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Affiliate of the Month: Keep Houston Beautiful - Forty and Fabulous!

Each month, KTB highlights a new affiliate organization on the blog and through an Instagram takeover. This campaign recognizes the diverse organizations working hard to keep Texas beautiful. Check out past highlighted affiliates here.

Houston, home to more than two million people and spanning close to 670 square miles, is currently the country's fourth largest city. Its culturally rich diverse makeup has allowed for it to be rated as a global community home to a variety of industries, including a world renowned medical center and notoriety in the space and science industry. Fondly called H-town, it is also home to over 40 colleges and universities allowing for any level of higher education one could imagine.

​One integral part of this ever changing community is Keep Houston Beautiful (KHB). KHB has certainly seen the changes in this community in its forty years of service. We're very fortunate to see such an anniversary and have a wonderful story to share.

Many may not realize how intertwined this grassroots organization has been in its networking and relationships because of KTB and KAB. The organization's very first Executive Director was Bob Horton, who later became a great champion of, and according to Sue Smith of KAB, "The story keeper of all things KAB." He also became a mentor to a new Executive Director whom he met at her very first Keep Texas Beautiful conference many years ago. When it was time for Bob to move on to his next adventure, he was replaced by Robert Chase until Robin Blut assumed the Executive Director position, which she held until 2017. She helped to build not only an incredible affiliate, but a personal legacy as well. Upon her retirement, she helped to hire Amy Reed, who had served as the ED in both Bryan-College Station and Katy. Both Robin and Amy were active with KAB over the years, and Amy currently serves as a board member with KTB. By the way, that new gal Bob helped to mentor all those years ago...she's now the ED for Keep Houston Beautiful.

This organization's story began with people and relationships. It's how it has survived the test of times for four decades when there were funding or political difficulties, or at worst for the community, natural disasters. Going into our big anniversary year we are faced with all of those issues to varying degrees. However, we are embracing change by focusing on what's most important: people and relationships.

We are doing this by assessing the needs of the organization. Do we need to keep doing the same projects and events the way we have been doing them? Are we still reaching folks the way we used to? Probably not. What new opportunities have we not tapped into? One area we will be strategically working towards is actively seeking dynamic and engaged board members and committee members to help move us forward. We are working on larger scale grant opportunities like the one we just grabbed with Coca Cola; where we can offer long term programming in the community. 

​ FUN! We are looking for fun, too. One other item we are working on is revamping an older program to create a new young professionals ambassador program, led by our young professionals who will be charged with fundraising for KHB. You'll have to be sure to join us for one of the three new signature events they have come up with this year: a clay shoot, a golf tournament and a 5k Plogging Family Run!

One of our biggest questions to ask is: "Can we check off all that we are doing against our core values of our mission?" Trust me, in a city as big and awesome as Houston, it's easy to get lost and want to be a part of everything. We have to accept that we can't be everything to everyone. That's ok. We'll never be truly successful that way. However, we can be exceptional when sticking to what we know we are awesome at.

It still all comes down to THE PEOPLE and RELATIONSHIPS, though. Our board members guide us. Our sponsors help support us. Our volunteers, well, they're the heartbeat of our organization. I for one believe it is also important to be mindful of the fact that as a Keep Texas Beautiful Affiliate and Keep America Beautiful Affiliate, we are a part of something so much bigger than our own community. This network of leadership, resources, and friendship knows no boundaries. Together, we are better.

We are excited for this momentous anniversary year for Keep Houston Beautiful and invite you to come visit Houston to see what the noise is all about.

"Looking forward to the future, and feeling grateful for the past."- Mike Rowe

​Blog Post Written By Amy Reed, Executive Director of Keep Houston Beautiful. 


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