As the new executive director for the Turn Back the Block nonprofit, Lauren Dallas sets her mind on one thing — to improve the quality of life in the Augusta area.
Prior to assuming the position, Dallas worked as the Director of Communications with the Episcopal Day School, but it was her experience with the Augusta Sports Council that grew her passion for community service.
“I have experience in advertising agencies and design firms and some of my favorite clients were the nonprofits that you always have to give a little love to as a working professional,”she said as she toured a finished home in the Harrisburg neighborhood Monday. “Since I left the Sports Council I knew that being an executive director was something that I wanted to do and I always want to be challenging myself and doing good for the city around us so this was a perfect fit.”
The nonprofit focuses on revitalization of Harrisburg. It has five homes — each donated and averaging $75,000— on Broad Street, three on Metcalf Street and recently finished renovating two homes on Battle Row where they plan to add two additional homes.
Dallas said one of her goals is to increase the nonprofit’s visibility and find good candidates who are interested in living in Harrisburg, financially equipped and willing to maintain their homes.
“Right now we are seeing an upsurge within the preliminary application which is great, but we really need to keep that momentum going and get some good people living in these homes that we rejuvenate,” she said. “With the growth of the area, Harrisburg is the corridor for everything happening downtown so we need to increase our visibility within the area and identify good candidates to be homeowners with Turn Back the Block.”
Another goal for the new executive director is to have the organization’s central location up and running by March. The location for the new office and warehouse is 1963 Battle Row.
“The important thing to recognized about what we do is we don’t want to just do one house over there,” Dallas said. “We’re doing it a few houses at a time, by the block, and making a maximum impact on the area.”