After the Grand Opening of CityWalk@Akard, the process of filling more than two hundred units of residential apartments, along with retail and leasing office space most people would think Central Dallas Ministries has done enough - at least for now, right?
Let's just say that's not the way we do things at CDM...
For quite some time we've been looking for space in South Dallas, where we could relocate our some of our services, with a view towards doing more than addressing issues of poverty, but helping to bring people out of poverty. Some months before we moved into CityWalk we found just such a property.
Near the northeast corner of Malcolm X Boulevard and I30, the northern most point of South Dallas a tract of land occupied currently by produce warehouses and vacant buildings, Central Dallas Ministries will build its new 'Center of Hope'. We will relocate our food pantry, living wage job training program (along with a teaching kitchens for a culinary arts program), production center (in partnership with PepsiCo) along with our health and wellness center. This will put us in a unique position to bring both robust services to meet the needs of some of the most vulnerable citizens in Dallas, while at the same time bringing employment and the opportunity for training for living wage jobs.
Why South Dallas?
Quite simply because we want to be a part of re-framing the way the city looks at this section of the city.
A number of other non-profits, businesses, even city initiatives, shy away from South Dallas because the politics are too hard; because of the challenge of dealing with existing community leadership; because the needs are too great and the resources to bring change are even greater.
Central Dallas Ministries believes that these challenges are just right for us. We can't do everything, but what we can do is be neighbor and partner with the residents there to bring healing, health and, yes, hope to an area that we believe will flourish if the right investments are made.
Too much for an organization that's in the midst of putting finishing touches on a $35 million project? I think our CEO Larry James, says it best,"We're driving forward full speed ahead to raise money and get this done," says James. "It's characteristic of our style. It's gritty in that we're laying the track and the train's rolling."
Any wonder why I love working at this place?!