Tarrant County from Gateway Church.
  • $600 for Austin South from Red River Church.
  • $378 for Austin West from The Church at Horseshoe Bay.
  • $350 for Austin West from Hill Country Fellowship.
  • $291 for Waco South from Park Lake Baptist Church.
Hammers and Sticks
Former hockey player Marty Balleux is team leader for Hammers and Sticks, a build team from Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas, where he coaches. A French-Canadian transplant, Balleux has led the Jesuit hockey team on 13 builds. He has led 59 builds overall since 2016, mostly in Tarrant County. Recently, however, he led six builds in Dallas.
 
The team enjoys the challenge and always asks for the most complex build available at the time. Their average ramp length in Dallas is 50 feet, with 10 volunteers at each build. On one date, the team built two 40+-foot ramps since a more complicated ramp was not available. They currently build every other month and have a 44-foot ramp scheduled on July 22.
 
Here are photos of their largest build to date within the Dallas region. 
76 feet
Rebuilding the Porch & removing the old ramp.
11 Volunteers & 80 hours of labor
New TRP Video!
The Texas Ramp Project has a new, 90-second video that captures the essence of our work assisting people with disabilities. This video focuses on one of TRP’s most valuable assets—its volunteers. Feel free to send this video to all your volunteers, friends and donors so they can see in a flash what we are all about. The video will also be posted on TRP’s website.
TRP Nameplates Running Low?
Hopefully your region is starting to run low on your supply of nameplates. To request more: email Sandy Knutson at sjknutson@texasramps.org. Let her know how many you would like.
RAMP OF THE MONTH: Kerr County
San Antonio Northwest Region
This ramp for Ms. M., 83, was the 100th ramp that team leader Tom Canfield has overseen. Apparently, there was some issue with the landowner, but patience and perseverance resolved the issue. Ms. M. now has a new 40-foot ramp. It was built by nine volunteers who donated a combined 30 hours of labor. Peterson Home Care made the referral.
Tom indicated that TRP executive director John Laine was a big influence in getting him involved with TRP, and he is grateful to John for the invitation.
We hope you enjoy having the newsletter sent to you directly, as it is filled with useful information, building hints and tips, data collection updates and processes, client stories, special announcements and recognitions.

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