South Dallas Organization
Two SMU professors, Dr. Lynch and Dr. Earle, have helped create the South Dallas Organization. This organization helps reduce the food desert in South Dallas. They strive to find market demand to create commercial activity, economic opportunity, quality housing and basic economic, social and cultural amenities within South Dallas.
A short Q&A with Dr. Earle, a key contributor to the South Dallas Organization
Q: Please introduce yourself and tell us about your life outside of the classroom.
A: Five years ago, I took a financial package from the global IT Outsourcing company where I had been the VP of Global Technical Operations (900 employees in my department across four continents). Not knowing exactly what I wanted to do, but determined to reinvent myself for good, I asked my college-age son (a serial entrepreneur himself) what he thought I should do. He said without hesitation, “Dad go out and meet 500 people, the path will reveal itself”. I will be darned if he wasn’t spot on.
I first joined the Coalition for a New Dallas. Here, I met and began consulting for the nonprofit Zip Code Connection in South Dallas. I worked to optimize their approach to rebuilding the community. Then I engaged Frazier Revitalization, doing a similar role. Two partners and I started an LLC, Dallas Unity Fund. We began purchasing vacant south Dallas lots through Dallas County auctions – with the idea to allocate workforce housing via our lots. I started as an adjunct at UTD (Economics of Healthcare) and met Dr. Lynch and started my adjunct journey with SMU CCPA.
I just stepped down as Board Chair of Bridge Lacrosse Dallas (sports & more for underserved youth), and am Board Chair for Green Careers Dallas (creating green-collar jobs in South Dallas), and am on the board of Miles of Freedom (the founder of who is in the running for CNN Hero of the year. I am also part of several community initiatives around entrepreneurship and self-gentrification. The regular community groups include Bertrand Community Group and 2nd Avenue Merchants Association.
Q: What is South Dallas Organization?
A: South Dallas’ goal is to create a sustainable, complete solution for self-directed, community building, rather than solely relying on philanthropy. South Dallas, TX is one of the largest food deserts in the country. This organization works to eliminate the food desert and help those currently affected by it.
We have partnered with Restorative Farms, Get Healthy Dallas, BigTex Farm and Frazier Revitalization to create an urban agriculture system. This will support and manage community garden projects such as DART Hatcher Station Community Garden Training Farm. These efforts will drive collaboration between the community, SMU and other educational institutions and like-minded partners in pursuit of addressing the needs of underserved communities.
Q: Are there any exciting things happening with South Dallas Organization that students should tune into?
A: Restorative Farms & Get Healthy Dallas are leveraging an opportunity to build a large community garden and urban agriculture training facility. It will be located on land leased from Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART). This will bring real, positive change to South Dallas.