DALLAS (March 23, 2021) – When For Oak Cliff Co-Founder Taylor Toynes held the keys to the Moorland YMCA, it marked the beginning of a new era for the upstart non-profit, and the beginning of a partnership with one of Dallas’ oldest and most respected nonprofits, the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas.


For Oak Cliff is a community organization rooted in South Oak Cliff and is hyper-focused on ending systemic poverty in the Superblock 75216, which is recognized as one of the most impoverished zip codes in the U.S. Their model of service is built around the idea that with a keen focus on education, community advocacy and expression through arts, individuals and families can break free from cycles that enable poverty.


“This neighborhood has a higher childhood poverty rate than 99% of U.S. neighborhoods, and our main goal is to undo that statistic,” said Lynn McBee, Co-Chair of the For Our Cliff Board of Directors.

“This is an extremely impactful model, applied by leadership with passion and purpose. The missing link has been scale, and with the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own a landmark building and partner with a legacy non-profit, For Oak Cliff is now perfectly positioned to truly transform this community and change the trajectory for thousands of families who’ve lived in generational poverty,” McBee continued.

From a small storefront in the Glendale Shopping Center, in 2019 the non-profit helped 35 adults secure GEDs, tutored and provided after school childcare for more than 500 children of working parents, and provided food support and other necessities to thousands of families in need. In 2020, their service deepened as the pandemic created greater need in the Superblock. For Oak Cliff gave away more than one million pounds of food to families in need between April and December of 2020.


“Our mission is about building a stronger community together, leveraging our strengths and providing avenues to use these strengths to support one another,” said Taylor Toynes, Co-Founder of For Oak Cliff. “When we move past providing basic life-sustaining needs, our intention is to use this new home to bring people together, to work together and to make real change,” Toynes continued.


Acquisition of the Moorland YMCA allows For Oak Cliff to eventually increase service to the community more than five-fold. For now, the added space allows for proper social distancing and a COVID-safe environment to restart these programs that were unsafe in the smaller space.


But post-pandemic, the non-profit looks to grow GED classes, tutoring and childcare programming, in addition to rolling out early childhood education programs, family counseling services, a food pantry, and bill assistance programs, along with community sports programming and swimming, traditionally offered through the YMCA.


“We received several letters from community leaders in support of For Oak Cliff and we couldn’t be happier that For Oak Cliff will continue their impactful and life changing work from this space, and that we can work with them to continue to provide some of our core services via sports program and swimming lessons,” said Curt Hazelbaker, President and CEO of the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas.


Within the next six months, For Oak Cliff plans to initiate a $10 million capital campaign.

“Our goal is to raise $10 million which covers the total cost of the building plus annual operating costs for our programs like our GED, LENA, food pantry, bill assistance, and more,” said Toynes.

“We’ve gone from 250 square feet to 20,000 square feet in just five years – our growth is driven by the lives that are changing and the positive impact. The new building and partnership is a tipping point for this community, and I’m excited for the possibilities it brings and for the future of our community,” Toynes continued.

About the Moorland YMCA building

The Moorland Y originally opened in Downtown Dallas at 2700 Flora Street in 1930, and at the time, it was the only YMCA serving African Americans in the Southwest during segregation. The Moorland YMCA was named in honor of Dr. Reverend Jesse Edward Moorland of the Colored Men’s Department of the YMCA in Washington, D.C. The building provided 37 sleeping rooms for use by visitors to Dallas; many prominent African Americans stayed at this facility as hotel facilities for African Americans were limited. The Moorland YMCA moved to Oak Cliff in 1972 and continued to be a gathering place for adults and children in the community. To honor the legacy of Dr. Moorland, the YMCA recently renamed the Oak Cliff Family YMCA the Moorland Family YMCA at Oak Cliff to ensure his impact and this piece of Dallas history lives on.


About YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas

The Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Founded in 1885, the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas serves thousands of men, women and children each year, regardless of age, income or background. Anchored in communities across North Texas, the Dallas Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change. The Y ensures all people have equitable access to the essentials needed to become thriving members of the community. Daily, the Y bridges and fills individual and community needs as a catalyst for impactful change. The YMCA makes accessible the support and opportunities that empower people and communities to learn, grow and thrive, with three areas of impact: Youth Development, Healthy Living and Social Responsibility. To learn more or get involved, please visit

About For Oak Cliff

Since 2015, For Oak Cliff has worked to improve social mobility and social capital by utilizing three pillars of programming: Community Building, Education and Advocacy. To date, For Oak Cliff has reinvested or donated more than $1 million within the 75216 Superblock. To learn more, visit

Authored by: cmccauley