Denton nonprofit supports residents with varied needs – North Texas Daily

Sitting on five acres of land, the nonprofit Serve Denton is home to 19 nonprofits that help Denton County residents with all their needs.

“We are the second largest nonprofit in Texas [that focuses on social services]Said Ian Harber, communications director for Serve Denton and resident of Denton. “Basically, the concept of a non-profit center is that the center itself does not provide direct services. They associate [with] and they help organizations that provide direct services.

The center helps the non-profit organizations it houses save money and unite with other residents. Of the 19 nonprofits they partner with, 14 have their own offices in Serve Denton, so their location offers people many services at once.

“It’s great because people who really need it have one place to get all the services they need,” said Harber. “People in need or in poverty spend a lot of time, more than you probably think, waiting in line and filling out paperwork. “

Serve Denton was founded in 2012 and started out in laptops at Denton Bible Church before moving to the old church sanctuary, where they paid a dollar a year in rent. After being there for a few years, Denton Calvary Academy bought the space from Serve Denton for $ 1 million, which they used to buy the space they are in now.

“In eight years, we’ve gone from a few laptops behind a church with a few partners to a $ 10 million organization with 19 partners,” Harber said.

Serve Denton is able to support the nonprofits they host to help them cut costs and share resources, as well as introduce them to a new customer base.

“All of our partners pay roughly, if not less, at 50% of the market rate for rent here, which includes office space, shared spaces, copier, printer, office supplies, wifi, sort of the whole thing – that’s all included in that, ”Harber said. “They save a lot of money just by being here, which allows them to grow, to hire more staff, to expand their services, which ultimately allows them to help more people. “

Harber said Serve Denton has a method for determining the types of nonprofits they work with, and it helps them cover all the bases of what people may need.

“We have something that we call the ‘self-reliance ladder’,” Harber said. “It’s adapted from [the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development], their criteria for moving from poverty to self-sufficiency. We organize it into a scale, and it’s based on that.

Since the different nonprofits are housed in one building, they are able to form relationships that might not have been established otherwise.

“To be able to [have and] having one office in one place with different nonprofit agencies brings a ton of community, ”Harber said. “A lot of this work can be really lonely when you’re scattered across town, and we’re all trying to do the same thing, which is to help people, just in our own way. “

Health Services of North Texas is a non-profit organization that has been able to expand its reach since joining Serve Denton, and its mission is to provide adequate and affordable medical care and support to all residents of North Texas. .

“The Serve Denton Center strategically places [Health Services of North Texas] in the heart of the Denton community, in an easily accessible location for residents of Denton and surrounding communities such as Aubrey and Cross Roads, ”said Doreen Rue, CEO of Health Services of North Texas and a registered clinical social worker.

Due to its central location, North Texas Health Services may have had a greater impact on the community than ever before.

“The Serve Denton Center offered [Health Services of North Texas] the opportunity to expand our services and footprint, increasing the ability to meet growing needs with additional space and suppliers, ”said Rue.

Grace Like Rain is another non-profit organization housed at Serve Denton and provides case management services to people in difficulty in Denton County. Serve Denton gave them the option of having more space to provide these services.

“[Grace Like Rain] hosts monthly community groups and life skills classes in the Serve Denton boardroom and classroom, ”said Michelle Conner, CEO and Founder of Grace Like Rain and resident of Argyle. “Using the space at a fraction of the cost of most places has been a huge benefit to our families and our organization. “

Employees of Serve Denton’s nonprofits appreciate the camaraderie that comes with the concept of a nonprofit center.

“It’s inspiring to see so many people in one place working to make this community a better place,” said Conner. “The opportunities to collaborate and provide a full range of services to those in need have been extremely beneficial for our families. “

Serve Denton plans other developments to expand even further, Harber said. In the coming weeks, the new pantry will open its doors. In the future, they plan to complete the parts of the building that have not yet been developed to create more office space for current nonprofits and hopefully add more organizations to help. to serve the community.

“We really can all do more together than separately,” Harber said.

For more information on specific services and non-profit organizations, visit www.servedenton.org

Featured Image: Bulk food storage facility within the Denton Community Food Center located at the Serve Denton location on January 22, 2020. Image by Alyssa Tranbarger

This story was updated on February 1 to reflect changes from Serve Denton.

Virginia S. Braud