The idea for a one-stop human services center in Denton was first created in 1976 by Mayor Elinor Hughes. Though Serve Denton had many first stages, the idea didn’t fully kick off until it found the right people to lead the charge.
You may already know Pat Smith for his involvement with all things Denton. He is a retired Air Force Colonel who has lived in Denton for 45 years, serves on the Board of Directors for Explorium Denton Children’s Museum and is the former Executive Director for Serve Denton.
Though Serve Denton has been an idea since the 1970s, it wasn’t really kicked off until 2011 when Pat Smith and Priscilla Sanders met for lunch.
“I have always been interested in building capacity, building stuff and this idea was something that really appealed to me,” Pat said.
Once Pat and Priscilla got working, the ideas started to fall in place.
“As Priscilla and I talked, we wanted a name that communicated action and had strong branding,” Pat said. “The color orange was her idea. I was hesitant at first, but trusted her opinion and very glad I did.”
Pat believes in the Serve Denton mission because it’s an idea that has been in Denton for the last 40 years.
“Serve Denton is all about sharing resources. There was a time in communities when people came together more than we do today. We have lost that spirit to a degree and Serve Denton brings some of that sharing idea back in a positive and significant way.”
Serve Denton is in the middle of a capital campaign to raise money for the Serve Denton Center expansion. In 2019, over 16,000 people are expected to be served at the Serve Denton Center.
When asked why others should get involved in the capital campaign, Pat says so you can leave a mark in Denton.
“I think people should get involved in the capital campaign so they can leave a legacy and point to something and say to their family, ‘I helped make this possible.’ Most people don't get to do something really big like this. Here is an opportunity to do so.”
Priscilla Sanders is another founding board member of Serve Denton that played a key role in kicking off the idea of Serve Denton.
A Denton resident for 36 years, Priscilla has served on Serve Denton’s Resource Development committee for the past seven years. She also plays a huge part in Celebration, Serve Denton’s annual fundraising gala.
Priscilla believes in the Serve Denton mission and said:
“Serve Denton provides great spaces for the nonprofit agencies and saves them dollars in rent which they can use to provide more services to more people. For people needing help, they don’t have to trek all over the city or county. They can find many needed services in one location and get the proper referrals.”
When asked why other should get involved in the capital campaign, Priscilla says because it’s our responsibility to help others.
“Giving back to our community is our social responsibility, and helping Serve Denton is helping over 16,000+ people in a year who need a “hand up” to be back on their feet.”
The Capital Campaign
The Serve Denton Capital Campaign will help bring more direct services to one location, including a medical clinic, advocacy center and food center.
The affordable health clinic will be operated by Health Services of North Texas on a sliding scale basis. The nonprofit will offer family medicine, women’s services, senior care, pediatrics and have a pharmacy.
The child abuse resource center will be operated by Children’s Advocacy Center for Denton County. The nonprofit coordinates the investigation of child abuse in a collaborative, child-friendly environment.
The food distribution center for low-income individuals and families will be operated by Denton County Food Center.
Serve Denton is seeking to raise $3.3 million of our total $8.7 million project through our capital campaign. The remaining $5.4 million will be funded through grants, capital investments from partner nonprofits and New Markets Tax Credits.