65 Texas Communities Honored by Statewide Nonprofit Organization
Keep Texas Beautiful (KTB), a statewide grassroots environmental and community improvement organization, recently named Keep Longview Beautiful a Gold Star Affiliate, a designation conferred on just 65 of KTB’s nearly 400 affiliates in 2018. Gold Star recognition is the highest status any community affiliate can achieve and Keep Longview Beautiful is honored to have received this prestigious recognition for the past 6 years.
In 2017 alone, KTB affiliates and their local volunteers contributed 92,250 hours to collect more than 1.6 million pounds of waste, including 3,268 pounds of tires and 136,296 pounds of recycling. Keep Longview Beautiful successfully implemented programs to clean up litter, reduce and recycle waste, educate local citizens and beautify and enhance the local community. Through the Adopt a Street program 1,213 volunteers picked up 9.8 tons of litter from local roads and greenspaces. Enhancements to Loop 281 included twelve landscape beds supported by Green Ribbon money from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). Five pinecone sculptures made of recycled shovels were installed in outdoor spaces through the ART from the heART program. Community Improvement Grants were bestowed on local groups totaling $4,000 and 16 Beautification Awards were given to deserving Longview businesses. Keep Longview Beautiful was once again honored by TxDOT and Keep Texas Beautiful with the esteemed Governor’s Community Achievement Award of $270,000 to be used on right-of-way projects. Keep Longview Beautiful’s largest gift to the community, The Green, hit final construction during 2017 and this inspiring outdoor site opened in March of 2018. Kim Casey Droege, Executive Director stated, “This outdoor venue is called The Green because that’s what it’s about; the environment, wildlife, flora, fauna, culture through art, health, outdoor education, nature and most importantly a community’s progressive growth, OUR community, Longview, Texas. Our hope is that everyone in the region respects and uses this magnificent space to explore nature, get muddy and leave with an inspired mind.”
To remain in good standing with KTB, community affiliates must submit a report, pay dues, attend training and participate in a KTB-endorsed activity annually. In 2004, the organization introduced the concept of Gold Star recognition to reward those communities who sought to go above and beyond the established requirements. To achieve this status, affiliates must share information on their mission and goals, answer questions about their waste reduction practices and fundraising efforts or participate in the Keep Texas Beautiful or Governor’s Community Achievement Awards programs, and provide a letter of support from their community. KTB will formally recognize Gold Star communities during its 51st Annual Conference in Georgetown, which will be held June 11-13, 2018.
“We are honored to be in an elite handful of Texas communities that have received Gold Star status from Keep Texas Beautiful,” said Board President, Adam Graves. “With help from the community and our twenty-five selfless Directors, Keep Longview Beautiful has truly grown into an exemplary nonprofit.” Casey Droege added, “To continue our progression for community enhancements monetary donations are appreciated to our 501(c)(3) organization. You may contribute on your City of Longview water bill, hit the ‘Donate Now’ button on our website; KeepLongviewBeautiful.org, or heck, we still take cash and checks—we know, crazy, right?!”