On December 13, 2007, Russell W. Budd, president and managing shareholder of Dallas’ Baron & Budd, P.C., and his wife Dorothy Budd were recognized for their commitment to strengthening and rebuilding West Dallas neighborhoods at the West Dallas tree-lighting ceremony and Grande Posada in Benito Juarez Park at the corner of Morris Street and Winnetka Avenue. The event was held to celebrate the successful rebuilding efforts in this West Dallas neighborhood and to commemorate the work of the Dallas Faith Communities Coalition and Habitat for Humanity and the first homes built in Texas as a result of the Texas Urban Land Bank Demonstration Program Act of 2004. The festivities were also attended by Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert, several local community leaders and Santa himself.

Russell and Dorothy Budd have been determined to change things in West Dallas ever since Russell represented area residents in the 1980s battling lead contamination from a local smelter. The Budds have contributed more than $2 million over the past three years to the revitalization efforts in West Dallas, and their contributions have resulted in the building over over 40 new West Dallas homes. Along with their children, they have worked with Habitat for Humanity to personally help construct several West Dallas homes.

The creation of the Dallas Land Bank, known as the Dallas Housing Acquisition and Development Corporation, was authorized by the Texas Urban Land Bank Demonstration Act. The Land Bank has begun to transform communities because it allows abandoned and decaying buildings to be bought through tax foreclosure and redeveloped into safe and affordable housing. These properties would otherwise sink into dangerous conditions, risks for arson and havens for crime.

Dallas Faith Community Coalition, established in 2004, gathers resources from the faith community as well as non-profit, public and private sectors and focuses those efforts on the comprehensive redevelopment of one Dallas neighborhood at a time. Dorothy Budd served for two years as the first Chair of the Dallas Faith Communities Coalition. The Coalition’s initial project was the West Dallas neighborhood celebrated at the tree-lighting event.

Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity, incorporated in 1986, is a non-profit Christian ministry that organizes volunteer efforts to build quality, affordable homes in partnership with deserving families. Habitat’s Home ownership Program offers low-income families the opportunity to own a home with 0% interest loans, financed by generous community donors, through the investment of “sweat equity.” The family works alongside Habitat for Humanity volunteers to help build their home and homes for their neighbors. Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity has built or rehabilitated more than 615 homes in 22 neighborhoods in Dallas County, housing more than 2,230 family members. It is the the sixth largest home builder in the City of Dallas. Dorothy Budd is a previous board member and president of Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity.