Helen Stagg will retire as CEO of Civic Heart Community Services (Civic Heart) on December 31, 2023, after more than 4 years at the helm of one of the largest and oldest Blackfounded non-profit organizations in Houston. Following an extensive executive search, Kionta Carter will assume the role January 3, 2024. During her 23-year tenure with the organization, including 4 years as CEO, Stagg provided nurturing leadership and led the organization to achieve a 240% increase in community investment. With her unrelenting passion for empowering others, the organization’s work expanded to more than 25 programs serving 65,000 people in 59 Texas counties, supported by 287 volunteers and 75 culturally diverse employees working under 150 agreements with a wide range of partners and a $13 million annual budget.


Carter, who has held leadership positions with YMCA of Greater Houston for the past 15 years, brings a wealth of non-profit operational and fundraising experience to her new role. She has overseen the operations and growth strategies for 12 YMCA centers, with an operational budget of $16 million. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University; a master’s degree from Wayne State University; and a certification in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace. She recently earned a Non-Profit Leadership Certification from Rice University. She serves on community leadership organization committees such as Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.


For the past few weeks, Carter and Stagg have begun working together to ensure a smooth transition. “The bar will be high for our new CEO, without doubt,” said Vanessa Reed, Civic Heart’s Board Chairperson. “Fortunately, Ms. Carter will stand on the shoulders of a successful predecessor, who fully supports her in the transition to ensure continuity in quality client services, and consistency in planned programs. We believe that Ms. Carter’s passion and commitment to serving others, her deep history of community outreach and volunteerism, and her belief in the value of strengthening communities with purpose and intentionality will allow Civic Heart to forge new paths that further our mission to help others empower themselves.“


“I am honored to be entrusted to build on the foundation established by those who have come before me, and those I will work alongside to bring more needed services, to more people in our community,” said Carter. “What inspires me is the opportunity to increase awareness to allow more people to know who we are, and get more people involved in continuing the legacy of impactful community work.” 2023 has been a year of change for Civic Heart. The 34-year-old organization, one of the largest Black-founded non-profit organization in the Gulf coast region, was formerly known as Change Happens! and announced its name change to Civic Heart Community Services in April. And in June, Civic Heart relocated its headquarters to One Emancipation Center at 3131 Emancipation Avenue in Houston’s Third Ward.


About Civic Heart Community Services Civic Heart Community Services is one of the largest minority founded social service organizations in the Gulf Coast Region of Texas. For more than 34 years, the organization has successfully developed and implemented outreach, education, prevention, intervention, and collaborative partnerships to serve marginalized and vulnerable communities. The organization offers a wide array of program and services that includes: education, workforce and employment; after-school and summer enrichment programs; housing and supportive services; substance misuse prevention and co-occurring mental disorder treatment; HIV prevention; teen pregnancy prevention; increased access to health care coverage; reentry program and employment; implementing a resident-driven community plan to increase affordable housing and transportation and mobility options, and enhanced civic engagement to address challenges and facilitate a greater sense of inclusion. Learn more at

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October 16, 2023, HOUSTON, TX – Congressional Candidate Amanda Edwards has raised over $1 million in less than 4 months, a substantial sum that helps bolster the frontrunner status of the former At-Large Houston City Council Member in her bid for U.S. Congress. Edwards raised over $433,000 in Q3 of 2023. This strong Q3 report expands on a successful Q2 where Edwards announced just 11 days after declaring her candidacy that she had raised over $600,000. With over $829,000 in cash-on-hand at the end of the September 30th financial reporting period, Edwards proves again that she is the clear frontrunner in the race. “I am beyond grateful for the strong outpouring of support that will help me to win this race and serve the incredible people of the 18th Congressional District,” said Edwards. “We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s trajectory, and we need to send servant leaders to Congress who can deliver the results the community deserves. The strong support from our supporters will help us to cultivate an 18th Congressional District where everyone in it can thrive.” Edwards said. “Amanda understands the challenges that the hard-working folks of the 18th Congressional District face because she has never lost sight of who she is or where she comes from; she was born and raised right here in the 18th Congressional District of Houston,” said Kathryn McNiel, spokesperson for Edwards’ campaign. Edwards has been endorsed by Higher Heights PAC, Collective PAC, Krimson PAC, and the Brady PAC. She has also been supported by Beto O’Rourke, among many others. About Amanda: Amanda is a native Houstonian, attorney and former At-Large Houston City Council Member. Amanda is a graduate of Eisenhower High School in Aldine ISD. Edwards earned a B.A. from Emory University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Edwards practiced law at Vinson & Elkins LLP and Bracewell LLP before entering public service. Edwards is a life-long member of St. Monica Catholic Church in Acres Homes. For more information, please visit

As September 13th rolls around, we extend our warmest birthday wishes to the creative powerhouse, Tyler Perry, a man whose indomitable spirit and groundbreaking work have left an indelible mark on the world of entertainment. With his multifaceted talents as an actor, playwright, screenwriter, producer, and director, Tyler Perry has not only entertained but also inspired audiences worldwide, particularly within the African-American community, where his influence and role have been nothing short of powerful. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1969, Tyler Perry’s journey to stardom was a path riddled with adversity. Raised in a turbulent household, he found refuge in writing, using it as a therapeutic outlet. This period of introspection gave rise to one of his most iconic creations, Madea, a vivacious, no-nonsense grandmother who would later become a beloved figure in Perry’s works, offering a unique blend of humor and profound life lessons. Despite facing numerous challenges, including rejection and financial struggles, Perry’s determination and unwavering belief in his abilities propelled him forward. In 1992, he staged his first play, “I Know I’ve Been Changed,” which, although met with limited success, was a pivotal moment in his career. Unfazed by initial setbacks, Perry continued to hone his craft, and by 1998, he had successfully produced a string of stage plays that showcased his storytelling prowess.

Calling all teenage student-athletes! If you have dreams of playing college soccer and wish to represent an HBCU, the HBCU ID Camp is your golden opportunity. From 8 am to 5 pm on November 11-12, Houston Sports Park will transform into a hub for aspiring male and female soccer players. Coaches from HBCUs across the nation will be present to evaluate, scout, and offer valuable feedback. Moreover, they might even spot the next soccer prodigy to join their collegiate soccer programs. This camp is not just about honing your soccer skills but also a chance to connect with the HBCU soccer community. You’ll learn the ins and outs of what it takes to excel on the field and in the classroom, which is crucial for a college athlete. The HBCU ID Camp is an excellent platform to network with coaches, learn from experienced athletes, and take the first steps toward your college soccer journey. To secure your spot at this incredible event, don’t forget to register [here](insert registration link). Space is limited to 120 participants, so make sure to reserve your place before it’s too late. It’s time to turn your dreams of playing college soccer into a reality.

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