PLATINUM2024

Texas Center for the Missing

Houston's Amber Alert and Silver Alert Provider

aka Texas Center for the Missing   |   Houston, TX   |  www.centerforthemissing.org

Mission

Texas Center for the Missing (TCM), Houston's Amber Alert AND Silver Alert Provider, has a mission to bring hope and healing to the missing and their families through crisis intervention, prevention, and community education.Vision: TCM will be a Gathering Place where those delivering services to the families of the missing find peers, share knowledge, and form collaborations; an Incubator of new training, technology, methods, programs, and projects; a Rainmaker mobilizing new resources to expand the capacity of organizations to find missing persons and support families; a Think Tank scanning the horizon for new advancements, analyzing their potential applications, and communicating these to community partners and the public at large; and a place where searching families find HOPE.

Notes from the nonprofit

Since the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, hybrid training options are now the expected standard. Texas Center for the Missing now provides all prevention education programs and law enforcement trainings in virtual and in-person formats. All case management resources for families and Emergency Alert Activation programs for law enforcement remain available around the clock. With public financial support, we continue to be on call 24/7 to help reunite families. It is important to note that Case Management numbers increased by 54% from 2020 to 2021. Those numbers continued to increase annually. These services require more resources and greater staff time than ever before. Contrary to popular misconception, the local Amber Alert and Silver Alert are made possible by private donations. Texas Center for the Missing receives ZERO government funding for these life-saving programs.

Ruling year info

2000

CEO

Mrs. Melissa Turnquist

Main address

2500 Bolsover Street

Houston, TX 77005 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

Texas Center for the Missing

Gabriel's Gifts Missing Children's Organization

Gabriel's Gifts Charitable Foundation

EIN

76-0635336

NTEE code info

Children's and Youth Services (P30)

Other Public Safety, Disaster Preparedness, and Relief N.E.C. (M99)

Senior Centers/Services (P81)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2022, 2021 and 2020.
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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

In 2022, 34,828 Texas children and 12,842 Texas adultsincluding 9,351 children and 4,409 adults from Greater Houstonwere reported missing. In Harris County's two cemeteries for the unidentified and unclaimed, there are over 470 individuals waiting for identification. A missing child is every parent's worst nightmare. A long-term missing loved one is quite simply the worst case scenario for every left-behind family. With the immense caseload investigating law enforcement agencies must carry, it is imperative that all community resources converge to resolve cases wherever possible. Law Enforcement partners in our area work tirelessly to serve our communities, especially searching families. However, overwhelming numbers make this work incredibly challenging. The 2 largest agencies serving our region, in 2022 alone worked over 11,000 missing persons cases with just 15 investigators! Despite the odds, the vast majority of missing persons are recovered through collaboration.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

IMPACT. Internet Safety and Prevention Education Programs

To effect change and to decrease the number of missing children and endangered adults, we at Texas Center for the Missing (TCM) know that children and families need to be educated about how to remain safe. TCM prevention education programs include: Alzheimer's Wandering Prevention Training; Child Identification Kits; Interactive Internet Safety Training; and Missing Child Awareness, Prevention, and Education Training. Annually, Texas Center for the Missing trains over 6,000 children and parents on child abduction prevention and internet safety.

Population(s) Served
Families
Caregivers

Preparation for a rapid response to a missing persons incident is critical to the successful recovery of a missing loved one. Texas Center for the Missing (TCM) is the sole provider of Amber Alert and Silver Alert Activation Training in our region and provides quality missing persons investigation tools and training to law enforcement. Support services provided to our law enforcement partners include: First Responder and Investigator Training; Houston Regional Amber Alert AND Silver Alert Activation Training and 24/7 Issuance Assistance; Southeast Texas Child Abduction Response Team Resource Directory; and the Digital Law Enforcement Missing Persons Resource Kit. Annually, Texas Center for the Missing trains over 150 law enforcement officers at no charge to improve investigators' capacity to serve the community.

Population(s) Served
Emergency responders
Adults

TCM was founded by a mother who, following the traumatic search and loss of her own son, saw the need for an organization that could walk with families and provide them the support they need to make it through each day. We strive to protect and serve the missing and their families through each step of the location and recovery process. Services for families in crisis include: 24/7 Crisis Case Management & Information Referral (victim support/advocacy during and after the search for missing persons via regular communication with survivors and left-behind families to ensure needs are being met at each stage of the investigation and recovery); Crime Victims' Compensation Advocacy; Law Enforcement and Media Liaison Services (consultations for law enforcement, volunteers, and other agencies to assist them in serving the needs of their clients); and Missing Person Flyer Production and Distribution. TCM staff provide support in 200+ cases annually to families and investigating officers.

Population(s) Served
Families
Caregivers
Emergency responders

Local police academies do not provide missing persons investigation nor Emergency Alert Activation training. Very few law enforcement agencies across Houston have representatives who have attended Emergency Alert Activation training. Therefore, most officers do not know who to call when an Emergency Alert case occurs. Several local Amber Alerts have been delayed for hours while officers Google for appropriate resources. These delays can potentially affect whether a child lives or dies. For endangered adults battling dementia, 50% will die if not found within 24 hours. As Administrator of the Houston Regional Amber and Silver Alert Systems, TCM provides Houston Regional Amber Alert and Silver Alert Activation training to investigators. During training, TCM provides information regarding the 4 other Texas Alerts: Blue Alert, Camo Alert, CLEAR Alert, and Endangered Missing Alert. TCM staff members are also available 24/7 to assist officers in activating these emergency alert systems.

Population(s) Served
Emergency responders

Where we work

Affiliations & memberships

Association of Missing and Exploited Children's Organizations 2012

Association of Missing and Exploited Children's Organizations 2019

Harris County Child Abuse Task Force Board Membership 2024

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of participants attending course/session/workshop

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth

Related Program

IMPACT. Internet Safety and Prevention Education Programs

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

With the changes in Houston ISD leadership -- the largest school district in our area -- it has become harder to get into the schools for presentations.

Number of groups/individuals benefiting from tools/resources/education materials provided

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults, Children and youth

Related Program

IMPACT. Internet Safety and Prevention Education Programs

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Average number of dollars per person served

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Age groups, Ethnic and racial groups, Family relationships, Social and economic status, Gender and sexual identity

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

This metric is across ALL programs serving children, civilian adults, and law enforcement partners.

Number of participants engaged in programs

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Related Program

PREPARE. Law Enforcement Training

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

In alternating years, when the demand for TCOLE credits (the continuing education requirement for investigators) is MUCH lower, we see a dip in training attendees.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Texas Center for the Missing (TCM) will be a Gathering Place where those delivering services to the families of the missing find peers, share knowledge, and form collaborations; an Incubator of new training, technology, methods, programs, and projects; a Rainmaker mobilizing new resources to expand the capacity of organizations to find missing persons and support families; a Think Tank scanning the horizon for new advancements, analyzing their potential applications, and communicating these to community partners and the public at large; and a place where searching families find HOPE.

IMPACT. To effect change and to decrease the number of missing at-risk children and endangered adults, we at Texas Center for the Missing know that children and families need to be educated about how to remain safe. Therefore, TCM provides a catalog of prevention education programs.

PREPARE. Preparation for a rapid response to a missing persons incident is critical to the successful recovery of a missing loved one. TCM is the sole provider of Amber Alert AND Silver Alert Activation Training in our region and provides quality missing persons investigation tools and training to law enforcement. TCM provides on-going support services to our law enforcement partners.

RESPOND. TCM was founded by a mother who, following the traumatic search and loss of her own son, saw the need for an organization that could walk with families and provide them the support they need to make it through each day. We remain dedicated to our founding mission and strive to protect and serve the missing and their families through each step of the location and recovery process. Therefore, TCM provides 24/7 crisis case management services for searching families in crisis.

With a staff of 3 and a volunteer team of 80+, Texas Center for the Missing trains thousands of children, families, caregivers, and law enforcement partners each year. The TCM staff has a combined 40 years of experience in the missing persons field. With that experience and passionate dedication to our mission, we work to meet our goals in the following areas.

IMPACT. TCM prevention education programs include: Alzheimer's Wandering Prevention Training; Child Identification Kit distribution; Interactive Internet Safety Training for all ages; Internet Safety Train-the-Trainer programs for educators and school resource officers; and Missing Child Awareness, Prevention, and Education Training for caring adults.

PREPARE. Support services provided to our law enforcement partners include: First Responder and Investigator Training; Houston Regional Amber Alert Activation Training and Issuance Assistance; Houston Regional Silver Alert Activation Training and Issuance Assistance; and the Child Abduction Response Team Resource Directory.

RESPOND. Services for families in crisis include: 24/7 Crisis Case Management and Information and Referral, Crime Victims' Compensation Advocacy, Families of the Missing Support Group, Law Enforcement and Media Liaison Services, Missing in Southeast Texas Day, Houston Missing Persons Day, and Missing Person Flyer Production and Distribution.

IMPACT. Feedback has been extremely positive through evaluations forms. 56% of respondents indicated they Know Much More" about internet safety and the digital world and an additional 42% indicated they Know a Little More." 78% of respondents said training will affect how they monitor their children online. 83% of respondents would recommend the training to other parents. In a study conducted by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at a pilot site with pre- and post-testing results, knowledge and awareness of Internet safety was disturbingly low before the program. However, youth knowledge and awareness increased significantly after participating in the NetSmartz Internet Safety program in all age groups. Bringing this effective program to more youth and caring adults in Houston is critical.

PREPARE. Law Enforcement Emergency Alert Activation Training feedback has been extremely positive through evaluation forms. Ratings listed below are averaged across respondents on a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being Poor and 5 being Excellent.
Respondents rated the Overall Quality of the training as 4.56.
Handouts were rated as 4.55.
The Ability of the Trainer to Answer questions was rated as 4.61.
After attending the training, 93% of respondents felt amply prepared to activate an Amber Alert and Silver Alert.


RESPOND. Case Management Services feedback has been extremely positive through evaluation forms. Ratings listed below are averaged across respondents on a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being Poor and 5 being Excellent.

Respondents rated the Overall Quality of Case Manager support as 5.
Usefulness of Information Provided by Texas Center for the Missing was rated as 3.75.
The Ability of the Case Manager to Answer Questions was rated as 5.
The Accessibility of the Case Manager was rated as 5.

Sample respondent note: When my daughter went missing, this organization reached out to me in my time of stress and need. They went above and beyond my expectations. Not only did they assist in finding her, but they helped find and get her to a safe place. Melissa R. was my contact there and blew me away with her devotion to my case. I cannot thank them enough. They were definitely the answer to this mother's prayers. Thank you so much TEXAS CENTER FOR THE MISSING and Melissa (my angel)."

In 2023 alone, 94 families were reunited as a direct result of TCM Case Management services and assistance. 313 searching families received assistance searching for 103 missing children and 209 missing adults.

In 2023 the Emergency Alert Specialist program trained 190 Law Enforcement Officers on Emergency Alert Activation best practices In addition, 6 Amber Alerts and 37 Silver Alerts were activated with a 98% safe recovery rate.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We act on the feedback we receive

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time, It is difficult to identify actionable feedback

Financials

Texas Center for the Missing
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Texas Center for the Missing

Board of directors
as of 03/20/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ms. Kelly Opre

GeoLogica

Term: 2023 - 2025

Melissa Turnquist

CEO, Texas Center for the Missing

Brad Bouillion

Stellar Bank

Terry Edge

Juniper Networks

Doreen Wise

Founder

Brandi Maxwell

Via Energy Solutions

Darryl Drenon

Community Volunteer

Will Shindler

Vellani Law/Independence Title

Elicia Jones Hunter

Amazon Web Services

Kelly Opre

GeoLogica

Desiree Urrutia

Houston Galaxy Fireworks & Halloween Costumes

Ashley Freeman

NetSync Network Solutions

Lindsay Kirkendall

Rubrik

Christopher Murray

Frost

Cortney Cole-Hall

The Cole-Hall Group, Martha Turner Sotheby's International Realty

Sarah Stuhldreher

QTAT BPO Solutions, Inc.

Brittney White

Mynd Property Management

Troy Neal

Spring Branch ISD

Stuart Chavez

MicroSoft

Reese Hale

Embark

Porsha Pruitt

Xscape with P Travel

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 1/22/2024

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

Disability

We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Equity strategies

Last updated: 03/26/2020

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.