Exclusive: Nonprofit expands from Dallas to Houston, garners heavy-hitter support
By Suzanne Edwards
Houston will be the next home to the nonPareil Institute, a nonprofit in Plano, Texas that allows adults on the Autism spectrum to flex their tech muscles and train in writing code, programming software and building digital games. One of the institute’s founders has seen demand for its programs surge in cities across the nation, including Houston.
If all goes according to plan, the institute will be located at 10675 Richmond Ave., Suite 120, also the location of the open house event that will mark the Houston launch on Feb 10. The lease is still being finalized.
Gary Moore, co-founder of the institute and the parent of a son that is highly impacted by autism spectrum disorder, is trying to raise $1.1 million for the Houston opening of the institute, which he said will sustain the school’s needs for the next 12 to 18 months as enrollment slowly expands from five or six students at the onset, to somewhere between 100 and 150 at the end of the ramp-up.
“The families of students pay a tuition fee that will vary from market to market based on what the market will bear and the costs incurred by the organization,” said Moore.
“Ideally we’d be self-sustaining in a year and a half,” said Moore, at which point donations could be invested in building out the facilities to the idea level-a livable campus where students have housing and supervision in addition to the training programs already provided.
The cost of tuition in Houston has yet to be determined because it correlates to the funds that Moore and his supporters can raise in the initial fundraising effort.
So far, Houston-based Sequent Energy Management LP has donated $100,000 to the cause, and Moore intends to go after the energy majors in town to advance the funds toward the million-dollar mark.
Moore said the institute will work toward having between 15 to 20 instructors at the end of the initial 18-month period, and several support staff. Instructors train students one on one, and in the not-too-distance future, training will expand beyond strictly technology in Houston, said Moore. Or at least, that’s the goal.
“There are a number of organizations (in Houston) that provide services that are desperately wanting to connect with us, but what we’re thinking is ‘Let’s just get the thing open (first),'” said Moore, explaining that the opening will provide the basis for the partnerships to follow.
Information derived from Houston Business Journal
Wednesday, February 4, 2015, at 2:54p.m. CST