United Way of Denton County (UWDC) announced the purchase, partial renovation, and future development plans for a 24,000 sq. ft. building in the Shady Oaks complex on Teasley Lane at a private supporter event hosted at the building. With Phases I and II of the Improving Lives project complete, the organization seeks donors for the final renovation in Phase III.
Until recently, UWDC leased a 4,870 sq. ft. office suite at the Shady Oaks complex which was shared in collaboration with partner agencies, Collective Impact Initiatives, daily operations, and fundraising. Between the multiple uses and the limited space, capacity for further collaboration was limited.
In a story reported by the Denton Record-Chronicle on 11/28/2017, United Way of Denton County had announced the public phase of the Improving Lives Capital Campaign to build a new building for its expanding initiatives to serve a growing Denton County. Charles Brown, a long-time United Way supporter and owner of the Shady Oaks complex, saw that story and reached out with a generous, owner-financed offer for UWDC to purchase the Teasley Lane building.
“Mr. Brown’s proposal included long-term commercial tenants in half of the building which reduced our monthly expenses by nearly 1/3 while immediately doubling functional space needed to efficiently serve the Denton County community,” said Mark Merki, United Way of Denton County Board Treasurer. “Our board is committed to the lowest possible infrastructure overhead enabling us to invest the greatest percentage of donor dollars into programs and initiatives to meet the growing complexity of our community’s needs.”
As UWDC progressed from construction of a new building to purchase and renovation of the Teasley building, the organization personally contacted each existing Improving Lives donor and received unanimous consent to purchase the building, completing Phase I.
Since the closing, UWDC worked with Mr. Brown to complete Phase II, providing a new roof on the building and renovating 3,500 sq. ft. of space. Phase II was completed in October 2018, giving partial overcrowding relief for over 36 community groups who utilize the building on a regular basis through UWDC programs and initiatives, along with UWDC volunteers, interns, and staff.
“Phases I and II are complete thanks to the Improving Lives donations from 2017-2018 and Mr. Brown’s generosity,” said United Way of Denton County President and CEO Gary Henderson. “The Improving Lives Capital Campaign moves into Phase III with a need of $1.5 million to realize the United Way of Denton County Community Complex to better serve our neighbors and expand our mission to repair and restore lives as we eliminate redundancies and increase efficiencies across Denton County.”
Phase III involves the renovation of the remaining 8,500 sq. ft. which includes an expanded multi-purpose auditorium, rooms to meet confidentially with clients such as Denton Housing Authority and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, a safe and secure children’s room for families seeking assistance, additional work spaces for volunteers, interns, and staff, and additional collaborative work and training space. Phase III also includes a much-needed parking lot expansion and elevation improvements. Once complete, the United Way Community Complex will support county-wide collaborations across various public and private sectors to solve complex socioeconomic problems like poverty, homelessness, and mental illness to improve and transform lives of people in need today and into the future as Denton County continues to grow.
(Cover photo credit: Jefferee Woo, DRC)