A Message from Sherrye Willis, President & CEO

image2  This month we focus the August e-Newsletter on sustainability.

In the nonprofit world “sustainability” generally means finding a way to use resources in a manner that prevents their depletion. Nonprofits often use this phrase to describe a nonprofit that is able to sustain itself over the long term, perpetuating its ability to fulfill its mission. According to the book, Sustainability Mindset, nonprofit sustainability lies at the intersection of exceptional impact and financial viability.

When I think of the word sustainability, I think of the wise saying, “the race is not given to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but to the one that endures to the end.” Recently, Alliance for Greater Works led WINS, the South Dallas/Fair Park collective impact initiative, in accomplishing an historical milestone. The WINS team worked hand in hand to secure the first ever Public Improvement District (PID) in southern Dallas by unanimous vote from Dallas City Council!

A PID is a defined geographical area established to provide specific types of improvements within a defined area. The South Dallas/Fair Park community has been underserved for decades in the area of safety and security. A key objective of the South Dallas/Fair Park PID will be to bring services and resources to the designated South Dallas area that isimage1 currently unavailable including increased safety, street lighting, and maintenance. Most importantly, the PID will serve to leverage future improvement opportunities for South Dallas.

On Wednesday, August 10 as we awaited the vote by Dallas City Council, we listened to one City Council member state how his community worked hard toward securing a PID in their neighborhood for over a year, with marketing, billboards, etc., and was unsuccessful. Yet within only four months, WINS’ small staff was able to obtain the signatures required to secure a seven-year South Dallas Fair Park PID.

Mayor Rawlings said, “WINS is the real deal and is setting the model for how collective impact is done.” One Council member stated, “WINS is the model for the City’s Neighbor Up initiative.” While another Council member said North Dallas should copy South Dallas in how to work with community.”

You might ask what were the ingredients to our success? I would say unequivocally – prayer, people, a plan and perseverance. Prayer and devotionals were a key component to consistently aligning the staff for the work at hand. We knew to accomplish this daunting task, we needed more than human capital – our staff needed spiritual grounding.

The dedicated team of people utilizing their influence to secure the PID included: Mayor Mike Rawlings, Councilwoman Tiffinni Young, WINS Co-Chairs Mark Murrell and Rodrigua Ross, WINS Steering Committee, WINS Safety & Security Co-Facilitators – Sanford Holmes and Cheryl Williams, all the WINS workgroup members, residents, WINS staff and VISTA member – Steven Gregory. This team worked tirelessly to make the PID a reality for South Dallas/Fair Park. Thank you to all!

The WINS’ plan of action included door-to- door canvassing, telephone calls, emailing, mailings, town hall meetings for both residents and businesses, social media campaigns, speaking to SD/FP business associations and much more. We were intentional about keeping our daily targets visible and knowing how close we were to our end goal at all times.

Lastly, perseverance was vital to our success – we didn’t give up. Even when people told us it was impossible to accomplish, we were determined to look beyond the naysayers and focus on making South Dallas/Fair Park a place where families and businesses thrive!

The mission of Alliance for Greater Works™ is to strengthen and position leaders and organizations to transform under-resourced communities. We accomplish our mission by serving as an intermediary and providing training, consulting, and leadership in complex project management. The work of transforming under-resourced communities is not a process that happens overnight. Often times, it takes years and even decades to see lasting change fully realized. Therefore, our work of strengthening leaders and organizations and positioning them for success is crucial to seeing lives and communities changed for the better.

The August e-News offers opportunities for communities, nonprofits, and individuals to build their sustainability. Please read, learn and share with others.


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Sherrye Willis
President & CEO

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