Donation tagged to help pay for construction of center’s new facilities
DAVID TAFFET | Staff Writer
In what has been described as the second-largest gift ever given to an LGBT organization by a living donor, Dallas couple Eric V. Culbertson and David W. Carlson have pledged $2 million to Resource Center Dallas, officials announced this week.
RCD Executive Director and CEO Cece Cox said the donation would be used to help pay for construction of a new building that will consolidate programs and double the agency’s available space. Property has been purchased for the new building on the corner of Cedar Springs and Inwood roads.
Cox said that the center has already hit the 30 percent mark in its effort to raise the $12 million needed for the new facility.
“We’re aiming to break ground in 2014 and move in 2015,” she said.
Cox said that the donation was a result of building a strong relationship but the money was pledged after the couple took a tour of the center’s facilities.
She said they told her, “We had no idea you did all this.”
Culbertson is the owner of Salon Three-Thirty located in Uptown at 2510 Cedar Springs Road. For the past several months he has offered yoga classes at Resource Center Dallas through his new non-profit group, Strength Through Yoga, which takes “the empowering aspects of yoga to organizations and individuals who can use it to heal and strengthen the mind, body and soul.”
Carlson is the founding chief financial officer of GameStop. The Grapevine-based video game and entertainment software retailer has more than 6,500 stores worldwide and is ranked 255th on the Fortune 500. GameStop has been the presenting sponsor of Black Tie Dinner for several years.
Carlson retired from GameStop recently and is now co-owner of Uptown Energy Fitness in West Village.
The couple declined to be interviewed for this story but released comments in a statement.
“The driving force for our donation was the center’s staff,” Culbertson said. “They make [the center] what it is, working so hard and doing so much.”
“After touring all the facilities, and understanding the full scope of services, we knew that the center needed to have a new building, and very soon,” Carlson said.
Cox said she wanted others in the community who are not familiar with Resource Center Dallas to come tour the facilities.
“I want people to come meet our staff. They’re so passionate and so great at what they do,” Cox said. “We are the only organization who does what we do. We started in this community and are still in this community.”
She said that in Dallas two-thirds of new HIV infections are in the LGBT community, higher than the national average.
“People are living longer so we’re caring for them longer. And our dental program is one of only two in Dallas,” that is providing care to people with HIV who cannot access care elsewhere, Cox said.
Although the Nelson Tebedo Clinic recently added a new dental room, the new building will allow the agency to increase services.
In addition to HIV services, RCD runs a number of programs for the LGBT community, Cox said, adding, “There’s more and more demand for our cultural competency training.”
The center recently completed sensitivity training for 700 Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission employees statewide, and Communications and Programs Manager Rafael McDonnell, who has participated in most of the TABC training classes, said that the last class included TABC Administrator Alan Steen.
Cox said that the state agency recently signed a new contract with Resource Center to continue services. She also pointed out the counseling program RCD provides in conjunction with Southern Methodist University.
David Chard, dean of the SMU School of Education that administers the program, said that when he began the program he was told that no one would want to participate in it. He said there has been a waiting list of counseling students who want to work at RCD.
Cox said that the program is currently limited by lack of space. She said that the lunch program is one of the center’s great successes. United Way representatives told her that they saw a real sense of community among those who participated.
“They could go elsewhere for a meal,” Cox said, but they come to the Resource Center where they are welcomed.
To expand programs, Cox said RCD needs its new building. She is looking to develop more relationships like that with Culbertson and Carlson.
“Donors are relationships,” she said.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 5, 2011.