Team Fort Worth is a 25-year old youth program that has helped hundreds of students in Fort Worth with both athletic and academic assistance. While this organization, ran by Cynthia F. Guillory, has been a staple in the City, in the past three years it has endured both economic and program hardships at the hands of city officials. TFW was displaced by the city after spending 14 years at the Fire Station Community Center where they made improvements to the facility and purchased equipment and appliances which the City retained. TFW also ran its program out of Highland Hills Community Center and Greenbriar Community Center.
Insiders close to Guillory report that she and her staff initially negotiated an agreement with city officials to use the ran down facilities at Bertha Collins for $10,500 a year but once the paperwork were signed Guillory realized that she had to pay $20,000 a year and pay for a lot of the building's maintenance out of pocket. Here's the problem... Team Fort Worth has been rebranding since it was displaced by the city and thus has dramatically fallen behind with payments. To date the organization is unable to pay for the last two quarters and the city is threatening to displace the organization.
In a recent article by the Star Telegram, Guillory expressed her disappointment with how the city officials have been handling her attempts to save her program. They blame Guillory's lack of on time payments as the reason for the response she has been receiving. The article revealed an alarming fact that other nonprofits such as hers are paying less than what she is paying including one organization that reportedly gross more than $400,000 in revenues for 2013 yet is paying $1,000 per year for the facility they use.
While Guillory is elated to have a facility to use to rebrand her organization, Bertha Collins is in bad need of repairs which the city refuses to perform. The center needs a resurfacing of gym and stage floors, stage lights, portable sound system, upstairs air conditioner maintenance, thorough cleaning, floors redone in kitchen, painting, cabinets redone, carpet replaced in office areas, new flooring and paint in activity rooms, and commercial appliances for the kitchen with a grease trap to run an approved food services program for students and residents. Again, the city has refused to give Team Fort Worth the items needed to safely operate its organization despite Guillory spending $7,000 of her own money to repair the lights in the parking lot, painting some of the additional spaces and repairing the entry flooring.
To add additional insult to the struggles the organization is having Guillory was been denied use of the center during the ice storm began and below freezing nights the metropolitan experienced. The city took over the building in order to use the gym as a temporary shelter. While Guillory is happy to help those less fortunate her organization has lost thousands of dollars due to cancelled events and tournaments, all of which were payments to be made to her past due balance.
Guillory has been given until Mar. 16 to pay her balance or she will be evicted from the building and her organization will once again be displaced. To date Guillory has borrowed money from friends, families and local businesses have donated towards her payment but she needs more.
“At the end of the day we are all volunteers trying to raise money to help kids in the City of Fort Worth. We give out of our own pockets but it’s still a struggle,” adds Guillory.