Mayor Elinor Hughes first proposed the idea of a one-stop human services center in 1976.
She formed a commission to study the idea, and they identified several potential properties; however, a lack of funding prevented the idea of moving forward.
In 2001, a group of community leaders formed a nonprofit called the Denton Assistance Center, Inc. in the hopes of resurrecting this idea. They raised some funding but were not able to find a building or the necessary support. Eventually, the organization went dormant.
In 2011, Denton Bible Church (DBC) sought ways to better use the excess property they owned and returned to the idea of creating a nonprofit office complex. Remaining members of the Denton Assistance Center, Inc. met and agreed to transfer the 501(c)3 to the new group. Pat Smith, Priscilla Sanders and Gary Henderson led this group. They retained the legal name but changed the operating name to Serve Denton.
A new board of directors was seated February 9, 2012, and Serve Denton began operations.
Where Serve Denton is Now
Serve Denton operates two properties—both provide quality space at a reduced cost to nonprofit organizations. This arrangement enables nonprofits to allocate more of their funding toward their mission, instead of overhead costs and provide services that help individuals and families become self-sufficient.
The main campus, Serve Denton Center, is located at 306 N Loop 288 and is expanding significantly.
Initially, Serve Denton had a long-term lease agreement with DBC on a 32,000 sf building. When a local school wanted to purchase the building, we negotiated a $1M termination fee to allow Serve Denton to relocate. Through this transaction, the deed to The Wheeler House was also acquired. The $1M allowed Serve Denton to put a down payment on the new building and complete Phase 1 construction.
Operations and partner agencies were moved into portable buildings in September 2017 while construction took place.
Phase 1 is 10,500 sf of quality office space that can serve 10-15 nonprofits. Construction began in September 2017 and finished in late February 2018!
The second property is called The Wheeler House, which is a 4,000 sf building owned by Serve Denton and leased to Giving Hope, Inc.
This building was previously a print shop. The family who owned this facility sold it to DBC for a reduced cost so it could be used for the good of the community. The church then leased it to Serve Denton for $1 per year until Serve Denton acquired the deed in 2017. Serve Denton raised the $400K in funding to renovate this building and now owns and manages the facility.