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Diane Ragsdale’s organization receives $250,000 grant for South Dallas work

The money will strengthen her organization’s programming to improve South Dallas’ living conditions.

Diane Ragsdale
Diane Ragsdale in her office at Innercity Community Development Corporation in Dallas in February 2021.(Lola Gomez / Staff Photographer)

By Sriya Reddy

The Innercity Community Development Corporation, a nonprofit founded by former Dallas City Council member Diane Ragsdale, has received a $250,000 grant from Goldman Sachs’ Black Women Impact program.

The grant, announced June 15, will be paid out over two years to the organization, founded in 1986, which seeks to increase the availability of affordable housing in the area, provides workforce training and business development, and advocates for systemic change.

“This is an area that has been grossly neglected over many years,” Ragsdale said. “We confront this gross neglect with a transformative and integrated approach.”

Ragsdale said that since its inception, the Innercity Community Development Corporation has built about 275 homes, mostly owned by Black single mothers. The organization also has facilitated infrastructure redesign to improve streets and lighting, created the Youth Entrepreneurship Program and collaborates with other nonprofits to provide better access to public transportation.

The One Million Black Women grant program received about 800 applicants, and awards are going to 50 organizations run by Black women across the country.

“It’s unrestricted money, which is very helpful,” Ragsdale said. “We have the flexibility to serve more and to serve better, and so we will strengthen our homeownership program and strengthen each and every program we have.”

This includes hiring a recruiter for the workforce training, a business coach and a community organizer.

Asahi Pompey, global head of corporate engagement and president of the Goldman Sachs Foundation, said about 50 listening sessions with 20,000 Black women helped the foundation decide that communities could be improved by putting funds directly into the hands of Black women.

“We’re a bank after all, and our goal is to mobilize capital,” Pompey said. “So we’re mobilizing capital through Black Women Impact grants in the social sector.”

The grants target areas including health care, education and, in Ragsdale’s case, housing. For Pompey, Ragsdale’s commitment to increasing affordable housing and especially increasing home ownership for Black women is vital.

“Diane’s work is really an incredible story about Black women developing solutions to close the racial and gender inequities that have persisted for decades,” Pompey said. “Diane is really a powerful demonstration of what is possible when awareness meets investment capital.”

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