A local non-profit organization is working towards an economic solution for South Dallas neighborhoods and is seeking community involvement and action to help make it a reality.
The Advance Community Fund (ACF) is a mission-driven nonprofit or emerging CDFI — Community Development Financial Institution — created with the primary focus of positively transforming distressed areas in Dallas by working closely with local leaders, residents, businesses, and government organizations.
The ACF goes into “high-poverty, high-crime-rate areas that lack the ‘needed care processes,’ whether it is food, medical care, housing, or child care, and fixes these problems,” said ACF Chairman and CEO Michael Yorba.
Since starting the fund six years ago, Yorba has worked diligently to bring economic opportunity to lower-income neighborhoods in Dallas. The organization’s current “area of impact” is roughly 40% of the Dallas land mass, which encompasses roughly 3 million people, according to the ACF website.
Yorba says the ACF works with the land bank at the City of Dallas to pick up vacant lots that have been repurposed because of back taxes.
“We get those lots for deep discounts, and we pass those discounts to the Dallas Police Department, their rookies coming out of the academy, or new hires coming in from other ‘defund-me’ cities, Yorba said in an interview on the Jeff Crilley Show.
The Dallas Express had the opportunity to speak with Yorba at the start of December about the ACF’s transformative plan for South Dallas’ distressed neighborhoods.
“What the Advance Community Fund offers the City of Dallas is a capitalist solution to a social issue,” Yorba told The Dallas Express.
“One of our key goals is to design a commerce environment where individuals can build, live, and play in their communities,” he said. “Our ultimate goal is to see a medical facility for every district currently without.”
A number of new medical facilities aren’t the only projects the ACF has in store for underserved communities.
Additional South Dallas-area projects in the planning-phase pipeline include five grocery stores, a 200-unit housing project, a financial education program, and a mezzanine fund, according to an outline of the future projects featured on the ACF website.
The organization’s next large-scale project includes the repurposing of a derelict facility at 2516 MLK into a proposed urban-format mixed-use medical office, which Yorba says will be designed with doctors stationed on the bottom and dentists at the top.
The ACF will continue to work with concerned corporate citizens to form public and private partnerships that benefit the South Dallas community, according to Yorba.
“Some of our nonprofit partners include Bring the Light Ministries and the Joshua Center, which will provide housing, shelter for sex trafficking victims, counseling, and job training,” he said.
These partnerships with nonprofits facilitate the ACF’s mission to enrich South Dallas communities and equip residents with the tools necessary for lasting personal and community growth.
In addition, these partnerships improve the lives of South Dallas citizens and offer treatment alternatives for battered women, the homeless, and others that are currently neglected in South Dallas, said Yorba.
As the organization works to finish out 2022 on a strong note, the ACF is looking ahead at 2023 and beyond. To meet the organization’s future goals, Yorba is asking local business leaders and the public to get involved and consider supporting the fund with an end-of-the-year donation.
This story was pitched to The Dallas Express by one of our readers. Do you have a story you think should be covered or a tip on breaking news? Submit your idea here.