One of our nation’s greatest challenges continues to be the struggle to alleviate poverty in America’s neighborhoods. In 2010, U.S. Census data indicated that nearly 47 million Americans were living in poverty – the highest level in the 52 years for which poverty rates have been published. And in Dallas, where the poverty rate exceeds the Texas state average by 33 percent, this challenge is even more evident.
For 25 years, CitySquare (formerly Central Dallas Ministries) has made an indelible mark in the East Dallas/Fair Park area and in neighborhoods throughout Dallas. The organization’s mission is simple: alleviate the root causes of poverty by working hand-in-hand with neighbors to develop powerful, sustained community partnerships. These alliances provide support and encouragement, ensuring that everyone, regardless of financial status, has the opportunity to realize their full potential.
A longtime ally of CitySquare, Bank of America understands the power of neighborhood partnerships and the hopeful impact that CitySquare provides in Dallas. That’s why, in March 2010, Bank of America helped CitySquare with an ambitious expansion of their services, enabled by the purchase of a new facility that they fittingly named the CitySquare Opportunity Center. Then, in 2011, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation funded a $400,000 grant to support the Opportunity Center expansion project.
This new location focuses on three critical needs: nutritious food, healthcare and jobs. The Food Distribution Center plays host to a full-service food pantry offering affordable and nutritious food products to the neighborhood. The Community Health and Wellness Center includes a wide variety of comprehensive wellness education and an activity facility. Finally, the Work Force Development Center provides essential training, education and job placement services, sharing the space with Dallas County Work Force Solutions and creating 100 new jobs in the area.
“With the steady backing of partners like Bank of America, we can continue to expand our reach and strengthen our impact helping neighbors most in need. Whether food, employment or medical care, we strive to create safe and healthy neighborhoods and an atmosphere of opportunity for all,” said Larry James, president and CEO of CitySquare,
Aside from being a source of hope, CitySquare is a force of positive change for Dallas. With the new Opportunity Center, CitySquare is extending its reach and deepening its neighborhood roots. The new center will allow an increase of 50 percent more patient visits at the Wellness Center. In the Work Force Center, twice as many students will prepare for jobs in the WorkPaths program. When it comes to addressing hunger, the new Food Distribution Center will double the quantity of food distributed to neighbors and families in need.
“As a banker, I am convinced that real change always begins in local neighborhoods. Seeing the impact that CitySquare has in Dallas is both heartwarming and truly astounding. Bank of America is proud to stand with CitySquare as they tackle some of the community’s most challenging and important issues. Building hope and fostering opportunity is clearly at the core of everything they do,” said Gillian Breidenbach, Dallas-Ft. Worth Local Market Manager at Bank of America.
CitySquare stands as the ultimate testament to the power of partnership and importance of compassion. From facilitating livable wage jobs and preventing chronic disease to feeding the hungry and ensuring nutritious food for youth, CitySquare serves to promote hope and provide opportunity.
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