DRC, EY make connections for success of Community Developers Roundtable

By Catie George, Manager, Communications and Storytelling

The inaugural cohort of the Community Developers Roundtable (CDR) hosted their Bus Tour and Cohort 1 Celebration on Thursday, June 1. The moment marked the end of a massively successful pilot year for the CDR and a cause for celebration for the Dallas Regional Chamber (DRC), whose team leveraged connections to contribute to the program’s success.

CDR was created by Maggie Parker, Founder and Managing Partner of Innovan Neighborhoods. She founded CDR in 2022 to help real estate developers of color succeed in Dallas.

“Seeing more developers of color have an impact and build wealth for their own businesses and communities in the DFW area, that was really the goal,” said Parker.

Parker is a member of the DRC’s Southern Dallas Task Force and approached the DRC with this project in 2022, looking for partners.

Members of the inaugural Community Developers Roundtable cohort.

“Part of the DRC’s job is to help make connections,” said Latosha Herron Bruff, Senior Vice President of Inclusion & Community Engagement at the DRC. “When we heard what Maggie was doing, we recognized this as a great opportunity to leverage our influence and connect her to the business community.”

The Roundtable consists of 15 real estate professionals focused on community-oriented and innovative real estate solutions that increase housing affordability and community-based amenities in historically distressed communities throughout Dallas.

Throughout the program, developers received peer support, guidance for their projects, and unique networking opportunities. The roundtable featured guest speakers and advisors, development deal feedback and work sessions, and real estate market referrals to provide support to the developers to fuel their continued development of under-championed areas around Dallas.

“These developers have actual, viable projects on the ground. Some have done anywhere between five and 300 units in some places. We can help them to continue their success,” said Herron Bruff.

To empower the success of the CDR cohort members, Herron Bruff connected Parker to Brian Ruby at EY, a DRC member company, with the vision he would be able to teach the Roundtable members more about relevant tax and financial information.

“The CDR members were incredibly engaged, asking all sorts of questions. It was quite interactive, and you could see that there was a kind of camaraderie amongst the participants,” said Ruby, Partner of the Tax Services division of EY. “One would have a question, and another would say, ‘Oh, I did that last year; let me share my experience.’ There was a lot of learning going on just in the conversations.”

Ruby hopes EY’s involvement continues past the CDR’s pilot year.

“We were honored to be the tax advisor sponsor for the group,” said Ruby. “We would love to continue to be involved as the program grows and develops. It’s rewarding to be involved in the community and give back.”

According to Parker, the DRC’s ability to serve as a connector helped ensure CDR’s participants had access to the Dallas Region’s best resources.

“I think the chamber has made a huge difference by making some of these one-on-one connections,” said Parker. “We’ve gotten really great feedback from the cohort about the community that was built, some of the sessions, and the different connections and partnerships that were made.”

Applications will open for the next cohort of the CDR this August.

All 15 developers of the CDR’s first class were highlighted in Dallas Innovates.

“The Chamber is really in a position to highlight a lot of these developers, which helps shine some more light on potential partnerships,” said Parker.

Interested developers can apply to the CDR beginning on Tuesday, Aug. 1. Read more about the success of the first cohort and their projects on Dallas Innovates or on the Community Developers Roundtable website.