Foundation president and CEO Wynn Rosser recently published an essay on the FSG blog. Click on the image above (or on this link) to read more about why philanthropy should invest in rural people and rural places.
After an extensive national search, the board of directors of T.L.L. Temple Foundation is pleased to announce that Dr. Steve Jack has been named the founding executive director of Boggy Slough Conservation Area. Dr. Jack comes to east Texas after working over two decades at the Jones Ecological Research Center in Newton, Georgia. He will assume his new role at the foundation in January 2019.
Foundation President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Wynn Rosser states, “Our board and staff could not be more thrilled to have Dr. Jack join our team. Beginning with the first timber harvested in the second half of the nineteenth century, the Temple family has had a special bond with the forests, wetlands, and open spaces across this region.” Dr. Rosser continues, “Because of that, conservation is a part of our Foundation’s values. We look forward to Steve’s leadership in developing the Boggy Slough Conservation Area.”
In this new position, Dr. Jack will lead the foundation’s mission of establishing and using Boggy Slough as a touchstone of excellence in East Texas through three programs that will be developed in multiple phases – research, conservation, and outreach. The research program will focus on elucidating many of the gaps in scientific knowledge that exist with respect to forest, wildlife, and water conservation in East Texas. The conservation program will leverage management operations at Boggy Slough with innovative research to inform regional land management and policy. The outreach program will integrate scientific research, applied management, and conservation and restoration efforts. The Foundation’s long-term impact on the environment in East Texas will be maximized through the nexus of these programs, positively affecting land management, ecosystem conservation, and environmentally sustainable policies in the future.
Dr. Jack has more than 25 years of experience in conservation and the environment. Since 2000, he has served as conservation ecologist at the J.W. Jones Ecological Research Center where he works to integrate the center’s research and resource management activities. Dr. Jack’s research interests include forest stand dynamics and silvicultural manipulations to achieve multiple objectives. His recent work focused on interactions between forest canopy characteristics and regeneration dynamics and developing better understanding for the ecological basis of uneven-aged silvicultural practices. In addition, he co-edited a book on the management and restoration of longleaf pine forests, has served as one of the primary instructors for the Ecological Forestry Training Workshop, and advises agencies and landowners in Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina. His previous professional experience includes serving as an assistant professor in the Department of Forest Science at Texas A&M University. He graduated summa cum laude with a degree in Physics and Mathematics from Erskine College (1982), received his Master’s degree in Forest Resources and Conservation from the University of Florida (1986) and a Ph.D. in Forest Ecology and Silviculture from Utah State University (1990).
Located west of Lufkin, the Boggy Slough Conservation Area contains some of the oldest and most ecologically significant hardwood forest habitats in East Texas and spans 18 miles of river frontage along the Neches River. It is made up of 19,055 acres in Houston and Trinity Counties. For decades the area has been managed as a wildlife and forest management research and demonstration area, providing habitat for white-tailed deer and eastern wild turkey, as well as numerous ducks, songbirds, and fish.
T.L.L. Temple, founder of Southern Pine Lumber Company, first purchased land in what is now the Boggy Slough Conservation Area in 1902. The Temple family has more than a century’s connection to the place and its people. Boggy Slough belonged to the Temple family until the late 1960s when it became a corporate asset of Temple Industries, Temple-Eastex and Temple-Inland, Inc. After 1940, Boggy Slough operated as a wildlife and forest management research and demonstration area with special attention paid to conservation and sustainability. Ownership of Boggy Slough was briefly transferred to International Paper in 2012 with a corporate sale, and the foundation acquired Boggy Slough in 2013. In 2015, the foundation entered into an agreement with The Conservation Fund to place a conservation easement over the entire 19,000+ acres, which ensures the land will be protected and managed sustainably as a working forest in perpetuity.
When 125 Lufkin I.S.D. students begin their high school classes this fall, they will not only be working towards completing their high school diplomas; they will simultaneously be earning up to 60 college credit hours towards either an associate degree or certificate program at no cost to their families. This opportunity for Lufkin students is the result of an innovative model developed through a partnership between the school district and Angelina College.
Because of this program, funded through a grant by T.L.L. Temple Foundation, college will now be a reality for Lufkin I.S.D. students who might not otherwise have the opportunity and/or support. This accredited Early College High School (ECHS) program is recognized by the Texas Education Agency.
Dr. Michael Simon, president of Angelina College and one of the architects behind the partnership, explains, “Working with Lufkin I.S.D. and the T.L.L. Temple Foundation to create the ECHS has been a rewarding experience for everyone involved. Angelina College’s mission is to provide quality educational opportunities and services to help students in our service area reach their full potential. We know the ECHS students will be prepared for the future because of this partnership.”
One important goal of the ECHS model is to create a “college going culture” within the school setting. The program offers rigorous instruction with accelerated courses, and provides academic and social support services to assist students – therefore reducing barriers to college access. The 125 students accepted into the program met one of three criteria:
- The student expressed a desire to attend college but did not have the financial resources.
- The student wanted to be motivated and challenged with college-level course work.
- The student was willing to receive academic guidance from dedicated, collegiate instructors.
Lynn Torres, superintendent of Lufkin I.S.D., expressed her enthusiasm for the collaboration, “This partnership allows students to not only take enough classes for an associate degree, but to also have the additional support from college instructors, teachers, and counselors. This partnership is unique in that dual credit classes will be taught on the Lufkin High School campus by Lufkin teachers who are also qualified as adjunct instructors for Angelina College. We want to make sure our students’ first college experience is a positive one. Having them on their home campus allows us to provide support structures to ensure their success.”
The project is a multi-year commitment by Lufkin I.S.D. and Angelina College. In addition to the design of the course of study so the participating students will graduate with college credits, the program also includes a process for collecting, sharing, and reviewing data to access the students’ progress. Furthermore, the project will provide opportunities for ECHS teachers and higher education faculty to collaborate through planning and professional development to enhance the education process.
Wynn Rosser, president and CEO of the T.L.L. Temple Foundation, shares, “Our board of trustees couldn’t be happier about this project. It’s a tremendous win for our region.” Rosser continues, “This project will increase secondary and post-secondary educational success to help break the cycle of poverty in our region and contribute to our regional economy by sustaining a thriving skilled workforce.”
Torres concludes, “We simply could not have the ECHS without the support from the T.L.L. Temple Foundation. We are beyond fortunate to have a partnership with a foundation that knows the importance of investing in education. Our students are the true beneficiaries of the foundation’s generosity.”
The T. L. L. Temple Foundation recently approved a grant to Angelina College in the amount of $445,960 to expand staff capacity of the college’s Small Business Development Center to focus on North Lufkin. The grant, to be implemented over a three-year period, will fund start-up expenses, operating costs, as well as salaries and benefits for two new advisors. The advisors will office in the foundation’s North Lufkin resource building. Jobs and economic development were identified as priorities in the appreciative inquiry study of North Lufkin by Stephen F. Austin State University’s School of Social Work Center for Rural Work Research and Development.
Dr. Rosser, president and CEO of the foundation, explains, “We quickly recognized that improved support for small businesses aligns with the ‘do it ourselves’ values among North Lufkin residents.” Rosser continues, “Therefore this grant became one of our top priorities to improve the quality of life for our community. We believe small businesses are an important component of Lufkin’s future, and we want residents of Wards 1 and 2 to have the supports and resources necessary to participate in that economic future.”
The Angelina College Small Business Development Center (AC SBDC) has a record of success. For example, since October 2017, the AC SBDC has assisted in creating 54 new jobs, helped launch 6 new businesses, worked with 41 new clients, and helped obtain $9.8 million in start-up capital.
Small businesses are the engine of inclusive economic growth. Access to new education, support, and financing uniquely tailored to local small business needs will help create economic opportunity, quality jobs, and community-driven development. Although Small Business Administration loan volume nationally rose approximately 25% between 2009-2013, loans to African-American business owners declined 47%.
The start-up timeframe of this grant began earlier this year. Angelina College hopes to have the two new advisors in place before August 2018.
The T. L. L. Temple Foundation has established a new $50,000 grants program created specifically to benefit Wards 1 and 2 of North Lufkin. Interested applicants may apply for grants ranging from $500 to $5,000 beginning February 1, 2018. Grant awards will be announced in early March of this year. Application information is available through the grants program manager Legacy Institute for Financial Education (L.I.F.E.). Interested applicants are encouraged to visit www.LegacyforYouth.org.
The North Lufkin Community Small Grants Program was approved by the T. L. L. Temple Foundation Board of Trustees based upon the “Listening to the Voice of the Community” report. The report culminated an appreciative inquiry study of North Lufkin by the Stephen F. Austin State University’s School of Social Work Center for Rural Work Research and Development. The study was funded and made possible by the T.L.L. Temple Foundation.
Wynn Rosser, president and CEO of the foundation states, “This program illustrates the foundation’s commitment to be present and invested in North Lufkin as we work toward longer-term outcomes.” Rosser continues, “We believe these small grants will support resident engagement and promote equity and inclusion. We hope the program will serve as one way for North Lufkin residents to be creative, take risks, and build a range of skills.”
An initial allocation of $50,000 has been approved for the program. Small grants will range from $500 to $5,000 and will fund group projects that foster civic engagement and collaboration. Small grants are a means to fund and support placed-based grassroots groups to ensure the $50,000 is invested into projects that have meaning to the residents of Wards 1 and 2 in North Lufkin.
Joseph Ceasar, Executive Director of L.I.F.E. states, “We’re proud to be a part of a program that will transform how grants are funded. Once the community realizes the simplicity and speed of the overall process, we believe the perceived difficulty of applying for a grant will begin to diminish. We’re expecting to see an increase in the number of funded projects that are in line with the recommendations outlined in the report.”
As the program’s administrator, LIFE will oversee the operation of the program. The a 501(c)(3) organization will manage the program, coordinate the review committee and be responsible for small grant distributions and reporting.
Foundation staff recently took a morning out of the office and joined with other volunteers at the Christian Information Service Center (CISC) to distribute food. CISC distributes food every weekday morning, and this particular morning almost 200 clients were served. In this photograph, CISC employee Kathy Loftin explains how to display desserts for clients’ selection to foundation employees Stacie Ratcliff and Kelly Follie. This year, CISC expects to distributed approximately 2.8 million pounds of food.