John Greenan and I have been partners (some would say "in crime") in one fashion or another since 1999. That was the year that John and Ken Koonce founded Central Dallas Ministries' public interest law firm. John had practiced law with both large firms and in his own firm before leaving that career track to work with low-income folks full-time.
Then, about five years ago, John made another shift. This time inside the world of CDM.
Responding to a short "white paper" I had written about our community's expressed desire for improved and affordable housing, John went to work to found the Central Dallas Community Development Corporation. These days John leads that organization as its Executive Director.
I don't mean to embarrass him, but Greenan is an amazing guy. He can turn a wild idea--and the two of us seem to have no shortage of those--into a feasible reality quicker than any person I've ever known!
He's the brains behind our Downtown project, CityWalk@Akard. He's guided that deal through every exciting, torturous step so far! If we prove successful in this endeavor, it will be because of John's leadership.
More recently, John proposed a gated community of small, single-family cottages for the homeless at a perfect location out in a North Dallas neighborhood. The neighbors didn't much like it, but it was a fantastic plan. No telling what might have happened if they had given him a chance to explain!
John is a great lawyer. He also has a graduate degree in comparative literature. And, he seems to know something interesting about just about everything! He also is a canoe addict! When under stress, John simply buys another canoe. At last count, I think he had nine! Not long ago he was considering buying a canoe factory to bring to inner city Dallas as a jobs center!
Pragmatic, smart, hard working (never seen anyone work harder) and creative, I'm glad to call this guy friend and partner!
By the way, if you ever meet John ask him about the craziest thing he ever did while a student at Michigan State!
Larry's new book, now available from Amazon.com! Also, now in Kindle format! To place your order visit Amazon.com today! Also, available at Barnes and Noble bookstores and on the web. Click on the image above to order!
Larry James' Urban Daily
A repository of ideas, resources, commentary and opinions concerning the issues facing low-income residents of the inner cities of the United States and how mainstream America largely forgets or, worse, ignores the day-to-day realities of urban life for the so-called "poor." Written and edited by the President & CEO of CitySquare. Please visit CitySquare.
Today and throughout 2013, we need your support to continue our life-changing work in inner-city Dallas. Every day hundreds of our wonderful neighbors arrive at our doors seeking our assistance, offering their help and prepared to pursue a better life. Frankly, the folks we "serve" make essential contributions to the scope, nature and soul of the work we attempt. At CitySquare we honor and recognize the amazing value and richness of our low-income neighbors. During 2012, almost 55,000 different people received the benefit of our wide-ranging services designed to assist in the process of building better lives. We need your help TODAY as we continue to respond to the needs of our community. Even more, we need you to become our PARTNER in the work of compassion and community renewal--work that continues day after day at CitySquare.