I am pleased to announce that our urban farming initiative, Bonton Farms, will be established as an independent mission in South Dallas. In 2013, under the leadership of Community Director Daron Babcock, we embarked on an ambitious mission to address the “food desert” conditions that plagued the residents of Bonton in South Dallas. As Bonton Farms grew into a commercial farming enterprise, it became clear that the farm was opening new areas of opportunity that went beyond the core strategy and mission of BridgeBuilders.
Rather than constraining the mission of Bonton Farms and/or diverting the mission of BridgeBuilders, the board and leadership of BridgeBuilders have decided that the best strategy for both missions would be to establish Bonton Farms as an independent entity with whom we will continue to partner in our efforts to alleviate poverty.
For those that have been acquainted with BridgeBuilders for several years, this is much like our efforts with the Eye Clinic and Community Staffing Services, operations that began within our walls, took on their own unique mission, and were launched as their own individual entities. Today, they continue to serve both BridgeBuilders constituents and the community at-large, allowing BridgeBuilders to remain focused on its gospel-centric mission.
This is an exciting development in the course of our twenty-year effort in the South Dallas community of Bonton. We believe that this will best position Bonton Farms to deliver the highest possible benefit to the food desert issue while keeping BridgeBuilders focused on its missionary strategy.
BridgeBuilders is a gospel-centered missionary organization that works to address the root causes of poverty that emanate from our broken relationship with God, self, others and creation. From the point of missionary contact, we begin by helping the poor grow spiritually, acquire essential life skills including financial education, offer access to professional counseling, receive employment training and finally job placement with our employer partners, thereby breaking the cycle of poverty in individuals, families and the community.
BridgeBuilders also serves hundreds of children and their families through its After-School and Youth Sports programs in Bonton with spiritual and character development, and much-needed academic support in a community in which only 49% typically graduate High School.
We look forward to seeing our impact increase as these two vital organizations go forward separately, but together, to remedy the plaguing problem of deprivation and suffering so common to our city.
-S. Michael Craven President, H.I.S. BridgeBuilders