When Melissa Reddick became the Executive Director for the FC Dallas Foundation six years ago, the nonprofit had been inoperative for the most part. It was the perfect opportunity to refocus the mission, and build the organization up from scratch. That’s exactly what she’s done.
“The board and ownership has been great about giving me the leeway to make things happen,” said Reddick. “We’re able to try new things while we focus on promoting healthy active lifestyles.”
Prior to working with FC Dallas, Reddick worked for the Rural Poverty Association, a nonprofit that worked with disadvantaged people in rural areas all over the country.
“We pumped $10 million dollars into rural projects over 10 years to help create self sufficient families,” said Reddick.
There are similarities when working with different nonprofits, but Reddick described the culture shock she experienced when she started working with the FC Dallas Foundation. “I had to get used to working with the various aspects of a sports club including the players. It definitely took some getting used to.”
FC Dallas players as her biggest asset.
“They all have such big hearts,” said Reddick. “I have three players right now who have asked for volunteer opportunities when they are finished with training. It’s not about the publicity for them. They’re just doing it because they care. Even the players that aren’t originally from this area still enjoy getting out and giving back to this community. We do have the most homegrown players of any Major League Soccer team. These are players who came through our academy. They’re always willing to give their time, because this is their home. We have some amazing personalities that we’re able to work with to further our mission.”
Reddick could boast about any number of FC Dallas Foundation accomplishments. Instead, she often talks about how proud she is of the FC DallasSpecial Olympics team.
“This has been the most fun and rewarding program of ours,” Reddick said. “This is our 4th year and every year, I am touched by the new perspective on life that I learn through our athletes. These players genuinely love soccer, love being together, love being a part of FC Dallas. It really changes your mindset when you’re with them.”
Everybody chips in to make the Special Olympic team matches possible. Reddick expressed how grateful she is to the staff that keeps everything running after the FC Dallas game in order for the Special Olympics team to play.
“Our staff donates their time for these matches every season,” Reddick said. “When the lights would typically go off after the pro match, they are kept on and everybody keeps doing their job. That’s everybody from the mascot to the people in the control room. We’re fortunate that Globe Life is our partner for this program. We’re the only team in the league to have a supporter of our Special Olympics team, and they’re very active. They’re just as excited about it as we are.”
A Variety of Projects for a Broad Impact
The FC Dallas Foundation continues to promote healthy active lifestyles. One particularly successful program is their field development projects.
“We’ve constructed four fields, and we’re about to get started on a new field at The Salvation Army in East Plano,” said Reddick. “This is a $400,000 project that will make a huge impact on that community. We’re also starting mini pitches, with US Soccer and MLS Works, and Southern New Hampshire University. These converted concrete spaces allow for a safe place for kids to play soccer. We’ll dedicate our first one on June 9.”
The FC Dallas Foundation has some exciting programs in the works. Reddick revealed her plans for next year.
“In 2017 we’ll be starting a small grants program with money that we raise through auctions, events and our 5050 Raffle presented by Globe Life. We’ll begin with four or five small grants in 2017, and grow it from there. These funds will benefit nonprofits seeking to promote healthy active lifestyles.”