The continuous flow of old and new faces – immigrants like Herrera as well as sixth-generation Texans – has helped to make Neighborhood Centers, founded in 1907, one of the biggest helping hands in East Texas.
The organization is a nonprofit behemoth, with 74 service sites in 60 Texas counties. Its $263 million in services, ranging from charter schools to senior centers, give it unrivaled stature in every community it touches. The organization assisted more than 400,000 people in 2012, according to internal estimates.
Since so many of its clients are newcomers, Neighborhood Centers has become a sort of Ellis Island of Houston. It enjoys a front-row seat to the region’s unrivaled diversity, which demographers believe represents the future of the country.
Neighborhood Centers’ size, array of services and unique community development approach have caught the attention of national urban strategists, who are encouraging other institutions to emulate its model.