Northside Inter-Community Agency, Inc.

501 (c) 3 nonprofit


Northside Inter-Community Agency, Inc. (NICA) is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit, charitable organization. The agency is the largest and most comprehensive multi-service provider of basic needs, goods, and services for the northwest quadrant of Tarrant County. 



Located near Fort Worth’s historic stockyards, NICA was established in 1969. The agency provides food, clothing, and self-help programs to families on the Northside of Fort Worth and surrounding communities. Our vision includes the whole family: physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual aspects. The most pressing needs are met through our direct aid programs. Providing a hand-up, not just a handout, longer-term goals are met through case management, crisis counseling, and employment, education and community services. Our aim is to aid and empower to provide or link people to opportunities to get back on their feet, to strengthen their families, and ultimately to strengthen their neighborhoods.



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About us

NICA is a valued and trusted provider of social services for northwest Tarrant County.  Staff and volunteers provide emergency assistance, including food and clothing, and/or educational programs and classes – for more than 3,500 ethnically diverse individuals each month.  NICA covers 13 zip codes and is the largest provider of social services for low-income families, the elderly, and disabled in the area.  One half of those we serve are children – 49 percent.  In 2011, more than 20,900 children benefited from NICA’s emergency services and/or educational programs.


The mission of Northside Inter-Community Agency is to break the cycle of hunger and poverty by helping people in need help themselves and their neighbors.  An Advisory Council of Clients and frequent focus groups help us to better understand the community’s needs, goals, and strengths.

 

NICA’s emergency services address short-term needs while educational programs, mentoring and training provide hope and a pathway for families to break free of poverty’s grasp.  Programming promotes self-reliance and encourages clients and family members to make learning a priority and to work towards financial stability.


Crisis situations bring clients to our door.  Many are catastrophic, requiring much more than a “band aid” fix.  A crisis can happen to anyone; some of the people we help may be people you know, your employees, or their family members.  Successfully addressing their complex issues requires creative solutions and community partnerships.


An original program that has had much success is Circle of Winners.  It was created in 2004 to help high school students get into college.  Statistics show that the Northside area suffers one of the highest school dropout rate in Tarrant County (upwards of 50 percent), and poverty is cited as a major contributing factor.  


The Circle of Winners program specifically targets high school students who have a desire to attend college, but because of financial reasons may be at risk for failing to continue their education. These students are given the opportunity to work in a nurturing environment, building their self esteem and acquiring leadership skills. 


Circle of Winners are paid volunteers.  They mentor and tutor younger students in after-school programs and provide computer training for adults and children in NICA’s Community Computer Center. Through this experience the students learn valuable life skills, which enable them to develop tools which are necessary to be successful in higher education.  Money the students earn each week is put into a savings account at a local bank.  The funds can only be used for college.  If a youth does not pursue higher learning, the funds are divided among the remaining students.  Circle of Winners students are the first generation of their families to enter college.  While in college, these students then become the mentors for new high school students in the Circle of Winners program. 


Since August 2004, one hundred percent of the youth mentored in the Circle of Winners program have graduated from high school, 91 percent completed one or more years of college, and 3 percent completed one or more years of trade school.  Thus far 32 percent of those who started the program have graduated from college while others, depending on the year they started college, will be finishing their undergraduate degrees in the next few years.  A few others have stayed in college and are working on their master’s degree.


NICA takes seriously our responsibility to our donors, with an administrative budget of only 4%, leaving 96% for client programs and services.  Compare this to the “acceptable” 25% overhead for many non-profits, locally and nationally.


Accomplishments and Strengths of NICA

This is NICA’s 43rd year of operation.  Almost 1,000 volunteers give more than 30,000 hours of volunteer work each year.  Food and clothing donations totaled more than 1.5 million dollars in 2011, and these were distributed and/or services provided to almost 43,000 clients.  Of those clients coming to NICA for food, 65.1% came only one time during the year and 19.8% came twice for a total of 85% – families tell us that they only come when they really need help. 


According to our most recent independent audit, NICA’s overhead was 4.2 percent in 2010.  This means that for every dollar contributed, almost 96 percent goes towards goods and services. The agency expenses for 2011 totaled $399,754, but we served 42,720 clients (49 percent were children).


NICA values our work with other agencies.  Attached to this application are letters of recommendation from three agencies showing collaboration.  Below is a list of projects and programs describing our partnerships with agencies and organizations in Tarrant County.


Alzheimer’s Association

  • Staff member from Alzheimer's Association holds monthly classes at NICA for Hispanic caregivers


Catholic Charities

  • Staff member from Catholic Charities holds financial literacy classes for clients at NICA


Christmas in the Fort Worth Stockyards

  • Organization collects food and toys for Christmas for NICA


Community Action Partners of Tarrant County (CAP)

  • Work in partnership with CAP offices to pay clients' large utility bills


Community Link of Saginaw

  • When excess of perishable food is received, share food with each other’s pantries


Cultural Arts of America

  • Partner on literacy projects and grants to benefit Tarrant County residents


Fort Worth Independent School District (FWISD)

  • Circle of Winners students tutor in 3 after-school programs
  • Local schools conduct food drives and collect toys for Christmas for NICA


Fort Worth Public Library, Northside Branch

  • Circle of Winners students tutor children in library after school


Ladder Alliance

  • Partner with Ladder Alliance to recruit clients for their programs
  • Clients needing emergency food services from NICA more than 2 or 3 times may choose as one of their options in their contract to attend GED or other education classes at Ladder Alliance


Meals on Wheels of Tarrant County

  • Partner with their Neighbor Helping Neighbor program to serve elderly with complex needs

Mental Health Association (MHA)

  • MHA staff present mental health classes and education programs for NICA clients


Mental Health Mental Retardation of Tarrant County (MHMR)

  • MHMR caseworkers bring their clients to NICA for services


Northside Coalition

  • NICA's Executive Director founded the Northside Coalition in 2005 – the coalition provides networking opportunities for community leaders to come together each month – speakers from Tarrant County non-profits present information about their programs – the coalition maintains monthly contact with more than 170 representatives of organizations


Northside Community Center

  • Circle of Winners students tutor children in their after-school program


Northside Neighborhood Association

  • Association holds monthly meetings at NICA and collects donations for agency


Rotary Club of North Fort Worth

  • Provides opportunities for Circle of Winners students to compete in scholarship program
  • Provides work projects for NICA youth


Saint Thomas Catholic Church

  • When excess of perishable food is received, share food with each other’s pantries


Tarrant Area Food Bank (TAFB)

  • NICA is one of the eight original members of the food bank
  • TAFB provides nutrition education classes for our clients
  • NICA is one of seven sites for the food bank’s monthly Mobile Food Pantry
  • We collaborate with the food bank on their community gardens
  • NICA staff recruit clients for the food bank’s Community Kitchen
  • SNAP (food stamp) representative from TAFB comes weekly to help NICA clients apply for food stamps


Tarrant County AgriLife

  • Presents nutrition and health education classes at NICA
  • Provides master gardeners to help with NICA garden projects
  • NICA participated in Walking School Bus pilot project with AgriLife


Tarrant County Department of Human Services (TCDHS)

  • NICA Executive Director serves on TCDHS steering committee
  • TCDHS provides training for our staff to help elderly clients apply for assistance to pay their utility bills


Tarrant County Food Advisory Council

  • Executive Director serves on Food Advisory Council to create more sustainable food systems
  • NICA staff and interns developed Asset and Resource Assessment for food security and Strategic Framework plan for next 3 years


Tarrant County Juvenile Services (TCJS)

  • NICA staff provides mentoring and volunteer opportunities for their at-risk youth


Tarrant Literacy Coalition (TLC)

  • TLC provides GED, English as a Second Language (ESL), and literacy materials and trainings for NICA instructors and volunteers


Texas Christian University (TCU)

  • NICA staff make presentations and participate in seminars on food security and poverty for several professors
  • TCU provides service-learning students to teach ESL classes each semester
  • TCU students built rain barrels for NICA clients who have a square-foot garden
  • Working with TCU to get funding to repair a solar green house to get a jump start early in the season for growing plants for NICA's clients' gardens


Texas Re-Entry Services

  • Clients needing emergency food services from NICA more than 2 or 3 times may choose as one of their options in their contract to attend programs at Texas Re-Entry Services


Texas Workforce – State of Texas Employment Services

  • Workforce sends clients to NICA for computer classes
  • Clients needing emergency food services from NICA more than 2 or 3 times may choose as one of their options in their contract to attend Workforce programs


Union Gospel Mission of Tarrant County

  • NICA staff partner with Union Gospel Mission to obtain furniture and appliances for clients


University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC)

  • Provide training for NICA Promotoras who in turn train clients


University of Texas at Arlington (UTA)

  • Provides NICA with 6 to 8 student social work interns each semester


Weed and Seed of Fort Worth

  • NICA staff help recruit youth  for their summer programs