The decision to relocate Civic Heart headquarters in June to One Emancipation Center was an easy one.
Outgrowing our Elgin Street home of 18 years made the move necessary.
But, like a beacon of possibility, it was the opportunity — to create purpose-designed spaces to conduct our growing client services from new and beautiful spaces overlooking the community we serve alongside like-minded, driven individuals and organizations — that called us to this longtime history-making site.
We signed a 10-year lease for 13,028 square feet at 3131 Emancipation Avenue that allows us to remain in the historic Third Ward, overlooking Houston’s oldest park, founded by former enslaved people in 1872 as a gathering space to annually celebrate emancipation from enslavement.
Where better to help our clients free themselves from the chains that bind them today? Misuse of substances. Hopelessness and desperation of youth who become involved in the justice system. Lack of job skills or access to healthcare. The non-existent home address required by employers. The language and cultural barriers confronting refugees fleeing the trauma of civil unrest and severe climate events.
Since 2019, we have increased our community investment by 240 percent. We now offer 25 programs in 59 Texas counties through grants and partnerships with a wide range of partners, thanks to our dedicated team of 75 culturally diverse employees and more than 280 volunteers.
Our new home at One Emancipation Center was developed by the Midtown Redevelopment Authority in partnership with the Center for Civic and Public Policy Improvement as Houston’s first central headquarters for the city’s affordable housing programs. Serving as a hub for affordable housing initiatives, office space, and community gatherings, the building opened in late 2021 and houses a mix of organizations engaged in affordable housing advocacy, administration, and support services — all aimed at serving lower-income residents.
We have been a part of the historic Third Ward for the past 34 years. And yet, our work is not done.
There is still a great need for community services in our community, and the One Emancipation Center tenant mix of non-profit organizations will be working together to create a thriving Third Ward community. We are excited about the synergy of working in kinship with others whose mission closely aligns with Civic Heart so the full needs of our clients can be met.
The expanded technology center gives area residents the tools to learn, apply for jobs, complete resumes, or apply for health insurance. Students without access to computers or internet at home can use technology to study, do homework, and receive tutoring on-site.
The new office space provides meeting rooms and gathering spaces to host community groups and work collaboratively to address everyday limiting issues that affect people’s ability to thrive in the community. The shared public spaces enable people to come together to celebrate the artistry, talent, and shared history of a resilient people full of passion, possibility, and personal purpose.
The people we serve stand ready, and willing, to do the work to free themselves of past choices, systemic barriers, and limited thinking that have prevented them from realizing their full potential and value as a fully functioning member of the community.
It is said that the mark of a great leader is one who brings out greatness in another. Won’t you provide the leadership to contribute what you can today – your expertise, a bit of your bounty, the gift of your time?
When in action, you might just find yourself freed up of your own limiting, untrustworthy beliefs of lack of time, money, and other value to contribute. Fortunately, when you take the first step, you can unlock a world of possibility for yourself as you help emancipate others to take the first step to embark on a life well lived.
What’s holding you back?
I invite you to consider what’s possible with all our civic hearts in action.
-Helen Stagg , CEO
Take a tour of our new office space.