The Texas Ramp Project grew out of a Dallas-based ramp-building organization that was started by the Richardson Kiwanis Club in 1985. Over the years TRP volunteers have built nearly 25,000 ramps across Texas. These ramps would measure 127 miles if laid end-to-end. In 2022, local Ramp Projects built 1,919 ramps in 123 Texas counties, using the donated labor of more than 3,500 volunteer builders.
TRP's North Central Texas region includes Dallas and Tarrant counties and the 17 other counties in the North Central Texas and Texoma Councils of Governments. TRP volunteers have built more than 9,900 ramps in this region. Because we use volunteer labor, we can build a ramp for about one-third the cost of a retail contractor.
Last year TRP received more than 5,700 referrals from across the state. We currently receive an average of 560 referrals per month, indicating the great demand for the service we provide. More than 90% of funds go directly to the purchase of lumber and materials for ramps and tools. TRP's 2023 statewide goal is 1,900 ramps. Of these, over 550 are expected to be built in North Central Texas.
The ramps provide safety, independence and improved quality of life to clients and relief to caregivers, often elderly spouses. The family no longer has to call EMS for assistance when the client must leave the home. The community benefits because without home access an elderly or disabled person may have to enter a nursing facility. For an uninsured person, this could cost taxpayers up to $100,000 per year.
Funding for the Texas Ramp Project purchases lumber and materials to build ramps using the donated labor of volunteers. Funds also pay for tools, local transport and lumber delivery. At least 90% of all funding goes directly to ramp construction. The Texas Ramp Project's 2023 budget is $1,630,000 to build up to 1,900 ramps. Because the ramps are always free to clients, funding will need to come from grants and donations.
Referrals are received only through healthcare providers and social workers, who qualify the client as being in financial need. Referrals come through TRP's website (www.texasramps.org) and are directed to the appropriate regional coordinator. Once a referral is received, a volunteer surveyor goes to the residence to assess the property's physical requirements. On the day of the build, materials are transported to the site and the team leader and crew of four to six unskilled volunteers install the ramp within a few hours. When the volunteers leave for home, they know that they have transformed a person's life.
TRP's current needs are twofold. Funding is needed to support ramp construction, and volunteers are needed to serve as region coordinators, surveyors, team leaders and build crews. TRP welcomes volunteers from churches, civic organizations, businesses, colleges and universities, military and veterans groups, and others. Men, women and families often participate, along with high school service clubs, Boy Scout Eagle projects, and church youth mission trips. TRP is working in many areas to recruit Juvenile Services, a program that allows at-risk youths to participate. No special skills are needed to volunteer.
TRP also needs volunteers who are skilled in technology and IT, writing and editing, public relations, fundraising, financial management, and other professional skills that can help shepherd a growing nonprofit toward maturity.