In 2014, Taylor Toynes began teaching at Bushman Elementary in his hometown neighborhood of South Oak Cliff. While in the classroom, Taylor saw that a majority of his students did not have school supplies, an issue that Toynes realized stemmed from the community’s extreme poverty.
That summer of 2015, Toynes organized with students, community members, and partner organizations to host the inaugural Back To School Festival, a vessel to equip the community and students with the necessary supplies, resources, and service providers to have a successful school year.
We’re about to host our 7th annual festival. In 2019, there were over 6,000 people in attendance. In 2020 due to COVID-19, we held a contactless drive thru for our festival
The For Oak Cliff team knew this festival was not enough to systemically change the livelihood of the individuals in South Oak Cliff, so they worked to launch the For Oak Cliff organization and community center to liberate Oak Cliff from systemic oppression.
Formerly operating under the fiscal sponsorship of The Commit Partnership, and CitySquare, For Oak Cliff now serves as its own independent organization, and is the collective impact backbone for our targeted area, The Superblock. Since February 2020, For Oak Cliff is recognized as a tax-exempt public charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.