DRC helps drive $2 million to Southern Dallas County economy

By Catie George, Manager, Communications and Storytelling

2023 was a big year for the Dallas Regional Chamber’s efforts to champion economic development in Southern Dallas County (SDC), a historically under-championed area of the region.

The year saw DRC member companies drive more than $2 million in direct economic impact and investments to SDC businesses and nonprofits, a ripple effect of investments in the DRC’s Tomorrow Fund.

A significant portion of this funding was compelled by the DRC’s Vision Tours, which takes leaders from a member company on a tour showcasing the qualities that make the area one of the great economic growth opportunities for the Dallas Region. The tours also showcase the companies, entrepreneurs, organizations, and individuals doing great work in SDC.

None of these tours would be possible without the shuttle services of Southern Dallas Link, which benefitted from the year of significant investments in SDC.

Mobilizing the vision for inclusive development

Curtis Corbins founded Southern Dallas Link in 2015 to help SDC residents access reliable transportation to work. Now, Southern Dallas Link also provides transportation for seniors and students.

“The need [for transportation] is out there,” Corbins told the Dallas Morning News. “It’s just a matter of having a reliable company that can come in there and provide the services. That’s what we plan to do, is to come in here and fill those pockets and get the people in the southern sector the mobility that they need.”

In August, Corbins secured a contract with DRC member Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) to add 30 buses to his fleet. A planned delay in funding meant Corbins could not immediately expand his fleet—until another DRC member stepped in to help.

American National Bank of Texas Emerging Markets President Marcelo Mills heard about Corbins’ situation during a DRC Vision Tour and connected with Corbins to explore financial options that could help. Ultimately, Mills helped Corbins get a $500,000 revolving line of credit to support his growth until the DART contract began paying.

“That allows us to pay our staff, our drivers, take care of fuel costs, whatever costs we incur until we start getting our monthly deposits from DART…the timing was just perfect,” Corbins said to the Dallas Morning News.

Catalyzing opportunities

In addition to its support of Corbins’ Southern Dallas Link, American National Bank also invested in several community development corporations (CDC): Builders of Hope, South Dallas Fair Park Innercity CDC, Harmony CDC, and SouthFair CDC.

Target, another DRC member company, invested significantly in Forest Forward, Fair Park First, The DEC Network, and Bonton Farms.

A welcomed surprise

While on an SDC Vision Tour, Wells Fargo surprised Builders of Hope, Paul Quinn College, and The DEC Network with major grants. Watch how it unfolded.

“The grants that we’re providing helps fuel the work that these organizations do,” said Vice President of Philanthropy and Community Impact at the Wells Fargo Foundation Alexis Snow to NBC. “Whether it be to provide small business housing, small business workshops here at the Dallas Entrepreneurship Center or to look at Paul Quinn College where they’re providing students with the opportunity to go to college almost debt-free.”

A very good year for SDC

All told, these investments represent a combined more than $2 million, which does not even reflect the other economic activity the DRC helped generate in SDC in 2023.

The DRC helped drive the placement of a Tom Thumb grocery store in SDC at The Shops at RedBird, a move that promises to increase access to high-quality groceries for families in an area chronically affected by food deserts with a total of $22.8 million invested.

Southern Dallas County also had two major manufacturing wins, with last summer’s announcements of Canadian Solar and Trina Solar’s plans to open new plants in SDC. Combined, they will create 3,000 well-paying jobs and generate $450 million of capital investment.

The DRC’s work in SDC is powered by investments in the Tomorrow Fund. Tomorrow Fund investors go above and beyond membership to be a valued partner in the DRC’s long-term mission while enhancing their company’s ability to do good for our region and all the people who live, work, and do business here.

Become a Tomorrow Fund investor.

Visit the Southern Dallas County Economic Development Guide to see the latest news and opportunities in SDC.

The DRC conducts Vision Tours to tell the story and spread the message of Southern Dallas County. To get involved, email dei@dallaschamber.org.