About Us

The mission of the Ferguson Road Initiative (FRI) is to engage and empower a community of advocates to advance a safe, beautiful, prosperous and proud Far East Dallas.

FRI facilitates the community’s vision for the complete economic revitalization of Far East Dallas, guided by our core values; Leadership, Community, Respect, Integrity, Stewardship.

Established in 1998 as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, the Ferguson Road Initiative was formed by neighborhood leadership. We united and began proactively addressing crime issues that were the root cause of the area’s urban blight, business degeneration, retail abandonment, poor DISD school performance, substandard multi-family housing and diminishing property values. Today, FRI engages in law enforcement, community policing, health, education, and housing initiatives in a holistic effort to restore this Far East Dallas community through crime reduction, public safety, economic development, and quality of life programs benefiting more than 93,000 residents.

“The Ferguson Road Initiative has spent the last 13 years working to ‘weed out’ crime and to ‘seed in’ human resources by growing people, their lives and their families.

Now they are looking towards the next decade at how to grow their economy by uniting the business community with their residents. They are looking towards the future, they are mastering the art of fusing the pro bono abilities of their volunteers and leaders to find entrepreneurial ways to reshape and restore their community.

Former Mayor Mike Rawlings

From 2000 to 2011, FRI addressed community challenges through a U.S. Department of Justice federally funded program, Weed & Seed. By “weeding” out crime and “seeding” in economic development and social services programs, the residents and businesses in this community now see signs of restoration and revitalization. FRI-managed programs specifically target families who are the most vulnerable and have raised the quality of life for all who live, work, worship, attend school, and play in the area. By working together, the community is achieving its vision and momentum is growing. In April 2011, the federal Weed & Seed grants were complete. While this significant funding stream no longer exists, FRI has moved from a Public Provider to a Member Motivator model for its funding stream. This model is called the FRI Community Connection. FRI is sustaining and will expand its programs as it builds revenue streams through this membership-based program. Members include residents, local business, corporate initiatives, individual contributions and foundation grants.

Today, FRI is a grassroots community-based organization made of approximately 37 Neighborhood Associations, Crime Watch, and Volunteer-in-Patrol groups, law enforcement, nonprofits, apartments, businesses, faith-based groups, schools and other concerned constituencies, all working towards accomplishing our shared vision and mission

What We Do — At a Glance

From inception, FRI has worked as a pass-through advocacy organization to help address crime, urban blight, lack of economic development and poor public-school student performance. Crime has been successfully reduced through partnerships with local law enforcement agencies and the mobilization of approximately 37 neighborhoods. There is renewed investment in the community with the construction of affordable, middle and high-income housing, as well as new retail stores. FRI has also established solid relationships with area public schools. School programs to promote family involvement, recruit volunteers, and provide after school programming and academic enrichment opportunities on campuses, such as family field trips, help increase parental involvement in public schools.

Who We Serve

The FRI service area covers 93,290 residents, 26,980 households and 2,000 unique business entities.

Far East Dallas is a diverse community. Our community includes a mix of residents – 20% African-American, 46% Hispanic, 30% Caucasian and 4% Other. Equally diverse, we are comprised of high, medium, and low-income residents, with an average income of $40,160. The broad ethnic diversity and wide economic disparity make our community unique in that it contains areas of high wealth and also pockets of deep poverty.

Located in Far East Dallas, FRI boundaries include Interstate 30 to the Dallas City Limits at Mesquite to Interstate 635 to Garland Road to White Rock Creek; FRI is contained entirely within Dallas County, Texas. SEE THE NEIGHBORHOOD MAP.

A History of Impact & Results

Crime is down: A $2 Million U.S. Department of Justice Weed & Seed grant awarded to the FRI communities of White Rock Hills (2000-2005) and White Rock East (2006-2011) helped address the crime rate which at that time was among the highest in the city. Through Weed & Seed, FRI achieved an initial 61% reduction in violent crime and a 25% reduction in overall crime in these areas. Today, DPD crime reports indicate crime has plummeted in Far East Dallas by 40% over the past 20 years. FRI works with law enforcement and continues to seek funding for public safety initiatives.

Neighborhoods are Unified: Since 1998, FRI has grown from 5 to 37 neighborhood associations and crime watch groups who work together to successfully raise the quality of life in Far East Dallas. More than 4,499 FRI volunteers have logged 96,033 hours of volunteer service at a combined value of $2,328,229.99 over the past 20 years!

Schools and Social Services are on the rise: FRI creates unique partnerships with nonprofits that provide needed programs that serve our “at-risk” youth and families. FRI’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program has returned over $22 Million to approximately 12,000 FRI families over 15 years.

In addition, other FRI programs serve the community by helping provide financial literacy training to residents, assist with supporting Airbag Recall efforts and facilitating distribution of Air Conditioners to the needy.

Economic Development attracts investment and increases home values: FRI has facilitated $245 Million of investment in high, middle and affordable housing and retail along and near Ferguson Road. FRI’s efforts have helped increase property values by more than 41.73% since 2000!

Capital improvements improve quality of life for all: FRI’s Bond Committee has successfully secured over $40MM in bond programs since 1998. These funds have improved our neighborhood streets, bridges, parks and provided flood mitigation and brought neighborhood amenities like our $8.5MM White Rock Hills Branch Library (2012) and $10MM for land acquisition for our White Rock Hills Community Recreation CENTER!

On the horizon: FRI’s next BIG project is to build a trail spur linking the Ash Creek Greenbelt, St. Francis Park, White Rock Hills Park, and future White Rock Hills Community Recreation CENTER to the city-wide trail system. The trail, the park and the future CENTER will all address the current critical need for green space and fill the recreation gap that has existed in this community for 20+ years!

In the meantime, FRI is partnering with White Rock United Methodist Church to develop the Owenwood Farm & Neighbor Space that will provide quality of life programs and services NOW for the vulnerable in our community. We are also working with Destination Inc, a nonprofit dedicated to developing the first Senior Village “age-in-place” program for one of our fastest growing demographics, our area seniors.

FRI — “By the Numbers” over 20 Years

A History of Earned Respect Through Collaboration with

  • 5 Dallas mayors, 4 City Managers, 11 Councilpersons and 5 Police Chiefs

A History of Empowerment

  • 37 organized neighborhoods, homeowner associations, crime watch and VIP programs
  • $2 Million in federal funding from the Department of Justice to fight crime (2000-2011)

A History of Community Leadership

  • 1 new city park, White Rock Hills Park (scheduled for completion Fall 2019)
  • 1 crime magnet motel torn down in 2005 (Ferguson Rd. & I-30)
  • 40% reduction in overall crime in target areas since 1998
  • 3 crime and gang-ridden apartments torn down (Rosewood, Crestwood, Casa Blanca)
  • Organize and Lead numerous community meetings to define requirements for planned multi-generational Community Center
  • 8 Election Forums organized and hosted to help constituents make informed decisions concerning Dallas Mayor and City Council Districts 7 and 9

A History of Adding Value

  • 12,000 families received free tax return preparation over 15 years, helping keeping $22 Million in our community and away from predatory service providers
  • 1 new $8.5 Million White Rock Hills Library
  • $10 Million for a new wing at. W. Truett Elementary School
  • 96,033 hours of service to FRI donated by 4,499 volunteers at a combined value of over $2,328,229.99 since 1998
  • 1 skate park at Lakeland Hills Park, the first in the city
  • 1 spray ground at Ferguson Park, the first in the city
  • 12 Operation Beautification litter cleanup events, with more than 3,000 bags of trash collected
  • $300 Million in quality economic development facilitated
  • 3 town hall meetings organized and hosted to gauge interest and enlist support for Uplift Education (a DFW charter school organization) proposing to build a $6 Million K-5th grade school at 7203 Ferguson Road, the gateway to the Ferguson Rd. corridor, completed in August 2016.

A History of Communication and Civic Engagement

  • 86 FRI Community Connection Town Hall and Weed & Seed Steering Committee meetings
  • 32 free editions of “FRIdays” news magazine published – each with circulation of ~18,000, funded through advertising by more than 100 area businesses
  • 260 “NewsFlash” e-newsletter issues published to community subscribers
  • 8 Election Forums organized and hosted to help constituents make informed decisions concerning Dallas Mayor and City Council Districts 7 and 9

A History of Advocacy and Integrity

  • 200-plus partnerships with City of Dallas departments, law enforcement, nonprofits, and other agencies serving Far East Dallas
  • 11,037,600 minutes of working together ‘for the greater good,’ as of our 20th anniversary