By Latosha Herron Bruff, Senior Vice President of Diversity, Inclusion & Community Engagement
The Dallas Regional Chamber (DRC) officially launched its 2024-2026 strategic plan, “Building Tomorrow Together,” in January. Our senior leaders penned blogs about each of the four focus areas of the new plan, the track record of success they are building on, and what they will focus on in 2024.
2023 was a year of great impact for diversity, inclusion, and community engagement in the Dallas Region. As we look back at the progress made and look forward to our goals, I can confidently say you will see intentional commitments to diversity and inclusion in all things the DRC does under our 2024-2026 strategic plan.
Last year, the DRC hosted eight Southern Dallas County Vision Tours, which are designed to showcase the region as one of the Dallas Region’s greatest business opportunities. In 2023, our Vision Tours resulted in more than $2 million in direct economic impact and investment across Southern Dallas County.
Southern Dallas County will be home to Canadian Solar’s manufacturing plant in Mesquite and Trina Solar’s manufacturing plant in Wilmer, both announced in 2023 with help from the DRC. Combined, these projects initially promise 3,000 well-paying jobs and $450 million of capital investment.
We also launched our Southern Dallas County Economic Development guide in 2022. The first of its kind, this guide aggregates all the relevant news stories around Southern Dallas County to tell you who is coming and what is being built, so you can have everything at your fingertips.
Our Southern Dallas County Economic Development Guide has the latest on who and what is coming to Southern Dallas County.
This past year, the DRC also leaned into the work of addressing food insecurity and food deserts. We worked with Tom Thumb, our City of Dallas leaders, and our Economic Development team to bring Tom Thumb and The Shops at RedBird together to build a new, 50,000-square-foot store opening in 2025. We are incredibly happy about this development, which promises to not only increase access to fresh food but also train and hire from the community. This is a transformative project that we hope will spur other opportunities.
Over the past year, the DRC hit a stride with how we connect business and public safety, which contributed to successfully advocating for lawmakers’ investment in the Regional Law Enforcement Training Center at UNT Dallas—work we proudly did alongside our Public Policy team.
We also pressed for more inclusive communications. The DRC released the first Spanish translation of the Voter Engagement Toolkit to promote civic engagement across communities, and Dallas Innovates published its first-ever bilingual story about an entrepreneur in Southern Dallas County.
I’ve just shared a lot worth celebrating—and I’m proud to say it’s not an exhaustive list. In 2024, we will build on this momentum and tackle new opportunities that promise to help make the Dallas Region’s business community more diverse and inclusive.
In early 2024, the DRC will release a first-of-its-kind Disability Inclusion Toolkit to be a resource and a guide for all our member companies to understand how they can bring more inclusion to the workplace around disability. One in four employees has a disability, whether seen or unseen. We must make our spaces comfortable so people can feel like they can disclose a disability, and we need to make sure our companies are prepared to create an environment where people can thrive, no matter their ability. This year, we’ll transform the State of DEI into the Inclusion Conference all about disability inclusion.
All our DICE accomplishments are possible because of the Tomorrow Fund, which fuels the work we do. The Tomorrow Fund directly supports our focus areas of work. We call it the Tomorrow Fund because a lot of our work considers the future of the region and what we can do to make it the best it can be for all people. Without your investments, there’s a lot we can’t get done.
As 2024 begins, our team has already begun doing the work to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to grow and thrive in the Dallas Region.
To learn more about the DICE team’s work, visit our website and explore our new strategic plan.