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The Atlantic: How Asking About Their Needs Connects People in Houston

Angela Blanchard, an elegant, straight-talking force of nature in this part of the world, has been at the helm of the organization for the past two decades. Under her direction, Neighborhood Centers’ annual budget has swelled to $260 million, placing it in the top one percent of nonprofits nationwide. Blanchard has spoken in places as distant as Australia about the organization’s model, one that recognizes the rapid demographic shift taking place in cities like Houston, and sees immigrants and long-time residents alike as human capital to be leveraged in a positive way.

“Despair is very expensive,” she said over dinner one evening at a quiet restaurant in the trendy Montrose neighborhood during a candid conversation peppered with delightfully unexpected but expertly employed swear words. She both recognizes and relishes the fact that, as the Brookings Institution has noted, “Houston is America on demographic fast-forward.” Read the full story here.