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Tom Luce, Dallas attorney and long-time civic leader, founded Texas 2036 based upon a belief that Texas has growing challenges, but, by acting now, we can adjust course as needed and overcome those challenges.
When thinking about the opportunities he had as a young person living and working in Texas, Tom became concerned that not as many young people in future generations would have those same opportunities.
In an effort to ensure future generations had those same chances to succeed, Tom pulled together a team of experts and policy analysts to review the data, determine the biggest challenges facing the state and begin to generate solutions to address those challenges.
Tom wanted to create an organization focused on affecting long-term change over time, so with this time horizon in mind, he named the organization after the state’s bicentennial.
In 1836, Texas gained its independence from Mexico and formed the Republic of Texas. In 2036, our state will celebrate its 200-year anniversary.
Texas 2036 hired its first employee on September 19, 2016. Tom and a small staff spent 18 months working to make sure that there was a need and support for a non-partisan, data-driven organization like Texas 2036.
The organization has since accumulated more than 300 public data sets and assembled a team of experts and policy analysts to determine where Texas is today and the direction in which we are headed.
In 2019, former U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings came on board as President and CEO, the Texas 2036 Board of Directors expanded to 34 members and the organization launched publicly at the Texas Tribune’s TribFest in September.
Texas 2036 is a 501(c)(3). We are statewide, data-driven and non-partisan. Our board reflects our diversity. We are funded by individuals, institutions and businesses who care about the future of Texas.
Texas 2036 has a broad focus on six key policy areas: education and workforce, health, natural resources, infrastructure, justice and safety and government performance.
This comprehensive view was adopted based upon Tom’s extensive experience advocating on issues, such as mental health and education, that are usually addressed in silos. Smart, well-intentioned people head to the state Capitol to make their case for big issues. But at the end of the day, when advocacy is done in silos, key connections can be overlooked. Water supply or access to nutritional food has consequences for educational attainment. Or other challenges can impact school performance. What if children can’t get to school? What if they haven’t had their booster shots? What if they have experienced trauma at home?
Further, the 2020-2021 state budget totals $250 billion. With so many resources at stake, it is critical that taxpayers receive a return on their investment and that state government uses those resources effectively and efficiently.
Most problems that government faces are similar to the problems that businesses face. We’re dealing with an enormous amount of disruption and social change, which requires system transformation. That does not occur overnight or in the course of one election cycle. It occurs when you have a long-term plan and you’re disciplined about implementing change over time.
For instance, if you look at public education in Texas as a business enterprise, it has 5.5 million customers, 450,000 employees, 6,500 business units or campuses, and spends billions of dollars. You can’t transform it overnight.
It takes a long-range vision, incremental change over time, and continuous improvement and focus. Our political system is not geared to those principles today, and political actors are not using data to drive decision-making.
By early summer, Texas 2036 will release a long-term strategic framework that includes a set of aspirational goals related to our six policy areas.
These goals provide the framework for an elevated conversation about what matters the most to Texans. They will be informed by data, analysis and conversations with more than 200 experts and community leaders from across the state, and are intended to help us collectively set priorities in order to ensure future quality of life and shared economic prosperity for all Texans.
Each of these goals will be supported by the performance indicators, datasets, and context so that Texans can further explore the driving forces behind the challenges and opportunities we face now and will continue to face, until 2036 and beyond.
By the end of 2020, we will have engaged Texans in a data-driven conversation about Texas’ growth, priorities, needs and potential. From there, we will be ready to work with state legislators as they meet in 2021 to advance an agenda supporting job creation, economic opportunity, and better outcomes in everything from education to health policy.
We’re in the process of developing goals and performance indicators for Texas, and we plan to release them later this year. We will then host a series of events and policy summits around the state. If you haven’t already done so, please go to www.texas2036.org to sign up for our newsletter and follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram We need your voice in this important conversation about the future of our state.
Also, please consider adding your name to Texas 2036’s list of donors. We will be wise stewards of your generosity and use it to help safeguard Texas’ future.
Finally, we’re working to introduce Texas 2036 to the state and engage as many people as possible. If you are part of a business or organization and would be interested in sharing information about the bigger challenges facing our state with your fellow employees, members, or others — please let our Texas 2036 team know by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.