ChangeMakers Podcast: Elizabeth R. Brands, President & CEO of The Morris Foundation – Removing Barriers and Creating Pathways for the Vulnerable Populations
"Kids can only dream and aspire to more than what is in their own families if they have the privilege of not being able to struggle on a daily basis to have their basic and psychological needs met." - Elizabeth Brands, Ed.D.
Host Jeremy C. Park talks with Elizabeth R. Brands, Ed.D., who shares her personal story of working in education as a classroom teacher and how that experience has shaped her current efforts as President and CEO of The Morris Foundation in taking a holistic, systems-based approach to removing barriers and creating pathways for the vulnerable in the Fort Worth, Texas community to help them live hopeful and purposeful lives. During the interview, Elizabeth talks about The Morris Foundation and their efforts around Education, Healthcare, and Social Services. She shares a number of lessons learned and recommendations for supporting teachers and schools, and for being a convener and encouraging system-level solutions. She also discusses the importance of listening and leading through the support of others, of shifting the narrative for this and future generations, and why positive community engagement is so important.
About Dr. Elizabeth Brands: Elizabeth R. Brands, Ed.D., is a dedicated, strategic, and passionate leader. She brings a wealth of organizational leadership experience from occupying key roles in education institutions, nonprofits, and foundations across the region. Elizabeth’s early career experience as a classroom teacher informed her approach that successful community investment must coordinate systems that children and families intersect with to spark impact and demonstrate empathy and respect for others’ lived experiences. As a foundation program officer, she evaluated community organizations to inform allocation of resources and coordinated diverse groups of local, state, and regional stakeholders to develop systems-level change.
In her role as Executive Director of Reading Partners in Oklahoma, Elizabeth oversaw a high growth organization, driving towards common city-wide goals and leading the organization to triple in scale within four years. Under her leadership, she created and implemented a city-wide grade-level reading campaign in partnership with the local superintendent and Mayor, which included a Mayoral executive order allowing all city employees to volunteer on paid, city time. Elizabeth also taught a Measurements and Evaluation course in the School of Urban Education at the University of Tulsa. Before being named President & CEO of The Morris Foundation, Elizabeth was Head of Education Giving at The Morris Foundation. She also serves Read Fort Worth as its Executive Director. Elizabeth earned her Master of Education from the University of Notre Dame and her Doctorate in Education from the University of Oklahoma in Educational Administration Curriculum and Supervision.
As President & CEO of The Morris Foundation, Elizabeth brings a unique range of professional experiences that allows her to understand the perspectives of a diverse range of constituents including nonprofit agencies, education systems, and ultimately – the children, families, and adults whom The Morris Foundation’s mission strives to serve. About The Morris Foundation: The Morris Foundation, headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, was founded in 1986 by Linda C. and Jack B. Morris. The Foundation serves Fort Worth, and Tarrant County, Texas and focuses its support in the areas of education, healthcare and social services. In 2021, the Foundation supported 102 organizations. For more information – www.themorrisfoundation-fw.com, or 817-363-2000.