The challenge was posed and The University of Texas-Pan American was the only Texas university to respond to requests by Secretary of State Henry Cuellar, Ph.D., to create a publication on state funding and technical assistance programs available to border cities and small communities.
The 96-page guide was unveiled Thursday, March 22 in Austin before a crowd of senators, representatives and media. Presenting "A Guide to Texas Programs," were Cuellar and UTPA Vice President for External Affairs Roland S. Arriola.
"I challenged the (Texas) universities to comb the appropriation bill and look for the dollars available in the programs and UT Pan American accepted the challenge and created the guide," Cuellar said.
During the news conference, Cuellar also introduced the first-ever "State of the Border: A Decade of State Agency Funding for the Texas-Mexico Border," a report highlighting the history of state agency funding in the Texas-Mexico border for the last 10 years.
Arriola and UTPA Office of Center Operations and Community Services staff members Sofia Hernandez and Michael Uhrbrock, along with numerous University students, condensed a 2,000-page Appropriations Act passed by the 76th Legislature into an easy-to-read guide to inform communities on how to get dollars from Austin. The 2000-2001 budget for the State of Texas is $98.2 billion.
"Many communities are not aware of the wide array of funding and technical assistance available from the state," Cuellar said. "This guide however, will give local officials the opportunity to access available programs and bring more dollars and service to their respective communities."
The guide will also benefit the business community, large corporations and legislators.
"This has so much good information, valuable to me and all the members of the legislature," State Sen. Carlos F. Truan (D-Corpus Christi), said. "This guide is something good for our finance committee (to look at)."
UTPA surveyed 232 agencies listed in the state budget for available grants, boards and commissions, web sites and phone interviews to develop the publication that will be delivered statewide to nonprofit and other organizations.
"It (the guide) allows all the members of the state legislature and CEOs to see the capability and expertise available from our institution to help nonprofits and businesses," Arriola said. "I want them to see we are a major source of expertise and major players that work with the officials of the State of Texas."
The guide offers information on programs from education to economic development, and all programs are funded out of state or federal funds.