Throughout Waco, you can find strong examples of Solid Gold Neighbors, citizens and business leaders working in our 5 areas of focus. These people exemplify the work we support in the areas of economic development, health, education, cultural wealth and city growth. We wanted to take a moment to highlight women working in our community making a difference.
When you think of solid gold, what do you imagine? A deep, enriching material that is more valuable and prized than any other possession. That is why Baylor aims to be a solid gold neighbor. The relationship between Baylor University and the community of Waco is one that is incredibly valuable.
Baylor University’s mission is to educate men and women for worldwide leadership and service by integrating academic excellence and Christian commitment within a caring community, and Alpha Lambda Delta, a student group on campus, is doing just that.
Cesar Chavez Day is an American national commemorative holiday aimed to celebrate the birth and enduring legacy of the American civil rights and labor movement activist Cesar Chavez, on March 31st.
Quality professional development is a high priority for Waco ISD and that was witnessed as 150 Waco ISD early childhood educators and EOAC/Head Start gathered to learn together from Conscious Discipline expert, Kim Jackson.
The Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce hears often from employers about their needs whether they range from access to new customers or training for existing employees. Over the past year, however, employers have changed their tune. Talent is the buzzword du jour! As the great resignation commences following the initial phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses small and large began to experience difficulty in recruiting and retaining employees. The Greater Waco Chamber, in partnership with the City of Waco, McLennan County, and a half dozen employers came to the rescue with an exciting new initiative entitled inWaco!
What began as Negro History Week in 1926 has since grown into a national celebration of the successes, perseverance, and hopes of black people. The vision of Dr. Carter G. Woodson and his Association for the Study of African American Life and History foresaw not the designating of black history to a specific timeframe but the weaving of this history into the mainstream story of America. Nevertheless, in 1976 Negro History Week expanded into the Black History Month we acknowledge today. Each year during the month of February we recognize leaders, scholars, activists, entertainers, and trailblazers, illuminating the experiences of African Americans across generations.
Lunar New Year, or known in China as Chinese New Year, is one of the most beloved and joy-filled holidays in Chinese culture. It is the equivalent of American Thanksgiving and Christmas combined! Growing up in China, I remembered the entire city and every household being covered with red colored decorations - from red lanterns to red paper hangings and more.
This November join us in celebrating Native American Heritage Month and the vast contributions made by this community of people towards the advancement of our country. President George H. W. Bush first declared the month of November as National American Indian Heritage Month, now referred to as Native American Heritage Month, in 1990. This bill honoring America’s indigenous people is a landmark in history, serving as a significant step in acknowledging the complex history and society that has shaped North America.
Baylor University is thrilled to invite the community to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. Formally recognized as the period between September 15 to October 15, this month honors the contributions and cultures of Hispanic and Latino Americans.
Use your voice to determine how the City of Waco uses funding from the American Rescue Plan Act. In response to the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, this act is providing direct relief to citizens and local governments. The City of Waco is receiving $34.7 million from the American Rescue Plan Act and is planning to spend $17 million to assist local businesses and households.
The Magnolia Market, a Waco landmark and excellent source for life and home décor, is teaming up with the Waco Downtown Farmers Market this summer. The Famers Market will set up shop at the silos under the historic barn on select Wednesdays, providing the community with a safe and fun outdoor shopping experience. The Farmers Market vendors vary, however products on offer have included beautiful flowers from Bloom Waco, tasty dairy products from Brazos Valley Cheese, fresh produce from Richardson farms, and a variety of other vendors. As shoppers stock up on fresh produce, they can enjoy the summer weather and a nice relaxation area adjacent to the market.
Every year on June 19, the nation comes together to commemorate the Juneteenth holiday. Juneteenth celebrates African-American freedom and achievement while promoting ongoing self-improvement, community building, and respect for all people. Today, you can find people celebrating Juneteenth throughout the country and internationally. However, the origins of the holiday will forever be Texan.
The month of May marks Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. Guest author Jaja Chen of Waco Cha shares Perspectives from AAPI Waco Small Businesses.
We know them and love them – Baylor alumni-owned businesses in our communities across the nation. Perhaps the corner boutique, grocery, or business development group, regardless of the industry, daily, Baylor alumni working in all fields fling their green and gold daily by applying the lessons and leadership skills learned at Baylor to their work.
Greeting everyone with a smile, Jo Spark is known for bringing positivity to the classroom, along with an infectious love for children’s literature. I experienced all of this within moments of meeting her on a typical day at Alta Vista Elementary School in Waco, Texas where she serves as a Master Teacher.
It may appear passe to say something is ‘better, cheaper, and faster’ as a means of communicating a value proposition, but Baylor’s partnership with My Labs Direct is just that. By building a full-scale testing facility within the Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative (BRIC), COVID-19 testing on the campus of Baylor University is occurring a rapid speed and scale. When the decision was made to invest in the long-term assets of a testing facility a much larger opportunity was taking shape. That opportunity was to increase the capacity of and direct access to high quality, affordable, and quick test results for the broader community.
With the temperatures in Central Texas 60 and climbing, it’s hard to believe that just one week ago, Waco was in the midst of a historic winter storm, impacting residents city-wide. The ice may be gone, but in the wake of the storm traces linger, as local residents work to repair homes and gain access to basic needs. To meet these needs, the Waco Foundation alongside the City of Waco have launched the Winter Storm Community Relief Fund.
Effective leaders possess many qualities, some of which include vision, empowerment, and empathy. When a pandemic hit our community last spring, community leaders rose to the occasion to leverage a skill of leadership: communication.
Lack of capital is a major barrier for small businesses to succeed and thrive. Startup Waco has partnered with Kiva, the largest crowd-lending platform in the world, to provide an innovative solution to increase access to capital for small businesses here in Waco—making it one of 30 hub cities in the nation and the first in the State of Texas to offer this program.
February marks Black History Month, an annual celebration of the achievements of African-Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history.
Since 1972, The Art Center of Waco has existed to serve as a creative force in the community for teaching, displaying, promoting, and preserving vital and diverse visual arts that enrich and inspire us all. Through a non-profit lens, they aim to enrich lives by deepening understanding, exploration, and appreciation through engagement with programs, exhibitions, collections and collaborations. As an art leader, The Art Center purposefully and intentionally works to build a community rich with art, culture, diversity, and education.
For years, the Waco-McLennan County Libraries have served the community with four branches throughout the greater Waco area. The libraries strive to be a vital organization that is an integral and valued part of the community of McLennan County.
Over the past few years, Baylor’s Philanthropy and Public Good course has engaged some of our brightest and most promising students into the process of doing “the most good”. You might ask yourself, how does one define “the most good” and where would one start in the process of actually doing this work. In our class this fall, we challenged our sixteen students with these same questions while giving them literature, stories, and even a podcast to contextualize the question…oh and we gave them $90,000 to steward and nearly fifty grant applications from local nonprofits to consider!
Weekly, we are taking you behind the art – meet the businesses and artists who played an integral role in our 2020 “Art of Homecoming” activation. This week, we are featuring Waco Escape Rooms and Waco Cha!
2020 saw record voter turnout across our country for an unprecedented election that saw national, state, and local races all on the same ballot. According to the Waco Tribune-Herald, “[the] number of voters who cast ballots in the three-week Texas early voting period this year surpassed the total number of Texans who voted in all of 2016." Within McLennan County, 80,705 people voted early in the 2020 elections, including 10,337 who voted by mail. It is a number significantly higher than the 34,960 voters who cast early ballots in the 2016 presidential election and the 80,544 total votes cast in 2016 by McLennan County residents. Many factors contributed to this record turnout; however, we would be remiss if we failed to highlight the work of our local chapter of the NAACP led by Dr. Peaches Henry and their efforts to bring Souls to the Polls to vote in the 2020 election.
Weekly, we are taking you behind the art – meet the businesses and artists who played an integral role in our 2020 “Art of Homecoming” activation. This week, we are featuring Cultural Arts of Waco and Lula Jane’s!
Located on the Baylor University Campus, the Mayborn Museum Complex, a natural science and cultural history museum, welcomes visitors from across Central Texas. The campus community, alongside local school groups, families and more, can be seen exploring and enjoying the many exhibits on display, from permanent installations featuring themed discovery rooms to travelling exhibits. Guided by their mission and vision, the Mayborn aims to serve the community with distinction by providing greater opportunities for all to learn and grow, and has launched programs to support those goals—like the Mayborn Reach Out programs.
The passing of a torch is a seminal moment in many people’s lives that we often take for granted. This month, November, many changes are occurring in our lives, in our communities and in our country. When we look back upon a season, I hope that we may reflect upon those things, those moments that were good, that challenged us, and that ultimately created positive change because isn’t positive change the purpose of leadership? Leaders play many important functions in our society, but in our community, leaders are positioned to facilitate impactful change for the common good. Mayor Kyle Deaver, today I would like to say THANK YOU for your leadership and THANK YOU for the positive, impactful change you have made in Waco!
Weekly, we are taking you behind the art – meet the businesses and artists who played an integral role in our 2020 “Art of Homecoming” activation. This week, we are featuring Startup Waco and Keep Waco Beautiful!
Entrepreneurs, like all living and breathing things, need certain resources to survive and thrive. The breadth of the resources necessary for an entrepreneur to survive, however, cannot be handled by just one person or organization. It is often said in the entrepreneurial world that a founder of a new business needs to know how to do about fifty things well in order to successfully launch a startup, however, the average entrepreneur possess the knowledge and skill to execute three to five of those necessary items. Therefore, an entrepreneur needs an ecosystem around him or her to supplement, complement, and fill the gaps. Enter LaunchWaco.com!
Join us weekly as we meet the artists and businesses behind the Art of Homecoming mural installation.
Many organizations have worked to support those in need during COVID-19. When a generous donation was provided from Baylor Scott & White to the men of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity at Baylor University, they worked diligently to create a distribution plan to provide a much needed home for 21,600 bottles of individual hand sanitizer across our city. The primary focus of their distribution efforts was connecting to the city’s local non-profits and communities of faith so that each organization could then distribute them to the people and families that they serve.
September 15 through October 15 marked the celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month 2020. While Covid-19 altered the opportunity to have as many in-person events as in past years, it did not stop the celebration of the Hispanic Community!
"Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced," wrote the late American author James Baldwin. With this premise, our office is excited to embark on a new initiative to raise awareness of injustices within our community.
Last year, in a partnership the first of its kind, Common Grounds—along with other local favorites within the extended Common Grounds brand family—set up shop in the Bill Daniel Student Union Building campus to accommodate increasing appetites for their offerings, particularly from the on-campus community. This trailblazing partnership with Aramark paved the way to the University’s latest collaboration with Baylor Dining, Revolve.
Known as a top tourist destination within the state of Texas, whatever you are looking for, you can find it in Waco. Whether you are a local or are just visiting, shopping, dining and entertainment options abound to suit any taste. The variety of options is no accident – over years, individuals, nonprofits, and the city itself have explored avenues to cultivate our city, pouring efforts into supporting all who call Waco home.
Startup Waco, a partner of Baylor University, is a local nonprofit whose purpose is to help create and sustain an ecosystem of entrepreneurship in order to help businesses start, build, grow, and ultimately thrive in Waco. In its first two years of existence, its already become a hub of activity, programs, resources, and connections to help small businesses and startups. Today, we recognize Startup Waco’s IncubateX254 program for truly innovating how it approaches business support.
The Waco Culture Guide highlights the districts, affinity groups, businesses, history, and more of Waco's communities of color. The vastness of Waco's Cultural Wealth is often missed by those new to the city. This is especially true for the faculty, staff, and students of color who make Waco home during their time at Baylor. With the Waco Culture Guide, we hope to provide a snapshot of the diversity present throughout Waco to the Baylor community and all who view it.
According to the United States Census Bureau, Hispanic Heritage Month recognizes and celebrates the contributions Americans tracing their roots to Spain, Mexico, Central America, South American, and the Caribbean’s Spanish-speaking nations have made to American society and culture. The observance was born in 1968 when Congress authorized the president to issue an annual proclamation designating National Hispanic Heritage Week. Just two decades later, lawmakers expanded it to a monthlong celebration, stretching from September 15 to October 15.
The Junior League of Waco is a nonprofit organization committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. As they begin their 85th year in our community, one can see their contribution stamped across the community - typically in respect to spaces that benefit and provide value to the lives of women and children.
Sixteen years ago, Kennedy Sam moved to Waco from Chicago, Illinois. Growing up, she lived near Grant Park with its beautiful gardens and artwork. Nearby, the Aquarium, Planetarium, museums, and other cultural attractions helped shape her value for the arts. When asking Kennedy about the impact of her childhood, she shared the following, “as I look back and now find myself advocating for the contributions those institutions bring to a community, its undeniable that God’s hand was in motion aligning my life experiences and values, preparing me all along to work in my community supporting the arts.“
Volunteerism not only helps our city but it creates community – a core trait the Waco Founder Lions Club has demonstrated since their establishment in 1916. For 104 years, both local and worldwide chapters of the Lions Club meet together for fellowship and service.
In honor of Women’s History Month earlier this year, we visited virtually with Waco Women throughout our community. Here are their stories. In their own words, we asked them to share about the work they do, the women who inspire them, and why they love Waco.
August 13, Baylor hosted the President's Community Prayer Walk on Racial Equity, Change, and Healing. During this virtual event, Baylor and Waco faith leaders collectively prayed against the racial injustices plaguing our campus, community, and country. Through these prayers, we asked for God's covering of our local faith community and faith leaders, students, faculty and staff of local educational institutions, and the greater Waco community.
The mood of city, some say, is displayed through its artists. If that’s true, then Waco remains a ‘city with a soul’ as a #wacosafe chalk art mural campaign kicks in full gear this summer. When Creative Waco Executive Director Fiona Bond talks about these murals, her face lights up and her passion for art, collaboration, and community shine!
Located at the intersection of Franklin Drive and 8th Street in downtown Waco, Union Hall is home to various restaurants capable of satisfying the hunger of all who visit. Included in the mix of flavors to enjoy is Wings of Waco. Serving good wings and great hospitality, Wings of Waco is the brainchild of Chef Kemar Ballentine-Harris. With a mission to become the premier spot for wings in the city, Wings of Waco offers a selection of a dozen delicious flavors to coat your wings in.
Cultural Wealth is a term reasonably unknown to most, first used by Dr. Tj Yosso when describing the students of color he worked with, and the skills and strengths that they possessed during their university experience. Cultural wealth is defined as “an array of knowledge, skills, abilities, and contacts possessed and used by Communities of Color to survive and resist racism and other forms of oppression.” Within our office, we have expanded this term to mean how we celebrate and advance communities of color.
Developing culturally relevant methods that include informal learning strategies help teachers obtain a broader understanding of student communities and develop an appreciation for the dynamic wealth of knowledge students bring into the classroom (Banks & Banks, 2016; Moll & Gonzalez, 2004).
A healthy community requires many entities working simultaneously and together in synchrony. At Baylor, we feel honored to connect with the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District, healthcare agencies and nonprofits that are advancing the needs of our community members - through creating awareness around food insecurity, supporting needs in maternal and child well-being, and creating access to healthcare we are grateful to take part in watching Waco identify and strive to meet the specific needs of our city.