Juneteenth Economic Forum and Marketplace Expo

By Kevin Spath
July 19, 2017

Staff members from the City’s Office of Economic Development (ECO) recently played a supporting role in the first annual Juneteenth Economic Forum and Marketplace Expo organized by the Friends of Zan Wesley Holmes, Jr. Community Outreach Center (ZWHJCOC) and held on Friday, June 16 and Saturday, June 17 at Dallas ISD’s Billy Earl Dade Middle School (2727 Al Lipscomb Way).

Free and open to the public, the Economic Forum and Marketplace Expo was designed to help advance the ZWHJCOC’s mission “to create self-sustaining pathways out of poverty for young people and their families in Dallas through education and job placement.”

“Sustaining Strong Communities: Faith-Based Collaboration at Work” was the theme for Friday’s event program. To help the community better understand public financing opportunities and tools, Kevin Spath and Heather Lepeska, staff members with ECO, presented an informative session entitled “Alphabet Soup of Public Finance: Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Districts, Public Improvement Districts (PID), and New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC).”

Heather Lepeska at ZWHJCOC Juneteenth Forum
Kevin Spath at ZWHJCOC Juneteenth Forum

Heather Lepeska and Kevin Spath with Dallas ECO. Photo credit: Friends of Zan Wesley Holmes, Jr. Community Outreach Center

Richard Carrizales with Dallas ECO also participated in a panel session on Saturday, when the event’s theme for the day was “Salute to Entrepreneurs in the Food & Beauty Industries.”

The goals of the Juneteenth Economic Forum were to:

  • Create community collaboratives that work
  • Engage emerging community developers who will recreate their neighborhoods
  • Educate collaboratives on how to leverage economic resources at the local, state, and federal levels
  • Increase the number of entrepreneurs living in South Dallas in the food and beauty industries

Other presenters included representatives of entities and agencies such as:

  • BOK Financial
  • Bonton Farms
  • Cafe Momentum
  • Comerica Bank
  • Cornerstone Baptist Church
  • •Dallas Area Interfaith
  • Harmony CDC Counseling Center
  • Highland Hills United Methodist Church
  • Innercity Community Development Corporation
  • Oasis Center
  • State Fair of Texas
Richard (002)

Richard Carrizales with Dallas ECO. Photo credit: Friends of Zan Wesley Holmes, Jr. Community Outreach Center

Other session topics included:

  • Banking in our Neighborhoods: The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA)
  • The Art of Leveraging: Taking advantage of public and private financial resources
  • Forming Collaboratives
  • Fast-Food Franchising
  • Growing a Food Oasis: Farm-to-table fresh urban farming
  • Recovery: Moving from trauma to physical and economic strength
  • Spirits in Motion: Successful local faith-based collaboratives that work

ZWHJCOC was incorporated as a 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization in April 2003, as an extension of the outreach Programs of St. Luke "Community" United Methodist Church, under the direction of Dr. Zan W. Holmes, Jr., who served as senior pastor for 29 years.