Community Partnerships

Engage Dallas counts on strong collaborators. Our student leaders and team members work with both on- and off-campus partners.


Graphic showing the words Think Big in read textured font and SMU & Dallas in blue sans serif.


"Engage Dallas" with Community Partners

Partnering with the community is a critical part of Engage Dallas. We take intentional steps to ensure that we serve with the community in effective and efficient ways, and our partners help us make this possible. Join us!

Residential Commons Partners


Engage Dallas worked with each Residential Commons —led by current student leaders— to identify a community need in south or west Dallas. Student leaders utilized videos, surveys, social media campaigns, and focused-discussions to identify the community need they would commit to as a Commons.

Then the Engage Dallas team worked with students to identify three to six nonprofit organizations or community agencies actively addressing that community need in the Dallas area.

Familiarize yourself with each Residential Commons, their community-identified need, and their affiliated community partners.  

Armstrong Commons Crest

Armstrong Commons

Homelessness is defined as the situation of an individual, family, or community that is without stable, safe, permanent, appropriate housing, or the immediate means and ability of acquiring it. Those experiencing homelessness might be living in a place not meant for human habitation, in an emergency shelter, in transitional housing, or are exiting an institution where they temporarily resided.

Community Partners:

  • Austin Street Center - Austin Street Center provides safe shelter and meets the basic needs of the most vulnerable homeless. Austin Street Center’s goal is to help clients transition from homelessness to independence. #HelpThemHome.
  • The Bridge - Founded in May of 2008, the Bridge’ mission is to empower adults experiencing homelessness in Dallas with the tools to homeless recovery as they move into sustainable housing.
  • The Stewpot - The Stewpot's mission is to help men and women experiencing or at risk of homelessness in Dallas.
Boaz Commons Crest

Boaz Commons

Food insecurity is defined as the disruption of food intake or eating patterns because of lack of resources—financial and otherwise. The USDA defines food insecurity as a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life. Food insecurity can lead to poor performance in work and/or school as well as other long-lasting effects.

Community Partners:

  • CitySquare - CitySquare fights the causes & effects of poverty through service, advocacy & friendship.
  • Mission Oak Cliff - Mission Oak Cliff commits to breaking the cycle of poverty in the Oak Cliff community. As an expression of Christ’s love, we improve food security, encourage meaningful relationships, & teach life skills.
  • North Texas Food Bank - Founded in 1982, the North Texas Food Bank (NTFB) is a nonprofit hunger relief organization that distributes donated and purchased foods through a network of more than 200 Partner Agencies in 13 counties. In South Dallas specifically, we serve with 2 NTFB partner gardens, Our Saviour Community Garden and Sunny South Community Garden.
Cockrell-McIntosh Commons crest

Cockrell-McIntosh Commons

College access and preparation programs help students navigate the college application landscape, from testing to visits, financial aid, and transitioning into varying college experiences. College access programs are especially important for those schools and communities who do not have adequate resource to help their students navigate the college and university landscape.

Community Partners: 

  • Crowned Scholars - Crowned Scholars is a Dallas, TX based proactive non-profit organization whose essential focus is to build the holistic young black man through academic mentoring, intentional conversations, and civic engagement.
  • Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas - To build strong girls of courage confidence and character to make the world a better place.
  • LNESC - The mission of the LULAC National Educational Service Centers is to provide educational and leadership opportunities to create lifelong learners and leaders within the Hispanic community. We seek to develop America’s future workforce by effectively preparing young people for the jobs of the new economy.
Crum Commons crest

Crum Commons

The arts can have positive impact within different communities and aid how we understand and address social problems. Art-based activities, paired with community-identified needs, serve as an intentional form of engagement with multiple social problems.

Community Partners:

  • Bishop Arts Theatre Center - Bishop Arts Theatre Center (BATC) is an award-winning, multicultural, multidisciplinary arts institution with IRC 501 (c)(3) tax-exempt status. Founded in September of 1993, our mission is to cultivate a diverse and vibrant arts community committed to social impact, while creating opportunities for local and emerging artists to develop new, contemporary, and lasting works that celebrate the diversity and resiliency of our community.
  • Remembering Black Dallas - to preserve and promote the African American life, history, artifacts, and culture of Dallas and its surrounding cities.
  • The Senior Source - The Senior Source began in 1961 as the Senior Citizens Foundation of Dallas, providing assistance to older adults in Texas. Today, the Senior Source has served over 27,000 older adults in the greater Dallas area, mobilizing over 3,200 older adult volunteers and educating 37,000.
Kathy Crow Commons crest

Kathy Crow Commons

Environmental injustices are defined as problems with environmental systems and resources that may have emerged as a result of human developed infrastructure and interference. Additional social issues may emerge as a result, which can impact surrounding communities and have long-lasting effects.

Community Partners:

  • Greenspace Dallas - The mission of Greenspace Dallas is to collaboratively develop national park quality recreation areas in the Trinity River Corridor while empowering and preparing youth to become future stewards of the environment.
  • Restorative Farms - Restorative Farms is a self-sustaining, nonprofit, farm system whose mission is to create a professional, agri-system, principally, in our under-served communities by providing GroBoxes, seedlings, soil, jobs, the knowledge and capacity to grow fresh vegetables.
  • Trinity River Audubon Center - Our mission is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth’s biological diversity.
Loyd Commons crest

Loyd Commons

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math are subjects essential to success in today’s society. These fields of study have historically lacked diversity. By promoting STEM subjects and interest in jobs related to STEM, it helps the fields produce more diverse and innovative solutions and workforces.

Community Partners:

  • Jubilee Park and Community Center - The mission of Jubilee Park & Community Center is to be a catalyst for comprehensive community revitalization and enrichment in Southeast Dallas.
  • RowDallas - RowDallas is a program to make the sport of rowing more accessible to Dallas youth, helping students to succeed on and off the water. RowDallas is a strategic collaboration between Dallas United Crew, Dallas ISD, the City of Dallas and Dallas Park and Recreation.
  • The West Dallas STEM School - The mission is to engage students in an inclusive and interdisciplinary STEM environment to develop academic, social, and life skills; health and wealth awareness; and cultural literacy that will prepare them for higher learning and global careers.
Mary Hay, Peyton, Shuttles Commons crest

Mary Hay, Peyton, Shuttles Commons

Refugees are people who have fled war, violence, conflict or persecution and have crossed an international border to find safety in another country. Immigration and refugee support involve helping refugees and displaced people with access to resources, education, transitional programs, and support programs.

Community Partners:

  • Dallas Furniture Bank - Providing furniture to families transitioning from homelessness; restoring normalcy and independence.
  • Heart House - Their mission is to use education as a catalyst to combat poverty and promote equity for the most vulnerable in our city: refugee children.
  • The Intensive English Program's Conversation Buddy Program - The Intensive English Program (IEP) at SMU offers enrollment to students and professionals, who are not matriculated into a degree program at SMU or other U.S. universities as well as to conditionally admitted SMU international students. IEP is intended to teach academic English skills for students to be ready for full matriculation into a degree-seeking program.
  • Trusted World - Trusted World provides the best resources, at no cost, to organizations and individuals working on someone else’s behalf.
McElvaney Commons crest

McElvaney Commons

Community wellbeing is the combination of social, economic, environmental, cultural, and political conditions identified by individuals and their communities as essential for them to flourish and fulfill their potential. Wellbeing includes access to proper mental health resources, health education, and holistic support programs.

Community Partners:

  • Dallas Children Advocacy Center - DCAC is the only agency of its kind in Dallas County, working in agreement with public and private agencies to investigate, prosecute, and provide healing service for child abuse cases in Dallas County. We reduce the re-victimization of the child, remove barriers to investigation and treatment, and enhance criminal prosecution with our distinctive multidisciplinary and united approach to these complex and sever cases.
  • Brother Bill’s Helping Hands - Brother Bill's Helping Hand ministers to the Dallas community by ensuring the essentials of life, empowering through learning, and enriching relationships through faith, family, fitness, and finance.
  • Genesis Women's Shelter & Support - To provide safety, shelter and support for women and children who have experienced domestic violence, and to raise awareness regarding its cause, prevalence and impact.
  • Legacy Counseling Center - Legacy’s mission is to provide affordable and quality mental health care, substance abuse treatment, housing services, and education to people who are impacted by HIV/AIDS.
Morrison-McGinnis Commons crest

Morrison-McGinnis Commons

Poverty is defined a lack of income and resources to ensure sustainable livelihoods, such as food, clothing, clean water and proper shelter. Poverty has many detrimental outcomes for children in particular— hunger and malnutrition, ill-health, limited or a lack of access to education and other basic services.

Community Partners:

  • After8toEducate - Our mission is to improve life outcomes and promote self-sufficiency by giving unsheltered high school students a safe place and offering education as a pathway out of homelessness and poverty.
  • Behind Every Door - We exist to see the fullness of the Kingdom of God transform lives in underserved neighborhoods.
  • Vogel Alcove - The mission of Vogel Alcove is to help young children and families overcome the lasting and traumatic effects of homelessness. It is our vision that every child in our community has a home, a self-sufficient family, and a foundation for success in school and in life.
Virginia-Snider Commons crest

Virginia-Snider Commons

Childhood literacy refers to the development of skills students need in order to transition from learning to read, to reading to learn. It is important for students to stay on-grade level from an early time in order to ensure later success in education.

Community Partners:

  • Readers 2 Leaders - We develop and grow the reading skills of underserved Dallas children ages 3-12 so that they succeed in school and graduate prepared to live productive lives.
  • Reading Partners - Reading Partners is a national nonprofit that mobilizes communities to provide students with the proven, individualized reading support they need to read at grade level by fourth grade.
  • Voice of Hope - Voice of Hope Ministries exists to extend the love of Jesus Christ by nurturing and training children through Biblical teaching, Christian character models, life skills coaching and educational support.
Ware Commons crest

Ware Commons

Community rebuilding increases sustainable access to resources across communities that have been impacted by natural disaster or other forms of disruption. Community rebuilding prioritizes working alongside residents to understand their needs to create a thriving community environment.

Community Partners:

  • Empowering the Masses - Empowering community by advancing determinants to success for citizens through resource disbursement, vocational training, core skills development and advocacy promotion.
  • Frazier Revitalization - Frazier Revitalization's mission is to be a catalyst for the revitalization and transformation of the Frazier neighborhood by coordinating, supporting, and assisting in economic and cultural development.
  • Rebuilding Together North Texas - The mission of Rebuilding Together North Texas is to “Repair Homes, Revitalize Communities, Rebuild Lives.