May 21, 2024 - News

Dallas housing nonprofit CitySquare to close this year

A building with a "CitySquare" sign with a skyline in the background

CitySquare has a food pantry and partnerships with many local agencies. Photo: Courtesy of Noah Bunn

A Dallas nonprofit dedicated to ending poverty in the city will shutter in December because of a funding shortfall.

Why it matters: CitySquare started as a humble food pantry over 35 years ago and grew into one of the most formidable nonprofits in Dallas. The organization branched into housing, workforce development, legal services and health care assistance.

  • CitySquare also played a key role in shutting down one of the city's biggest homeless encampments and finding shelter for the residents there.

Driving the news: The nonprofit's new CEO, Annam Manthiram, announced the impending closure in an email Sunday night, saying she had discovered a "much larger funding deficit than even the board knew about" when she joined the organization in August.

  • CitySquare will merge its programs with other nonprofits already operating in Dallas.

The big picture: The nonprofit serves more than 12,000 people a year at its food pantry and coordinates housing for about 1,000 people. Plus, its social workers connect more than 2,000 people to health insurance.

Friction point: The organization may have tried to do too much, including continuing to fund housing programs beyond its budget after pandemic-relief funds dried up, per the Dallas Morning News.

  • The nonprofit's longtime leader, Larry James, stepped down at the end of 2021 and many other top leaders and fundraisers moved on shortly after.

State of play: Manthiram said she thought when she took the job in August she "had at least three years to get the ship righted."

  • The organization, which receives about half of its funding from federal grants, has a $3.2 million deficit.
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