Tuesday, December 19, 2006

"Little Green Houses" Campaign Drawing to a Close

Regular readers have followed our "over-the-top" notion of trying to collect $100,000 for our work here in Dallas.

Take a look at the "village" of little green houses just to the right of this column. Every house represents $1,000 of the fund.

One hundred houses.

One hundred thousand dollars. That's our goal!

One of our major problems--one that lots of folks don't understand or think about--is the lack of "unrestricted" funds.

Central Dallas Ministries has enjoyed a banner year in terms of development plans, growth and funding. The downside is that most of our funding has been given with strings attached. Most notably, these funds are given and devoted to specific projects and can be spent only in the way outlined in the funding agreement, whether from a foundation, a public grant or contract or a donor who is focused on a singular project or need.

At times I fear a headline like, "CDM Receives $12 Million in Tax Credit Housing Award," may leave the impression with donors that we are flush with cash. Nothing could be further from the truth!

Most all of our programs run in the red because of our lack of unrestricted funding.

This challenge played a part in extending our little house campaign beyond our initial needs for the filing fee after we were awarded the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit allocation from the State of Texas.

So, the deadline now is December 31, 2006.

On January 2, 2007, our virtual neighborhood will go away. Just a reminder.

To those who have contributed, let me say again a huge "Thank you!"

To date donations to this unusual, on-line campaign total just over $33,000. I find that amazing!
Still, we are just 1/3 of the way to our goal.

If you have been intending to help us, please do so now.

Your can click on the information thumbnails in our little green village for more details about on-line giving.

Or, just mail your check, made payable to Central Dallas Ministries, to "Larry James' Urban Daily, P. O. Box 710385, Dallas, Texas 75371-0385."

And again, thanks so much!


Chris said...

In case you didn't see my last comment, please google "Understanding Poverty in America."

Anonymous said...

Mr. James, can you explain more of this restriction. I have tried to figure out why you needed $100000 if you already had the 1.2 million award. I just thought the building cost 1.3, but is there something else?

I will tyr my best to send a gift this year. Thanks for the work you do. God bless.


Larry James said...

Anonymous, thnaks for your question.

The $12 million award from the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs was a low-income housing tax credit award that we will "sell" for about 90-95 cents on the dollar. These funds can only be used for our downtown building project (CityWalk@Akard). That project will cost over $26 million. So, we must raise the additional funds--we have about $10 million left to raise!

These funds have nothing to do with all of the other work we are doing in Dallas. Our annual operating budget for 2006 totaled over $5 million. Much of that budget has been funded by donors who gave or awarded funds for specific projects. This is the case with almost all foundation awards and all public funds. We end up with a fairly large gap each year that must be filled by unrestricted dollars, or dollars that can be spent on whatever we decide. This is why individual gifts to our general fund are so important and why we have a "green house campaign" as we end the year.

If anyone has other questions, please feel free to ask them! Thanks again for your interest.

Charles said...


Do you regularly come into contact with the poor? Do the people who wrote that essay? Not the statistically-defined poor, but the ones with real hunger, homelessness, and other problems that the essay briefly acknowledges and quickly dismisses.

I'll admit I don't, but I'm not sure how you (or the writers, who I'm guessing are your bosses based on your unrelenting promotion of their work) can contradict the systemic problems Larry sees every day. In case you actually do have ideas, what would you change to alleviate poverty? Or do you think nothing needs to be done, and everyone suffering is enduring the rightful consequences of their decisions?

Chris said...

No, Charles those were not my bosses. I am a retired little ol lady.

Nicholas Eberstadt, in his paper "The Mismeasure of Poverty" makes the point that the people in poverty in America today have the same lives that the middle class had 40 years ago. That tells you a lot about how much progress we actually have made in improving the lives for every American.

The liberals would love you to believe that capitalism doesn't work and grant government the power to redistribute all the wealth "fairly and equally" so that everybody suffers.

As Winston Cuurchill said,
"The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessing--the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of misery."

Charles said...


Is that a no?

Anonymous said...

It's ironic that most Americans are so adamantly against socialist principles of equality when the very doctrine that granted this very country independence proclaimed “all men are created equal”.

"That tells you a lot about how much progress we actually have made in improving the lives for every American."

To suggest that the progress in this country improves the life of every American is a fallacy. To say that today's poor are living at the standards of the middle class 40 years ago is not something to brag about...it is a shame.

Gross disparities in wealth are implicit and NECESSARY to capitalism. One should not confuse prosperity for some as prosperity for all. Without our poor, working and non-working, the rest of us could not enjoy all that we are so fortunate to enjoy. Unemployment is crucial to a stable economy and the poor are crucial to distribution of labor…that is undeniable.

Socialism may be a remote ideal that, in practice, tends to appeal to power-hungry dictators, but at least it does not build its fortunes on the misfortunes of the majority...it, in reality holds true that "all men are created equal".

Anonymous said...


I do not believe that poverty is about lack of "stuff." Poverty is not about being unable to have food and shelter, although that is certainly one of the more obvious manifestations of extreme poverty.

(FYI, hunger is INCREASING in the U.S.... see here)

Poverty is about lack of opportunity. It is about the inability to change own's one life. It is about the inalterable reality of life, and facing the fact that you cannot simply work your way out of your current state.


Chris said...


So what's keeping a person from changing his own life? Just because one was born poor is no reason to stay that way. My family was poor but my brother is a scientist. I would guess that most wealthy people had humble beginnings. BTW "all men are created equal" has nothing to do with socialism.

I think that alleviating poverty has more to do with the persons themselves than anyone else. They have to choose not to be in poverty, preferably when they are young adults.

Bob McKinsey said...

Chris, that is just ludicrous. People cannot will themselves out of entrenched poverty, particularly when racism stacks the deck against the majority of those who struggle with poverty.

Your idea sounds good in the white towers of elitist theory, but does not play out in practice. Congratulations to your brother for becoming a scientist. But what about the hundreds of others who are trying to rise above povery, but who have no opportunities to do so?

It's not a matter of choice. Get to know some poor people, and then you can decide how much "personal responsbility" has to do with their situation.

Chris said...

You liberals always drag out the race card. It was once valid but not anymore.

bob mckinsey said...

Chris, I suppose that you are a minority who has conducted a variety of studies to make that determination?

Because, if not, you have no idea what you are talking about. You've also not addressed the more susbtantive part of my comment about entrenched, generational poverty. I mentioned race merely alongside this more important reality.

bob mckinsey said...

This is also quite interesting:

New Office Created to Help New York’s Poor
Officials in New York announced this week plans to spend an extra $150-million a year in government and private money on fighting poverty, reports The New York Times.

The program, called the Center for Economic Opportunity, involves the creation of a new city office that would operate like a cross between a philanthropic foundation and a venture capital company, the newspaper said.

The program would administer a $100-million fund to support experimental programs, like giving cash rewards to encourage poor people to stay in school or receive preventive medical care, or matching their monthly bank deposits to encourage greater savings.

The office would also oversee a program giving tax credits to poor families to offset child-care costs. Officials plan to spend $42-million annually on the tax credit, $25-million to reward actions like attending school or prenatal education classes, and $11-million to help poor adults save money and learn sound financial practices.

The program calls for the office to spend $5-million a year on measuring progress, and $71-million on about 30 programs that administration officials say they are developing but declined to announce.