Leadership that Transforms Dallas

Story and photos by Jan Osborn.

Dallas Leadership Foundation (DLF) workdays started in 1998, yet it has collaborated with Transform Dallas since 2016. Transform Dallas allows volunteers from DLF neighborhoods to partner with organizations such as BEHR Paints, The BOLOS Foundation, Friendship West Baptist Church, Hamilton Park UMC, Highland Park Presbyterian Church, the Home Depot, The Pauline Allen Gill Foundation, Prestoncrest Church of Christ, Texas Instruments, and Primera Iglesia Bautista. These partnerships allow DLF volunteers to bring much-needed improvements to their community. Work areas include landscaping yards, painting homes, cleaning alleyways, and assembling and delivering care packages.

On June 18, 2022, over 300 volunteers from different backgrounds gathered at Hamilton Park, Wynnewood, Owenwood, West Dallas, Bertrand, Highland Park Presbyterian, and 10th Street Historic to work on community projects to serve residents throughout Dallas. During this one-day event, local leaders of the neighborhoods and community-based nonprofits received the support and resources needed to complete projects to improve their communities.

We had the opportunity to discuss Transform Dallas and what it means to its leaders this past event day. 

Gary Cochran, Algernon Smalley, Crystal Chavira and Dan Chappel.


“At Prestoncrest, the most significant thing about our involvement with Dallas Leadership Foundation is their commitment to Jesus and their commitment to relationships,” said Gary Cochran of Urban Missions, Prestoncrest Church of Christ. “DLF comes alongside leaders in neighborhoods, schools, and prisons to help the leaders do what they’re already doing. They don’t come in and try to tell people what to do. They come alongside and empower them. And that won my heart because that’s what we try to do at Prestoncrest.”

The Dallas Leadership Foundation’s Community Work Days have impacted over 33,000 lives, including the leaders, citizens, and volunteers it serves. Through Transform Dallas, leaders and citizens alike can witness how not only one act of leadership changes lives but how the collective acts of leadership shown by the countless volunteers can genuinely change our city. 

“We coordinate all of the side projects from the different churches involved and sites across the city. Most of our projects are beautification and landscaping,” said Resource Coordinator of the Dallas Leadership Foundation, Crystal Chavira. “We also have partners who write letters to those incarcerated or send thank you packages and letters to our teachers. So it’s not just beautification and outdoor projects; we also believe in healing the soul and helping others within Dallas. We want to give them hope.”


Ultimately, this program improves the quality of life for elderly and low-income neighbors across the City of Dallas. The Transform Dallas Core Planning Team is a consortium of diverse leaders who decide and prepare for the work projects before the event. Since 1995, Dallas Leadership Foundation (DLF) has partnered with 1,580 businesses, faith-based organizations, churches, schools, and other partners to transform communities in Dallas. 

“At DLF, we make sure that we are living up to the commitment that we have to the city,” said Algernon Smalley, Chief Administrative Officer of Dallas Leadership Foundation. “One thing that happens with the Transform Dallas event is that it brings together a diverse group of churches, corporate partners, and volunteers. The groups show up on the day of service, and it becomes more about the relationships we’re trying to build for long-term change. We don’t want it just to be one day, which is why when we partner with churches like Prestoncrest, Highland Park Presbyterian, Friendship West, and others, we do that knowing that throughout the year, we’re going to be doing all the events together.”


The Dallas Leadership Foundation has served the Dallas community with meaningful programs and service opportunities for over 25 years. To learn more about Dallas Leadership Foundation and how to get involved, go to DLFTX.org. Currently, the Dallas Leadership Foundation is conducting their Transform Dallas Initiative, which will be generously matched by an anonymous donor dollar for dollar up to $30,000 until July 4, 2022. To donate, please visit https://www.dlftx.org/donation

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