Recession, cost changes causing budget, timeline to fluctuate, but campaign manager promises new, larger facility will be built

Tammye Nash  |  Senior Editor

Sharon Neal
Sharon Neal

Faced with costs for building new facilities that could range from $8 million to $12 million, officials with Resource Center Dallas recently announced that Sharon Neal had been hired as director of the center’s ongoing capital campaign.

Neal brings with her some 20 years’ worth of experience raising funds for nonprofit organizations. She worked previously with Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS, with the KIPP Truth Academy and the Dallas Women’s Museum, among others.

Neal said this week that the ongoing economic recession has slowed progress on fundraising for the new center.

“We had thought we would be further along by now,” she said. “Right now, we are still in a quiet mode. This really isn’t a broad-based campaign in the community.”

Being in a quiet mode, she explained, means that the center is right now focusing on raising funds from individual donors, and that individual donors “usually account for about 30 percent to 50 percent of your overall goal.”

The campaign will broaden and reach out for support from the general community in the months to come.

Rafael McDonnell, strategic communications and programs manager for RCD, said the recession and other concerns have caused both the budget and the timeline for completion of the new center to fluctuate.

“Estimates on the cost of the construction have changed,” McDonnell said. “For example, the cost of concrete has gone up and come down several times, and that has really played havoc with our budget. Right now, we are having to make some guesses about costs.

“Of course, if the economy turns around, we will be able to raise more money easier. But at the same time, costs could go up, because more new housing construction will start, and that will make things like the concrete more expensive and harder to find.”

Despite the difficulties, though, Neal said the project will move ahead. “We are all committed to building a place that will really serve the whole community — the LGBT community and the HIV community, but also the community at large,” she said. “We are committed to creating the place you know you can come to for help and for answers on LGBT issues, HIV/AIDS issues and community issues in general.”

The new facility, intended to be large enough to house all of the center’s various programs including the food pantry and the Nelson-Tebedo Clinic, will be built near the intersection of Cedar Springs Road and Inwood Road.

For information or to donate to Resource Center Dallas’ capital campaign, contact Sharon Neal at the center by calling 214-528-0144.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 01, 2010.